Dang, December is hot-diggity-dog whizzing right by, hey? Today is the last day for Christmas orders to Australia. This means you lot living in the Land Down Under still have time to bag up something totally great such as this laughing dog pillow to give to your dearest Aunt Bernice for the holidays.
Originally I thought it would be silly to have bridesmaids.
I didn't want anything fussy or over the top or too weddingy.
But then I quickly remembered that I'm pretty unsociable and live the life of a hermit most of the time so by roping five of my very best womanfriends into the whole process I knew I was guaranteed to have someone there for me for every panicking moment, every minor stress, and every dumb question I had to answer up until and during the moment I walked down the aisle. (Believe it or not it's very difficult to remember how old you are when the registrar asks you right before you're about to get married)
Here are the little packages I created for my golden girls back in June, when I decided to ask them to be in the wedding gang. The wishbone necklaces are made in San Francisco by Astrid. I had seen the necklaces ages ago and knew they would be the perfect thing for the occasion. Attached to the necklace is an African cowrie shell which is a symbol of luck and prosperity. In each pack I included a photo of me and my girl and wrote some words asking them to be a bridesmaid.
“Look, the diet itself is sound; it’s the philosophy that’s bullshit. Eat what you want. Just leave the damn cavemen out of it.”
In September I went down south to visit my pal Jen. The wedding madness had all gotten too much and I needed to get away so Brighton seemed relatively far enough. A couple days of sea air, an intro to Crossfit and some runs along the promenade teamed up with nonstop chinwagging and general food consumption - and I was more or less back to my old self.
It seemed to make sense to start right after the marathon, after my 30th (what's a birthday without cake) and with just under a month to go before I needed to don a pretty white frock and look all glowing October was the time to do it.
Jen forwarded me a basic plan but it's more or less cutting out processed foods (not rocket surgery here) bread, pulses (beans! sad face.) grains (including quinoa, bulgar, rice, couscous... yeah don't try to pull a fast one) potatoes (although we can stay friends with sweet potatoes) corn, peanuts, cashews, dairy and sugar.
What're you left with?
Eggs, mostly. A lot of eggs!
Once you get past thinking ALL I CAN EAT IS EGGS you realise you can actually eat loads of stuff you just have to be creative. Fruit (although I did learn to look at the ingredients on dried fruit packets - usually the first ingredient is sugar!) and a lot of almond milk to start (you know I love a smoothie.) And vegetables and meat take over. Usually if we were having something like curry or chilli I would substitute the rice for a big portion of spinach or kale and this habit is one I've stuck with since. I will admit I probably snuck a few beans into my diet every now and then but I love beans and hey I didn't mind. And because I didn't have much time for running/I was pretending to be 'in marathon recovery' (whatever that is) the lack of pasta didn't really make any difference.
To be honest I didn't feel like I had to make too much of a life-changing alteration to my normal diet. Because I'd told Jen I was doing it I felt like I had to stick to it properly for a month - I think I maybe cheated once or twice and literally text Jen all the time to ask dumb questions about what was allowed and what wasn't but it wasn't massively different to normal and wasn't hugely difficult. If anything, it made me stock up on loads of healthy snacks to avoid having to make decisions when I was hungry. I also started drinking a lot more green tea instead of regular tea which I usually have with milk and sugar. (started adding barleygrass or spirulina to my green tea to make it even greener. Try it!)
As you can see I needed some coaching throughout the process
Anyways... cut to the chase... I did see results. For the first time in my life I had a flat stomach. I mean f.l.a.t. No crunches necessary. And I'd say I generally felt pretty good within myself. It certainly affects mood - maybe it's placebo but I don't care.
I've since brought dairy back and beans but still trying to tell sugar to take a walk and mostly avoiding the bread section of the supermarket. Unfortunately I love cake and cake loves me but am starting to make a conscious decision whether I want to indulge or not so as to avoid needless stuffing of face. (Also, there's plenty of guilt-free cake recipes to be found if you make the effort, much to my bearded manfriend's dismay.) Lastly, speaking of the OH, I have a husband to feed who will need potatoes and rice otherwise he might go looking for another hairy cavewoman to bed down with, so lack of carbs forever = not a brill idea.
Mainly what I'd say is, eat what you need. Don't eat what you don't need. It's just common sense right?
The quote at the top of this post is from Dr Britta Hoyes; this morning I read an article that summed up what I felt about the whole thing.
"You really want to be paleo? Then don’t buy anything from a store. Gather and kill what you need to eat. Wild grasses and tubers, acorns, gophers, crickets- They all provide a lot of nutrition. You’ll spend a lot of energy gathering the stuff, of course, and you’re going to be hungry, but that’ll help you maintain that lean physique you’re after. And hunting down the neighbor’s cats for dinner because you’ve already eaten your way through the local squirrel population will probably give you all the exercise you’ll ever need.”
On that note, here's a recipe for a peach apple almond smoothie I've been making recently. I added some Naturya Maca as the nice folks over there sent me some to try. If you're a newbie to Maca, it basically comes from a Peruvian root and is pretty dense in minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, silica and zinc. Good for a mind and energy boost and the Naturya powder adds a hint of malty taste to the smoothie.
Cup peach slices
Spoonful maca powder
Tsp coconut oil optional
Tsp flaxseed optional
Now get back to your caves - oh sorry- I mean cakes.
You can now add a frame to your pet portrait or family portrait order through my etsy shop. Been getting loads and loads of portrait orders through recently. Get yours in soon to avoid disappointment for the christmas period!
Get into the holidays, GET INTO THE HOLIDAYS my friends!! I've written a list of some ways to help us all just settle right into this festive season. Because the inevitable is happening so we might as well just do this together. Here it is:
1. Wrap up warm/buy some nice things for yourself. It has to be done!
3. Get baking. My pal at Riverside Baking makes a ton of tasty looking stuff and I always ogle at the amazingness that is Ohsheglows.
4. If you can't bake something, cover something in chocolate and call it handmade. Bag it up and give it to nice people. Chocolate covered pretzels are a great idea. I've even designed you some labels to stick on gift bags.
5. Be organised and get an order in for a house portrait. They make awesome personalised gifts for a newly married couple, or the couple who has everything.
6. Go outside and enjoy the crisp, bright air. Go running or just wrap up and pickup a coffee. It's pretty nice out there.
7. Still feeling like you don't know where to start? I've got a holiday starter pack for you. It contains some cards, pocket mirrors, and an ornament - to get you in the mood and up to speed.
How are you feeling now? Still ready to run for the snow-capped hills, screaming 'IT'S NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING YET' ? Or can I interest you in a little mulled wine tipple to get this party started?