Memories: Reykjavik, Iceland

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

This week Facebook kindly reminded me that two years ago I spent 4 days exploring Iceland, as a solo traveller! Well, I say a solo traveller, Pumpkin was slowly beginning to grow inside me and was I was about seven weeks pregnant!

So, let’s rewind eighteen months before that adventure, I was determined to tick something off my bucket list and on the spur of the moment booked myself on a break to Reykjavik, this was with the hope to see the Northern lights! I have no problems or fear in travelling solo, I have been to Australia, America, Tunisia and Greece before on my own and have had some fantastic times and made wonderful memories!

Should I stay or should I go?

Between the time of booking the holiday and actually going, I met the man who is now my fiancé and the very proud Dad to Pumpkin! We looked at all the ways in which he could come on this holiday too, but it just was not possible, so this was going to be my last solo adventure! However, shortly before heading off on my adventure, we discovered that I was pregnant…this raised all sorts of questions to whether I should still go, did I want to go?, could I still go?, and all sorts of things ran through my head! Anyway, I decided that I was still going to go, as I had already bought all the thermals, hats, gloves, boots and a winter coat that would keep me warm on the coldest of Icelandic days! Yes, I could have returned these items, but do you know what, I really wanted to go.

A little panic…

Memories: Iceland This week Facebook kindly reminded me that two years ago I spent 4 days exploring Iceland, as a solo traveller! Well, I say a solo traveller, Pumpkin was slowly beginning to grow inside me and was I was about seven weeks pregnant! So, let’s rewind eighteen months before that adventure, I was determined to tick something off my bucket list and on the spur of the moment booked myself on a break to Reykjavik, this was with the hope to see the Northern lights! I have no problems or fear in travelling solo, I have been to Australia, America, Tunisia and Greece before on my own and have had some fantastic times and made wonderful memories! Between the time of booking the holiday and actually going, I met the man who is now my fiancé and the very proud Dad to Pumpkin! We looked at all the ways in which he could come on this holiday too, but it just was not possible, so this was going to be my last solo adventure! However, shortly before heading off on my adventure, we discovered that I was pregnant...this raised all sorts of questions to whether I should still go, did I want to go?, could I still go?, and all sorts of things ran through my head! Anyway, I decided that I was still going to go, as I had already bought all the thermals, hats, gloves, boots and a winter coat that would keep me warm on the coldest of Icelandic days! Yes, I could have returned these items, but do you know what, I really wanted to go. When I arrived in Reykjavik, I immediately remembered that I get scared when walking in the snow and ice - I somehow loose my ability to walk properly and all of a sudden I was gripped in fear of falling over and hurting myself and my little growing Pumpkin. No, this had not at any time come into my thought process during my wonderfully brave spur of the moment booking, or dreams of the Northern Lights in the preceding eighteen months! I felt silly, what had I done! So I sat on my bed (in my little single hotel room) and gave myself a little talking too! I remembered that the people in North Face, assured me my boots were fine for the weather and terrain, and that I had also packed some extra grippy ice clamp things to put on my boots make me feel better/more confident. Which did the trick (and “I will be fine” also became my little mantra for the next four days), and went off to explore! I got to see some wonderful places over the next four days, frozen waterfalls, mountain ranges, National Parks, and Geysers. Whilst I mention Geysers, despite the boiling water shooting up into the sky, this hits the ground and turns into ice rather quickly, so if your pregnant and visiting this, watch out for the very, very slippery ice. However, it does also double up as a good place to take a step back and people watch (from a distance, as you can still see the Geyser) and oh it does make great comical viewing! One of my favourite places that I visited, was the Blue Lagoon, it was absolute pure bliss. Before I went, I did my research, and I could go into the pools; but being pregnant; I just had to be aware of the water temperatures and how long I was in the pool for at any one time. I enjoyed wallowing in the pools, having a face mask and feeling the cold Icelandic air around me. The careful walk from the changing room to the pools and back again was rather bracing, but that was part of the fun, I think (I must admit, it was at this point, I did wish I hired one of the lovely fluffy bath robes!). Of course one of the biggest lures to Iceland in winter are the Northern Lights and like many of the other people staying in my hotel, I was eager to see them too! Many of the excursions that go off in search of the Aurora Borealis, will often take you out each night of your stay until you get to see them. On my third night, I was lucky enough to catch to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights and it was beautiful. I chose to watch them and enjoy them with my eyes, rather than through a camera lens, so apologies for no photographs! Iceland is famous for its local delicacies; most of which I couldn’t sample being pregnant. Now, I don’t know whether or not this was a good or bad thing really! I was really careful what I ate, and I felt that this did somewhat limit what I could have and where I could go and eat. However, I did find some lovely restaurants/cafes) near to the hotel which I visited throughout my stay. However, what really helped me during my stay and calmed my sickness, was hot chocolate! Weirdly, hot chocolate was the only thing that helped my morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy, and I took advantage of this and took numerous hot chocolate stops around Reykjavik to warm up! What didn’t help much on the food side of things, was I went off a whole host of foods and the blander the food, the better. I had completely gone off fish, and the smell of fish and anything fishy induced waves of nausea; so, as you can imagine this was rather problematic in Iceland! I did have a lovely time, and Iceland was a beautiful country; Reykjavik was and felt a safe city for a solo female traveller. I must admit, I was constantly aware of the ice and snow, and worried about slipping, which I probably wouldn’t have been so bothered about if I wasn’t pregnant; but for those braver than me in the snow, it really wouldn’t put you off having a lovely and adventurous time! Would I go back? Yes, but I would like to go back in the summer and hire a car to be able to have a driving holiday, to be able to explore more than where the coach excursions are able to get to!

