20 September 2017

HIDDEN VEGGIE MAC & CHEESE WITH BABEASE


Ever wondered what can be done with pouches of baby food other than the obvious? For some reason it took me over a year to finally have a light bulb moment and combat fussy eaters whilst packing as much veg into my girls' food as I can.

Pasta sauce particularly is a hard one, I don't know about you but 90% of the time I cannot be bothered to make a sauce from scratch that only Lily will be eating and the it occurred to me - I can use baby pouches!

This is a little Mac & Cheese type concoction I whipped up for Lily's lunch. Normally I make my own cheese sauce but as Lily is the only one eating this as the fussy one was at school, I decided to wing it and give this a go.







// Pasta (I'm using Tesco Soup Pasta here)
// 1 Pouch of Babease Butternut Squash, Carrot and Broccoli
// A Handful of Cheddar Cheese









  1. Cook the pasta as you would normally and drain
  2. Squeeze the pouch of Babease Butternut Squash, Carrot and Broccoli into a pan and heat it up
  3. Mix in the cheese and take off the heat
  4. Pour in the pasta and mix it all up
  5. Leave to cool slightly before giving it to baby

It took literally 10 minutes to make and bumped up the veg count of Lily's lunch and she loved it! 




19 September 2017

WHAT MY TODDLER ATE TUESDAY [19/09/17]

BREAKFAST 


// 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.


LUNCH


// 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.


DINNER


// 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

10 TIPS FOR MANAGING ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS


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

REVIEW // LUSH INTERGALACTIC


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

COPING WITH NIGHT PAINS & HYPERMOBILITY IN CHILDREN



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 -


HUGZZIES

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.


DEEP FREEZE GEL

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.

TUBI-GRIP BANDAGES

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.


MEDICATION

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.

ELEVATION

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.

PENCIL GRIPS, WRITING SLOPES AND ERGONOMIC PENS/PENCILS

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

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!


STAYING ACTIVE

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.

STRETCHES

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.

PRIORITISING

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

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.

MASSAGE

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.


SKETCHERS TRAINERS

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.

SUPPORTIVE SHOES

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.


AROMATHERAPY

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.

14 September 2017

CINNAMON & PRUNE SWIRLS WITH ELLA'S KITCHEN


Recently, I have been finding ways to incorporate baby pouches into every day foods to up the fruit and vegetable count with minimal faffing! Everyone loves a cinnamon roll don't they? These are brilliant little swirls of goodness and make lovely, quick little breakfasts! You can add a drizzle of icing if you fancy when they're done or to make it healthier, you can use yogurt.






// Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
// Ella's Kitchen Prunes Pouch
// 1 tsp Melted Butter
// 1 tsp of Cinnamon
// 1 tsp of Sugar (optional)








  1. Melt the butter for a few seconds in the microwave
  2. Add the cinnamon, sugar and Ella's Kitchen Prunes Pouch
  3. Unroll the pastry and spread the mixture evenly all over
  4. Roll the pastry into a swiss roll shape
  5. Cut the pastry into sections about 1.5cm-2cm thick
  6. Place them on a greased (I use Fry Light Coconut Oil) baking tray
  7. Bake in the over at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
  8. Leave to cool before giving to your baby



13 September 2017

PANDA KIDS MEMORY FOAM BAMBOO PILLOW


Lily is one hell of a fuss pot when it comes to beds and comfort in general, she only likes certain fabrics, hates it when blankets touch her feet and needs her head space to be supported - that's where this Panda Kids Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow* comes in. I suffer from Hypermobility Syndrome, Eloise is also Hypermobile and Lily is waiting on a physio appointment because I believe she is showing signs too so I'm always overly cautions about my children's bedding, especially when it comes to pillows and mattresses, making sure they are good quality and supportive of their joints.

This pillow from Panda is made from odourless third generation memory foam which helps support the head and spine correctly and the contour curve in the middle of the pillow will help to protect against flat head syndrome and helps your toddlers head fall naturally in the correct place. When I opened the packet it did have a slight "memory foam" smell to it although a lot less so than most standard memory foam products I've had before and after giving the pillow case a wash and leaving the pillow itself a few days airing it had gone.

