This Blog started back in 2011 when I was fed up with my Mum’s repetitive Cancer diagnosis, and I wanted to understand what made us truly ‘well’. I wrote a whole bunch of ideas down, and posted them on here, about things that I experienced in my own personal health journey. Over time, I became more in tune with my own body and listening to it’s delicate voice. In many ways, this search evolved into something much deeper for me. A passion was born, but I didn’t know which form it was going to take. In 2013 my gorgeous Mum lost her very brave and what seemed an everlasting battle. After her passing, an incredible grief was upon me, and yet I did not have time to fully sit in this feeling and experience it because I soon found out that I was soon to be come a mother myself. Accepting that I would become a ‘Motherless Mother’ in such a small space of time is something I still think about and has taken a long time to fully accept.
Fast forward 5 years, life is very different to where I ever thought I would be.
I now have 2 beautiful children who I am incredibly grateful for. Despite some challenging circumstances over the past few years, they continue to keep me grounded and have taught, me so much. And they are literally the reason I rise everyday! It’s fair to say that the older they get, the exhausting physical challenges of being a Mum to two young ones, is replaced by more quality time, exploring the world with them and I feel so lucky to be their Mum. It is my favourite role out of all the hats I wear.
I haven’t had much time to put my thoughts down the past few years, but now as the storms around me seem to have settled I feel a bit more steady, I feel confident again to write on here. To carve out some space for me. So, what does that looks like? If I had to sum it up, it would be everyday happiness. My Mum used to say “Life is what happens while we are busy making plans”.
I haven’t written about grief before. It is such a huge emotion and has consumed so many hours of the past few years of my life. Sometimes I did not even know what it was but it was there. I have thought about it a lot. Felt it immensely. And in the past 12 months incredibly so.
Today marks 4 years since my beautiful Mum died. But for me it is doubly hard as it’s also 7 years today since I got married. Double whammy. My mother died on my wedding anniversary which in some way I wonder if she knew? Since he and I are no longer, today is feeling like the hardest day of the year from me…so many raw wounds reopened, so many memories come flooding back. I remember much of the fateful day 4 years ago when the doctors said there was ‘no more’ they could do and saying goodbye. Although we didn’t really say goodbye, we still thought we were going to beat it right until the end. It had been a long battle for her, and so very trying on all of us. Yet my mum never complained. Can you imagine the agony and anxiety she felt day after day? It overwhelms me to just think about it. Those long lonely nights in hospital, the beeping machines, the nurses in the ICU and the rounds and rounds of tests and needles and just everything about it all. It really defined her life for so many years. I spent something like 79 days straight visiting her in the hospital – doing what little I could to ease her suffering. Bringing in home made green smoothies, foot massage, watching TV together, chatting to doctors, and talking about life and planing the future together. I was very lucky to have had the time to spend with her and although I’m sad she didn’t get to meet my kids, I try hard to look to the positives of her passing before they were born. I certainly would not have had the time to spend with her in the hospital had the children been around.
I have been feeling a bit down lately, and I listened to a podcast that told me a cure for depression is gratitude, so today I want to be be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life! I’ve been able to experience the most profound joy and happiness with the births of my two glorious children, who really, are the epitome of my mum. Happy, cheeky, smiley, love life, love people, make the room smile whenever they walk into it and every time I look at their blue eyes, I see her. My daughter Olivia has a profound likeness of my mum, and I do think part of the soul of my mum is in her. I constantly think I ‘wish mum was here’, but then I look at Olivia and say ‘here she is’! My beautiful children, you are my grief tonic.
So grief, somedays you may be like a wave and completely overtake me, but as time goes on I realise that life can co-exist alongside you. I can swim in your ocean. These days, there is more space now to breathe, and function along-side you. You do not control me. I go on everyday with the thought in mind that ‘this too will make me stronger’ and if I could even be as strong for 5 minutes as my mum was in all those lonely years with her illness, then I will forever be grateful for that gift.
All 3 major things in my life have changed since then.
I now have 2 gorgeous kids who are one and three years old respectively, my mum isn’t here anymore and most recently my husband and I have separated. They are some pretty substantial and ground-breaking changes. And I am now at a complete point in my life where I am wondering what does my future look like, and where is my life is going to go….???
It’s so scary, it makes me nervous, it feels incredibly hard and lonely and it makes me so sad….but I also know deep down that I need to work through these feelings. I need to process all of the loss, and somehow carve out a new future. And in many ways there is great excitement with that. How blessed I am to have the opportunity to recalibrate my life with so much love and friendship holding me up.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted properly or with any regularity here…the past 3 years have seen me lose my mum, become a mum twice over, and adjust to all that in between raising two kids and supporting my husband and finishing off my Institute of Integrative Nutrition Course. I must confess there hasn’t been a lot of time to ‘Nurture’ this Mother in between the chaos and fun that is life! I first started writing this blog as I became fascinated with health and wellness and wanted to understand what really made us feel truly ‘well’. And what I could do to support my mum as she was facing a tough cancer battle.
