A letter to my mom, ten years on…

Moms,

This week I am sharing a letter that I have written to my mom Nuala, she is now 10 years passed – however it still feels like yesterday…

For those of you who have experienced loss and grief I wanted to share how I work through it, part of this process is writing my mom letters, I have done this frequently over the years. For some reason over the last number of weeks, my mom has been in my dreams most nights so I thought it might be a good idea to write to her again – however this time I am sharing this with you all 🙂

Dear Mom,

It’s been over 10 years since you’ve passed and over the last number of weeks, I’ve been having very vivid dreams of you, chatting like old times and planning where we will go out for dinner, therefore it feels like a good time to write you a letter and share how I am getting on after so  many years.

The first thing I can say is grief is always with me – I don’t think it will ever go, it’s not a linear thing, it’s quite bumpy, sometimes forward and then sometimes back! However, I do feel I am able to some degree accept your loss now, it took a lot of soul-searching to finally feel at peace with this.

For me the memories have really helped, I have so many fond memories that I reminisce about (sometimes daily) and am so grateful for all our trips especially to Paris and our last trip to New York, but of course since your passing there are so many important occasions that I  wish you were able to make especially my wedding and the birth of Issey…. however it was not meant to be.

In so many ways you remind me of Issey she has a similar sense of humour and a zest of life, always full of energy and enjoying herself. People always said you were the life and soul of the party. I find that she has this trait. She also loves singing and dancing and would dance until her feet are sore, she loves music so much – just like you. She has the same cheeky giggle and just lights up a room when she enters her energy is so beautiful again just like you.

I know if she had met you, you two would have been best buddies and she would have loved her nanny so much. She, of course, knows about you and we talk about you daily – she also knows how much I miss you and I share this openly so she understands that grief is a human emotion and something we all go through.

Looking back I wish I had savoured every single moment a lot more especially near the end with you. There were times where we would lay down together on the bed while you got your oxygen and just hold hands and not say anything. For those times I wish I had stayed longer with you. I also wish we discussed death more and how your transition would go, however, it never seemed appropriate to bring it up, it almost seemed it was not happening so we didn’t discuss it. I think that’s the way you wanted it.

Knowing what I know now about death I would of said so many things to you before your passing such as it’s okay to let go and don’t worry about your children (as I know you were) and that it’s a beautiful place where you are going and that I know you will visit me frequently on this side in dreams and different synchronicities.  And, I know I will get to meet you again.

I would have also thanked you for being my mom, you were the most amazing and perfect mom for me. I believe I chose you without any doubt to be my mom and I am so grateful for all you did for me, the hours of helping me learn for exams, the encouragement, the love and our hug times.

I would have also shared with you how much I especially loved our catch ups, going out for lunch and dinner and thinking of the next places we would visit. Some of my funniest memories involved you being whisked away by a French man and having the craic while I sat downstairs on my own in a cafe in Montmartre wondering why you were taking so long in the toilet, only to find you laughing out loud and dancing around upstairs in the cafe’s loft.

Or the time in New York on our rickshaw ride when we laughed out loud the whole way back to our hotel and that you tipped our rickshaw guy $50 and asked him if he wanted to have a shower in our hotel as he was sweating profusely from taxing us around that night. Oh, it was such great fun!! My brother, sisters and I still laugh out loud about this 😉

Or how Rok and I were planning on taking you and dad on a surprise trip to Slovenia so you could see where Rok was from and meet his family, however, we never made it there but I now wish I had told you all about this.

Grief is a funny thing somedays I seem to be just fine,  and I think I am finally moving past it, however even 10 years on the grief can just hit me like a tonne of bricks and be all consuming and those days I try and give myself a break and let the sadness in and just be with it. Practising meditation and Reiki has also helped me, it has brought me so much peace. I often think you helped me find these wonderful practices. Of course Rok has been there for me chatting often late into the nights when I found it hard to sleep or just couldn’t make sense of what had happened. My Rok, my family and friends have been there when I needed them, I’ve bended a few ears over the years!!

So mom, please continue to visit me in my dreams and continue sending me signs like feathers, and butterflies as they always help me feel close to you… I will always miss you so much but I know I will see you again.

I LOVE you millions,

Lisa X

Resource: Books that have helped me with my grief

Anita Moorjani – Dying to be me

Anita Moorjani – What if this is heaven?

Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie 

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Delicious Chocolate cake with home-made ice-cream

Hello Moms,

This week I’m sharing a super easy flourless and eggless chocolate cake.

