I’ve certainly been asking myself that for a while now. I’m a mum of 2 boys but they are now 20 and 17 (almost18), finding their own independence, as one is at uni and the other is at 6th form and also working a part time job. I have been married for 24 years and my hubby is a shift worker so that means I now spend the majority of my time alone! Due to my illness and chronic pain I’m no longer able to work a conventional job (I was a driving instructor), but I’m lucky that blogging and running social media accounts can be done in pj’s even on a bad day if necessary.
Yet when the boys where younger my life was busy (illness or not) with after school clubs, kids parties, meeting up with friends in the holidays etc, and although I am still officially a taxi service, a cook and a bank, my life is much more subdued. That in itself gives you time…………………..LOTS of time! Time to ponder and think about your own role in life. Yes I am still a wife and a mum but I am also ME. So, with 48 looming very quickly (and my hubby turning 50 last year!) I am starting to think about my time. How do I want to spend my time now my kids are off doing their own thing most of the time? Read more
Those of you that know me from Mum in Meltdown will know I haven’t written on there for a long time as I simply fell out of love with that site. Each time I went on there it became apparent I had out grown the Mum in Meltdown label. My boys are no longer younger teens (which was my main focus on that blog) and no longer happy to be talked about………..which is absolutely right and understandable.
So I deliberated for a long time not quite knowing whether to continue blogging………..I mean what the hell was I going to write about. I blogged the teenage years because it’s an absolute brutal minefield that will send you right over the edge on countless occasions. Yet, at the same time I was engaging with people in the same boat, going through the same struggles and therefore, it made me feel……………..well, almost normal.
This year has seen my eldest returning to uni but this time he will be house sharing with four other students, friends he has made while living in student halls last year. They have had a year of independence, almost sheltered in a way, by living in a corridor with 11 others and sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms. They work out differences on their own and gravitate towards other students that they get on with or become friends with. As parents, although it breaks our hearts to see them go, it feels like they are still being supported if they are living on campus with all the facilities around them. My eldest goes to Sussex university and it was well equipped with a large Co op, a large cafe, launderette, bar, pharmacy and a GP surgery! I know not all uni’s are the same and some are spread around towns on different areas instead. Read more
Well it’s certainly been a while since I have been on here!
It’s not like there hasn’t been anything going on for me to write about it’s more like I haven’t had the urge to write, but lately that has been changing. So rather than bore you will loads of catch up posts I thought I would do a quick run through everything that has been going on.
So this year I have had more hospital imput for my M.E/ Fibromyalgia than I have over the last 8 years since being diagnosed. Finally I managed to get physio treatment for the Carpel Tunnel in my left hand which has helped ease some of the numbness at least. I have also been referred onto a pain management course due to start late September for 7 weeks and I hope that helps me with at least pacing any activity I do ( I am absolutely rubbish at saying ‘No’ to anyone and generally end up overdoing things and then crashing afterwards!). The course will run me up to almost Christmas when I have been told I may get referred onto an exercise class suitable to help with my illness.
Excitingly, earlier this year a ‘dream job’ sort of fell into my lap via a good friend of mine. Dream job in the fact I can do the job in my pj’s, at anytime of day, keeping my own time! Sounds bloody good eh? It comes in the form of running a social media account for a local clothing boutique called Kimmicass (would love you to come and give us a follow) that sells amazing womens clothing that you just cannot find in the high street shops (and will be looking to expand and sell online as well as open more shops too). This one account actually led to a second account for a London florist who lives locally but works independantly for clients like the V&A! This account is a slow burner and is not fully up and running but is definitely getting there and should be more active before Christmas. So how great is that? Literally a dream job for me as with my illness its difficult to predict health wise how I will be feeling on any particular day, but this job does not require me to be anywhere in particular for any length of time! So I get to work from home in my pj’s which I am loving ………….total result!
