Bingo Adverts on TV

To me when I see a bingo advert on TV they are always aimed at women, what looks like housewives or stay at home mothers, which I find quite sexist. I know a number of stay at home mothers who don’t play bingo online, they don’t have the time because they have to look after their kids. Then housewives, one of which I would say is my mother doesn’t play bingo either, mainly because she is busy with actual hobbies and looking after the home.

All these new bingo companies seem to be designed to only attract women from their stupid names; Kitty Bingo!!! The screen shots generally look pink and to top it off, you very rarely see men in the adverts, well unless they also are being shown in a sexist manner. I think these companies are harmful and really set a bad example, from the constant TV adverts to popping up in adverts, plus they get people hooked with cheap offers, money back and bingo bonuses online all to tie people in.

It’s not just bingo though, its gambling in general which is given an easy time in the UK, from betting shops being stuffed full of fruit machines, to easy access to pay day loans all of which are exaggerating the situation. Coupled with the government’s lack of support in gambling addiction we are heading to a disaster. I’m not being sanctimonious, I do occasionally put a couple of quid on the lottery but I just see gambling all around us, we really should be cutting it down.

January Detox

Christmas and New Year’s is a time where we don’t really think about being healthy. We eat more than we usually do and what we do it isn’t always that good for us. Lots of fats and processed foods, salt and sugar plus lots of alcohol can take its toll on your body. Which is why January is the perfect time to start a fresh and give your body a bit of a boost, to see you through winter and keep you healthy.

Eat Right

Cut out all processed foods, eating only fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting down/out meat. I buy organic fruit and vegetables to eliminate any nasty chemicals and if I do eat meat it is organic and grass fed, to avoid growth hormones and antibiotics. However for the first week of the detox I won’t be eating any meat.

The best option is to eat raw fruit and vegetables, juices and smoothies are a good option, replace your breakfast and lunch with a juice or smoothie, made from raw fresh vegetables. For the first week try and keep meat and dairy out of your diet. There are a number of wonderful vegetarian/vegan recipes out there. For snacks keep on hand nuts and seeds and make sure you drink plenty of water, lemon water is the best option.

Once you have cracked the first week, the rest of January will be a breeze to follow and you will be less likely to go back to your old ways of eating processed foods. It doesn’t mean you’re not allowed the occasional treat, but I would wait until the end of the month and if you still crave something then on treat at the end won’t be too bad. But you will probably find the cravings for salt and sugar you had before have gone.

stoneledge farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Local Farming

Work It Out

With the boost to your body from a better diet, you will feel much more inclined to exercise, I normally wait a week on the cleanse, before I kick up my workout routine, just so my body has time to adjust, you don’t want to shock yourself and end up not feeling up to working out. If you don’t normally do much exercise you best starting off slowly and following an easy plan to avoid injury. Whether you go to a gym or work out at home, find a workout that suits your ability.

Although the weather may not be brilliant, its also good to get out into the fresh air. A brisk walk, jog or hike will energise your body. Just remember of the weather is cold and wet to wrap up warm to avoid getting a chill.

Sleep

Finally one of the most important things to do, to get your body back to its best is ensure you get plenty of sleep. Over the festive periods, you will have had a number of late nights and last mornings which will disrupt your sleep patterns. When you go back to normal and to work, it can be a harder adjustment and leave you feeling tired. Get early nights and rest when you can. To help sleep better cut out using any electronic device at least an hour before bed, allowing your brain to relax. If you find it hard, a bath before bed will help, try with a relaxing camomile or lavender bath oil.

