Banana and peanut butter smoothie

IMG_8099

I’ve become just a little bit obsessed with my NutriBullet since acquiring one a few weeks ago and love love love the way it makes me eat more fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
Sure I eat a good portion on a day to day basis, but not like this.
Also, because I work from home I’m terrible for forgetting to eat, realising I’m starving, and then reaching for toast or a handful of biscuits instead of actually making myself something decent to eat.

Here’s a smoothie I’ve been really enjoying for lunch at the moment. It’s sweet and really filling and best of all it packs a healthy punch. Oh no wait, BEST of all is you throw everything into a blender and it’s made in minutes.
Although it looks green you can barely taste the spinach, so you get all the benefits and it tastes great too.

Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients
1 handful of spinach leaves (I freeze my spinach to add a nice cold shot to my smoothies)
1 large banana
1 large/heaped teaspoon peanut butter (I prefer crunch and buy the best quality peanut butter you can)
I large dessertspoon of chia seeds
300ml coconut water or water or both

Blitz the lot until smooth.
For anyone who hasn’t discovered chia seeds yet, they are a fabulous source of healthy omega-3 fats and high in protein, so ideal for filling you up and keeping you satisfied.
I buy mine from Linwoods online or you can get them from Sainsburys. You can also throw them into cereal, on salads, into your baking – I even add them to my bolognese!

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 232

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 232 of The Photo Gallery.
Now the flowers are blooming, the bees are out and more and more of us are out and about and around Mother Nature, I’ve seen a lot of amazingly colourful shots.

And with the leap forward in photography and lenses – even on your smartphone – it’s easier than ever to get up close and personal and take those stunning macro shots. Ones where you think, what the heck IS that, because it’s so close!

So, to celebrate that, the theme for this week’s Photo Gallery is: Macro.

Get up close (not too close if it’s a bee though, don’t want you to get injured in the pursuit of your photography!) and use any subject matter you like – the dog, the kids, flora, fauna, fruit, food, fairies (sorry it’s the only other ‘f’ I could think of!)
As usual, interpret the theme any way you like, just ensure it fits with the theme.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 1 Comment

Do you ever stop worrying about your children?

dan and miaDo you ever stop worrying about your children? I don’t mean the everyday worry. The ‘will they grow up to be kind individuals’, or  ‘will they live on chocolate and fizzy drinks for the rest of their life’ kind of worry.
I mean that deep, bone-fizzing worry that painfully grips at your very soul and makes you feel like you cannot function.
The worry that I suppose you can call irrational, but as a parent it feels like the most rational thing in the world.

It’s definitely there when they are babies. So small, so reliant, so vulnerable.
But what about when they’re more independent? At school? At uni?

Even now I still check on both of my kids every night before I go to bed; creep into their rooms one by one and say my silent goodnights.
They’re buried right under the covers so I rearrange the duvet to make sure they’re comfortable. But I’m not really concerned about their comfort, I’m waiting for them to shift in their sleep; give a little murmur and reassure me that, yes, all is well.
And it’s not even as if they are babies any more. My oldest is 12, yet still I feel the cold grip of worry every now and again.
And when I’m away? If I can’t do that nightly check? Husband will think I’m mad if I ask him.

Trust me, I’m not a worrier. And I’m not a ‘wrap my kids in cotton wool’ mum either. Far from it. I want them to fly, to find their independence, strike out, discover the world become their own person. I make sure they are confident enough to approach adults at school instead of asking me to do everything for them. I’m teaching them to be self sufficient and not dependent on someone to help with the smallest thing.
So why do I worry? Why do I still want reassurances? I still have to leave a crack in the door when I go to bed so there isn’t a physical barrier between me and them while they sleep. As I write it, it sounds ridiculous, but I really don’t care. It keeps me happy.

When they were little I convinced myself that if I could just get them to school the worry would abate. If I could get them through the pre-teens all would be well.
I can honestly, hand on heart say, having little ones was a walk in the park. Any problem could easily be fixed with a biscuit and a cuddle. Home was a haven; I could fix everything.
Now there is school and difficult friendships and feelings and heartache and exams and disappointments – real things that matter.
You watch them go through difficult times knowing that you’re not supposed to be there to fix them, but to give them the tools to deal with these things themselves. And it’s bloody hard and you ask yourself is it enough; should I be doing something else, something more?

Does that kind of worry ever stop?

I know the answer is no. My mother in law once said to me “my boy is 40 and married with two kids of his own and I still worry about him. It’s what parents do. It’s what we sign up for.”

