Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Carol from A journey to a lifetime.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When not writing a blog, I am a stay at home mum to 3 children aged 7, 3 and 2 years old. So, my life when not writing is a lot of playgroups and a whole lot more craft and imaginative play

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I am a money blog aiming to help families to save money where they can, so they can enjoy what really matters. I have had the blog for close to a year but only really started to blog since August.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
As a family we have been on a budget since finding out I was pregnant with our second. We didn’t have as much saved as with our first and we didn’t want to get in to debt again. Being on a budget has now become a way of life, since my third child was born I became a stay at home mum and we still get to have all the fun we used to have. So, I wanted to share my hints and tips with others to show how you can live well on a very tight budget.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Find your niche, I blogged many years ago and because I didn’t have a niche I just followed others and I got bored very quickly as it just was not me.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
This is my struggle, I am finding it takes a lot of time now but hopefully over the next year something will click, and balance will get better.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
My goal at the moment is to grow, I am a fairly new blog with a small following and I want to help more families to save money where they can, so they can enjoy what really matters.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Social media, I am not really winning at any platform yet and, so I find it takes up so much time.

And the easiest?
The writing, once I have the blog idea (slightly harder) writing the post I really enjoy and certainly find the easiest.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
These are hard, but movie would be Pretty Woman, song Elton John I’m still standing and book Tillie Cole’s Rome (a total chick lit but it kicked my love of reading off again so has memories).

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Carol for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog: A journey to a lifetime

Carol is also on Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram 

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What to feed a teething toddler

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This last week has been all about teething in our home, poor Pumpkin is cutting another tooth and that means he is hardly eating a thing. Pumpkin cut his first tooth at eleven and a half months old, yet he showed all the possible signs of teething from when he was six months old. Even now with his five teeth and three more on the way, he really struggles as each new one comes through. Not only does teething put him off his food, it also knocks him right out of his sleep routine and I can guarantee at least two nights this week will again see Pumpkin wide awake and full of energy for anything from three to five hours in the middle of the night. So, as you can imagine, we are all exhausted, grumpy and a little bit tearful out of sleep fatigue!

Over the past week, I have posted a few photographs on my Twitter and Instagram feeds of meals that I have made for Pumpkin; these are my go to meals when teething, as I know he will eat them. If he doesn’t, then I know he is really in a lot of pain and I will then go back to weaning basics and give him his favourite mushy foods and Calpol!. I have had some requests for the recipes, so I am going to share them in this post, please note that I am not a chef or nutritionist! I make most meals up as I go along and use what I have in cupboards and the freezer, so please feel free to adapt as you go along too!

I cram/sneak as many vegetables as possible into my cooking, as since Pumpkin hit toddlerhood, he has become adverse to vegetables and this is one of the only ways I can sneak them into his diet. As a baby, he would happily eat a wide range of vegetables, I don’t know why this changed, but I still continue to offer vegetables at all meals, but it always is treated with the same reply ‘no no mamma’ then it is thrown onto the floor…

Here are two of Pumpkin’s go to teething meals:

Sneaky Veggie Bolognese Sauce

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Ingredients:

Oil (1 Tablespoon)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed or finely chopped)
500g Beef Mince
1 Vegetable Oxo Cube
Tomato Purée 1 Tablespoon
500g Passata
1 Carrot (Grated)
1 Courgette (Grated)
5 Small Mushrooms (Grated)
1 Frozen cube of Spinach (Grated, whilst frozen or use fresh and chop finely)
1 Red Pepper (Grated) – Optional – this was our new addition this week!
Oregano
Worcestershire Sauce (1 Tablespoon)

Method:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan
2. Soften onion and Garlic in the oil
3. Add the beef mince to the onion and Garlic, and cook until the mince is browned. Once browned, I like to drain the mince in a sieve to get rid of any excess fat and then return to the pan.
4. Put the pan back on the heat, sprinkle in the stock cub, add the Tomato puree and stir well.
5. Add all the grated vegetables and stir until well combined.
6. Add the Passata and stir, if required add some water to loosen the sauce (remember that the vegetables will reduce and this will add some additional liquid as it cooks down)
7. Add oregano and the Worcestershire sauce, stir and bring to the boil.
8. Once at boil, reduce down to the simmer, partly cover with saucepan lid and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

Additional seasoning can be added if required, please feel free to swap and change ingredients for your family’s tastes. You can freeze any leftovers, for quick and easy meals too!

