Breezing the seasons with Hello Day Supplements

Have you ever noticed how your skin or general well-being takes a little adjusting through each new season. I’m always ready mentally for the change, I love seeing trees turn shades of red in autumn, the anticipation of snow in winter and gardens coming to life in spring. Physically I’m not always as good as catching up, my skin especially gives a little grumble and my winter afternoon slump isn’t as easy to embrace when the skies are blue and spring walks are beckoning.

So this spring I took a little helping hand with some carefully tailored supplements from Hello Day. My box came with the promise of vitality, libido stimulant (yeah, I won’t be sharing how I got on with that, my mum reads this!)  a digestion detox and finally something to help with my circulation. Initial thoughts lead me to think that in 6 weeks time I’d be very happy, energetic, tactile (read that bit as you like) single mum with great bowel movements. Not a bad place to be at 41, I’d say.

Joking aside, just knowing I would be on the right track to helping reduce some of the burnout tiredness which comes with my lifestyle thanks to the magnesium in the vitality supplements was enough to hook me in. I’m guilty of burning the candles at both ends; working to the early hours then waking with my 3-year-old early the next day.

I’d considered taking Siberian Ginseng in the past to help nudge me in the right direction and I had high hopes it would this time, as well as improving my mental and physical energy. The vitality supplements also contain passion-flower to induce calmness, great,  as I always stress at balancing my personal and work life.

I’m not worried about watching my weight at the moment but there’s always room for improvement to help with a body detox. The detox supplements promised to do this by improving my digestive tract health and appetite. I fell off the healthy bandwagon for a while and to get me back on it, a gentle detox was perfect kickstart.
It’s been a month now since I completed everything in my Hello Day box so I thought it was high time I reflected the effects it had had. The whole energy thing was the first thing I noticed an improvement with, that afternoon slump which always hit disappeared, helping me focus on work and be a lot more productive during the day. So much so that a month on from stopping this supplement I’m back to fighting off the urge to nap come 3pm. (Time for a new box I think!)
Hello Day boxes certainly lived up to their promise to helped see me through the season change in a nice, subtle way. It’s not so much you notice how good you feel but rather, you don’t noticed how much you’re struggling to adjust. In a not knowing a good thing until it’s gone sort of way.
You still with me? I know they’ve worked as since stopping them, I’ve finding I could do with some help with my fatigue and mental sharpness.
I’ve been browsing their site looking at what else I could do with help with and there’s certainly some scope for a stress and relax supplements in my life to see me through school holidays and ward off burn out as I combine juggling workloads, childcare and mum guilt.
And the Sleep Rest promise of some relaxation to help me fall asleep naturally is music to my ears. It combines natural ingredients such as Valerian to cope with a busy lifestyle and daily stress, and Lemon Balm for a positive mood and calm wellbeing.
I guess you could say that my little experiment worked and I’m ready to step back into starting my day with the helping hand, if only to get me through this niggling urge to take a nap while I’m trying to finish this post!
breezing the seasons with a HelloDay box of supplements
Disclaimer
I received a complimentary box of Hello Day supplements in return for sharing my experience of using them.
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Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Its’s not the first time I’ve raved about HelloFresh delivery boxes, (you can read all about the time I discovered them here.) As a busy, working mum of 3, they’re an absolute lifesaver as they take the stress out of deciding what to cook and having to go buy the ingredients. I’ve just restarted my deliveries after a year break as I’ve found I was cooking the same things week after week.

I’ve only been ordering 3 meals a week so that still leaves a few days, to think up healthy meal ideas. So rather than trawl through my cook books ( that super busy mum thing again) I’ve used their new  Flavour Generator to help find some recipes. I can do all this while I’m on the site choosing my meals for the next delivery so my whole weeks meals are dun and dusted in one sitting.

It’s a great tool for helping you decide what to cook and try out some new recipes, this week I was in the mood for something Italian. You can you can choose between Italian, British, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian on the Flavour Generator drop down menu. Once you’ve decided on that, there’s more choices on the next drop down for flavour; tangy, herby, sweet or spicy. Then its spin and het presto! My Italian, herby mood brought up this recipe for Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese, it’s  a flavour full, tomato based vegetable bake with a breadcrumb top and tomato salad on the side. The pine nuts addition give it a really nice texture and best of all, you get to use up all the courgettes which are in abundance right now and  do some sneaky veggie hiding for reluctant vegetable eating kids.