When I arrived in Reykjavik, I immediately remembered that I get scared when walking in the snow and ice – I somehow loose my ability to walk properly and all of a sudden I was gripped in fear of falling over and hurting myself and my little growing Pumpkin. No, this had not at any time come into my thought process during my wonderfully brave spur of the moment booking, or dreams of the Northern Lights in the preceding eighteen months! I felt silly, what had I done! So I sat on my bed (in my little single hotel room) and gave myself a little talking too! I remembered that the people in North Face, assured me my boots were fine for the weather and terrain, and that I had also packed some extra grippy ice clamp things to put on my boots make me feel better/more confident. Which did the trick (and “I will be fine” also became my little mantra for the next four days), and went off to explore!

Exploring!

I got to see some wonderful places over the next four days, frozen waterfalls, mountain ranges, National Parks, and Geysers. Whilst I mention Geysers, despite the boiling water shooting up into the sky, this hits the ground and turns into ice rather quickly, so if your pregnant and visiting this, watch out for the very, very slippery ice. However, it does also double up as a good place to take a step back and people watch (from a distance, as you can still see the Geyser) and oh it does make great comical viewing!

One of my favourite places that I visited, was the Blue Lagoon, it was absolute pure bliss. Before I went, I did my research, and I could go into the pools; but being pregnant; I just had to be aware of the water temperatures and how long I was in the pool for at any one time. I enjoyed wallowing in the pools, having a face mask and feeling the cold Icelandic air around me. The careful walk from the changing room to the pools and back again was rather bracing, but that was part of the fun, I think (I must admit, it was at this point, I did wish I hired one of the lovely fluffy bath robes!).

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

Of course one of the biggest lures to Iceland in winter are the Northern Lights and like many of the other people staying in my hotel, I was eager to see them too! Many of the excursions that go off in search of the Aurora Borealis, will often take you out each night of your stay until you get to see them. On my third night, I was lucky enough to catch to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights and it was beautiful. I chose to watch them and enjoy them with my eyes, rather than through a camera lens, so apologies for no photographs!

Being pregnant and local Icelandic delicacies

Iceland is famous for its local delicacies; most of which I couldn’t sample being pregnant. Now, I don’t know whether or not this was a good or bad thing really! I was really careful what I ate, and I felt that this did somewhat limit what I could have and where I could go and eat. However, I did find some lovely restaurants/cafes) near to the hotel which I visited throughout my stay. However, what really helped me during my stay and calmed my sickness, was hot chocolate! Weirdly, hot chocolate was the only thing that helped my morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy, and I took advantage of this and took numerous hot chocolate stops around Reykjavik to warm up! What didn’t help much on the food side of things, was I went off a whole host of foods and the blander the food, the better. I had completely gone off fish, and the smell of fish and anything fishy induced waves of nausea; so, as you can imagine this was rather problematic in Iceland!

