Sunday, 26 March 2017

Nourish Community Foodbank, Where Every Tin is a Hug

L-R Lesley Darcy, Assistant Operations Manager. Dawn Stanford, Operations Manager
and Marianne MacDonald, Trustee

I've just spent the last few hours in a Big Yellow Self Storage unit and do you know what? I had the best time, I haven't laughed like I did in ages. This is no average storage unit, let me tell you. This is the home of the Nourish Community Foodbank where I've spent the morning in the company of three super passionate women who are each making a difference in their community.

'Every tin is a hug' is the wisdom imparted in me today from Marianne MacDonald, Trustee of the Nourish Community Foodbank. She told me this is how she explains her voluntary work to her daughter and she went on to say 'Nourish is so much more than just food, it is a helping hand, a squeeze, a hug and a feeling there are complete strangers who care'. Marianne talked with passion about how making donations to a food bank such as Nourish is conscious giving, people have made a choice to add extra shopping to their basket or to open their cupboard and see what they can donate, it is so much more involved than just putting loose change in a tin.

She is of course right and I see this first-hand as I also volunteer in my local foodbank in Hastings. Nourish is like no other food bank I've ever seen though, they operate from the Big Yellow Self Storage building and are gifted a 200 sq ft unit by them and have been for the last few years. Their team of volunteers meet there each week to weigh, sort and pack the food and the food parcels are then delivered straight to the door of the person in need, removing any obstacles such as transport or ill health from stopping them getting their much needed food, toiletries and personal items.

Making my Mind Up & Working on Forgiveness #SlimmingSunday

Clocking up some steps last weekend with all my family at National Trust, Petworth House

Morning friends,

How are you today? Well I hope. If you are a Mum I wish you a very happy Mothers Day but remember it is just another day and if it doesn't turn out as you hoped it doesn't mean that your kids love you any less. There can be far too much pressure for perfection on days like this.

So on with the matter in hand - slimming! Or perhaps in my case a lack of slimming, I'm really not sure, as for my sanity it feels as if I'm better not stepping on the scales right now. As you know I didn't make it to my Slimming World group last week and yesterday I was away in London with my Mum (I still am) so I should have gone to the Tuesday afternoon group but that would of meant running in getting weighed and running out before the kids got home from their after school club and I found myself umming and aching about whether I really need/want to go to a slimming group at the moment. I'd have had to pay £10 for that quick weight in (two weeks fees) and I felt as if I'd get nothing for it.

For sure, I know that I want and need to lose weight but I think being accountable by this linky and through a Facebook group I have with some slimming friends I actually get the support I need. I really love the consultant at the Slimming World group I've been attending but all her classes are so busy that you don't really get to have a conversation with her and Saturday mornings just seem to fill up with kids activities and holidays. I do really like the short talk that she does each week but it always seems to start late as so many people arrive late to weigh in and then the image therapy (or people sharing their tips / successes) doesn't really inspire me too much. Maybe I've been around the Slimming circuit for too long and actually know most of the tips, I just need to put them into action?

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: iFit Vue Activity Tracker

With Mothers day just a couple of days away wouldn't it be great to be able to give your Mum a really different present. Something she can enjoy for a very long time and not just a day like chocolates or a week like some flowers?

Well you can. The iFit Vue activity tracker would make an excellent gift and just think you'd be encouraging your Mum to move more and become healthier and ultimately that could mean she lives a longer and fuller life. Result, right?

But I'm not just recommending something that I haven't tried out as I don't believe in that. I like to be honest and tell it as it is when I'm writing about a product. So I have had my 13 year old son JJ on the case this week, setting up the iFit Vue and fully testing it out.

What do you get in the box?
JJ took everything out the box and there is a tracker pod and charger, which you'll need to plug into a USB port to use. You also get two wristbands as standard. a S/M which fits from pretty small wrists (it s OK for my 9 year old girls) to an average woman's and a M/L which fits even my large husband, so there is a good variety of sizes. The clasp on the band is very simple to use and it can be put on and off easily.

Reasons to be Cheerful - Happy Mothering Sunday #R2BC

Lucky me, the girls made me breakfast in bed

Happy Thursday friends,

How are you doing? I'm having a funny old week. there is nothing particularity wrong but I've had that horrible feeling that sometimes crops up. Do you know what I mean? Where you just feel something isn't right and is a bit off kilter but you've no real idea what is causing the way you feel. No matter, I'm going to press through it and not give in to the doldrums.

This coming Sunday
This week's #R2BC post is all about celebrating Mothering Sunday. Firstly I am really looking forward to this weekend when I'm away in London with my Mum. Just the two of us for around 36 hours doing whatever we feel like doing. We are staying at the 4 star Mercure Kensington hotel and planning to hit the theatre, shops and at least a couple of good restaurants. To be truthful whatever we do will be fine by me as we always have a lovely time in each others company and this break away is long overdue.

The last time we had a weekend in London together was in 2014 as we planned one in 2015 but my Dad got taken into hospital and we had to cancel. Then in 2016 we had a weekend away with my girls to a Haven caravan park, which was nice but nothing beats time just the two of us in 'the big smoke' as my Mum would say!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Creating a Memorable Mothers Day with Tesco

Mum and I in 2014 when we had a Mothers Day away together in London

My readers will know that I pride myself on being organised and ahead of the game but it appears that when it comes to gifts for special days like Mothers Day I am in the minority. Tesco revealed that more than half a million (1) time-strapped Brits will buy their Mother’s Day gift on the day itself, rushing to shopping aisles just over an hour before midday, at 10.53am on Mothering Sunday.

