Katrina Cool Banana’s Guide To Juicing

I’m nearly three months into my ‘all-new’ healthy eating thing (imagine me doing jazz hands as I say that) and while I’m really happy about all of the junk that I’m not putting into my gob, I’m aware that I need to be better at putting super healthy things in there. We’ve been eating lots more vegetables but something I really want to try is juicing. However I don’t know the first thing about which juicer to buy and what to do. So I asked my friend, fellow blogger and juicing pro – Katrina – for a beginner’s guide to juicing. So here’s her guest post for me – and check out her fab Cool Bananas Blog too! Over to Katrina…

Katrina Cool Bananas

Beginner's guide to juicing

Whether you want to juice for a detox, as an aid to slimming: or simply for a lifestyle boost to up your intake of those all-important 5-a-day fruit & veg portions, there’s no denying that juicing gets my seal of approval. In fact, it’s an integral part of my daily routine (along with being a toddler tamer). I suffer with several food allergies & malabsorbtions so for me juicing is a way to aid digestion function, increase my intake & absorption of essential vitamins & minerals, & besides they taste delish (honestly, they do!)

Have you toyed with the idea of juicing, but found it all rather baffling? Fear not! My mission today is to introduce you to this wonderful world & show you just how easy, tasty & fun it can be. Now, I’m known for rambling, so I’ll try my upmost to keep this short & sweet, to ease you in gradually.

The basics: What do I need?

1. A machine & compostable food waste bags (or similar). Don’t scrimp on this or, I can say from experience, you’ll be disappointed. Originally I purchased a cheap machine, it juiced badly & I spent far too long preparing food to feed through the tiny shoot. Admittedly the juicer market is highly saturated market so it can be tricky to choose one. My weapon of choice is the Sage Nutri juicer (if I had the money, I would most definitely invest in the next model up, the ‘pro’)

Ta Dah!

Juicing machine

Use a food compost bags to line the caddy-it’ll save you so much time, & there’ll be a hell of a lot less mess to faff with (ah, the great faff)

Lined Sage juicing caddy

 

2. Fruit. Some fruit will juice better than others – although it’s been reported that you can pretty much juice anything. But WHOA! Easy cowboy….don’t go spending large, buying up the entire fruit & veg section. Start slowly, just make a couple of juices: get the hang of your machine before you dive into the deep end & go cold turkey on food. If you decide to undertake a ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ (I do highly recommend these now & then) you’re far more likely to succeed by easing in gradually.

Which juices should I make?

Lets keep it simples (said like a meerkat), here are my three favourite juices:

Carrot, orange & ginger

4 carrots, 2 oranges & a slice of ginger. All blitzed through your machine on the high speed. This lot should give you at least 500-600 ml of juice (Carrot will juice surprisingly well). For fruit with skin, like orange, I advise you peel them. The result, if you don’t, is extremely bitter!

Carrot, orange and ginger Continue reading

Memories Of Being A New Mum

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

New mum

There are lots of things that remind me of having a small baby. The theme tune of Waybuloo. Walking past the church hall where Baby Sensory classes are held. The music that our baby monitor plays to soothe a child to sleep. The smell of fresh laundry. I cuddled my friend’s seven month old son today and he smelled of washing powder. It immediately transported me back to a time when we seemed to be endlessly washing baby clothes. Our washing machine often got a thrice-daily workout as we laundered muslins, vests, babygrows, bed sheets, t-shirts, pillow cases. You name it, we laundered it.

I distinctly remember walking into our kitchen one day (where our washing machine and clothes dryers live). My daughter must have been only a week old, and the warm damp air hit my face. It smelled – and felt – like an actual laundry! It was the strangest sensation, but no stranger than the whole new reality of being a mum to a tiny, wrinkly, yawning baby.

Another memory that always comes back to me is laughing to myself that our laundry had done from being lots of dark loads – jeans, black tops, dark dresses, black gym gear – to whites and pale pinks. Our drying racks were fit to burst with white muslins, white sleepsuits, pale pink sleeping bags, pale pink vests. We were those totally stereotypical parents of a daughter who had pale pink ‘everything’.

