Best Books of 2014

Nov 20, 2014
book review
I have a confession to make.  When it comes to books, I have a serious commitment problem.  I love reading and I love books.  Whenever I start a new book, I get caught up in the excitement and can't get enough of it.  I find it hard to put down and I sneak chances to read whenever I can.  Then I hear about another good book and I have to start that book too.  I vow to go back and finish the first book, but as you've probably guessed I don't, so I have many 'nearly' finished books sitting on the bookshelf. 

Even though I rarely finish my books completely, it doesn't mean they aren't worth reading.   I have read some amazing books this year so in collaboration with Bookworld, I thought I'd share a few of my favourite books of 2014 with you.  It's probably important to note that not all of these books were published in 2014 - I just happened to read them this year.

Best Book 'Health & Wellness':

Best Health and Wellness Book

'Hard To Swallow' by Julie Van Eps is an extremely interesting read and convinced me to alter my diet and the result has been absolutely lifechanging.  I particularly like this book because Julie is a mother so she spoke to me at my level, yet she concisely explains the science behinds a lot of the food changes she is recommending.

Recommended for:  Anyone that is interested in health or wellness; Anyone suffering from illness/allergies/asthma or health problems.

Best Book 'Spirituality':

best spirituality book

'One Thousand Gifts' by Ann Voskamp is about finding joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties and is a practical guide to living a life full of joy.  Ann Voskamp  discovered that by giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she’d always wanted.  This book is written from a Christian perspective and the concepts behind it are faith-based.  If you are intending on buying it, I should also probably warn you that you will very likely need some tissues handy for the first chapter.

Recommended for:  Women and mothers open to Christian faith principles and looking for ways to be content and find joy in their 'everyday'.

Best Book 'Parenting':

best parenting book

'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph is an oldie but a goodie.  I began reading it a few years ago when my son reached the toddler stage and I am reading it again now that he is about to start school and has reached a new stage of development.  It gives wonderful insights into the way boy's brains work and why they behave differently to little girls.

Recommended for:  Any parents with boys of any ages.

Best Book 'Recipes':

I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson

'I Quit Sugar' For Life by Sarah Wilson is not only a wonderful recipe book full of delicious and healthy food, but it is full of nutritional information that will help you make better informed choices about the food you eat.  I found the recipes to practical and delicious which is important for any busy mum.  Sarah also includes a section for  kids Snacks and lunches which has some excellent ideas that will entice your little ones to eat those vegetables you want them to.

Recommended for:  Everyone that is interested in eating nutritious food, health and wellness.

Best Book 'Travel' (or 'Design'):

Best Design book

'Gypsy' by Sibella Court really could have come equal first in the 'design' category as the photos are focused on different colours and interiors around the world.  But the photography is breathtaking, feeding my wanderlust and speaking to that world-travelling girl that I was once was, so this one goes into the 'travel' category for me.

Recommended for:  Anyone interested in design, photography and travel.

Best Book 'Design':

Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson

'Creative Family Home' by Ashlyn Gibson is a wonderful compendium of family-functional yet stylish interiors.  The homes in this book are imagination havens for children that are just beckoning creativity to flourish.  It makes me want to run out and totally make over my whole home using some of the awesome ideas it displays. 

Recommended for:  Parents/designers interested in creating a beautiful yet functional family home.

So there you have my very favourite books for 2014.  What has been on your reading list this year?  I'd love to hear any recommendations you have, I'm always looking for one (or three) good books to start!  I know the very top of my wish list for next year are the following two books that have come highly recommended:

Wish List:

Family Food by Pete Evans

'Family Food' by Pete Evans.  As you know, I started eating a Paleo-style diet this year so I am always on the lookout for good Paleo recipes.  I follow Pete's facebook page and he shares some amazing content.  He is passionate and genuine in his efforts to encourage the world to eat for optimum health and wellbeing, so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of his recipe book.

one step ahead by MIchael Grose

I have heard that 'One Step Ahead' by Micheal Grose is a fantastic parenting book full of practical and logical tips for raising children.  It covers topics from bed-wetting to tantrums, and swearing to fussy-eaters.  I like to read as much as possible when it comes to parenting so a book that comes so highly recommended is always on top of my wish list.

