Depressed, down and ready to dog out.

10431363_10154392801640241_530075619341810444_oMy last post was in April. I’m sorry .. I say this to myself mainly as I stopped doing something I loved .. actually around that time I stopped doing a lot of things I love.

Here are the facts .. battling constant pain and illness wears you down  – a lot. Especially when there is no certain answer. On the short, Crohns sucks .. I’ve just always maintained within my mind there is so much that could suck worse, but finding a ‘good’ recipe … constantly trying to be ‘good’ only to find next week that was ‘bad’ got old .. very old. Crohns keeps you guessing thats for sure.

Yet …

Top that with having to break away from those  who are meant to love you – ( yer the parentals) and I  guess you get a far less happy Cheryl? Actually you get a depressed one.  Just like many others, there are times I want to sit on the couch, eat something fried, maybe twice fried  ( I am Scottish ! ) and follow it up with ice cream embedded with some sort of cookie goodness ( Oreo is the preference ) and Orange is the new Black.. accompanied with a vodka and Irn Bru ( yes .. Scottish .. ) . Unlike others however it makes me sick, very sick. Confession – I haven’t looked after myself properly since May. Actually from the moment in May I decided that I could no longer be a part of my parents lives .. everything else fell apart. IT HAS BEEN DAMN HARD.  I don’t think I have even gone for a walk, let alone felt I needed to look after myself.

I love my parents despite everything .. and trust me this simply ain’t the forum ( despite my love for FB over-charing) to share ‘everything’ ; but May, in fact a certain early May evening, where shit just got too much made me say, STOP enough is enough. It was the most selfish, bravest, scariest moment of my life. It is now the 13th July, how did that happen .. ?! I miss my mother, I miss .. having family .. but I don’t miss the heartache and truthfully, whilst I harbour guilt, I think it is the best decision I made in a long time.  Yet, yes I am depressed. It feels all wrong.

I am lucky .. I have a loving ‘man-child’  ( meant in the most loving way ) of a fiancé who knows just when to hug me, make me laugh or be a silly sod who makes me feel like the grown up. His latest purchase was a star wars t-shirt .. how can you not love that ? His family are incredible – truly. His Dad gives the best hugs, and his mother well .. I don’t even know where to begin .. she loves me and I know it. How lucky am I ? Thats without even mentioning my beautiful Canadian family .. and truly they are gorgeous !! Yet I am depressed still ..

Early June and I figured enough was enough  and so I had to ask for help from the Gp .. only to be give a tablet that doubled my seizures … thanks. So here I am again sans any medication, feeling sad and deciding that is not good enough.

Its time to remember I deserve to live a nourished life on so many levels. Its time to make more change.

So ?!!

We are getting a puppy from some wonderful NSW breeders .. its been 2 years talking about it and a day ( last week ) of just doing ! Dates aligned and suddenly we have the most adorable responsibility arriving  on the 9th August … a darling male pugalier at that. Name ideas anyone ?

To say it has given me something positive ( despite a recent flu .. yawn ) to concentrate on is an understatement. I feel renewed in my journey to good health .. but after reading some of the crazy ingredients pre-made doggy food it has given me a new challenge too ! Watch here for more !

 

Photo is of my actual wee man !

 

Here is too walking the dog, focusing on good health for our whole family and continuing to work with a wonderful group of people. Life just got a lot more whole. xo

 

Spring Envy and Seafood Cravings.

Autumn has truly arrived in Adelaide … and despite my normally loving this time of year, I am not ready for it ! The clocks went back one week ago and I am not in to the dark nights; the weather has been broody … and half of Adelaide with it ! A late Easter isn’t helping me in get in to the cooler weather either; despite having spent many of my years now in the Southern Hemisphere I long to see buds on trees, lambs in the fields and hoards of roadside daffodils at this time of year. Besides that, Sam and I have spent the last two Easters in the Northern Hemisphere .. so it just all feels a little odd ! I have a serious case of Spring envy … thanks Pinterest ! Just a few more sunny alfresco Sundays Adelaide and then I promise to dust of the knitting needles, pop on the slow cooker and settle down with a nice cup of Chai !

