Frantic doggy-paddling… Plus, a chocolate olive oil cake, and turmeric buttons

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried out a couple of recipes by my fellow Instagrammer/blogger mates, which I’d love to share here. One of them is by Sarah (@redladybird3 on Instagram). Coincidentally, Sarah also happened to comment recently on an old post that I wrote nearly a year ago, about how it had then been a year since I ceased taking anti-depression medication for anxiety (and depression to a lesser extent). She commented, ‘…it just shows that graceful swan image, stunning pictures, articulate & kind comments you make, gliding along beautifully can be accompanied by frantic paddling beneath still waters sometimes’.

Well, it was very nice of her to think of me as a graceful swan (no one else does, I’m sure!). I replied that I’m more like a puppy doggy-paddling. I might be less anxious than I once was, but I’m still doggy-paddling. Occasionally, someone uses the word ‘super mum’, mainly in relation to the number of things I do (part-time work, part-time study, part-time stay at home mum, home-cook, part-time IQS helper, blogger, and, um, Netflix binger). Although I appreciate the sentiment, it honestly makes me balk. I’m not a super mum. What is a super mum? (I do think my own mum is pretty super.) I do too much. I don’t want to do so much, but I find it hard to give anything up. I get easily overwhelmed and stressed. I angst about why it’s so hard to find balance. While wanting to do less, I also feel guilty that I can’t do more. I battle against my introverted tendencies, and feel guilty about needing time away from people.

Although I’m doing this massive Simplicious challenge to simplify the way I cook and consume, I feel like the greatest challenge of all would be to simplify my mind.

A few days ago, my friend sent me the link to this article, about the ‘life stage’ I find myself in (i.e. as a mother of small children), and how hard it is, and it all rang true. Particularly:

It’s a stage where you are on a constant quest for balance, and can never find it … You are overloaded with to-do’s … You are overloaded with worry. You are overloaded with THINGS … You are overloaded with activities. You are overloaded with THOUGHTS (thoughts about how to not be so overloaded, perhaps?).

I am in the slow process of trying to do less, in some senses. Particularly to pull back from my usual inclination to be ‘the organiser’ – usually of group events and activities, whether they be ‘extracurricular’ work activities, or catch-ups among my circle of friends. Although I’m happy to be ‘the organiser’ now and again, when it feels like I’m doing it consistently in every aspect of my life, including at home within the family, I’ve found that I start to become resentful. I’m hoping that by taking less responsibility (which goes against all my instincts!), I will be able to find more balance in these various relationships; and also be able to focus my time and energy on better supporting those people in my life who need it.

Sarah’s Turmeric Buttons

I saw these on Sarah’s Instagram account during the last round of the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program and thought they were genius. I love that they can be a savoury food topper, or dipped in chocolate for a slightly sweet/savoury snack. Of course, I went with the chocolate option! Do make sure that you use a non-stick baking tray. They are very quick and easy to make. A tip – if you’re looking for chickpea flour, it’s also called Besan flour. It took me several weeks and a lot of health food shops to figure this out!
Click here to get the recipe from Sarah’s blog, Sugar Lumps.

Turmeric Buttons, recipe from Sarah at Sugarlumps

Turmeric Buttons, recipe from Sarah at Sugarlumps

Courtney’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Avocado Frosting

I spotted this on Courtney’s Instagram account, and felt compelled to make it immediately (that doesn’t happen often). It happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free, and uses rice malt syrup as a sweetener, which means it is also low fructose. It was SO delicious – even better the next day I thought, after it had been in the fridge – and the kids had no idea the frosting was made of avocado.
Click here to get the recipe from Courtney’s blog, My Abundant Plate.

Chocolate olive oil cake with avocado frosting, recipe from My Abundant Plate

Chocolate olive oil cake with avocado frosting, recipe from My Abundant Plate


  1. Thank you Erin for this wonderful write up & l’m so pleased you enjoyed the TB’s ….

    l can really identify with the cycles you describe Erin, those emotions of anxiety, guilt & resentment affecting our thoughts. In turn these thoughts contribute to a sense of overload and consequently finding balance can appear even more difficult ! … one vicious cycle. What is clear is you have a plan in that you are doing something different by taking less responsibility and l for one am really looking forward to seeing you break this cycle …

    … this was a lovely post to read all round Erin

    Thank you x

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Sarah, I appreciate it. It’s interesting that trying to ‘break the cycle’ as you say is a little anxiety-provoking in itself!