The pillow case comes with it and is made from bamboo fibre which not only naturally temperature regulating, but also naturally anti-bacterial, meaning that the fabric doesn't need to be covered in chemicals during production to protect it, making it super gentle one even Lily's eczema prone skin all whilst keeping her skin cool and dry.


It's the perfect size for a cot or toddler bed and suitable for babies 12 months and over and the memory foam means it's thinner and less likely to get in the way of the child. I am a worrier and I'm always careful of what I put in Lily's bed even now at 19 months and I find regular pillows very "puffy". I always find myself worrying  about whether Lily's nose is being covered by the plushness of the pillow but the memory foam keeps the pillow flatter, eliminating any nose squishing without skimping on the comfort, which puts my mind at ease!


Another thing I really love about this pillow is a strange one and I'm not really sure how to explain it but you know with regular stuffing filled pillows, they kind of get it the way and are moved around a lot! Especially by kids and they end up on the floor, under them, over them, anywhere except where they're meant to be... This one doesn't seem to budge, the memory foam makes it a bit heavier and floppier making it more difficult to flap around the place during the night, so no finding it on the floor or your baby under it in the morning!


The cover is fully machine washable at 30 degrees, comes out looking like new and because it's made from bamboo, it dries twice as fast. I wouldn't advise washing the actual pillow if you can help it but with toddlers being toddlers it's probably going to need to be washed at some point, am I right?  However, for testing purposes and being the rebel I am I broke the rules and washed it. Aside from it coming out slightly bigger than it went in (which I expected seeing as it is essentially like a sponge) it survived. The shape was still fine and the pillow looks the same as it went in so if you are worried about spending that little bit more on a pillow but holding off for fear of it being baby damaged to no return, you needn't worry too much (but shh, don't tell Panda). It will definitely need a long time to dry though (also a huge no for the tumble dryer). You're talking a good few days on a radiator or outside in the sun.

A portion of all proceeds are donated every year to the WWF so by buying a Panda product you're helping real pandas too!

It costs £34.99 and comes with a 30 night trail and a 10 year guarantee!**

Want one? You can buy it here!






*I was sent this free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are, as always, my own.
*** See here for full T&C's of the guarantee 

12 September 2017

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR ANXIOUS CHILD BACK TO SCHOOL


Following my Back To School Survival Guide, I thought it would also be helpful to write a post on how to support a more anxious child either starting school for the first time, starting back in the year up or starting a new school altogether.

During my entire school life I was the anxious child kicking and screaming in the mornings, the child who would be inconsolable and have anxiety attacks over the thought of going to school. I was the child who cried and clung to their Mum and refused to join in at parties, school discos and would point blank refuse to go on school trips.

I was diagnosed with separation anxiety at just 2 years old after beginning nursery and remember my first panic attack as young as 8 years old. This was a pattern that continued throughout my school life. My year 2 teacher affectionately referred to me as Limpet because I would cling to my Mum so tightly, just like her daughter had, her.

If you are worried about your child being nervous about starting school then just know that they absolutely won't be the only one. 


TIPS TO HELP SUPPORT VERY ANXIOUS CHILDREN:

  • Talk to the school about your child's anxieties, they won't be the only nervous one but making the school aware of the details will help them to make your child feel more at ease
  • Role play schools, explore their worries and show them all of the fun things they will love about going to school
  • Read books about starting school. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a good one.
  • Go and visit the school a few times during the holidays, you won't be able to get in obviously but seeing the school in the flesh whilst in less stressful and normal setting will help your child feel more relaxed. Point out bits you can see and talk about any parts of the playground or building that stand out. You can then use these as talking points for the actual day to make your child feel more at ease.
  • Talk about the teachers and who will be your child's class teacher, get your child to draw them and stick the drawing up to familiarise them with a new face. A lot of school websites have actual photographs of the teachers which can also help.
  • A sticker chart or similar can also help if your child responds to reward charts. A sticker for every day they go in with a gift at the end of the week. I used to collect cute erasers and my Mum would give me one after school. Those and scented gel pens! 
  • Writing a letter or card to your child for when they come out of school can also be helpful, this was something my Mum did for me. I still have one of these and treasure it even after all these years. (I say all these years, I'm only 26 haha) 
  • Draw a heart on your child's hand and one on yours, when my daughter was going through a rough patch at school I did this and told her that every time she felt worried or scared to look at her hand and know that I was always thinking of her and giving her my strength if she needed it and we may be apart for now but we are connected by our hearts. This was an idea I found on Pinterest a couple of years ago and I just think it's such a wonderful idea. 
  • Write a little note in their lunch or if they can't read quite yet a little heart will do just as well. 
  • Get them a worry doll. I was an incredibly anxious child and I remember having these. You take a doll and tell it your worry, pop it under your pillow as you sleep and the worry will go away.
  • If your child is very anxious then talk to the school about getting the schools SECO (Special Educational Needs Organiser) involved. They will be invaluable in helping your child adjust and coming up with ways to make the transition much easier in the short term or long term. 
  • If you are worried about your child's mental health, whether they're 4 or 14 then speak to your doctor about a referral to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) who will be able to work on a more professional level to help you and your child deal with childhood anxiety. 
  • Encourage your child to write a diary and include the things they enjoyed as well as what they struggled with. You can use the positives to look back on with them as a reminder that actually, school isn't all that bad when they're actually there and that they can overcome their struggles. Getting thoughts down on paper can also be quite therapeutic for your child. Writing down how they are feeling before and after school can also be quite helpful as most children are happy as Larry by the time it's home time. Looking back over these whenever they're feeling anxious to reassure them that they'll be okay.
  • If mornings are very stressful then speak to the school about you bringing your child in slightly earlier and delivering them straight to their class teacher or TA. This can help your child separate from you in a more relaxed environment and without the bedlam that is a normal drop off. 
  • Give the school a ring at break or lunchtime. This will help put your mind at ease because 9/10 they will have calmed down and be fine 5 minutes after you leave.
Most importantly, being the parent of an anxious child does not make you any less of a parent compared to those with children who bound off with a smile and don't look back. You haven't done anything wrong. No one is judging you as you attempt the koala kid to teacher exchange, we have ALL been there, whether that koala kid was ourselves when we were at school or our kids now and you are not the only parent to have cried too.

Every single child is different, every single child has different strengths just like us adults and adjusting to school life is hard and sometimes, kids take just that little bit longer to settle in. It is not your fault and you haven't done anything wrong, you are not a failure and your child doesn't hate you. They are not bad or a problem that needs to be fixed, they just need time, and understanding and love.

I promise you that there are many, many more parents than you think going through the exact same thing right now; you are not alone and neither is your child. You are a wonderful bad ass parent and your child loves you even if you don't feel it as you peel their little hands off your jumper with tears streaming down both of your faces. You will both get through this. I promise.



WHAT MY TODDLER ATE TUESDAY [12/09/17]

BREAKFAST


// Raspberry Wheats
// Blueberries
// Strawberries

I am loving this new bowl I picked up in TK Maxx! It's by OXO Tot and is fantastic in general. The lip around the bowl (which helps prevent any spillages) comes off and there is also a lid part that fit between the two pieces. The compartments make it perfect for a fruit and cereal combo!

Lily ate all of the fruit but wasn't that sure on the cereal at first, she liked them but I think she just liked the fruit more.

LUNCH


// Linda Mccartney Shredded Chicken Wrap with BBQ Seasoning
// Cheese Puffs 
// Candyfloss Grapes
//Blueberries
// Raisins

Lunch was a wrap with some Linda Mccartney shredded chicken I ordered from Asda (which was one of the only things that wasn't a complete fuck up). I have tried the duck one before and loved it so I was pretty excited when I found this. It's really nice too! Even Ben liked it and he moans so much about vegetarian food. I added some BBQ seasoning into it whilst it was cooking and it was lovely! Lily ate bits of it but shoved most of it under her arse because of course the crisps were the best part. She's been really loving these candyfloss grapes though! I can't say they taste much like candy floss though, they are a lot sweeter than regular green grapes, they taste more like red ones to be honest. 