So it is the 12th April today .. and not only does that mean we are finally getting our Irish on in the way of seeing Mrs Brown’s Boys tonight ( it has only been an 11 month wait ! ), it also means we are more than half way through our vegetarian challenge. Thus far I have not slipped … though I cannot stop thinking about my pan roasted Salmon, or tuna salad … or stir fried prawns (you get the idea! Sam has had one set back in the way of lamb skewers at a friends b’day bash last week  … but he managed to say no to his Mum’s roast lamb and gobble up the quinoa salad instead .. so I’m pretty proud ! I am all over the fritter bandwagon and will shortly do a post on just that .. but we have some exciting soups, like GK Stories Roast Tomato and chickpea ( add some chilli flakes and fennel to the mix – you will thank me ), baked mushrooms with spicy fries, quinoa salads … and seriously a large jar of Broccoli pesto made a solid 5 days of meals that more special. This week is going to be all about the veg curries .. and boy am I looking forward to it ! Recipes to come !

Two stand out things I have learnt … vegetarians need to be super organised if they want to not consist on a diet of cheese and eggs … and surprisingly Adelaide does not have an abundance of vegetarian restaurants ! Sure we have a few vego friendly … but if you want to find something more inspiring than the filo filled pastry or pasta dish you have to look hard .. I highly suspect it could get rather boring. It being date night last night Sam and I thus happened on our old-time fave GoodLife on Hutt St.. where their kale, porcini and taleggio special made my eyes light up .. as did their roast veg. Despite it being a bit of a wheat and dairy overload for me the all organic produce seems to even the playing field. YUM 🙂  Seriously though if Adelaide’s full-time vegetarians want a bit of excitement and not survive on pizza and pasta it seems they need to head for the central markets in the way of Bliss Cafe or Let them Eat … or Sam’s lunchtime saviour Veggie Velo.  A lot more clean eating friendly just not very romantic however …

Thus next few days will be gardening .. gotta get that garlic in. Scouring my new Darling Lemon Thyme book and venturing to the Farmer’s Market to get some veg for the coming week. Hope to get a few more photos and recipes up here in the coming week also. Till then …

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside that is greater than any obstacle.” Christian D Larson 

 

 

 

 

21 days to make a habit …

Yes it has been a while … but hey increased hours at work and the beckoning call of a milder Adelaide summer has had me a run a little ragged ! Not to mention some fun Fringe Festivities .. Really, I am in awe that today is the 1st of April ! How, may I ask are we in the fourth month of the year already? It feels like I just took my christmas tree down … well it did take a while to undecorate and dismantle all seven foot of it !

Seriously though Summer has been a mixed bag of new ventures, friendships, bumper crops of tomatoes, basil and zucchinis, booking loads of travel ( for others .. ) and a few relaxing Sundays with Rose and music. Its been up and down in the gut/joint department too (but I may be partially to blame here )… and thanks to further strata ‘levies’, I now simply refer to our savings account as the ‘s’ fund ! But hey I have had some fun in my absence from the blog. Yet last week, curled up on the couch and in the grips of a nasty flu, I realised how much I’ve missed it and hence I am back with a commitment to post each week ! Baby steps and all …

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But back to the fact it is now April… we are one month in to Autumn now, my absolute favourite month and in true Adelaide fashion we have had all sorts of weather … last week I had the heater on and was dreaming up pumpkin recipes and today is 31 and I’m thinking of raiding the rest of my summer veg patch to create a yummy vegetarian salad with help of the BBQ. Cause switching that oven on is just going to be too much !  And with that last comment finally I come to the point of todays post.

Sam and I are going vegetarian … for 21 days ! True this moment has been coming since I got my hands on GK Stories book last year, but its with great surprise that Sam is keen to join in .. almost excited in fact. True our diet over the last year has migrated to a much more plant based one … but no meat or seafood for 21 days, over 3 meals a day is going to be a feat, let me tell you. I confess I am not sure Sam will make it and I am already thinking of the best place for a seafood platter on 22/04 ! Yet I love goals, I love challenges and the idea behind 21 ? Well as the old saying goes, it takes 21 days to create a habit. No we are not going veg for life .. I couldn’t possibly give up my Salmon and Sam would perhaps wilt away … but the idea is to shake up our weekly meals and discover some great new recipes together.

