Don’t Give Up – ‘Try Everything’

My son came home today asking me to find a song they had played in assembly at school. My interest was piqued when he recited the words he could remember “I won’t give in until I reach the end.”

I typed those words into Google and it came up with ‘Try Everything’ by Shakira from the film Zootropolis. (Here’s the link to listen to the song) We listened and I became excited by the message in the song. These are the lyrics: 

I messed up tonight 

I lost another fight

I still mess up but I’ll just start again

I keep falling down 

I keep on hitting the ground 

I always get up now to see what’s next.

Birds don’t just fly they fall down and get up 

Nobody learns without getting it wrong

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in

Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again

No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything

I wanna try even though I could fail

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in

Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again

No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything

I wanna try even though I could fail

Look at how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love

Baby you’ve done enough that cut your breath

Don’t beat yourself up, don’t need to run so fast

Sometimes we come last, but we did our best

This is a message I am constantly trying to teach my kids. ‘Don’t give up, nobody is good at anything straight away, it takes practise.’ They see adults do things with ease and expect to be able to do it straight away. It’s hard to see them so upset and so unforgiving of themselves when they get something wrong.

It’s not just kids that feel this way, we all feel discouraged when things go wrong, whether that be a task we want to accomplish or life in general. As I teach my kids this principle I realise I need to apply it to my own life. We will reach our end goal if we persist and never give up! 

Homemade Granola

My latest healthy baking attempts have been a disaster, and each time I swear its the last time. Then I pull up my socks and refuse to give in. With my confidence being knocked I needed to try something requiring minimal ingredients and instructions!

My sister has mentioned a few times that I should make homemade granola, and I happen to have a load of oats, nuts and dates mixed together after an earlier baking disaster. I just added honey and melted butter (or you can use oil apparently) till it was lightly coated and baked in an oven, stirring every so often so it baked evenly. I brought it out when it was golden brown all over and crunchy.

Yum! It was a big hit with me, and more miraculously, my kids. Even my extremely fussy eater came back for seconds.

Next time I’m going to use this proper recipe and make it even more delicious mmmmm!

Enjoying Nature

Growing up I was too bothered about what my friends were enjoying or too afraid of nearby dogs to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s only as an adult I appreciated the wonders of nature, especially the green grass and rolling hills of my home in the north west of England.

My husband and friends cycling in the hills near us.

As a young adult I lived in the south-east for three years and missed those hills, but enjoyed the salty air of the sea and sand through my toes from the beaches I lived near. In my early 20’s I spent 3 months travelling the USA and Canada enjoying the tremendous landscapes they have there. Then on the plane home my heart swelled to see how green and luscious the British Isles are.

Taken when i went skiing with friends in Banff, Canada 2003?
Now that I’m pretty much housebound I appreciate the outdoors more than ever. I’m glad I had time to take advantage of the countryside before I became ill. It brings to mind what the poet James Barrie said

God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.

The memories I have with my family and friends and being away from civilisation and enjoying natures beautiful scenery, are sweet roses in this time of my life.

Taken a couple of weeks ago at the bottom of Rivington, a few steps from the car park
I’m never too far from civilisation now. It’s hard for people to push a wheelchair that far off the beaten track. I do, however, love and feel very grateful for any opportunity I have to be outside, breathing fresh air and being surrounded by an expanse of nature. In the words of Fennel Hudson

The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.

Fennel Hudson, A Meaningful Life – Fennel’s Journal – No. 1

Learning BSL

I love to read and blog, when I’m able, but then I thought I should probably use some of my brain power (when I have it) to learn a new skill. A new skill can boost confidence, widen your social circle and open up opportunities.

My sister is a qualified interpreter in British Sign Language. She taught me a bit of sign when my eldest was younger and wasn’t speaking. It worked a treat in helping us communicate with him. It also got me thinking how necessary learning sign language is to be able to communicate with a large percentage of people who use it as their only form of communication.

I started by learning the alphabet


and then found these great videos on YouTube to kick me off.

And if I needed more reasons to learn sign language, then I really like these that I found on the Deafbecomesher blog.

Are you or have you learned any new skills? Have they been of benefit? Tell me how in the comments 😊

Word of Wisdom

Summer is my favourite season. I absolutely adore and mentally thrive being outdoors, and I’m able to be out a little more because warmth helps a little.

We eat a lot of junk though, everybody would rather be outside doing something fun than cook a meal. So we end up with the processed, easy option.

