A plea to the universe

People keep telling me that if I don’t tell people what it is I want, or rather if I don’t ask for what it is we need then I will never get/someone who can help will never know. So, that leads me to this blog post.
We do love lots of aspects of this house. We do not love some aspects of this house.
Truthfully though, we miss the woods, Boo misses her freedom,not just her freedom though, the ability to climb 20 different trees in a day, to build 3 dens, all different, to watch birds, lots of different birds! I crave hens, and pigs, and sheep, I crave the peace of woodland, coupled with the meditative quality of dappled shade. Ed, she just craves the woods – which seems amazingly odd considering how much she hated living in the woods…. In reality, it wasn’t living in the woods she hated it was in actual fact the disorganised life we had in the woods that she hated. The absolute awfulness of the weather (and Niges work hours) meant that the functional cooking area never became a reality, nor did the clean up area, the weather meant the shortish trek to the shower became a hike around the perimeter of the 5 acres of woodland we were living in. And then there was of course the planning issue. Ed did not like being watched, she did not like her comings and goings scrutinised by a miserable busybody who really had nothing better to do with her life than make ours miserable. If the weather had been better we might have been in better spirits, more able to shrug off the awfulness that was her constant spying but it wasn’t. I mustn’t forget the other two either, Yogi misses it, she says so a lot, I think it’s because I was more present with them, also she did in fact love squelching through the really icky mud in barefeet, feeling the mud squish up between her toes, she loved the compost toilet, the wee bale and she loved playing fairies amongst the trees. Finally we have Nige, he was happy in the woods, he likes nature, he likes it to surround him, he loves the sounds, the smells, the sights.
What I’m saying is, that although this house ticks many boxes, it doesn’t tick enough. We can happily survive in a much smaller house, I miss my childrens constant presence now that they run off and hide in their rooms, I miss the sparcity of ‘stuff’.
What we need dear reader is a house with some land and for some of that land to be wooded – or alternatively we need some woodland with a clearing and space for a yurt. We do not need a lot of indoor space, 2 bedrooms a kitchen and a bathroom will do us, but we do need outdoor space, I’d like to raise our own meat and grow our own veg, but for that we need space. We can’t afford much however and we need to stay local – the local home ed community is amazing and we have some truly wonderful friends, and of course Ed has been accepted to her preferred college and we need to stay on or near the bus route for that.

Someone asked today whether it was possible that moving back into a house (or this house specifically) might be what had triggered my illness. I don’t know, I can’t say but I feel things would be better viewed through the door of my cottage, with the hens clucking around in the background and the delighted squeals of my children as they clambered and swung in the trees.

So, if you can help us please do get in touch. It sounds like such a huge ask but if I don’t ask no one will know and things will never change.


Eating paleo

Well, it’s been a few months now since we returned to paleo, allowing for the bits and pieces of cheating that’s been going on I just had to say that I discovered this week that not only have I lost ‘lots’ of inches, but it turns out I’ve lost 11.5 kg – the worst thing about that I think is admitting I have lost that much considering how far I still have to go – I remember seeing the shocking truth on the scales way back in September and almost crying – but it had been a particularly trying summer with a diet of either junk food (predominantly McDonalds), or very high in grains and legumes. I still need to get back to being good on my paleo diet – I was doing well and feeling better and then Yogi had a birthday and we ate Pizza…. that was less than a month ago but I haven’t been brilliant about it since, and with a relapse in my health proper cooking tapered off again. It’s prompted a renewed/revised meal plan for the second month running, including actual recipes each day rather than a ‘this is the meat, improvise’ attitude, and a definite attempt to actually plan lunches too. I’m still dodging the AIP bullet, I just don’t seem to be able to manage it. I find cooking with tomatoes so much more inspiring, and with a fusspot at the table I need the food to be as delicious as it can be and with health being what it is I need meals to be as easy as they can be. Combine fusspot, with ease for me and you come up with tomatoes. It might be easier once our herb garden emerges but I’m still worried that without the beautifully slowly reduced tomato in the sauce I’m going to lack in the delicious flavours that encourage Yogi to eat her meals – she definitely favours those full of tomatoes and herbs, be it beef, chicken or pork. She also likes them roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and nothing else but I (and the others) need more from our meals! I’m trying to find somewhere local that does a good quality fish sauce which I know will add a delicious depth of flavour but until I do I can’t really try it out. So this month, the AIP is put on hold in an attempt to get Yogi eating more – although I suspect she needs to be on the AIP herself. I need to get back to health quite desperately, but also to accept my health as it is in order to not drown in frustration/desperation. My days are currently spent attempting to drag myself from one hour (or 10 minute slot) to the next and to not forget to feed the children or tend to their other needs. Luckily, they are wonderful and apart from having to break up occasional (although when I’m feeling very rough it feels like every 5 minutes!) rows between them I think I’ve got it pretty good with them.

