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Tag: parenting

Stories I loved this week.

I’m back in student clinic this weekend and I’m really looking forward to getting hands with clients and turning all of my theoretical knowledge into practice.

What are you up to this weekend?

Yes, there really is something so comforting about great cookery writing. I’m finding myself reading cookbooks before bed more often and tend to return to the ones that tell great stories around each recipe. (The Pool)

Too much social media perfection can definitely affect a new mother’s sanity. I remember more than a few nights of feeling down after scrolling through the Instagram feeds of those ‘perfect’ mothers. Sometimes the only answer is to log out and put the phone away 🙂 (The Guardian)

A great primer on adaptogens. I love maca, cordyceps and ashwaghanda.  (goop)

I (really) want these leggings.

It’s squash and pumpkin season and I’m really hoping not to cut my hands up this year opening them. (Bon Appetit)

What knitting can teach us about parenting. (New York Times)

How great is this macrame plant holder? It’s a bit 70s without being too kitschy.

How can we create a better food culture in the UK?

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On our trip to Rye, we ventured over to Camber Beach a few times, excited about the prospect of warm late summer days of sand and surf. It definitely felt weird to be on the beach in England (I grew up with summer holidays visiting grandparents in Bahamas, so summers are permanently associated with lots of sun, sea and fish in my mind), but we loved every second of it. We might even head over to the beach in Cornwall next summer – how daring of us! 😊

The beach was packed both days we were there with lots of families taking advantage of the hot days before kids head back to school. I’ve been pondering how to write the next part of this blog post without judgement, so here goes. It was rather alarming to see how many very overweight toddlers, children and teenagers there were and what their parents were giving them to eat – lots of pop, sweets, cakes and crisps.

It got me thinking about food traditions, cooking and how we can teach our children to cook and eat in nourishing, tasty ways.

It’s no secret that food and nutrition education in England is patchy at best. Jamie Oliver’s programme Jamie’s School Dinners ten years ago put a spotlight on this and a follow up interview last year, he said that one of the reasons this initiative failed is that “in Britain, eating well and feeding your kid right and being aware about food is all considered very posh and middle class, but the reality is that in most of Europe some of the best food comes from the poorest communities.

This makes me really sad. Food and nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or defined by class. There are amazing food traditions in European countries that are enjoyed by the rich and the poor. The Greek obsession with fresh ingredients and traditional Greek dishes immediately springs to mind.

In the same article, Jamie Oliver then goes on to say, “we need to make fresh food more affordable than processed food because the most at-risk people right now won’t be my kid or yours [speaking of lower income families]”.

And this is the heart of the issue. We have a class-based food culture that is creating an obesity time-bomb.

In England, cooking habits are seemingly not passed on through families like they are in Italy and France and cooking is generally seen as a chore rather than a pleasure. Without this essential skill, families start to over rely on cheap, processed food, ready meals and takeaways to feed themselves. This lack of food knowledge goes on and on through families – children don’t know where their food comes from, can’t identify fruit and vegetables and are overfed and undernourished.

I wish I was exaggerating.

Cooking and eating delicious, nourishing food is such a pleasure, and this pleasure needn’t have any class based connotations.

How can we get people to start taking a long term view on what they eat, realising that the benefits of spending money on fresh food that will make a few meals vs. buying takeaways each night. Enjoying the savings both financially and health wise in growing your own fruit and veg?

I don’t have the answers, but it seems like that part of the solution could be simple food and nutrition education for parents and children –  using so-called pester power in a positive way.

What do you think?

Stories I loved this week.

 

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How do you keep your spirits up when it feels like you want to give the whole world a time-out, when so much seems to keep going wrong? What do you do to keep the positive energy going in your life?

Switching off and staying away from news sites & social media has become an essential part of my self-care, especially in the last three weeks. I don’t want to shut the world away, but sometimes I want a break from the bad news and bad behaviour. Is that selfish? Is it indulgent? It has become a necessity in order to avoid burnout.

So here’s to the weekend – may yours be full of long baths, cosy moments, good food and spiritual renewal.

