Saturday, 18 January 2014
I have been away for a while, not abroad, just away from the computer.
I needed that, to spend some time offline.
Needed to look after myself, my health and my heart. My family.
I shall be back soon, hopefully more creative and in a better mood, until then, please don't give up on me :)
Monday, 6 January 2014
So we've had an eventful Christmas time, I'll have to write a whole blog post to whinge about it, so I will just cut short to say this; at some point last week, my whole household was ill, house guest included!
Anywho, it's a new year and I'm finally back at work so what better time to get the life in order, right?
Between sickens, sleepless nights and the excuse that "it's Christmas!" - used until the 5th of January - our eating habits have gone down hill big time. I find that having a menu set for the week helps our routine a big deal, plus it saves having to run around the kitchen like a headless chicken trying to work out what to do for dinner.
So to start the year well, I'm back on Meal Plan Mondays with some wholesome dinners. I hope you like them ;)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sunday, 5 January 2014
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
Tonight as families settle in for days of celebration please spare a thought for those who are missing their oved ones.
Tonight as Harry went to bed I gave him my bless, as every night, and said a little prayer as I always do, whenever im going to bed myself, I'll pray again and, as always, thank god for allowing our boy to have a happy and healthy life and beg for it to be a long one.
Tonight, thinking of my boy and the never ending love I carry for him I pray for those families who had their little angels taken away far too early. I pray for Matilda Mae, the miracle baby who was too precious for earth and had to go live with angels. I pray that on this Christmas Day her family can find peace in their hearts.
Tonight I take a moment from my own family's celebrations to ask people to help The Lullaby Trust by donation and telling people about it, so they can help stopping Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and help those families I now pray for. Just go to www.justgiving.com/Aida-Leal and donate.
I wish you all a Christmas of light and peace.
Friday, 13 December 2013
If you haven't been in the moon for the past week you might know that I have also been doing that to raise money for The Lullaby Trust - read all about it here - but today, as Westfield Stratford is donating £10 to Save The Children - toe very blog post about Christmas Jumper Day, just tweet the link to @westfieldlondon- I thought I'd share this selfie of me and the bosses.
In my head all goes to charities that helps kids so I'm super happy to get involved.
Unfortunately I'm stuck at work today so can't explain much of what's going on but you can find much more info here.
Also if you have a spare pound or time to tell people to donate, please get donating and spread the word about #christmasjumperfridays http://www.justgiving.com/Aida-Leal
Thursday, 12 December 2013
Here are a few answers:
I was brought up into charity, my parents taught us to help people around us - from an elderly neighbour who might need a hand with their heavy shopping bags to a homeless person who could put to good use the woolly jumpers we had outgrown.
Of course charity does leave you with a great feeling inside and after what was a hard year for our family, that sort of calm in my heart is rather welcome - don't fool yourself, charity is a "selfish thing"
Mainly, what made me chose The Lullaby Trust, customise and wear a Christmas jumper to work was the horrible thought of families spending Christmas without their babies. It's the most wonderful time of the year, unless you can no longer see your little angel's face light up at the sight of a Christmas Tree.
The idea of loosing a baby or toddler for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is just too painful and I'm hoping to help The Lullaby Trust saving those precious lives and give support to bereave families.
The site has been up for a week now and we have raised £106 so far, that isn't a bad start but I have been cracking my brain to try and find an effective way to spread the word and just as we reached 100 followers I felt it was the perfect time to do our first ever Giveaway.
So to put something nice together I teamed up with the lovely Seema - contributor to Beauty Bites Wednesdays - and We've managed to put a nice prize together for people willing to go about telling everyone about this charity appeal.
To enter just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below, You can to tweet about #christmasjumperfridays for 5 entries- please include a link to our JustGiving page http://www.justgiving.com/Aida-Leal and like our Facebook page for another 3 changes to win. For more chances to win you can also follow me on twittter and of course - as that's what this Giveaway is all about - you can make a donation and as a "thank you", you'll get 10 entries to the prize draw - you can do that everyday for more chances to win ;)
The only mandatory thing is to leave a comment on this blog post.
So now for the all important prize. The lucky winner will get a half an hour Indian Head Massage - courtesy of Seven Stones Massage - and a little pampering kit with a fancy Grace Cole Bath Kit and a Ashleigh & Burwood incense and candle set.
Good luck everyone. Now, please let's get giving!
This prize draw is open for the UK only (sorry anyone outside the UK but I had no sponsors for this and am paying for the Pampering Kit and postage myself.
There is no cash alternative
Prize draw will happen on the 13th of January, Prize must be claimed until 23rd of January 2014 a second winner will be chosen after that.
Half an Hour Indian Head Massage is available in London only - prize must be claimed by the 1st of May 2014 - if you will not be in London until then you can transfer the treatment to a friend, if that happens please contact me by email so that I can arrange a new name for the voucher.