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Pets, Children and Responsibilities

Nov 10, 2014
pets and teaching children about resposibility
Teaching your children about all of the important things in life can be a daunting thought, what if you get it wrong or things don’t turn out quite how you’d planned? This worry is natural. As a parent, there are a huge amount of life lessons that you must teach your child, all of which are crucial to their development and understanding as they grow. 

When it comes to teaching your kiddos about responsibility and respect, there are just so many ways in which to do so, but the trick here is to discover a way that helps them to understand the importance of responsibility, without making the chores you want them to do actually seem like…well…chores. Although you might think that this is easier said than done, children are never too young to learn and their minds are absorbent from a very young age, meaning the process can be much less of a fight than you’d think.

Teaching Responsibility

Of course, it’s important to set your little ones small chores to do around the home, whether it’s helping to empty the dishwasher or laying the table for dinner, and the tasks can get progressively more challenging as they grow. One simple way in which to help your kiddo(s) learn about the significance of responsibility however, is through a pet. Many parents are adverse to the idea of a pet because they feel that their children will become bored and the responsibility will then be forced upon them, but if you approach this situation in the right way then hopefully, this will not happen.

Age Appropriate

A pet is a fantastic tool in helping your children learn about many different important aspects of day to day life, whether it’s social, emotional or cognitive, but it’s important that choose a pet that’s age-appropriate. Don’t start with something that requires care beyond their years. Here is a list of pets and the age range they are best suited to –

Goldfish – Goldfish are the perfect starter pet and are great for young children from the age of 3+ as they require very little maintenance and care. If you have a very young child then this could be the pet for you. Ensure that the goldfish bowl is suitable for the fish, companies such as All Pond Solutions can help you find the right tank for you and your pet – just be sure to keep it out of easy reach and to supervise feeding and cleaning times.

Tortoise – A step up from a goldfish, as they need more care and attention. These animals are better suited to older children of ages 6+ as they require more physical interaction than a fish, which is a great way to teach your child how to be gentle and kind to others.

Rabbit or Guinea Pig – Similar to the tortoise, but obviously a lot larger and no doubt a little more lively too. They require food with nutrition and substance such as fresh vegetables – a great teaching method for healthy eating. They will need to be cleaned out and handled much more regularly too. They can be great for ages 7+ but my children are a little younger than that and love helping with our rabbit - we just have to supervise them closely and set strict boundaries.

Dogs and Cats – Dogs and cats are fantastic animals for your children to grow up with and can be introduced at any age. Responsibility of taking care of them properly should be given to children who are able to understand the importance of regular feeding (generally twice a day) and who are able to control the animals whilst exercising them. For this reason, 10+ is a good age to start helping care for the dog or cat (dependent on the size of the animal). Although I know plenty of people that start their children a lot younger.  Responsibility should be given out when your child is old enough and you feel that they are up to the task.  Another interesting point to note is that having animals such as cats or dogs in the home when you have a child can reduce the risk of allergies.

The ages mentioned are just a suggestion, as children develop and mature at different times. It’s important not to give your child too much responsibility too young as the outcome may not be quite as you’d hoped.

I'd love to hear about your experiences with children and pets, or any further tips you have! Let us know in the comments below..

The winners of the Nestle Baby giveaway were Manda, Jocelyn R and Jessica H.  I will be in touch shortly!
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More pancakes and why I love almond meal

Nov 9, 2014
almond meal nutrientsToday, being a lazy Saturday morning after a very busy Friday, we took things slow.  Slow involves the kids waking up and getting a little extra TV time in the morning as a special treat.   Slow means I got to laze in bed drinking my coffee and watching a little Game Of Thrones.  Slow involves leaving the housework for just another hour or two and staying in our pyjamas longer than usual.  Slow involves having time to make pancakes with maple syrup (and a dollop of ice cream for the kids just because).

If you have followed along for a little while now, you may have guessed that we are pretty big pancake fans over here.  Quite a while ago I shared my homemade pancake recipe and not so long ago my paleo pancake recipe.  Well I'm still forever tweaking these recipes as I try and cut down the kids overall grain intake and one of my favourite ways to reduce regular flour in my baking is to replace some of it with almond meal.