Also, we had an amazing surprise with my youngest’s sons GCSE results. His plan was originally to do a Level 3 Early years Childcare course at college which he needed 5 passes including English and Maths. Now hes a clever boy so we knew he would get the 5 passes unfortunately his worst subject is maths so we were extremely concerned ( as was he) that he wouldn’t pass that and therefore not be able to do his course. So the results morning was literally the most stressful time ever and I had lots of contingency plans running through my head should he not get his maths. Well talk about a total surprise, not only did he get a level 5 in his Maths ( the new marking system is numbered!) but he also passed ALL 10 GCSE’s and did so well was offered a place back at the school’s 6Th Form!! He was so gobsmacked he literally didn’t know what to do with himself and although he still went over to the college to enrol he ended up taking the place at 6th form to do A levels instead. As you could imagine it was total surprise all round so we ended up going out to his favourite restaurant to celebrate………….it would have been rude not to!
Then it was birthday celebrations for my husband who was turning 50 at the end of August…………….50!! Now he’s not one for big parties etc although is more than happy to go to others he hates being centre of attention himself. So I came up with a cunning plan to use the money that a big party would cost and instead take him away to somewhere I know he has wanted to go to for a long time- ROME! So I managed to find a little family run boutique hotel in the centre of Rome for 4 nights and booked that and some flights etc for early October for the two of us. However, because this was going to be his only present , except for a few bits from the boys, I wanted to make it a little special. So, I came up with the idea of putting some clues together to put inside a cabin size suitcase and then wrap it all up. So I numbered the clues…
A picture of a fountain and some Euro coins (for the Trevy Fountain)
A spanish style fan with a picture of some stone steps ( for the Spanish Steps)
A rosary (hopefully making him think Catholic!)
A dvd of Sparticus with a small Italian flag!! (The Colosseum obviously)
Each clue was wrapped up and numbered and then his present was a gift of 2 guide books for Rome with the flight tickets inside.
Now my hubby is not one for showing emotion at ALL but as he opened the guide books his eyes did well up and his hands were physically shaking which showed me he literally had no clue up until that point of what his present was. I had even gone behind his back to one of his work colleagues to help me book his time off work and get it approved (he is in the police so it’s not an easy thing to do without him finding out)……………..BUT I BLOODY DID IT!
It was a tough thing to make all the decisions on my own with regard to the flights, the hotel and when to go so I was actually quite relieved when it all seemed to work out. Thankfully now I can relax as I know he will sort everything else out from here- he has already done our medical cards and booked airport parking! The only time throughout that I gave myself a total heart attack was when my Mum asked me on the phone if our passports are in date! For anyone who doesn’t know us we never go away anywhere abroad as we cannot afford it normally and the last time i used my passport was when he took me to Venice for my 40th birthday 7 years ago……………………………………..SO THANKFULLY THEY WERE IN DATE!!
**So if anyone has any recommendations for Rome please let me know**
We also took my eldest back to uni last weekend (sobs) and helped him move into his new shared house ( which is a total state and will be another blog post on its own!) so I am missing him already sitting with us for dinner etc.
Next up is my youngest 17th birthday in a few weeks time before we can get really excited about our trip.
Anyway, it’s lovely to be back and have the urge to put things down in black and white again and would love to hear what you have all been up to. If
Any of you that have been following me for a while will know that I have ME and Fibromyalgia, which in lay mans terms means I am permanently exhausted and have constant chronic pain (with lots of other symptoms but the list is too long to mention!).
I was diagnosed in 2009 and after being initially referred for a 12 week management program in London at the start my Borough decided they would not pay for me to go out of borough for treatment even though there was nothing similar in my area. So, after being diagnosed I was then left with no input apart from pain relief from my GP. I spent years on Tramadol until my body totally adjusted and they were having absolutely no effect. Last year when the pain became to difficult to handle my GP switched me to Morphine (slow release) and Oramorph for breakthrough pain during the day. Again as my body adjusted they had less and less effect and the dosages where increased to a point where my GP could not authorise another increase without referring my to a Rheumatologist.
