Health. Primal Nutrition. Exercise. Motherhood. Sustainability & Creating various things.

My Creative Space...Buttons

Milk, Vomit, Food or Mud. With two little girls in my care I can almost guarantee that one of these substances will be on my shirt by the end of today. Therefore, my daily uniform now consists of easy-to-wash T-shirts and jeans. 

 To spruce this basic T-Shirt up I sewed some pretty buttons into a cluster, and was rather pleased with the result. Maybe some applique next time?.....

For more 'Creative Space's' check out

'Sigh No More'

I can't get this tune out of my head today. Love the lyrics too.

Paleo Heaven

In the past week two of my friends have recommended I check out the new Hobsonville Point Farmers Market. So, I set off this morning to see it for myself and what a treat it turned out to be! 

It was the farmers market that I see in my dreams, a bustling crowd in an old corrugated Iron Barn lined with stalls offering beautiful cuts of organic New Zealand meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, Frenz eggs (which, according to Paul Chek are the highest quality eggs on the planet), Chicken Liver Pate, Macadamia nuts, smoked garlic bulbs and my new discovery....Pork Scratchings!!  

Now that my pantry is chocka with delicious real food I have the feeling it's going to be a great week!

A Day in the Life of My Stomach

When I first discovered Primal Nutrition I was immediately sold on the theory. There was the science, the history and many a testimonial to verify that the way we ate 10,000 years ago is still how we are designed to eat today.

But there was one little problem. The practical aspect. Living in a society that typically eats cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, how on earth was I going to adapt eating like a Cavewoman to our modern era??

My first obstacle literally came bright and early in the morning, with breakfast. The initial breakfast option that sprung to mind was the classic bacon and eggs, but since my Monday mornings.....or my Tuesday mornings for that matter don't allow time for cooking breakfast, I settled for smoothies, less work than a cooked breakfast yet no more work than jam on toast. After some experimentation with recipes I have settled on Coconut Berry Smoothies as my staple weekday breakfast.

Now, since I didn't require a morning snack (I was too full from my smoothie) the next meal in line to be Primal-ised was lunch. This wasn't a difficult task since I'd previously have something along the lines of a salad sandwich. This meant, all I needed to do was eliminate the bread and increase the size of the salad, while including both a source of protein, such as leftover meat from dinner or salmon, and a source of fat, such as avocado or olive oil. If the weather is cooler, I now often prefer to steam some vegetables and put the protein and fat sources on top.

Then along came afternoon snack time, a time previously spent lurking around the kitchen looking for anything that vaguely resembled sugar! These days I still feel the need for a snack in the afternoon (possibly since I'm Crossfitting and Breastfeeding which makes my absolutely ravenous!), but it now looks like one of the following:
Dinner, the easiest meal to Primal-ise by far since most meals I previously made are already Primal or in need of only a few minor tweaks. Therefore, dinner at our house usually looks something like......
  • Roasts done in the slow cooker 
  • Sausages with Steamed Veges or Salad 
  • Casseroles made in the slow cooker
  • Chicken Caccitore 
  • Mince and Vegetables (oh so plain but it's 2-year-old Jacinda's absolute Favourite!)
  • Satay Beef
  • Pork Belly Roasts
There you have it. Nothing gourmet, no portion control, just real food the way nature intended for us to eat. 

Coconut Berry Smoothie

Having experimented with a few smoothie combinations, I have settled with this concoction as my staple weekday breakfast.

Why? Because it keeps me nice and full until lunchtime, is quick and easy to prepare and tastes delicious!

