Sunday, 31 May 2009

basal rates

To all of those of you who know that sometimes its easy to slip into bad habits, I understand. I do too.

I had a huge wave of bad sugar levels this last month, with no particular obvious change in lifestyle; except that I've been on holiday 3 times...but my whole life is fairly unstructured and unroutined, I thought this wouldn't make much difference.

Anyways, its totally easy to start accepting bad sugar levels, and it can become a bit of a routine. Thats bad. Thats why its important to have someone close to you who can ask you important questions...someone who understand the ins and outs of Type 1 Diabetes. Most people don't have a clue, so its important to train someone up. Someone who can keep an eye on you.

For me, this is my mum. She helped me a lot when I was younger, and she is always the one to make sure that my sugar levels are on track. This has changed a bit as I've gotten older.

During university when I wasn't living at home, I kept a sign on my wall, door or wherever that said, "What's your sugar level?" That seemed to work, though I had to keep moving the sign around, otherwise I got too used to it, and stopped reading it. I tried making new signs as well, and these were a helpful prompt.

I am terrible with writing down my sugar levels and keeping an accurate record of them. I always have been. I have never found a system that works for me. If you have found one, please let me know! I think I need to ask my specialist for a tester kit that does reports. I used to have one, but it died.

Anyways, so this last month I was going down this slippery slope. And the more bad sugar levels I had, the less aware I was of everything, it becomes harder and harder to look after yourself when sugar levels spiral out of control, awareness is practically nil.

And so, it was two days ago, on holiday in Greece that mum asked me when the last time I changed my basal rates was. It was such a wake up call. I looked at the rates, and they were so low. So, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to try out some higher ones, and see how it went.

As it turns out, that was a brilliant idea, because my levels have been perfect since then!

I'm still waiting for my skin to return to normal, and my energy levels to increase, but I am pretty sure they will soon! Woo hoo! And I must start running twice a week again, and swimming...and pilates. Oh, and walking the dog helps too.

So, for those of you suffering with bad sugar levels on an insulin pump, have a look at your basals, that might just be the solution!

For those of you that don't know what a basal rate is, its the constant flow of insulin into the body through the infusion set. Mine vary from 0.4 to 0.75 throughout the day. And changing it by the tiniest fraction can completely change your balance. (I really should have thought of it sooner!)

Friday, 29 May 2009

Greece!

I am posting this from a little internet cafe in Paros, Greece. Its such a beautiful place, and reminds me a lot of Sweden at times.


We went up to a little beach called Santa Maria this morning, which was breathtaking. The greek islands are quite touristy, but less so at this time of year.



We started our journey in Athens, which I was totally disappointed with to start, but at one point we took a left and everything got more beautiful and so much more impressive (cleaner too...nice!)

We then flew to Santorini, and stayed in Oia overnight. It was beautiful, and the sunset was spectacular. But, there were still too many tourists at even this remoter part of the island.

From there we took a ferry to Folegandros, my favourite island so far. It is small, but full of lovely local people, and some really delicious food. Our hotel was super amazing, with a gorgeous view and luxurious pool. One of the days we rented a quad bike and went round the whole island. Scary at times, because to get to any beaches there is quite a descent...

We are now in Paros, from here we will go back to Santorini to fly to Athens, where we will stay for a few days before heading back to England. Hopefully we will go to see the Parthenon up close...its still impressive from miles away.

I have loved trying all the different foods on offer here. So many delicious things to eat. The only thing I haven't plucked up the courage to eat yet is octopus...maybe tongiht. I will let you know!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

ebay finds...

These were my ebay finds. Unfortunately the topshop shorts are too small...but everything else is super cute. i will be wearing the innocence dress as a nightie probably because its a smidge too small, what with me being sooo tall and all.

by far the best bargain is the levi's skirt, so nice. i can wear that all times of year, with anything. +it fits like a glove.

there's still a couple of things to come in the post. but they won't be arriving now til after I get back from Greece! I leave tonight, how exciting!

we are heading around the greek islands santorini, foleghandros and paros as well as going to athens. WOW! i look forward to showing you some photos of me on holiday!

without moisturiser.

it sounds ridiculous to say that i haven't worn moisturiser religiously over the past week. but since i came back from holiday, my skin hasn't been needing it really. i have only put it on when my skin feels dry or tight, which is about twice.

its not that i don't love my moisturiser, but i reckon my skin maybe needs a break. plus my skin is intelligent and it doesn't really need creams or anything to keep itself in check.

basically the skin is very clever, it does so many different jobs, and i truly believe that if you nourish yourself from the inside, your skin will glow and function correctly.

after all its only about 1% of ingredients from moisturisers that actually enter your skin, isn't it?

sorry this is such a short post. but, if you want to give the no regular moisturiser thing a go, please let me know how it goes!

why does barley look so disgusting, but taste so delicious...

