A Flexitarian Tricenarian…easy for you to say!

Food glorious food! As part of my MetamorphoMum transformation I’m going to have to start thinking about diet, aren’t I. This is the last year of my thirties, I can put it off no longer. To be fair, I’m a firm believer that what we eat affects the way we feel, how much energy we have and how we function generally. Unfortunately, me being a firm believer of something doesn’t always mean that I pay any attention to myself. I eat too much sugar (in chocolate form mainly), I snack at my desk far too often and I don’t eat nearly enough fruit & veg. This ensures I stay podgier than a baby yoga teacher should be and often with the energy of a failing sloth. Sound familiar?

Recently I’d been hearing good things about a new independent business working from a small shop in South Liverpool. As well as organic fruit and vegetables, Root 22 sells spices, grains, nuts, seeds and fresh juices. They also deliver fresh fruit and veg boxes to houses across Merseyside at no extra cost and offer a discounted subscription service. Like I said, I don’t eat enough fruit and veg, perhaps a shop like this could be a way to improve my diet…also my mum’s just said I could have her spare spiralizer. Spiral food – I’m sold!

So last week, being as the (not yet quite spring) sun was shining like a good’un and making me feel chirpy, I decided to head over to Root 22 to grab some lovely fresh produce. L was excited to go and dressed herself in bright spring clothes, accessorised with bejewelled sunglasses and a monogrammed mini tote bag. Honestly, that girl likes to dress to impress at all times…the slogan on her sweatshirt is very apt – ‘Sparkle wherever you go!’ I need to take lessons from her.

At the store, Gary the owner couldn’t have been more helpful. We chose some beautifully fresh produce including some carrots which were straight from the ground, a bright yellow courgette, some vibrant green broccoli, a bunch of bananas and a sweet, rosy apple. The experience of visiting the store was great for L. She got to see the vivid colours, smell the smells and even feel the fruit and veg minus plastic wrapping. She watched intently as Gary weighed our items and then she squeezed them into her tote bag (or ‘toad’ bag as she kept mistakenly calling it). I think it’s nice for kids to have a chance to see stuff like this. To understand where our food comes from and what it looks like in its natural form.

Our visit to Root 22, seeing all of that colourful goodness, really inspired me to think about the meals I cook at home. I don’t really eat a lot of meat to be honest, not for any real reason, ideology or belief – I guess I’m just not a big meat eater. The idea of flexitarianism appeals to me though, both for reasons of health and also in reducing my carbon footprint. Right now I definitely don’t get the best out of natural ingredients like vegetables, pulses and beans etc. (beans, corn and coleslaw from KFC count though, right? 😆). Luckily this blog is all about fresh starts! I just ordered myself a new cookbook that might help give me a kick up the bottom to start eating more healthily and include more fresh and plant based ingredients. The book is called ‘The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between’. I’ll try some recipes out and let you know how they go on this blog.

Maybe, if I like the recipes, I’ll be able to call myself a flexitarian tricenarian! Well, until I hit forty next year and become a flexitarian quadragenarian 😱 – Is there a name for one of those who eats mainly spiralized foods? 

A Birthday Manicure & Revelatory Chat – the Social Side of Beauty Treatments

I very rarely visit beauty salons, I guess I’ve sort of thought of them as places other people go and not me. As we’ve established, I haven’t always prioritised my own appearance since becoming a mum and I suppose, in turn, that can create a bit of a vicious cycle of feeling a little nervous and not quite glamorous enough to visit them. I’ve also been guilty of viewing treatments as things we get done before big events and not just as part of a general beauty regimen…prime example, a pre-holiday wax and tan. The thing is though, I’m MetamorphoMum now *dons fluttery cape*, so things are different…plus, it was my birthday this week so I decided to take the plunge and book in somewhere for a little treat.

Being somewhat out of the beauty loop, I canvassed my more groomed looking friends on Facebook as to which venue they thought I should select. They sagely suggested I try a place in South Liverpool called Lifestyle Collective. I have to admit, I was mostly intrigued by the name at first. I liked the feelings of togetherness and collaboration that it conjured up in my mind…also, ‘collectives’ are all the rage at the moment if the recent happenings on the UK political scene are anything to go by 😆. Yep, Lifestyle Collective – I liked the sound of it…and so it was that I booked an appointment for the morning of my 39th birthday. Then when the day came, off I popped to Allerton Road for a luxury manicure and an eyebrow shape!