Now, our laundry drying racks look very different again. We’re back to the jeans, the gym clothes and our (nearly four year old) daughter’s wardrobe is filled with bright fun colours. Yes, there’s a bit of pink there, but there’s also red, green, purple, blue…

Our laundry

Our laundry

Continue reading

Baking With Kids: The Fantasy V The Reality

With another series of The Great British Bake Off here, it’s that time of year when I avidly watch each week, to see who will be crowned the Star Baker. Seeing them bake sponges, bread and pies, I think to myself: “I should bake more”. This is usually followed by a flashback to being in Home Economics class at school, aged 13, being scowled at by the teacher, Mrs Mackay, because my rock buns hadn’t turned out well (apparently my technique for making breadcrumbs with the mixture left a lot to be desired).

I may not be a Mary Berry in the making, but I do enjoy baking. And I love baking with my three-year-old daughter. At least, I love the idea of baking with her. But unfortunately, the fantasy of baking with her doesn’t always match up to the reality of baking with her. Here’s why…

The fantasy: We’re in a lovely clean kitchen (à la Bake Off) with sun streaming through the windows and upbeat music playing (let’s say Abba on this occasion).

The reality: It’s pissing it down outside (hence the need for an indoor activity), I haven’t had time to tidy the kitchen of the bills, free newspapers, paintings and random craft materials that clutter the surfaces and the three-year-old is demanding to listen to Justin Fletcher’s latest album as we bake. It takes me at least 20 minutes to faff around, getting the baking equipment out of the (very back of the) cupboards, locate the scales (where did I put them, again?) and work out how the flip I’m meant to line the cake tins before we can begin. Which means there are 20 minutes of “Can we start, Mum?” and “Muuummmmyyy! I want to bake cakes!” and “MUM! Stop doing that! I want to make a cake!”.

butter

The fantasy: My daughter helps me measure the ingredients while we laugh and joke about something funny. A bluebird probably flies in the window and lands on my shoulder.

The reality: I stress about allowing a three-year-old to cut butter with a knife, then as she struggles to get the butter off a spatula and into the scales, it goes flying off the spatula and lands on the floor. Flour goes everywhere. I say a lot of “When I say ‘stop’, you have to stop pouring, OK? Stop. STOP! I SAID STOP!”

The fantasy: We take turns stirring the mixture, seeing the dry ingredients and eggs/butter come together in a beautiful way. We sing along as we do it. Mr P wanders in and cheerfully asks if he can help.

The reality: The three-year-old gets bored stirring after ten seconds. I try to help. “NO Mum!” she says, giving it a half-hearted poke with the wooden spoon. Eventually I get the electric whisk out and use that, which leads to the three-year-old covering her ears and shouting, “It’s TOO NOISY!” Mr P comes in to find out what all the screaming is about. Continue reading

Bad Mums’ Club: So There’s A Chance I’ve Forgotten My Daughter’s Birth Weight…

baby-feet

There are certain things you store in your head, when you become a mum, aren’t there? Your child’s first word, the memory of that first time they laughed, how much they weighed when they were born…

Oh crap. What did my daughter weigh when she was born?

Yes, folks, my Bad Mums’ Club confession this month is that I have no idea what my child’s birth weight was. I can see you shaking your head in disbelief and rolling your eyes at how this could even be possible. The thing is, I definitely used to know her birth weight. It once roll off my tongue in a split second. I’d be sitting around with my NCT friends, small-baby-and-muslin on shoulder, discussing the colour of poo and what it means (sample chat: “Is bright yellow bad?”… “Oh it could be because he had his jabs this week…?”) and someone would casually ask what my daughter weighed at birth, and I’d just tell them.

But somewhere along the way, in amongst information about weaning and puree, Jumperoos and Mini Micro Scooters going IN to my brain, my daughter’s birth weight fell OUT of my brain.