Almond meal is a fantastic way of adding a few extra nutrients into your baked goods as it is just ground almonds and therefore contains all the same nutrients as the very healthy nuts.  Almond meal cannot be used as a direct replacement for all of the flour in your recipes, but you can usually replace some of the flour with some almond meal for an added nutrient boost without it affecting your end result.

Today's pancake recipe tweak involved making my homemade pancake recipe (using a gluten free plain flour) and just replacing half a cup of the gluten free plain flour with half a cup of almond meal.  They turned out great - the kids enjoyed the pancakes just the same and there was absolutely no difference in taste.

Here are just a few of the nutritional benefits of using almond meal in your baking..

Almonds are:

.  a good source of protein
.  an excellent source of Vitamin E which is an
   antioxidant and supports immune function
.  contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats
.  contain calcium and magnesium
.  a good source of B vitamins folate and niacin
.  contain phosphorus, potassium and zinc
.  a good source of iron

I really encourage you to give it a go.  Almond meal is more expensive than regular flour, but because you aren't using large amounts at a time, you can make it last.

Happy baking!

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Fun Ways to Keep Fit Without The Gym

Nov 5, 2014
You may have seen an earlier post about Booya Fitness, the boutique workouts you can do yourself at home, but recently I have been considering what other fun workouts there are out there for busy mamas. As a mum, you have a juggle what feels like a million tasks a day, from simple things such as feeds and changes, to more complex issues like how to fit everyone’s busy schedules in around each other. Of course, not all of us can afford to splash out on an expensive monthly gym membership, let alone find the time to go as often as we probably should, so here are just a few more ideas for fun ways to keep active without breaking the bank that can easily fit in with your day to day routine.

Fun Runs

Fun runs are becoming increasingly popular these days, simply because they are becoming increasingly fun! If you are up for a bit of adventure you could try a mud-run or obstacle course challenge, or if mud isn't your style, the Color Run promises to be one of the happiest and most colourful 5K runs around. This 5K will cost you to enter, but the training you will do in preparation will not. This event is best attended with friends or family and is even suitable for young children or those with disabilities as it is not a timed race, instead it’s a place to have fun and get colourful. These runs are held once a year (plenty of time for you to get in some training), and are held at various locations all over the world – Sydney included!

The idea of running a 5K fun run might sound like the impossible even if it is in the name of fun, especially if you’re new to the idea of exercise. The Couch to 5K Challenge is a fantastic way of easing yourself into exercise and can be made into a fun competition between you and your other mama friends. If you fancy training for The Color Run, why not use the couch to 5K challenge as your starting point?

Roller Sports

Ever considered surfing, skateboarding, scooting or rollerblading? Probably not. These sports are no longer just for kids and are a fantastic way of burning calories and toning up those legs. Don’t be afraid to try these for yourself, they’re not as scary as you might think, but it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right equipment to save your knees and head from getting hurt. Companies such as Skate Hut are great for this as they supply everything from t-shirts and jeans to skateboards, long boards and all the protection you’ll need to keep you safe.

Extreme Sports

These days there are more and more girls, women and mamas giving sports like surfing, paddle boarding and snowboarding a go.  These sports can be a little more difficult to learn, but with a good instructor you should be able to pick them up quite quickly and they are definitely worth the initial hard work.  Catching your very first wave is amazing and it is a feeling you will never forget.  Not only are these sports a whole lot of fun, but they are an amazing workout too so don't be afraid to give them a go!

Of course, as much fun as exercise can be, the right diet is essential too, no matter whether you’re simply wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle or you’re trying to get fit and lose weight. There are plenty of delicious Paleo recipes here on the blog and if you need a little further food-spiration, there are some amazing blogs out there, dedicated to bringing you fantastic recipes and healthy eating plans.
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Sleep, Reflux and a Nestle Giveaway

Nov 2, 2014
Baby sleep routines
Motherhood is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Those first few years of your child's life are incredibly special. They are filled with first smiles, first giggles, first steps, cuddles and sloppy kisses. However, as your child learns, so too do you . First time parents must learn about feeding a new baby, learning to swaddle, learning about sleep routines and settling and how to introduce solid foods to your baby for the first time. As parents we are continually learning and just when you think you have got the hang of things, your baby will change things up once again.

