June 2011

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…

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 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!

38 thoughts on “About

  1. Very nice page, Sharon! While we still eat some meat (fish and foul) and other animal products such as eggs, I strongly believe that whole foods are the best way to go. It requires much more work on my part to be prepared but I know it it so worth it. Our health depends on it! Glad you found my blog today on WIAW! I have enjoyed reading yours. 🙂

  2. Hi Sharon, Nice blog! Amazing pictures of the children meditating, they’re off to a great start, lucky things. I took the liberty of posting a link to your blog on the Kadampa Life Facebook page. All the best, Luna

    1. Thank you Luna. That’s so kind of you! 🙂
      I’m loving your blog too. You write such beautiful, thought-provoking posts. They’re a great joy to read! 🙂

  3. I am trying to bake/cook with more naturally healthy ingredients, also learning about different grains, nuts, seeds and sweeteners that will not cause our insulin levels to go awry! Thanks for your wonderful encouraging recipes, using beans! My brother’s fiancee has celiac disease, she wopuld just love some of these recipes!

    1. Hi Cindy! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. My family made the transition to a whole-food plant-based diet nearly 2 and a half years ago and we’re thriving on it 😀 We’ve never eaten such a wide variety of meals. I’ve still got hundreds of new recipes to try out too! I look forward to sharing them with you 🙂 xx

  4. Hi Sharon and Congrats on Turning 39 . I had entered one of your Contests for Clarks Syrup and as I was entering I noticed it Was from Canada and Was Wondering if the Contest is open to USA People . Thanks
    I tried to like the Facebook Pages and since I like over 5000 Pages I can’t like anymore unless I get another Facebook Page . I did tweet it and Did Share It . Thanks

    1. Thank you Edward for your kind words ♥ I really wish the maple syrup giveaway was international but, unfortunately, the company needs this one to be UK only.

  5. Loved reading your blog, Sharon. Your lifestyle must really suit you, you look so young. I found reading it so inspiring.

    1. Thanks Kathleen for such kind comments ♥
      I was dreading hitting 40 as I thought I’d be ‘over the peak’ but I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better than before. I’m now 41 and feel healthier, stronger and fitter than I did in my 20s and early 30s (plus my skin is so much clearer).
      I put it all down to the whole food plant-based diet. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

  6. Hi Sharon,

    I have just discovered your blog thanks to the lovely Emma at Coconut and Berries and your blog looks great too. Love that they are all kiddie approved too!!

    I have a question, as i am trying to transition into full vegan.. eekk! I have been meat free for 5 weeks,but have dipped a couple of times of dairy. (The main reason i want to cut it out because it doesnt sit well with my digestion) however i maybe naive, but why do vegans believe dairy is bad? My grandparents owned a farm and thought that cows (and other milking animals) would be relieved to have their udders emptied. If that makes sense? Sorry sounds a bit silly when i say it out loud. Eggs on the other hand, i find sometimes freak me out if i think about what they are too much! Kinda like those celebrities who eat their own placenta!! Like eggs, need to try to tofu eggs.

    Any other information you can share with me would be great.

    Thank you

    Laura Seymour

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog & for your kind words ♥
      Your question about dairy isn’t silly at all… when I was younger I also had this view. However, when I researched into it, I started to understand the more sinister side of dairy. If you think about human beings, the only time that a mother is lactating is when she is pregnant or when she is breast feeding. The same is true for cows. So, to keep their milk production up (so that humans can drink it), the farmers keep the cows in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth (through artificial insemination). It’s a very unnatural process for the cows, and leads to a lot of suffering for them and premature death. On the intensive farms, the babies are taken away from their mothers immediately and the male calves are either slaughtered straight away or sent to veal farms (another horrific industry). On the intensive farms the cows don’t even see the light of day as they’re kept in huge sheds (and are basically treated as milking machines). You can read more here: http://www.viva.org.uk/what-we-do/our-work/cows-dairy
      Viva has a huge amount of resources on its website, which are a great support for anyone transitioning to a plant-based diet. They also print a fantastic magazine quarterly, which you’ll receive if you join the charity. I always look forward to it landing on my door step!
      If you’ve got any more questions about plant-based eating, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can find my email address on the homepage xx

  7. Hi Sharon, just came across your blog when I was googling sugar free mango chutney!
    I am a plant eater living in the awesome town of Glastonbury, where I can watch people climbing the tor from my vegan kitchen 🙂
    Loving all your recipes, it’s always so good to find a British vegan, as the ingredients our American friends use, are sometimes hard to get (or I haven’t a clue what they are LOL). I look forward to trying something new tomorrow.

    1. Hi Kath!
      Thank you so much for stopping by. What a wonderful part of the world you live in! As you’ve probably seen from my blog, Glastonbury holds a very special place in my heart. As well as the Winter Solstice, we managed to make it there for New Year’s Eve again this year. Each trip is always magical ♥
      I’m so pleased that you like the recipes 😀 I always appreciate any feedback that I get on them.
      So glad you linked to your fabulous blog! I’ve really been enjoying reading it. It’s wonderful to see the views of Glastonbury whilst you’re out on your walks. Your dog is so cute! ♥

  8. Hi Sharon, I recently came across your blog when searching for a lemon cake, I followed your recipe and sub. spelt and kamut flour in place of wheat, and made a really great tasting cake.

    I think your site is great and appreciate all the hard work and effort you put into it. Look forward to trying out more of your recipes “:)”

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! ♥
      I am so pleased that the lemon cake worked out for you, especially with the flour subs!

  9. Just chanced upon your blog while looking for an eggless cake recipe and was drawn into reading some of your other posts..
    Inspirational! Love it, Love it, Love it 🙂

  10. I am just SO pleased to have found your brilliant blog & look forward to following with great interest!!

  11. Love your inspiring blog, love that you originate from Essex(lovely, lovely folks are the Essex girls & boys:) & love that ur now in the beautiful West Country(keep up the excellent ‘work'(labour of love for sure:)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.