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Ingredients

  • half Red Onion
  •  2 Garlic Cloves
  •  1 Courgette
  •  0.5 punnet(s) Cherry Tomatoes
  •  1 ball(s)   Mozzarella
  • Tomato Passata
  •  0.75 tsp  Dried Oregano
  • 1 bunch Basil (20g)
  • 25 grams  Pine Nuts
  • 3 tbsp    Hard Italian Cheese
  • 20 grams  Panko Breadcrumbs
  •  1 Foccacia (I subbed for ciabatta)

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees. Peel and finely chop the red onion and the garlic. Slice the courgette lengthways into ½cm strips. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Next cut three-quarters of your mozzarella into slices, as thin as you can (keep a quarter for your salad). Press kitchen paper or a clean tea towel onto each slice to soak up as much excess moisture as possible.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan and fry your red onion and garlic on medium-low heat for around 5 mins, or until soft. Tip: You can start step 5 at the same time to save some time.
  4. Add in the tomato passata with a pinch of salt, the oregano and a few grinds of black pepper. Bubble the mixture for 5 mins, then remove from the heat to cool down.
  5. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat. Once hot, fry your courgette strips in batches. Cook them for 1 minute on each side and then keep to the side. Do not overcrowd the pan as this will stew the courgette rather than brown it.
  6. Put enough (about a third) of your passata in an ovenproof dish to thinly cover the bottom. Top this with a layer of your courgette (you should use roughly half your courgette here as you’re going to repeat this step!). Next, layer on a couple of slices of mozzarella, followed by some torn basil and half of the pine nuts.
  7. Spread on another layer of passata, followed by your remaining courgette, a couple more slices of mozzarella and bit more basil (save some of each for your salad) and the rest of your pine nuts. Finally add one more layer of passata and top your parmigiana with the hard cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake in your oven for 15 mins.
  8. Tear up a small handful of basil leaves and the remaining mozzarella. Toss these and your cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve your parmigiana with your salad and foccacia on the side.
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Slowing Down the pace on a cycle holiday

Bike riding has always been one of our favourite family activities, even with a toddler in tow, it’s a case of strap them in the trailer and off we go! From Center Parcs breaks where we spend the whole time biking around the village to day trips exploring  Holden Forest on 2 wheels and more recently, and my local cycle path favourite, a long leisurely ride from Darts Farm in Topsham, along the coast and stopping in Exmouth.

It’s only part of stretch of family friendly cycle routes in Devon, I prefer to keep off the main roads as much as possible as it takes all the stress out of keeping the kids safe and is nearly all on the flat, give or take a couple of hills. I don’t mind getting off and pushing my bike here as it gives you a chance to meander though the pretty village of Lympstone as well as have a gawp at the stunning houses and see how the other half lives. There’s also a couple of pubs along the route as well as a local shop where we stopped for an ice-cream.

Living in a hilly village, I don’t get to use a bike as much as I like, as much as it’s easier going down, it takes just as long to ride coming up and that’s without a toddler on the back so the only chance I get is when I’ve planned a day out and hired bikes or on holidays. Which is exactly why I would consider taking a biking holiday like those offered by the Slow-Holiday company, Inntravel, where they plan all their biking holiday routes carefully.

Just imagine being able to take in the scenery at a much slower pace, they make sure their tried and tested routes as enjoyable with quiet roads and country lanes wherever possible.The Topsham to Exmouth route would fit their bill perfectly. I’d need that reassurance when exploring another country on a bike

With detailed maps and route notes I’d feel suitably prepared they even transport luggage ahead to your hotel. <cough, cough,> (British Airways couldn’t even manage that for us!)  To top it off, as these bike holidays are for individuals, not groups, you can take your pick of the routes suggested each day and cycle at entirely your own pace.

I’m thinking Tuscany……. vineyards…….sunsets……bliss!

slowing down the holiday pace with a cycle holiday

 

Disclosure

This post is in collaboration with Inntravel

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Clean Eating Made Easy With Everdine

I first dabbled with clean eating last year, inspired by the Ella’s Kitchen cookbook recommended by a friend who had overcome some health problems thanks to a change in diet, it was a welcome lifestyle adjustment. I’d already given up meat (not fish) and felt better, I had more energy for starters. My sugar intake was through the roof though and I was rubbish at getting my recommended 5 a day.