Disclaimer: The Indian Head Massage was generously donated by Seema Amin, the other prizes were bought by myself, this is not a sponsored post.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Friday, 6 December 2013
You can read all about my decision to get involved fundraising for this particular charity here
NOW, when I said I'd wear a silly jumper I think people assumed I would just buy a Christmas in whatever shop and wear it to work, those people couldn't be any more wrong.
My plan is to customize my own jumper every week. Being something done for charity it wouldn't make sense to spend loads of money on it so I got myself a boring red jumper and am using my own Christmas decorations to make it a festive garment. I might add the odd decoration from a charity shop here and there.
Every Friday I will take pictures and put them out there - Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Pinterest and wherever else it could help us spread the word.
I won't reveal tomorrow's look just yet as that would spoil the surprise but this was me brainstorming
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
So it seems I've chosen the worse time of the year to start this blog series as our lovely Seema is ultra busy on the build up for Christmas. Still I think we all deserve to be looked after so this week i thought I'd share a little secret I've learnt last week;
to give your skin a lovely glow make a juice with
2 oranges (juice only, freshly squeezed)
to blend it all together - add a little water if you feel the need - then pass it through a sieve before drinking. Of course if you have a juicer that makes life much easier.
I had the juice a couple of times last week and this week since Monday but my skin feel great, the sight in the mirror is definitely a lot better already.
This combination makes this juice a great source of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins C and B complex, folic acid, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron - important nutrients for beautiful and healthy skin.
This juice also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect the cardiovascular and digestive system.
So drink up and enjoy!
Monday, 2 December 2013
|Photo from Beyond Diet|
I had a hard time last week, between tonsillitis, sinusitis and Harry coming down with yet another cold i gave into the world of ready meals and take-away. Result? I feel like crap! So today I'm had some green juice for breakfast and soup for lunch, nothing drastic, just giving me body a little break.
Or course if you want to keep things on track you need a plan so this week I'm making sure we have a healthy, quick and tasty menu to make my life easier.
Monday - "baked-fried" chicken with home-made coleslaw - recipe below
Tuesday - Spelt pastry beef pie
Wednesday - Rice and beans with slow cooked beef
Thursday - Pork fillet with veggie and sweet potato mash
Friday - Butternut squash soup
Saturday - Full English for lunch as I'll be working until late
OVEN FRIED CHICKEN
RECIPE FROM BEYOND DIET
Directionsfor coleslaw grate some carrots and chop cabbage and anything other crunch salad that you might like, mix with cream fraich, dijon mustard, pinch of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
I'm linking up with Mrs M, stop by for more menu ideas xxx
Saturday, 30 November 2013
Back in February I came across the story of Jennie from Edspire, who lost her 9 month old baby girl to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( also known as Cot Death). She put her gorgeous and healthy angel to bed one evening not knowing that her baby would never wake up again.
Matilda Mae was this beautiful smiley girl, she left behind her parents, her brother and sister and they all miss baby Tilda very much. Jennie finds comfort on writing her blog and by doing that she opened a window into her world of suffering and bereavement. Her words are sad but powerful and beautiful and filled with love.
By writing about her loss Jennie brought home the fact that Sudden Infant Death is real, it does happen. On the night when i read her story, I dried my tears then rushed into Harry's room to make sure he was ok. My boy was sound asleep. My heart was pounding and the tears wouldn't stop. I think every mother who read her story felt her pain - you don't really know what that pain is until it happens to you of course but the fear of losing a child is real for most of us.
At the time my lill guy was suffering from ear infections on and off and we had clothes and blankets hanging over the sides of his cot, it was practical having them to hand during the night. That evening I took them away, took anything that was in his cot. He didn't even used to roll over but I couldn't risk having a cushion on his bed. That night I struggled to sleep, Jennie struggles to sleep every night.
Over 300 babies still die every year of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in the UK.
Every year there are another 300 Baby Tilda, 300 Jennie. Parents are left with their arms empty, they have no baby to hold.
Through Jennie I've learnt of The Lullaby Trust, they provide families with support and advice. They fund research on SIDS and provide support to families affected by sudden death of a baby or toddler.
I'm lucky enough to have a healthy and lively child at home. I'm lucky for waking up to his smiles every morning. Every night i pray for him to have a long and happy life, I love him so much my heart aches. The thought of not being able to kiss my boy, getting his cuddles, hearing his laughter, that alone is unbearable.
Every time I read one of Jennie's posts I wish I could hug her and take away her pain, unfortunately that is not possible. I have then decided to help in a more practical way, by helping to spread the word about the Lullaby Trust and raising funds for their research and support services.