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The next recipe that I posted was a slow cooked Chicken Curry, this recipe is a great way to introduce curry to your little one, whilst making a soft and gum friendly meal for when they are teething! Plus, once it’s in the slow cooker, you can pretty much forget about it and get on with your day! Feel free to adapt the recipe and add vegetables/spices to suit your little ones tastebuds!

Slow Cooked Chicken Curry

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Ingredients:
1/2 Onion
1 Jar Mild Salsa (I didn’t have any passata when I last made this, so substituted with a jar of salsa, and it tasted much better and Pumpkin agreed!)
Mild Curry Powder (1 Tablespoon)
2 Chicken breasts, cut in half
1-2 Teaspoons of Cream Cheese per serving (see Method for details)

Method:
1. Put chopped onion, Salsa and Curry Powder into Slow cooker and stir well.
2. If required, add a little water to loosen the sauce.
3. Add Chicken breasts.
4. Cook on High for 4-5 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked (occasionally stir the sauce).
5. When ready to serve – remove a portion (one half of the chicken breast) and shred into a bowl, add some of the curry sauce and stir through a teaspoon of cream cheese. Add more cream cheese if required for your Toddler’s tastebuds!
6. This can be frozen, just don’t add the cream cheese if you are going to freeze!
7. Serve with Rice or Couscous.

Teething Friendly Snack Ideas:

Mini Bread Sticks – the best ones I have found are from Waitrose
Raisins
Rich Tea Finger Biscuits – given sparingly but he adores them!
Petit Filous
Fruit – All kinds in finger sized portions
Ella’s Kitchen Fruit Smoothies – a fail safe snack when teething is really bad!
Oat Cheerios – dry without milk, make a great finger food snack
Mini Bread Sticks & Cream Cheese Dip
Frozen yoghurt and fruit purée ice lollies

Sometimes Pumpkin is just not interested in lovingly home cooked food, like he used to be when I was weaning him. This can be frustrating when I have made a meal only for him to spit it out and say ‘no no mama” and drop it on the floor. If I am honest, it makes me wonder where I went wrong, I spent hours when he was a baby, making a wide range of different vegetable combinations to match the brightest rainbow to be gleefully munched by him. I just don’t know where and when it changed, suddenly he just isn’t interested in my flavour combinations or the luscious greens. No, Pumpkin is interested in Chicken Dippers, Fish Bites, Sweet potato Crocodiles, Baked Beans, Peas and Sweetcorn.

However, I should be grateful that he is eating something, and I should embrace that and the fact he does eat some home cooked meals, I am currently working on some more hidden veggie meals with him and try to work at his speed and not mine when it comes to new tastes.

I also need to stop taking his food rejections personally, it maybe that his gums are hurting, or his tastebuds are still developing and what tastes nice to me, tastes really nasty to him! After all, don’t we all have days when we would rather have convenience food over cooking a big home cooked meal?

I hope your little one enjoy Pumpkin’s ‘current’ favourite meals, if you have any questions please get in touch and I will be happy to help!

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Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Helen from Welsh Mum Writing.

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Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m Helen and I blog over at Welsh Mum Writing. I live in South Wales with my husband, two year old and a cat with OCD (no I’m not joking). By day I work in strategic communications and public relations. I work full time but I have a flexible work pattern so somehow I manage to fit it all in. If anyone asks how, I usually tell them it’s a copious amounts of caffeine and a need for very little sleep (or am I just used to sleep deprivation now?).

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I started by blog in October 2017 so it’s relatively new. It’s a platform for me to share my moans and musings, as well as hacks and tips that help me fit as much into my day as possible – anything from making the most of your time and money, to quick and easy family recipes.

