It's going to be Spring soon and the whole renew and rebirth vibe is coming on strong. But it still feels pretty wintry and rainy and cold in London, so if you're not feeling it yet, here's a super fast anywhere fix and a snack recipe that will make your family love you forever.
The tip of the moment is not hard to source, is totally free and immediately changes the mood. SMILE. By smiling, even forcing yourself when you don't want to, it can shake off a bad mood, stop you feeling in a funk but also it changes the chemical cocktail going on in your brain. It really is that simple, by pulling a face, you can cheer yourself up. I use this trick on my kids too.
If they're just being grumpy and sulky (not sure it would work on a full-blown meltdown) try asking them to smile, it usually makes them giggle anyway, but it definitely can change the mood fast.
HEALTHY GUMMY BEARS TWO WAYS!
These beauties are full of bone building goodness, amazing for teeth, hair and skin, and the perfect little treat for kids who are always screaming for Haribo. Fresh juice and bags of protein, these couldn't be more restorative or nutrient dense and my kids go mad for them. You can play around with different flavours of berries too.
If you have no moulds, they're super cheap and fast from Amazon:
2 PACK - 50 Cavity Mini Silicone Gummy Bear Sweet Moulds & Chocolate Maker - Detailed Gummy Bear Maker & Jelly Moulds
These are a bit more, but you get more moulds and a dropper so its easier to get them in!
Bessmate 5 x 10 Ice Cube Trays Silicone Bears Molds With a Bonus Easy Fill Dropper for Hard Candy & Chocolate Making - Silicone Soap and Ice Cube Trays & Jelly Molds,Cute Gift For Your Kids
And this is the gelatine I use:
Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin, Kosher, 16 Oz
Apple And Blackberry Bears
- 1 Cup Frozen Blackberries
- 1 Cup Apple puree
- 2 tablespoons Gelatine powder
- 2 tbsp honey (taste and add less as required)
Heat blackberries in a pan over medium heat, stirring, with a splash of water for approx 3 minutes until softened and turning juicy. With a potato masher crush and create a liquid. Pass through a sieve to remove seeds. Return to pan and stir in the apple puree, gently heating until bubbles appear. Add honey as required to taste. Turn off the heat and in a steady stream, pour in the gelatine powder whisking all the time, to prevent lumps forming. Keep whisking until no lumps remain. Place the gummy moulds on a baking sheet/firm surface that fits in your fridge). Using a small 5ml syringe (as used for kids medicine dispensing!) fill the gummy bear moulds up, and place in fridge to firm up for 1-2 hours. Pop out and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge!
Vanilla Milk Bottle Bears
- 1 Cup Milk of choice
- ¼ tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp gelatine powder
Gently heat the milk in a small pan, stir in the vanilla and maple, to taste. In a thin, even stream, pour in the gelatine, whisking all the while to prevent lumps forming. Keep whisking until no lumps remain. Place the gummy moulds on a baking sheet/firm surface that fits in your fridge). Using a small 5ml syringe (as used for kids medicine dispensing!) fill the gummy bear moulds up, and place in fridge to firm up for 1-2 hours. Pop out and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge!
NEW PLANS TO EASILY UPGRADE THE KITCHEN
Now that we've done a lot of amazing thinking and acting on what we want out of this year I thought it was a useful time to lay out some really useful things to think about phasing out that no-one in the family is getting much value out of, and you might find it's really not as tough as you think and the rewards will be massive:
Breakfast Cereals – for porridge/muesli
Bought drinks – for smoothies/water/homemade fizzies
Snack bars – For homemade trail mix/snacks
Raisin packets/Fruit roll ups/Dried fruit snacks – for energy balls
You could try to phase these all out by the end of next month, so work on one a week, of you need to.
For Breakfast Cereals – other than weetabix, they all have crazy levels of sugar even those with ‘no refined sugar’ labels.
Try making porridge, or your own muesli (as recipe) and start by sprinkling a few of their cereals on top but gradually phase this out until by Friday no sprinkles are needed!
If you missed the LIVE CALL last weekend, it was all about gut health and you can listen back to it here:
Keep that Veg vibe going! Prep is the way forward.
Don't forget a huge pile of roasted veg is SUCH a lifesaver for the rest of the week. I so often spend a bit of time on Sunday or Monday getting loads of veg in the oven and then it's all ready to go for my lunch in salads, warmed up for the kids after school as a side and then if they don't get finished I stick them all in a pot and whizz them up with some stock to make a delicious soup. Win win win.
As I always want you to have quick, speedy options in the morning I'm sharing my latest favourite smoothie that has been getting me excited every morning as I am running around like a mad woman ahead of my Book Launch on Wednesday!
- 2 Cups Almond Milk
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp oats
- handful of ice cubes
- ½ tsp almond extract
Blend all ingredients together and drink immediately!