It saddens me a little to think of all those people probably heading to their mothers house for a nice Sunday roast (that Mum has cooked) and this is when they stop to think about getting her some flowers or chocolates to say thanks for all she has done for them. Of course those thanks shouldn't just be on Mothers Day and it is only right to show your mum that you appreciate her any time of the year but it is great to have a special day dedicated to mothers everywhere.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

What does a 13 Year Old do with his Inset Day from School?

On Friday it was an inset day at JJ's secondary school. I'm not sure what most of his friends do when it's an inset day but I suspect there are very few of them that do what JJ does and say "Yes Mum! Can I come to food bank with you?".

This is probably the fourth or fifth time that JJ has chosen to spend his day off school with me serving at the Hastings food bank and what does he get out of it you might wonder? Well firstly, he gets to spend the day with his mum of course. Then I sometimes take him to the local Premier Inn for a buffet breakfast before we start work and he also gets the satisfaction of a good days work and having helped some people.

I wouldn't say that at 13 years JJ is particularly altruistic so I don't think his main reason for doing it is because he loves to help others but to be frank it doesn't really matter to me. The fact that he comes along willingly, spends around four hours there and mucks in and helps the whole time are enough. He'll be learning so much from these experiences and they are not skills he'd pick up in the classroom so I'm happy.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

8 Low Syn Slimming World Snack ideas to keep You on Track #SlimmingSunday

If you are on the Slimming World plan you'll know that it is all about the free food and syns. The average person can have between 5 - 15 syns a day but someone larger like me gets 20, although of course it is better to not have so many and then you can see great weight loss results.

I find that my real struggle time is the evening and as such I always try to plan in a yummy treat for the evening and use my syns for it. I often don't want to use that many though as I need them throughout the day for things like my milk in tea, butter on my toast or ryvita, sauces, gravy or a little treat.

So here are 10 low syn treats that keep me motivated and wanting to lose weight but without feeling like I am missing out -

1.  Quark and highlight with mini marshmallows (4 syns)
This is probably my favourite evening treat as it is sweet, creamy and filling. I use half a tub of fat-free quark and mix it with a highlight or Options chocolate powder sachet (1.5-2 syns it varies for which one you use, so check), it mixes really well and is like a chocolate cheesecake.

I also like to add 10g of mini marshmallows on the top for extra sweetness and indulgence. You can see you get around 30 mini marshmallows for the 10g (you get 25g for 4 syns, so I class these as 2 syns).

I also have a friend who likes to turn this into a cheesecake and she has a crushed light digestive biscuit (3 syns) at the bottom and instead of the marshmallows she has raspberries ad a drizzle of choc shot (1/2 for a level tsp). Add on the chocolate powder and that makes a 5.5 syn dessert.

2.  Raspberry Jelly/ mouse (1/2 syn per dish)
With this one you make up some sugar free jelly (I used raspberry - 2 syns for whole packet, so all 4 desserts shown here), add in a pot of mullerlight (I used vanilla) and some fruit for speed and allow it to set. Bets eaten on the day it is made I find but it does take about 4 or 5 hours to set properly.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Hearing from God, Weight Loss and Being Content - #R2BC

It's Thursday, how are you friends?  I'm good this week. I still have a lingering cough from being poorly last week but in general I'm feeling much better.

Here are a few of the things making me super cheerful this week -
  1. I lost 4.5 lbs at my weigh in last Saturday and I'm praying for another loss this Saturday
  2. I've been listening to the God Centered Mom podcast for quite some time now and I just adore it. Heather has the most wonderful guests on her show and they have so much wisdom to share with me
  3. I'm back doing a bit of voluntary work for my husband at the conference centre where we live and I had forgotten how much I enjoy working alongside the wonderful community there
  4. The weather is cheering up and we are even seeing glimpses of the sun. This makes me so happy as I can start to get out and walk more
  5. I really felt tuned in to what God was saying to me last week and as a result I wrote a letter from God to all Mums. I was so blessed by how it was received and I had lots of comments, emails and messages from Mums who said it had spoken to the very heart of them and it has given me some great opportunities to pray for people and to hear from God
  6. As I cleaned the church hall on Tuesday I had a deep moment of contentment and I realised that I am happy with my life and much of the time I feel content. For forty-odd years I have raced through life and done everything at 60mph speed but I am finally learning that it isn't a crime to slow down and enjoy the things I do, living in the moment. I totally see this as a sign of spiritual growth and realising I don't need to earn anyone's love, especially not God's and this is an important step in my recovery from compulsive overeating
  7. I enjoyed watching the Good Karma Hospital tonight snuggled up on the sofa with my girls, one each side of me
Wow, what an eclectic mix there. I had no idea what I was going to write for my reasons, I just sat down and poured my heart out and this is where it led me this week! I realise if you are not a Christian there is a lot of God stuff there this week but to be honest, that is me and my life and if you can't be authentic on your own blog then where can you be?

Fancy joining in?

So now it is your turn. Why don't you link up a post about what is floating your boat right now? Share your joy, your lust for life and your gratitude and I assure you that you'll feel better for doing so. When we choose to live content, positive and happy things are always far better. 

I'd love to read your Reasons to be Cheerful and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to join in -

1. Link up a post about something that is making you super happy/ grateful. It can be in this style or it can be anything you like - a recipe, a tutorial, a from the heart, a list - it's your blog, you choose

2. Add the #R2BC badge onto your post or blog so that people can easily find the linky and join in too if they fancy

3.  Share the love. This is the really important bit. Please don't just link and run, comment on at least a couple of posts and share with #R2BC

I'll stop by all linked up posts to comment and I'll share on twitter too

Wishing you an amazing week ahead. Be blessed, Mich x

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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