So clean eating was the way forward. Everything cooked from fresh with oodles of fresh veg and introducing ingredients I’d never heard of, chia seeds were thrown in and on everything and breakfast began with overnight oats and granola. The only problem was time. I was a busy mum running 2 businesses and trying to prepare and find recipes which I knew the whole family would eat.

Luckily the older boys are quite good at trying new foods, getting them to always finish was a chore though. Clean eating soon became a chore and while I remained vegetarian and endeavoured to cook healthy meals from scratch, it was still too easy to pop a frozen pizza in the oven on days when I wasn’t in the mood for cooking.

My eldest son is now a keen health foodie though and when asked to try out a clean eating delivery  service called Everyone where clean eating is made simple we both agreed. No more mum guilt, except the whole frozen meals thing concerned me a little, surely it was cheating a little?

None the less, I picked out my favourites from the 8 meal section, that’d be 2 family meals of our choosing where everyone gets what they want. I could see this working out quite well for the boys and I! It meant I could stick to my meat free diet but the boys got their fill.

It arrived in an insulated cardboard box with icepacks (really useful to keep in the freezer and reuse for picnics as you can throw them away afterwards) I then stored them away in the freezer ready for the next day when time was of the essence.

everdine clea eating delivery service reviewed

The meals are microwaved and ready to eat in under 10 minutes and smelt as good as they tasted. The portions are a good size, enough for my older teenager and I managed to share some of mine with my toddler without feeling I’d sacrificed a meal. There’s a really great range to make your choices from on the website too, I went for a mixture of fish, lamb and vegetarian so we were all happy.

clean eating made simple with a delivery service my whole family loved. This exceeded my expectations in ready meals
The lamb chops with feta cous cous and beetroot was a huge hit with the boys, theres no expense spared on taste and seeing them try foods they’d never had before was awesome. My favourite was the harissa & king prawn tabbouleh, a nicely spiced dish with a just right balance of vegetables.

The convenience of having healthy meals ready in the freezer was priceless and while I don’t think I’d use it solely for regular family meals, I can see this being perfect for working couples and singletons. (and for my child free days when I tend to just have a sandwich rather than cook a whole meal.) The only downside was not being able to serve the meals in one go, although some you could cook in the oven.

If you’d like to try them out for yourself, Click here for your Everdine offer giving you £25 off your first box

 

clean eating made simple with a delivery service my whole family loved. This exceeded my expectations in ready meals

Disclaimer 

I have been invited to test Everdine‘s service thanks to a company called Tornado.

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Toddler Lunch box Ideas For A Toddler-Sized Challenge

Having worked in a school in the past, it was astonishing to see the difference in the sizes of what the kids brought in for packed lunch. I remember saying at the time that there needs to be some more information giving clear examples of what is a suitable portion size. The parents were getting the healthy message (the majority were at least) but there were a few children who came in with more food than an average adult could eat in one sitting.

I guess I wasn’t alone in thinking that there was a gap in information as the Infant & Toddler Forum launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help raise awareness of it’s not just what we put on toddlers’ plates it’s also how much last year.

I not alone in thinking that there should be a clearer message that it's not just what we put in a toddlers’ lunch box it’s also how much

And they’re back with a challenge for parents, grandparents and guardians to see how can you take all the ITF’s guidance and make it PRACTICAL and easy for all parents to follow every day at every meal?

Curious? Why not visit Toddler Sized Challenge to find out more, join in and share, comment, vote and have the chance to win £1000 and two £500 runners-up prizes as well as spot cash prizes of £100 for commenting and engaging.

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge

I’m weighing in with my tuppence and submitted a suggestion to the challenge already. too with some lunch box ideas on how to help parents ensure they’re getting their toddler lunch boxes spot on.

There are some great menu ideas on the website a but I’ve purposed an idea for downloadable sheets of menu planners with suggestions for toddler lunch boxes  Taking inspiration from the Think Toddler Sized website and creating a go to sheet for lunch boxes which can be printed off and placed on your fridge, or saved as a photo of your photo along with a quick read shopping list section of items to buy.

The idea is about simplifying life for parents, grandparents and carers and taking the stress out of thinking what to buy.

Now I’ve shared mine, what’s would your idea to help parents to Think Toddler Sized be? Why not visit the website (links here if you missed it earlier http://bit.ly/ToddlerSizedChallenge ) to see what’s already been suggested and see if you can come up with something new then upload your idea to the website. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Think about:

  • The 4 different food groups: carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables
  • How often different types food should be offered every day
  • How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge



Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post

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