Coconut Berry Smoothie - Serves 2

  • 1x400ml can of Coconut Milk 
  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil 
  • 2 Cups of Frozen Mixed Berries 
  • 4 Tablespoons of Unflavored Whey Protein 

Chicken Caccitore

Any Primal meal that requires one dish, and minimal preparation is a winner in my books

500g Chicken Thighs, raw and cubed
2-3 kumaras peeled and cubed
1 diced onion
1 clove of garlic, crushed
440g can of tinned tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 tsp vegetable bouillon
1 tsp oregano
1 handful of chopped parsley
 Salt and Pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees 
  2. Place Chicken in an oven proof dish and top with remaining ingredients 
  3. Bake covered for 1 hour 

'GG's' Knitting

The only thing I've created lately, is a baby, and she leaves me not much time for other versions of creating, such as knitting.

Therefore, today I will showcase the beautiful work that my Grandmother, known as 'GG' by my girls (short for Great Grandma) has made for baby Lucy.

There is something so special about Grandmothers knitting for a new baby, the fine wool is extra soft and you know the piece is safe from the stains appear with the onset of solids and crawling. But most precious of all is that you know that one day your Grandchildren may be wearing that same little piece of handknitting.

For more 'creative spaces' head over to kootoyoo

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Laundry, Laundry everywhere!

Must be time to make some of my own detergent.

I tried both a powder and liquid version with both working wonders on all our grubby washing, as well as smelling naturally fresh and clean.

Here's How.....

Washing Powder
5 Cups Lux Soap Flakes
7 Cups Borax
3 1/2 Cups of Washing Soda Crystals

Mix all together and place in a large Container, use approx 1/2 a cup per load

Liquid Laundry Detergent - Thanks to Wendyl's Green Goddess

½ bar Castile or vegetable-based or Sunlight soap, grated
1.5 litres of water
½ cup washing soda
50 g borax
1 litre hot water
Place soap in a saucepan with the first quantity of water and heat on low until soap is dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir for a few minutes until thickened and remove from heat. (If you're using Castile or vegetable-based soap it won't thicken straight away, but don't worry, it will overnight in the bottles). Add 1 litre of hot water to a bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with another 5 litres of hot water and mix well. Pour into old milk bottles or other containers and set aside for 24 hours or until mixture thickens. Use ½ cup of mixture per load. It is easy to squeeze from the bottles as it is quite gluggy.

Happy natural laundering!

Just to Let You Know....

Lucy Imogen, our precious new daughter arrived on the evening of April 21st. 

Everything couldn't of happened more perfectly, arriving at home after a short labour. 

During the past 2 weeks we have been getting to know her and resting as much as possible during the early days of her life.

A true miracle.

Signing Off (for now)

With only a week or so until we meet our little one, I am now signing off from this blog to have a little break, enjoy the last few days of it being just Jacinda and I during the day, tidy up some loose ends and have a little time to myself to sit in the sunshine, in silence with a book - something that may not happen again for a long time!

I may pop in from time to time, if there is something I am bursting to share with you all, but this may be few and far between. 

Thank you for reading 'Violets in May' and I look forward to getting back into my writing when I have settled into the rhythm of being Mother to both a Baby and a Toddler.

Cocoa Snacks

2 Cups of Ground Almonds 
1/2 C Pumpkin Seeds 
About 6 Dates 
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
3 Tbsp Cocoa 
1/2 C Shredded Coconut (plus a little extra to top it off with) 

Place the Pumpkin Seeds, Dates and Coconut in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Transfer the blended mix into a large bowl and add the Ground Almonds and Cocoa

Add the Coconut Oil and Mix until it resembles a dough (add a little water if needed)

Press into a shallow cake tin, using the bottom of a glass to spread it out evenly

Sprinkle with a little shredded coconut and refrigerate until firm.


With only one more week until the arrival of our new baby, we are doing all we can to create a peaceful home, free from over stimulation for the precious new soul about to arrive. 

This means the usual de-cluttering and cleaning that 'nesting' mothers embark upon, cleaning out cupboards and finishing off half started projects. But I've taken on a different sort of 'nesting'; electronic de-cluttering. Having already been TV-free for 4 years, I now find the advertising and the low quality programming a source of mental clutter that I don't want to fill my mind with. This means that the biggest distraction and source of mental clutter for us, was having the internet in our home. For awhile it was almost as if we had replaced our television for internet by watching programs on youtube, reading or watching the news online, trawling through the Facebook posts of people I've not seen in over a decade and browsing online shops for things I neither needed nor really wanted. So, we have decided that we will cut our ties with Telecom and have a home that is free from the internet. 

