Reviewed by Ian Lipke
This is nine out of ten material for me. It is a book written by Kimberley Welman and Victoria Reihana, two women who know exactly what they are doing and how to do it. The book records the struggles of the two women, the necessity for such a book, and the steps they took to reclaim meaning in what had become an arid existence.
The book is structured in a way that is meaningful to any mother.
“The mummy stuff” explains the need to be setting achievable goals, the necessity for having an organised routine considering that other members of the family will be affected by the recommended changes, and concludes with the advice to be strong and positive. “The yummy stuff” is the explanation for clean eating viz the avoidance of processed food, the food groups, portion sizes, hydration and the recipes and other foods that form a personalized meal plan. “The strong stuff” is the explanation for a well-tested exercise system that derives the most benefit in the shortest possible time frame, a four-week exercise fitness plan, and the exercises themselves.
Throughout the approach is encouraging, warm and helpful.
The positives for me in this delightful book are everywhere. The women smile, their body language convincing me at all times that this is not a façade for the camera. They are genuine in their love for what they are doing and in their friendship for one another. All of the images suggest brightness and satisfaction. They and their children are their own best advertisement for their product.
The individual chapters are structured with busy mothers in mind. The printing in “the mummy stuff” section is a composite of black and green, the message is conveyed through different fonts and sizes used consistently throughout. Highlighted material is clearly meant to be such but never intrudes. The paragraphs are short, their message easily understood. Bullet points convey important information. Slogans like “You’re only one workout away from a good mood” (30) keep the tone light. Tips that helped the authors raise their families appear sensible and practical.
The colours used in “the yummy stuff” section are black and orange. The focus is on why clean eating is important. A guide to whole foods is provided, the tone and style consistent with the tenor of the book. This whole section is beautifully photographed with subliminal messages promoting the benefits of healthy eating. The advice to drink coffee and alcohol in moderation is sound and the women do not back away from this stand. The meal plans are shown in full detail, and then come the dishes…
Photographed in loving detail, the dishes do not crowd the pages. A triumph of the photographer’s art they sit proudly one per page, the instructions on the page facing them, or tucked in beside them. There is no clutter. An entry for a full featured dish like Crunchy Kale and Chickpea Salad is constructed as follows: on page 102 a full page photograph in colour of the prepared dish. Facing page 102 is an introductory paragraph explaining the benefits of the dish and then the recipe with tips related to preparation.
On page 156 we get into “the strong stuff”. This is a combination of red and white with special sections highlighted in the familiar green or orange. Exercise goals are identified early and high intensity interval training given a full coverage with specific benefits for mothers made much of. The four week fitness plan is then explained and demonstrated. It covers fat blasting, firming the body, strengthening the body and the cycle is completed with fat blasting once more. Having identified the routines, the authors provide a chapter on instructions for carrying out the exercises properly. There is a suggested forty-five minute cardio workout, and advice on how to involve the children in keeping fit.
There is one sour note. Unfortunately, it happens right at the beginning of the book.
After a contents page, the acknowledgments and a happy families’ page comes an introduction that sounds “a bit off” to me. Who is going to appreciate being addressed as “Welcome, darling mumma!” The usual platitudes follow – “Motherhood is an absolute gift, but it can also be an emotional rollercoaster ride” – and lead into a section called “Vicky Our Why”. This is a challenge to young mothers to digest the words of wisdom and the recipes in the book and to delve into the emotional barriers that have been holding mums back. Back from where? What barriers? This is the weakest part of the book. Why not dump this hackneyed periphrasis and get straight into where the book really impacts on mothers, that is, on page 14ff where all this early shilly-shallying around is brought into sharp focus with Kimberley’s diary of a busy mum?
Kimberley Welman and Victoria Reihana do not miss one opportunity to convince a cynical public that what they offer comes from their hearts. They are an inspiration, the book’s presentation is based on common sense, and the photographs are stunning. “Buy it and use it!” is my recommendation. It is an absolute zinger of a book!
By Kimberley Welman and Victoria Reihana