And back on the breakfast sugar swap theme from last week, try and get a batch of this done on Sunday/Monday as it really is a godsend of a chocolatey dream, that you can have on yoghurt, as granola or just handfuls of it after school as a snack.
Choco Coco Granola
- 3 tbsp Cacao Powder
- 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
- 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/4 Cup flaked almonds
- 1/4 Cup Buckwheat Groats
- 1/2 Cup Coconut curls
- 1/2 Cup puffed quinoa
- 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
In a small pan melt the coconut oil, adding the cacao powder and maple syrup to stir through until smooth. Set aside.
Pour all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and pour over the chocolate mixture adding the vanilla extract and salt. Lay on a large baking tray, so it is thinly spread.
Bake at 190 for 10 minutes before turning over with a wooden spoon. Repeat after another 10 minutes and then remove when dark brown, up to 30 minutes in total.
It will crisp up as it cools. Keeps in a jar for weeks.
The underarm switch - start your green beauty cabinet one hit at a time
The health swap this week is all about deodorant. I know my zone is food and what we put in our bodies and the effect that has on us, but as I wanted you lot to have ALL the inside track on what I'm up to I really think its worth looking at what we put on ourselves too.
If you are worried about all the heavy metals and toxic synthetic chemical cocktails that we are slathering on our faces and bodies, it can be overwhelming thinking about junking it all and starting again, so I thought we should begin with an everyday essential, that is an easy and inexpensive switch up. Or wait till you run out and buy one of these then.
Traditional anti-perspirants do exactly that - stop us form perspiring by creating a plug in our sweat glands, regular deodorants work by killing off the bacteria that makes the smell. Either way these all have effects on our underarms and our lymphatic system - which happens to live right there. Aluminium is used as the active agent in anti-persiporants and parabens and synthetic fragrances in deodorants that could be putting a dangerous toxic load on us and particularly our breast tissue.
Studies and research can't be conclusive, but the terrifying facts for me, are that aluminium can disrupt oestrogen levels, a known cancer trigger and that parabens and aluminium from deodorants and anti-perspirants are found in cancer tumours.
So whether or not we have solid evidence I'm not crazy about slathering toxic heavy metals on my underarm right by my lymphatic drainage system, or blocking up pores that need to secret. So I stopped using them a while ago and it wasn't always that easy to find decent, more natural alternatives.
But there are some amazing choices now and I am so much happier with the subtle smells and great performance of those that I have tried recently, so here they are my top picks for toxic free great smelling armpits!
My number one favourite that I've been using for years, as it smells so gorgeous and is a light spritz with essential oils:
Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant 100ml
And a lovely looking one made with Manuka honey:
Dr. Organic Manuka Honey Deodorant Nourish & Restore
If you prefer the roll-on business I love Lavera and this Lime & Vervain combo is super fresh and spring like:
lavera Gentle Roll-On Deodorant
, Organic Vervain/Lime
And the classic that has been used forever, is fragrance-free and the original crystal:
Salt of the Earth Natural Deodorant 90g
So it's the Vernal Equinox, which for me really signals that hibernation mode is over, Spring arrives and Easter holidays are on their way.
As I said in my email to you, I'm going in for the next two weeks of March to really make sure I'm getting time in to do the things that make a difference, and I added them here too in case the emails get lost:
- Get to bed before 11 (I know!)
- Not stare at my phone for too many hours a day - it's hard as it is work as well and I can get lost in there for ages - park it after 8pm and from 4pm - 6pm so I can talk to my kids
- Meal planning - makes eating well so much easier
To add to any meal plan this is my Recipe for you this week is a failsafe One pot Chicken wonder that will add much needed collagen and silica to your diet for skin plumping and wrinkle smoothing, as well as lots of antioxidants to boost immunity and let your face glow.
It really takes no skill and barely any time whatsoever to get this together and you can enjoy it's goodness and feed it to your family for the week ahead.
One Pot Chicken Wonder
- 1 whole, organic chicken
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 5 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 celery sticks, cut into 3 inches
- 2 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 leek, cut into 3 inch slices
- 2 small onions, peeled and cut in half
- TO ADD AFTER DRAINING
- 100g trimmed kale leaves or cavolo nero
- 2 carrots, sliced in bite size pieces
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp miso paste
Place the whole chicken into the largest saucepan or casserole dish you have, with a bit of space to fit the veg nestling in around it. Pour in fresh, filtered water to cover the chicken and then add the veg pieces and sprinkle the herbs and spices over the top.
On a high heat, bring the pot to the boil, then immediately turn it right down to a gentle simmer, partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do check the water level from time to time and replenish if it goes below the top of the chicken.