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the online world (otherwise this blog wouldn't exist!) I've gained knowledge that I otherwise wouldn't have, read inspiring blogs, bought great things that I couldn't locally, looked up how to do things I previously couldn't, kept in contact with loved ones via email or Facebook and enjoyed the general convenience of having 24/7 access to the world at my very fingertips. But now, 3 weeks after our home phone and internet have been cut  I have adjusted from the few teething problems (such as suddenly realizing I urgently needed a hard-copy of a phonebook!) and am now feeling a sense of calm in our home that is similar to that which I feel when at a Bach, miles from the nearest form of technology or commercialization. 

Having no land line is wonderful, we didn't use it all that often anyway, but straight away we've eliminated the problem tele-marketers ringing in the middle or our family dinner time, if anyone needs us they can call our mobiles or send a txt for us to call them back. As for the internet, I now take my laptop to the local library or a cafe with wireless twice a week to do all that I have to do online, while finding it enjoyable to have a little time out for email checking, blog posting, blog reading, online purchasing and anything else needing to be done online without the distractions of home. If I find something online that I want to read later, such as a recipe or a lengthy article, I just copy and paste it into a document and deal to it at another time. 

Tim Ferris, author of "The 4 hour work week" is another person who is refusing to be what he calls a 'chronic email checker', I like his idea of setting an automatic response on his email, similar to that of an out of office auto reply to say that he checks his email on 2  specific days, and if you need him urgently to call him. Also, Leo B? author of Zen Habits and the blog mnmlist  has useful tips to offer on the subject of decluttering your inbox, especially when you are checking twice a week, since there's the potential to log on and find an overwhelming 100+ emails glaring at you. Leo suggests unsubscribing from newsletters and mailing lists that aren't essential, 'Hiding' or 'Defreinding' all those Facebook acquaintances who, let's face it,  aren't really your Friends and dealing to all emails straight away, deleting them as you go in order to leave an empty inbox in your wake.

In such a short space of time I'm already reaping the benefits of placing limits on myself in this limitless online world and I know it will help me to maintain a greater sense of calm when our house is filled with the demands of a newborn and an active toddler. There is only so much information I can store in my mind and I genuinely think that if I'm filling my mind with the small and insignificant tidbits that make their way in there as a result of too much time spent with too many people online, I'm not only hindering any creative ideas but not allowing space for the deep contemplation that goes hand in hand with a clear mind, something I wouldn't mind a bit more of! 

Out and About on the Web.....

Check out Lotta Jansdotter. This stylish Swede who lives in Brooklyn, New York is the author of my absolute favourite Sewing and Home style books 'Simple Sewing', 'Simple Sewing for Baby' and 'Handmade Home'

A Different Kind of Baby Gift

As many of you already know, we are expecting a little bundle of joy in about 2 weeks time!

I have noticed that some other Blogging Mama's have made a call for Guest Posts when their baby arrives in order to have a bit of time-out from blogging to rest with their newborn.

So, if you are a Blogger, or just someone who has something to say or share with the world I would love to open up this space for you while I take a little break.

Some Ideas for Posts Could Be:
  • Recipes 
  • A Sewing/Knitting tutorial
  • Showcasing your creative talents!
  • Sharing something you do personally to lighten your impact on the environment
  • A beautiful photograph
  • Ideas for activities to do with children 
  • Gardening tips or ideas
  • Anything else that fits in with the general feel of Violets in May
In return, I will link back to your blog or website as well as be grateful for the help of keeping my Blog updated.

So, if you are interested in contributing a guest post, please email me at

My Creative Space: Homemade Wall Art

Recently, I've been doing a bit of homemade art work for our walls such as……

These are original old matchbox car boxes that I cut up and put in a thrifted frame.