All of these new experiences can be quite daunting for a first time parent. I know that I spent countless hours searching for advice about my daughters severe reflux and the sleep issues that were associated with it. My poor princess would regurgitate her milk up to five or six times after a feed and she ended up on reflux medication until her first birthday. Although I wasn't a first-time mother, it was a very stressful time for my husband and I as we were juggling a toddler and a newborn with chronic reflux. And of course, along with reflux comes disturbed sleep patterns and my darling girl was no exception to this rule. Little Miss suffered with disturbed sleep for so long that it eventually developed into bad long-term patterns that resulted in years or broken sleep for my husband and I.

During this stressful time, websites and blogs became a sanity-saving tool for me. Being able to read stories and get advice from other mothers and experts gave me the encouragement and tips I needed to help ease some of my girl's discomfort and help improve the quality of sleep my family was having.

There are many useful websites available these days, but with health information and guidelines for babies and children constantly changing, just make sure you are getting your advice from a reliable source. If you are looking for a great online resource then check out the Nestle Baby website. I have recently come across Nestle Baby and it is a wonderful resource for a vast array of parenting topics. It includes everything from the cause of reflux in babies to baby sleep routines and so much more.

Nestle Baby dedicated to bringing you reliable and well researched information written by experts, and just to keep things easy for us busy mamas, they also have downloadable brochures that you can print off and keep handy for quick reference later on. Staying informed is vitally important because an informed parent who feels confident in their parenting approach is more likely to set reasonable and consistent boundaries. In turn, consistent boundaries allow a child to feel safe and secure and encourages healthy development.

Not only do Nestle have a great website, but the generous folks over there are offering three lucky readers a Nestle prize package containing one of their Cerelac Infant Cereals and their Nan 3 Pro Toddler (packs valued at approximately $24 each).

 If you would like to win, all you need to do is:

1) Complete the Rafflecopter below and

2) Comment below in the comment section answering the following question in 25 words or less:

Q: What did you find most helpful about the Nestle Baby website?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For further T&C's of all giveaways click here.

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Paleo Banana Pancakes

Sep 19, 2014
Paleo Pancakes

If you have been reading for a while then you will know that pancakes are one of my very favourite foods so I have really missed them since becoming Paleo.  I've been trying a few different Paleo pancake recipes but I haven't really found one that I was happy with until my sister suggested trying a banana pancake recipe.  I'm so glad I did,  it worked a treat! We aren't exactly sure where the original recipe came from, but if any of you know we'd love to give credit.

The original recipe was simply eggs and bananas but I added a little coconut flour simply because I like the texture it gives.  For delicious pancakes that are gluten free and Paleo-friendly, I used:

2 large large bananas mashed
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of coconut flour. 
Butter or coconut oil for frying (I prefer butter for pancakes).

1. Mix all the ingredients together
2. Heat butter or coconut oil in a non-stick frypan.
3. Using a ladle pour the equivalent of 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into a hot frypan.  Gently tilt the frypan allowing the batter to run into the desired pikelet/pancake size.
4. Flip the pancake when it is very slightly browned underneath and firm enough to flip without breaking.

The consistency and texture is nearly exactly the same as my original homemade pancake recipe.  However, this Paleo version is not as easy to flip as they are more likely to break apart during cooking. The way to prevent this happening is by keeping them to a smaller more manageable size and flip quickly.

Bon App├ętit!

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Perisher Blue

Sep 4, 2014
Perisher Blue

If you caught my post last week about tips for driving with children, you'll know that we've had a little getaway down to the NSW Snowy Mountains. We stayed in some lovely accommodation in Jindabyne and traveled up daily to one of my favourite resorts, Perisher Blue. Perisher is a fantastic resort with trails that cater for everyone in the family, from your very beginners to your experts.
Perisher Front Valley has some fenced off beginner areas with easy 'magic carpets' (which are a kind of flat snow escalator) back to the top of the slope. My daughter skied for the very first time this trip, and at only 3 years old, she quickly worked out how to get herself on, ride, and get off the magic carpet all by herself. My five year old got to ride the Village Eight Express Chair for the very first time and absolutely loved 'zooming' up the hill and watching some of the professional riders perform tricks in Front Valley's Terrain Park below.