I made a delicious barley and sausage stew last night. absolutely delicious. but as i was going to take some photographs of it i realised how disgusting it looked. sometimes healthy food just doesn't seem so appetizing. it appeared like a medieval meal (which stew is, i suppose).

anyway, there was no way to make this stew appear more delicious, so i thought i would write it instead.

if you've never had pearl barley before, you are seriously missing out. it is so yummy. it has a fantastic texture. and it is really good for you too. low GI and everything!

its so easy to use, i literally put it into the stew, cover over the lid, turn the heat way down or off and let it do its thing for about 2 hours - overnight is better. it absorbs all the flavours around it, and tastes phenomenal.

so here's my recipe:
- chop and fry 1 leek, 2 carrots and 3 onions in a tbsp of olive oil
- once they are browned off and cooked, put these in a large saucepan and add some passata, some hot water and some bouillon. and don't forget to season it too.
- take some sausages (5-6) and fry them up. chop them into chunks (you don't have too actually, but i think the flavours are better infused into the rest of the stew)
- add these to the tomato sauce you've just made.
- put about a handful of pearl barley into the pan leave to simmer for 1 hour, then turn off and rest for 2+

you can easily do this in a slow cooker, and it will taste amazing. just add the cooked ingredients to your slow cooker instead of a large saucepan.

...there we go, ready to eat deliciousness!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Favorite Hair Products



Here's a list of the products I use:
- Aveda Brilliant Damage Control
- Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother
- Pantene Pro-V Time Renewal Night Renewal Nourishing Mist
- bnatural Glossing Serum
- Frizz Ease Hair Serum Original Formula
- Pantene Pro-V 2in1 Smooth and Sleek Shampoo & Conditioner
- Head & Shoulders Damage Rescue Shampoo + Conditioner
- Batiste Dry Shampoo Tropical
- Osmo Essencce Intensive Deep Repair Mask
- KMS Hair Play Paste Up Spray

pre-travel shopping list


If you can read this, well done. These are my scrawly notes written super fast whilst I tried to remember everything I had to do that day. And now, I am going to have to do the same for tomorrow...

gluten free, wheat free, egg free cookies


ok, so these rose a bit more than cookies should do, but that just meant that they were light and fluffy, and that isn't a bad thing. we just might have to call them mini cakes instead.

i made the quantities up as I went along, but here's what I used:
margarine, fructose sugar, maple syrup, milk, gluten/wheat free flour, baking powder.

- start by mixing some margarine with the sugar. beat it until its pale and creamy.
- add a couple of dashes of maple syrup, and a drop of milk. mix it all up, until it looks kinda glossy.
- add a little bit of baking powder. then add in the flour bit by bit, mixing after each addition until well combined. the final batter should be between dropping consistency and dough (too much flour and it will be too dry, so be careful)
- drop them onto a greaseproof tray (flatten with a fork for more cookie shaped results!) and bake in the oven at 180c until golden.
the only bad thing about these biscuits is that they were really crumbly because there was no egg in them. maybe egg replacer or something similar might do the trick!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

american apparel, i love you

can you find me one person that does not love american apparel? i've only ever met people that don't know what it is...


the perfect basics. always chic and stylish. wear it with pride. i can't wait til my skirt comes in the post!


i love looking at their "coming soon" section to see what the new stuff is going to be. Right now there's a printed nylon tricot tank dress that looks gorgeous. And the stores too...they are soo colourful, and its super easy to find everything. The first time I ever went to one it was in Cologne (Koln) and I was so excited to go in there. I still am.


i adore that they have an organics range too, how eco friendly! its pretty basic stuff on there, but maybe the range will increase with time.


and one day the circle vest in galaxy will be mine..