A great summary of how to choose your weekly groceries in an ethical way. (NY Mag)

And I’m so in awe of what my body can do – I’m so proud of it.’ Women talk about how they feel about their bodies six weeks after giving birth. (The Pool)

5 tips for taking good food photos on your iPhone. (goop)

It’s fascinating to see the changes in attitudes towards food waste. This Spanish company is growing exponentially just using ‘imperfect’ produce. Inspiring. (The Guardian)

4 foods that can cause hormonal imbalance. Tofu is a big one. Fermented soy is a much better way to get phytoestrogens. (The Chalkboard)

I adore this series: 15 surprising things about parenting in Iceland. (Cup of Jo)

What happens to your body when you switch to an all-organic diet. Fascinating. (Fast Company)

Photo by Ana Gabriel

Stories I loved this week.

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The news of Prince’s death hit me like a tonne of bricks. It’s hard to describe how much his music has been a part of the key moments of my life. I Would Die 4 U helped me recover from a major emotional blow, Purple Rain, Diamond and Pearls, Cream, Little Red Corvette and so many others were the soundtrack of my childhood and teenage years and Sexy MF and Erotic City would always get me onto the dance floor at university. He will be missed.

The 13 most important essays about Prince. (Buzzfeed)

I adore this Questlove / Prince story. (Slate)

I’ve been eyeing up the bikinis here in anticipation of my holiday to Crete in a few weeks. (J. Crew)

Refinery 29 are running a series called ‘Rag Week’, full of insightful pieces on how women experience periods and menopause. This is a great piece from Caryn Franklin on embracing the change of life that is menopause.

Parenting outdoors like Phoebe Buffay runs. Made me chuckle. (Aka Peachie)

I’m going to try this spiced lamb and lentil stew for dinner this week. (Every Last Bite)

Stories I loved this week.

rain on my window

After having my nose deep in my text books for the last three weeks, with assignments and exam studying, I have now returned to the land of the living. It makes me laugh, thinking about how I used to cram at the last minute at university and complain about how little time I had! Ha!

The biggest lesson for me is that it can be done, with a lot of help and a lot of discipline and focus. Now, I’m giving myself the week off from studying, then I start my assignment, a study into a specific dietary model. Onwards and upwards!

Having spent the last three weeks studying like crazy on very little sleep,  I can see how lack of sleep can bring on the ‘munchies’. (The Guardian)

Have you seen Dr. Sandra Lee’s pimple popper videos? They’re incredibly gross, compelling viewing and getting mainstream coverage. (NYMag)

Three persistent insidious health myths. (The Chalkboard)

Can you teach yourself to like new food? This formerly picky writer gives it a try. (The Science of Us)

Microbial resistance is a growing problem. How can we be smarter about how we use antibiotics? (Chris Kresser)

I’ve always hated baby talk and never speak that way with my son. Apparently speaking to your kids in a ‘normal’ way can help grow their vocabulary. Makes sense. (Cup of Jo)

How not to get old and tired. Harsh title, interesting content. (goop)

Photo by Death to Stock Photo

Stories I loved this week.

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It’s nearly Mother’s Day here in the UK and my two guys took me for a lovely brunch this morning – it’s a week early, I know, but I’ll be in clinics all next weekend, so it’s nice to have an early treat!

Are you excited about the new season of House of Cards? I am. Have you been curious about Kevin Spacey’s Southern accent in the series? Here’s an explainer. (Vox)

What it’s like to work in Hollywood, if you’re not a straight, white man. (New York Times)

This is why you poop so often during your period. (Self)

A good reminder for those really trying parenting moments – how to avoid bribes and threats. (Mother)

It’s interesting to see much umami features in so many culture’s palates, yet seems to be very slowly growing as a taste in the UK. I’d personally love to see more fermented foods in major supermarkets. (The Spectator)

I really love what LocoL stands for and hope it’s a success. (The Guardian)

In light of the current meningitis B national conversation in the UK, here’s a fascinating (and highly rationale) perspective on parents who choose not to vaccinate or follow the recommended vaccine schedule. It’s not as anti-science as you’d expect. (Aeon)

Photo by Vashishtha Jogi

Stories I loved this week.