This was probably the best thing that could have happened. I had an appointment in February and she confirmed 18 tender points of Fibro around my body alongside all over body tenderness ( that means my body feels bruised so wearing clothing/ shoes etc all hurts as though someone is pressing directly on a bruised piece of skin!). From there she referred me to the Fibromyalgia clinic and I had that very long appointment yesterday. It takes all afternoon as you see three separate specialists in different areas who all work together to approach the illness from different angles.
I came out feeling amazingly positive after speaking to three separate specialists who not only believed I was in pain but understood how it affects my daily life and had input in how they could, together as a team, help me manage my pain better and help me restore some normality back to my life.
THIS IS HUGE!! For years I have been left to cope with only inadequate pain relief ( turns out opiates are useless in treating the pain I have-typical!) with people finding it hard to actually believe I am in CONSTANT pain. I know I am my own worst enemy as I do not allow anyone to see how it affects me. If I go out no-one would even think for a moment that my body is screaming out in pain, I will smile and chat and completely mask it ( hence some people think it’s not possible to be in pain ALL of the time). My only visible show that something is wrong is that I use a walking stick, not because I bloody enjoy people looking staring at me but because the pain in my ankles is sharp and knife like and can literally knock you off balance when out walking around.
This denial, or masking my issues seems to be part of the problem. If people think I am OK I will carry on as normal doing things I know will knock me off my feet the next day just so no- one sees I cannot cope! Apparently I need to learn to say ‘No’ and totally understand how to pace activity. This is new to me too as I totally live my life the ‘boom and bust’ way, that means on days where I am more able I will do WAY too much just to catch up etc which then pays me back with several days not able to do anything at all.
So, after an extremely long hospital visit to the clinic yesterday they offered to put me on a 7 week pain management course which looks at all these issues alongside getting a combination of medications that actually work with a routine of pacing.
This is the most help I have had in all the years I have been diagnosed. I feel positive with everything they were telling me and I now have to just wait to hear when the course will be starting. Although it is 7 weeks long it is only 1 day a week at reasonable times with lots of breaks etc. I will meet other people in the same position who actually live in my area too which could end up being a bonus socially.
I have been on support groups online throughout having the illness but I tend to find they become quite depressive with people venting every little aspect, pain, new symptom and bad day they are having. I too have those days where it can bring you right down in mood, but that is not how I want to live my life- it is restricted enough without wallowing in what’s wrong instead of concentrating on what is going well. So, although I remain on these groups I tend only to comment on positive posts because I do feel that sometimes when I am feeling OK they can have a draining affect on your mood as you start to think ‘Oh God is that how I am going to become’. I am not running these groups down they do provide people with daily contact and reassurance and generally are a good thing, however, it can become a bit of a pity party some days and that’s not how I want to look at my illness. I know some people will say they have been on the course I have been offered and it did nothing for them and that’s fine, but because a lot of how you manage pain can be down to mindset as well I do not want to go in with any negative attitude- otherwise what is the point?
So, I will keep you updated when I do start and let you all know what happens. But for now I am very happy I am getting any help at all and we have to be prepared to help ourselves as well as the illness is complex and cannot just be fixed with a particular medication or procedure. So send loads of positive thoughts please, I am feeling that my outlook is going to be rosy.
Over the years whenever I have started a diet or healthy eating plan I find myself extremely determined and aggressive at the beginning, meal prep and enthusiastic organisation takes over when the determination is strong. Inevitably along the way, like most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves at the office without lunch as the kids were running late for school and there just wasn’t enough time, or getting home late from work with no dinner planned. This is usually the part where we give in to ordering takeaway, allowing the cravings for pizza and carbs to consume us. If we look at eating out in a different light, perhaps those crazy days of no meal planning won’t result in diet ruin.
Know Before You Order
Practically everything is available online these days, and this includes calorie information for your favourite go-to takeaway restaurants. Before placing your order, quickly check out the portions and the calories in order to make an informed decision.
Substitute More Greens
Most restaurants offer a standard side dish that includes carb-driven chips, rice, or potatoes. Although alluring, next time your main entrée includes a side, opt in for a greener vegetable instead. If you are getting Indian cuisine delivered to the office, perhaps a side of curried spinach or a house salad with your lamb Dhansak to complete your delivery order.