Supplements...

I don't know about you, but I seem to read everywhere, and be told by so many people that I should take some sort of supplement or other.

But with like EVERYONE telling me that I should take a different kind, its soo difficult to know which ones to take. Here's a list of the different ones I found and the different claims they made:

- Fish Oils - Essential fats to keep skin looking plump
- Zinc - to do with collagen and hormones, good for acne
- Primrose Oil - soothing, anti-inflammatory, good for women
- Co-Enzyme Q10 - increase moisture levels, help tissue repair
- Kelp/Seaweed - detoxifier/anti-oxidant (way too many risks with this one though...)
- Vitamins - different vitamins have different functions, but that would take way too long.

If it wasn't enough just to be looking out for certain ingredients, there are some particular brands and products that are recommended too:

- Perfectil = Supposedly boosts skin, hair and nails. Celebrity endorsed!
- Neals Yard Beauty Oil = Drizzle over salads for a super boost of Omega's 3,6 and 9


What I take?
Well I only reckon on taking a combination supplement rather than loads of different ones. So at the moment I take two: a fish oil one and a multivitamin.

They are both from Holland & Barrett, whose wide range of supplements usually terrify me. The Radiance one has the following ingredients (with %RDA:
Vit A (100%), Vit D (50%), Vit E (33%), Vit C (100%), Thiamin (71%), Riboflavin (75%), Niacin (67%), Pantothenic Acid (67%), Vitamin B6 (100%), Vitamin B12 (100%), Folic Acid (100%), Iron (100%)

I reckon on eating this in the evening if I haven't eaten a varied diet throughout the day, and my evening meal isn't so vegetabley.


I have the fish oil tablet every morning with breakfast, its ingredients are pure fish oils which have Omega's in them already.


I don't know how much this helps my skin really. But maybe without it I would notice a difference.


I used to take Primrose Oil but that seemed to break me out.

There is no substitute for a varied and balanced diet though. The vitamins are a million times better for you if they actually come from the vegetable/fruit, don't you think?

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goodness direct

with tasty and ethical brands like Biona, Rachels' Organic, Forest Foods, Redwood, Amisa Organic, Doves Farm, Mrs Crimbles, TRUfree and loads more, i love Goodness Direct!




every time i go on their website i can't help but think yum. plus its almost all good for you. its free delivery over £35 which is excellent, and seriously i could stock up for ages on this stuff. there's some beauty products too, as well as standard household stuff. i can't wait to make my first order!

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

carried away with ebay...

i am totally addicted to ebay again. its one of those things. i have zilch money, so i reckon that maybe i'll spend less if i buy stuff on ebay, and I do. but because i buy so much i think i probably spend as much as i would regularly. but i do get waaaaayyy more for that money.

i only hope that the stuff arrives before i head off to greece this week. i bought a bunch of dresses and some cute necklaces....and come cardigans and an american apparel skirt. oh dear. i can only hope that they fit, or that they're too big so I can take them in.

anyway, i will give you some pictures when it arrives, hopefully!

current blog loves:
chic heroin
fashion on edge
happy because

meanwhile if anyone knows of any amazing cheap vintage/thrift stores in the south of the uk, please let me know! i am dying to find a gem somewhere so I can shop shop shop (not that ebay isn't enough!)

i am really trying to use my sewing machine more and more, but I don't seem to be getting far. i need some nice fabric, and some excellent buttons and trimmings. i spy a trip to London coming. the little S town has only one fabric shop, which is really only made for making curtains or pillow cases.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

italian markets are shoe heaven!

I have just come back from holiday, and it was so exciting to be in Italy again! Its such a beautiful place, and the style is seriously trendy.

Most of the holiday was spent laying by the pool reading or trying to dunk my brother under the water. Which is near impossible because he's so hench.
Anyways, I think the stuff that I did end up packing was pretty good. Check out the video of that on Youtube. There were a couple of things that it would have been good to have with me though.

A strapless bra would have been brilliant, as well as another pair of linen trousers and some extra shorts. More dressy dresses would have been a bonus, as I didn't feel smart enough at dinner time. A hat would have been excellent to keep my head from burning, but I still can't find one that I really love...