I made it this weekend for my sister Jean as it’s her birthday. Everyone enjoyed it especially Issey, and the interesting thing is that nobody knew (besides Rok) that it was made with butternut squash, yes that’s right!  And, what’s even more surprising that there is no flour, and no eggs in this, so if you are having a break from gluten, dairy and/or eggs then this one is a super treat for you to enjoy.

It’s really rich so a slice goes a long way and I paired it with some homemade non-diary raspberry ice-cream.  This is a sort of guilt-free dessert and won’t leave you feeling like you’ve overindulged.

My favourite thing about this dessert though is that it contains butternut squash 🙂 Butternut squash is extremely nutritious, it protects the skin, promotes eye health, can reduce chronic disease, improves digestion, lower cholesterol, build strong bones, and lowers blood pressure, what a list!!  What’s more it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, dietary fibre, zinc, protein, folate, potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, and manganese.

Not bad having all that in a chocolate cake…. 😉

So you are probably wondering how this cake stays together – so here are the yummy ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • Filling from a medium (cooked) butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dark chocolate cooking bars
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil

For the dairy-free ice-cream:

  • 4 bananas (cut up and frozen overnight)
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of almond milk

 

Method

Cake

  1. Turn on the oven to 180 degrees, cut the butternut squash lengthways and rub with coconut oil. Place in the oven for approx 40-45 mins until it starts to go a little brown.
  2. Melt together coconut oil and dark cooking chocolate.
  3. Once butternut squash is cooked and cooled, scoop out the butternut squash and add the cacao, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Prep an 8in springform pan and grease lightly with coconut oil.
  5. Then whisk in the coconut oil/chocolate with the other ingredients and mix all together.
  6.  Pour into cake pan and bake at 180 degrees for about 35-40 mins.
  7.  Let it cool completely and voila!

 

Dairy free ice-cream

  1. Add frozen banana pieces to the blender.
  2. Then add in the almond milk and vanilla extract and blend.
  3. After the mixture starts to become creamy, then add in frozen raspberries.

chocolate cake

So it’s that easy! And once the cake has cooled down I recommend you store it in the fridge overnight, that is if you can wait that long… ;0

Serve with fresh raspberries and yummy dairy-free ice-cream! A winner I say!

So Moms, as always I love to hear from you… and if you give this lovely cake a try please let us know how you get on…

Best wishes and love,

L X

Calories:

Cake: 201 calories per serving (approx 12 servings)

Dairy-free Ice-cream: 77 calories per serving (approx 6 servings)

 

Credit: Show me the yummy 

References

Butternut squash benefits 1

Butternut squash benefits 2

 

3 things I’ve done this year to stop my hay fever…

Hey Moms,

As it’s allergy season, I thought I’d share what’s worked for me this year. I’ve made 3 changes/additions to my lifestyle and this has made a significant difference for me. Normally I should be walking around with red streaming puffy eyes but this year this hasn’t been the case…

Just to give you some background, I developed hay fever at the age of 20! So I’ve had it for 16 years. It was a few months after coming to Dublin, I was on my university work experience and all of a sudden started to suffer badly from hay fever especially in the morning on my way to work. So as you do I went to the pharmacy and was given the standard antihistamines, however, they didn’t seem to work well, initially got some relief but symptoms started to come back and after a few months of trying this together with eye drops and nasal sprays I stopped. Over the years I have tried other pharmaceuticals but nothing seemed to help.

It normally starts late March for me until the end of September, eyes running non-stop and it looks like I am constantly crying… the result sore red puffy eyes. No point in wearing eyeliner and mascara!

My best friend and I refer to this as oh you’ve got runny eye again. At her wedding in September 2016, it looked like I was constantly crying, there were times this was the case ha! however the majority of the time I was suffering from hay fever (aka runny eye).

Nowadays, those of you who know me well know that I always try and reach for a natural remedy first, so this year I implemented 3 changes and I am so very pleased to share that I have no hay fever at the moment!  Yes, none!! Even on the high pollen count days…

So here are the things I’ve tried:

  1. Green smoothies: these have become a habitual morning routine in our household, Issey also loves helping me make these, they are very easy and quick to make.  It only takes approx. 5 mins to assemble and blend –  ingredients I used to include spinach/kale, nut milk or coconut water, seeds, frozen berries (use different ones every day), and banana (optional).  You can also add cacao powder, maca and other additions if you like. The result is delicious, and I strongly suspect it is helping me combat my hay fever symptoms….;0   There is evidence to suggest that increasing fruits and veggies (especially high in vitamin C) really helps with allergies as this produces an anti-inflammatory response in our body which in turns helps our immune system,
  2. Pollinosan by A. Vogel: I came across this as at the start of the hay fever season as I diligently started searching for natural hay fever remedies and this had some great reviews. Pollinosan is made up of all-natural herbs (which is great) I started taking these for a few days at the start of April, however, around the same time I also started taking the Juice Plus capsules which I will discuss below and after a few weeks I realised, my eyes had been clear….  I haven’t taken these tablets regularly though and therefore can’t claim its just down to these.  It’s important to note that that I’ve taken other A. Vogel products in the past and they have worked very well. Also, one of the downsides of Pollinosan is that it’s not suitable for children under 12 years of age.
  3. Juice plus whole food capsules: these little beauties were introduced to me by my friend AmyBrooke, I like to refer to her as my wellness warrior 🙂 she is the epitome of health and I finally decided to try the Juice Plus even though I thought they wouldn’t do much more for me as I considered myself pretty healthy… One of the benefits of taking them is more energy so I said to myself well if these capsules can give me more energy then brilliant (always important with a 4-year-old) I never even thought that these could help stop my hay fever. I’m so impressed with these that after taking them for 3 months I’ve decided to join the Juice Plus franchise as they have provided so many other benefits however that’s perhaps for another blog :0 The good news with these is that they are suitable for children as they have them in a chewable form! The premium blend I am taking contains 30 kinds of fruits, vegetables and berries.

For me I think (consistently) having my daily smoothie and taking the Juice Plus has been the winner as mentioned I haven’t been consistent with the Pollinosan however, I think it’s still worth a shot as everyone is different and I’m a believer in trying things to see if they can work for you. I have used other A. Vogel products with great success in the past.  And, I will still be bringing these with me on holidays just in case ;0

I will keep you posted on how I get on over the rest of the season and to see if my hay fever is finally gone 🙂 The real test will be on our holidays in Croatia in July – the last time I was there my eyes streamed nonstop!

Watch this space…

Moms, as always, I love to hear from you, do you or your family suffer from hay fever, have you found anything that works for you, if so please share with us as it could be very useful for other families, many thanks!

Best wishes, L X

 

References:

Pollinosan 

Juice Plus

Fruits and vegetables anti-inflammatory

Fruits and Veggies to reduce hayfever & use of Juice Plus:“Reproduced with permission from the Dr. Mitra Ray Newsletter 

Spring allergies

Foods to reduce Hay Fever 

 

 

Baked aubergine with lemon dressing

Hello Moms,

This week I am sharing one of my favourite dishes, baked aubergine with lemon dressing… (or as it’s known across the pond – eggplant)

It’s really delicious and a hit in our household. It’s a perfect summer dish, which you can have as a starter, a side dish or even for lunch.  We normally add some french beans to make it a complete meal (I’ll share the french bean recipe in another post, as I think you’ll enjoy that one too). It’s also very quick to prepare so in no time you’ll have this one whipped up ;0

Lately, I’ve been craving aubergines and I always listen to my body if it’s craving a certain food… I’m so glad I have this recipe ;0

Did you know that the aubergine is actually classed as a berry and not a vegetable…  They are so good for us as they contain a tonne of nutrients, such as manganese, vitamin B1 &  B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, folate, vitamin K and copper. And, they are also a good source of dietary fibre.

The flavonoids found in aubergines play an important part in heart health, as they contain phenolic compounds which can actively reduce blood pressure. And, contained in the aubergine skin is a potent antioxidant called nasunin which prevents iron accumulation and neutralizes free-radicals!

So where’s the recipe I hear you say – here it is: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large aubergines, cut into 1cm rounds
  • 2 tbsp tamari (fermented soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 lemons squeezed and half a rind of lemon
  • 200ml of kefir (fermented milk)/yoghurt or
  • For non-dairy/vegan option –  200ml of coconut yoghurt
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Garnish:

  • A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of toasted cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds chopped and sprinkled over the dish
  • 1 red chilli sliced (optional)

Method:

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2 Spread the aubergine rounds on the baking tray. Mix the tamari, honey and
sesame oil in a bowl and pour evenly over the aubergine. Or if you have time, it’s nice to marinate in the fridge for a few hours before cooking.  Bake for 20–25 minutes
until soft and golden.

3 Meanwhile, mix the juice of the lemon and the lemon rind with the kefir/yoghurt, salt and pepper.

4 Place the aubergine rounds on a large serving dish. Drizzle over the lemon dressing
and garnish with the coriander, mint, chilli and toasted nuts/seeds.

So that’s all there is to it moms, let me know if you make this dish and what your thoughts are and/or whether you have a favourite aubergine dish in your house?

As always I love to hear from you, love and best wishes,

L X

Calorie Count: 343 per serving (this dish serves 2)

Credit:

Detox Kitchen

References:

Number 1

Number 2 

Number 3

Number 4