Could You Drink Kale?

I didn’t think I could either until I tried it. I’d heard a lot about the benefits of kale and was really curious about trying it.

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One glass of this and I am energised. It truly is a wonderful elixir of reinvigoration. You should try it. I’m not going to try and pretend that I am a raw food or clean eating expert so I won’t bore you with the details about kale. If you are curious there is lots on the internet for you to read. Believe it or not, there is a discover kale website at www.discoverkale.co.uk. Whatever your thoughts, I am now a genuine convert. It’s easy to be as this recipe is so yummy. The benefits are instantaneous too. You’ll notice an immediate feeling of energy and a change in your mood. I tell you, it’s wonderful.

Recipe for Green Machine Smoothie from www.wholeliving.com

    Detox Cred: Starting the day with this nutrient-dense elixir is a delicious way to charge your system with nutrients. Dark leafy greens are extremely alkalizing, meaning they foster a more neutral body environment for better functioning enzymes, compared with acid-forming foods like meats and dairy.

    Serves 2
    Ingredients
    6 romaine leaves, chopped
    4 kale leaves, chopped
    1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs
    1/2 cup chopped pineapple
    1/2 cup chopped mango
    1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
    Directions
    Combine romaine, kale, parsley, pineapple, mango, ginger, and 1 1/2 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth.

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One Page At A Time

I have so many folders on my hard drive for different books I want to write.  The ideas are there but for some reason I just can’t settle down and start putting flesh to the bones.  Part of it is clearly a fear of failure.  The other part is the feeling that it won’t be a good book. 

I think I have just got to have a ‘so what’ attitude about it.  Even if the first book is no good, the second one will be an improvement. Thankfully, I am comforted and encouraged by the fact that every time I write something I feel alive; like I was created to do this and could do this forever and ever,

I heard John .C. Maxwell once say,

the last time I checked the only way to write a book is one page at a time.  It’s not complicated.  

As funny as it sounds, it’s true with anything you want to accomplish.  It’s a step at a time.  So I’m starting on page one,  Eeeeek! So watch your behaviour around me, you may just end up in my book. 🙂

*Pillow from Zazzle

Unconditional Love

I was on the phone to a friend and my daughter did something very naughty. I told her off severely and asked her to face the corner.

Whilst I was still on the phone, her time-out was over and we started playing. I begun to tickle her. My friend chuckled and asked why I was giving my daughter mixed signals as she knew from the tone of my voice that I had been quite upset with her. I replied,

I never want my children to feel that being upset about their action is equal to being out of love with them. I want them to know that they are loved, even when they are naughty.

Everyone who knows me knows I abhor bad behaviour. Nonetheless, the need to discipline or correct my children will (God-willing) never override the value of my relationship with them. It’s a constant litmus test for me.

It is my desire that no matter what they do, however old they are and however bad it is, my children will always come to me knowing they’ll find unconditional love.

I’ll be honest though. This has backfired on me a few times. There have been occasions when I’ve told them off and immediately after they are asking for a treat or chatting away to me about something unrelated. It seems they still need lessons in sober reflection. 🙂

Management By Influence or Duress?

So I spied an email at work this week which said something to the effect of: “I need this report by the end of the day, if I don’t get it, I will let the COO and FO know who will contact you directly”.

Wouldn’t it have been a better thing to pick of the phone and say , “hey man how are you? I understand you’re snowed under but this is why I need the report …….. What can we do to get it done sooner as I have a meeting with the execs tomorrow?” Then the guy can say to you, this is the reason. So even if the report is not submitted he can empathise and explain better to the ‘almighty’ execs rather that taking someone’s head on a block.

It’s amazing the number of people who want to accelerate their promotion at work by taking someone else down. It’s juvenile.

Of course his email got an immediate response but in the wisdom of the person on the receiving end, it was in the form of a phone call. The individual said they’d try. And 10 minutes later another phone call followed saying they were stretched and still could not deliver. This was pure genius on the part of this person because the truth was they could not deliver in the time frame they were given, execs or no execs. So what was the point of all the bravado?

I can’t believe in 2014, with all the information and training out there, someone still thinks that leadership is synonymous to scaremongering people.

You lead people better by influencing them rather than bossing them about.