There was only one day that we were allowed to go shopping in nearby Siena. And I was weirdly enough the only person not to buy anything. Apart from a postcard to my mum. I am remarkably short of money at the moment, especially with all the holidays.

BUT. My sister-in-law and I went to the market, which turned out to be this huge shoe fest really. Serious rows of shoes and handbags at amazing prices too. Unfortunately the italians don't really have many size 8s, so I gave up quite quickly on looking. But my sister-in-law was determined to find some lace up heels. And found some gorgeous ones too.

After checking out the market and the Duomo, which was truly spectacular, we met up with my sister-in-laws family, some of who had gone to Il Ponti Pelletteria and bought themselves some fantastic bags. A turqouise crocodile handbag was my favorite. Stunning. It would go with anything.

Of course the other truly inspirational thing about Italy, apart from the views, are the Vespas. Oh how I love them! Check them out + all the accessories too on the Vespa website.

Italy & 2 Nature Daisy Face Cream

I have just come back from holiday, literally landed yesterday! Italy was gorgeous, the sun was shining and the pool was warm :)

So glad I brought the most amazing sun protector along with me, L'Oreal Solar Expertise in SPF25. Perfecto! I only had to apply once or twice each day, and I was completely protected whereever I put it.

As always on holiday, I had a complete makeup detox, using next to nothing every day, and keeping my hair curly too, not heat styling. I think my face probably had enough with my being in the pool each day...I don't know how well it would have coped with anything else.

The other product that I took with me that I have recently reviewed is 2 Nature Daisy Face Cream. I bought it on ebay, but you can get it directly from the company. Its such a nice moisturiser. It soothed my face after being in chlorinated water for ages, and kept it nice and smooth.

I decanted it into a small blue glass jar to take with me, as I need only the tiniest amount on my face.

I have got used to the smell, and would even go so far as to say that I actually like it now! I hardly used up any either...I think my 160ml's will last me some time.


Diabetic Retinopathy

Scary thing arrived in the post today. It was a letter from my NHS doctor stating that I MIGHT have background retinopathy.

Which is weird because when the guy looked at the screen to check if there was any damage, he didn't seem too concerned, and I thought it looked exactly as it usually does.

Anyways, I think this has given me a little kickstart into exercise again. And more regular sugar level testing.

I have just come back from a holiday in Italy, where my sugar levels were all over the place. Not good. Probably because I was eating too late, and eating way too much fat as well.

So, now I am heading out for a walk with the dog. To clear my head, work out what practical steps I can take to reverse the retinopathy (as much as is possible) and then I am going to make sure I book myself an appointment with the screening clinic for next year.

Oh, and check up with my optician so he can see what the overall condition of my eyes are. Because, everything is linked and I just want to be sure.

The letter says that there's nothing I need to worry about, there is no treatment at this stage, just simply to keep a good control of my sugar levels. Which could be interesting given I am heading off on holiday again in a week.

I know that laser treatment is the best cure at more advanced stages, but lets hope I don't get that far. Come on Patrick, help me out here! Exercise and low GI foods are going to be more important than ever...

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italy, conad & me

i have just arrived back from my holiday in italy with my family! it was such gorgeous weather, and delicious food.

on our second day we went out to the local supermarket to get some supplies for the kitchen... and the Conad was such an experience to shop in, i thought i would give you a sneak peek inside an Italian supermarket.


it was so much fun looking round the shop, as there were some totally new brands i had never heard of. And it was interesting seeing completely new food too. i was amazed and over the moon to see prepacked and cooked chickpeas, spinach and pearl barley. wowee, how healthy!

so. ironically, we were never served anything remotely this healthy. loads of white pasta, and way too much salt. everything was really good, but i felt so bloated and big by the end of the week. and thirsty because of the salt.

but, we did find out some tasty snacks, that were totally salt free, with no added sugar (zucchiere)...


it does look like baby food, but tasted delicious, especially the mixed fruit one. yum!

every evening we had a chef cook us dinner in our villa (oh my word, how posh is that?), and there were always 4 courses. first was some sort of bruschetta type bread with a topping. next was the pasta course. then, the meat course with a few vegetables (covered with olive oil and salt usually) and then the pudding.