Portions Are Everything
It is not rocket science; the portions you receive from most takeaway places are much more than what you would prepare at home. This is particularly tricky when a restaurant posts calorie information “per serving”, which is often half of what is in your container. If you are given a mountain of food, immediately portion it out and put the other half away – out of sight, out of mind.
Listen to your mother – don’t wolf down your meal! We get it: you are hungry. The faster you shovel in the food, the slower you have time to digest and “feel” how satisfied you are. In obvious terms, this results in overeating. Another useful tip is to stop for a glass of water here and there – not only does water play a vital role in your diet, it also fills you up!
Modifications Are Your Friend
Most restaurants allow order customisation in order to accommodate diet and allergy requests. This can include ingredient substituting or omission, preparation methods, and sauce selection. If possible, ask your restaurant if they are willing to swap the double cream for a lighter dairy or the sodium-based sauce for a lighter dressing. Simple switches can help more than you know!
Since I started my Slimming World journey in August this year I have learned that it is all about making the right choices. You can have the takeaway or dine out in a nice restaurant but you do need to be aware of what is on offer and what is the best option while still treating yourself at the same time. Do not be afraid of asking for the dressings to be separate, or asking for a salad instead of the normal carb filled sides. Eating out with friends and family, or even a weekend takeaway needn’t be the end to your healthy eating plan. Look at the menus beforehand so you are aware of what is going to be available and know what you are going to order before you get there. With takeaways such as Indian or Chinese opt for plain boiled rice instead of fried rice, order a side of vegetables and have a smaller portion of anything that is seriously going to knock you off your diet and help you stay on track.
Eating out should not be the death sentence to your diet goals. Following these few simple suggestions will rid you of any takeaway or dining out guilt and keep you on track.
I was away last week and so didn’t have a weigh in.
My previous week I had a gain of 1/2 lb which was disappointing as I had stayed on plan ( apart from an ice cream!) But although I was away with the family I was able to easily stay on plan as I was still preparing all my meals.
The only treat that I wanted when I went was proper seaside fish and chips, which is something we always get at a fabulous fish shop on Herne Bay sea front. I planned this meticulously thinking it was best to have this on the Monday I was missing my weigh in. That way I was on plan all week, had my fish and chips and then went straight back on plan for the next week.
In all honesty, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would……….totally weird!
Anyway, along came the next weigh in and low and behold I lost an amazing 3 1/2 lbs over the two weeks!! I was absolutely chuffed as this got me within a 1lb of my half a stone before my cousins wedding target. My dress felt more comfortable and less ‘strained’ when I wore it.
Again I stayed on plan up to the day of the wedding, knowing that on the day I would fully enjoy an off plan dinner and pudding along with copious amounts of G+T!! I didn’t want to think about it on the day, I just wanted to go and enjoy every minute of it.
This meant that I knew I would have a gain on the Monday weigh in, which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought at 1lb. However, even when you expect a gain it still is a bit disappointing when it happens. It was made a little easier though by the fact I won the raffle, which was a bag full of spices in honour of their new curry club cookbook being released- so alls well that ends well and all that lol
This week though I have been very strict with myself, including lots of speedy veg and fruit and cutting down on the free rice/ pasta and potatoes. Last week I opted to aim for a 2lb loss which would take me to my first half stone loss which I think will make all the difference mentally, however, as weigh in looms tomorrow morning I am beginning to doubt I have lost anything and I won’t lie I will be VERY disappointed.
You may have thought I had given up on my little blog it has been so long since I have posted on here, but no, I am still here I have just been having a little break.
It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, there have been loads going on in the past few months in my little corner of the world, it is just the fact that I haven’t had the inclination to put it all on here, call it lack of blogging mojo but I have had a total break from my site although I have been active on my social media sites. Last night, however, I attended a lovely event down in Kent which got me back in touch with the blogging community. It was fun, it was nice to meet new people and get a bit of that missing blogging mojo back.