Children Know What They Want To Do

I thought it would be a great idea if we went to Wimpole Farm today. They were having a kite making session and it was certainly windy enough to fly a kite. Wonder Boy and Girl have been harassing me all day to take them to the park to ride their bikes but I thought KITE making was a more enriching experience. As we left the house I told them with glee, “we’re going kite flying’. My statement was met with semi-glad-ish curiosity. “Can we take our bikes along with us” they asked. “No” I said. That should have been my first hint that this kite flying escapade was not their idea of fun. We only had an hour to get there before the session was over but with dogged determination I made way for the motor way. Twenty minutes was all the Satnav said, I was sure we’d be there in fifteen.

As I pulled up to Wimpole Estate there was a queue of cars eating into our hour. We eventually got into the car park, passed some delightful sheep.

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Then we were assigned a space by a parking attendant with only fifty minutes to spare. As I didn’t think this would be enough time for kite making, I decided to entice them with a walk round the estate but called it “exploring”. That suggestion was met with, “if only we had brought our bikes”. So I said, “ok, let’s explore and when we get home we’ll see if it’s warm enough to go bike riding”. With semi acquiescence, we were off to explore the beautiful grounds. By now you’re guessing this trip was all about me. It was MY ideal day out. My son frowned throughout but I was determined to the defy the temptation to rebuke him. I marched up the stairs to Wimpole Hall, a beautiful National Trust mansion, and the view from the top was breathtaking.

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Sadly my iPad does not do it justice. We walked into the Hall but we didn’t have enough time to explore to justify paying so I decided we’d do that another day. Much to my surprise, Wonder Boy was interested in going though the house but unfortunately not on this occasion. So I promised we’d be back. We walked towards the restaurant and bookshop and saw some children playing with some kites. I coaxed mine to see if they wanted to catch the tail end of the craft session, but still no movement. You can also tell I don’t give up easily.

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Outside was a queue for a tractor ride to the farm and since it was free, the ride not the farm, I thought let’s give it a go. Only Wonder girl was interested.

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We saw the sheep again (I like nature) and ended up at the entrance of the farm which had a lovely pond with ducks and geese I think. The smells put off the kids so we didn’t look round the farm plus I think we had to have paid somewhere anyway. Not sure what sort of smells they were expecting from a farm though.


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We took the same tractor back to the hall and set off home. Of course I got asked if they could ride their bikes when we got home. I said well we don’t always get the chance to go to Wimpole farm, but your bikes are always there and we can ride them anytime. Wonder Boy replies, “that’s what you always say but we never get to ride our bikes”. And he was right. They have not fully mastered bike riding, so I always leave it till when their dad has spare time to do it but as he’s a student at moment, that time is very rare.

I thought, you know what? If I had listened to them all along, we might all have had a nice day out. Sometimes, not all the time but sometimes, it pays to just go with what they want.

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At the end of the day, I got a huge hug and thank you for taking them to Wimpole and letting them ride their bikes and to be honest it was actually heart warming watching them have fun.

Playdate, Bubbles And Cake

My sisters and I always had friends over for playdates when we were younger only they weren’t called playdates then.  I remember pretending to smoke by rolling up paper filled with talcum powder; emptying a bucket of water and detergent on the floor so we could ‘skate on ice’; jumping off scaffolding next door pretending to be acrobats and so much more.  By the look of things my children’s lives are quite sedate. 🙂 

They have a friend over and thankfully there’s no rain today so they are out playing football. Oops I spoke too soon. I’ve just seen Wonder Boy charging at his friend with a rake.  They must be playing knights then.  Not so sedate after all.

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We’ve brought out our bubble machine which kids never fail to like.

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And there’s cake for later.

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And I got flowers.

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Now it’s time for popcorn and Winter Olympics. No rest for the wicked. 😉
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Comment Is Free

I am constantly appalled, shocked and sometimes embarrassed by the comments that people make online.  Human beings can be extremely judgemental.

Image from ITV

Yesterday on ITV’s Breakfast Show, This Morning, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford interviewed a young lady with Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome.  I haven’t even watched the show but I came across the picture above on their Facebook page.  I look at this picture and think, ‘oh my goodness, look at what she’s living with’ and perhaps a lot grateful that it’s not me.  Harnaam Kaur  , whose excessive body hair is caused by Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome, has made the brave decision to ditch the razors and let nature take its course.*

These are the comments I came across on This Morning’s Facebook page (I have chosen not to edit them):

must be all that inbreeding

someone get her a bic

it might help though if instead of wearing a turban, which makes her look even more male, that she actually feminises the rest of herself, frumpy clothes don’t help either!