In one of my previous posts I wrote about mindful eating. I’ve really tried to incorporate this into my life. My healthy eating ebbs and flows throughout the year, but being mindful of my eating helps me take away the guilt and has encouraged me to increase the healthier food throughout the unhealthy periods of my diet because I am aware that my body needs the right fuel. I definitely recommend it, if you are looking to change your lifestyle for the long term.

I’ve spent a lot of the past few years trying to work out what diet is right for my health and now I have a family I want to find the diet that will fit with all of us. There’s a lot of advice out there. It takes a while to sift through it all and decide which is right. My church have a Word of Wisdom which is a health code we’re expected to live by.

The principles of the Word of Wisdom are
• Abstaining from alcohol, tea and coffee, tobacco and drugs.
• Eat meat sparingly.
• Make use of herbs and grains.
We are also advised to
• Avoid extremes and fads.

While sifting through all the information there is about diets and food, I think these are good, sound principles to follow that make healthy sense.

It also promises great things as a result of living by it, such as

“health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint”

D&C 89:18-20

Although I like the idea of running and not be weary and walking and not feeling faint very much the quote below says, it is not a promise of perfect health right now, but it will keep your mind and body working to the best that it is able.

When you have an illness without known cause or cure it’s easy to spend countless hours searching for the key to perfect health and try all sorts of remedies. Some help, some don’t, but giving your mind and body it’s best fighting chance just makes sense to me.

I hope you are enjoying summer as much as you are able 😀

Deciding how to spend your time

Life has felt so busy with school runs and school summer activities for the kids that writing blogs has taken a back seat. It’s been a good busy though and left me feeling that the consequences were worth it.

Brain fog has also made it a struggle to write anything that I felt was good enough to share. However, my mum has just shared a quote with me, from Chieko N. Okazaki, that I knew I wanted to save.

“Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. Be wise during intensive seasons of your life. Cherish your agency, and don’t give it away casually. Don’t compare yourself to others — nearly always this will make you despondent. Don’t accept somebody else’s interpretation of how you should be spending your time. Make the best decision you can and then evaluate it to see how it works.”

― Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up

Living with a chronic illness means I question how I spend my energy every day. I worry whether I’ve made the right choice and prioritised well. This quote has helped to remove the worry and despondency I attach to making those decisions.

Hope it helps you too 😊

Lots of Life on a Little Lot 

I met and got to know Elizabeth through reading and reviewing her wonderful book for my blog, MEcuperate. In the book , ‘Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love and Taylor Swift’, she speaks a little of her work and I admit I was intrigued. Her line of work wasn’t the usual, run-of-the-mill, kind. Her family ran a wildlife garden design and install company. Elizabeth would meet with clients and design landscaping that was nature friendly and encourage wildlife. For example, they don’t use pesticides. The plants are beautiful, but helpful to wildlife, such as berries, seeds, nesting etc. Her husband would then install the garden.

“This easy care, colorful, bird & butterfly filled landscaping happily welcomes wildlife and visitors alike.” lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com

When illness hit, in 2012, they had to sell the business, but a year ago she realised she can still help clients, online. Through the marvel of FaceTime, Skype, email or the phone clients can literally carry Elizabeth round with them or send photo’s and they receive personalised help and advice.

I love the quote on the website “By wildlife gardening together we’re all saving the world 1 little lot at a time”. My dad’s garden was designed using wildlife gardening principles. His garden is a place of therapy for those who love nature. He loves to sit and watch the wildlife that his garden encourages, and my kids have taken a great interest in the birds and their nests!

“This baby Eastern Cottontail Rabbit happily munches on the lawn clover & dandelions, never bothering our Perennials.” lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com

The website is great and contains a lot of information to help you learn more about wildlife gardening, what it entails and its benefits.

 We have to share the land. The animals seem to be clashing with us because they’re being pushed out of “Wild” areas due to constant building and they’re relying on our landscaping, as that is mostly all that is left. By maintaining landscaping in the Traditional manner there’s no food for the animals to eat BUT the decorative landscaping. By Gardening FOR Wildlife, you share.

http://lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com/whats-wildlife-gardening.html

If you’re interested in transforming your garden to become more nature friendly, then have a look at the services Elizabeth and her family offer, http://lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com/services.html

As you can see from the photos the benefits of Wildlife gardening speak for themselves. It is a beautiful way to enjoy and encourage nature, living side by side. With the Personal Wildlife Gardening Assistance offered at just $20 per hour, you can be assured of getting the help you need to make the transition, from a reliable and experienced couple:

 Owners Marc & Elizabeth Gross are BOTH Horticultural Alum from The Ohio State University & Elizabeth is also a Certified National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador. They have been helping homeowners transition from traditional landscaping to nature-friendly since 1996.

http://lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com/services.html

Arbonne CC Cream review 

I think I’m getting to grips with pampering myself. First Shellac nails and then last week I had a gathering with some of my lovely mummy friends for an Arbonne Makeup party. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again soon, thanks to the ME payback, but it was fun. It was nice to be pampered and catch up with the girls.

