19 September 2017



// Lemon & Raisin Pancakes
// Fresh Orange Juice

Lily loves these pancakes, I normally get them from Aldi which are nicer than these ones which are from Tesco. I had to put butter on them or they were too dry for Lily. The Aldi ones also have far more fruit in too which makes them softer and easier for her to eat. The orange juice we get delivered by the milkman and it's basically the best thing ever.


// Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous w/ Falafels
// Soreen Malt Loaf

Lily has always loved cous cous, one of her first foods was cheesy garlic and herb cous cous which was one of her favourites when she was weaning. She liked the roasted vegetable flavour but wasn't too sure on the falafels.


// Quorn Spaghetti & Meatballs
// Garlic Bread

This dinner was requested by Eloise who loved the meatballs as did Lily. I cut them up into quarters before giving them to Lily though and I tend to cut the spaghetti a bit too so it's easier for her to pick up. Both kids only eat the middle out of garlic bread though haha.

Catch up with last weeks W.M.T.A.T here.

18 September 2017


1. If you feel you need to, leave the situation that is making you panic. Be unapologetic about this, if people don't understand then that's their problem, not yours. Concentrate on what YOU need to do to help yourself.

2. Ground yourself. If you are in a situation where you cannot leave grounding works better.

To ground yourself -

- Look around you, pick out things you can see and say them out loud (or in your head if you feel unable to speak out loud). Describe little details you notice, for example "I can see a man sitting in a chair outside a coffee shop. He is quite old looking with creases around his eyes, grey hair and thin rimmed glasses. He is drinking a cappuccino". Repeat this 5 times with different things.

- Listen, what noises can you hear around your right now? How loud or soft are they? List 5 things you can hear, for example "I can hear a dog barking, it's quite soft but rough sounding".

 - Can you smell anything? Do the same as above and list 5 things you can smell.

Doing this will help your brain concentrate on something else other than panicking and the more you describe each thing the more you are engaging your brain and the less it can panic. I find that I can at least postpone a panic attack by doing this.

3. BREATHE. There is an app I use called SAM that was recommended to me by a perinatal mental health nurse who supported me during my pregnancy and the first few months of Lily's life. This app helps you track your anxiety levels and also lets you create a toolkit to help manage your anxiety levels as well as keep tabs on what triggers your anxiety.

The main thing I use this app for is the breathing exercise. On the home page you have a button for "Help With Anxiety NOW" which takes you to a new page with a "Calm Breathing" exercise that last 5 minutes. It has many other useful features but this is just the one I use the most.

4. When we panic our bodies tense up completely and it's difficult to notice when this happens until parts of you start hurting because of it. When you're feeling anxious take note of your jaw in particular as this is where tension headaches start. I always notice that I get these kinds of headaches if I've been particularly anxious about something so I try and really take notice of my muscles during an attack.

An exercise I was taught by a psychologist I was seeing in my teens:

This works better if you are lay down but I have done it many times sat up and even standing so it's totally possible to do anywhere. What you are going to do is tense each of your muscles in a certain order, one at a time and then release the tension again, one at a time.

Start with your feet, breathe in with through your nose and try and only tense the muscles within your feet, don't worry if you're calves automatically tense a bit too just try and make it as much foot as you can. Hold this for 10 seconds and then release, breathing out through your mouth as you do so.

Next tense your calves as you're breathing in, hold and breathe out through your mouth and you relax the muscles.

Repeat this for your thighs, bum, stomach, shoulders and head/facial muscles.

Once you've relaxed your head muscles, tense your entire body as you breathe in through your nose, hold for 10 seconds like before then release while breathing out through your mouth.

Some of my healing crystal collection. I have loads of those pendants but appear to have misplaced them.

5. This may feel like a silly one and I don't know if it's a placebo effect or if it really works but when I went through a particular bad patch with my anxiety at about 12, my Mum bought me a bracelet made out of Haematite which is meant to be good for anxiety relief. Ever since then I have had a massive interest in crystal healing and I own bloody hundreds of different thumb stones, bracelets, tumble stones, pendants etc and whether they work or not, having something with me that is supposed to help does make me feel a little more able to cope.

6. Distract distract distract. If I can feel a panic attack brewing I try my best to engage my brain in something to distract it from panicking. This feels quite a bit like tipping water down a blocked sink; the water is draining away, although slower than normal; you have to take it slowly and be careful not to pour too much in at once or you will flood the sink. I find this tactic is good for keeping a panic attack at bay until you can get to your safe place/ have someone come over.