Lifestyle Collective is a beautiful, light and welcoming nail spa with a contemporary, almost Scandinavian feel. The exceptionally comfortable armchairs used for treatments certainly have more than a touch of hygge about them. The spa offers a wide range of treatments for nails as well as various waxing options and eye treatments. In addition to this, there’s a huge table for customers to enjoy offerings from the cafe menu. I know from a friend that the venue also hosts workshops and events as well as catering for private groups of friends who fancy a pamper evening, together (there’s that word again).

My treatments at Lifestyle Collective were fantastic, I’d recommend them – I especially loved the manicure. The sun was shining outside so I chose a lovely, fresh green colour as a nod to spring. The manicure I’d opted for included a luxurious hand massage which was so relaxing, especially as I sat back in those comfortable cushioned, chairs (with the weight off my broken foot), sunlight filtering in at the windows, soft music in the background. I could almost start to feel like a new woman…a woman who visits beauty salons when she doesn’t even have a wedding to attend!

As fantastic as all of the above was, it was another kind of magic that happened at Lifestyle Collective that morning that really made me feel refreshed and re-energised. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was a wee bit revelatory. Let me try to explain.

In the comfy chair next to mine, also having her nails done, was a lady I’d never met. She was having a chat with the technician who was performing her manicure and I gathered she’d visited before. After a little bit, being the nosey beggar I am, I joined in their conversation. I can’t remember how it started, I think we were talking about her grandkids or something like that. It was what happened over the course of the next hour that really gave me a spring in my step – that was, we talked. It sounds like nothing when I type it here but I mean we really talked. We talked about politics, people-power, family, work, business, kids, dogs, yoga, education, attachment theory in child development (a subject about which her expertise and experience was fascinating) and plenty more. We were interested in the same things and we even discovered that we’d worked for the same local borough at one time. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from our interaction and I felt that we’d made a genuine human connection.

This fellow customer and I talked even after our treatments were complete and the lovely staff allowed us to continue. There was no rush from them, they understood. You see, Lifestyle Collective aims (and succeeds in my opinion) to be more than just a nail spa – it’s a place for customers to relax, unwind and spend quality time with friends, whilst enjoying excellent treatments over locally sourced cake and drinks. It’s a place to connect and feel connected. No wonder they use the word ‘collective’ in their name. This concept, of a beauty salon as a place of social interaction, closeness and human connection, had honestly never occurred to me before. I’d literally never even considered it as one of the benefits, focusing rather on how the treatments themselves made me feel. This unexpected conversation with a stranger altered my perspective. I get it now. I’ve realised that people visit places like Lifestyle Collective for more than just a manicure, a bikini wax or an eyebrow tint…it’s about the whole experience and a big part of that is the quality time spent bonding with others in a calming environment.

I’m all in – I’ve booked to go back next week!

Disclaimer: I have no evidence that the lady from this post didn’t go home to her husband and say “My goodness, I was trying to have a relaxing manicure this morning at my usual place and some girl in there wouldn’t shut up!” 😆🙈

LOL Dolls, Green Smoothies and Friendship

Is your home an explosion of LOL dolls and gaudy plastic LOL paraphernalia like mine? If you have a young child of the female variety, or perhaps a niece, cousin or granddaughter, you’ll probably have come across this phenomenon. They’ve been a craze for ages now, perhaps not to 80’s Cabbage Patch levels of insanity, but not far off. L absolutely LOVES them…my purse does not share her enthusiasm.

The dolls (pronounced L. O. L. by the way, lest a five year old take the piss out of you for calling them lol dolls) come in a variety of series, the latest being the ‘Makeover Series’ #Hairgoals (perhaps I could get some style tips!) and come as a hidden surprise inside packaging. This means that you never know which one your sixteen quid 😱 will get you until it’s been ripped open. If your little darling gets one they’ve already had before, your role is to force a smile and try to convince them (over the sound of their racking sobs and your plummeting bank balance) that they now own twins, or triplets, or quadruplets…etc etc etc.

