Thursday, November 28, 2013

Everybody walk the dinosaur

“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.  

Oh and somewhere along the way I decided to join Ms Itchy Feet in a quest to go thirty days living dairy, grain, sugar free to see what all this paleo fuss was about.  

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. 

1 apple
Hazlenut milk
Handful almonds
1/2 banana
Cup peach slices
Spoonful maca powder
Tsp coconut oil optional
Tsp flaxseed optional

Now get back to your caves - oh sorry- I mean cakes. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


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!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's happening, whether you like it or not!!!

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!

2.  And while you're at it, start making a gift list, for yourself. 

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?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear, Dear Doris

I have done the branding for this little shop in Penarth, Wales... DEAR DORIS is a super sweet place and I'm so proud to be a part of it.  Check out the newest stickers I designed and mini moo cards which Deb, the shop owner, gives out to her customers.  Awesomes!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

He put a ring on it!

I want to share our wedding with you but I feel as if I should start from the beginning.

In April of this year we took a trip to Paris, because I was to run my first marathon.  Because I was so wrapped up in my stretching, nutrition, gels and lycra I was entirely oblivious to the fact Richard had brought along an amazing ring for me, which he pulled out of his pocket on our first morning in our apartment, over breakfast.  It was the most lovely surprise - and I said yes before I even looked at the ring.  Well I cried first, then said yes, then looked at the ring.  We spent the rest of the day wandering around Paris, eating (no change there really) and making expensive phone calls to family members (my sister in Vietnam via cellphone...) There was a distinct lack of champagne (we hate the stuff) and there definitely wasn't any top-of-the-eiffel-tower cheesy stunts.  But there were chocolate milkshakes and shiny apples and ice cold cans of coke and I'd rather have that over an expensive meal in a 'romantic restaurant' any day.

It wasn't how I had ever imagined... in fact, I hadn't really thought it would ever happen!

It just felt like we did it our way.  It was perfect!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Coming back down to earth

We have had an absolutely wonderful two weeks on cloud nine and as we slowly find ourselves very happily settling into MARRIED LIFE I'm trying to find a balance between wanting to share our wedding photos with everyone on the planet because it was the funnest day ever and soon the moment will be gone - and at the same time wanting to just enjoy it being our special thing and kind of keeping it our thing for a little longer.

So thought I'd update my blog for now with this week's doings...

We both started work on Monday and my studio is already quite a mess, filled with tons of new cards and bubble wrap and vases of flowers which still fill the house reminding me not to get too bogged down by work.

If you follow me on instagram you'll  have seen me posting loads of photos of new cards.  I'm excited to say they're all up now on my etsy shop available to purchase.

The tiger card is part of a little collaboration I'm doing with the lovely Caroline Dowsett. Awesome stuff!! We've also created a woodland style pillow together, check it out!

I also this week reached a milestone of 3,000 sales in my etsy shop, which is absolutely awesome and to celebrate I've put a little discount code in my shop info so head over if you'd like to stock up on chrimbo cards this week.  As a side note, did you know you can buy Etsy gift cards?  This makes me happy! Treat someone to a handmade shopping spree this holiday season :)

You and me babe, how about it

I got married on October 27 2013 to my best friend in the whole world and it was the most fun I've ever had.  I can't describe it any other way than that. I've never been happier.