I’ve been blogging since 2013 though, starting off with a personal blog and then moving on to my other blog at www.helentreharne.com. I’ve had several books published so anything to do with my fiction writing or tips for writers is over there.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
A need for a creative outlet was part of it. I love writing but don’t have time to fit in writing another novel. I can manage a couple of 500 word posts a week in my lunch breaks at work.
I also wanted to share some of my experiences to help reassure other mums they’re not alone. Trying to juggle everything can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s easy to become isolated from other mums when you go back to work.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Give it a go, but be realistic with your expectations and the amount of time you can commit. Do it because you enjoy it. Don’t compare your writing or work with anyone else’s.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
I think it’s useful to have all the major social media platforms if you might want to “go pro” with your blogging in the future, but I’m also a fan of a “pick your winners” approach.

I’m lucky that I already had an established Twitter following when I started my blog, so I don’t feel like that’s effort for me. I schedule evergreen content in advance and dip in a couple of times a day for a few minutes to engage and find new content. I can usually fit that in.

Other platforms are a challenge for me as I work and don’t have opportunity to take lots of exciting photos, and I don’t like posting photos of my son in public platforms. I keep my hand in with them but I haven’t thrown at lot of energy at them yet. I’ll probably pick one a quarter to really go at and build up my following.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
It will still be going but it might have a slightly narrower niche perhaps. I’m quite open minded.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
The making things look pretty bit. There’s a lot of work that goes into making content easy to read and to produce graphics. That can take a lot of time which I don’t always have.

And the easiest?
Coming up with ideas for content. I’m always jotting things down, whether that’s products I liked which deserve a review, an observation or an experience to share. Like most bloggers, my brain is full of ideas but I don’t always have the time to put them all done.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
That’s a tough one as I’ve so many favourites. Films are the toughest choice as I’m a bit of a movie buff. I haven’t seen it for a while, so I’ll pick Mr Skeffington with Bette Davies – my all-time favourite actress. Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival would have to be up there for my song choice. As for book, Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Helen for joining me!

Please take the time to visit her Blog: www.welshmumwriting.com

Helen is also on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram 

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Happy New Year!

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As many of you were getting ready to welcome the new year in, I was tucked up in bed fast asleep. As a parent to a very active 15 month old little boy, sleep is a luxury to me and my fiancé and therefore to us, it’s more appealing than staying up to welcome in the New Year. Call us old or boring, or even both, but that’s our life at the moment and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

2018 will be a year of big changes for me (more of this to come at a later date) and I am going to try to embrace this with a positive and open mind. Yes, there will be times when I will feel anxious and question what I am doing and whether it is right for our family, but ultimately we are doing this as a family and this is what I am keeping central in my thoughts during all moments of self-doubt and when my old friend anxiety creeps in.

New Year’s Resolutions

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, as I know I am crap at sticking to them and I can’t be done with putting any additional unnecessary pressures upon myself. Let’s face it, I know I need to loose weight, I know every gym in the country would eagerly sell me a contract that I would only use for a month and stupidly pay for the next year and feel guilty about it every time I drive past the gym on the way to the shops to get some more chocolate. Likewise, I know I need to cut down on coffee, chocolate and other delicious food groups (yes, when you are a parent, coffee becomes a food group), but the cravings will beat me down by the end of day 2 or 3. If I need to do these things, I will do them when I am ready to, not just because it’s the start of a new year.

Daily Positive Reflection

Instead, I try to make time at the end of each day, before I go to sleep to reflect upon and find three positive things from my day. These three things do not have to be big things, they can be the small things such my ones for yesterday 1) My favourite song coming on the radio 2) Seeing the absolute delight Pumpkin gives his Nain and Taid, and, 3) Listening to the wind and rain outside, whilst we are all warm and snug inside playing with Pumpkin’s favourite toys.

I openly admit, I don’t always remember to do this every day, sometimes I am just too tired and fall to sleep and other times if I find myself awake during the night worrying about things, I try to reflect then. As I find this helps ease the worrying and gently coaxes the sleep back.

What did 2017 teach me?

Whilst I am writing about reflecting upon the day, I am going to take this opportunity to reflect and be honest about what 2017 has taught me and try and take these lessons forward into 2018.

1. Dreams are there to be chased, sometimes all you need to do is take a leap of faith into the unknown and you may just land in a place where your dream becomes a reality! I have always wanted to live in the West Country and this year we took that leap into the unknown and now we love our new home in Somerset and couldn’t be happier

2. Sometimes our dream challenges are not all they are cracked up to be and no matter what positives we try to throw at them, the negatives just outnumber the positives and we just have to let that challenge go. 2017 saw me achieve something that I had wanted for a long time, only to discover it was not all it was cracked up to be. Despite trying my best, it was not going to change, so I held my head up high and walked away, as there are other dream challenges out there too!

3. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to baking, Christmas tree decorating and organising Birthday’s, moving and erm anything else really…hmmm that makes me a bit of a control freak too, doesn’t it? However, when I am doing this with Pumpkin, I need to let the perfectionist go and just get on and enjoy myself too, after all isn’t that what he is doing? I learnt to see things through the eyes of a toddler, if they oooh, ahhh, laugh and clap then I know I am doing things right!

4. Believe in yourself, if there is something you want to try and you have the opportunity do it! I spent nine months of 2017 deliberating whether or not to start The Lupie Mummy. I was always too shy to share my writing/thoughts with others, I was worried what people would think and self-doubt crept in and stopped me repeatedly. It was my fiancé that gave me the final push and I am so glad he did, it has been my escapism and more importantly it is slowly but surely helping me regain my identity again.

5. 2017 threw my little family a lot of obstacles and we jumped over every single one, at times it was a challenge but we never once doubted our strength as a family unit to be able to get through each challenge life decided to throw at us. I absolutely love and adore my little family and watching Pumpkin grow from a baby to a toddler has been amazing and so much fun, I really couldn’t wish for anything more. Even in the tough times, comfort and strength was be found close by and I don’t need to take on the world by myself, I have my family (both immediate and extended) around me and we do it together!

Looking Ahead

Let’s look ahead, I hope 2017 was fun and 2018 will be kind to you and your family. If you have made resolutions, do not put unnecessary pressure upon yourself to achieve them, make them fun, so they become an enjoyable part of your year not an energy drain.

2018 is going to be an exciting year for The Lupie Mummy and family, I hope you will join us over the next few months as our adventures will begin to unfold (don’t get too excited it doesn’t involve another baby, a cat or a puppy!).

So, on that note, Happy New Year!

The Lupie Mummy xx

A Toddler Friendly Christmas

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I can’t quite believe that Christmas is just under a week away, the tree is up, but the stockings are not hung up yet; as I don’t think they could withstand the rigourous testing of pumpkin on a relentless daily basis.

I love Christmas, I love decorating the tree, I have a wonderful box of gorgeous glass, porcelain and other precious handmade decorations that adorn our Christmas tree every year…well they did up until this year; the year of the toddler! This year its all about Pumpkin…well kind of! I have a confession to make, I went and bought some toddler friendly, shatterproof baubles to go on our tree; we decorated it and ended up removing at least the bottom 2 feet of the tree’s worth of decorations, as my mini tree terror had a wonderful time of pulling them off, throwing them across the room, and screaming at the top of his delighted lungs “BAAAAALLLLLLSSSS”. The Christmas tree decorating perfectionist in me died a little that day, I kid you not, that night, after pumpkin had gone to bed, I sat on the sofa, I looked at the tree and declared that I hated the tree and it was horrible (Yes, I had turned into the Mummy Sized Toddler). Please do take into consideration, that I was also suffering with the most terrible PMT on earth and you could have decorated that awful tree with bags of Peanut Butter M&Ms and it would still have been met the same answer.

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So, the next day, my long suffering fiancé took pumpkin and myself to our local (ish) garden centre, to get some more decorations to make it more how I wanted it. Yes, you read right – two important things here: how I wanted it and garden centre. So lets break it down, All thoughts of toddler friendly and it being all about Pumpkin, kind of went out of the window for a few minutes and also so did the budget I had set myself….the dream tree would have set me back £££ if I didnt give myself a good reality kick up the backside. Did you see what happened there….yes I got carried away into a little excited Christmas decoration delirium that for a brief second I forgot about the grubby sticky toddler fingers, that would wreck it in 5 minutes flat.

I ooo’ed and ahhh’ed at the gorgeous trees and I did keep my Mummy hat on and kept to the children themed tree (which incidentally was in my favourite Christmas colour theme) and went a little bauble crazy. Luckily, for my bank card, my previous colour theme was the same and so I knew I had some baubles that were shatterproof at home that would go with them, so I didn’t need to buy too many!