My husband and I have been riding for many years so one of our favourite places to ride is the Leichardt Terrain Park, it is a great medium sized terrain park catering for skilled riders and usually has two size options for the jumps.

perisher blue leichardt park

With school holidays being over, lift lines all moved very quickly and we could always get a table at lunch time which is a huge bonus when your have tired, hungry children! The main building at Perisher has a great variety of food outlets, including good coffee and healthier options for those of us trying to stick to our new Paleo-ish diets while travelling.

Excellent snow, beautiful sunshine and pleasant conditions resulted in a wonderful holiday for all the family. My very favourite part was watching my children enjoy the snow, something that has been such an important part of my life for a long time. Hearing them say 'can we go skiing again tomorrow',  and 'Can we come back again next year?' was music to my ears.

Lake Jindabyne
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Gym or Sports Bag Essentials

Aug 28, 2014
Gym bag essentials

When exercising or playing sports, it is important to be prepared and as comfortable as possible, it incredibly frustrating to arrive at the gym or your game, only to realise that you've left your equipment, your towel, headphones or water at home. To help you prepare for your workout by making sure you've always got all your essential items tucked safely into your gym bag, I've teamed up with Rexona Clinical for men to bring you today's post.

Here is a list of ten workout essentials that you won't want to leave at home:

1. Sports equipment

You should always start here. This is the specific equipment you will need for your sport, for instance, those of you playing soccer will need your uniform, boots and shin pads, swimmers will need goggles. Start with your equipment as it is amazing how easy it is to forget these things once you are concentrating on the rest of your bag.

2. Water or sports drink

Hydration is absolutely vital when exercising. If participating in mild exercise, a bottle of water should suffice, however if you will be sweating a lot, performing a high intensity workout, or exercising in the heat, you might needed the added benefit of some coconut water or a sports drink to replace electrolytes. If you aren't sure which to choose, coconut water is a natural alternative and is very high in potassium which will be beneficial for those completing moderate workouts. If you are sweating profusely or engaging in a very high intensity workout, you might want to choose a sports drink as it is higher in sodium which you will be losing through your sweat.

3. Towel

If you are working out in a gym then you will be required to bring a towel. Most gyms won't allow you to workout without one. To save space, you can invest in a sports towel. Sports towels are much smaller than regular towels, are highly absorbent, fast-drying and often have antibacterial properties. Even if you aren't working out in a gym, a towel will always come in handy.

4. Deoderant

Choose a good deoderant that will withstand the pressures your body will place it under during exercise. You don't want to be that person in the gym that makes life uncomfortable for those around them by not wearing deoderant, or wearing an ineffective deoderant that doesn't stand up to the requirements of exercise.

5. Music and headphones

I love to workout to music, good beats help push me along and keep me motivated. Not only do I enjoy my workout more with music, but I've found that I actually perform better too. Headphones are a must though as not everyone will enjoy your personal choice of music!

6. Snacks

For optimum performance and comfort during exercise, the Australian Institute of Sport recommends that large, healthy meals should be eaten no closer than 3-4 hours prior to exercise. If you need to eat after that here is a list of recommended snacks you can pack into your gym bag:

For consumption 1-2 hours before exercise:
  • liquid meal supplement
  • sports bar
  • cereal bar
  • fruit-flavoured yogurt
  • fruit
For consumption less than an hour prior to exercise, or during exercise when required:
  • carbohydrate gel
  • sports bar
  • jelly lollies

The AIS does note that a small percentage of people will experience an extreme reaction after eating close to, or during exercise which is due to a drop in blood glucose levels. If you experience fatigue, shakiness or dizziness during exercise then you might need to avoid snacks close to exercise, experiment with your meal times to find what works for you, or eat snacks higher in carbohydrates.

