Healthy Pack-ups

Having to make your child’s lunch in advance five days a week can be a challenge sometimes especially if you want to make it healthy as it’s easy to send them to school with a sandwich, crisps & a chocolate bar or piece of fruit!! And when you get the lunch box back at the end of the day to find the fruit is still in there, a bit more bruised but still un-eaten.

adult-lunch-ideas-with-family-fresh-meals

The key to coming up with healthy pack lunches is variety, so the child doesn’t get bored but also helps them to try new foods. Also theme lunches are a great way to get your child interested in food so it could be themed around countries of the world, calendar events, colours; the only limitation is imagination.

Sticking with the traditional sandwich well sort of try experimenting with:

Different types of bread – Sundried tomato, herb & garlic, olive, wholegrain, multigrain, seeded, rye, sour dough, ciabatta, pitta

Wraps/tortillas – You can easily make these yourself but if time is short, there are many varieties available at all the major supermarkets

Scone based sandwich – I remember mum sending me to school with a three cheese scone & some cherry tomatoes & it was delicious

English muffin type bread – any these can be homemade or bought, the cheese ones are especially lovely

Savoury muffins – cheese & bacon, sundried tomato

So that’s the bread sorted what about fillings:

It doesn’t matter what you fill the sandwich with but the one principle I’d stick to is to ensure there is some protein within the filling – protein helps you stay fuller for longer & and releases energy slower (so you’re less likely to get a sugar high).

Pulled meats are easy as can be made in advance or are leftovers from a meal

Homous or other bean based dips make a great alternative to butter or spread, if you’re child isn’t keen on them, try adding red pesto to it to make it slightly sweeter.

Cheese – a good protein source but high in saturated fat, so try grating it up and mixing with grated vegetables such as carrot.

Mini meatballs with a tomato sauce – you could get your children to help you make these, cook the night before & then slice in half, add to sandwich with a little sauce for flavour. These work really well as a pasta salad too.

Use lamb mince to make mini kofta balls and make a minted yogurt dip to go with it.

Marinate chopped chicken in a barbeque sauce, cook as you would for a barbeque and then serve with a yogurt and tomato dip and salad.

pack-up

Animal source – Meat, fish, poultry, diary, egg

Vegetable source – Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, quorn

Alternatives to sandwiches:

Rice/pasta/couscous/bulgar wheat salad: A handy tip to add more flavour to these without the need to add mayo or other sauces is to cook in a light stock (Chicken or vegetable).

Anything goes here really with flavours, chopped up or grated vegetables and of course some protein!!

Greek – feta, olives, cucumber & minted yogurt

Rainbow – Red, yellow, orange & green pepper, grated cheese

Italian – Tomato, basil & mozzarella (use pesto to flavour it)

Vegetable sticks & dip or pate is another idea to add variety:

Vegetables that can be eaten raw:

  • Peppers
  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Peas

Roasting vegetables can be used to add interest to sandwiches or salads:

Onions, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines

Root vegetables are also lovely roasted & can be used in a salad:

Carrot, butternut squash, sweet potato, mini potatoes.

Sweet stuff

Most children like yogurts especially fruit ones but most shop bought fruit yogurts are quite high in sugar, I would personally recommend that you buy natural yogurt and then add your own flavours to it, this will be cheaper too and more adaptable!!

Here are some ideas for fruit compotes which can be used in a variety of ways but make a great homemade fruit yogurt:

Mixed berry – mixed frozen berries, stewed in a little water and something to sweeten it, I use agave nectar but honey or sugar is fine, just don’t make it too sweet or you could use apple juice to do the job of the water & sugar.

Rhubarb on its own or with a little ginger if you’re children like it – same as above but using fresh rhubarb when in season

Apple & berry – use the mixed frozen berries with some chopped apple and again the same method is used as above

Apple & raisin

Pear & dried friut

Spiced apple – chopped apple, mixed spice and then use the same method as before

Peach & apricot

Tropical – Use the tropical fruit mix and stew gentle like above, you probably don’t need to add any sugar to this one though

Either mix them before you put in the lunch box or let your child make their own (A bit like a branded two part corner yogurt)

Homemade flapjacks or granola can be used to add texture to yogurt and another snack for children to munch on.