So, that evening when Pumpkin, the Christmas Tree Destroyer went to bed, I removed the silver baubles of gloom, and the inner perfectionist came out to play. Oh, the inner perfectionist had fun, the tree looked all Christmassy and admittedly it does look like the Red and White Christmas Decoration Monster has thrown up all over the tree, but hey it now looks the part and the Mummy Sized Toddler is happy!

When Pumpkin toddled in to the room the following morning, the shout of “ooooooh mummum ooooh” was so worth it” and then the fatal war cry of “BAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLSSSS” echoed through our home shortly afterwards. I spent the next few days telling him no, removing the balls from his chubby little vice like grip and putting them back on the tree, or putting all the stolen balls into a bowl and then putting them back on the tree at the end of the day. I have also and also tried ignoring him and watched as the Christmas Tree was dragged across the floor (thanks for that nugget of advice Dear Google our friendship is on the rocks). Now, I have relaxed/admitted defeat: it’s Christmas, why get stressed out about it, its the first Christmas that Pumpkin is aware that something big is happening, but yet he doesnt really know what. He is into everything, he wants to be part of everything and if that is decorating the tree with Megabloks and Little People so be it and do you know what….his way is better than mine (well, maybe!)

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Let’s talk about Lupus (SLE)

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As the tag to my blog states, I am learning to manage life with Lupus SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus).  Tonight, I read an online news report about Lupus, which compelled me to write a post and also reflect and take stock of my on health and well-being too.

First of all, let me explain what Lupus (SLE) is; SLE is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks healthy cells, tissues and organs.  There is currently no cure for Lupus (SLE), however, I am prescribed medication that helps relieve the symptoms and reduces the risk of organ damage.  Oh, by the way it is not infectious/contagious, so you can stop holding your breath when your standing next to me and put the antibacterial gel back in your bag!  To put it in black and white, Lupus (SLE) is a pain in the a**e; it steals your friends, your social life, your energy and your sleep, to name a few things.  To top it all, Lupus (SLE) is what is known as an invisible disability, as quite often, I look healthy and you wouldn’t have a clue that underneath my smiley face, I am in pain, I am fatigued and sometimes my mood is a little low.

The last symptom I mention above, “feeling low in mood”, is the reason I write this post; “feeling low in mood”, is perhaps making light of the fact that depression can be symptom of Lupus (SLE), the psychological response of having a chronic and painful illness or an unrelated psychological illness (Lupus UK) or maybe even a combination of all of these.  I have attended a significant number of health appointments for Lupus (SLE) since my diagnosis in 2011, and I can count on one hand how many times I have been asked about my mental health, as the main discussion is always in regards to my physical health.  It feels that mental health is secondary, and is only discussed if I raise it and let’s face it, it’s still not an easy subject for many people to raise (that’s if we remember to, as we also get a bit of brain fog too!).  Despite the good work happening to remove the stigmas still attached mental health, it feels not enough is being done here, which, in my opinion is just not good enough.

When I was first diagnosed, I looked up every way that I could cure an incurable disease…yes, you read that right!  I tried eating vegan, drinking only green sludgy smoothies, followed an array of diets (GI, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Healthy Eating Plate and so many others I can’t even remember the names of them!) and of course sticking my head in the sand and going into denial that there was anything wrong with me.  With this, I stopped taking my medication and ended up being really ill and then the reality hit, that I was in denial about having Lupus (SLE).  This was something that I was going to have to learn to live with, accept and manage for the rest of my life.  Hello?!  This was huge and how was I going to do this?  Luckily, I could access specialist counselling through work, which was an absolute godsend; this amazing lady, worked with me every week to enable me to process, accept Lupus and make it manageable in my life.  She helped me find my inner confidence and voice to use in hospital appointments to enable me to be the expert too, after all I am living this each day and even now, I still have to challenge some of my consultants to actually listen to what I have to say about my own physical and mental symptoms.