Posted in Family Life | 18 Comments

The Photo Gallery 231: Landscape

A photo posted by Tara Cain (@taralara) on

What is it about bluebell woods that make them so utterly magical?
I took this photo at our favourite woods, the Lickey Hills recently. It looks almost too good to be true. Like Ridley Scott set up production for a remake of the movie Legend right here in the Midlands.
These bluebells are totally off the beaten track so you don’t get many people wandering through, which makes it rather a quiet place where all you hear are the rustle of leaves and the birds talking to each other.
And it’s still. So very still.
How to bluebells do that?!

This post is for week 231 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Landscape.

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like. Write a blog post or caption. You can write as many or as few words as you like. You don’t even need to use a new photo; just a photo you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Use the linky tool at the bottom of this post to link up your post so readers can find you. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

➤ Tweet me with the hashtag #thegallery and I will retweet and share your entry (you can find me on Twitter @Tara_Cain). Or you can  use the hashtag #thegallery on Instagram (I’m over there as TaraLara) and I will share and comment on your photos there.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

 You can also find the Photo Gallery on  Pinterest and Google +

Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
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The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

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The Photo Gallery: Week 231

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 231 of The Photo Gallery.
I write this having spent the day in my back garden; pruning, staking young trees, weeding and refilling all the bird feeders. I’ve become a tad obsessed with feeding the birds!

All of this had been done so that when I look out of my kitchen window ever morning I get to view nature in all her glory and help me lift my day.

And so, the theme for this week’s Photo Gallery is: Landscape.

As usual, interpret the theme any way you like, just ensure it fits with the theme. If you want a daily dose of beautiful Yorkshire landscapes, follow Helpful Mum on Instagram who posts the most gorgeous pictures of her surroundings.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 2 Comments

The sleep diaries: On becoming a Slumberdown ambassador

duvets

I feel I am blessed as a parent as we have never struggled with sleep in this house.
Sure we had broken nights sleep and nights when they were poorly and I’ve had to sit at their bedside, stroking a hand or talking softly until they drifted off.
But both of my children slept through from quite an early age and have loved sleeping in their own rooms.
I know! How the heck did I manage that? I didn’t sell my soul to the devil in exchange for night-time bliss, I promise. Both of my children are just Good Sleepers. Always have been.

Sleep issues for us when they were little were more about the comedy moments.
We had a phase where Mia would only let me put her to bed and she would beg me to “hold my hand for a minute”.
Half an hour later I’m still there with a sore bum, heavy eyes and Mia’s sweaty little paw still clutching on to my little finger.
The minute I thought she had drifted off and tried to do that comedy tiptoe to the door, her one eye would open and she would murmmer in a rather accusatory tone beyond her years: “mummy, where are you going?” Not a good phase.

But she always slept through the night.
Even the times when she was poorly and wanted to crawl in with us, she would often crawl back out and go to her own room. Obviously, waking me up to tell me she was going back to her own room . . . but still.
Our issues with Mia were more about getting her into bed in the first place because she was always so very busy to go to sleep. And always so smart when it come to excuses for not going to sleep. I’d discover her in bizarre sleeping positions, or hiding something under her duvet or just trying to spend more time with us (at least I think that’s what she was doing; who knows what was going on in her young mind as she made that all so familiar ‘bump bump bump’ down the stairs and we rolled our eyes wondering what on earth it could be this time!)
I blogged about our early sleep issues a LOT!

I fretted for the longest time that she was in bed at 7.30 but wouldn’t actually go to sleep until 10. She would chat to her cuddly toys, organise her books, line said teddies up at the end of her bed so there was barely enough room for her to lie there.
And then I realised it wasn’t worth fretting about. She just wasn’t ready to drop off and as long as she was in bed and relaxed I should just let her be. It was like a revelation. Not rocket science, granted, but as a parent you tend to sweat the small stuff.