DINNER


// Quorn Chicken & Vegetable Pie
// Homemade Chips with Ketchup

I love a good pie, I generally just buy frozen ones and whack them in the oven but I decided to make an effort because to be quite honest, I'm a greedy shit and wanted more than a tiny digestive biscuit sized pie. I made a giant dish sized pie, I have an actual pie dish but I felt that wasn't big enough haha! To make it all I did was dissolve a chicken stock cube in about a pint of boiling water and heat it over the hob. Put some peas on to cook and added a cup of milk and some flour to the stock and mixed it until it started to bubble. Added in about 300g of Quorn chicken pieces and left to simmer for 12 minutes whilst stirring every so often because I always manage to burn stuff to the bottom of the damn pan. Once it had cooked I whacked on a bit of puff pasty, sprayed it with coconut oil because I had run out of milk and baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees. 

The home cooked chips I just cut up potatoes, shove them in a bag with some vegetable oil and shake, stick them on a baking tray and leave them in the over for 35-40 minutes. Everyone always loves my chips, even Eloise who is the fussiest fuss pot that ever did fuss. Everyone had seconds including Lily. Why they can't ask for seconds of stuff that I actually put effort into I don't know.

Catch up on last weeks post here.



10 September 2017

LET'S TALK ABOUT SUICIDE... #WORLDSUICIDEPREVENTIONDAY


*** TRIGGER WARNING mentions suicide and details that some may find triggering <3***

Let's talk about suicide. 

I've been the one that stayed up all night for days on end to make sure someone is safe, I've been the one that has called the ambulance. I've been the one trying to keep somebody conscious until that ambulance arrives, I've been the one trying to figure out how many pills someone has taken and I've been the one who's had their wrist stitched up. I've been the one that's been there, in what seems like the never ending suffocation that is life.

If you follow my blog you will probably know that we have been having problems with a cyberbully, now one of the things this person said to Ben that has stuck in my mind is that people who talk about mental health online are just attention seekers and it stung if I'm honest and made me second guess what people really thought about me sharing my experiences with mental illness online. Did other people really just think I'm attention seeking? Was this true? Or just general negativity from someone who seemed so intent on destroying us. I came to the conclusion that it was definitely the latter and when I speak about my mental health I'm not looking for the "I'm sorry's" or the "are you okay's?!" and "poor you's". I'm looking to show people that they are not alone. There are other people struggling to leave the door of their house or drag themselves out of bed. There are other people, Mums, Dads, who do not have their shit together and struggle every day with their own mind. 

I filmed a video and wrote a blog post about some of the mental illness I suffer/have suffered with which took a lot of lady balls to post after those comments - Mental Illnesses Are Not F***ing Adjectives. This post/video goes quite in depth with some of the struggles I have experiences and the response was far more than I could have imagined. Just me touching on the tip of the iceberg which is my life helped people and reminded me of why I'm doing this. 

Going back to the cyberbullying, now this is something I absolutely did not expect to be experiencing at 26 years old but alas, people apparently don't stop being dicks when they reach adulthood. This entire experience completely shat on me from a height, I was having panic attacks and adrenaline surges whenever a family member sent me a message because they share the same name as the person who seemed so driven by causing us misery. I found myself slipping back into my old ways, the depression cloud started to return and the intrusive self harm urges returned along with the deafening screams of the suicidal thoughts. The adrenaline surges were happening every 5-10 minutes and this went on and on. And on. They were more exhausting than panic attacks themselves and I found myself really struggling to keep my head above water after previously getting so far into recovery. 