Jacinda's frocks were too pretty to hide away in a cupboard, so I hung them on her bedroom wall.

And this framed Abbey Road puzzle I put up awhile ago, but I still like the look of it on our living room wall.

How Dietary Fat Improved My Health (yes, you read it right)

We live in the era of the Low-Fat diet. Simultaneously, we live in the era of obesity,heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Suspiciously, our Great-Grandparents who enjoyed cooking with Lard and ate Bacon and Eggs for breakfast were a generation relatively free from the effects of these diseases. Instead, as our generation eats their low fat cereal and sips at Trim Lattes, the rates of these common diseases soar. These lethal conditions of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are rampant in our society and not showing even the slightest hint of decline. If the Low-fat diet is as effective as the media portrays why are the rates of these modern diseases climbing?

I've tried the low-fat diet. At the time I wouldn't have classified myself as being overweight though, I was competing as a lightweight single sculler in the sport of Rowing, this meant I needed to keep my weight down, regardless of my bodies composition in order to meet the weight limit of my races. During my efforts to eat low-fat I was plagued by a number of maladies that I now realize were caused by a combination of my low-fat diet and long endurance training sessions these included: constant hunger, frequent colds and flu, depression, chronic headaches, lethargy, high levels of cortisol in my blood (caused by stress), deficiency in Vitamin D  and Amenorrhoea. Was I successful? well that depends what you call success, I achieved the number I needed to have on the scales but I wasn't what I would consider lean and I definitely was not what I would consider healthy.

One of the first things I did when I decided to try the Primal way of eating, was to add back the fat to my diet and lot's of it. While the typical dieter would cringe at the thought of butter, cream, full fat milk, avocado, nuts, chicken skin and pork crackling I was devouring the lot! waking up my poor neglected taste buds, replenishing both my nutrient starved body AND mind and looking at the clock in astonishment as I would go for 4 or more hours without even the slightest pang of hunger.  Now, I will forgive you if  you think that this type of eating sent me on a downward spiral towards a life of chubbiness and feeling breathless walking up the stairs, since it is the complete and utter opposite way of eating that a health conscience individual would strive towards, I had my hesitations too. But I did some reading on the subject and felt confident that is was worth at least a try. This is why….

1. Fat does not induce an insulin response. Since excess insulin is what promotes fat storage,I would not risk gaining body fat.

2. Fat makes you feel full, which means that I would not overeat or feel the need to snack on sweet foods in between meals. This would help the constant hunger that I was experiencing.

3. Fat aids the digestion of the Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. This would improve my Vitamin D deficiency naturally, which in turn would help my depression and immunity since I was experiencing frequent colds and flu.

4. Fat is needed for digestion. In Nina Planck's book 'Real Food: What to Eat and Why' she states that "Without Fat, digestion literally fails and you starve, even if you are eating plenty of food". Again, dietary fat would help the constant hunger that I was experiencing.

5. The human brain and nerves are made of 60% fat. Which would mean improvements in my chronic headaches and depression.

After a month of eating like a primal cave woman, fat and all! EVERY one of my previous complaints mysteriously vanished and  I was setting new records almost weekly at the gym. As for my body composition, I will not lie and say I was lighter than my rowing days or that I was now sporting a six pack. I was a few kilos heavier than when I was rowing, a direct result of muscle gain from lifting weights but my body fat was, at an educated guess, the same as when I was training up to four hours a day and eating a low fat diet (taking into account that I was nursing my first baby at this time and adequate fat stores were still vital for this time of life).

Here are some of the small ways that I now get fat into my diet everyday:

 - A put a big Tablespoon of coconut oil into my smoothies (interestingly the times when I have run out of coconut oil my breakfast smoothie doesn't get me through until lunchtime and I need to have a morning snack)

 - I add lots of Avocado and Olive Oil to Salads

 - I snack on nuts

 - I cook with butter - YUM!

