Family Life

So what is this thing called "work-life balance"?!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but time keeps slipping away from me.  Work has been super busy since the start of the year and so any free time I get is swallowed up with family time, catching up with friends and general busyness, leaving very little time for blogging. Which is basically the point of this post.

It seems I have so many roles I am trying to fulfil – mother, wife, friend, daughter, lawyer, manager, colleague, committee member, blogger, dog owner, wannabe web designer… the list goes on!  And although some of these roles are more important to me than others, it sometimes seems that the amount of time I spend focused on those is way out of kilter compared to those roles I place less importance on.

The problem is that work can be all-consuming when we have a deadline coming up, meaning I end up sacrificing family time.  I then cancel plans to see friends as I want to spend time with the children.  Committee meetings get missed and the work I promised to do at previous meetings gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.  And then any time left over to spend with my husband usually involves me saying how tired I am!

The key killer is lack of time – there never seems to be enough time to do all I want to, or have to, do.  I have tried various methods to try and find more time and to be more time efficient.  From online calendars, to do list apps and Evernote, to trying my hand at a bullet journal (great in theory but quite time consuming in itself in practice!) and numerous time management techniques.

And if I do manage to make more time, I often end up wasting it watching rubbish on TV as I’m too tired to do anything else.  So then I think if I have more energy then I’d be able to fit more things into the time I do have.  And so every now and again I’ll have a concerted effort to try and boost my energy – trying to eat healthily and do more exercise but then once again work gets in the way or time gets the better of me!

The problem is I haven’t really found a solution that properly works.  Which may well be that I am attempting to achieve the impossible – maybe, with so many roles in my life, I am never going to achieve the right balance.

Perhaps the answer is in fact that I need to streamline my roles so I can focus on just those that are really important.  But which ones should go?  Most of them I can’t give up and those that I could I don’t want to.  Blogging for example isn’t something I have to do but I enjoy doing it and have put in a lot of time into it so don’t want to walk away now.

So I’m not really sure what the answer is.  I suspect it involves trying to sort my priorities out, remembering that we work to live and not live to work and learning how to say “no” a bit more.  Now I just need to find the time to put that into practice….!

Do you have any tips on how to achieve a better work-life balance?

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"A Taste of Paradise" Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pancakes

As someone who is always on the look out for gluten-free and diary-free alternatives, I decided to give the Vita Coco and Foodies100 “Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast” challenge a go.  The challenge was basically to come up with an alternative breakfast recipe using Vita Coco Coconut Milk and share it on your blog.

So, as pancakes are a big favourite in our house for breakfast, I decided to have a go at making some dairy-free ones using coconut milk.  I have already, unbeknownst to the children, been substituting the usual wheat flour for buckwheat flour for a while now and received no complaints so I thought I’d try the same trick with the milk.  To mix things up a bit I decided to throw in some cacao too – the inspiration being that well-known chocolate bar, a Bounty.

I was a little bit nervous how the pancakes would go down as I wasn’t sure how strong the coconut taste would be – Sophie loves coconut but Josh isn’t so keen.  But when presented with Mummy’s “special” pancakes, both Sophie and Josh declared that they looked and tasted “yummy”, with Sophie saying they were “full of goodness” (this was more her way of saying how good they were, rather than commenting on their nutritional value!)

And I have to say I really enjoyed them too – the coconut taste is very subtle and, combined with the cacao, does bring a little “taste of paradise”.  There is no sugar in the pancakes themselves (so great if you are opting for a sugar-free diet too) but the coconut milk (also sugar-free) adds a touch of sweetness meaning they taste just as good without the maple syrup (but I couldn’t resist pouring it on!)

Gluten-free & Dairy-free Pancakes

Below is my recipe, which is adapted from the Dove’s Farm Blini recipe.

“Taste of Paradise” Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pancakes Recipe

2 eggs

175g Buckwheat Flour

1 tbsp Cacao (or, if you don’t have cacao powder to hand, cocoa would work too)

2 tsp Gluten-Free Baking Powder

300ml Vita Coco Coconut Milk

  1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
  2. Add in the buckwheat flour, baking powder, cacao powder and milk.
  3. Whisk well until you get a smooth batter.
  4. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan (I used coconut oil).
  5. Add about a ladle-full of the batter into the hot pan and cook for a few minutes until bubbles start to appear.
  6. Flip the pancake over and cook for around a further minute until golden on both sides.
  7. Serve with your choice of toppings – blueberries with maple syrup are a favourite in our house but I think these would also be great with more tropical fruit, such as mango.

Gluten-free & Dairy-free Pancakes

This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100.  See more great breakfast ideas at http://vitacoco.com/uk/.

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The Battle of the Homework

I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with homework in the context of my own life.  Whilst I confess to being a bit of a “learning” junkie, constantly on the lookout for the next course I would love to do or skill I want to learn, when it comes down to the nitty gritty of studying, the anticipation (and the purchasing of new stationery!) is often much more exciting than the actual learning.

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Sibling Love

We’re half way through our holiday and I’m sat by the pool watching Sophie help Josh get  onto his “boat” (a lilo by any other name).  He can’t swim yet so Sophie is making sure he doesn’t fall backwards into the water.  Yesterday they walked through the town we were exploring hand in hand.  They’ve entertained each other on the long car journeys and made each other laugh as only they seem able to.  And there was no way they were going to sleep in separate rooms when they saw the room with twin beds in it.  They were also very excited about sleeping in the same bed when we stayed overnight in a hotel.

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A Date Night in Jaipur

A while ago I bought Mr F a Date Night Subscription from the Spicery.  My thought process behind this was that it would be nice to try something different rather than our usual go-to meals and a nice thing to do on a Friday or Saturday night – which didn’t involve a babysitter.

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A Family Day Out at BBC Countryfile Live

We’re quite a fan of country shows and game fairs and try to go to the local ones each year if we can.  They are a good day out for the whole family as there is something for everyone, plus most of them are dog-friendly.  So we decided to check out the first ever BBC Countryfile Live show down at Blenheim Palace yesterday and we had a great day out.

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Muddy Weekend Fun!

I have to confess, our usual Saturday morning consists of a lazy start with the kids having some time on the iPad while Mummy and Daddy slowly get out of bed.  Not this weekend though. Saturday morning saw Sophie and I leave the house at 7am, along with our friends, to head to Belvoir Castle in Grantham so the children could take part in the Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder.  And that early start was well worth it because the kids had a fab time!

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