My issue is that this person knew how their actions were making me feel yet they continued. They targeted Ben more. They knew their actions were making me feel suicidal and affecting Ben too yet THEY CARRIED ON. This is the kind of shit that pushes people. So just don't. What are you actually gaining?

Long story short I had recently been discharged for the first time in years from mental health care (for not attending due to my anxiety...go figure. I had my GP phone me and ask why I hadn't attended and I explained that I was unable to because my anxiety was so bad and they just said to phone back to be re referred whenever I am able to attend....) and I spoke to my health visitor who is absolutely fantastic and she saw how much I was struggling and referred me herself. I've had my first session and I'm feeling pretty positive about recovery for the first time in years.



5,688 people committed suicide in the UK last year. 

Female suicide rates are at the highest they've been in 10 years.

Suicide is the most common cause of death in men aged 20-49 years old. 

People from the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide than heterosexual people. 

Shocking statistics right? That many people were struggling so much that they felt ending their life was the only option they had. This is why I am so open about my mental health online, why I'm not doing it for sympathy or attention, I'm doing it for those people. Those who feel the stigma surrounding mental health so strong that they feel they can't open up. Those who feel completely alone. Those who watch other people through filters and highlight reels wondering how they make living look so easy. To those who feel like they aren't going to make it because I've been there too. And I'm still here. 

If I had ended everything the first time, I wouldn't have found Ben again at college. I wouldn't have had Eloise. Or Lily. I wouldn't have found the three people who make me the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I'm not going to lie and say I don't struggle anymore because I do, I still fight self harm urges, I still have suicidal thoughts creep back in when things like the cyberbulling crop up and I've fallen off the wagon more times than I can count but my point is, I wouldn't have found my life if I had lost mine. 

I totally understand how me saying that probably won't help you feel differently right now, I've been there. It's difficult to believe that things can do anything but get worse when you are so consumed by the fog of depression. But it will. Trust me. 

You may feel like no one loves you. But they do love you. You may think people don't want you. But you are wanted. You may think the world doesn't need you. But I promise you, it does. 

Depression clouds everything and leeches the world of every single scrap of colour. It turns positives into negatives and negatives into bigger negatives and drowns you on the inside but it is possible to recover. Yes, it'll be one of the toughest battles you will ever face but isn't living as you are now, fighting with your primal instinct to survive and your will for the pain to stop just as exhausting? You've got this far and that alone proves just how strong you are and that you CAN and you WILL make it. I believe in you. 


I'm going to round this post off with an extract from a guest post I wrote not long ago:

"You know, I read a tweet the other month about how people with mental illnesses are weak. Easy targets. But you do know what? We are the strongest of people because we have to be. Mental illnesses don't make you weaker, they make you have to learn to be stronger. 

Brave isn't jumping from tens of thousands of feet out of an aeroplane; brave is having to constantly fight with the very thing that keeps you alive. Every. Single. Day. It's getting out of bed despite still being in the dark and walking out that door and carrying on with your day. Brave is staying in bed because your body and mind need that rest. It's admitting you need help. It's taking that bite of sandwich despite that voice in your head screaming so hard at you that your head feels like it could burst. It's walking out that door or picking up that phone even though your heart is beating so hard you're sure it's going to fly out of your chest at any given moment. Brave is putting down that blade, putting down those pills or stepping down from that ledge because you are worth everything you think you aren't.


If you are currently feeling suicidal and do not feel you can keep yourself safe - phone 999.

For support:

Samarians 

Call: 116 123 (UK & ROI) (this phone line is open 24/7 and is free of charge)
Email: jo@samaritans.com 

Childline 

Call: 0800 1111 

This phone line is for children and young people and will not show up on phone bills.

Bullying UK

This is a website for both children and adults who are affected by bullying

Women's Aid

Call: 0808 2000 247

This is a free 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline.

Please see this link with details on how to cover your tracks when visiting this website.

Switchboard

Call: 0300 330 0630
Email: chris@switchboard.lgbt

This is an LGBTQ+ helpline. All call handlers identify as LGBTQ+.

For other helplines please click here.


P.S You are going to make it out alive.


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