Angelina Jolie is a world famous actress who has a life very different from most mums. However, every mum can teach others a thing or two and she has certainly done that.

angelina

Two years ago she spoke about her choice to have a double mastectomy as she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave her an estimated 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer. This month she wrote powerfully about the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Angelina Jolie inspires us to take charge of our health and is a Striking Mum.

1. She speaks honestly and openly about issues in order to help others.

2. She describes genuine feelings which helps others to feel less isolated.

3. She is committed to doing all she can to see her children grow up and to meet her grandchildren.

4. She accepts that women have a right to do their own research and to decide on the best course of action for them.

5. She is an inspirational woman and yet like so many others that inspire, she does not big herself up.

6. She counts her blessings particularly her husband and children.

I was moved when I read Angelina’s comment:

“The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters.”

I remember finding a lump in my breast and knowing that all that mattered was living long enough to see my children were OK. It also reminded me that I had things I wanted to do so I got on with doing some of them.

When I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and told there was a possibility of reversing it, I changed my lifestyle because to do otherwise would not be fair to my children. A wake-up call to act on.

Mums can do so much to support other women. I was delighted to hear that one mum in particular had decided to go for a full health check after I spoke openly about my issues. How much bigger an impact someone like Angelina can have and how wonderful that she uses her profile to such good effect.

I leave you with this thought from Angelina:

“It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”

Angelina Jolie inspires us to take charge of our health so do something for yours today.

What will you do?

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If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

What film characters inspire you?

They say you should never ask a question that you cannot answer honestly yourself. The film that springs to my mind is Erin Brockovich played by Julie Roberts (who I used to think I had a look of until I did a celeb lookalike thing and it came up with Minnie Driver. I know. I sometimes think ridiculously big and why not?

juliaroberts

So why do I rate Erin?

Well with a background in Law, that side of the film made me watch the film. When I intended to be a barrister or solicitor I always wanted to be one who would fight miscarriages of justice.

Erin has a mouth on her and I do like it when women speak up.

She has the guts to ask for a job and sometimes it is so true that if you ask, you receive. The problem is most of us don’t operate like that most of the time and then wonder why we are disappointed with things.

Erin is a risk-taker and that side of her appeals to me.

She has passion and I know that passion has the power to persuade.

She is cynical enough to question things – also a good trait in my view particularly when dealing with authorities.

It all comes right for her in the end – happy days!

So what film characters inspire you?

This is my question for you this week and as usual if you want to blog about the question or about any way that you are changing your life proactively, please do link up and I will promote your post via social media.

Mums are very good at inspiring each other and we need to commit more time to that as it moves mountains.

Julie or Minnie? Minnie or Julia?

minniedriver

My son says both are wrong and this one has a look of me.

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When my dear Dad saw my boudoir pictures (the tamer ones) he said I looked like a real film star.

boudoir

So tell me which film character inspires you and if you like which one you think you look like.


Today is a cheerful day.

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1. I got a lie-in as Him Indoors is on late shift today so he could do family stuff until I decided to bid farewell to the duvet.

2. I managed to feed the children altogether at breakfast time. This very rarely happens due to their differing tastes and their unwillingness to eat together sometimes. My youngest son is of the view that the other two children’s eating styles are disgusting.

3. I fixed a technology issue that was proving troublesome.

4. I contributed some ideas to some special people.

5. I had email contact with a very lovely friend and we always have a giggle too.

6. I feel on top of things.

7. I have enjoyed cuddles with cats.

8. I have had a walk in the sunshine.

9. I have seen the nurse who says my blood pressure is superb and that my weight loss is amazing. That made an already cheerful day even better.

10. I sat in the garden and had a drink whilst my son enjoyed a snack.

11. Quite by accident we met a fellow home educator and joined the Wildlife Trusts.

12. Him Indoors won’t be back until later which means I will get an evening in charge of the remote control and doing my own thing.

13. I feel confident, sassy, chatty and positive about the present and the future.

Now that makes for a very cheerful day.

Is your child upset about Zayn leaving One Direction? Our new agony aunt Molly Coddle has some words of advice for you.

onedirection

There is no doubt fans feel a real sense of loss.

What can you say to your child if they are devastated by the One Direction News?

1. Zayn leaving One Direction as a voluntary act. This is what he either wants or needs.

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said in a statement posted on the band’s Facebook page.

If you really care about the band members, wish him well as he continues to his next chapter.