Tonight, I read the deeply saddening news report of Janice Ellis, a fellow Lupus warrior whose fight with Lupus became too much for her and she took her own life.  Like many Lupus warriors, she may have never showed the true extent of her pain, but she battled with chronic pain every day, the kind of pain that pain killers just can’t relieve.  I don’t know this lady or her family, but I know the feeling of putting on that brave facade of being “fine” when everything hurts, going for that walk, when I’d rather be resting on the sofa or getting up at 5am because Pumpkin has woken up when actually I really do need an extra couple of minutes in bed!  More often than not, I say yes, as I don’t want my son to see Mummy hurting or for him to miss out on things.  In reality, I am not very good at hiding it, as I start getting a bit grumpy when I am really tired or in pain, or the butterfly rash on my face gives it away first!  I am not in anyway, saying that family members or friends should know this, but just saying that as a Lupus Warrior, we have a lot of pride and its easier to say “we are fine” than “actually, I hurt”, as we don’t want our loved ones to worry.

I hope that by writing this post, it will reach out to other Lupus warriors to let them know its ok, not to be ok, but please take that huge step of talking to someone, either a family member, a friend or a social care/medical professional that can help you.  You don’t have to do this alone, there are helplines that are available if you don’t want to talk to someone face to face.

I am going to leave some links to some organisations (UK based) that can help:

The St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust can is a great resource, with an online nurse email/question facility (not 24 hours), Guys and St. Thomas’ were amazing in the first few years after I was diagnosed and throughout my pregnancy.  The website can be found here

Lupus UK – have a really helpful leaflet which a number of helplines on them.  You can download their leaflet here

Lupus UK also have a really great video that explains what Lupus is really well and is useful to share with family, friends and maybe employers when you need to, it can be found here

Actually, Lupus UK are just fab…please go and have a look here

Samaritans – you can find their contact details here

Thank you for taking the time to read this and learn a little bit more about Lupus.

This post is dedicated to Janice Ellis, her family and to all Lupus Warriors to whom the fight got too much. 💜🦋💜

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Exploring our new home town

 

The Lupie Mummy blog has been quiet over the past few weeks, our little family has been sharing and battling colds and chest infections. Last week was particularly bad, with Pumpkin having a trip to the Dr and being kept at home rather than going to Nursery. After three days at home, both Pumpkin and myself were getting a severe case of cabin fever, so on day four, we were both raring to get out and go exploring our new home town!

Since moving to Somerset, we have been having fun exploring our new area, and our family are equally excited about our move and have already booked their holidays to come and stay next year! Whilst my sister was booking her holiday to visit us, staying at the rather gorgeous looking Sutton House, she got chatting to the owner, Ben; who told her about a bakery nearby that was not to be missed during their stay! Well, all I needed was the word “Bakery” and I needed to go and explore!

So, after a bit of research, the Barley Sugar Bake House was located and it’s open on Saturdays from 7am through to 1pm. As luck would have it, that was the day, Pumpkin and I was heading out for a walk; we wrapped up nice and warm, headed out into the chilly outside world and went exploring our new home town.

Tucked away on a little side street, is the bakery, and as you step in, you are greeted with a counter full of delicious treats and the smell of freshly baked bread is just perfect (and also makes you wish you had more cash in your purse!). As Pumpkin’s “Nan Nan” was coming to stay, it made my choices easier, I bought the hugest Donuts I had ever seen, a loaf of bread and a Lardy cake!

If the smells wafting from the bag of baked goodies was any indication to what they were going to taste like, we were all in for a treat later! Seriously, my stomach was rumbling by the time we had walked home and it took all my will power not to eat my way through the bag of donuts when I had a coffee, before Nan Nan arrived!

When Nan Nan arrived, Pumpkin was very excited and kept giving her big cuddles and kisses, whilst showing her every toy that he has, then all his books and all his doe-dees! Once, Nan Nan was settled, we brewed some coffee and had the donuts. I can honestly say, I have never had such a yummy donut, it was huge, light and fluffy, it was filled with a generous helping of jam and I will say it again…it was so yummy! I can’t believe I have to wait until next Saturday for another one, actually, perhaps that’s a good thing!

I think the Barley Sugar Bakehouse, will become a regular part of our weekends and next on the list to try is their Mince Pies, seeing that Christmas is just around the corner!  Thank you Ben for the recommendation!

Ten things I have learnt from having a Toddler

1. Pumpkin may have little legs, but those little toddler legs can run fast, especially when there are clothes to be put on or a nappy to change.

