Healthy Living Progress, Week 1

It has been one week since I started healthy living. I’ve walked the school run at least once a day (total of 40 minutes of walking, whilst pushing a buggy). I’ve reduced carbs and dairy and mostly cut out sugar. I also haven’t had a drop of booze since the 31st December 2013. I did have a Cadbury Creme Egg last week when I got my period, but I’m only human.

Yesterday I returned to the world of Pilates, though Husband calls it ‘stretching’. I began a weekly Pilates Reformer course. All the muscles in my legs and arms are aching today, so I know it’s working. Considering I spent the last five months of 2013 recovering from my broken toe, I have been ridiculously active this past week. But it feels good to be helping myself towards a healthier lifestyle.

The toughest part of my new healthy lifestyle is not having chocolate, cake or biscuits every day. I miss having a yummy Digestive biscuit with a cup of tea in the afternoon, not to mention a nice pudding after dinner. But I think my chocolate/sugar addiction was contributing to problems getting to sleep, which was leading to being tired and needing sugar to pick myself up during the day. I have been sleeping much better this week so I know it’s working, which is helping me fight off the cravings.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014? How is it going? Have you had any stumbles? 


I Scream for Ice Cream, at Harrods

Let me first explain that I am not fancy. We are not a fancy family. We are not posh. We don’t live a high-flying life. But yesterday we went to Harrods for a bit of shopping and a lot of ice cream. I can hear you say, ‘oooh, get you’. 


Husband often receives a few gifts from clients at Christmastime, but he usually gets booze. This year he also received a gift card to HarrodsSo we took the kids and let them explore the toy floor. Besides loads of toys, they have giant stuffed animals and cool Lego statues. Moozles got to pick out one toy (a Princess walkie-talkie). 

Then we went to the Ice Cream Parlour. It was such a treat. We wouldn’t normally spend £30 on just ice cream. At Christmas and birthdays, I normally ask for practical (but fun) things for the kids. Next time I’ll ask for a gift certificate for a fancy department store and we can have a day out. Or maybe someone will give us a big enough gift certificate that we can buy the £30k toy car that Dubz had his eye on (bottom pic). Oooh, get us.


Whipsnade Zoo

We normally have a zoo visit around Christmas time. Last year our son Dubz was only seven months so we gave it a miss. But this year we went back to our tradition. We decided on Whipsnade Zoo, even though London Zoo is closer. Whipsnade Zoo has elephants, and Dubz LOVES elephants.
We thought we would go to Whipsnade on the 1st January since we weren’t planning to party on New Year’s Eve and we thought the zoo would be quieter on New Year’s Day. We were right. I’m not sure how much of it had to do with the day after NYE festivities, or the fact that it rained all day and even hailed at one point.
Despite the weather we had a fab time at Whipsnade. The elephants were in their enclosure so we got to see them up close. Walker was thrilled. We saw the baby hippo who was just born three weeks ago. Our other highlights included the chimpanzees, the turtles and spiders in the Discovery Centre and the Hullabazoo soft play centre (which I think is quite new). The soft play was extremely good. We got some respite out of the rain and had some drinks and snacks. Walker got to play in the toddler area, which was perfect for him. Moozles enjoyed the bit for the big kids. 

The soft play is next to the petting zoo. We were going to skip this bit as we have a few farms by our house, but we saw some sheep wandering around and had to get a closer look. Walker loves sheep too so we had to keep hold of him cause he just wanted to pet and hug them. 
We’re thinking about getting the ZSL annual zoo pass, which would allow us into Whipsnade and London Zoos. Does anyone else have one? I like the zoo being a special outing, and don’t want to turn it into a chore of going just to get our money’s worth. Then again, it would be nice to go more than once a year.
For more info on Whipsnade, check out

Working It Out in 2014

I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I feel like if you have things you want to sort out in your lives, just do it. But this year, I have one. Losing. Weight. I started on a diet and exercise regime at the end of July 2013, but on the 1st August I fell down the stairs and broke my toe. It has taken months for that damn toe to feel 75% better. Then on the 2nd December 2013, I had a laparoscopy. Cue more recuperation. Meaning cue more eating and less activity and gaining more weight.