      • Yes it’s feeds back into itself so l can imagine it would be right now … especially in the first stages of doing something different … but do you think your feelings will change over time? …

  2. Mel says:

    Yes, I can absolutely relate – to feeling responsible for everything and everyone, to feeling guilty over my introverted tendency to need time away from others, to wanting to do less but having so many plans for all the other things I want to.
    Brooke MacAlary, the slow home advocate has written and podcasted about how she feels about the word ‘balance’ when it comes to our lives. She claims we rarely can achieve balance and if we do it doesn’t last long before something requires our time or attention and puts us out of balance. She advocates ’tilting’ which I love. She recommends leaning into those things which require our time and attention now, focusing on those important things and as a result, tilting away from matters which are either not as important or can wait. As circumstances change we will require ourselves to tilt in other directions, constantly correcting, and re-correcting as our lives unfold. I love this as it acknowledges that there are always other things we could or should be doing but we can’t be doing it all at the same time. We choose what we need to focus on then re-adjust as other demands are made on us. I feel this is particularly relevant to motherhood as our children develop and their requirements change our mothering needs to change with it. There will always be things which we deem our most important job at the time and by tilting towards it, we acknowledge it as a priority while also being aware that later we will tilt towards one of the other issues in our lives. I find this a wonderful concept, one I try to adopt rather than balance.

    • Erin says:

      Hi Mel,
      Thanks for taking the time to provide your thoughts. It’s a terrible paradox in which we introverts live, isn’t it? 🙂 Funny enough, you are the second person to mention Brooke MacAlary to me in the last week or so… I will definitely give her podcast a try. (In fact I just stopped typing and downloaded the first few so I can listen tomorrow.) Tilting sounds like a very interesting concept…. One that is perhaps more balanced (haha) than the idea of balance. And more achievable! Definitely I find my list is never-ending, literally, so this may be a useful approach to try. Thank-you for letting me know, I appreciate it. 🙂

  3. Hi Erin!

    Great post and I can totally relate with everything you write about.

    I have suffered with anxiety over a very long period of time and all the visits to psychologists and doctors giving out different methods of therapies – medication (which I didn’t take, but was shocked at how quickly the prescription pad come out) or reading a book suggested titled “Change the way you think” well easier said than done!

    I too feel overwhelmed with my “responsibilities” of being a wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, older sister, running a small business and everything else and trying to fit in things that make me happy – it’s a tough juggling act.

    “Simplify my mind” – how I laughed when I read this. Not because it’s funny, but it’s a relief to know that we are not along in this crazy journey! And we are NOT crazy at all!

    I look forward to reading other posts you will write and send a big hug your way for coming off your medication last year – that’s amazing! 🙂 Sounds like you have a great plan in store and that’s a positive move and I’m sure you are surrounded by amazing people to help you along the way.

    From what I’ve seen in the Insta community, you are a strong, intelligent, fun, talented and awesome woman, Glad to have connected with you with IQS…. you are truly inspiring! xx

    • Erin says:

      Hi Claire,
      Thank-you for such a thoughtful comment. 🙂 Wouldn’t it be handy if we could just declutter our minds the same way we declutter the pantry!? Gosh it sounds like you are very, very busy too. Motherhood is certainly intense – an extraordinary and exhausting journey; let alone fitting in the other things that are part of our own separate identities! I hope you too are able to find some time for yourself in your busy life! I’m so glad to have connected with you too. 🙂 xx

  4. Hi Erin

    How awesome would that be to declutter our minds like that – oh yeah, I’m dreaming about it!

    Yes I’m also very busy…. it can be exhausting… most of the time. The motherhood thing I looove, but I have my doubts at times if I’m ok at it. But hey, I think we all think that – it’s definitely trial and error! 🙂 xx

  5. Leanne says:

    What an open hearted and honest read Erin!
    Hmmmm yes can definately relate. Over and over again. I sometimes have to kick myself as I used to say, I never want to worry like my mum worries. Now I’m
    A mum and a step mum and I worry. I worried before I was a mum, but now I worry it seems about worrying. Ahhhhhh!
    My husband always says to me , “you just need to relax” “it will all work out”, how I envy his mindfulness .
    Anxiety is an ugly habit that creeps up and holds on for dear life like a leech, until
    Your ready to give it a good hard swipe. Sometimes I feel like screaming ” get off me”.
    I’m still working on the unworrying , more mindfulness, less anxiousness person who I know is there somewhere underneath the rubble. But I do know that I worry because I bloody care sooych, and that is not all bad.
    I know you will find your inner peace Erin , your strength is your virtue xxxx

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for the lovely thoughtful comment, Leanne. ‘Mum’ worry is a whole different kind of worry, hey! I wonder if it gets better as the kids get older (I suspect not). I think you have it in a nutshell though – that it’s because we care so much. Love as a parent is a double-edged sword, so powerful and valuable on one side, and terrifying on the other.

  6. theeasyhealthyway says:

    Hi Erin great post. What is balance? I have also read that you can never truly lead a balanced life as one area always needs more attention than another and having a completely balanced life is just an illusion that has been created.
    I can completely relate to wanting to be by myself, I am a complete introvert, I don’t feel guilty though but that just may come with age and no you never stop worrying about your kids even when they are grown up. X

    • Erin says:

      That is a very good point about balance Tracey! It does seem like a very unsustainable concept. ‘Tilting’ seems to be something I can get my head around better…
      Do you at least get better at being worried about your kids once they’re grown up? 😀

      • theeasyhealthyway says:

        I think you do Erin, just in a different way if that makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: