Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Boil in the bag omlette - Really!

Boil in the bag cheese omelette

How’s this for a whacky idea?  A quick and easy snack meal – boil in the bag omelette.

It was with a sense of ‘really?’ that we tried this for supper last night – but it works

Taken from Tom Kerridge’s ‘Dopamine Diet’ cook book

Put a large saucepan full of water onto boil

Take about 150 gms grated cheese – we just guessed and put half into each of two sealable plastic bags

Beat 5 eggs (this is for two people) with salt and pepper, some milk and a knob of butter (not quite what Tom suggested – but it works well)

Pour the egg mix equally into each bag

Seal the bags and put in the pan of boiling water

Turn the heat down so that the water simmers nicely

Cook for about 10 mins – its easy to see if they are cooked.  I turned ours over a bit as the bottoms were cooking and the tops were a bit runny

Serve with salad or peas

A little note – make sure you tuck the tops of the bags so that they are over the water – one of mine burnt onto the outside of the pan! 

Thursday, 7 February 2019


This week we are taking the Ikigai concept into reality

Dr Chaterjee suggests the acronym LIVE

·         Love – do something you love

·         Intent – live with a clear intent

·         Vision – develop a long term vision

·         Engaging – with the world about you

Looking in a bit more depth, first of all try to find and do something that you love.  Even a small amount of time every day or even every week will make a difference.  You may have heard that Steve and a small (but growing) group are running the Park Run every week.  It’s a few minutes of something that really matters to them.  Its great fun and there’s a sense of camaraderie.  Now that’s not what I love just at the moment – but doing my degree is just fab.  So once a week I catch the bus and go to uni – I just love it and feel loads better for doing it.  What do you love?

How about living with a clear intent – what does he mean by this?  its about paying attention to the small things – don’t just drift through every day.  Try pausing and noticing.  I often stop on my walk and take a photo of something that catches my eye.  By keeping an eye out for the beauty I can find lots of interesting things to snap.  Try to just enjoy the every day things, not rush through and notice nothing.

Do you have a goal or do you think you will just carry on doing what you are doing now for ever?  We make plans (certainly now that it seems that Steve might have a few more years left in him) – they don’t always work out but it does give us something to look forward to.  If any of you have seen us having lunch in Little Acre at the weekend you will see the notebook and pen – we’re making plans.  Try it, when the day is tough it helps to know that there is something on the horizon.

As for engaging – its really about those Random Acts of Kindness.  It’s the little things.  Chat to someone who looks lonely, say hi to someone who helps you.  Offer a kind hand, a gentle word, a bright smile – try it, I can almost guarantee that you will feel great at the end of the day. 

Just LIVE! 

Friday, 1 February 2019

Have you found your Ikigai?

Continuing our series from the book by Dr Chaterjee (‘The Stress Solution’) we are looking this week at Ikigai.  Now I know that I risk losing half of you now – try to hang on !

Ikigai is a Japanese word – Iku means ‘to live’ and gai ‘ reason’. 

Have you found you rikigai?   Does your life meet these four criteria, do you have in your life;

·         Something you love

·         Something that you are good at

·         Something the world needs

·         Something you can make money from

Why am I asking?  The chances are that if you have this then you are happy and healthier.  I realise that we are expecting a lot to tick all four of those boxes and those of us who can are very lucky.  If you are in a job that you don’t particularly like then getting up (especially on these cold dark mornings) can be a struggle.  (I love early mornings).

If you don’t feel particularly good at anything then your feelings of self worth can suffer.  Can you do a course, read a book, do something on line to improve a skill that you have?  I started a master’s degree this week – let’s push the boundaries! 

Do you do something that the world needs?  This is a big challenge, my daughter is an anaesthetist – I think the world needs good doctors – but we can’t all be doctors.  But can we all do something that the world needs?  Your job might not be an imperative for the world – but the way you live your life can be.  The world needs kindness – we can all be kind.

And of course, we do need to make money.  Lucky are those people who can make money out of their hobbies but lucky too are those who do a job they enjoy that pays the bills.  And if you don’t love your job?  Well, is it time for a change?  Would you feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled?
So – if you don’t have these lovely four things in your life what can you do about it?  It might just make a difference to your life and your health. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019


Continuing our journey through Dr Chaterjee’s book (‘The Stress Solution’) we are moving to the section on time.

He talks about how little time we often feel we have and how a bit of organisation could well help.  We absolutely know that those of you who schedule in gym time make it in much more often than those who will ‘pop in if they can’.  Dr Chaterjee also talks about the joy of ticking something off our list and he even goes so far as to consider a breakdown of your day into tasks.  I thought this was crazy until I realised that that is what I do – I just don’t write it down.  If I were to tell you how my daily routine panned out you would think I was crazy – but it works for me.  I get up early, unpack the dishwasher, sort out the washing, feed the birds -  you get the idea?!