Image courtesy of smith_cl9

Green Smoothie Recipe

Start the day off right or go for a something different for a yummy lunch! The greens in this smoothie are packed full of antioxidants. Kale especially which is in season at the moment is a brilliant choice. Not only will it leave you feeling energised but also help keep your skin clear and give your body a boost it needs at this time of year.

spring-green-smoothieIngredients

100g. kale, chopped

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped
  • 100g. frozen mango (can be bought frozen from some supermarkets if not chop and freeze your own)
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (Can be bought from major supermarkets or health food shops)
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 8floz. almond milk
  • 1/2 bunch parsley

Directions

  • Add rice milk and lemon juice to the mixer
  • Then add the chopped veg, fruit and herbs to the blender and the chia seeds.
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy

There is around 300 calories in this smoothie and is fine for a meal replacement or supplement if you have a heavy work out planned.

Family Fun and New Year’s Party

Christmas was really great we all had a fantastic time and Santa brought us everything we wanted, especially the boys! Christmas dinner went really well and the goose was delicious. I definitely had enough food for the whole family; in fact more than enough however isn’t that always the case? We have built up a number of traditions since my husband and I have been together, some we have had when we had the boys and traditions our families bring. It’s a great day which does end up finishing the same way, with half of us asleep before the queens speech airs!

Boxing Day with family still here was great despite the weather, we managed a good walk, tired the boys and the dog out, which meant we could relax in the afternoon and eat through more of the food we had in! The boys then spent the next few days playing with all their presents; they had a lot so have been occupied and with the boxes they came in as well!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and we are going to a friends for a party, my parents have the boys (they can’t keep awake that long) so we get to let lose somewhat. It will be a great get together, some of our friends we haven’t seen for a while, others a long while. One of my good friends moved to America last year with her hubby and this Christmas is the first time she has been back. New Year’s will be the last time I get to see her before she goes back. We have looked at going out there, for a family holiday and see a few places next year with the boys. It will be good because my friend is still a bit lonely as she hasn’t found a job yet and finding a job abroad is not easy. So visits from friends keep her mood up!

Anyway the festive period is nearly over for another year and we have a lot to look forward to next year!

 

Gift Wrapping and Giving

So I mentioned the other day that I had undertaken all my gift wrapping while the husband took all the boys out. I actually really like gift wrapping, it’s like an art, well a day of crafts as I make them all look as pretty as possible.

For ideas this year I used a number of YouTube videos showcasing different ideas, which were really handy.

This was one of my favourites:

Hiding Christmas Presents

presentsWhen Christmas comes, so does the time where I have to try and hide the presents. The kids are mischievous and although not very old, they seem apt at finding things I hide from them. My husband has to take them out for an afternoon so I can blitz all the present wrapping and hide everything away from their mischievous hands.

Keeping them hidden is the hardest thing, since they have both been able to crawl one or both have managed to get hold of things they shouldn’t have despite us always having chid locks etc. And shiny presents with ribbons and tags on are just asking to be played with, damage, chewed and slobbered on (that includes the dog too). Christmas eve all the presents go under the tree, whilst the ids and the dog are sound asleep.

We leave out the usual, mince pies and carrots, and whisky for Santa. My husband has the whisky and mice pie and the carrot is saved for dinner the next day. We have then keep the dog out of the living room until we are up, he will eat the mince pie and probably the carrot and I would suspect try the whisky too!

I hide the kid’s presents in the top of the wardrobe, not a chance they can reach up there for a long time. However I did have to have a bit of a clear out in the wardrobe. I also came across this in the news about women who throw out their husbands clothes to make room for their own. Apparently 74 per cent of women will take over their shared wardrobe and using 80 per cent of the wardrobe. Some women admitted to throwing away their partners clothes, not just if it’s old or worn but if they just don’t like it, to make room for their own stuff!

I don’t think I have ever been so extreme, but I do have a clear out of my husband’s clothes every so often, but along with mine and the kids as well. Sometimes a good clear out is important. Normally we get rid of old or worn out clothes, to recycle and then anything we don’t want any more but can still be worn goes to charity shops or clothing banks. To be fair other than presents, out wardrobe is fairly evenly spread with clothes. This is probably because it is winter though and both my husband and I seem to have an equal number of jumpers each.