The dolls are brightly coloured or glittery and have sassy names to appeal to little girls, like ‘Queen Bee’, ‘Daring Diva’ and the elusive ‘Punk Boi’. I got to thinking, I wonder what would my LOL name be…? I’d like to imagine it would be something cool like ‘Glamstronaut’, ‘Funky QT’ or the intelligent ‘P.H.D.B.B’ (actual doll names), but it wouldn’t – I rather suspect it’d be something more like “Windolene BB’, ‘Pyjamas on at six o’clock Queen’ or ‘Outgrown Roots Babe’ 😆

Anyway, the reason I’m giving this ‘masterclass’ on kids toys is because, believe it or not, they gave me a bit of an idea towards my quest for self-improvement and wellbeing. You see, the LOL dolls in the MetamorphoMum household have their own café that they visit with friends daily. I like to think of it as a quirky, independent establishment that sells green smoothies and accepts Colu. L insists it’s a Costa. Whilst observing the social interactions of these brightly coloured pieces of plastic in their local independent coffee shop/Costa branch it occurred to me, they’re living their best life – I want me some of that! I immediately messaged a friend and arranged a catch-up over coffee.

Always from Mason Jars!

I’ve always known that spending time with friends is great for the soul and especially if there’s food and drink involved. The Mental Health Foundation states that friendships are crucial in protecting mental health. I don’t see my friends often enough though. Like all mums, we lead busy lives full of school runs, work, household chores, family, afterschool activities and all the usual stuff. Sometimes I can be a bit introverted and sometimes I’m just skint from being mugged for LOL dolls. Often, days turn into weeks and weeks into months before we can manage to coordinate our diaries just to have a brew together. My friends are great though so I think it’s important that the first step on my MetamorphoMum journey includes them. I’m going to make a resolution to spend more time with them, in quirky independent coffee shops over green smoothies or in Costa’s over a hot chocolate, I don’t honestly mind where!

What, no squirty cream!

After my LOL cafe inspired revelation, my friend and I spent a wonderful afternoon together (in a Costa 😆) chatting about our kids, laughing about anything and everything and even discussing wellbeing, get us! I confided in her about this blog and she immediately (before even having laid eyes on it) became my biggest cheerleader. Meeting up with my lovely, kind, funny friend over coffee was a brilliant tonic and gave me a spring in my step for the rest of the day. Feeling connected helps us to realise that we are not alone, we can face anything that this life chucks at us – bring it on universe!

In conclusion, it really is so great having people you can just be yourself around. I don’t feel like I have to be ‘Glamstronaut’ or ‘P.H.D.B.B.’ around my friends, they love me as ‘Windolene Queen’ or MetamorphoMum or whatever frazzled version of me I am that day.

💜 Thanks for reading this. If you’re one of my irl friends…love ya!

Duchesses & Scouse Queens – #HelloToKindness

This morning, on the school run, I got chatting to a nan who was dropping off her grandson. She seems like a nice lady, we’ve chatted before briefly, but today I walked away from our convo with a lovely feeling. The reason for this warm glow was the sobriquet that she afforded me throughout our tête-à-tête. She called me – ‘Queen’ 👑

Now, I’m certainly not of royal descent as far as I know (but then who’d have guessed about Danny Dyer), I’m not a superstar of drag à la RuPaul and I couldn’t sing Bohemian Rhapsody to save my life…but this schoolyard nan greeted and addressed me as ‘Queen’. “How odd” you might think, if you’re not from round these parts. However, if you’re from Liverpool like me this probably won’t sound so unusual. ‘Queen’ is an old Scouse term of endearment used to show affection. An older lady might call you Queen or a husband might call his wife Queen, in the same way somebody else might call you ‘sweetheart’ or ‘love’. Now, I haven’t heard this term used for absolutely ages, it’s not very common parlance these days and it seems to be dying out with the older generation. But it’s such a lovely, warm, down to earth expression, full of friendliness – it somehow reminds me of a simpler and kinder time gone by. Brilliant!

When I arrived home post school run, still bearing a regal glow, I caught an interview on CNN (random tv choice I know. The current soap opera of US politics is addictive – but that’s another story 😁). The guest was a lady called Emily Nash, Royal Correspondent for Hello magazine. Emily was discussing a new campaign launched by her magazine, called #HelloToKindness. The campaign is intended to promote kindness and change the way that people communicate online. It was inspired by the recent wave of abusive comments directed toward Duchesses Meghan and Kate, as described by sources from Kensington Palace. The campaign also wants to promote kindness in everyday life and is being supported by various celebrities and personalities. As well as kindness to others, the movement also endorses the ideas of self-care, compassion and kindness to ourselves. Very important skills, because in order to be kind to others it’s important to be kind to ourselves…and conversely, being kind to others is also a way of being kind to ourselves – it makes us feel happier. Like a big positive cycle.