Of course, the drawback of having good sleepers is sleepovers. Both of mine have been to friends’ and relatives for sleepovers for years. We seem to have someone else’s child sleeping over here every other weekend too.
I’m constantly hunting out spare duvets, spare pillows, is there a duvet cover clean, Dan do you actually NEED three pillows? (the answer is apparently yes, because he likes to build himself a nest.
I can’t say I honestly mind. They wrap themselves up in a duvet each and chat and giggle and snore together once they’ve eventually dropped off and I think it’s a wonderful thing I can give my kids – to spend that time with the people they really like being around.

slumberdown duvet slumberdown duvets slumberdown bedding slumberdown ambassador

So when Slumberdown approached me and asked me to be one of their brand ambassadors I was delighted. We use a lot of bedding!
I will be writing about sleep with two fabulous parenting bloggers – Katie from Mummy, Daddy Me and Lucy at Capture By Lucy – and I will be reviewing products, talking about  bedtime and offering competitions throughout the year.

slumberdown duvet slumberdown and hedwig slumberdown mia

To kick things off, if you want to kit your family out with a whole new range of bedding from Slumberdown they have a fab competition running to ensure everyone has the chance to ‘sleep happy’. Good luck.
And make sure you check back here from time to time as I’ll also be hosting giveaways too.
You can also follow Slumberdown on Twitter and Facebook where you’ll find more  competitions running.

So what are your sleep problems? Do you snore in your sleep and keep your other half awake (cough)? Do your kids do the whole starfish thing in your bed? Do you struggle to drop off or struggle to wake up? Do you go to bed and check your Twitter feed while under the duvet – don’t you go shaking your heads, I KNOW some of you do it, tsk tsk :-)

 

Slumberdown Logo

Posted in Family Life | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Photo Gallery 230: Animals

Giraffe“Dear God. Did you mean to make giraffes look like this or were they a mistake?”
Possibly the best question asked by a child about animals ever!

I do love a giraffe. Their slow gait, their laissez faire attitude, their love of trees, the utter ridiculousness of them.
They’re not my favourite animal (that title goes to the tiger which I find hypnotic, majestic, magnificent). But I do have a place in my heart for Mr Giraffe.
What would be your favourite animal (this is my daughter’s question of choice when she meets anyone. Be careful how you answer because it reveals a LOT about you apparently.

This post is for week 230 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Animals.

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like.

 Write a blog post using your photo. You can write as many or as few words as you like. You don’t even need to use a new photo; just a photo you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Link back to your post using the linky tool below so readers can find you. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

If you’re using Twitter you can find us on the hashtag #TheGallery. We’re also on  Pinterest and Google +

Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/the-photo-gallery" title="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery"><img src="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Gallery-e1372717730880.png" alt="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
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The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

Posted in The Gallery | 23 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 230

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 230 of The Photo Gallery.

Life has been pretty hectic here in the Sticky Fingers house of late. Real life stuff, the actual important stuff and I just haven’t had the time or the will to write about it.
So I’ve stepped back, I’ve hugged my kids and I’ve been good to myself.
I do miss hanging out with everyone. The cafe crowd on Twitter who always make me feel better, the creatives on Pinterest who I could lose myself in for hours and the quite brilliant Instagram where I go on these long journeys as I dip my toes into people’s lives all around the world.

So back to us. This week’s theme for the Photo Gallery is: Animal.
Pet, wild animal, animal in a field you pass every day, friend’s animal, child dressed up as an animal.
As usual, interpret the theme any way you like.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

 

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 1 Comment

The Photo Gallery 229: One Day in May

A photo posted by Tara Cain (@taralara) on

On Sunday our bestest boy celebrated his fourth birthday.
We treated him by leaving him on his own all morning as we were out at rugby trials which took ages. He pretty much slept the whole time.
We got home at around 1pm and spoilt him rotten.
He’s not one for toys or treats (although if you give him a carrot he’ll be your best friend for ever).
What he got instead was a long walk, lots of fuss and the chance to curl up on the sofa with his muzzle buried into my back.

Pretty much his ideal day.

Ronin is one of the best things that ever happened to this family. He’s like the perfect advert for why every family should have a dog.
Happy birthday you beautiful boy. We loves you very much.

This post is for week 229 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: One Day in May.

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like.

 Write a blog post using your photo. You can write as many or as few words as you like. You don’t even need to use a new photo; just a photo you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Link back to your post using the linky tool below so readers can find you. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

If you’re using Twitter you can find us on the hashtag #TheGallery. We’re also on  Pinterest and Google +

Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/the-photo-gallery" title="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery"><img src="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Gallery-e1372717730880.png" alt="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
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The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

Posted in The Gallery | 17 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 229

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 229 of The Photo Gallery.

May is such a gorgeous month. There are Bank Holidays, the sun is (usually) shining, everything is starting to bloom and it feels like the gateway to summer.
So in celebration of May this week’s theme for the Photo Gallery is: One Day in May.

And as usual, interpret the theme any way you like but it needs to be any photo which shows off your May so far.

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Leave a comment