December 2010 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Detox: Preparations

Bye bye horrible processed food, hellooooooo lovely healthy natural stuff!

For those of you joining me on a 2011 healthkick, I thought I would write a short post to prepare you! 

The basics of the detox are to cut out wheat, meat, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol from the diet for 28 days.

This year, for the first time, I have decided to allow myself fish. I’m not sure what effect this will have on how I feel and my usual weight loss but I figured that fish is a fantastic source of protein and is also full of omega oils and vitamins and therefore including it in such a detox can't be a bad thing. For more information on the health benefits of fish, please see here.

This detox is quite hardcore and for first timers it might seem as if there is nothing you can actually eat. This isn’t the case. As such I thought I would give you a shopping list of items to buy before you start the detox.

Shopping List

Fresh fruit; be as exotic as you like! Try everything, and have a bit with every meal.
Fresh vegetables; ditto. Pack as many lovely veggies into everything you cook, and snack away on crudites and dips (e.g. salsa, hummous, guacamole)
Herbs – dried and fresh; use these in salads and to cook with
Nuts and seeds; eat as snacks, or sprinkle over salads and meals
Brown rice, quinoa, millet
Rye bread (or other wheat free bread), crisp breads - ryvitta are allowed
Pulses - beans are a fantastic meat substitute and my mixed bean chilli recipe is a hit with detoxers and non-detoxers alike. Also, don't forget quorn!
Soya or rice milk - alpro soya chocolate milk is my saviour, perfect for a much needed chocolate fix
Water, herbal teas and fresh juices

Most supermarkets these days have a ‘Free From’ aisle, which caters for people with food allergies and intolerances. Here you can find all the wheat and dairy free products you need. Similarly, health food shops sell other options - and often have much more variety. Also make sure you look down the ethnic aisles of your local supermarket for nuts, seeds and dried herbs - they sell larger packs for much less - and of course the vegetarian and vegan refrigerators for Cauldron and Quorn goodies.

The most important thing is just to check the ingredients of products you are buying and make sure they don't contain any of the six things that are being cut out.

I intend to post daily throughout January and include recipes and meal ideas to keep you all motivated! Please keep in touch and let me know how you’re getting on!

In the meantime, go out and enjoy yourselves and binge on treat yourselves to a few of the things that you are going to be giving up for the next few weeks.

Hope you all have a brilliant New Years Eve x


Friday, 24 December 2010

Ho ho ho! Festive Photo Gallery!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!

I know that we will all be having a blogging break over the next few days but I thought I would create a Christmas Photo Gallery.... a bit like Mocha Beanie Mummy's Silent Sunday - only a complete one off, and Christmas themed.

Am fairly certain we will all be far too pre-occupied to write full on blog posts so the idea is to just post a single photo which sums up Christmas 2010 for you. There is no need to write anything, the picture should say it all. And link your photo here (on the Linky Tool below) so that everybody's Festive Photos are all in once place and we can have a browse through them all once everything has quietened down and we turn our laptops back on to start blogging again.

I hope you and your families all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! x x x x

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Meme: My Top Ten of 2010

With the year fast coming to an end (can you BELIEVE it! Where have the last twelve months gone!?) I have found myself reflecting back on my highlights of 2010. 

It really has been quite a year – I started out with an eight week old baby, getting to grips with all things mummy related and now I have a thirteen month old toddler (and am still getting to grips with all things mummy related!). 

This year myself and the Other Half organised the party of the century for madam’s Christening, I returned to work after seven wonderful month’s maternity leave, I had a brilliant weekend in Vegas with my old university girlfriends, I spent nine months dieting (good GOD!) and I started blogging.

I learnt that just because I am now a mum, it doesn’t mean I’m a different person; I just have different priorities. I am still working on how to juggle motherhood with work and friends and everything in between but I’m getting there. 

Whilst in this pensive mood I thought I would write my first Meme, and what better title than My Top Ten of 2010. So here goes:

1. Fave Moment of 2010: There have been so many brilliant moments for me this year – Daisy’s first word, her first steps, getting Take That tickets! But the highlight was definitely Daisy’s first birthday party. We had our ridiculously huuuuge family round for a winter barbecue, lots of wine and fireworks. It was lovely to have everyone there and Daisy had a brilliant evening. I still can’t get over the number of cards and pressies she got – lucky girl! Then, once our guests had left and our partied out one year old had gone to bed, the Other Half and I had a glass of champers by ourselves and thought back to the events of the night of Daisy’s birth! (not the gory details, I hasten to add; just the lovely stuff)

2. Fave Place visited in 2010: This year hasn’t been a big one for travel but I did manage a cheeky weekend in Las Vegas with the girls to celebrate us all hitting the big 3-0. I missed madam loads but it was great to spend some quality time with my friends and have three nights to just be me again. We got dressed up every night, ate delicious food, drank amazing wine, and did loads of shopping and sunbathing. The pool party at Encore was definitely the highlight of my trip---- with my $64 win on the slots (from a $1 bet) coming in at a close second.

