Drink of the Week: Laverstoke Cocktail – 5 Smart Points

The picturesque Laverstoke Mill, the distillery where Bombay Saphire is made, is on my bucket list of places to visit. So when I saw a cocktail which had been created to mark the opening of this magical place, I had to try it.

I’m not a massive fan of ginger ale, and I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to marry with the elderflower cordial, but marry they did and for me, it was love at first sip!

In a large wine glass, mix together one measure of Bombay Saphire, one measure of Martini Extra Dry and 10ml of elderflower cordial. Add crushed ice and top with diet ginger ale. Garnish with a wedge of lime, a spring of mint and some fresh ginger. Cheers!

Don’t Worry Be Happy

I think there is much truth in the words of Bobby McFerrin:

In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double

As a rule, I tend not to worry about things. My mum won’t mind me telling you that she is a big worrier. I have often encouraged her to ask herself the following question when she finds herself worrying about something:

Can you do anything about it? If the answer is ‘yes’, great! Do something about it and then you won’t need to worry about it anymore. If the answer is ‘no’, well then there’s no point in worrying about it.

This has become a kind of mantra that I use and I know my mum has begun to worry less since asking herself this simple question.

Do you have any mantras that help you put a positive spin on a negative thought? Let me know in the comments section.

And if all else fails, have a sing-a-long with Bobby – it might at least help to lift your spirits.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Drink of the Week: Mud House New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Based on my posts thus far, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m all about the cocktails with the occasional cup of tea thrown in. This is simply not true – I’ll drink pretty much anything!

In particular, I love a nice glass (or two) of wine. One of my favourite varieties in recent years has been New Zealand sauvignon blanc. I love the crisp refreshingness of the tropical fruit notes that you get with it.

A friend, who knows my tastes particularly well, recently treated me to a bottle of Mud House. It’s not one I’ve tried before and so I was excited to try it. It packed a real citrus punch with lemon overtones and was made for a very satisfying drink after a hard day at work. Definitely one I’d buy myself.

Building Healthy Habits – Decide to Stop Deciding

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The main aim of this blog is to share with you all my journey of becoming healthier by losing weight sensibly. A big part of this journey has been building healthier habits into my day-to-day life. One of the things that has helped me most with this aspect of my journey is a book called ‘<a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=fatfightingfo-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=1444769014&asins=1444769014&linkId=1c6d618cb61639ef446759d6dd055e1d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF"> Better Than Before’ by Gretchen Rubin. I came across this book when listening to Rubin’s podcast Happier and thought it sounded like just the thing I needed to help me to build the healthy habits that I have struggled to get to grips with so far.

In the book, Rubin shares 21 strategies to use for building good habits. Not all of them are applicable to everyone – after all different things work for different people – but I thought I’d share with you some of the strategies that I’ve found work best for me, starting with…

Deciding not to decide

When people are struggling to build a new habit, they often talk about lacking willpower or self-control. Rubin refers to studies showing that when we try to use willpower to resist temptation, we are only successful about 50% of the time. She argues that instead of relying on willpower to help us form new habits, we should instead rely on decision making. Habits don’t require us to make decisions; we just ‘do’ them. For example, we don’t decide to brush our teeth each morning or wear a seatbelt every time we are in a car, we just do those things out of habit. So we should decide that we will adopt a healthy habit, and then stop making decisions about that habit: we’ve already decided we’re going to do it, so we no longer need to keep thinking about whether or not we are going to do it or trying to resist the temptation of not doing it, which requires a lot of willpower.

I’ve used this to good effect in helping me to drop a couple of bad habits and establish a good habit over the last few months. At the school where I work, we’re lucky enough to have a plentiful supply of biscuits and bread and butter for toast in the staffroom. In the past, I have over-indulged in these items or found myself eating them even when I’m not hungry – I find them hard to resist, especially if I’m having a hard day. So, when I went back to school in September, I made the decision that I don’t eat biscuits or toast at work. I’ve found this to be really liberating. No longer am I doing daily battle with my self-control in resisting the temptation to indulge because I’ve already made the decision that I don’t eat those things in that setting.

The habit which this strategy has made the most difference with so far, is exercising regularly. I’ve never been that active. I’ve had many fits and starts of exercising but I’ve always found it difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine for a sustained period. At the beginning of the summer though, I decided that I wanted to give it another go as regular exercise is so important for good health. So I decided that I was going to exercise 3 times a week. End of story. No further decision making required. As with the formation of many habits, at the beginning I was really motivated to keep up with it. As time has progressed though, there have been occasions when I’ve not really fancied going, for a variety of reasons, but when this has happened, rather than getting into an internal dialogue with myself about why I should or should not go, I’ve just reminded myself “You’ve already made the decision: You go to the gym 3 times each week”. No will-power battle required. I’m now 17 weeks in and I haven’t missed a single session. Not even when I’ve been on holiday or away for the weekend. I’m still often surprised that I’ve managed to establish this habit so securely and that it has felt so easy to do so compared to my previous attempts.

There are several other strategies I’ve employed as well to help me form these healthier habits, including the strategies of scheduling, accountability and convenience, but I’ll talk more about these in future posts.

Are you trying to form any healthier habits? How could you use the strategy of deciding not to decide to help you on your way?

This Week I’m Loving: Lush Mesuline Bath Bomb

I am not paid for any of the reviews I write and products that I review are paid for with my own money. Read more on my disclaimer page.

It’s no secret that I love a bath bomb, and this one might just be a new favourite.

I was advised by one of the ever-enthusiastic sales assistants that as a lover of Avobath, I was bound to love Mesuline. According to the description:

…perfumed with zesty Avocado Co-Wash perfume and sure to make waves. Sweet lemony litsea cubeba and cheerful bergamot oil lift your senses, while olibanum will have you floating in no time. Finally a pinch of carrageenan extract hydrates the skin…

Lush Uk

Personally, I didn’t get any of that. I thought it smelled like toffee apples but it was an absolutely delicious scent. Fortunately, I learned many years ago that Lush products do NOT taste* as good as they smell!

Regardless, it was the ideal thing to enjoy on a cold and blustery autumnal evening. If you’re after an indulgent, relaxing and warming bath, try one of these beauties. I’m definitely going to treat myself to some more.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

*FFF once licked a (clean, newly-purchased) bar of Honey I Washed the Kids. FFF is sometimes an idiot. Don’t be like FFF: Lush cosmetics are NOT meant to be ingested. Or even licked.

Keeping My Hands Out of the Biscuit Tin – Book Review: A Man Called Ove

I am not paid for any of the reviews I write and products that I review are paid for with my own money. Read more on my disclaimer page.

October’s Big Comfy Book Club read was Fredrick Backman’s A Man Called Ove. It was nominated by my sister, and following her previous disastrous nomination of the weirdest book most of us had ever come across, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Premise:

Ove is a grumpy old man who is bitter towards his neighbours and fed-up with the stupidity and ineptitude of pretty much everyone he meets. But behind his hostile exterior, is there a softer side to this solitary, unsociable old curmudgeon?

My thoughts:

Beware of spoilers from this point on.

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