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My food and nutrition philosophy

Food and nutrition are my life, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t read an article about the latest nutrition research or about a new ingredient/restaurant or food trend!! It what makes me tick (literally!!).

Over the years it’s been interesting to observe the way that food and nutrition has become such a massive talking point in the media, it probably always has been but recent it feels that we are now bombarded by it, cookery and food tv programmes pull in huge audiences week in, week out and nutrition & health stories fill our social media feeds too.

I’ve been a qualified nutritional therapist for over 9 years now and had the honour of studying at the world renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition founded by Patrick Holford. (www.ion.ac.uk)

Our health is priceless and something most people take for granted until they lose it, we have one body which we need to see us through from birth to death but yet we abuse it until breakdown, get frustrated when it doesn’t work how we want it to or stops us from living the life we want.

So here’s my philosophy you about health, nutrition and food!!

ALL food can be GOOD for you and ALL food can be BAD for you!! Even the healthiest of foods can be bad for you if you eat them in excess!! So I aim to eat as many different foods as possible which means that I physically can’t eat too much of anything.

The old sayings “A little of what you fancy does you no harm” and “everything in moderation” are really true here.

I’m a realist when it comes to food and nutrition and there are times when I eat cake, chocolate and other foods which aren’t the best for you and guess what I NEVER feel guilty about this either, eliminating or restricting certain from your diet will only make you want them more!!

Food guilty quote

I believe food should be seen as the wonderful positive life giver that it is and enjoyed for that reason!! Food gives the energy we need to live our lives; certain foods will make you feel different so it’s about learning to listen to your body and recognise the foods that might not suit you.

On a physiological level we are all the same, the same organs and the way we process food but we are also unique in the way that the body responds to the food we eat. For example, I know that I’m quite sensitive to certain stimulants such as coffee and liquorice, I don’t avoid them completely as I like both of them but I do make sure that I don’t eat/drink either after a certain time of the day so that it doesn’t impact on my sleep patterns.

We are very lucky in this country (UK) to have such a vast selection to choose from and should use this choice to eat a variety of foods; this also helps to stop the boredom of eating the same foods all the time.

Nourish quote

I just try to eat food as close to nature as nature intended (Some call it eating clean) and to eat in season so that I can support local producers!!

Life is for living, food is for eating!! ENJOY

Journey of discovery…

For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from low self-belief/confidence & esteem, you might be surprised at this as I’ve become very good at hiding it and putting on a front/game-face when I’m out and about, be this at a networking event or presenting in front of a room full of people.

At times its crippling especially now that I run my own business and every penny I earn is solely down to me, one of the key strengths I constantly read an entrepreneur needs is self-belief so over-coming this is essential if I want my business/life to succeed.

I kind of know what’s caused it but that doesn’t help you overcome these challenges as it’s in the past & nothing I do now can change history, I have tried every therapy out there to help me deal with it, I’ve read numerous books with little success.

The last 12-18 months have moved me along a bit & I’m in a better place than I was just 2 years ago…I do believe life is a journey & we should enjoy the ride even if sometimes you just want to get off the roller-coaster called life & just observe for a while. During this time of struggle I’ve realised I’m a lot stronger both physically & mentally than I ever thought I was and I’ve got a lot of bouncebackability (or resilience), it doesn’t take much to knock me down given my low self-belief etc but I’m that kind of person who just gets right up again, dust myself off & keep going no matter what, I’m so glad that I have an innate positivity & optimism that drives the fire in my belly to carry on following my dreams no matter how hard it is.

Starting CrossFit has helped me improve these traits too as doing CrossFit has a lot to do with mind & how you handle the WOD not just the strength you have. I love CrossFit & it’s started me on the journey of falling in love with my body which I’ve hated for years which I believe is linked to self-confidence & self-esteem

So when my coach told me that Tony Robins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Robbins) was in the UK at the end of March doing this famous – “Unleash the power within” workshop & suggested I book onto it, I did as I was told & booked it… since booking I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve been on this workshop & have spoken highly of it.

However, since booking on it, it’s been playing on my mind and now with it being just 3 days away I’m actually getting nervous about it & how it will change me. I’m stressing as it includes the famous “Firewalk” but also some very long days & late nights (my usually bedtime is 9pm) the first day we don’t finish until midnight, how am I going to cope with this?!?