3. Fave Website of 2010: My favourite shop in the whole wide world. I have spent far too many hours on the website compiling wish lists of items I don’t neeeeed but desperately waaaaant - and far too much money purchasing half the items on said wish list when I really shouldn’t. If you have never had a look before then SHOO! Go now! Beautiful beautiful BEAUTIFUL things x

4. Fave Event of 2010: Daisy’s Christening. Without a doubt. As I said above, we have such a huge family, it was the first chance for us all to get together since madam’s arrival. So 120 of us (yes you read that correctly!) packed out our local Church and then headed down to our local for a massive buffet and lots of fizz. Our lovely family and friends all travelled from all over the country (and over the border in some cases) and me and the Other Half were made up that so many people could be there.

5. Fave Gig / Play of 2010: I’m a massive lover of live music and pre-Daisy would go to as many gigs as I could cram into my diary. I managed to get to a few gigs this year, and loved them all. My favourites were definitely Shed Seven and The Courteeners – both at the Kentish Town Forum. Shed Seven was my first night out with the girls after Daisy was born and it took me back to my old Britpop days. We drank pints of vodka and diet coke and danced all night (and the next day I had the hangover from hell – my first in over a year!) The Courteeners, only a couple of weeks ago, was a rare night out for the Other Half and I and twas brilliant (for me anyway – I won’t even attempt to hide the fact I have a mammoth crush on Liam Fray and spent most of the night drooling over him)

6. Fave Gadget of 2010: My iPhone!!!! Yes I know I jumped on the bandwagon a bit late (June in fact!) but I couldn’t live without it now. Sincerely. I. Would. Die.

7. Fave Books of 2010: I love cookery books and bought Sophie Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights earlier in the year. I heart it. Gorgeous pictures, delicious recipes and just an all round beautiful book. I just like to flick through it every now and again! The same goes for The Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping by Christina Strutt, although I’m cheating a bit here as I got this book for Christmas last year. Each page is laid out perfectly, with the prettiest pictures you have ever seen – and very useful, and entirely natural, housekeeping tips to boot.

8. Fave Film of 2010: I finally gave in and watched Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp when it was on Film 4 a couple of months ago. I had been resisting for years because I love the book so much; I didn’t think the film could ever match up to it and I didn’t want to risk ruining my own interpretation of the storyline and the characters. I needn’t have worried though. Lasse Hallstrom did a fantastic job and I wouldn’t hesitate in putting this film into my top three of all time.

9. Foodie Discovery of 2010: Tomatoes. Do not laugh. For thirty years I thought I didn’t like them. I was wrong. All it took was my local deli making a mistake with my sandwich order.  And now I am a tomato addict. I can’t believe what I was missing out on for all those years!

10. Biggest Achievement of 2010: Aside from bringing up my scrumptious daughter I would have to say my blog is my biggest achievement of 2010. It was something I wanted to start when I first got pregnant, but working 55 hours a week, commuting for another 15 and suffering from hideous morning sickness and SPD for most of the nine months prevented me. Although I am a relative newcomer to the Mummy Blogging world, I am really proud of what I have done over the last three months. I have met some lovely people along the way and am really looking forward to seeing what 2011 has in store for us all.

So there you have it! My Top Ten of 2010. Now it’s your turn! I’ve tagged a few of you (let me know if you would like to be added to the list) and the usual rules apply. You blog about your Top Ten and tag me (and some others) in your post. 

What Katie’s Kids Did Next
A Mother’s Ramblings    
Witterings of the Overtired    
Have fun reminiscing, and I can’t wait to read about everyone’s 2010s


Monday, 20 December 2010

Stop Press: I am R E A D Y for Christmas! *

*Me finishing my Christmas preparations without a panic attack on Christmas Eve is UNHEARD OF. See my earlier post for how things normally turn out.