So, what has been happening while I have been away (and I do not mean the obvious political stuff that is all over social media at the minute). In my little bubble, I haven’t been active on here since attending a review for a local spa, which I have now joined myself and try and go there at least twice a week. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is using the heat rooms ( sauna and steam) there and how lovely that has been for my poor M.E/Fibro muscular pain.
There’s been 18th birthday celebrations for my eldest ( in April) before all the madness of his A level exams recently.
There’s been more sewing for me as I attended another sewing class learning more skills and meeting new people.
There’s been a lot of ‘new to me’ furniture buying and upcycling as we have started to redecorate our lounge from a modern look to a more old style/ country appearance..
There is still a lot to do as the walls need repainting and the feature walls need re-papered and some soft furnishings still need to be sorted, but the majority of the change over is done.
There’s also been a trip to Royal Ascot (which was amazing) for a friends 50th birthday.
This was something I always wanted to go and experience and I am glad they invited us to enjoy their special day- things are always enjoyed best depending on the company you go with. This was a fabulous day that I will not forget for a very long time…………….did I mention how close I got to the Queen????
Recent weeks have been tough health wise for me, I felt I was having no relief from my Fibromyalgia pain at all. It was making me more exhausted than normal and was just never ending. I finally managed to get a GP appointment and she is very understanding and finally changed my medication to a slow release morphine ( the strongest thing I have been on ever). However, the detox from the years of Tramadol onto slow release MST was just horrific for about 5-6 days in total. I have never felt so rough in my life, hardly able to hold myself up yet unable to sleep ( I was literally awake all night on the 1st evening watching films!), there was lots of nausea and dizziness and a bloody awful crushing headache that lasted days. A week or so on from there and things have settled and things are on the up and I am slowly but surely getting back to what would be relative normality for me.
Then last night was a huge milestone when my 18yr old went on his 6th year school leaver’s Prom, having officially left school and now just waiting exam results ( do not mention Edexel A level Maths………….there may well be a meltdown here!) and hopefully for him ( definitely not me) off to uni.
So there you have it! There have obviously been lots of normal life thrown in too, ( nothing is ever straightforward or stress free with older teens in the house) but for now I will leave it there.
I look forward to catching up on all the blogging goings on now that I have a little blog mojo back!
My husband and I are forever having this conversation as we notice how high tech everything has become. We were making our teens laugh the other day when they were talking about new tv’s and games consoles and we were trying to explain that we had only 3 channels on our TV and you had to get up to turn the channel over, and before you ask yes they did look at us like we had 2 heads! However, it really does make you think how far technology has come in even the last 30 years. High tech is no longer restricted to computers etc but there is an element of high tech in almost every ‘normal’ standard item in our homes, just think coffee machines, cooking gadgets, Tv’s and I wont even start on what our phones can do these days.
Most people will upgrade their gadgets and appliances as they redecorate or extend their properties nowadays as we all want to live in a home that is not only comfortable, attractive and practical but is also modern and convenient. One of the ways in which you can ensure that your home is brought into the 21st century is through the use of modern technology, which is something that can provide increased functionality, ease and aesthetic appeal in the home. Technological evolution has changed both our home and business lives for the better over recent years and the availability of futuristic products continues to grow.
There are all sorts of modern devices and gadgets that you can invest in these days in order to help modernise your home with everything from high-tech appliances for the kitchen through to exciting tech devices for the living room or the bedroom.
Enjoy the benefits of high tech in every room
With the vast array of high-tech products that are on the market these days, you will find it simple and convenient to enjoy the benefits of modern technology in every room in your home. The kitchen is one room that is used on a regular basis in most homes, and this is a room where most of us would like to enjoy increased functionality. You can achieve this by investing in products such as a good coffee machine. Technology has come such as long way that you can now even get taps that are built into the worktop and serve up delicious coffee at the touch of a button such as the TopBrewer, which is even compatible with iOS and Android so that you can more easily select your beverage options.