I’m stressing about getting to the venue, finding my accommodation, food/drink during the weekend, in honesty I don’t need to stress about any of this, I’ve been to the venue loads of times before (ExCeL), I’ve got all the details of my accommodation & how to get there, I’ve bought enough snacks & water to keep me going for the whole weekend. My train tickets & event ticket are printed out, my pre-loaded Oyster card arrived a few days ago so really everything is sorted but I’m still checking it everything 2 minutes & worried I have forgotten something!!

If I was going to a conference/workshop for me as Firecracker, I wouldn’t think anything of it as I would be able to put on my Firecracker mask but as its me laid bare so to speak it’s actually quite daunting.

I’m going to remove all distraction for the weekend (Thurs-Mon) by de-activating my email accounts on my phone & deleting social media apps so I can purely focus on being present during all the sessions, so will fill you in when it’s over about what I learnt & how it’s going to change my future.

What have you done to overcome a barrier what stopped you being who you want to be? I’d love to hear your stories.

CrossFit Diaries, Part Six – A reality check!!

January continued to be a good month in terms of getting to the box which was 24 times across the month, i also managed 1 run & 4 lots of intervals which is part of the custom programme I decided to do to help move me forward in areas that I felt I wasn’t progressing as much as I would like, more about that another post.

As well as increasing the amount of times I was getting to the box I really wanted to shake up my diet & food routine, so decided to give up dairy, sugar & alcohol, again more about this later.

I got into a really good routine with 2 visits on a Mon(am & pm), 1 on a Wed(am), 2 on a Fri (am & pm) and then Sat morning too!!

There were times that I didn’t feel like going especially in the evenings, i’m a morning person so doing anything in the evening is a struggle but knew that if I make the effort the reward would be worth it…

And this is where the problem was, half way through the month I had the realisation that I’d into a comfortable routine/zone & that I wasn’t actually pushing myself as much as I could, I was using my injuries as a bit of an excuse not to push hard… I struggled to remember a time when I ached after a WOD, I’m one of those people who quite likes DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as I know it’s my body telling me it’s changing & adapting and this wasn’t happening so to me I’d got comfortable.

Even with the custom programme I was given I was kind of taking it easy!! I started to question what I was even doing, don’t get my wrong I was loving being at the box & enjoyed the workouts but just felt I wasn’t actually achieving much. When I was pushed I was able to lift more than I thought but this was on the odd occasion and this is reflected in my stats so after 5 months of CrossFit I have made some progress but not as much as I feel I should have, there were again tearful drives home & me feeling extremely old & worn out (I know I’m not old, far from it), if it wasn’t my knee, it was my back and if it wasn’t my back it was my elbow or all three!! I think it’s great that CrossFit reaches across age ranges & that I could be WODing with someone who was 10/15/18 years my junior however for me it just highlighted how far I’ve got to go & yes I do use this as a motivator but if you feel in a vulnerable place it’s hard to swallow, if only CrossFit had been around years ago!!

  • Weight: 13 Stone, 1lb – 4lb loss in total
  • BMI: 30.4 – 0.7 point loss in total
  • Chest: 40 inches – No change
  • Waist: 34.5 inches – 1.5 inch loss in total
  • Hips: 46.5 inches – 1.5 inch loss in total
  • Thigh (R): 26 inches – 1.5 inch loss in total
  • Thigh (L): 25.5 inches – 2 inch loss in total
  • Bicep (R): 13.5 inches – 0.5 gain in total
  • Bicep (L): 14 inches – No change

I know these stats only show half the story as it’s about gains in the box & did achieve a few things, my nemesis double unders was conquered, well I managed to get 3 in a row so is still working in progress but I was buzzed for getting this movement cracked even if I’ve got a long way to go.

I managed to back squat 75kg and clean 50kg & these things I am proud of but, and there is a big but for me it’s not good enough.

Maybe I’m being hard on myself & anyone who knows me well knows that I’m extremely critical of myself & will only see what I need to do better than see how far I’ve come…

I feel I’ve cracked most of the weight movements, overhead squat being the one thing I still can’t do, this is mainly a mobility issue rather than strength issue but the thing that still leaves me utterly frustrated is the bodyweight exercises pullups, toes to bar & burpees!! The main challenge here is my weight, now I don’t want to focus on it as it’s just a number & not what your measured against but I know deep down that I need to shift some if I’m ever going to make significant gains in this area of CrossFit!! Yes I can get strong & I am stronger than I was 5 months ago but my strength to weight ratio will still be out of balance!!