Dr Chaterjee suggests that to reduce your stress there are three things to schedule into your day:

1. Something that brings you joy.  You know what this might be; it could be a piece of music, 10 minutes with the newspaper, a chapter of your book, maybe a few minutes with your knitting or a hobby of some sort.  Whatever it is, schedule it in, make time for it – it really matters.

2. Something that trains you ability to delay gratification.  That is something that takes time to master.  So not the instant gratification that comes from alcohol or food snacks.  Rather something such as learning a language or a musical instrument.  It might be as simple as a crossword or a jigsaw, as long as it is something that takes time and patience.  The sense of achievement will be well worth waiting for.

3. Something that involves movement or exercise.  Everyday make sure you move.  Do your 10,000 steps, go for that run, lift some weights.  But it needs to be scheduled in.  I was going to try to fit in 10 minutes of yoga today.  But I didn’t – it wasn’t on the list and it didn’t get done.

Try it and remember, these are not luxury items, these are essentials.  If we are to avoid getting stressed out and anxious we need to put in some time to look after ourselves.  So next time you write that ‘to do’ list – add in something that nourishes you. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Being Positive

Last week we talked about MSDs (Micro Stress Doses) and I was wondering what strategies we could develop for managing stress?

I am reminded of the times I get into a real downward spiral and the stress that comes with that.  You know how it goes;  ‘I am so disorganised and chaotic’, ‘people don’t like me’, ‘I am so fat’ and anything else that I can put myself down with.  This is stressful and so is battling with the traffic and shouting at our children.

There is another way, we can alter the way we think, we can change our reactions.

How about ‘I do get muddled but I am working on it and now have a system for getting tidied up’.

‘There is actually no evidence that people don’t like me, I am just putting together some assumptions and making them match up to what I think’

‘I am a bit overweight but I am exercising more and eating healthily’

Do you see what I mean?  Looking at things from a positive viewpoint can really help to manage stress.   Caught in traffic?  Take the opportunity to listen to more of your book, hear more of a podcast you follow, enjoy the radio, fuming won’t make the traffic move more quickly.  Feel like shouting?  Pause, breathe and let it go.  Shouting is so exhausting.
So the problems are the same but the way you are looking at them has changed – try it, it’s a great stress buster!

Friday, 4 January 2019

Feeling stressed?

We have just bought ‘The Stress Solution’ by Dr Chaterjee.  In this book he looks at Purpose, Relationships, Body and Mind.

I thoroughly recommend that you get a copy and take some time to read it – however, help is at hand.  Over the next few weeks we will be reading it and pulling out snippets that we think will interest you – so keep watching out for my blog.

Just for starters – he talks about Micro Stress Doses or MSDs.  Do you have these?  It starts early, the alarm shouts out at you (MSD 1) and you drag yourself out of bed.  Into the loo, no loo roll (MSD 2) and the dog barks to go out (MSD 3).  Child number one is already on their ipad, you ask them to get off – no response (MSD 4).  Partner surfaces into the kitchen and is grumpy; favourite cereal box is empty (MSD 5)

See what I mean?  We can’t get rid of all these but stick with us as we travel through this book and we will pass on hints and tips to manage them more easily.  Along the way you’ll find out about different ways of eating throughout the day, the importance of exercise (well we would say that !) and how down time and sleep can help. 

Speak again soon

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Have you got five minutes?

Don’t feel that you have to come into the gym for an hour if you want to get fit.  We can plan a workout for you that takes less time – just let us know what you want.  And there are things you can do in a few minutes that will make a difference.

Spend just one minute running or walking a bit faster, get out of ‘steady state’ and push a bit, it will make a difference. 

Got five minutes?  Do push ups from a park bench (yes, people do look at you – but hey!) or from a stable chair in the office.  Combine it with some side lunges and tricep dips and you have a mini workout.

How about taking the stairs?  It might take ten minutes in your day, but you will have increased your heart beat and strengthened your legs, what’s not to like?

If you could squeeze in 30 minutes please get off the bus a stop or too earlier and walk the last part of the journey, keep doing it, it will get easier (really!)

An hour?  Go for a deliberate walk, use a good pace, listen to an audio book – enjoy it, get outside and breathe; it’s a great stress buster.

And if you really want to make a difference, down load ‘couch to 5k’, the NHS app.  I did it and it really works.  I started in the gym on the treadmill and progressed to running outside.  The sense of achievement when I ran that 5k was amazing.

So don’t let time be a limiting factor, just make a start!