I do always try to be as kind as I can to others and I teach my daughter and the children in my classes the same virtue. In my house you’ll find, amongst other stuff; kindness stones, children’s books about kindness, kindness elves and a big squishy heart cushion I use to teach self-compassion. I must admit though, like lots of other mums out there, I’m not always as kind as I could be to myself. I don’t take time for me, I’m pretty self-critical and I definitely neglect my health and wellbeing at times.

As you know, my plan with this blog is to try and change…I’ll definitely be introducing more self-care (now where did I put that ladyshave? 😆) and self-compassion. I’ve pledged that I’m going to be kinder to myself and I really hope that other mums might decide to join me along the way. In my next post I’ll share with you the very first step on my MetamorphoMum journey to change and we’ll probably have a bit of a laugh about my efforts. I can definitely say that in general I’ll be joining in with the principles of #HelloToKindness too, I think the campaign can only be a good thing in these times of division and intolerance.

I have to say though, I can’t help thinking we’re half way there already in Liverpool…I mean, where else would you be called a Queen by a virtual stranger before 9am on a cold January morning?! 👸 #LiverpoolQueensOfKindness

A journey of a thousand miles starts with….floral socks

 

They have glittery toe bits too!

As the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu (cheers Wikipedia) wrote: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. ‘Well, if I’m going to be making such a momentous journey, I’ll require footwear that fits the bill’ I thought.

So I bought myself some snazzy, spring-themed, floral socks. Yeah, I know most people would’ve opted for killer shoes…but in my defence I spend lots of time in stockinged feet for work and I’m skint.

I wore my new spring socks to teach baby yoga today. It snowed outside. The socks, however, did their job and made me feel cheery. It’s the small things isn’t it!

Metamorphosis Begins

I’ve let myself go a bit. There, I said it.

I’m a mum and let’s be honest, we have less time to spend on ourselves than we did in our more carefree, pre-kids days. It’s hard to squeeze in a morning meditation when I’m sponging toothpaste off my daughter’s school tie as we dash out of the door. I run a little business too, so that just about kills off any ‘me time’ I might fancy. My hair’s generally a mess, I’ve long run out of skincare products, my eyebrows manage to be both unkempt and invisible at the same time and I wear make-up about once every two months. Am I painting the picture? 😁

It’s not just my appearance though, nope, this is a more holistic type of self-neglect I’m nurturing! I think we mums tend to place everybody else ahead of ourselves. I’m no expert but it’s probably part nature and a bit about how we’ve been socialised to view mothers. So in the queue of who takes priority each day, our kids (of course), our partners, our jobs, our extended families, our homes all jostle for position – with us bringing up the (mine’s getting more sizeable by the day) rear. We feel pressure to be everything to everyone. This can leave us frazzled, stressed and generally…well, not very zen.

I’m not even really complaining, to be fair. I love my kid, I love being a mum, but I do think I need to make some changes before I hit the big four-o next year…lest I turn into ‘Mrs Doyle’ (even she wore lipstick in one episode!). From now on I’m planning to work on myself a bit more, in all aspects of my life. I want to look a bit better, feel a bit better and grow as a person. I’m looking for my metaphorical butterfly wings. Hopefully this blog will help me to find them.

I’ll be writing about my life as a mum and of course my efforts to ‘metamorphosise’ (I googled, it’s a word) – including any successful or not so successful endeavours. Fancy joining me?


Things to note about this picture. It’s actually a lie. Between you and me, it’s more of a ’13 year challenge’. Also, in the ‘after’ pic I had been given a ‘makeover’ by my daughter, using her very sticky, gloopy Disney make-up. Despite the rather heavy-handed application by a five year old, it’s somehow made me look 10 zillion times better than I really do! She’s given me better cheekbones than really exist and the blurry photo’s taken from a good angle. I normally wear glasses too. So, all in all I’ve lied to myself here with this image, but frankly I’m easing myself in slowly! 😀