But I’m finally feeling better, and coincidentally it is the 1st of January 2014. So I have booked a weekly Pilates equipment class beginning the Sunday after next. And I’m thinking about booking another Pilates course so that I will be attending twice a week. 

Check if your teacher has an appropriate qualification, such as one from the Pilates Foundation

Tomorrow I will be doing a very healthy food shop. And I will be reducing my carbs, increasing the vegetables and cutting out the sugar beginning this Saturday. I find that carbs aggravate my endometriosis. But I could eat toast, pasta and rice all day. I have decided that I will only have carbs once a day. And I eat chocolate or biscuits everyday, which is not necessary for my well-being. So those are going.

My unhealthy diet and the almost non-existent exercise are adding to my lack of sleep. I go to bed at around 12.30am most nights, which isn’t great considering I am up at 7am most mornings. If I was eating healthier, then I wouldn’t be so buzzed on sugar at night and could get to bed at a reasonable time.

I have two stone of baby weight and half a stone of ‘extra’ weight that need to be eradicated. I will keep you up to date. It’s more than a resolution. I am really ready for this. A new year, and an old me.

2014, I’m so ready for you!

Last night, Husband and I were discussing the good and bad times of 2013. For me, 2013 has been one of the toughest years I’ve ever had. But in between the tribulations, our family has had some wonderful times. So rather than reflecting further on 2013, I wanted to write my hopes for 2014.

1. Continued love and happiness (generic but true).
2. Dubz, who is currently 19-months old, should have a big jump in his vocabulary.
3. Moozles, who is five, might be able to ride her bike without stabilisers.
4. Healthier lifestyles for Husband and me (and finally losing that damn baby weight).
5. A family holiday, which I will have to swindle or win a competition for as we’re on a tight budget.
6. Find an amazing part-time job that pays well and isn’t far from where I live.

The last two feel a bit greedy, but you gotta dream big right?! Happy New Year! May all your hopes comes true. xx

Peace Out Elfy the Elf

We said goodbye to Elfy last week. It felt like he had only just arrived. It was nice having him around, and my daughter loved looking for him in the mornings. Our hiding spots were a bit limited, because even though Moozles loved him, she didn’t want to be alone in the room with Elfy. Normally, when Moozles wakes up, she goes to the living room to play so I couldn’t hide Elfy there.

I feel like I will do a better job with Elfy next year. I will put him in better, more exciting spots. I also lost over a week of good thinking about hiding spots due to my operation earlier in the month. Husband mostly just moved him around the kitchen counter, haha. Here are some of the pics from the past two weeks. Take care Elfy. Peace out!

The Elf On The Shelf Takeover

My 12 Most Favourite Things About Christmas

Center Parcs have issued another challenge. This time it is to blog about 12 things we love about the festive season. Center Parcs’ Winter Wonderland expert, Nick Oot, inspired me with his description of the amazing decorations used at Center Parcs. I mean, 27,000 kg of artificial snow, 1,500 metres of fairy lights–amazing! I’m American, so you know I love a good decoration.

I also love a good countdown, so these are my 12 most favourite things about Christmas, working its way to the top dog, number one, most favourite thing about the holidays.

12. Elf on the Shelf. This year we had Elfy visit and it was fun as my daughter looked for the elf every morning then giggle when she found him.

11. Parties. The holidays are a great time to meet up with friends and have a night out, especially when you are a Stay-at-Home Mum and you don’t get out very often.

10. Family time. It’s lovely catching up with our extended families, who we don’t see that often.

9. Chocolates, biscuits and cakes. There is no better excuse for eating yummy, naughty things than during the holidays.

8. No school run for two weeks. My daughter needs the rest, and we get to mooch about a bit in the mornings. Plus I don’t have to wake my son up from his afternoon nap to go pick up his big sister.