7. Strapping tape

Band Aids, sports strapping tape or electrical tape is good to have on hand in case of injuries, blisters, or equipment problems that need a quick and temporary fix.

8. Heat cream or gel

For niggling injuries or aches, a good anti-inflammatory heat cream or gel can work wonders. Apply it before and during exercise always taking care to follow the specific directions of the brand you choose.

9. Anti-inflammatory medication

When you have a strain or injury, ideally you should rest and let it heal but those of you who play competitive sport know that sometimes that is not an option. At these times, taking an anti-inflammatory prior to your game or event can help reduce pain, inflammation or swelling. Just be sure to always follow the guidelines or recommendations of your medical practitioner.

10. Hat and sun cream

These are absolutely essential for outdoor exercise, especially in our climate here in Australia. Choose a sweat or water resistant product with high, long lasting protection as sun cream can become less effective with profuse sweating and wiping with towels.
So there you have my top ten essential items to pack in your gym or sports bag. Having all of these items handy will help get you ready for an excellent workout, so get out there and enjoy!

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driving with children

Aug 26, 2014
driving with children

We really love to travel but anyone who has travelled with young children knows that it can be quite a stressful experience for all involved if you aren't properly prepared. However, I have found that with a bit of extra preparation and organisation, travelling with young children can be a great experience and a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. As we are currently getting ready for a holiday to one of Australia's beautiful ski resorts, I have partnered up with Ford Fiesta to share with you some of my tips for keeping children happy on long drives.

1. Plan your stops.

Take a look at your entire trip, then carefully plan your stops to coincide with meal times, or at least every few hours. Try to pick rest stop locations that offer a park or area for the children to run around and burn off some energy.

2. Choose healthy snacks

During long drives it can be tempting to give the children junk food or sweets to keep them happy, but avoid it wherever possible as these kinds of foods are just a temporary fix, usually resulting in a sugar crash and worse behaviour later on during the trip. Alternatively, have a lunch bag full of healthy snacks available to keep them happy between meal stops. Also consider food that is safe and easy to eat in the car as you don't want big spills or messes to clean up.

3. Pack an entertainment 'goody' bag.

I pack each of the children a little bag full of entertainment. It might include their favourite toys, their toy laptops and some books. I also usually like to buy a few little activities like sticker books that the kids get to open as we start the trip. These bags usually keep them entertained for the first few hours of the trip.

4. CD books

As the novelty of the toys and activities wear off, books narrated on CD are another great way to entertain the kids. If the children have personal CD players with headphones, then they can choose and listen to their own stories, otherwise playing it over the car CD player will do the trick it will just mean Mum and Dad get to 'enjoy' the story too!

5. Music

I have a range of children's CDs in the car and songs downloaded onto my Iphone for car trips. It's amazing how long kids music like Playschool, The Wiggles, and now the Frozen soundtrack will keep my munchkins happy for. I use the Spotify app for music and it really is worth every cent as there is such an amazing range of music available.

6. DVDs or Ipads.

Towards the end of the trip, when all else is failing, I put on a movie for the kids, or allow them to play on my Ipad. We have a personal DVD player for the kids so that we can either hook them to the back of our chairs, or they can hold onto them to watch. As a rule, I never put these on early in the trip as they tend to end up with media overload by the time we arrive at our destination, and I've found that the trip is much more enjoyable for all of us if we work through the activities as listed above.

So there you have some of my favourite driving tips that will hopefully help your next driving holiday go smoothly. Do you have any of your own tips? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
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Paleo Banana Slice

Aug 22, 2014
paleo banana slice

This banana slice recipe is moist and absolutely delicious.  I have specified honey as the sweetener but you could just as easily use maple syrup - or if you aren't sensitive to brown rice, Brown Rice Syrup works very well too. The good thing about rice malt syrup is that it is glucose only, no fructose - and it's lower GI than the other sweeteners. However, brown rice is obviously a wholegrain and can therefore be very inflammatory so I avoid it these days.  I am not a huge sweet tooth so if I was making this for just myself (and not the Hubby or kids), I would use less sweetener.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a small loaf tin with baking paper.