Admittedly I had a small freak out Sunday when planning the weekly meals. After all I do most all of the cooking .. and what if I could not find fast, simple, clean recipes that are appropriately balanced and gentle enough on my stomach ?! In our house hold we love cheese .. it just doesn’t always love me … and Sunday morning all I was finding were cheese or gluten based vegetarian alternatives. GULP. I’d already put our challenge out there to friends, family and the universe ( since January ! ) .. so it was a commitment, but what to cook ?! Enter a blog I rediscovered just this morning … My Darling Lemon Thyme. One talented blogger and chef who has saved me, got me excited again and also given me an excuse to buy yet another cookbook ( released today .. ) !

Thus get your screens ready for the trials and tribulations of our 21 day challenge. My Pinterest page will be updated regularly with recipe ideas and I will pop even a few tried and tested recipes up here as well. We hope to discover as a few vegetarian/vegan friendly spots around Adelaide too. And last but not least, if you have any fav recipes or South Australian haunts for the vegetarian then I’d love to hear ?!

Till next time .. xo

 

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Resolving to love 2014.

Well a very Merry Christmas to all and I hope the year 2014 is kind to you 🙂 First a few seasonal shots ! Then a few seasonal thoughts …

I started this Blog for various reasons, but principally it seemed a therapeutic exercise to take part in when things were looking somewhat low. I hoped it would keep me mindful to what is important and perhaps even inspire others to do the same. I think, despite it not being a consistent practice it has helped.  Truthfully the blogging world has opened up my mind and soul to what anyone can achieve .. and has offered a plethora of support and information when both natural health practitioners, doctors and specialists seemed to give me consistently conflicting information !

Now that the doors of 2013 have well and truly closed, I find myself packing away all our Xmas cheer and truly reflecting on the year that has passed. It was a tough year financially, medically and subsequently emotionally. The ups and downs have taken its toll, but I have learnt so much about myself, others and what really matters. Over all I am grateful for what 2013 has taught me and whilst you won’t find me wishing for another year like the last; I am proud of my perseverance and come away with an understanding that healing is far more than the right doctor, right medication or diet. It is about family, friends, love, dreams and adventures. We should wake up each day expecting that something wonderful will happen. No ailment should define us.

Thus I begin 2014 with a strong resolve to make it a happy year, no matter what challenges the universe offers up – I want to dream big and aim for the stars in all aspects of my life. Like so many others I have my resolutions and plans. Sam and I made ours together this year and it was lovely to know we were on the same page. Career takes a strong place in Sam’s as he goes for a promotion, but as I return to more hours at work it also plays a strong part in mine. I am excited to where our careers may take us in 2014. Of course health and fitness is a strong focus and I look forward to our joint Yoga classes ( I am hoping Sam likes it as much as me ! ), continuing to make and eat healthy, locally sourced food. Most of all we will cherish each other and our nearest and dearest more. In 2014 we will be more mindful. We haven’t booked a big trip for the year ( unusual ! ), there is no wedding date set as yet, however I feel more ready and excited about the next 12 months than many of those past! Perhaps it is all about head space ?!

Forgive yesterday, be mindful of today and dream of tomorrow.

So in a final hoorah to the year that was I’ve listed just a few of my favourite things 🙂 Perhaps they may inspire your 2014 ?!

Favourite Things of 2013

Green Kitchen Stories Blog and Book – by far the most inspiring and  family. With such beautiful stories, photographs and recipes I find myself all too often whipping up one of there creations in my kitchen and dreaming of Sweden !

The Healthy Chef – Teresa Cutter – the women who taught me how to bake healthy treats and truly nourishing meals !

Sarah Wilson – I am still on the fence with the entire quitting sugar thing, even though my dietitian introduced the benefits of fructose free to an unheathly gut 12 months ago, I’m not a fan of eliminating anything from your diet entirely. However I do find her story inspiring and her outlook refreshing.

Kikki K – Inspiring , fantastic and simply just pretty 🙂

All things Lorna Jane .. what a women !

Pinterest – honestly its a visual utopia .. and a great distraction/motivator !

Our adventures in New York and amazing getaway in Sydney .. because Travel truly does enrich the soul !!

And last but not least Family and Friends – 2013 was the first time I held my niece and nephew – the two most gorgeous Canadian/Aussies around .. and that has to be one mega highlight !!!

Love and peace to all – and a very Happy New Year xo

A Joint Affair …

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The blogging world has had to take a side step for me the last 2 months … as has the yoga and a lot of my experimental hours in the kitchen. I don’t mind telling you it has been one tough trot .. with a way to go. Still I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and I am back writing, reading and learning new ways to reach my goals. Despite it having been an overly emotional few months full of financial and medical challenges I feel I have come out the other end more determined than ever to achieve that healthy, successful lifestyle. This too shall pass.

