EEEK… I’m about to turn 39!!! I can’t believe how quickly time flies!
To date, I feel like my life has been lived in chapters. The student chapter was immense fun and I clung on to those student days for as long as I could (even doing a PhD to extend the student life for another 4.5 years). But this chapter couldn’t last forever… and I’m glad it didn’t otherwise I’d be broke, worn out and looking far more haggered than I currently do 😉
Then came the career. I worked for just over 4 years as a public sector research manager after which, with the encouragement of good friends, I left and set up my own consultancy. This was an amazing experience and far more successful than I ever imagined. There’s much to be said for working for yourself and not having to answer to anyone else! For 5 years I worked on interesting and diverse projects from research on the needs of teenagers with drug and alcohol problems to profiles of communities living near castles in Wales!
During this time, I also opened another chapter in my life… becoming a mother to a gorgeous little boy! Being a parent is an incredible experience. While I’m glad to be over the baby days (I’m no good without sleep), I am cherishing these early years. I’m very aware of how short lived they are and so I try and appreciate every moment that I get to spend with him. Before I know it, he’ll be all grown up and leaving home 🙁 Being around kids really opens your eyes to how quickly time flies.
This recognition of how quickly time passes by has brought me to the current chapter in my life, which is basically about freedom to do all the things that I’m passionate about, but didn’t get time to do whilst I was working. While I loved running my own business, it was hard to get the work/life balance right and I often ended up working evenings and weekends, to the detriment of family life. Even to fit in an 8 hour day around school runs, I had to work evenings. Some days, I would be working way, way past midnight.
The turning point came whilst on holiday in Vancouver in 2009. We were staying in a rental home and on a shelf in the living room was a book called ‘The Joy of Not Working‘. This book was to change my life! I’d never considered the option of not working (in a regular, official capacity anyhow). When I jokingly suggested to hubbie M and Lil L’ that I might take a year’s sabbatical from work, they were really enthusiastic about it! I didn’t realise how much they were missing spending time with me… or how much they were looking forward to the house being tidy and a nice, freshly cooked dinner on the table every evening (these are the things I promised to sweeten the bargain 😉 )
So 2010 was my year off. It was wonderful! I started cooking and baking, which has turned into a real passion of mine (more on this later). I signed up for study programme on Tibetan Buddhism (another keen passion of mine), began running children’s Buddhist meditation workshops at Lil L’s school, started to tackle the garden, plus I spent lots more time doing fun activities with the family. I did do a couple of short, work-related projects, but only enough to give me a bit of pocket money. I cut spending right down and this has made me feel even freer as our overheads are now as low as possible.
Since 2010 was such amazing year, I’ve decided to take another year’s sabbatical. At the end of 2011, I’ll make a decision as to whether or not to return to the world of consultancy work. To be honest, I feel like that chapter of my life might be over. Other passions and interests have come to the fore…. which brings me onto the reason for starting this blog.
Since having my son (who’s currently seven and a half), cooking healthy, tasty food has become a new passion of mine. While in the past, I was never overly concerned about healthy food, this has changed since having my son. Not only do I want to nourish him and keep him as strong and healthy as possible, but it’s also important that I keep M and myself fit and healthy too (for Lil L’s sake). After lots of research and delving into medical journals, I concluded that the best diet for the family is a whole-food plant-based one. I’ve been vegetarian since the age of 12 and M has eaten vegetarian food since we started living together (13 years ago). Lil L’ has been vegetarian all his life. Whilst we’ve been gradually cutting down on animal proteins, since January 2011 we’ve totally cut them out at home. As well as health reasons, we’ve also made this choice on the grounds of compassion for animal welfare and the environment. M has also been inspired by a number of top athletes who eat a whole-food plant-based diet because, in their opinion, it gives them the edge over other athletes (less sickness days = more training days). More to come on this later…
So, in this blog, I want to share our journey into the world of whole-food plant-based eating and other good stuff. My intention has been to create dinners that can be enjoyed by all the family, adults and children alike. All the recipes have been road-tested and reviewed by Lil’ L. They have also been designed to accommodate our busy lives. The vast majority of dinners take 30 minutes or less hands-on time and use ingredients that are easy to find in major supermarkets.
I hope you enjoy a bit of the good stuff as much as we do!