7. When you aren't panicking, write a panic list. Write a collection of things to do when you're feeling anxious, this can be things like listen to a certain song, watch YouTube videos, have a bath. Mine includes things like watch Doctor Who or get my watercolours out and paint or put together a panic playlist to listen to. Anything that relaxes you. Here are some that are on mine-

Saturn - Sleeping At Last
Emergency Friend - Ghost in the Photographs 
Holocene - Bon Iver
The Sound Of Silence - Disturbed
Together Alone - Hammock
Weightless Part 1- Marconi Union
Murcury - Sleeping At Last
Along The Road - Radical Face

8. Do something active. When you are panicking your body is releasing adrenaline into your blood stream, ready for you to fight the threat or run away from the danger as fast as you can. Obviously we know that a telephone call poses no real danger and so this hormone just sits there riling your body up. Doing something physical whether that be go for a run or just punching a pillow or running on the spot will help disperse of of this pent up adrenaline and help your body calm down.

9. Another important tip and perhaps the most important actually is to recognise when you are having a panic attack. It's easy to think that you are dying or something serious is wrong with you when an attack hits and floods your body with all the terrible symptoms but learning to recognise that this is a panic attack and you are NOT going to die is a huge step and often the one that takes the most practise. Also remember that panic attacks are much like contractions. They will only last a certain amount of time before they pass, you may get another one after but there will be a brief moment where your mind will calm. One single panic attack cannot last longer than about 5-10 minutes before reaching it's peak so whatever you are feeling during an attack; it will stop soon. If like me, you have panic disorder the chance of having them on loop is pretty high but know that you will get at least a few seconds of brief calm before another starts up.

10. Rest. Panic attacks uses up A LOT of your energy so after an attack you will more than likely feel completely exhausted so it is important to let your body recuperate. Lie down, have a bubble bath, sleep, switch on Netflix and have a movie marathon. Aromatherapy is great for de stressing, I wouldn't say it helps with actual anxiety or panic but lavender is very soothing and helpful for stress so get the old lavender scented beauty products, light a candle or burner and fill your air space with relaxing scents and let your body rest.

16 September 2017


During the Summer holidays we took Eloise to our local Lush and let her choose a few bits, the first one that caught her eye was the Intergalactic bath bomb. She's has loved the bath bombs since she was a baby, her first ever one being Ickle Baby Bot when she was about 1 year old.

On first sniff it smells quite minty, not overpoweringly so, just a hint. I'm not overly fond on peppermint in general and tend to avoid things with much of a minty scent because it makes me feel sick but I have used this bath bomb before and found the scent quite pleasant. Not my favourite but nice in it's own way. 

I feel it's quite a fresh, masculine scent. The Lush website likens it to a "hint of 80s aftershave" and although I was merely a separate sperm and egg in the 80s the scent is what I imagine Mr Motivator to have smelled like back then. 

It is PACKED with the most beautiful gold glitter which leaves the bathwater a deep, sparkling midnight blue just like a real galaxy so it definitely lives up to it's name. The colour it leaves has absolutely got to be one of my favourites, the shimmer is just amazing! Eloise's hair was covered in golden sparkles afterwards and she was so chuffed!

The fizz is pretty powerful compared to other bath bombs and it doesn't take long to disappear with a soft crackle of popping candy.

All in all, I'm not a huge fan on the scent (although Eloise loved it) but the colours and glitter are what makes it for me with this one! It's a beauty!

15 September 2017


Ever since Eloise has been vocal she has complained of night pains, particularly in her knees. For years this was passed off as growing pains. She would be screaming in pain, literally screaming, and I would have to rub her knees for hours at a time to get her to sleep.

The pain would always be worse if she had been particularly active that day, even just a PE lesson at school would cause her extreme pain and she asked to give up ballet, which she loved, because the pains she experienced afterwards was just too much for her to cope with. I spent hours and hours on Google trying to shed some light on what was wrong because at this point, I didn't believe growing pains could be the cause of this much pain.

It was her Nanny who first noticed that, no, this wasn't growing pains and she thought Eloise has something called Hypermobility Syndrome (now known as Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder). We took her to the doctors armed with this new knowledge and she was referred to a Physiotherapist where low and behold, she has hypermobile joints, femoral anti version and NOT growing pains. I was later diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome and everything began to make sense.