My thoughts:

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

I did have a lovely time, and Iceland was a beautiful country; Reykjavik was and felt a safe city for a solo female traveller. I must admit, I was constantly aware of the ice and snow, and worried about slipping, which I probably wouldn’t have been so bothered about if I wasn’t pregnant; but for those braver than me in the snow, it really wouldn’t put you off having a lovely and adventurous time! Would I go back? Yes, but I would like to go back in the summer and hire a car to be able to have a driving holiday, to be able to explore more than where the coach excursions are able to get to!

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 Mercedes from Mercedes Prunty Author, The Walking Mumbie!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When I am not writing my blog, I am either running around after my two young daughters, taking them for days out, cooking or playing Lego, or I’m sitting in some sort of peace when they are at school and nursery writing my books.
I’m a self-published author of 5 books to date, soon to be 8 by the end of this year. My genres are mainly Zombie Horror and Fantasy but I hope to (by the end of the week after writing this) to have published my first children’s book!!!

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I have been writing my blog for a couple of years now but at first it was mainly a hobby, a way to write when my mind couldn’t focus on books, but I still needed to write to stay sane. It’s mostly a blog about me, my books, writing tips, author interviews, book reviews, film reviews, days out – Just anything that I feel needs to be blogged about.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
What inspired me to start my blog was a woman who came to do a talk at a writers group I belonged to. She told us all that to succeed in growing our audience for our books we needed an author platform, our author platforms needed to be Blog, Facebook and Twitter (The BFT). And she was so right, although my blog isn’t huge it does have some hardcore followers which is fab and those followers follow me and my books.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
My advice would be to find your niche early on. I waivered with mine and stepped into a few niches till I found my voice, so it took me a while to build the brand I wanted to become. Also – Plan, Plan, Plan – Keep a notebook with blog post ideas in and keep track of what you post, this way you will never run out of ideas.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
How do I balance it all – Badly!!! It’s hard to keep on top of social media just because you can get lost in it and not do what it is you really need to be doing. I try to stay away during my work time (So I can write those books) and go on more in the evening when kids and hubby are asleep, as I want to keep my precious family time social media free to a certain degree.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
Hopefully booming into the success that you see others have but I feel mine is so different to the ones that make a huge success because I’m not the normal mummy and make up, I’m mummy and books which is hard to grab readers for. But I have had people tell me my blog posts help them, so I know there are people out there who do like it.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Sourcing images. That is hard because I am on as tight budget so can only use the free sites which can be limited in their photos, but in saying that the images I have used from those sites are still high quality and eye catching.

And the easiest?
Just the whole writing it, I love writing, writing is me. I feel at my happiest once I have written something each day. So to me the writing part is easy.

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?
Chandelier by Sia – Love, love, love this song and it also helped me to write my book ‘Alone’.
City of the dead by S.D.Perry – It’s a book based on the hit Resident Evil 2 video game by Capcom but put into a book by the author. But it’s not just a quick scribble of what happens, the author gives the story detail the game misses and I have read it at least 20 times over so could happily read it again.
Resident Evil the film – This made me scared back in the day and can still scare me now even though I know it word for word and scene for scene. I think it’s the music in it by Marilyn Manson. Just gives me Goosebumps thinking of the music in the film.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Mercedes for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Mercedes Prunty Author – The Walking Mumbie.

Mercedes is also on Twitter & Facebook

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Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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I have been opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! This week, Cath from Battle Mum is sharing her blogging story and some fantastic advice.  So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Cath!

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Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m a 40-year-old Irish ex-pat now living in Portugal. We lived in South Wales before our move to Portugal last year and we have a little boy who recently turned 4. I used to be a scientist before giving up my job last March before our move. Nowadays, when I’m not writing for the blog, I’m pottering around the house, walking the dog, trying to learn Portuguese or helping my folks with their shopping. It’s a quiet life compared to 12 months ago.

