Category Archives: Health

The Best Laid Plans…

My slow stitching plans for the week didn’t really get off the ground. Instead, I have spent my time looking after a poorly 10 year old boy. Thankfully, he’s starting to feel better now. As always, when someone in the house is ill, we took the opportunity to watch The Princess Bride.

It’s always good for taking your mind off things 🙂

At least I did manage to finish off this star. It’s number 33. Maybe today, I will even find time to press it and take the middle papers out haha!

hexagon star number 33

Do pop over to Kathy’s Quilts and see what other slow stitchers are up to this week.

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Let’s Talk About This Shit!

If you didn’t know, Monday 19th November is World Toilet Day. According to the World Toilet Day information brochure, “This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and to raise awareness of the daily struggle that a staggering 2.5 billion people face”. I figured it would be good to break the taboo with my children and really talk about this shit. I think the fact that they got to use the word “shit” several times helped to engage the kids with this particular learning topic (!) but nevertheless, I think they found it really eye opening. We watched several videos together, and talked about them. This one is a beautifully presented short film showing the construction of a tippy-tap – a low tech but ingenious solution used to enable hand washing in less developed countries:

The boys were also very taken with Jack Sim of the World Toilet Organization, giving a TED talk here:

We then made posters, stating what our reasons were for giving a shit:

viv gives a shit
gman gives a shit
waif gives a shit

I’m not sure the boys’ illustrations of steaming piles of poo were *strictly* necessary, mind you!

And afterwards, mama added her voice to the petition, which calls on all decision makers to: “to keep their promises to take action to end the sanitation and water crisis, and work towards providing safe sanitation, good hygiene and clean water for all.” You can sign the petition here.

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Swimming: 26 Lengths Front Crawl

I am very proud of Gman 🙂

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Herbalists in Training

I wrote in this post “One of the advantages of homeschooling is that you can make sure your kids get an education in the things that really matter.” In that instance, I was talking food. This time, I am talking health. I think it’s important for the boys to learn ways of safeguarding their health, and the ability to treat minor ailments themselves without needing pharmaceuticals as a first line of treatment. To that end, we have been working through Lesley Tierra’s book “Kids Herb Book: For Children of All Ages”. The boys have enjoyed making various herbal teas and potions (lemon balm tea was the favourite). They also had a go at some “natural root beer”:

root beer (3)

Unfortunately the verdict was a unanimous “yuck!!”

The “real marshmallows” were more of a success – edible, if a little weird 😉

marshmallow instructionsreal marshmallows

To consolidate their learning, both Gman and Waif have created lapbooks detailing the different herbs. They sat outside in the sunshine this week assembling their books. Here’s Gman working on his:

g assembles lapbookg enjoys stickingg sticks in garlic

And Waif:

r colours herbsr pleased with herbsr enjoys sticking

And the obligatory “pose with your latest lapbooks” photo 🙂 :

boys show off lapbook

I think they did a great job, and hopefully they will refer to what they have learnt in years to come too!

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Hot & Smoky Barbecue Sauce

I like a blob of sauce on the side of my plate as much as the next girl.  What I don’t like is all the rubbish that goes into commercial sauces.  For example, this is the ingredient list for a supermarket own brand barbecue sauce:

Tomato Puree,Glucose-Fructose Syrup ,Spirit Vinegar ,Black Treacle ,Dijon Mustard ,Soy Sauce ,Modified Maize Starch ,Roasted Barley Malt Extract ,Spices ,Flavouring ,Salt ,Onion Powder ,Garlic Powder , Sweetener (Sucralose) ,Celery Extract. ,Dijon Mustard contains ,Water ,Mustard Seed ,Spirit Vinegar ,Salt. ,Soy Sauce contains ,Water ,Soya Bean ,Wheat ,Salt.

Hmmm, so the second ingredient is glucose-fructose syrup (otherwise known as high fructose corn syrup – worse for you than sugar).  Yuck.   Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough there’s another delicious toxin, masquerading as a sweetener – sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda).   Not exactly the sort of thing I want to eat, and especially not something I want to feed my children.

So, what’s a girl to do?  Why – make my own barbecue sauce, of course!  Life may be too short to stuff a mushroom, but it’s not too short to rustle up some barbecue sauce to go with your home made burgers.  It’s easy peasy.   Here’s how:

Take these ingredients:

150ml tomato puree

150ml organic cider vinegar

125ml honey

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika (if you only have regular paprika, use this but add some chilli powder too, for a bit more kick)

salt (I like my pink Himalayan salt)


Plop your ingredients in the saucepan.  Stir.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve.  Yep, that’s it!  Told you it was easy peasy.

dinner with bbq sauce

Use some straight away and chill some down for the rest of the week.  As you can see from the pic, I served mine with burgers and roasted veg, then we had it again later in the week as a dip, and also as a topping for pizza.  Yum yum.

I am sharing this post as part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.

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Moons, Menstruation, Mould and Media

Ooh, I do like a bit of alliteration 😉

So…lots of you health-conscious, social-media connected ladies will have seen this blog post about a mouldy tampon, right? I saw it, shared by Feminine Wear on a well known social media site, and decided to post it to my wall. This is the conversation that ensued (no names):

D: havent used them since a teenager ,a doctor once told me if all women could see what he saw in examinations,e.g mouldy remnants left behind internally,women would never use them.

Me: OK, I’m convinced!!

J: ‎Viv you need a moon cup.

Me: Think you’re right J – I do have washable pads but supplemented with tampons on heavy days cos not been brave enough for mooncup lol. This might be the motivation I need tho!

P: That is truly shocking. Kotex attitude stinks! How can they even pretend that selling a mouldy tampon presents no risk? Gross!

T: Too much information thanks Viv!

P: Women have become too afraid to talk about their own bodies. Why? I don’t think this is too much information at all. Thanks for posting x

T: I think the male friends of Viv may disagree with you!

D: they should man up then

Me: What she says 😉

So, who is right?  Is sharing such things in a place where male friends might potentially read them in bad taste, insensitive, “too much information”?  As you can see I sided with a friend who considers that such a man should “man up”.  To me, this is an important health and social issue and I don’t think it should be swept under the carpet.  And if that means sharing information about my personal choice of menstrual solution then so be it. Men are also fathers, husbands, healthcare professionals…I hope they wouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed or shocked to read about – SHOCK HORROR! – menstrual pads!  And maybe they might talk to the women in their lives about what products they use, and what health risks these might potentially involve.   And that’s where I stand.

On the subject of menstruation, my lovely friend Motherfunker of Feet on the ground and head in the clouds blog recently gave me the gift of Lucy H Pearce’s book “Moon Time”

I haven’t had chance to properly read it yet, but it seems to be a really positive book, with lots of idea for women to get in touch with their bodies and their menstrual cycles. I will try and do a proper review when I’ve read it, but figured that this was a good time to mention it!

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