The bedroom is a place where we typically want to be able to relax and many of us enjoy doing this by watching TV while in bed. If you want to make your bedroom more tech-friendly but you don’t want to affect the appearance and ambiance of the room one option is to invest in a high-tech TV bed, which will save you room as well as enabling you to benefit from 21st century technology. Specialist retailers like Bedstar, which provides access to a huge range of beds, can provide you with a high quality TV bed so you can watch TV on a Sunday morning in real style.
The living room is another part of the home in which we enjoy being able to kick back and chill out. This is a room where the whole family often gathers in order to enjoy some quality time and to watch TV. You can look forward to an exciting and unique viewing experience with technology such as one of the range of smart TVs, which will ensure that no matter what you are watching you will be able to benefit from a totally immersive experience.
With so many great gadgets and devices to choose from, transforming your home into a real tech-hub has become easier than ever.
We all know that an important part of childhood is play, and we encourage our children to get involved in imaginative games almost before they can talk. But many of us tend to believe that games aren’t so important for adults. Instead playing is viewed as something superfluous, an activity that takes up valuable time when we could be doing something ‘useful’.
This might be true if you sat and played on the Xbox all day long, neglecting your work and forgetting about keeping the house in order and putting meals on the table. But a little bit of playtime can be good for adults. Not only does it give you a break from the daily grind, but some games can also help stimulate your mental agility, we all remember those ‘Brain’ games for the DS right? If you are anything like me you have to have something on the go in the evenings even if the telly is still going in the back round. For me, I love to crochet and knit, something that I can do maybe while I loosely watch a film or programme I have recorded. Lately I have seen a lot of people online trying out the adult colouring craze that is going around ( I admit I do have one myself which I use when I am listening to my audio books before bed). I know some people love the word games that you can get on your phone, my son loves the logo one he has on there or even bingo either as a board game, a phone app or online. All these things just help a little to keep our brains active and give us a little escapism from the hum drum of daily life.
Obviously now though a lot of games are available online as most people have their phones in use wherever they are, most homes have tablets or laptops especially if you have kids you may even have several of these around the place ( I know we have!). Of course, now we all have mobile internet and broadband at home, the gaming options we have open to us are endless. But if you’re interested in a game that is fun and amusing, while also giving your brain a boost, try one of these:
Bingo has been hailed as a game that encourages mental stimulation for some years. Research has shown that regular bingo players scored more highly in mental agility exercises than their non-bingo playing counterparts. Apparently it’s something to do with the time constraint in a game of bingo that makes it a more of a brain-boosting game than backgammon, for example. Today, many of us play bingo online at sites like bgo, Comfy Bingo or Tidy Bingo, where the focus is more on relaxation and socialising than having a mental workout. That’s because when you play online bingo games at bgo.com, for example, there’s an auto-daub function which means the software marks matching numbers for the player, rather than them having to keep track of the calls themselves. However, if you want that brain workout when you play online, you can opt to mark your cards manually.
Word-based games are another category of game that are good for your grey matter. There are so many online word games available today, and you don’t need anyone to play with. Many of the gaming apps that are similar to the game of Scrabble find you opponents online or you can play against the software. Every time you play a word game, you’re gaining new words in your vocabulary and testing yourself to find the best scoring word. And the great thing is that you don’t have to set aside an hour or more to play. Most of the games like WordFeud will notify you when it’s your turn. A game can go on for days, but only require your attention for a few minutes at a time.
Even action-shooter games have been shown to offer some benefits to their players. Although they’re often dismissed as being a waste of time, they require hand-eye coordination and accuracy, which can translate to other aspects of life. In an Iowa University study, a group of surgeons were observed during their work and those who played action video games on a regular basis were shown to be more accurate and quicker in surgery than their non-playing counterparts.
Aside from the specific benefits that different games can bring, there’s always the overall benefit of playing a game. It gives you a chance to de-stress and put your worries and problems to one side, while you focus on something different. That’s something that has to be good for everyone every once in a while.
For me I love to keep my mind active, I do spend a lot of time at home and therefore it would be easy to fall into a trap of just sitting watching telly, however I do like to ‘achieve’ each day be it a lovely home cooked dinner, a finished crochet or machine sewn item or some blogging in my case!