Sweet, sweety, sweetalicious fun

I think nutrition is something most of us think about, worry about. At the moment it seems sugar (avoiding of) seems to be a hot topic. In my house we cook most of our food from scratch (avoids large amounts of hidden sugar), we allow the kids sweets once a week at the sweet shops (memory making, I think) and a free for all at parties (don’t want to make sweets “like diamonds”).

I also just let it roll that they eat sweets whenever offered really (banks, shops etc give them out here in Spain), plus the occasional treats when family are here, special occasions, or just ‘cos we feel like it. I try not to control, I think it almost always has the opposite effect in the long run.

But, of course I worry and I stress that I give them “too much” sugar. Sometimes it feels like there are endless birthdays and outings that involve large amounts of the sweet stuff which is, btw, more addictive than crack apparently. So I do talk to them about healthy balance. Sometimes we take a look at the food pyramid that’s pinned to our fridge and see, like a game, if they have had their portions of this and that for the day, usually it pans out more or less.

A talk about “treats”(!) and how we have them “from time to time” inspired this snippet from my switched-on 8 year old:

Me “Sugar … yada yada yada… empty calories etc…so, really in conclusion, sugar doesn’t give you anything, does it.”

Boychild “Well, yes it does, it gives you a nice taste.”

And that’s it really, absolutely true. It gives you a nice taste, actually let’s put this even better: it gives you an amazing, delicious, uplifting heavenly buzz on the tongue, its lovely, it makes you smile and your taste buds shimmer, yey!

And food, apart from food being The Building Blocks Of Life, and The Cornerstone Of Good Health, is also about pleasure, enjoyment…and just (GASP!) tasting nice.

Whats’ wrong with that?

Sugar is not toxic, it is not evil. It is food that brings pleasure, and when taken in ‘normal’ amounts is fun and tasty.

Pass the cake please!




Sweet, sweety, sweetalicious fun

Shout out to single mums

I’m migrating some older writing from other areas, to have it all in one place because I like the idea of this blog as a writer’s narrative. The original meaning of blog: web-log. Here’s some more (b)logging. May be of special interest to my fave single mummy blogger MFS!

As the daughter of a single mum, I’m often irked by the bad press they receive. I even heard some digs at them connected to the 2011 riots in London… I mean really, if you could choose a reason from the following: selfish capitalism, un-representational and unrealistic politics or single motherhood, which is really the culprit of youth dissatisfaction?

Single mothers can and do raise balanced, healthy, positive human beings. In fact, I would go a step further and say that there is another side of single-parenthood that is never, ever talked about, specifically when there is only one child: it can be fun.

As the single daughter of a single mum I can say there were hard times, times when I would have liked to see my mum more, or when I would have liked the shared experience and security of a larger family, but there were , many, many fun things we did that you can’t when you have to take into account brothers, sisters, and dad.

We travelled a lot. I went back and forth between my 2 countries, Greece and England, and me and mum travelled around England and Europe staying with people and friends. I experienced bohemian parties and communal living first hand. Then when I was older, she took me out of school first to Greece, and then to India travelling. I feel these things would have been a lot more complicated if we hadn’t been in the single child/single mum set-up.

Then there was the day to day stuff: not having a timetable based on other people’s needs, less time spent on talking and trying to fit everyone in, no meals that had to be on the table for hungry people.

There was a sense of freedom, that we could come and go at whatever hour, do what we wanted when we wanted, that I was a part of her life. She took me along to things (she had to!): gallery openings, obscure theatre productions, contemporary dance, artsy films.

She read me sophisticated books for an early age and there was no one to share the reading time with, no one to cook for after she was finished with me. So what if she didn’t have time to put the wash on, we washed our knickers in the bath and put on other clothes, no one complained.

We took rides out into the country at the drop of a hat: the snow covered fens, trips to see old friends in Scottish villages, down to London to hang out at the ICA and eat crispy fried duck in SOHO. Took me out of school on my birthday to go shopping and visit museums, at the teachers disapproval. A sense of comradarie.

Me and my mum are friends, not in the inappropriate way that we would go clubbing together, but a friendship born of many shared experiences. She gave me vivacity and hunger for knowledge, a capacity to question things, enjoy life. I am always in awe of her great intelligence, which I had all to myself, and her spontaneity, which wouldn’t have worked the same way in the traditional family setting.

So, big up to single mums, let there be more positive writing about them, and instead of seeing it as a disadvantage, give them support to make it an inspiring and fun journey.

Shout out to single mums