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How’s your week been? I just handed in my second assignment and once I found the time to get down to it, it was really interesting. We had to do an analysis of food diaries – our own, the average Western diet and a Western diet with naturopathic adjustments. It was eye opening to see how low in antioxidants and phytonutrients the average Western diet really is! With that assignment out of the way, next up is some proper studying for my semester one exam in mid-March.

I’d like to try this zero-waste restaurant in Notting Hill. I love that they donate all excess fruit and veg to food banks. (Protein)

More women are choosing ‘curvy’ career paths and I salute them. (The Pool)

A great first-hand look at why different diets work for different people. Call me a broken record, but there really is no one sized fits all solution in nutrition. (Verily)

How are you protecting yourself from environmental toxins? (Chris Kresser)

Great coconut oil beauty hacks. (Self)

Why poor children can’t be picky eaters. (New York Times)

An eye opening look into the world of Tumblr teens and how they make their money. (New Republic)

Have you tried rebounding? I really want to figure out a way to fit a small rebounder into my flat. (goop)

Photo by Frances Gunn

Stories I loved this week.

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Sometimes it’s important to get a reminder to be gentle with yourself. I got a big one this week when my new job finally kicked into gear and I came home each day very tired with only enough energy to eat, hang out with my husband and son and zone out with my laptop in front of the TV. No studying and no blogging was done this week. I felt guilty about it, especially since one of my goals was to be more intentional about blogging and about my leisure time this year. The guilt was counterproductive, so I had to say f*ck it and give myself a break. It’s exhausting feeling guilty about things, isn’t it? Such a waste of energy. Incidentally, have you read the book, F**k it therapy? It’s supposed to be very good.

Some simple but good tips for avoiding parental burnout. ‘Me time’ is essential and I often stay up a bit later so I feel like I have time for myself. Now that I’m working again, I do everything possible to take my full hour’s lunch break, to sit, eat, read a book and take a beat. (Mother)

Have you ever read the Michael Pollan essay that kick started it all? Well worth your time. (The New York Times)

Such a great piece on changing the way we think about food. In Anglo-Saxon culture, there seems to be so much unnecessary guilt around food – bad food, dirty food, guilty pleasures we can’t seem to just let ourselves enjoy a piece of cake and then move on. (goop)

As someone with a very strong sense of smell, I’ve always found it fascinating how much I use this sense to guide some of my decisions. Now I know a bit more about why. (aeon)

I love sparkling water, but have had this nagging feeling for awhile that it’s not good for me. Turns out, it’s perfectly safe. (BBC)

Finally. Why I’m always so, so, so, so hungry around my period. (Greatist)

 

Working in the advertising industry, this isn’t surprising at all. You do eat with your eyes, after all. (The Guardian)

Photo by Death to Stock

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Death to Stock Photo + Mumsy

A great reminder of the importance of the lymph system and some wonderful tips on how to get it moving, as we head into cold and flu season. (The Chalkboard)

Did you know that perfectly healthy and lucid brains can hallucinate? Any mother will tell you that this happens as soon they jump in the shower when their child is napping! (Science of Us)

The stigma of being overweight in China. (Stylist)

A fascinating piece of photojournalism chronicling kids who grow up taking prescription medications. (The Guardian)

Did you read the special edition of Lenny about endometriosis? (Lenny)

What a simple tip for checking the freshness of eggs! Helped me save a lot of eggs this week. (The Kitchn)

I’ll definitely be trying the London versions of these fitness studios. (Elle UK)

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Chris Liu-Beers

The clocks go back this weekend and I for one don’t welcome the darker nights. There’s something quite depressing about leaving work at 6pm to find that it’s already dark. But it’s not all doom and gloom. After all of the business and personal travel this summer, we’re back into our routine of work, nursery, study and family. And it feels good. It sounds a bit fusty but I like routines and the sense of order and comfort they bring. In that sense, freelancing isn’t a good option for me, but the good news is, I tend to fall into routines quickly – my route to work, my lunch roster, the best coffee spots and the best route to J’s nursery.

How’s your week been? Here are a few of the stories I loved this week.