Like most I have my bad days and good days; those times when goals and dreams give way to self doubt and pity. Yet truthfully there are few things that truly terrify me and leave me wondering how to cope. My recent $800 electricity phone bill is one of them (!) , my sometimes apparent lack of control over my health can prove another, but mostly I dust myself off, pick myself up and get on with it. I put this down to a damn good read gifted to me many years ago in difficult times and the fact that I honestly believe that we can change almost anything in our own lives. Sure the washing machine will go at the same time as the mobile phones and epic strata and car maintenance bills will coincide. Such is life … scream, sob and then re-evaluate, set goals and regain perspective. If it is not life or death it is really not worth worrying too hard about.

But folks some times in life can be more mentally draining than others … and damn scary.

2 months ago my left elbow went dry, scaly and discolored (purple ) … then a week later my left elbow did the same and suddenly I found myself barely able to bend my fingers or knees … simple tasks like walking, bending down or even cutting a loaf of bread had me looking ( and feeling ) like someone much more my senior. There was a trip to emergency when so much as bending my left elbow left me in agonizing pain, there has been acupuncture, GP’s, blood tests ( and more to come ), steroids ( nasty ! ), anti-inflammatory drugs ( not good for a tummy as sensitive as mine ) and still we are playing around with the diagnosis. Viral counts are high, Vit. D is non-existent and after ruling out RA or Psoriasis it is back on the table according to the doctor.  It has proved a painfully emotional roller coaster that along with my digestive issues, has at times required a lot of that “chin up tiger” attitude.

The pain right now is manageable, and truthfully I am uncertain what has caused it to subside a little – god knows I have hit it with everything I have got. I’ve only managed one Yoga class .. but try for a daily walk no matter the pace. Exercise is so important to our well being and digestion after all ! The warmer weather here in Adelaide does seem to help a little – as does the epsom salt baths I take ( will share my ‘recipe’ here soon ). Sam and I still concurred our Sydney trip – despite my doubts and I cannot wait to share some of the pics and recommendations on here.

Yet for now I just wanted to say a big, HELLO – Blogging world I am back and despite a few battle wounds and a few more complications on this journey of mine, I am ok and will survive the latest too ! I will be focusing a lot on pain management and anti-inflammatory eating, and a newly found naturopath ( really what are nightshade vegetables … and Im a little scared of all this vega testing ?! ), but any advice, as always is welcome and received with gratitude !

Failures, Flukes and Fancies.

Now we are in August the promise of spring surrounds us here in Adelaide. Clothing stores are now filling their shelves with lighter fabrics in brilliant corals and pastels (yipee!), my almond tree blossomed for the first time on Sunday and my mind is beginning to fill up with spring time fancies. Whilst it isn’t quite time to say goodbye to the sneaky red wines, warming casseroles and knitted wear just yet … I find myself beginning to dream of long beach side walks, leisurely cycles, nourishing salads had alfresco and getting stuck in to some serious spring gardening. With spring comes hope – and daffodils !

First Almond Blossom !

First Almond Blossom !

This Winter has proved a wonderfully nurturing time for me. I have taken the last few months to really sit back and think about who I am, what I want and try to change things both inside and out in order to achieve a happier and much healthier me.  Of course there have been many failures, plenty of frustration, the odd successes and down right flukes. I find it very difficult to admit to failure – but let me just say I am not a squatter or a dedicated knitter ! I do love to cook and have discovered a love for new ingredients and recipes… but I am not there yet. I love yoga, but I am still very much the stiff amateur and the idea of becoming a runner …. is still very much that, an idea. I sometimes fail to remember that some foods are downright bad for my digestive health. Sometimes my body just fails, even when I think I’ve done it all right.

Guess what ? My greatest revelation in the last few months is to accept that I can fail. Without failure we cannot grow, learn and improve. Even the most talented of us fail on our road to success. It’s not to be ashamed of ! You cannot fail without trying .. so as long as I continue to try for that happier, healthier lifestyle there will be failures – and I accept them ! I fancy myself to be one day the dedicated Yogi, who shops weekly at farmers markets, runs charity marathons, cooks up deliciously healthy meals, creates artwork with the camera and travels freely and successfully through life. Here is to failure if it gets me there !