Drain the liquid off when it's cooled a little and discard the veg and spices. Tear the meat from the chicken, removing the bones and the skin and setting the meat aside.
Tip the chicken liquid back into the pot and add the freshly sliced vegetables and bubble for 5 minutes. Add the torn chicken strips and the miso paste and stir to combine.
This is perfect like this, but you can mix it up on later outings with rice noodles, or cooked brown rice as an addition to make a lovely warming bowl that;s super fast to put together.
It was International Happiness Day on 20th March which I think should be marked with some happy making act for sure, so don't forget, and it's never too late. A random act of kindness is always a winner for happy-making I find, buying a stranger a coffee behind you in the queue, nothing huge, just something.
Top 4 tips for eating to glow:
- This Chicken recipe.
- Ditch the sugar - it hardens the elastin and creates extra wrinkles!
- Extra Fish Oils - EPA and DHA are crucial for skin structure remaining plump
- Beta carotene - have some carrots and peppers with a side of humous and keep that skin loving nutrient high.
Stay tuned, I've got a VIDEO coming for an easy yoga and meditation idea that helps de-stress and curbs anxiety.
The Month of brushing off the hibernation and January vibes of feeling we have to give up and restart and the rest. And really sinking our teeth into the year and getting those plans rolling.
The themes for this month that I thought worked for me are all about consistency, endurance and keeping it going. How to stay vibrant, glowing and happy in the winter months.
The things that I will be talking about and going into in emails and CALLS are what I think we need most in Feb - SAD, energy renewal, skin reviving, and heart health. All the things that I want to know more about dealing with in the winter months.
And of course perfectly delicious recipes to go along with this.
To get us started here is:
FIRST LIVE CALL
There was a technical hitch, frustratingly, so only the first 5 minutes was recorded, but I'll go over it again for any of you that wanted. Do email me and we can book it in. Otherwise the next LIVE CALL will be on:
SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY at 7pm GMT
Do email me if this isn't a good time for you and we can do it another Sunday. I want this to be a doable event as it is so good having lots of you on the call.
You just need to dial in to the same number always to get on the call:
+44 330 998 1261
And when you hear a prompt use the CODE: 504442
For those in the US:
Using the CODE: 504442
First up the manual to read.
But all the relevant kit if you want any of it is mentioned here:
If you are being affected by it these light boxes are meant to be an amazing way of perking up fast. You just watch tv, read your book or whatever with the light on towards your face and it makes all the difference.
Compact SAD Light Daylight Lamp Seasonal Affective Disorder Light Therapy
And then there's the alarm clocks that do dawn simulation that are meant to be a much calmer way to start the day, I am trying this one this week so I'll let you know:
iBoutique Premium Natural Sunrise Digital Alarm Clock / Dawn Simulator - IBSUN001SW (Soft Silver)
5HTP to keep us in balance as well as our skin glowing and boosting Energy:
Vivanta Nutrition - 5-HTP Pro - 200mg x 120 Vegetarian Capsules - Advanced 5-HTP to support Hormonal balance & Mental wellbeing
The first thing you need to know about is this awesome humous recipe. If you're like me and my family there is always a stash of this in the fridge and it is the absolute failsafe for travelling, fast snacks, quick lunches, when guests come round etc.. It's a total crowd pleaser and so when I discovered a new recipe that really had a whole load of zing to it, I thought it should be saved for you lovely lot:
Sun dried Tomato Houmous
- 2 Cups Chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked through
- Or 2 cans drained chickpeas
- 3 tbsp Tahini paste
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or chilli flakes as required)
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- Few tbsp water to thin out as needed
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except the oil in the processor bowl and pulse until smooth. Drizzle oil in whilst blades running. Continue with water until smooth, paste like consistency. Add salt and pepper and coriander and blitz til green!
Slice potato open and dollop houmous into the middle. Serve with some green leaves.
CLAY HAIR MASK
I found another fabulous use for that Rhassoul Clay, if you got some in January. It's an amazing hair mask - nights of hibernating are perfect for sticking good stuff in your hair and getting it all glossy and gorgeous.
- 2 tbsp Rhassoul powder
- 1 egg white
- water as needed to loosen to a paste
Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and then lacquer onto wet hair evenly, until thickly covered (you may need more mixture if yo have long hair). Leave on for a few minutes, but as soon as it starts to dry rinse off, as it can make your hair brittle and snappable if you let it dry to a cake!
If you didn't get this last time round the stuff I used is here:
http://Rhassoul Clay Hair & Facial Mask (Ghassoul) by Poppy Austin® - Voted Best Deep Pore Facial Cleanser, Blackhead Remover & Pore Minimiser 2015 - A 100% Organic All Natural Face Wash & Clay Mask
But there are cheaper versions:
Ghassoul (Rhassoul) Clay - 500g