Now, if only Yogi’s health would improve they’d be darn near perfect.

A new start on the paleo track.

With a new level of organisation comes the realisation that it’s time to organise my body/health.

We’re not sure quite what’s going on with my health but if we are honest we can see clearly that it is autoimmune in nature. This realisation/admission means it is time to get serious with Paleo again – the summer adventures meant paleo went by the wayside – and this time to not just do straight paleo but to trial the autoimmune protocol (AIP).

Honestly, I’m a mess. My right side is weak, I’m in constant ‘discomfort’ and almost constantly in pain that painkillers are only just about taking the edge off, sleep is becoming a thing of the past and so the whole ‘organised day’ thing is a lifesaver. Grumpiness is reigning supreme in my list of moods, with grouchy and weepy a close second. On the other hand Nige and I seem to have rediscovered humour (I did literally laugh out loud the other day – in a spit saliva all over everything kind of way (you’re glad of that image aren’t you?)), maybe it’s a defense mechanism to combat the murk that exists. Did I mention I don’t seem to be able to hear very well and I have frequent vision issues (right side only so far), my fingers are ridiculously unresponsive (which means I can’t knit or sew and forget learning to crochet), and my children and husband look at me in utter confusion as I ask them to ‘pick up the toilet’ or ‘jmumph the cutable’.

Ah well, it could be worse, I could’ve been converted.

Anyway, having gorged on cheesecake last Saturday I have now spent a week grain, dairy and excess sugar free (actually I had porridge midweek, oats but with coconut milk). Honestly, I’m in less pain – not no pain, just less, I’m not quite sleeping properly yet, I’m still pretty grumpy but I’m hoping things are going to steadily improve.

yummy paleo lunch

yummy paleo lunch

The thought of never eating a cake in a coffee shop again, or tomatoes or grabbing some chips on our way home from somewhere or other is initially daunting but then, the realisation hit that these things are really minor. They actually don’t matter in the slightest. Food is delicious, good home cooked, crapfree food is fantastic especially if it’s not hurting my body. With any luck a lessening of pain might result in an increase in physical activity and the two combined might actually help to shift my very not skinny butt…

Not the life we’d planned

This new life is not the one we’d planned. The woods were tricky but this is not the solution. I don’t think there is a realistic solution for this year. I want woods, off grid living, peace & stability for the children. I want to spend time with them. I chose not to work, to home ed because I want to be with them. This does not give me that. I miss my children and I feel sad that others are ‘burdened’ by them. I don’t feel burdened by them, they are mine, I should be there for them, I want to be there for them.

It’s not just the smalls either, I have no time for Ed. She is left to her own devices and that is not fair either.

I meant to be present in my children’s lives, where my mum has been absent in mine.

The move part 1

We are really doing this.

The move seems to be a mixture of incredibly relaxed and ever so slightly stressful.

Today I spent the day at the launderette trying to make sure anything that needed washing was. I should have been home packing but with so many towels and individual socks appearing at every turn I just had to get it done. The launderette in itself was an adventure, Boo came with me and helped me count coins, load washes (what goes with what and why), gold washes etc then we hotfooted it next door for a quick cuppa. We also got to experience the hows of repairing a brick wall without closing the launderette due to an unfortunate incident earlier in the morning involving an elderly gentleman, his car and the wall to the building.