A fascinating article on the power of lullabies and a good reminder about how important it is to sing to and with children. (New York Times)

Yes, sweetie darling! The Ab Fab movie is finally coming! (AV Club)

Really love Jamie Oliver’s tough talk to the sugar industry in this opinion piece. (Daily Mail)

A fascinating piece on how friendships change in adulthood. (The Atlantic)

The importance of the B vitamins to converting food to energy and where to get them from. (goop)

I’m seriously thinking about getting one of these acupressure mats. (Cult Beauty)

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Jazmin Quaynor

O Canada! We’re here! Everyone is so polite and it surprises me every time I visit. Not just polite in an obligatory sense, but in a genuinely interested way. I miss that. We’re here in Toronto for the week and it’s been great to show little J where I grew up and get him to try some Canadian delicacies like poutine!

Stop Googling. Let’s talk. And what kids feel when their parents are constantly looking at screens.  (New York TImes)

Don’t pull out a screen at every idle moment.Boredom is the last privilege of a free mind. (Guardian)

11 foods that help reduce bloating. (Well + Good)

Great point in this article: “These female bosses probably aren’t any worse than their male counterparts. It’s just that the ‘ruthless ambition’ that’s so normal, even admired in men is distorted into an unattractive ‘bossy aggression’ for women – either by the media or societal norms.” (The Telegraph)

I like this part of the Danish parenting approach – no ultimatums. “The cycle of what you give will come back to you. Good begets good, bad begets bad, out of control begets out of control, and calm begets calm.” And it’s interesting that the concept of the ‘terrible twos’ doesn’t exist for Danes. They call it ‘the boundary age’. (Mother)

A great overview on perimenopause. (goop)

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Hilthart Pedersen

The week after a holiday can be a bit discombobulating, can’t it? Finding your feet after a break, getting back into your routine, making sorely needed changes to your old routine. I decided that I was going to fully enjoy myself while I was away, as I was feeling very run down after my summer of work travel. All the brakes came off and I indulged my heart out. I’ve spent this week getting my nutrition back in order and getting rid of a head cold I picked up at the end of my trip.

It’s not all doom and gloom, because I worked out a lot while I was away (full disclosure: I’m doing Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide workout plan. It skews young, but it’s incredibly effective) and I can feel my strength when I run around with my son and inevitably end up carrying  him (“pick me up, Mama!”) – 13.5kg of squirming child!

Is work making you sick?  Here are some common sense tips to incorporate into your day. (The Guardian)

Great message in this article: “Nutrition is complicated, but eating is not. Spend your energy discovering what works for you and try not to get too caught up in the science.” (Summer Tomato)

Some stress (and adrenaline) is good for us, but not too much stress. (goop)

5 tricks for making a perfect smoothie. (Well + Good)

Saying no to anecdotal parenting. I love this. (Grok Nation)

There’s simply no substitute for physical presence. (New York Times)

You are what your mother ate. Nutrition during pregnancy is so important, but no one’s perfect and sometimes you have to just submit to the cravings! (The Times)

What to do when you’re ‘zit bombed‘. Funnyname, but nice to see the gut – skin – inflammation connection being discussed. (Well + Good)

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What I’m reading: Overwhelmed

 

My summer of reading continues, with the excellent Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte. Chock-full of information, research and case studies about gender roles at work, home, love and play, this book, predominantly aimed at women, dissects why so many of us feel so overwhelmed and frazzled so much of the time.

I have to admit that the first chapter made me feel a bit anxious and panicky as I was reading it. Brigid runs through all the ways she feels stuck in what she calls, ‘the overwhelm’, that state of not having enough hours in the day to accomplish the endless to-list that comes with having a busy work and family life. She describes in forensic detail, how much she has to do, how late she stays up to accomplish some of what’s on her to do list and the endless guilt she carries around with her. It struck me how much she was trying to accomplish on her own and how much long-term resentment she held against her husband for not being more of an equal partner at home.

I could relate to the stories of being a busy parent, trying to fit everything into the day. What I couldn’t relate to was the endless guilt. Guilt about not working enough, guilt about not being there enough for her children – so much guilt. This guilt that mothers tie themselves up in knots about, that creates this endless worry and anxiety. There’s a great quote from one of the expert the book, Terry Monaghan, who says, “so much of our overwhelm comes from unrealistic expectations…and when we don’t meet them, we think we’re doing something wrong.” It’s this unnecessary pressure that we put on ourselves.