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
My blog started life over three years ago as a parenting blog during the last two months of my maternity leave. I had kept pregnancy diaries and thought it might be a good way of documenting life with our son. However, due to a long recovery from birth I didn’t start writing until our son was 10 months old. Since then the blog has evolved and is now a family travel and lifestyle blog. I write more about our travels than anything else, and my blog naturally change pace last year.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
My husband and sister-in-law were both writing blogs at the time and I admired them. My husband was writing a blog about life as a first-time-dad. He wasn’t necessarily sharing things about our son, more his own experiences alongside geeky things, and I thought I could fill the gap. My sister-in-law is a very successful beauty blogger in Ireland and I admired her for it. So, my inspiration came from them.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Before you type one letter, buy your domain name and go self-hosted. I didn’t know anything about this, but my husband insisted I wait until he set me up and I’m so glad I did. It meant I never had to worry about going self-hosted later and brand opportunities passing me by because I wasn’t.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
This is something I struggle with, as I’m sure many other bloggers do. Social Media takes up a huge amount of time and I find it hard to balance this with everyday life. To gain a presence and followers, you need to be seen on social media and be engaging, and as one successful blogger puts it, social media is a time suck. If I check my phone with the intention of only doing a couple of minutes, an hour later I’m still on one platform or another. I try to limit my social media time when our son is around as it’s not fair for him to see me on my phone a lot. I also don’t check social media in the evenings when I am relaxing with my husband as we get very little time together as it is. If we’re out and about, I’ll try avoid it at all costs, and only post to Instagram when we get home. I also try to limit it as much as possible to during the day while my son is in school. But it’s a real struggle for me.

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Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
I’d like to see other parents and families get value from my blog now that it’s focused on travel. I want to share our travels and advice to encourage more families to travel with their kids, even from a young age, and I hope we can inspire them to do that. I’d love to make a living from my blog, but I do think this is going to be difficult without sacrificing family time for more blogging time. But now that I have a focus, I can see me enjoying writing even more over the next few years.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
The hardest thing I find is that it is so much more than just typing a few words about a subject. A lot of my travel posts also include some level of research, to do the post justice. Then you’ve got the photos to sort and edit, the graphics to prepare, find the best keywords for SEO, and all this before you hit that Publish button. After that, it’s promotion on social media, taking part in Facebook groups and everything else that goes on afterwards. People who don’t write a blog themselves think it’s easy and is ‘just writing’ but it’s so much more than that. And even more so if you are working with a brand as there is an added level of pressure to do a good job. I sometimes wonder how I kept a blog going while working full-time in the UK.

And the easiest?
The easiest part is when the words are flowing because you feel passionate about the post, or it’s a post about something you have/do enjoy. Those ones are the easiest for me to write and are the ones that are completed very quickly.

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?
If I could only watch one movie again it would have to be Some Like It Hot, my all-time favourite movie.

The one song is more difficult. Music plays a big part in my life and it’s hard for me to pick one song. Perhaps Africa by Toto or Everybody’s Talking by Nilsson. Both have special meanings for me.

As for the one book it would probably be Lord of the Rings. I’m probably cheating but I’m sure someone has published the three as one somewhere!

Thank you Cath for joining me on my blog – please take the time to visit Cath’s Blog – Battle Mum.

Cath is also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentines-gift-guide-book-star-map-bath-bomb-cake-stand-matching-personalised-t-shirts-paws-with-opulence-dog-collar-ID-tags-book-love-valentines-personal-special-gifts

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, which for many of us means thinking about getting something special for our loved ones. Over the last few weeks, I have had some fun working alongside some fabulous companies to put together a rather special Valentine’s Day gift guide, which will hopefully give you some ideas and take away some of the stress in finding the perfect gift!

To be honest, I always get a little bit stumped when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I like to try and find something a little bit different, yet something personal and thoughtful too; and I think the following gift ideas certainly tick all three of those points!

Personalised Star Map – Under Lucky Stars

Under Lucky Stars is a company that creates personalised Star Map’s, which shows the alignment of the stars, where you are, at a moment in time special to you. All you have to do is visit their website and start creating and I challenge you to try and narrow your special moments down to just one! Or, you can do what I did, and get lost in stargazing for well over a hour!

When I designed a Star Map, I thought about all the special moments my fiancé and I have had together and I thought about our last weekend as a couple (before Pumpkin). We had planned a romantic weekend together and “surprise surprise” Pumpkin decided to make an early appearance and share the weekend with us! So, I chose our Star Map to reflect the moment our little star said hello! The result? See for yourself, it’s really beautiful and is a constant reminder of when our lives changed forever!

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Star Maps start from $55

A New Map of Love – Abi Oliver

To me, a book is a really personal present, as it shows the person who has gifted it has taken time to think about the recipient; their likes, dislikes, their humour and also taken the time to have a sneaky peek at their book shelf to get an idea of the kinds of books they like to read!