Does this actually make me a bad mum, though? Do I need to know her birth weight? After all, I can look back at her birth and I know (despite my foggy Pethadine-induced haze) that I had to push an actual baby out of my vagina. I pushed a lot. Pushing her up and out was without a doubt the most mindbendingly surreal thing I have ever experienced – do I need to know the actual weight of the human I ejected from my body?

There’s something about your child’s birth weight, though, that seems IMPORTANT. Part of me feels like I’m admitting to not remembering when her birthday is (which PS I do know).

But I remember other things that, personally, I think are more important. Like the first time we sat and drew together and the first time she had her face painted (she was Spider-Man). I remember the moment I realised she is a genuinely funny person with the skill to make people laugh. I remember the first thunder storm she didn’t get scared by, standing by the open back door watching the rain and lightning. I remember the first time she recited the whole alphabet (me: “It’s zed, not zee!”) and when she counted all the way to 30.

And anyway, if I really want to know her birth weight, I can just look in her red NHS book, right? Oh hang on, I lost that… Continue reading

My PND Hangover

Hangover cure

We all know how to deal with hangovers, don’t we? Lots of water, a carb-loaded breakfast (bacon sarnie mmmm), a potassium-rich banana and crisps are my fail-safe tactics. If it’s really bad, flat Coke does the trick. Those kind of hangovers are few and far between for me, these days. Thankfully.

But one hangover I’m not sure how to deal with is my post-natal depression hangover. If my first year of motherhood was the banging night out with tequila shots and oversharing in a shouty manner, over loud cheesy music, then I’m currently in the day after the day after. You know that stage when you’re over the worst of it but the after effects are still with you – dry mouth, dull ache to the head, yawning lots and still swearing you’ll never drink again.

I still feel weird saying that I had post-natal depression, because I never saw a doctor about it, or even knew I was suffering from it, at the time. It was only last year (by which point my daughter was two) that it dawned on me. Every time I say it out loud to friends, I cringe, thinking they’re about to say, “Yeah, but you didn’t really suffer from PND did you?” Of course, I’m fairly sure they’re not really thinking that. But we (myself included) feel more ready to accept medical conditions when a professional has made the diagnosis. For obvious reasons.

But with something like this, sometimes you just know. It’s the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I felt for the first year of being a mum. I haven’t written about it a huge deal here but back in January, I wrote about it over on The Motherhood so do take a read. It was incredibly hard to write, as is this.

So back to my PND hangover. There are definite after-effects that I’m still feeling. If I’m totally honest, the main reason I currently have one child, rather than two or three, is the knot that still forms in the pit of my stomach when I remember having a small baby. When people ask me if I’ll have another (note to those people: Stop asking. It’s a rude and personal question) I make a flippant joke but inside I’m trying not to vomit. I’ve said to many a friend that if we do decide to have another child, I’ll be ready to sacrifice a year of my life (and sanity) for the greater win of extending our family. Isn’t that sad? That I see it as a sacrifice?

Another shockwave that is still being transmitted from that year is the amount of time I spend with my daughter. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m all ‘Woo for working mums!’ and I’ve written in the past about my decision to work full time. But the reality is that working full time when my daughter was 18 months old was a coping mechanism. I was so emotionally worn out from the year before, I couldn’t have dealt with days on my own with her. And now, nearly four years later, I’m still working full time. I see other mums work flexibly so that they can hang out with their kids, and the idea really appeals to me, until that knot in my stomach appears and I start to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope.

Which is crazy. Of course it is. Partly because I’ve got an amazing, bright, happy nearly-four-year-old now rather than a small baby. She’s so much fun to spend time with, and we have amazing fun every weekend. And partly because I’m not suffering from PND right now – I’m stronger and happier than I was back then. But that knot is there, quietly reminding me that I didn’t cope in my year at home during maternity leave. I really want to ignore it but it’s something I have to work towards, gradually.

I wish a bacon sandwich and flat Coke would make this hangover disappear.