It helped plant the seed for so much of my own personal discovery into health and wellness, and what I could do to really thrive and feel great, not just survive. It seems everyone is busy, everyone is ‘time-poor’ and although we are working harder than ever we are sicker than ever and more exhausted than ever. Dr Libby (drlibby.com) has been a long time mentor for me and it doesn’t surprise me that her game-changing book “Rushing Women’s Syndrome” still dominates shelf space. I’m proud in hind-sight of how relevant the title of this blog was as Mother Nurture. Like most busy Mum’s I don’t have a lot of spare time but I hope to be able to share some interesting thoughts and article links with you here.
I’ve recently become a mum for the second time, and I can honestly say with all my heart I have never been happier in my life. Sure there are some things that I wish were different in my world, the main one being that I wish my mum was here to hold my beautiful new baby girl, and to see my gorgeous little boy and how wonderful these children are, but another part of me knows that she IS with me every moment, and that the reason they are so wonderful is because of her influence. Over me as child and teaching me how to mother, and now as her spirit guides me on how to nurture my gorgeous babies. As I look at my two sleeping children, my 20 month toddler on the monitor as he has his day time nap, and my new baby girl asleep in her bassinet I have to pinch myself at how lucky I am. Some say you make your own luck, maybe you do, but I feel so grateful for this gift that is motherhood. There is so much written about how hard it is, and motherhood itself has become such a competitive sport that there is always a new ‘way’ to parent. But I wanted to take the time to remind myself how incredibly wonderful it is and how incredibly happy my children make me. I realise it is not everyone that feels this and it is not everyone who finds it so ‘easy’ so to speak…but I find incredible comfort in being a Mum, and when I follow my instincts it seems so natural and unforced. The happiest of things are the simplest of things. The little kiss my son gives his baby sister, the little look of recognition from my 2 week old when I talk to her, the feeling of content as the four of us sit in bed in the morning, me feeding my daughter and my son watching on, my husband beside me, and the feeling inside me that we made these little people is so incredible and rewarding. It’s a lovely sunny day here, before his nap toddler has been playing happily on his own outside in the garden for what feels the first time ever and as they rest I wanted to take a moment to celebrate this happy feeling, and enjoy it. We are often too quick to feel a moment and move on to the next one and not enjoy it for all that it is. These incredibly simple little people in our lives can teach us so much and offer so much wisdom. As I said in the title, today I am jut feeling ridiculous amounts of happy and I wanted to share this lovely feeling and remind myself of this when other days don’t feel so bright.
I take this name from its creator, a long time favourite Blog of mine to follow – My New Roots. Sarah has made it famous, but I feel that I must share this incredibly wonderful and delicious recipe with you. In Sarah’s words: “It took me a long time to settle on the title for this post. Why? Because it’s quite a statement to suggest that a humble loaf of bread will change your life. I am willing to be so bold.”
I can’t explain why this bread is so good, and why it is so life-changing but when there are so many things you “can’t” eat, it’s refreshing when you come across something so delicious and fulfilling that you enjoy making and sharing. All the ingredients are things I know are good for me and that I love consuming so to put them all together into a dish and call it bread…it’s just pure genius! I adore the fact too that I can now also create an open sandwich with some of my favourite toppings with this bread, for an easy and quick lunchtime snack. And, the fact that my little boy loves it, even when he was 9 months old and just working our solid food, is even more testament to me that it’s the right food for our family. Now that’s he’s 14 months, when I pull it out of the oven in the morning his eyes light up and he can demolish a whole piece within 5 minutes!
Makes 1 loafIngredients:
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats (I buy gluten free oats)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml waterDirections:
1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.
2. Preheat oven to 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
(I sometimes use quinoa flakes in place of the rolled oats, you just need to add about 1/2 cup more water for absorption.)
As I have discussed here, I have been on a journey where I ‘quit sugar’ over two years ago. Since then I can’t believe how much better I feel, not trapped in the sugar highs and lows of life. I’m so much less ‘foggy’ in the head and have also lost inches all over. I don’t tolerate dairy or gluten so sometimes trying to find a delicious dessert or treat that tastes good but fulfills all of our food ‘intolerances’ is a bit tricky. But this cheesecake however fits the bill. It is easy to prepare in your food processor or Thermomix, and packs a punch when presented with fresh berries at a dinner party!
1 &1/2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 cup cashews
10 medjool dates, seeds removed
2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 & 1/2 cup cashews (I cover these with water and soak overnight)
1 cup full fat coconut cream*
4-5 tablespoons rice malt syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Large handful or blueberries or raspberries to mix it up.
Place the base ingredients into your thermo /food processor and blend at high speed until the mixture resembles a fine crumb. Press the mixture firmly into the base of a spring form pan.
Place in the fridge to set while you make the top.
Drain the cashews that have been soaking and place them into your food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut cream and blend at high speed. Add another tablespoon of the coconut cream, scrape the mixture back onto the blades and pulse again. You want to get this as smooth as possible. I typically add another tablespoon of the cream and give it one more pulse before moving on to the next step.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Pour the mixture onto your base and place in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours to set.
You can make this cake in advance and simply remove it from the freezer around 20 – 30 minutes before slicing and serving.