Madam is bathed and in bed and I am sat in the living room with a glass of pinot grigio and a bag of cashew nuts. The Christmas lights are twinkling and I’m watching River Cottage Christmas Fayre on catch up TV. I’m feeling ridiculously festive. And for the first time this month I truly feel as if I can relax…. Today was a momentous day for me and my Christmas preparations!

Not only is my shopping now entirely complete - the presents are now wrapped as well! I had a lovely afternoon listening to Christmas songs and getting creative with gift boxes and wrapping paper and ribbon. Daisy and Pogg got involved too (Daisy trying to unwrap everything and Pogg trying to eat everything).

The Other Half and I also did all our Christmas food shopping today! (you can’t see me but I am BEAMING! I love it when the cupboards are full, especially when they are full of chocolately Christmassy treats!)

Himself was at Smithfields Meat Market at 3.00am this morning, buying bacon, filet steak, chicken and mincemeat---- and earning lots of brownie points in the process. He came back with enough to feed a family of 5000. We definitely won’t starve if we get snowed in.

My contribution to festive food shop this year involved something highly controversial and considerably less hard work---- today I took delivery of my very first online food shopping order. I have been put off doing online grocery shopping in the past, with talks of bruised fruit and other produce past its sell by date but I can honestly say that for me (this time at least) it has been a raving success. The best bit was that I didn’t have to head out in the freezing cold snow and spend two hours fighting my way around the supermarket aisles with a grumpy baby, buying much more alcohol and chocolate than necessary out of sheer stress, and then having to lug thirty heavy bags into the car and out of it again.

All that is left to do now is to play Father Christmas and deliver all our Christmas presents on Thursday and then collect The Turkey on Christmas Eve.

So the Modern Mummy household is now pretty much ready for Christmas! And I am very excited!

How are the rest of you getting on?

PS The wine rack in the photo isn't mine. But I bloody wish it was!

Detox---- A Little Bit More Info

Wow. So it turns out a lot of you are interested in detoxing!

Before I go into a bit more detail I just want to repeat the disclaimer on my earlier post ---- I am not a nutritionist. I am not a doctor. I merely follow (for a few weeks of the year) the practices of wheat free vegans and personally feel the benefits from it. If you want to detox and haven't done so before I would strongly recommend you speak to a health professional first.

Lots of you have asked how and why I started doing this. I was inspired by a lady called Suki Zoe, who I used to visit for colonics at The Brackenbury Clinic in Hammersmith. Suki is, in her own words, “a Super-Food-Living, Liver Loving, Colon Hydrotherapist – when she’s not traveling, making Xocolati and mischief, taking photographs, writing & drinking Tea”. Read more about Suki and check out her blog here.

Quite a few of you have also asked why I give up some of these foods for 28 days at a time. The truth is that none of them are bad for you as such; in my particular case, some of them simply disagree with me. Others of them we know are naughty and should be eaten in moderation. Normally I eat anything and everything and although I do feel the benefits of cutting some food types out of my diet (wheat and dairy particularly) I am not prepared to give them up forever. No cake or wine! Perish the thought.

Below are a few links to websites that might be of interest to you if you are thinking of joining me in January:

A couple of books I would recommend for easy detox friendly recipes are:

“Detox for Life” by Carol Vorderman
“The Raw Food Detox Diet” by Natalia Rose
and (dare I say it!)
“You Are What You Eat” by Gillian McKeith

I have them all and they are all available from Amazon if you want to buy them.

Keep in touch if you are going to detox with me in January – and remember to keep checking back here. I am going to blog daily about my progress and post lots more info and recipes. There will also be guest posts from some lovely people x


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Little Bit of What You Fancy Does You Good.... For Eleven Months of the Year....

I have just eaten half a jar of nutella. With a spoon. That might not sound like much but when you add it to the mountain of crap I’ve eaten today (tea and toast, a custard tart, two cappuccinos, antipasti, pasta and garlic bread, chicken salad, mince pies) you’ll understand my reasoning behind the subject of today’s post.

You must all be aware of my love of food by now. And let’s not forget the wine! I spend the majority of the year eating and drinking sensibly – a little bit of what you fancy does you good is my motto. Then in December I am a firm believer of eating and drinking and being merry. Pretty much every foodstuff that crosses my path gets sampled. And let’s face it, not many healthy things cross your path in the run up to Christmas.

Which is why every January, after a month of treating myself to all sorts of festive delights, I do something which makes all my friends think I’m completely nuts.