Since becoming a Mummy, I have not been able to read any where near as much as I would like and to be given a book for Valentine’s would be wonderful, although I would also be telling my fiancé to expect to see me with my nose stuck firmly in the book every evening until it’s finished too! Perhaps, not quite so romantic, but such a gift of a “little bit of me time” though!.

A New Map of Love is such heart warming read about a gentleman called George Baxter and the journey into his new life following the loss of his wife of twenty-six years. It’s a novel about second chances in love and do you know what?, that is all I am going to say about it as I don’t want to spoil the book for you! Yes, I know that’s rather mean of me, but, I loved it and savoured every reading moment and I want everyone else to have that experience too! Plus, there is the little issue that I have passed the book on to my mum, who no doubt will be reading this and will not have finished the book yet and will be cross at any “spoilers”.

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Couple’s Personalised T-Shirts – Genie Gadgets

Personalised couple’s T-shirts are a big thing and Genie Gadgets have some amazing ones to brighten up any couple’s wardrobe! Whether you and your partner are “Sweet Peas” or “Huggy Bears”, you are sure to find a T-shirt to personalised to suit and reflect your personalities! These are such a fun idea, the only problem you will have is choosing what ones to get, will you be matching or will you be independent personalities?

When I showed my fiancé, he wasn’t to sure whether I was joking or serious about them! I don’t think he could even disguise the look of pure terror on his face when the T-shirts arrived, perfectly cuddled up together in their packaging! Terror was replaced with relief when I assured him I wouldn’t make him wear it out, although I can guarantee the one day he does wear it to take the bins out, he will be caught by the neighbours and stuck chatting for ages! I shall enjoy that moment (and promise to update this post with photographic evidence)!

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Personalised T-Shirts £12.99 each

Cupcake Bath-Bombs 

I love bath bombs, especially if they come with the promise of a disturbance-free bath! Is it just me, or whenever I get in the bath or shower after my son has gone to bed, I can mysteriously hear him cry and when I go to check, he is actually snoring away! If I dare to have a bath whilst he is awake, I will hear a knock at the door, followed by “mamma mamma” – which gets increasingly louder until an ear piercing cry is about to be let loose in the hallway!  So, bathing, always comes with a big “do not disturb sign” and Daddy is on duty during this time!

These Cupcake Bath Bombs, are just so pretty and come packaged as a Little Box of Love! There are Six Bathbombs in total: Chic & Cheerful, Love Buds, Kiss Me Quick, Rosebud Buttercup, Feel The Love, Urban Rose.

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Cupcake Bath-Bombs £9.99 – as an added bonus, you can get 10% of all orders, use the discount code LUPSIE218 at the checkout!

Luxury Dog Collar ID Tags – Paws With Opulence

Dog’s are important members of the family and why should they be forgotten about on Valentine’s Day? This is where Paws With Opulence comes to the rescue with these incredibly beautiful broken heart dog collar ID tags!

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They are available in Sterling Silver, 9ct Gold and 9ct White Gold, and also available in 2 other different designs, with hand-engraving available too. All of Paws with Opulence’s products are all handmade using the finest quality materials, so you can be certain your dog is going to be well and truly spoilt!

Whilst your choosing your dog collar ID Tags, why not have a look at Paws with Opulence’s collars, leads and accessories and I dare you not to fall in love with their gorgeous range and spoil your dog a little bit more!

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Broken Heart Luxury Dog Collar ID Tags: Sterling Silver £89 9ct Gold £229
9ct White Gold £289

Wooden Toy Two Tier Cake Stand & Cakes

I have covered presents for pretty much everyone in this gift guide, except for the important little people in our lives. When I was a nanny in the USA, I was surprised at just how big Valentine’s was! It was also a day for friends and family members too! So, it would be rude not to include the little ones too!

Pumpkin enjoys making everyone imaginary cups of tea at the moment and would absolutely love these toy cakes and cake stand, to make it a proper tea party! Plus, its wooden, so it will withstand some of the rigorous testing that only toddler can give it!

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Two tier cake stand and cakes – £19.99 – to get 10% of all orders, use the discount code LUPSIE218 at the checkout.

I hope you like the gift guide, below are links to the retails main websites, where you’ll find a wide range of other gift ideas too!