 - I eat chicken with the skin on

 - I no longer trim the excess fat on meat

 - I use cream and Full-Fat dairy products such as Greek Yogurt

Loving....'The Kings Speech'

 'The Kings Speech' has been the best movie I have seen so far this year. Not only is it entertaining and funny, but it is also a true story!


Although it's early Autumn, it still feels like Summer

'365 Days of Nothing New'. Done!

Last year I posted about my '365 days of nothing new challenge' now that the 365 days have come to an end I cannot claim complete success, but I can claim a greater awareness as to  how I spend my money.

This awareness is not solely about saving some pennies, because although the majority of the time I am choosing the thriftier option by buying secondhand or making something myself, there are times when the ethical option is a more expensive option, such as buying New Zealand made, handmade or opting for higher quality items in order to last the distance therefore reducing landfill and excessive consumption.

Here are a few tricks for buying secondhand and handmade that I've picked up during my year long challenge and some great resources that I would love to share with you……

Op Shopping:
This one has no rules, just get stuck in and see what you can find! it can be daunting walking into some of the op shops as they initially come across  smelling of dust and looking like a pile of rubbish in some cases. But there are gems to be found such as…..

These Leather McKinley Shoes for Jacinda

A Children's gardening Set

Retro Sheets that I made into a Change Mat and Place Mats

An Autumn Scarf for me

Vintage Children's Books

And these Vintage Sewing Patterns and Frames that I put together and hung up in my sewing corner

When it comes to Op-Shopping I have been guilty of getting a bit carried away and coming away with things I don't really need, so to prevent this  I now keep a running list in the back of my diary of things I need, although not straight away, and I can pop in to my local op shop every couple of weeks to see whats on offer. At the moment this looks a little like this….

  • Small forks and plates for Jacinda
  • Winter Clothing for Jacinda 
  • Good quality fabric for sewing (in the form of tablecloths, sheets or large sized clothing)
  • Good Quality wool (either in balls or clothing/blankets that I can unravel)
  • Sewing Patterns 
  • Cot Sheets (or big sheets that can be cut down to make cot sheets)
  • A Soup Ladel

Online e.g Trade Me or Ebay
I found that online auctions are better when you know exactly what you want, down to the brand, size or colour as well as bigger, more expensive items. It is really useful to place a search that emails you when new listings appear as many of the best deals get snapped up fast and it saves you from getting side-tracked while trawling through all the adverts.

A few online bargains I got this year have been…..

Chuck Taylors

Nature Baby Moses Basket (unused)

Raincoat for Jacinda

and cosy merinos that needed some minor repairs

P.S To avoid hassle, remember to check feedback ratings and postage prices

Handmade from Craft Markets
Craft Markets are splendid! I love looking at the goodies made by the array of creative people in my community and they make great gifts for friends and family. They goods aren't exactly cheap (if they were to make them the same price as in the mall these talented people would be working for nothing, maybe even a loss!) but by buying these crafts you are supporting locals to do what they love doing, as well as getting some original pieces of top, handmade quality.  Check out Felt too, as this is just like a craft market, yet online and New Zealand made.

Handmade Online
Etsy is the creme de la creme of online vintage and handmade goodies from all over the world. I could literally spend hours looking through the listings and getting very excited by what I see (which also makes it a good source of inspiration for my own projects!). Although I love Etsy dearly, I would have to call her an "occasional treat" a " guilty pleasure" because she is, at times pricey and not the greenest of options due to the worldwide shipping in most cases (although, in saying that  you are able search within your region)

What Etsy is best for is sewing and knitting patterns, as there are many users with beautiful designs from beginner to advanced and they can be sent to you as a PDF file, which is nice and easy.

Here are a few of my Etsy treats this year

Felted Wool Slippers

Handmade Waldorf Dolly

A Todos Los Dias Grises Raincoat

And a Leila and Ben Dress Pattern

Go on then, I challenge you to '365 days of nothing new' !!