Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Winter is here

c/o geograph.org.uk
Winter is here, the markers I look for are all in place, autumn is a distant memory. Trees are bare, storm Abigail is blowing, Christmas songs are playing in the shops. We're shopping online for presents, I'm hiding some away as they arrive in the house. I've no wish for cold water drinks or smoothies, it's all about warm elderberry infusions and rosehip teas. I'm wearing a hat everyday and insisting on kids wearing jackets after a mild autumn season. There are wool blankets on our beds and our (electric) fire is on all day. Our back toilet is so cold we're rarely using it, and the kitchen only heats up when the oven is on. We're making Hama decorations for the Christmas tree, keeping the kids busy for hours. I'm panicking about what to get for people, everyone insists they don't want anything, but you have to give a token at the very least. Baby's First Christmas dress is ready, a little Santa number in red velvet with faux fur trim, bought for her as a gift from a relative. I went foraging for walnuts with the kids to an area I used to visit as a kid, but it had been built on and landscaped beyond recognition. Still there were three trees left standing, but we were a few weeks too late, and the nuts had fallen and been nibbled by little creatures, we'll try again next year.

c/o bloomforlife.org
The slow cooker is on full blast these days, roasting chickpeas at the weekend, making us a coconut curry today, and I woke up to the most gorgeous hot oatmeal last week. The night before I just put frozen plums (Polish shop), oats, sugar, spices, almond milk and a little water in, turned it on low and had a delicious breakfast ready for the next morning. It was so good I brought the rest of it with me for lunch in a travel cup (to a hellish soft play area, but needs must in the colder weather). I made a sourdough starter about a month ago and think I've cracked the process now, I watched a few Youtube videos and got the concepts. It's actually bread that's good for you, what a relief as I love carbs, especially when tandem-feeding. I make it with organic spelt and rye flours from Polish shops again, way more economical than other stockists. I'm also making my own nut and seed butters, so quick and easy once I got the hang of it, ditto my own jams from bags of frozen fruit (Polish shops again), and I add less sugar than usual. One bag of fruit makes enough jam to refill a jam jar so it's a great economical way to stock up. My 4 year old is addicted to the kale crisps I've started making, I'm such a walking cliche of the healthy eating mom. Don't worry, my lunch today was a drive-thru portion of fries, so I'm not totally boring yet. (It was rainy, the baby was asleep in the car, I was hungry...)

I'm studying for my college course any chance I get and got my ID card in the post the other day, guess I'm a student again. My photo is of me on a tired day, bags under my eyes, and makes me cringe whenever I open my wallet. My assignments are every fortnight, and are great for keeping me motivated and on my toes, with a longer deadline I'd be doing it all at the last minute anyway. I'm making a business plan and sorting out my long-term goals for the business. I may pick your brains in a couple of months to help me make sure I'm on track with what people need. I've been telling everyone I meet I'm studying for a diploma in Nutrition and Lifestyle coaching, and have had a couple of queries and volunteers for case studies already. I am so delighted to have found something that floats my boat, and have asked a friend who's successful in her business to mentor me as I set up mine. It's an exciting time, says she typing with one hand as she breastfeeds her baby with the other. A small part of my brain is listening to the people asking how can I manage it all with a new baby, but I welcome the distraction from the day to day wonder/claustrophobia of baby care.

The wider world is a scary place right now, and I can't go there mentally, so I'm in a bubble of family and Christmas preparations. We found a Christmas fair last Sunday and picked up some lovely little gifts. I'm baking cookies with the kids (seed butter and Halloween chocolate, yum) and making hot chocolates for us (almond milk, raw cacao powder and honey) and it's all good in my world. I feel so much white middle-class guilt, the fact that I have money for food and have a roof over my head is something I'm not taking for granted.

I hope all my readers are enjoying a peaceful winter, what's floating your boat this week?

Nee x

Ps Don't forget to enter my blog giveaway for a family night B&B at the Clarion Hotel Limerick, see the link here,  it's open until midnight this Thursday.

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