Under Lucky Stars

Abi Oliver – A New Map of Love

Genie Gadgets

Paws with Opulence

What2buy4kids – Don’t forget if you use the discount code LUPSIE218 you will receive 10% of your order!

Disclaimer: Some items were gifted for the purpose of this gift guide, all opinions are my own.
Contains affiliate links.

Brain Fog

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I have been a bit quiet on my blog for the past week, and that is because Flare is in town again. If you don’t know who “Flare” is, please take a moment to read one of my earlier posts, where you will get to learn about my frequent unwelcome visitor.

This time Flare has brought with her a particularly horrible sidekick and that is what is known as Brain Fog or what I call “Bee-isms” to try and make light of it. Brain Fog is where my thought process can sometime get a bit jumbled and the wrong words come out of my mouth, despite my brain knowing the word I actually want to say. Sometimes, this can be a bit amusing, other times it can be downright frustrating and I feel a little bit silly.

However, to my family this is often a sign for them that I am pushing myself too much and I am needing to slow down. I am grateful, that they recognise this, as I am stubborn and will keep pushing on each day until I will make myself poorly and now they will step in before this happens. Even as I write this, I know that sounds an incredibly selfish thing to do, but to be brutally honest with myself, it is down to pride; I want to be the best mummy I can be and I want to be able to lead a completely normal life.

This is where I need to give myself a reality check and pull myself up from feeling too sorry for myself during “Flare’s” visits; I do lead a normal life, a normal life for me. I accept that pain, fatigue, medication and numerous hospital appointments will be part of my life, for the rest of my life and this is where I need to be organised. If I recognise that things are worsening, I deal with it, by consulting with the team of medical practitioners working with me. If my Lupus is in a period of remission, then I focus on what is working well at that time and try to remember what lead me to that point for future reference. Equally, I need to try my hardest not to fight on during “Flare’s” visits, swallow my pride and most importantly try to recognise the early signs and speak more openly about them to my family.

I know that all sounds idealistic and easy, but believe me it’s not and my fiancé often needs to remind me of the above and bring me back to reality gently. Especially when I am feeling sorry for myself or feeling that I am crap Mummy, yes, that thought frequently goes through my head when “Flare” comes to visit.

In my eyes I have the most wonderful family, a family who I love, adore and I am fiercely protective of. Over the next few months, I am making some big decisions, which I am doing in my own and my family’s best interests. I will write about them when the moment feels right, at the moment, I am not quite ready to share them yet. In the meantime, I will focus on being healthy and spending some quality time with my family.

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 Sam from Travelling With Our Kids.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m Sam, and I have just turned 30! I have 2 little boys who are 6 and 2. I’m married to Nick who I met in 2009 on an online dating site. We got engaged after 3 months and married in 2012. When I’m not writing my blog I am working full time for the family business. My husband works in our bike shop along with my younger brother while I work alongside my parents running the holiday business

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
The blog is about family travel and days out. I have also started to add in some posts about gluten and milk free travel as our boys are intolerant to both. I started writing when my youngest was born, so it will be 3 years old at the start of February.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I had been reading other blogs (What Katy Said being the main one) and loved the idea of doing my own. I also have no hobbies whatsoever so the blog gives me some “down time” in the evenings.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Go self hosted straight away if you plan to make money from your blog. Also it is a lot of work, so get organised and schedule your time on your blog to get the most out of it.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
Badly? I normally ignore all social media during working hours unless its for our family business. Once the boys are in bed I spend an hour or two just doing social media. It isn’t the best but it works for me. If I did the blog full time then I expect this would be different.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
At the moment my blog is just something to keep me sane after a hard days work. I would love for it to take off and be able to spend more time on it. However, our family business is pretty important so this always has to come first.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Trying to find my voice. I still don’t think I have quite mastered it. However, my writing has improved greatly over the years and I spend some time each month updating old posts.

And the easiest?
I don’t think anything is really easy when it comes to blogging. Ha! I love social oopmh and it takes the stress out of scheduling twitter on a daily basis.

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?
I like comedy so something like Bad Moms, one song Want to Want me as my boys love the song. I don’t tend to read any books, so probably read a children’s book to the boys.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Sam for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Travelling With our Kids.

Sam is also on TwitterPinterest & Instagram

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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!