Images courtesy of Alice Harold

Meat What Everyone Eats At Christmas

Sometimes I think Christmas isn’t really designed for vegetarians or vegans. Meat is the most important party of peoples Christmas dinners, the main event and something that many look forward to. For us it’s one of the things I spend the most on really, more than gifts is good food and drink for our family. We do have to get a lot though as we have our whole family to entertain.

This Christmas we are having goose as the main event, something we have had for the last two. I am not a turkey fan so as I have to cook it, I go for goose. It always goes down well and pretty easy to cook, really. To get started we have a mixture of light starters, nothing to heavy as there really are a lot of components to a Christmas dinner to get through. When I was young, we would always have a prawn cocktail salad, seafood is a really good starter as it can be nice and light and fresh. This year I am making a hot smoked trout pate, with crusty ciabatta and light side salad. We also have some parsnip, chestnut and sage soup. Both I can prepare in advance so all I have to do is reheat the soup and plate up the pate.

Obviously I like a lot of trimmings as well without Christmas dinner. We will have of course pigs in blankets (chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon), stuffing, bread sauce and cranberry sauce. And you can’t forget the vegetables! Sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts, parsnips, carrots and roast potatoes. It does seem like quite a lot, but there is a lot of us, so I don’t overdo the trimmings, so everyone can have a bit of everything.

Goose is our centre piece, but I also cook a Christmas ham as well, it then supplies plenty for tea and leftovers which normally last us a week after Christmas. So you can get your money’s worth if you shop carefully.

Popular options for Christmas Dinner:

Roast Goose

Roast Turkey

Roast Beef

Glazed Ham

Roast Chicken

It seems that for many people Christmas dinner is one of the only roast dinners they eat during the year. Female First wrote about the Death of the roast dinner, which showed that most people no longer bother with a roast dinner. Only one in six families now enjoy the weekly roast dinner. In our house it is generally a weekly occurrence, a bit less in summer but defiantly something we enjoy when the weather gets cold.

It’s sad to see that many people don’t get to enjoy a Sunday dinner, once over it would be a staple of most families in the UK. Perhaps rising costs have something to do with it, the availability of cheaper food. A joint of meat or a whole bird isn’t cheap, however you can get a lot from it. Perhaps people just don’t know what to do with these bigger cuts of meat and tend to waste more, hence why they opt for cheaper alternatives such as ready meals.

For me with young children roast dinner is an affordable option, not only do we get a full meal from it but also a number meals for leftovers, especially if you’re creative. Plus it’s really nice to sit round a table as a family and it’s something we want to continue as our kids grow.

Turkey

 

Turkey, many peoples option for Christmas dinner, they ain’t half ugly, poor things!

Image courtesy of Amancay Maahs

Women Going Au-Naturel?

Waxing argh its painful stuff, believe me I opt for my legs and eyebrows to be done and that is bad enough however many people also opt for a wax down there. But now we are finding not as many as there used to be, according to beauty news I came across yesterday. Apparently many women are now choosing to go au-naturel down there now, moving away from the shaven and bare porn star look once favoured.

Bikini WaxingWomen were surveyed and asked “Do you style or groom the hair in your bikini region?” And 49 percent said yes, while 51 percent said no. So really it is a 50-50 split, but I would guess even a couple of years ago more were in favour of waxing than those that weren’t. But many things have changed since then. Money, not everyone can now afford to keep their regular waxing appointment and not to mention women attitudes have changed. Realising the sexualised look you see splashed across the media and covered by the press plus what you see in pornos is not how we want to be.

And men also agree 62 percent questioned in the survey said that their partners preferred the au-naturel look too. So for those women who put themselves through the pain of a bikini wax every month because they think their partner prefers it, I’d probably not bother. They probably wouldn’t notice if you went au-natural, save yourself some time and money and pain! It’s just not worth it!

 

Are we seeing the death of the bath?

Apparently according to research, we are seeing the number of people buying a new bath decrease, but shower enclosure sales increase. This could suggest when people are replacing their bathrooms they are opting for larger showers or walking showers/wet rooms over baths. Or that maybe baths have a longer lifespan than showers.