So this December I will wear a silly Christmas Jumper to work every Friday in hope that people will sponsor me and help raising funds for the Lullaby Trust. All details will go online in a few days, after all, the first Friday is 6 days away. For now you can help spreading the word. I'll be tweeting under #christmasjumperfridays and sharing information here on the blog and on our Facebook page. Our JustGiving page will be live soon so please, watch this space!
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
I was looking forward to meeting other bloggers and starting to build bridges. It was an event sponsored by Morrisons, where they show cased their Christmas range - so I was also looking forward to eating some mince pies and to getting myself into Christmas mode.
Of course I was late, as usual - which is silly since I live in east London and it didn't take me that long at all getting there - and by the time I arrived people were already having a nice hot drink and chatting away.
Now, I don't know what sort of stupid idea was it that made me believe I'd be able to take Harry to an event like that and still talk to anyone else. From the second I let him off his pram the lill guy was running up and down the room, like a lion cub that has just been set free on the wild.
See, in general he is a real good boy but he is also real active and will run back and forth until he is knackered - and that's exactly what happened, for a whole hour he would run from one side of the room to another completely oblivious to the great tips from Executive Chef of Product Development at Morrisons chef Neil Nugent was giving us all.
Yes, I was the crazy mum with the ultra active little boy wearing a Santa hat. Which is one of the reasons why all the photos I have of him look like this
It's a shame I could not interact with people properly - I did however managed to nod and say sorry for all the running around - but between keeping an eye out for the little runner and sampling some of the gorgeous Christmas desserts they had laid out for us, I at least, managed to note a few of Nugent's cooking tips.
My favorite one was about NOT boiling potatoes when making mash or roast potatoes. We call it part-boiling but really we should cook it in hot water for about 10 minutes until its fluffy but not let it boil. check!
He also said that we should not cover the Turkey with foils as that will steam it and, in turn, over cook it. Neil also recommended lard as a suitable replacement to butter to make your Turkey a dairy free dish.
I didn't managed to try that much of the food either - there was a lot on offer and lill guy had gingerbread biscuits and chocolate panettone and all sorts of sugary treats we don't usually give to him - but I did have a bite of Hot Chocolate Fudge Crown which not only will look great as part of the Christmas table but it was delicious, moist and rich. I also love the look of Roonie The reindeer Cake.
|the happiest Gingerbread Man I've ever seeing|
|I might buy this one a decoration this year, isn't it beautiful?|
Morrisons has over 700 items on their Christmas Menu and - I think it's safe to day - one of the best Mince Pies in town!...in fact I'm having one right now with a cup of tea, you know...to help me remembering everything that happened on Monday!
All in all it was a great event and such a lovely way to kick start the festive season, hopefully next time I actually talk to people. Well done and thank you BritMums for putting this together and Morrisons for your great Christmas selection this year!...and the delicious goodies bag :)
Sunday, 24 November 2013
We had a busy few days this week, which isn't unusual on this time of the year. With me working Thursday to Sunday there isn't much time left to enjoy family life together but that is only for a few weeks and come Christmas I'll finally be able to take some much needed time off work.
Of course having a ultra active toddler at home is "holidays mummy but not as you know it". still, not having to commute or rush around to get chores done is already a good break.
Until then I'll try to enjoy myself, family and friends the best I can.
Today I meet a very dear friend for some child-free catch up accompanied by cheese and wine, not a bad end to a work week is it?
Tomorrow we start the week networking with other bloggers at the Christmas Networking event put together by BritMums. I have been looking forward to what will be my first blog related event in two year.
It seemed hard at first, the thought of taking Harry with me but then BritMums started nice buzz on Twitter and helped me realized I wont be the only one trying to look after a toddler between a chat and a canape.
So here is to the start of a lovely week and the count down to Christmas - 1 month to go!!!!!
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Last week I took Harry to the Christmas Fayre at a local church, just to test the meeting Father Christmas waters. It was hilarious - said the slightly evil mum - he was really happy and waving for Santa, until the door closed behind us and I tried to sit by the big white beared guy in the red suit...then out came the tears.
Go on, leave us a caption showing how bad I am!
|click here for more SatCap|
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
|Photo from http://www.wellbeing.com.au|
First guest post for the Beauty Bites series, by Seema Amin
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT BEAUTY BITES
Hi my pamper pigs ;))
Are you feeling stressed and not having any or enough sleep , and your looking tired and skin needs some perking up and rejuvenating? You need to sit and take some pamper pig time and try this ! Xxx
Here's a great tip for a homemade mask which has exfoliating properties too .