For four weeks I give up wheat, dairy, meat, fish, caffeine, refined sugars and alcohol.

I have done this for six years now. I know it sounds horrific but I can honestly say that I enjoy it. And it really isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

Giving up caffeine is what I find the hardest. Caffeine withdrawal headaches usually kick in on day two – but are gone by day four. Eating out is next to impossible, but after overspending in December, most people are paying off credit cards in January and meals out are rare. Giving up my beloved cake and wine is a nightmare. But it’s only for twenty eight days.

So you are probably all wondering why I put myself through this every year and there are plenty of reasons. I feel fat and tired and miserable after the festive season. Cutting out processed foods improves the condition of my hair, skin and nails. It reduces cellulite (I SWEAR! Even only after 28 days!). It helps me sleep better and it generally makes me feel energised and alive. It also helps me shift a decent amount of weight (over the last six years I have averaged a 10lb loss over the four weeks).

My friends always ask what I can eat when I appear to be giving up so much. The truth is my diet varies so much more when I am detoxing than during the rest of the year. I eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. Wheat free bread and pasta, crispbreads, brown rice. I drink fresh juices, herbal teas and lots and lots of water. The best thing is I pretty much graze all day long so I never go hungry.

Today, for the first time this year, I realised how much I am looking forward to the first of January and starting my 2011 detox. I intend to blog about it and although I realise this isn’t strictly Mummy related I thought a few of you might be interested in joining me this time round. On that basis I am going to be posting some detox friendly recipes, generally updating you all on my progress and hopefully hearing about how you're getting on too. If anyone wants anymore info then please leave a comment on here or email me at katyearley17 at gmail dot com xx

DISCLAIMER: You should speak to your doctor before starting any diet or detox. This detox is definitely not suitable for pregnant women. Please note I am not a health professional or a nutritionist!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Recipe: Lemon Drizzle Cake

I love food. Love it. My life revolves around it. Big family Sunday dinners, friends round for tea and cake, BBQs in the Summer. Food and friends are the best combination EVER. Oh and wine. Because of this I have decided to start up the Modern Mummy Foodie Friday, where I share a receipe with you lovely lot once a week.

I would like to say that the recipes I am going to post may well be my own takes on other people's recipes (be they members of my family, or famous chefs). I will always give credit where credit is due and promise never to try and pass off other's recipes as my own. I would also like to point out that although I love to cook, I have very limited kitchen equipment. If you have been put off cooking in the past because you haven't got an electric whisk or a bread maker then try my recipes. They didn't have all these gadgets in the old days and quite simply they aren't necessary! They are helpful, yes, but you can make do without. I bake my cakes using a good old fashioned hand whisk and a wooden spoon!

So this week I have mostly been daydreaming about Lemon Drizzle Cake. It's probably down to the fact I have overdosed on Christmas chocolate over the last few days and am in the mood to bake (and eat!) something light and summery. So (drumroll please!) here is my very own, and very first, Foodie Friday recipe!

Check List.
2x 8 inch cake tins
Grater for zesting the lemons
8-10 unwaxed lemons
5x eggs
75g granulated sugar
275g caster sugar
125g mascarpone
230g unsalted butter (softened)
200g self raising flour

For the sponge 
The juice and zest of 2 lemons
200g softened, unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 medium eggs - already beaten (makes the cake fluffier and lighter)
200g self-raising flour

For the filling
2 egg yolks
The juice and zest of 2 lemons
30g unsalted butter
125g mascarpone
75g caster sugar

For the Syrup 
The juice of 4 lemons (plus a slice or two for decorating)
75g granulated sugar

What to do.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 degrees. (If you are a novice cake baker you should note that cakes are always baked at this temperature - if you ever see a recipe telling you to bake at a higher or lower temperature then I would recommend ignoring it and sticking to the gas mark 4 rule!). Grease your cake tins really really well. You are baking a cake! A great big delicious horrifically unhealthy but lovely cake! Don't scrimp on the butter whilst greasing!

Starting with the sponge, mix the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.

Add the eggs (in stages) and beat well, then add the flour, gradually. Then the mixture is ready to be spooned into the cake tins (it will be really thick and not pourable). If it doesn't look like very much once separated into the two cake tins, don't fret. The self raising flour in it means it is going to rise.