7. Christmas films. I get to watch new ones, plus share beloved films with my children. 

6. Visiting Father Christmas. My five-year old was more thrilled than before to meet Santa this year.

5. Christmas crackers. We don’t do them in the U.S.A. and I don’t know why because it is so much fun. This year, since we had Christmas in our own house and we pulled crackers at every meal.

4. Twinkly lights. ‘Nuff said.

3. Decorating the house and Christmas tree.

2. Christmas Songs. I love listening and singing along to Christmas songs and now singing the songs with my children.

And drumroll…

1. Watching my children open up their gifts on Christmas morning. Oh, the joy!

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 December challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Woburn Forest (opens in Spring 2014).

Cali Christmas

I love living in the UK. But there are certain holidays that make me miss California. 
christmas lights sd hot limos
Like Christmas. And the crazy Christmas lights you find in certain areas of San Diego, like Christmas Circle. People go over the top. But in a fun and festive way. You don’t care about being classy or worry about being tacky. You just want to enjoy the twinkly Christmassy atmosphere.

If we ever see a house in London or Surrey that has some lights or Christmas decorations, my five year-old oohs in wonder and admiration. I can’t imagine what she would think of the light displays that you find in American cities and towns. I know some people in the UK have over-the-top light displays at their homes, but there is nothing like having an entire neighbourhood of what appears to be Christmas on crack.

So spare a thought for me this Christmas, in your tastefully decorated homes. I will be a bit homesick for lights so bright they could blind you.

Above photo taken from this website (no photo credit given):

Winner Winner Chicken/Turkey Dinner

Chicken, not turkey
Being American, I normally roast a whole turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Five years ago I was about to put the turkey in the oven and realised we had run out of tin foil. Our daughter was napping and Husband was at work so I couldn’t go to the shop. After a little research on the web, I read about cooking the turkey upside down. I did, and it was a huge success. And ever since, I have cooked my turkeys and chickens upside down and have never had a dry bird.

Upside Down

I made a yummy roast chicken for dinner last night, and I made it the same way I make my turkey, so if that helps your Christmas dinner–you’re welcome. I’m not going to go into all the details of how to cook a whole chicken. But I will give you my tips for making the chicken extra juicy. First, I rub it in butter, then add salt, pepper, Italian herbs. If I have them, I will put a half lemon and some garlic inside the chicken. I then rub some olive oil over the chicken. And then (this is the most important bit) I cook it upside down for the first 3/4 of the cooking process. I turn the chicken over for the rest of the time so the top browns. Sometimes I add bacon to the top of the chicken or turkey. But it ALWAYS turns out juicy and yummy.


Trying Not to be Down about Being Round

2004. On my honeymoon in Kenya. Before kids.
It’s not like I used to be skinny. I would often fluctuate with kinda slim and kinda chunky. But now, I’m actually fat. My body hasn’t recovered from having my second child. My daughter is five and my son is 19 months old. I gained three stones  (42 pounds) when I was pregnant with my boy. I lost a stone after he was born, leaving me two blasted stones overweight. And with the fatigue and the demands of breastfeeding, the weight never shifted. And when Walker started sleeping through the night at 10 months, I thought it would happen. But it didn’t.

Out a few months ago
My pre-pregnancy clothes are still too tight. I don’t have any dressy things for my current size so I did some online shopping last week, trying to get a new outfit for some Christmas outings. But nothing looks nice. 

I know my weight doesn’t define who I am. But it does affect the way I feel. I am not looking to be a size zero. I know that’s not how I’m made. But I just want to be able to dress without agonising over my lumps and bumps. 

I got into Pilates equipment(Reformer, Cadillac) before my second pregnancy and it really toned me up. There is a great studio in Clapham but we moved last year and there isn’t a proper Pilates studio nearby.  
How did you tackle your pregnancy weight? Or are you still dealing with it? It is so tough finding the time and energy to exercise. If I ever have time while my son is napping, I just want to rest on the sofa. How can I put down the cake and pick up the weights? Any advice would be gratefully received.