2. Dressing a toddler is like trying to stop the drunk person dancing at the end of a wedding…no matter how many times you try to reason with them, they will continue to wave their arms and legs around like propellers and throwing their head back, as if they are singing along to their favourite wedding disco song!

3. A Toddler will inadvertently use an inappropriate word, as they broaden their vocabulary! Pumpkin is picking up lots of new words, particularly ones from his favourite nursery rhymes; his current favourite is “Hickory Dickory Dock” and whilst we were in the queue at the chemist, he proudly pointed to the clock and at the top of his voice he declared to all that this was a “cock”!, cue pitying looks from other customers and smirks from the sales assistant who was trying not to burst out laughing.

4. What a Toddler may love to eat one day, he will absolutely loathe the next and will behave as if you have poisoned him if you attempt to give it to him again. This will be particularly the case if you try to feed him in public.

5. Whilst on the subject of food, a toddler will start to eat all kinds of lovely home cooked meals at nursery, which you would have tried on numerous occasions to feed him at home, but with no success, however at nursery he will be demanding seconds.

6. When a Toddler learns the word “No”, this will have all sorts of meanings to him and you will need to learn from the tone of his voice to whether he actually means yes. This minuscule difference, will determine whether you will have a “love you forever” smile, tantrum or a riot on your hands!

7. You get to watch the sheer delight on their face as they explore the world around them. As grown ups, we have long forgotten the simple things like how interesting a little stone is on a pavement, or how it feels to just let the rain fall on us and feel the wind blowing around us (and messing up our straightener hair), and do you know what it’s a pleasure to rediscover those things again, who cares about straight hair (ok, maybe I do a bit!!), but just hearing Pumpkins delighted squeals and beaming smile, is absolutely priceless.

8. A Toddler will start putting you through training for when they become bigger children; Pumpkin loves Mega Bloks and I am forever tripping or standing on them and yes it hurts. This is just the training for the big guns…Lego!

9. In a Toddler’s mind, what is yours, belongs to them and what is theirs, belongs to them as they are still mastering the social skill of sharing! A fine example of this was this morning whilst getting dressed, Pumpkin grabbed my bra and toddled off at speed (see point 1), so whilst tying retrieve bra and provide an alternative toy, alternative toy was also taken and Pumpkin was off down the hall waving both arms in the air with bra and toy in each hand…it was too early, not worth the battle, so I gave up and got another not so colour coordinated one!

10. A Toddler will give you an enormous sense of confidence, my fiancé and family never heard me sing before Pumpkin was born and now I spend most of my day singing with him, whether this is indoors or out and about. It makes pumpkin happy and that makes me happy.

The list could go on, but Pumpkin is waking from his nap and I have some serious Megabloks building to do, whilst singing Hickory Dickory Cock, oops I mean Dock!

Returning to work

Yesterday, I returned to work after taking 16 months extended maternity leave to have Pumpkin and to relocate to Somerset.

Returning to work felt huge – my stomach was in knots, I wanted to cry at the thought of leaving Pumpkin at Nursery all day (the longest I have ever left him). This thought alone made my heart and chest physically ache. I know he will have a fabulous time with his new friends, playing with all the new toys and the mud kitchen in the nursery garden. Although in my mind, I still feel so guilty and writing this doesn’t make it feel any easier at the moment, as usually I find writing therapeutic.

I have started a new job, one that I have wanted to do for a long time; this is both exciting and yet it makes me feel vulnerable. Will I live up to their expectations, will I live up to how I portrayed myself at my interviews and will I remember everything? One my little worries is remembering everyone’s names, I admit it, this is something I am absolutely terrible at (sorry!) Luckily, I was given a company structure chart to who is who, so that helped, as long as nobody swap desks for the next month!

Yesterday, I started to regain part of my own identity again and not just being Pumpkins Mummy, although, I couldn’t be prouder and think of anything better than being his Mummy. Sometimes, over the past 16 months, I have felt myself get lost in the journey into motherhood, so wrapped up into caring for Pumpkin, that I forgot all about me. Me, the woman who loves baking, painting her nails, singing loudly and out of tune by her self in the car (to anything but the Wiggles!), who has an addiction to buying converse trainers, who is a bit of a coffee snob and loves peanut butter M&Ms.