I thought I would share ways we have found to cope with these pains and chronic pain in general -


Eloise finds relief mostly from heat which is where Hugzzies come in handy! These are cute wheat bags that can be secured in place with a Velcro strap. We had tried regular wheat packs before which helped but they just would never stay where you wanted them to and became a bit counterproductive but these are fantastic! They come in various animal designs which makes having to use them so much nicer for children and the strap means you can secure them around limbs. Eloise absolutely loves hers and the lavender scent helps relax her too.


The gel is suitable for children over 5yrs according to the leaflet inside. It's basically a gel you put on the affected area and it will create a cooling sensation without the need for ice packs. It has a sort of minty/menthol scent and I use this as a last resort as sometimes, Eloise finds the cooling sensation too extreme. It does help after she gets used to it though.

The Tiger Balm White Ointment is suitable for over 2's and it's the same idea. This has a stronger smell though.


These are a staple in most chronic pain sufferers first aid kits. I pop a bandage on her knees overnight if she's having pain. The compression helps somewhat although normally she will need heat too.


We try not to resort to using Calpol because we were told by the physiotherapist that the more medication you use the less effect it will have so we keep medication for the time when she REALLY needs it and nothing else helps enough for her to fall asleep. Eloise is terrible with taking medication and it used to be a struggle to get anything in her but  recently came across these Calpol Fastmelts which are suitable for children aged 6+ so I'm hoping these will be easier for her.


Pillows, cushions and more pillows and cushions. When I get limb pain, particularly in my knees, propping the affected knee on a pillow (or both, although I hate sleeping on my back so I alternate) or even in between your legs can help relieve some of the pain. Eloise gets annoyed by extra pillows quite quickly but it does help her too.


When Eloise started school she really struggled with her handwriting; she knew the letters and how to spell the words but she couldn't make her writing neat. The introduction of pencil grips, special pens and slopes made it a lot easier for her and her handwriting has improved leaps and bounds over the past few years. Her hands and fingers still get very tired very quickly but she's getting there!


Baths are sometimes the only thing that will give Eloise some relief, I have been pretty vigilant in making sure she sits in a warm bath after any high impact sports or days where she has been more active than others. The faster I get her in the bath afterwards the more chance she is of having reduced pain that won't affect her sleep. She went rock climbing for an hour the other week and her legs were burning she told me afterwards but we had a short walk after and then straight into a hot bath. She fell asleep and wasn't woken by pains which surprised me a lot considering she was hyper extending quite a lot climbing the walls so baths definitely help. Bath bombs from Lush are a good shout, they make sitting in a bath much more fun!


Choosing low impact sports like swimming to build muscle tone can really help, Eloise has never experienced after pains from swimming and we found it really helpful to keep her active when she is going through a tough time with her legs.


Stretching before exercising can help but when you are hypermobile, you have to be extremely careful not to hyper extend. We also stretch before bed, particularly her calves as these are very tight in relation to her other joints and muscles.


Now this is something children especially difficult because they want to do EVERYTHING. Eloise is a very sporty child who enjoys being active but she suffers for it later. Encouraging breaks at various intervals during activities can be extremely beneficial.


Resting is particularly important for those with chronic pain conditions and hypermobility. Joints that are hypermobile are working a lot harder than normal joints just to do simple things such as standing, walking and writing and pushing your body beyond it's limits is far more damaging and can cause injury far easier than joints with a normal range of movement. Getting that activity to rest ratio right can be pretty hard for a child so assigning time to rest is just as important as keeping active.


This is one of the first things we tried to help with Eloise's night pains. Putting weight or pressure onto the joint that is causing the pain helps her a lot and I found myself rubbing and squeezing her knees sometimes all night long to decrease the pain.


These are by far the best trainers I have come across, they are the lightest I've found and generally have memory foam insoles. Eloise has orthotic insoles which also fit fine inside them (without the memory foam) but she went climbing with them and only experienced muscle pain after as opposed to joint pain. Since switching to these trainers from Clarks ones I have noticed a big improvement in terms of her pain levels after physical exercise.


Dr Martens, Timberland, Kickers; all these were recommended by the Physiotherapist. Anything with a bit of height to it to support wobbly ankles. Both Lily and Eloise have very bendy ankles which cause their feet to fall inwards. The high backs of this style of shoe help support the ankle and prevent sprains etc.


I bought this little pot of Cotswold Lavender Slumber Gel from a beautiful National Trust shop and Eloise loves to use it, I find on the nights she is struggling with pain levels it helps relax her enough to drop off to sleep. The Huggzie doubles up the lavender for extra relaxation!

* Post contains items I was sent free of charge for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.
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