Bake for about 40 mins or until the sponges are shrinking away from the sides of the cake tins. Keep checking - without opening the oven door! (This can cause your cake to sink). Once they have started to shrink away, double check that they are ready by doing the skewer test (insert a skewer/knife/small sharp instrument into the centre of the sponge and it will come out crumby if cooked, and covered with uncooked mixture if not. You may open the oven door to carry out this test!)

Whilst the cake is baking you can make a start on the lemon filling.  Beat the egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan and once properly mixed place on the hob and heat for a few minutes until it thickens. Stir continuously. Once it is thick enough (think lemon curd consistency) remove from the heat and allow to cool. Then mix the lemon filling into the mascarpone and set aside.

Then you get to relax a bit whilst the cakes bake. You will probably have about twenty mins to have a cup of tea or make a start on the washing up if you'd rather. Once the cakes are done remove them from their tins and place on a wire rack to cool. If you have greased your tins sufficiently it should just take a gentle but firm pat on the underside of the tins to remove them (don't forget oven gloves!)

Once they are cool, spread the base with the lemon/mascarpone filling and place the other sponge on top. You can crack then on with the syrup, which is used to coat the top sponge. Stir the sugar into the lemon juice until it starts to dissolve then drizzle over the cake. Once it has all sunk in I like to dust the top with icing sugar and place a couple of slices of lemon on top to decorate.

Serve with an ice cold, crisp glass of chenin blanc, put your sunglasses on and pretend it's July!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la laaaa la la la la!

Well today was officially Christmas Tree Day in the Modern Mummy household.

I’m not afraid to admit that I love Christmas. I am more than happy to start getting festive in November, and our tree usually goes up on 1 December. It’s not until the tree is up that I reeeeeaaaaaally start to get excited about the festive season.

So today I dragged Himself out of bed bright and early to set off on our search for the perfect tree. Yes I know that seems extreme and unnecessary but I am a little bit high maintenance when it comes to Christmas.

I was quite specific in my Christmas tree requirements this year. Usually I go for the biggest one I can get, 7ft tall and equally wide, but after rearranging the living room to put the tree in a spot where a certain one year old can’t get to it, this year we were on the hunt for a slim, six footer. Non-drop of course.

After searching one garden centre for said tree, moving on to check out the wares of a popular Christmas tree seller on the side of an a-road and then returning back to the first garden centre and trying to find the only suitable tree that we’d seen earlier (cue lots of huffing and eye rolling from the Other Half) we had our tree wrapped and carried it out to the car. The next game was trying to get the tree IN the car and this year we had it on an angle from the boot, poking out of the sun roof, resulting in one very bemused Daisy and a freezing cold journey home for us all.

When we got home, I decided to put my OCD to one side and let the Other Half help me put the tree up. (Well I let him get the tree out of the netting and trim its trunk so that it fit perfectly into our sparkly gold tree stand anyway which is more than he is usually allowed to do). Then, with a Christmas compilation playing on the iPod dock and Poggio trying to eat the tinsel, out came the fairy lights and all the decorations we have accumulated over the years and myself and Daisy started hanging the knitted camels  and wooden toy soldiers and felt hearts on our lovely tree's branches.

Then it was time for The Official Christmas Lights Switch On.....

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Daydreaming of Summer Holidays

Yes I know I'm a fickle old thing. I have spent the last week complaining about London's lack of snow, then when it finally arrived yesterday I spent the whole day moaning about being cold, and now I am sat at my desk daydreaming about sunnier climates. But as we all know, its a woman's prerogative to change her mind!

So here I am, wrapped up in a woolly jumper, fingerless gloves and leg warmers, mentally counting down until our Summer Holiday 2011. Which for your information is taking place in June. 201 days from now. I am perfectly entitled to get excited about this holiday as it will be our first family break since the early days of my pregnancy, and when I say family holiday I am talking lovely, big, extended family holiday with our bestest friends and Godson. We are headed to Spain for a whole week and will be staying in our own villa on a hilltop over looking the beach, with a private pool and built in barbecue. To say 'I can't wait' is the understatement of the year. It definitely deserves caps lock. I REALLY CAN'T WAIT.

Seven days of family, friends, sunshine, swimming, sunbathing, good food and great wine. I am literally salivating at the thought of it (the wine in particular). I have "We're all going on a Summer Holiday" by Cliff Richard on repeat inside my head. With the temperature as low as it has been over the last few days (London hit -8 last night according to the weather app on my iPhone at 3.00am) I am finding it hard to imagine being able to head outside without spending ten minutes donning the thermals and other extra layers first. Bring it on, I say.

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