The afternoon was indeed spent packing, finally the girls room was cleared, mine was begun. I never realised how many pennies I’d lost, more socks too… The bathroom (thank you Ed), the ensuite and most of the kitchen. A quick nip to the supermarket revealed a new discovery – chocolate coconut milk! Wow, an early trip to the woods was definitely required. As soon as Tom got home from a hard days setting up we headed back to light the fire and drink hot chocolate paleo style. The hot chocolate was absolutely delicious. The children were relaxed and happy round the fire and the set up looked amazing.

Reluctantly we headed back for our last night in bricks and mortar.

Open Letter to Jenni Murray

This post from Paleoworks really hit home with me

Open Letter to Jenni Murray.

I’m trying with paleo eating, for me a low day really does result in thoughts turning instantly to chocolate. I know that there is history there that helps that thought process but it’s something I really have to fight, don’t always but must. Part of the reason for the switch to paleo living is for my children, I don’t want them to ‘need’ that fix, I don’t want them to associate chocolate and cake with ‘treats’ or ‘comfort food’, it is down to me to ensure my children don’t think the way I always have.

I know that the 3 months that I ate completely paleo (up to, including and beyond 25 Dec 2011) I didn’t crave sweets, chocolate or cake, I happily didn’t eat those things or want them in any way. I lost a stone and I was happy, not about the weight lost but about the feeling of wellbeing, the lack of artificial sugar highs and awful crashing lows. I never felt particularly ‘full’ (read overfull)  but I was always satisfied. I love meat, I love seeds and nuts and I really don’t mind the majority of vegetables (there are a couple I could happily live without though). I still can’t work out what it was that tipped me back over – although at that point I hadn’t yet convinced Nige that we should all be eating this way and it became easier for him to do the shopping online and in crept the crispy southern chicken, and the pizzas. I think also the fact that I nanny twins girls who eat no vegetables or fruit meant I thought I had to compromise my daughters diets in order to cater for them, and I did feel crappy and disheartened on days when they didn’t eat.  I know now I don’t. The twins eat bolognese – well that’s easily paleo, they’ve all learned that it doesn’t come with spaghetti now. I’ve found 97% pork sausages with the only added ingredients being herbs and balsamic vinegar. I can do easy food that they will all eat without compromising our way of life and so I must. Ok, the twins still won’t snack, but maybe they will, maybe one day they will reach out a hand and try the grapes (actually P ate 3 grape halves the other day) or the nuts, maybe one day I’ll be able to send them home having eaten vegetables. In the meantime I can know that although they didn’t eat vegetables (apart from the ones I managed to hide in the bolognese) they didn’t eat crap either.

Besides as of Friday we will be living off-grid, not that easy to cook junk food on an open fire (well certainly no easier than real food), no freezer to store it and no incentive to buy it. I’ve been buying purely paleo for the last 3 weeks and I’ve actually halved our shopping bill. Not living within walking distance of a supermarket/any shop will also mean I can’t indulge when I think ‘but I have to have a chocolate bar/packet of biscuits’ etc

Thank you for your letter to Jenni Murray, you’ve reminded me why I made the choice to eat better and why there is no reason to go back.

Paleo snacking

Our trip to Forest Row resulted in the purchase of a ton (well that’s what it felt like) of paleo snacks. I can’t deny it it, Yogi & Boo like to snack. So, Seasons was my port of call and we came away with this little haul


In there you can see Brazil nuts – just two a day can fill you up on minerals you didn’t know you were missing, sunflower seeds, natural dried apricots, raisins, coconut chips, hazelnuts and almonds amongst other things. The girls are happy happy happy and it’s all good and healthy.

As a result of having a cupboard full of deliciousness I was able to make this


A paleo cereal bar. It is supposed to contain cacao nibs but I’ve been struggling to get Yogi to try it as they are quite bitter but, this time I cheated a little (you might just be able to see that in the pic). I added a tbsp of cacao nibs and also a tbsp of chocolate, chipped. I used Montezuma milk chocolate so that it wasn’t as bitter and hope that I can convince her of the loveliness of the cereal bars and then swap the choc for cacao without her really noticing! Overall it’s a lot of cereal bars to a very small amount of milk chocolate (4 small squares) and so I feel the end definitely justifies the means. If this was just about me changing my diet/lifestyle I wouldn’t have compromised but this is also about a 4 year old little girl who needs healing.