For those with children, a bath is a necessity, mine won’t go into the shower cubicle we have, they just don’t like it preferring to play in the bath. It’s no surprise, bath times are fun and something both parents and kids can enjoy whilst their children are little. However enjoying a bath when space is a premium, can mean people opt for just showers, but I would guess they wouldn’t have children.

Enjoying a bath to relax is something I don’t find myself doing anymore. I don’t really have the time to relax and fully enjoy a bath, only if the husband takes the kids out for the afternoon and all the housework is done. Then and only then can I relax and have a bath. But as many parents know, it’s hard to get that precious time! Instead quick daily showers are in order to avoid smelling.

I think it does show how modern life is changing, barley a hundred years ago our families would have a bath, in a tin bath, in the living room normally in front of the fire. We didn’t have bathrooms, instead outhouses to use. Very few had bathrooms, let alone baths or showers even. So you can see how far we have come really. As our fast paced lives move forward, and time becomes of an essence, moving into just showers seems like a sensible answer.

I do worry though, if we see the death of the bath, house builders will no longer fit them. All new houses built may have a shower only which would lead to smaller bathrooms and overall less space (but still same high prices).

 Old BathImage courtesy of Spiros Kakos

Take Enjoying Christmas without Weight Gain

Eat, drink and be merry is a motto much used over the festive period. So it’s not a surprise that many people pile on the pounds during the festive period. It’s not all because you’re being gluttonous though, it’s a busy period. You find yourself going out a lot more, with family, friends and work colleagues so there are numerous opportunities to eat and drink. Much more so than other times of the year. Fitting in exercise can be tricky, with late nights, long days and the off putting cold weather. So it’s no surprise that people gain a bit of extra weight at this time of year!

However I don’t think it’s impossible to keep healthy over Christmas and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Like anything though, organisation is key and to be fair to get through the festive season you have to be organised.

Plan Ahead

As I cook Christmas dinner for my family; Husband, two children, dog, my parents and occasionally in-laws I need to be super organised. So in September I start to look at what I am planning on serving. A bit extreme I know, but by time December comes I have most food in, ordered or at least I know what I am buying, so I avoid buying extras that we don’t need. I also create a menu for Christmas day so I know what I need to get. I used the one below from Organized Christmas.

Christmas Menu PlannerWith a full diary of work Christmas parties, kid’s parties and nights out with friends, I like to plan food for these days. Over indulging is one way to add the pounds, so I try and stay healthy on days where I know I may be drinking or eating more in one sitting. It’s also a good idea to brush up on calories, fat and sugar content of festive favourites and look at how to reduce this, without doing without the yummy treats.

Watch What You Eat

Obviously it’s nice to indulge a little, but you shouldn’t overdo it too much. I find cutting back and keeping carbohydrates, alcohol and sugar low helps me to manage my weight. I wouldn’t cut it out especially at this time of year, however a little of those won’t do you harm. Try and balance those foods out with balance meals which don’t contain too many refined carbs. So make sure you eat plenty of leafy greens and vegetables, which will give your body a boost. Also make sure you drink plenty of water, especially if you are drinking more alcohol than you usually do. Keeping hydrated will help keep you feeling fresh and water will help detoxify your liver.

Take Some Time

Christmas is always a busy period, with many people busy organising, visiting family and friends and celebrating. It can be hard to get a moment to yourself. However stress is one way to make yourself ill and liable to weight gain. So you should ensure you are able to take some time to yourself and relax. I always pick a couple of days in the run up to Christmas, where I pack the kids off for the day with the dad so I can relax a bit. It helps me de-stress and keep calm.

I also aim to still work out, although I never end up doing my usual routine as I have less time, but I don’t like to stop completely. It makes it harder to get back into exercising if you stop, plus I feel less guilty about sneaking mince pies and chocolates!

Most of all though, enjoy the festive period and don’t worry too much if you put on a couple of pounds, that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for!