2. The band is staying together. One Direction might now to be Four-fifths direction but the band will play on.

3. It is a sign of strength to express feelings. Crying is an OK thing to do.

4. Seeking support is also a great thing to do in life. Encourage your child to reach out for your support and that of peers.

5. It will be a very lucky parent who has not experienced a loss of some sort in their lives. Empathise with your child and show them that you do understand.

6. Zayn leaving One Direction has led to negative things happening as people respond to the news including encouragement of self-harm. Make sure you are clued up on this and remain vigilant. Don’t be afraid to have a discussion about such issues. The MIND charity has helpful information about self-harm.

7. Encourage your child to find a balance between being online and getting out in the fresh air or doing other things. It could so easily become obsessive to sit taking part in the outpouring of grief online so a good balance now is even more important than usual.

8. Ask your child directly what would make them feel better and how you can help.

9. Ask your child what might happen next? Solo careers, changes of direction (no pun intended)) reunions in time – the world really has not ended. Gently remind them that there was a life before One Direction. Zayn leaving One Direction may in time be shown to be the best thing for himself, the band and others.

10. If the grieving behaviour continues or you have concerns, teach your child the right way to live life by reaching out for the support that is available for your parenting and for their mental health.

When Culture Club split up for the first time, I was a teenager. It was very upsetting and especially as Boy George was clearly not well or engaging in the best behaviours. Decades later Boy George is still alive and the Culture Club dramas continue. Life really does go on.

My next upset was when Freddie Mercury died. I can still cry about this all these years later and that is OK. I celebrate his life and music. I share it with my children. I try to incorporate some of his wisdom into my own life in a very small way.

As for my daughter, she is happy about the One Direction news as she has never liked the group. She has never being one to follow the crowd and I guess in that she is like Zayn although I have no intention of sharing that analogy with her.

How do you help your child cope in situations like this?

Welcome guests inside with this sophisticated sweet potato recipe for patties with grilled bacon and poached duck eggs.

sweetpotatoducky

A dish that looks as good as it tastes, with a rich duck egg that sits elegantly atop a crunchy patty and crispy bacon, it’s sure to become the star of the party. Dust with paprika for guests who crave a touch of spice or omit the bacon for a delightful vegetarian dish.

Sweet potatoes are a tasty vegetable that can be enjoyed all year round, and are also low in fat and high in fibre. They’re packed full of anti-oxidants and vitamins A and C, and count toward one of the 5 a day.

The Love Sweet Potatoes campaign is designed to tell consumers about the benefits of sweet potatoes and the different ways they can be used in everyday meals. The North Carolina farming family at Scott Farms is behind the campaign and has been growing sweet potatoes for over four generations. They are now the largest importer of sweet potatoes into the UK.

Sweet Potatoes and Bok Choi Patties, Grilled Bacon and Poached Duck Egg

Serves 4

Per serving

508kcal

24.2g protein

36.1g fat

8.3g saturates

41.5g carbs

9.1g sugar

3.8g fibre

2.8g salt

1172mcg vitamin A

Ingredients

450g cooked sweet potato, mashed

Crushed black pepper, to taste

1 small bok choi, finely sliced

1/4tsp smoked paprika

¼tsp ground cumin

1 garlic clove, chopped

1tsp honey

1-2tbsp polenta flour, plus extra for coating

Oil, for frying

8 rashers of dry cured bacon

4 duck eggs

2tbsp white wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, pepper, bok choi, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and honey together with a little polenta flour.

2. Adjust the seasoning, split into 4 equal balls, squash them down and coat with some polenta – this will help to make them nice and crisp when cooking.

3. Place a large pan of water on the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Add the vinegar to it. Crack the eggs into 4 individual dishes, ready to be poached.

4. Shallow fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on one side. When they are ready to be turned, stir the pan of water and gently pour the eggs into it, one at the time (the water should be simmering and not boiling).

5. Cook the patties for 3-4 minutes on the second side. When they are ready, so should be the eggs.

6. Gently remove the eggs from the water and drain on some kitchen paper.

7. When you are almost ready to serve, place the bacon on a rack under the grill and cook until crispy. When cooked, remove and keep warm.

8. Place the patties onto four serving plates. Cut the bacon rashers in half and arrange four halves over each sweet potato patty. Top each with the poached eggs, drizzle with a little oil and serve.

Tips:

· The polenta can be replaced with breadcrumbs

· If you are a meat lover, add either some black pudding or chopped chorizo to the mix before shaping it into patties

I am a big fan of sweet potatoes. Do you have a sweet potato recipe to share?

clairejustine