This is where giving up dairy, sugar & alcohol comes in to it, now I would say my diet is pretty good most of the time however I have slipped into bad habits over the years which I wanted to crack, for dairy & sugar I last about 2 weeks!! Alcohol was 6 weeks!! And this is the challenge I love food, don’t we all but it’s more than that for me, it’s my life & my business so I need to find a way where is a happy balance & I gave admit I’ve yet to find this especially with the results I want!!

So as I type this now in the middle of Feb, feeling a little bit lost & not really sure where to turn for help (another thing I’m not good at is asking for help), I’m sure when I’m back at the box in the morning that it will slot into place, fingers crossed it will anyway!!

Sorry less about CrossFit this month but needed to write this stuff down & put it out there!!

Happy CrossFitting, next month will be more about food as I’ve not really touched on it this time!! Xxx

CrossFit Diaries, Part Five – The Kit

Well we are now in 2015 and what a start it’s been, already completed 7 WODs so far so a great start to the year.

So looking back in December again the month didn’t start well as I was still suffering with my knee so decided to take another week off to rest it, during this week I really missed going to the box, seeing the other members & in general the feeling you get when you exercise I noticed that I was less productive in general & pretty mardy!!

In the end I managed 12 CrossFit WODs in December but no runs and my knee is still playing up but I’m determined to carry on, just being careful not to push myself too much or too quickly, probably should have thought about this when I decided I could do dynamic lunges which caused the issue in the first place!!

Anyway, here are how my stats are stacking up:

  • Weight: 13 Stone, 11lb – 6lb gain
  • BMI: 36.4, big increase!!
  • Chest: 39 inches – 2 inch loss (1 inch loss in total)
  • Waist: 35.5 inches – No change (0.5 inch loss in total)
  • Hips: 47.5 inches – 0.5 inch loss (0.5 inch loss in total)
  • Thigh (R): 26.5 inches – 0.5 inch loss (1 inch loss in total)
  • Thigh (L): 26 inches – 0.5 inch loss(1.5 inch loss in total)
  • Bicep (R): 14 inches – No change (1 inch gain in total)
  • Bicep (L): 14 inches – 0.5 inch loss (No change)

The above stats have started to be not very representative of my progress in my CrossFit journey as in December I really did start to see some results in terms of CrossFit moves & lifts or the fact that my clothes are looser!!

Back in July when I first started Crossfit, my 1 rep max (RM) for dead lift was 70kg, in December I made the 100 club by lift 100kg 1RM!! I am really chuffed at this and in other areas I’m also making gains.

I can do a pull-up or a few pull-ups using a black band (this is the thickest of all the bands but when I started I couldn’t even do it with one of these), so the challenge now is to start to work my way through bands to eventually do a pull-up unaided.

Still no progress with double unders but I know I haven’t really been putting the work in to improve these so what can I expect, what you put in – you get out!!

This month I want to talk about the kit we use.

When i first walked into the box I was struck by the lack of machines, I was used to walking into a gym and seeing row upon row of machines be this treadmills/cross-trainers or weight machines.

But the philosophy of CrossFit is:

Machine 2

So what do we use I hear you ask?

Processed with Moldiv

Top (L-R): Rope, Barbell with weight, Medicine Balls (3,6,9kg)

Middle (L-R): AbMat, Kettle-bells (various weights), Bars

Bottom (L-R): Ring, skipping ropes, weight (from 0.5kg up to 20kg)

Processed with Moldiv

Box!! At 3 different heights (L-R) 20″, 24″ & 30″

We also use the standard Concept 2 rowing machines as well as our own bodies, doing movements like burpees.

You wouldn’t believe that such simple pieces of kit can change your body shape & improve your fitness so dramatically but they do. You might also be thinking that you could easily get all this equipment relatively cheaply and set up an area in your garage or spare room and you probably could but the secret/science behind CrossFit isn’t really the kit itself but the way you use it in the form of the WODs & of course the community who help to push yourself further than you thought you could go.

The great thing about all this kit being quite simple is that it is all scale-able, meaning I as a relative newbie can workout next to someone doing the same exercises who has been doing CrossFit for years, which makes it a level playing field so to speak, you’re really competing against yourself more than the other people at the box.

Since the beginning of this journey there have been quite a few highs & lows but I now feel really part of the box, everyone has been so friendly, welcoming & helpful, I’ve started to make friends & feel part of something that I don’t think I ever want to leave. Thank you everyone!!

This has been helped by me mixing up the times I workout, I will always be a morning exerciser & will quite happily workout on my own if I have to but  I have been enjoying going to the evening WOD’s once in a while when other areas of my life get in the way which means I get to meet other members too!

The other thing that I’ve decided to do is get a paid for customised programme for 8 weeks (started 8th Jan) to help me improve some of my weak areas and try to speed up my results, I’m impatient & want to see result quicker than I’m getting. This means upping the number of times I go to box from 3-4 a week to 6-7!!

Doing this I know will put a strain on my body so next month I’m going to talk about one of the biggest passions in my life FOOD & nutrition and what I’m doing to ensure I stay healthy to be able to continue my CrossFit Journey.

Machine

So until next time, stay active & healthy.

Rachel

CrossFit Diaries, Part Four – Lets get competitive

Before I talk about the last month I just want to say a big thank you to all the other members at the box, I posted my last post in our members only Facebook group and the response I got was amazing & very touching with many people sharing their struggles with getting to grips with CrossFit, some of the people I hadn’t even met so the CrossFit Witham community spirit definitely showed.

This was also demonstrated to me one Saturday when I went to box fairly early. Another member was setting up for the WOD and said asked if I was doing the WOD too and he offered to wait for me to do the warm up and we could do it together!! So we got started the WOD involved doing some lifting exercise then 400m run, another lifting exercise, 400m and so on, after 2 of the runs I was puffed out and still had to do burpees, I was struggling and this member shouted “Keep going Rachel” and I actually thought, how does he know my name as I didn’t think I’d met him before!! Then my next thought was I don’t know his name, ARGH!! I know i’m no shrinking violet, but also didn’t think that many people knew me seeing as I felt like I was still a relatively new member & I tend to go to the WODs early in the morning where I see the same people most weeks, I now know his name is Richard Breed (I asked him at the end of the WOD) so thank you Richard for your encouragement.

So November started really well, I had got myself into a good routine and getting to the box 4 or 5 times a week consistently which meant that I was started to see some good results, but then I had to rest for a week, I’ll explain the reason why later…

So the scores on the doors are: Managed 10 CrossFit workouts and 1 run (6.65km)

  • Weight: 13 Stone, 5lb – 2lb gain (no change)
  • BMI: 31.1 – (no change)
  • Chest: 41 inches – 1.5 inch gain (1 inch gain in total)
  • Waist: 35.5 inches – 1.5 inch gain (0.5 inch loss in total)
  • Hips: 48 inches – No change
  • Thigh (R): 26.5 inches – .5 inch loss (1 inch loss in total)
  • Thigh (L): 26.5 inches – no change (1 inch loss in total)
  • Bicep (R): 14.5 inches – 0.5 inch loss (1 inch gain in total)
  • Bicep (L): 14.5 inches – 0.5 inch loss (0.5 inch gain in total)

As well as the measurements above I’m also now going to record my progress with certain exercises we do during WODs, as ultimately, it doesn’t matter about the above as my goal is about getting fit and now that I know most of the exercises I can start to see if I’m making gains in these too. An example of this are deadlifts, when I first started back in July I know my 1 rep max was about 70kg, this month I manged to do 90kg, so over the coming months I’ll keep you posted on some of my personal bests & 1 rep max to see the progress I’m making. This was a suggestion from another member Craig, so thanks Craig for the idea :0).

So this month theme is competitions, When I first started at the box I didn’t know about competitions & don’t really know much now as I’ve not been exposed to them but what I do know is that if you wanted to you could take part in a CrossFit competition most weeks if you wanted to. From what I’ve seen these range from individual, pairs or team competition. Some you go into a ballet to get drawn or you have to take part in qualifiers before hand to gain your place. These are done at you box, videoed and submitted online. The Reebok CrossFit Games is massive in the states, getting national TV coverage!!

My first experience of competition was to take part in the in-house qualifiers leading up to the in-house competition!! I was a little nervous about putting myself forward seeing as I still felt fairly new to CrossFit and didn’t want to let the team I was picked with down as we were randomly selected but I needn’t have worried as the team I was picked with were extremely supportive I was with Suzanne, Andrew & Liam and they made me feel great about what I could achieve & really part of the team. Each week a new qualifier was published and we had to week to complete it below are a couple of examples:

IMG_1705 IMG_1816

In the end we finished 4th out of 10 teams!!

In the final week before the in-house competition I unfortunately injured my knee while taking part in the qualifiers :0( , don’t know what I’d to cause the injury but knew it meant that I was unlikely to take part in the main in-house competition and I was gutted!! But knew I had to be sensible to allow my knee to repair itself so I don’t do more damage.

I decided I’d still go to the competition to cheer everyone on, and I have to say it was an awesome day, the atmosphere at the box was electric with everyone really pushing themselves to the max and the team spirit/camaraderie was clearly evident, I did however feel a little out of it, no other reason that I so wanted to be the one doing the WODS not watching from the sidelines but know that hopefully next time I’ll be fit and well and can take part another time.

IMG_2002      IMG_2050

IMG_2037    IMG_2007

IMG_1994      IMG_2065

The competition was fab and now I can see why competitions are so popular, the sense of achievement was palpable, it also renewed my determination to keep going to CrossFit to achieve my fitness goals, so am looking forward to coming months to continue my progress, just have to hope that my knee gets better and doesn’t cause me any more issues, as I write this I’ve had another week off as it still doesn’t feel write but am hoping to get into the box very soon, the main reasons for this is A: I’m missing it and B: I’m right mardy when I don’t exercise as I feel rubbish!!

Next time i’m going to focus on the equipment (or as some might see lack of…) we use doing a WOD.

I’d love to hear your experiences of competitions.

You can’t be on your own at Christmas…

tumblr_static_decorated-christmas-tree

This is the usual response when I tell people that I’ll be spending Christmas day on my own and then it’s often followed with an offer for me to spend it with that person’s family, which I politely decline, I am always grateful for their generosity in opening up their home to me at this special time.

Now don’t get me wrong I actually love Christmas & everything that goes with it, however for me I feel that the reasons behind Christmas have been totally lost in this mad world we live in.

Having grown up the family run food business, Christmas proper didn’t really start until late on Christmas eve as my parents were busy up until this point with the business, we would put up the decorations as a family early evening on Christmas eve before one of my parents & older sisters would head out to midnight mass so for me seeing Christmas starting sometime in November if not before really does make me feel sad. Having Christmas for just a couple of weeks is what made is so special.

We did enjoy the run up to Christmas with advent calendars/candles but these were traditional ones with no chocolate in sight!! And I really enjoyed making the orange offering for the Christingle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christingle) service and carol singing & concerts.

Cristingle

The focus was always about helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves not on how much we can spend on presents & how much food & drink we could consume in just one day!!

I have to admit I do love all the Christmas adverts that are now a sort of tradition to mark the start of Christmas, however by the time Christmas day actually arrive the idealist “perfect family Christmas” does start to wear a bit thin!!

So why you might ask do I often spend Christmas on my own, well there are many reasons:

All my family live miles away from me here in Lincolnshire and yes I could go & stay with them however I do like my own company and to do my own thing, so find it hard when I have to fit in around others!! I know this sounds very selfish but luckily I do have the choice, some people don’t have this choice & i’m acutely aware of this.

I love my family dearly but we are all very different people with totally different outlooks on life so spending time with them is great but can be a little strained at times when our views clash, this I find stressful & want my Christmas to be as chilled & calm as possible.

As I run my own business I don’t get many days off (again my own choosing) so I use Christmas as an opportunity to have some proper days off where I don’t feel obliged to check emails or tick things off my to-do list.

So my day is usually pretty quiet, I cook myself some really nice food & enjoy a relaxing day watching TV or reading a book. I may be on my own but I know that I’m very much loved by my friends & family. You don’t need to be with people to know that you are loved!!

In the spirit of Christmas past I’ve decided to do something a bit different this year, instead of sending out cards I’m going to give £3 to a different charity everyday up until Christmas eve, these charities will be ones who help people who are less fortunate than myself a bit like an advert calendar but giving something away instead of receiving.

What are your family’s traditions? Would love to hear what you do to make this time of year special & memorable.