Firstly, soak 2 cottons pads with rose water and cut medium depth cucumber slices and place in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes
Meanwhile make the mask
Mix 2 tbsp of gram flour (chickpea) with 1 tbsp of papaya flesh ( eat the rest is also good for your skin :))) ) with a teaspoon of honey( manuka or good organic quality ) and 1 teaspoon of soy milk with 1/2 teaspoon of oats or fine ground almond powder and a pinch of turmeric. Mix to a paste and apply to face avoiding eyes and lips area . Gently place cucumbers over the eyes whilst lying down and then place cotton pads - soaked with rose water - on top and just relax and breath deeply concentrating on your breath for 10-15 minutes or until the mask has set
If the cucumber doesn't remain cold turn it around .
Full list of ingredients:
2 tbsp of gram flour (chickpea)
1 tbsp of papaya flesh
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of soy milk
1/2 tsp of oats or fine ground almond powder
A pinch of turmeric
This mask is purifying with the chickpea flour and turmeric , moisturizing with the honey ( preferably organic) and also exfoliating with the oats /ground almonds. The enzyme papain in papaya gently dead skin but gently. The soy milk is also brightening and helps pigmentation or scarring , but generally will help plump the skin up
Enjoy my pamper piggies !! ;)
Lots of love
Monday, 18 November 2013
So over the weekend I went a bit crazy with sugar - my ultimate goal is to cut sugar out of my diet. It is a hard one to do but I know it is not impossible. I do hope I can get to a point where, if I happen to have something sweet, that will no longer mean I'll feel horrible about myself and end up confiort eating for the next week.
I think I'm on the right track but as with everything in life, there are good and bad days. For now I'm only being strict with two things - I do not drink soda and I do not eat crisps/chips. Well, thinking back I did had a couple of chips on Saturdays we went out for a meal. I must say though, I did not order chips, they came with my meal and I did't know that would happen and yes, it was one of those things that I did without even realizing, still I think I had a couple and that was it.
I'm still proud of not drinking soda or eating crisps though, two weeks and counting!
I did manage to stick with the plan for most of last week, only on the day we had pie I was so tired that ended up buying ready made pastry rather than trying to make my own.
So..he is this week's menu, There's no fish there, mainly coz daddy D isn;t kin on it so I tend to have fish for lunch a couple times of week, and Harry usually has it too.
Monday, 11 November 2013
Nothing too complicated, it's all about eating as natural as possible and eliminating processed foods from our cupboards and tummies. There are certain thing that I do try not to have at all: sodas, juices - unless I just made it fresh there and then - and deep fried stuff. On the day to day basis I also avoid gluten and hydrogenated fats (vegetable oils) and make sure we eat plenty of protein and good fats and carbs - and of course plenty of fruit and veggie. I set myself a challenge to stop drinking soda and eating crisps and chips, I've done it before so I know it it possible. So far I can say I have been free from those foods for a week...and counting!
I do worry about my weight and my self image - as most ladies out there - but my healthy eating goal goes beyond that. I want to invest now on a healthier future and make sure that, when the time comes, both my body and mind can grow old gracefully. I'm only 35 and yes I think that's young - but planning for the future is probably the best way to preserve a young soul. On the top of all that, in a world where kids are growing up with obesity problems I hope to give my little guy a fighting chance to live a healthier and happier life.
I do try and watch what I eat most of the time but give myself a break once a week, to a treat that I really fancy or go out for a special meal with daddy D and friends. Don't fool yourself, of course I fall off the wagon,, usually straight into a little guilt trip every now and then. I have good and bad days as everyone else but I find that planning ahead helps keeping the bad times to a minimum: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
So when it's time for our weekly food shop I'll go through the freezer (I tend to cook and bulk to have quick meals ready in the freezer but also to save us some money) and plan 6 dinners, because if I know what I'm cooking there's no rushing around at tea time or the temptation to just order a takeaway.
At the moment I am experimenting with spelt - have successfully made spelt baguettes and pizza, the results were delicious - still I do try to keep the grains and starchy foods to a minimum so even spelt is really a little healthy treat that I might have at dinner time, during that day I try not to have any meal containing grains to balance it out.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with American Buttermilk Biscuits
again experimenting with spelt
I do cook a lot with turkey, it can be a versatile meat if you know what to do with it but it's also a healthy and cheap option to having beef all the time. So just to make things more interesting, I'll share a little turkey recipe this week, as I'm hoping to do this every Monday on the Meal Planning linky, enjoy!
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Celtic salt
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
Finely Chop Onion - you can use a food processor to speed things up. Add all the Spices to the Chopped Onion. Remove the Onion/Spice Mixture and place in mixing bowl. Add Chicken Broth. Mix Chicken broth into Onion/Spice Mixture. Add Ground Turkey and mix by hand. Marinate for about an hour or overnight. Wet fingers lightly and roll into small balls. In a small frying pan, brown on both sides in Coconut oil until cooked through. I swapped all my frying pans to ceramic quoted ones so I only use the tiniest amount of oil when cooking.