I did the party as a favour to my friend from the school run, who is an Arbonne Consultant. I wasn’t expecting to buy, but I took an interest in their CC cream.


I’m relatively new to makeup, I’ve only been wearing foundation for a couple of years and only once a week if that. My friend told me this CC cream did everything. Instead of concealer, foundation etc I would only need to apply this cream. Making makeup easy and quick is a big selling point for me so I was eager to try it.

According to Arbonne:

Arbonne Intelligence® CC Cream hydrates to protect skin’s moisture barrier, mattifies, soothes, and evens the look of skin tone. It provides lightweight coverage that minimizes the look of pores while concealing blemishes and dark spots. Formulated with nurturing botanicals for a healthier, dewy-looking complexion. Whether you have a late night or long day, this CC Cream will keep your skin looking beautiful. Beauty and smarts — Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream has it covered.

All the ladies at my party tried the CC cream and it was interesting to see that two of them looked remarkably better with the CC cream compared to the makeup they were wearing when they arrived. You couldn’t tell they were wearing it and yet their skin looked a lot more healthy and fresh looking. I didn’t notice much of a change with some of them, which is a good thing too. It provided the same coverage as their foundation and looked as good on. With a couple of my friends though it didn’t have enough coverage for their needs and they looked better with the foundation.

I have ‘normal‘ skin  and don’t really need too much coverage. My problem is that, thanks to sleep deprivation, I have dark circles round my eyes. I always use concealer and I was worried the CC cream wasn’t going to be enough to cover it.

I also really love the contoured look with makeup and was told the CC cream would be enough for me.

I took a couple of before and after photos so you can see how it looks. I also asked my sister, who has sensitive red, patchy and dry skin to take before and after photos. We both used the Light CC Cream (it comes in 4 shades fair, light, medium and dark).

Here’s my before:

Before – hate selfies, but needs must!

And after

After

Here’s my sisters before

And after

For me it doesn’t do a great job at covering my dark circles (and that’s with adding a bit more around my eyes) but it does give me a bit of warmer colour in my face and I love the feel of it. It glides on and goes a little further than my foundation. It feels really light and smooth on, like I’m not wearing anything.

I think it looks fabulous on my sister though. It lasts all day on her also, and she’s not sensitive to it.

If I use it instead of foundation with concealer, bronzer and blusher I think I’d like it more than my usual foundation. I like that it has good ingredients, Arbonne pride themselves on being the best of science and nature and I think you can tell their product is quality. I also like how it feels on.

The downsides are the price, I got a good deal because I hosted the party, but the full price (£31) is a bit more than I like to spend on one makeup item. And it’s not a cream that does everything like they lead me to believe, in order to look good I’d still need to use other products so it’s not a quick and easy solution, for me anyway!
Have you tried a CC Cream that works? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Making the most of today 

One of my main coping strategies since I became ill is maintaining a hope and belief that I will get better and regain full health. My husband and I speak often about the things we will do and enjoy when I am better. I love to look forward to what lies ahead, but in doing so I sometimes feel frustrated with my ‘today’s’. We can miss out on many good things by constantly looking ahead. If we are mindful we will be able to see the gifts that each day brings and in turn we become happier and at peace with whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Image from http://www.everyday-mindfulness.org/20-beautiful-quotes-about-mindful-living/
Last week I was caught in the middle of feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by the kids loudness and mess-making and imagining us all on a family outing and myself being better, able to join them. I wasn’t happy and longed for the day my health would be better, but then I had the distinct impression that when that future came my kids would be older and I would miss this stage of their lives profoundly.

I’m reminded of the film ‘Click‘ with Adam Sandler. He is given a remote control that he can use to pause or fast forward his life. At first he enjoys being able to fast forward the boring or unpleasant parts of his life, but the remote control is clever and remembers what he forwards through and begins to fast forward more than Adam Sandler’s character would like him to. Before he knows it, huge chunks of his life have been skipped through and, now an old man, he realises how much of life he has missed – his kids have grown, his marriage has ended.