A large section of the book is devoted to unpacking the relationship that men and women have with work, how both genders would generally like to work in a more flexible way, but how the the myth of the ‘ideal worker’ – the person who is always available to take meetings, jump on a plane, stay late – can hold people and companies back from making real change. The benchmark, the country that seems to have it all figured out in this area is Denmark, where couples share parental leave, overtime is frowned upon and people maximise their leisure time as much as possible. When I read some of the case studies of American women and maternity leave, I realised how good we have it in here in the UK and in Europe. A strong parental leave policy backed by government subsidised and regulated child care means that women can spend longer with their babies with generally good childcare options to fall back on.

Brigid talks a lot about the ambivalence that American mothers tend to have around work. Towards the end of the book, she realises that she “would never be able to schedule [her] way efficiently out of the overwhelm. [She] had to face [her] own ambivalence about trying to live two clashing ideals at once.”  She realises that she has to figure out how to embrace her own life with passion, in the face of ambiguity. I really relate to this. I admit that I still feel some ambivalence about being back at work, despite being freelance and really enjoying what I’m doing. I feel torn about putting my son in nursery, despite me knowing that for his three days a week there, he has a great time and has made some lovely little pals. Before reading this book, I thought this ambivalence was a natural part of being a mother – wanting the best of both worlds.

It’s clear that it’s time to let go of this ambivalence and start fully enjoying what I have and that I am privileged to be able to make my own choices – the choice to freelance part-time, to study towards my dream career part-time and to have two full days with my son to myself in the week.

 

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Pineapple

How was your week? I spent the first part of the week getting back of the UK swing of things, only to be struck down with food poisoning on Wednesday. Bah humbug. Happily, it wasn’t too bad, I’m back to myself, ready to enjoy a weekend of hanging out in London and enjoying the summer sun.

Even though I hate the term ‘mom-preneur’ (why not just entrepreneur?), this is a sweet article about 4 women who have their own businesses and are also mothers to young children. (My Domaine)

Really enjoying having a read through Mother – a website for women, who wear many hats, including mother. And here’s a lovely piece on how Danish mothers (and fathers!) teach their children empathy. (Mother)

How rich people raise rich kids. Attitudes towards money matters a lot. (The Atlantic)

I’m so happy that there is a mainstream conversation happening about miscarriages. The stigma needs to go away. (Telegraph)

What happens to your body an hour after drinking a can of Coke and a can of Diet Coke.

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by vincenzo di giorgi

It’s finally the end of the week and by the time you read this, I’ll be in Jakarta (!) on another work shoot. I had my Hepatitis A and typhoid fever jabs last week and have been researching weather, food and local customs to get me prepared for this trip.

I love this perspective from Lauren Laverne on how inequality at home is contributing to women dropping out of work or being ‘underemployed’ so they can try to balance everything they need to do at home with trying to keep their hands and earning enough money to pay the bills. (The Pool)

It seems that communication, similarity and thinking long term are the secrets to a long marriage. (Aeon)

20 ways you’re spinning wrong. (Cosmopolitan)

Why telling kids to dream big is a con. As a parent, this is a fascinating subject – you want to encourage your child, but it seems like to also need to manage expectations a bit. “The shift in expectation has resulted in tremendous anxiety over achieving these goals and, paradoxically, sheer delusion.”  It seems that you should teach self-control and hard work instead. (Aeon)

This woman gave up processed food for a year and after starting at the extreme (grinding her own flour!), she ended up at the most sensible place – eating real, whole food. (Well + Good)

Could you scale down your digital world?  Not a digital detox, but intentionally avoiding certain apps and using your phone and laptop with intention, rather than mindless scrolling. I’m not on Facebook anymore, I don’t use Whatsapp or Snapchat and don’t plan to and am very conscious about how much I use my phone around my son. Children learn by what they see, not what you say and I’m trying really hard to set a good example for him. (Stylist)

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