almost always made me feel slightly unwell, because i ate way too much. but i did enjoy the snacks i took with me during the day, which kept me balanced. i had chocolate covered almonds, dried mango, and cereal bars. pretty good.

we went out to buy cakes at one point too. frangipane, marzipan and sugary fruit = the main basis of these cakes. biscotti are delicious, especially the really nutty ones. but the rest of my family aren't health freaks like myself, so had many, rather than one. and i was the person to initiate the buying of fresh apples, bananas, cherries and pears. oh, and yogurt too.

every morning i brought down a green tea bag to have with breakfast, which my whole family thought was strange. but, the only other thing to drink was coffee or UHT milk. ew. it did help clear my salty head though, so rock on green tea!

anyways, should you ever go to Italy, definitely try a gelato if you allow yourself. i had a small tub of strawberry and coconut icecream. delicious! it was well worth the sugar headache that followed!


the views are amazing... can you spot the creepy italian tree (aka the tall thin one)?


and when we went into town, we decided that each of us would be taking part in a challenge to find the best wine. we all had to buy a bottle for under 10euros and then we would do a blind taste testing to see which one was the nicest. and later on that evening, my bottle won!! haha, i have the least vino experience of all my fellow travellers, so maybe it was just beginners luck?


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Bento Lunchbox Love

Ok. So I have just discovered the most beautiful things. Bento Lunchboxes!

I have found these on ebay at Blueberry Land , Sweet Deals and Yingka in a whole bunch of different colours. They do cute straps and thermo bags for them as well. I think I need to start a collection.

Pictures of the Perfect Porridge





Wednesday, 6 May 2009

perfect porridge

Porridge is one of the most nutritious breakfasts you can have in the morning. But so often we just can't be bothered to make it...I know I can't anyway.

BUT, I have recently rediscovered my love for oatmeal before 9am. I have found the perfect food to keep me going all day...it really does. I can tell the difference in my energy levels when I have porridge, so it is worth making it. I promise.

Its important to get the right kind of oats to start with, otherwise your mission will fail. I have found that the cheapest oats are usually the best, a huge back of Tesco's Scottish Porridge Oats suits me just fine. Its important that its flaked oats, rather than rolled or large oats. The smaller the particles, the better the porridge; believe me on this one.

Oatmeal should only be reserved for the more hardcore of porridge eaters, as it has a more distinct texture and flavour. Oatmeal is great in baking though; I wouldn't pass up an oatmeal raisin cookie if it was offered to me!

Ok, so you have your bag of value porridge oats. Full of fibre and so easy to use. Next you will have to decide on what you will cook it with.

In my opinion, I have come to enjoy porridge with half water, half soya milk. But half water, half goats milk is delicious too. Of course you can just add regular cows milk, but half and half is healthier, isn't it? The great thing about porridge oats, is that the natural milk in the oats is released quicker, so you get a much creamier porridge. I sometimes just use water to cook my porridge, and am always astounded by how delicious it is.

Ok, now, rather than tell you exactly how much water to oats you should have, I will tell you what I do each morning. As I never measure exactly.

I will put a LARGE handful of oats in the pan (but it does depend on how hungry I am), and then cover it in water, so it just goes over the top of the oats, so you can't see them any more. I might add more liquid at a later stage, depending on how it looks as it cooks.

Then I put it on the heat, a very medium temperature, as boiling it will cook it too fast, and the oat milk won't have time to be let out and it will taste really bland. I stir continuously whilst it cooks so that the flavours enfuse, and it really is a nice even texture.

What you are looking for is a nice creamy consistency. So you can't see any oat particles any more, and there isn't any separation in the ingredients. I usually think its ready, tell myself to wait a bit longer, until it is actually ready. The heat really needs to sink in.

People all have a preference for how they like their porridge. Some people enjoy having it really runny, some prefer it to be standing up on the plate its so hard. But, you will come to learn exactly how you like it.

Whatever you do, try to avoid cooking it in the microwave. Although, having said that, my grandmother does make excellent microwave porridge. But she takes it out every minute to beat it with a spoon, so that the texture is right and its thoroughly cooked all the way through.

Now for the toppings. This is the most fun part of making porridge.

My personal preference is to add some sultanas to the porridge a couple of minutes before the end of cooking time, so they are all swollen, juicy and delicious. Then when its in my bowl, I drench it in honey, and sprinkle it with sunflower seeds. The textures and flavours are incredible.