Fortunately for us we don’t have access to this kind of remote control and we can experience each day of our lives with all its joys and sorrows! When Adam Sandler went back to his normal life he was grateful for the good and the bad. Without this blessing of hindsight and doing life over again, it is up to us to make the most of each day, the good and the bad.

Some things that help me are:

Being aware – acknowledge each little moment of life. There’ll be some good in every day, even if it feels like a snippet.

Being grateful – saying/feeling thanks for  what you have. Sometimes it helps to write a list of at least 3 things that I’m thankful for.

Slowing down – when you’re busy, in thoughts or deeds, you don’t have time to appreciate what’s around you.

Meditate – meditation is a good way to slow down, clear the mind and feel peace. Through meditation we can feel calmer and more focused.

Treat everyone with kindness – being kind can uplift us, and help us think less of ourselves and our stresses.

Accomplish – have something to accomplish everyday,no matter how big or small. Ticking it off gives a good sense of purpose.

Laugh – laughing feels so good and can turn around a bad day.
What do you like to do help you make the most of each day? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Mindful Eating 


Each day I’m bombarded by food posts on social media in the form of recipes; scare stories; advice and information; adverts etc. Food is such a hot topic for me that it elicits a variety of emotional responses, but the biggest one is guilt.

I’ve had a funny relationship with food since my teens. I’ve always been conscious of my weight,despite being slim, and conscious of healthy/ unhealthy food. I’d try all sorts of different diets. I remember once doing a low fat diet, before I understood about calories, and would eat a big bag of haribo every night because they contained little fat. Later on I would make a million resolves to be healthier and eat less right after I devoured a load of food (Once, I ate an 8 pack of penguins and then vowed to stay off chocolate for a year … It lasted a week!)

About a year before I became ill with M.E. I was diagnosed with IBS and so I began a wheat and dairy free diet. I discovered I’m pretty motivated if I’ve got a plan to stick to. This trait of mine came in handy when a few years down the line I tried a very restrictive diet, alongside the Perrin Treatment, for my health. I ate extremely healthy for a year and a half. After that pregnancy sickness and cravings, moving into our own home and caring for little kids all made a healthy, strict diet very difficult – It takes a lot of preparation, planning and extra finances to eat an enjoyable healthy diet.

For the past 4 years (where does the time go?!) I’ve eaten as healthy as I can, with unhealthy blips, like Christmas, inbetween. I feel constant guilt that I’m not eating well enough. Sometimes this guilt spurs me on to eating better, sometimes it sends me straight to the chocolate cake.  Although I’m a more sensible eater now and try to eat as well and as healthy as my energy and circumstances permit, I continue to have an underlying sense of guilt that I should be eating better.

My Perrin practitioner would always tell me that I should be ok with whatever choice I made when eating and not beat myself up about it. It’s important to remove all guilt and negative associations with food. It was thinking in this vein that reminded me of an email I received a few months back. Usually I would disregard emails like this, but the caption appealed to me – “Why dieting doesn’t work”. It contained a link to a YouTube video of a TED talk about mindful eating. I can’t usually sustain concentration for too long, but I was really interested in all she had to say and watched it all straight away, rewinding every now and then to really get the gist of it. It’s worth a watch if you’ve got the time and energy:


It makes sense to me that the more notice we take of what we consume and the more we are mindful of it we will recognise what effect it is having on us, whether good or bad , and we will be more inclined to eat better.  These three quotes explain it well

there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort.

Jenni Grover, Huffington Post

Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. You can eat a cheeseburger mindfully, if you wish. You might enjoy it a lot more. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs some salad.

Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times

Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it. Mindful eating is natural, interesting, fun, and cheap.

Jan Chozen Bays M.D, Psychology Today

The process of mindful eating is a long one by its nature. To do it properly would take a long time at each meal, but we can make a start by following the suggestions on this picture from www.eatingmindfully.com and becoming more mindful when we eat.

www.eatingmindfully.com
http://www.eatingmindfully.com

It’s removing all distractions and really being in the moment of eating; noticing your thoughts and feelings before, during and after; observing the food, it’s smells, textures appearance; stopping when you feel satisfied; paying attention.

I thought this article was also good in explaining how to eat mindfully:

http://life.gaiam.com/article/zen-your-diet

Although it sounds a bit far-out and hippyish I can really see how mindful eating can remove the battles I have with myself over food and help in achieving a healthier diet.

What are your thoughts on mindful eating? Have you tried it? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments 😊