1 large banana
1/2 a cup of honey
1 egg
1 cup of sultanas
1 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of tapioca flour

In a large bowl, mash the banana, then add your honey, sultanas and egg, mixing well between each ingredient.
Add your flours to the wet mixture, mix well and pour into your loaf tin.
Bake for approx 20-30 mins checking frequently. The slice is ready when it is firm and springy.

paleo sultana slice
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Aug 18, 2014
paleo book

I have been quite busy the last few weeks totally overhauling my family's diet and turning what can probably be best described as Paleo.  You see, despite my supposedly 'healthy' diet and active lifestyle, I have been having some ongoing health problems for quite a while now including an inflamed gallbladder, some serious skin issues and a very low immune system.  Despite my best efforts to get and stay healthy, it all just seemed to be getting worse.  Then a dear friend of mine recommended that I read a book called Hard To Swallow by Julie Van Eps.  This book changed, and possibly saved, my life.  You see, all the things I had learned about Nutrition while at University - for instance, staying away from animal fats, using vegetable oils instead of animal fats, and eating a healthy amount of calcium from dairy daily, they are most likely the very reason my health has been so bad.

If you have any niggling health concerns, I really recommend reading Hard to Swallow, and another fabulous book with information and recipes called I Quit Sugar for Life by Sarah Wilson.  After reading these books, I have had to make huge changes to the way I buy and cook food.  I didn't set out to become Paleo - I am usually the type to steer well clear of fad diets and I thought this whole Paleo 'thing' was probably just another fad.  However, I have always loved the idea of eating natural, healthy foods and after eating our new diet for a few weeks, I am feeling a lot better than I have in a long time. I have also noticed that my skin is improving, I am sleeping better and I am not getting as fatigued as I usually do.  So I started researching my new diet a little more and I have realised that I am actually following most of the rules of a Paleo diet, so I have kind of become a Paleo advocate by default I suppose!

The good news is that you get to come along for the journey with me, as I find great new recipes, I'll be sure to share them with you so stay tuned.. Oh and I'd love to hear about your own experiences about becoming Paleo.  If you have any great resources/recipe books please share them below!

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Firmoo Glasses

Aug 16, 2014
Firmoo glasses

One problem with living a physically active lifestyle and having active children, is that my glasses tend to have a very low life expectancy. If I am not dropping them myself, then they usually get a bit of help from my children playing or bouncing around with me. Replacing glasses can become quite an expensive exercise, so when Firmoo contacted me to see if I'd like to try buying my glasses online, I was excited to give it a try.

I have never bought glasses online before, as I was always a little hesitant to buy glasses without being able to try them on first, but when I hopped onto the Firmoo website, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could upload a photo of myself and 'try on' any pair of glasses that I liked. Once I found a pair of glasses that I liked the look of, I simply placed in some measurements and my prescription and my order was complete. I really couldn't believe it was that simple. I was used to hurriedly trying on glasses in an optometrists, while simultaneously trying to stop my munchkins from also 'trying on' glasses too - never a relaxing experience, so doing all of it from the comfort of my own lounge room really was a pleasant change!

To be honest, it all seemed a little too good to be true, I mean - inexpensive glasses from the comfort of your own home... surely it couldn't be that easy? I was still a little doubtful that when my glasses arrived they would fit comfortably, that my prescription would be correct, and that they would really look like they did when I tried them on virtually. I really shouldn't have doubted though as Firmoo went above and beyond all of my expectations.
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful hard case my glasses came with, the quality was absolutely fantastic. They also came with a cleaning cloth and a small tool for adjustments.


When I opened the case and tried on my glasses, they were not only the most comfortable glasses that I have ever worn, but my prescription was perfect and they looked exactly like they did when I uploaded my photo and tried them on. I was over the moon ecstatic about the whole process and my Firmoo glasses have quickly become my new favourite pair. I will absolutely use Firmoo again in the future and really recommend giving them a try.

If you are considering giving Firmoo a try, they are currently offering a 'First Pair Free' promotion for new customers which allows you to get selected frames for free (you will still need to pay for the cost of the lenses).

So thank you Firmoo, I love love love my new glasses..

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