A key factor in shifting my attitude has been accepting that which occurs and focusing on turning it in to the positive. In the last week Sam has hit a Kangaroo and damaged the car and his back ( expensive and scary ! ), the dryer has broken, my stomach has went from good to bad and I had a less than successful work week. 6 months ago I would have been a mess of tears after a week like the this one. However, our normally high electricity bill was in credit (total fluke !), in light of the dryer we have decided to renovate the laundry and are finally getting a new washing machine with our tax return ( yes !! ), in a bid to help get the digestive system back on track I forgo Friday night’s creamy mash and discovered roasted cauliflower ( OMG – you must try this recipe ) and with budget/health in mind Sam and I finally visited the Adelaide Farmer’s Market on Sunday – check out the goodies !  🙂

Of course much of this positive outlook ‘stuff’ has been hard work ( and yes I some times fail ! ). A deliberate focus on reading blogs, magazines and books filled with inspirational messages, helpful information and people I aspire to has had a definite impact on my outlook and in turn overall health. I’ve made it a habit to talk to and surround myself with positive like-minded people and try to steer away from negative behaviors. In actively placing visual reminders around the home and yes even my recent time consuming obsession with pinterest ( you can follow me here – so much fun ! ) I can get back on the positive bandwagon even on the worst days. Slowly things are improving in the health department and I honestly feel this is of a direct result to me outlook. I plan to add a page to the blog sometime soon ( I have technical difficulties with blogging! ) with links to websites/blogs/books/people that have/are helping motivate and teach me. But this week it’s all been about Lorna Jane and her incredible pinterest boards ( see obsessed .. ), T2 Tea ( Chai and Tummy Tea = LOVE ) and using seasonal vegetables to create some simple nourishing meals.

I would love to hear about what is inspiring you to lead a positive and healthy life !

Love, travels and the road ahead …

Sam (the fiance) and I have begun sorting through our photo library of late with the idea that I can start posting my travel shots on here and also to endeavour to get a few more on our walls at home! It has been so amazing to reflect on the journeys we have been on together and remember that even though I have often traveled with health issues in tow we have experienced, concurred and eaten our way through many a continent. It is a re-energising and inspiring experience to de-clutter our travel pics and have only the best shots and moments left to remember.

Of course before Sam and I met one another we had done a great deal of travel (and living) overseas already. Work often offers us (namely Sam .. ) opportunities to travel without one another too. Yet somehow it is those adventures we have experienced together that resonate the most. I guess when you find that special person seeing the Empire State building for the first time or defying death zip-lining through Thai jungles without them alongside, simply isn’t the same. It’s kind of a odd feeling when you realise this. Before meeting Sam I was one independent lass, destined to never settle down and to lead the gypsy life! I suppose that means I have met my travel soul mate …

Our love for adventure and need to document it complement each other. Sam is the map reader, I am (being the foody and art fiend) the avid lonely planet reader. My incessant need to ride a bike with a basket (and bell !) has seen us almost hit by a Parisian bus, frozen  soaked to the bone in Vancouver and following complete strangers aimlessly through Amsterdam’s canals. Our jobs have us cram in the must dos, but we so often will have a whole day of wanderlust in each new place. We walk everywhere we can. From hostels, to castles, to six star plunge pool bungalows we’ve stayed there. I always need a market, Sam a roller-coaster.

Course there has been some disasters too …broken toes, mystery rashes, infected wounds, wrong airports(another post maybe), cars without headlights and that’s just naming a few .. but now most of these are just funny stories to share.

Yesterday was Sam’s 35th birthday and after an afternoon seizure (in the work toilets non-the less) I simply was not up for our planned evening out together. Yes I spoiled him with gifts and kisses and a night in with some good Thai takeout was fun … but I felt I’d let him and US down. Now as I write this I see this is just another phase of our journey together; another adventure.

I have actively made the decision to not book another overseas holiday for a while – namely because we need to save for a wedding (or in my mind an epic round the world wedding/honeymoon).Yet also because I want to be in that much healthier and happier place when we next set out on an overseas adventure. There is so much of the world to experience together and I cannot wait, but for now my energy is all on living actively, enjoying each moment and getting well. It’s nice to have my travel soul mate along for the journey  … xo

PS. We are exploring Sydney together in September … can’t leave it too long between plane rides.