Another good porridge topping is dried blueberries and linseeds. Yummy! I can't recommend that enough.

Some people enjoy putting milk on top, but I personally have never understood that. It is tradition though.

Other ideas for toppings: dried fruit, seeds, dark chocolate chips (indulgence!), banana, tinned fruit - drained, maple syrup, jam. Please leave a comment to let me know what your favourite topping is! I am always up for trying out different ideas, no matter how bizarre they might seem.

Ok. So that is your quick tips on making porridge. And making it taste good too!

Check out these tasty and healthy breakfast recipes at EnjoyHealthyEating.com

UPDATE: The most beautiful porridge is made by mixing 1/2 cup porridge oats, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water together and putting it on a low heat until cooked. This is how I am currently making my porridge anyway 

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

To Beanie or Not to Beanie?

I am currently trying to decide what to wear to the airport on Saturday, and its so difficult to decide. I want to be comfortable, yet stylish. Don't want to spend ages taking my shoes off and customs, as well as not wearing too much with metal so I bleep when I go through the detectors.

My cousin suggested taking an oversized beanie, so I can look ultra-chic and have a warm head too. This makes sense for an early morning too, as it will make me feel like I am still in bed. But somehow it doesn't seem to say I am going on holiday somewhere nice and warm, does it?

So, the other option is a shemagh (square scarf) and an alice band. This is perhaps more suitable for a sunny summer holiday...So this is what I will go for I reckon. Keep checking back to see what I went for.
Meanwhile, here's some queries about which hat to get...please leave me a comment and let me know which one you prefer.





Styling Hair with GHDs

Check out my new hair tutorial video, where I style my hair with my GHDs, both curly and straight.
Here are the photos of before and after...

My actual hair:

Curled with GHD's:


Straightened with my GHD:

Friday, 1 May 2009

Boohoo

I have just found this amazingly cheap website, after it was mentioned on Gok Wan's Fashion Fix the other evening. Here are a few of my favorite things:


Oh my word, and pretty much all of these things are under £30 too!!!


The shoe selection is intense, beautiful and varied. So on trend, they have patent peep-toe sling backs, 3-inch buckled strappy trainers and 5 inch studded gladiators. It makes me wish I was shorter. But, having said that, they have some fantastic flats, in loads of bright colours and metallics too.


Their sunglass selection is to die for. Every current copycat look you could want, retro, wayfarers, oval frame, neon, large frame, oversize, aviators, sqaure frame, studded...plus each pair is only £8.


I love their leggings as well. Snow wash, wet look and rayoi print are the ones on my wish list right now.


I have not ordered from them yet, but they are sure to get some money out of me in the not too distant future.


(Oh, and I forgot to mention the 75% off sale they have at the moment!)

Like a rollercoaster...

For the last few weeks, since Easter, my sugar levels have gone crazy.

Those of you who are diabetic will know that once they get out of control, its hard to pull them back in again.

But I have been trying!

Its exceedingly difficult when you have a desk job, that requires you to be sat down for a large proportion of the day, as this means more insulin and less exercise. And the more insulin, the worse the absorption rate is for Patrick (my Minimed Insulin pump). So, the more insulin you use, the more insulin you will need to use to compensate.

Anyway, things can quite easily go spiralling out of control.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite pick up on this one early enough. It was only a few days ago that I questioned why I wasn't getting much done, why I was snacking more and why I was constantly tired. Hmmm. It was obviously worse than I thought.

So, now I am back on track, trying to stabilise the levels. My fridge is full of veg, and there are tons of tasty snacks around the house and a gigantic fruit bowl too. But, as brilliant as this is, it isn't the answer to my problems.

I have changed my infusion set area, so hopefully the absorption rate will improve soon. And I am trying, trying, trying to stop working at my desk, but the credit crunch has meant that I need to work as much as I can.

So, where do I find the balance? How can I acheive it if I don't have time or money? Tricky, tricky, tricky. Well, I am heading off on holiday in a week, to somewhere that I hope will restore and rejuvenate. A good relaxation, lots of walking and swimming, sunshine and good food and company should help to balance out those levels again! Or, so I hope.