Do Sikhs have arranged marriages? Not sure any potential groom is gonna fancy marriage or lining up for the wedding photo’s (to which a response was – just tap it from behind with ur eyes closed)

Give an ignorant person a computer and they will unleash their brain matter online.  Even innocent pieces that should elicit sympathy will attract a handful of people who will have something nasty to say.  Why? The evil of social media is that people lose all decorum and forget that they are referring to a human being not a machine. You would never dare to knock on your neighbour’s door in a similar circumstance and say that to her face.

Why would you attack someone who is clearly suffering?  One response is that the point of the page is to get honest opinion. Does that mean we stop being decent?  Do I want a world where people are not able to express their opinions?  No!  However, should freedom of speech be misused?   I think there are circumstances that call for us to keep our opinions to ourselves but of course, comment is free. For those in the honest opinion corner, well this is MY opinion.

* From http://www.itv.com

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I love walking round the City Centre.  I love taking in the sights and appreciating nature all around me.  I love people watching; the myriad of characters that city centres attract – the busker, the market, the sky -all little moments that make a perfect day in the sun.

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My children (Wonder Boy and Girl 🙂 ) decide to walk ahead of us.  Suddenly they hold hands.  The greatest sight of all. ♥

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This Parenting Thing Is Hard Work!!!!!!

Teaching children adult values is the hardest thing ever.   My children’s school is participating in Readathon which encourages children to read and gives to childrens charities at the same time. My daughter has just begun reading independently so she has embraced this challenge with great gusto.  My son on the other hand, who is an old hand at reading, has not taken it quite as seriously.  Every day my daughter gets home from school and after her homework, she independently gets a books to read.  Everyday I ask my son to get a book and he conveniently slinks out of the room and goes and does something else.  Rather than stress about it,  I decided (for my mental well-being) not to get agitated about it.  He’s a voracious reader anyway plus as a family we give to a lot of charities.  So, no big deal. No pressure.  I was embracing a more laissez-faire parenting style as opposed to tiger mum.

For whatever reason, he came home from school  desperate to read as many books as possible.  I said

well I’ve been telling you for two weeks to read your books and set a target of how many books you want to read so we can get people to sponsor you but you haven’t paid any attention to me.

He left the room forlorn and came back half an hour later holding a pile of about 10 books.  In his wisdom, his solution was to grab all the books  from their library that were at the reading level of his five year old sister.  😐 I was not amused.  He now, by his thinking, had ten books to record on his sponsorship form.  As calmly as I could, I told him it was not happening.  He has to pick books at his level otherwise he wasn’t getting involved and it was fine not to be involved.  Tears ensued.  Why are you crying I asked.  I don’t know he said.  Yet, more tears.

Every time they finish reading a book, they are to fill out a green leaf which is meant to be attached to a reading tree in the school. It turns out that he’s the only one in his class who has not had  a leaf on the tree.  Ah ah!  The plot thickens.   Well unfortunately I said,

if you had started reading two weeks ago, you might have finished at least one book by now.  I’m afraid you are going to have to start now and read whatever you can but you will not put those books on the list.  More tears!  Why are you crying now I asked.  I-sniff-don’t-sniff-know-sniff sniff sniff.

I’ve been trying sooooooooooo hard not to be one of those  mums who forces their child to participate just so that the readathon form would fill up.  There is a prize for whoever raises the most money and if we were going for the prize, I should have let him put all those ten books on the list.  In fact I should have read the books and just signed his name next to him.  Despite resisting the urge to be tiger mum and cajole him into winning the prize or not shaming the family by returning an empty form, we have ended up here.  I should be the one crying!!!!!!!!

Dinner was eaten in tears and lots of pitt stops to the bathroom to get tissues for face wiping.   He came into the kitchen to apologise for being upset – very bizarre and probably with an agenda– and I said I wasn’t upset at all.  He really didn’t have to do this thing but if he was going to, then he had to do it properly.  More tears!!!!!!!  I gave up the will to exhale at this point.

A few moments later, I was making a smoothie and he came into the kitchen again, no tears but a very forlorn face.  He asked if he could help cut the fruit.  I said sure.  By the end of cutting, dicing and blending, we had a happy son again who will tomorrow start the process of being diligent and not looking for short cuts as he participates in readathon.  🙂

This parenting thing is hard work!!!!!!!