OK, so I may not get all that back in my first week returning to work, but I will get to drink a hot coffee in peace, have adult conversation without bursting into song about “whose in the Wiggle House” (I will update you later to whether this happens involuntarily or not…), and go to the toilet without a toddler speed emptying all the cupboards in the bathroom! However, I may just order that kilo bag of peanut butter M&Ms to reward myself for surviving the first week!

 

The Autumn Tag

 

Thank you to the lovely Amy at The Rolling Baby who tagged me to do the Autumn tag. As we all know, I am new to the blogging community and so at first I had a moment of dread when I read Amy’s post as I didn’t know who to tag and then I thought about it for a moment (once I sent Amy a panicked message, sorry!) and thought I would seek out other new/newish bloggers to pass this on to. So here goes:

What is your Favourite Autumnal Lip Colour?
To be completely honest, I prefer lip balms and have a huge basket full of every different type available. I am a huge fan of Sephora tinted lip balms and tend to stock up when I go to see my Sister in France, normally I opt for light natural looking tones, so I don’t actually have a seasonal colour change.

What is your favourite Auntumnal Nail Colour?
Now, we are talking! I love all things nails! Sadly, this is one thing that I have seemed to have neglected since Pumpkin was born, I used to spend hours painting my nails or attempting to perfect gel nails at home. I have a purple MAC nail colour that I adore and looks fab in the Autumn. Perhaps, I should invest in some me-time and go and get my nails done!

Favourite Autumn Drink?
This is easy, I love Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, I eagerly stalk Starbucks on Twitter and Facebook awaiting the launch of their Autumn drink range and will be clawing at the doors at opening on launch day. OK, maybe I’m not quite that dramatic and crazy about them, although it’s pretty close. All this talking about them, is seriously making me want one.

Favourite Autumn Candle?
I am a huge fan of Yankee Candles and I have two favourites that I use throughout the year: Pink Dragon fruit during the Spring and Summer and as soon as Autumn starts to appear I bring out the Christmas Eve Candle as it just smells amazing: it has all kinds of lovely autumnal/winters spices that just make my home smell lovely.

Favourite Autumn Accessory?
This would have to be a scarf, I like to have a nice, long, warm and snuggly scarf to wrap myself up in on Autumn walks. I have quite a collection too, I didn’t realise how many until we moved recently: I have ones for work, for the weekend, for when it doesn’t matter if they get messy (cue going out on walks or to the beach with a toddler in tow).

Haunted House or Scary Maze?
Haunted House any day, the thought of a Scary Maze freaks me out and fills me with absolute dread and panic. I used spend many cold and dark evenings running paranormal tours in haunted locations in the UK, so find all things ghostly intriguing, so wandering around a Haunted House would not bother me in the slightest, I may just need my scarf and a Pumpkin Spiced Latte to keep me warm though!

Favourite Halloween Movie?
It has to be the Halloween films, they absolutely scare me silly, I never used to be scared of these films until I had nightmares about the main character “coming to get me” for months when I was in my late teens, when I stopped watching one of the films midway through it. To me the whole point of a Halloween movie is to be scared, so although I am actually frightened watching it, at the end of the day it’s only a film – although I have to watch the whole film, I cant just leave it midway – otherwise, I worry that I will be plagued with bad dreams again!

Favourite Halloween Sweets?
After spending a year in America, experiencing their Halloween and seeing just how big “trick or treating” is out there, I got to sample a lot of sweets/candy. A firm favourite for me is Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, I am so happy that you can buy them here now (through reading my blog, you will soon get to know that I have a bit of addiction to peanut butter sweets!).

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?
I didn’t dress up for Halloween this year, as my little one is still too young for the whole dressing up part of it; he did however choose a Frankenstein top, mainly because it was green and that’s his favourite colour of the week. I didn’t dress up, as it would have freaked him out too much, I did try on a witches hat and it made him cry…so I left it at that!

What’s your favourite thing about Autumn?
I love the changing colours in the countryside, watching the leaves in the trees and hedgerows change colours each day as I do the nursery run. We are fortunate enough to have an amazing view from our home and it has been just beautiful to watch the gorgeous Somerset countryside change over the past month.

The lovely bloggers that I tag are:

Lisa: Less Stuff 

Daisy: Daisarella

Amanda: Amanda Millie