Monday, 28 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 28th April 2014

Hello, I hope you all had a lovely weekend, I did, I booked a last minute surprise outing for my mum and took her to see the story of Marc Bolan and T.Rex in 20th Century Boy at the Manchester Opera House for an early birthday present and we both thoroughly loved it!

The meal planning went a bit skewiff last week, I had my dates mixed up, so instead of having the two pub teas that I thought I was having, I had to quickly rustle something up at home - of course I hadn't been shopping so it was a quite a mixture of titbits on the plate.

I have double checked my diary and it's definitely this week I'm out, so this weeks menu will be:

Monday - Beef stroganoff from yesterdays leftover roast dinner
Tuesday - egg and chips
Wednesday & Thursday - pub tea for work purposes you understand?!?!?
Friday - spag bol
Saturday - possibly leftover spag bol
Sunday - roast dinner

I think next week I am going to either dig a recipe book out, borrow one from the library or buy The Hairy Dieters as I've seen a lot of recipes relating to this book,  because my menu consists of the same thing every week and I'm getting a bit fed up with it.

For better, more varied meal ideas check out this linky!

Have a great week everybody!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

20th Century Boy - The Musical

20th Century Boy - The Musical

This afternoon I took my mum to The Manchester Opera House as a birthday treat to watch 20th Century Boy - The Musical.
Back in the 1970's she was a big fan of Marc Bolan and T.Rex, and I was excited to learn there was a musical inspired by his life currently on tour.

We took our seats in the stalls, Row T, and waited, despite the late booking, we managed to get aisle seats with a very good view. The Opera House isn't that big so even if you are on the last row, you will still get a good view*

The light's went out and 20th Century Boy blasted through the speakers, everybody cheered!

The opening scene was set in the current time and featured Marc's son Rolan Bolan sitting and listening to his dad's music, when Gloria Jones, his mum, walks in and does the usual parent thing of telling him to turn it down. He proceeds to complain that this is the only way he can feel close to his dad. His mum disagrees and says he should visit where his dad grew up and meet the people who knew him, and so the journey begins.

The musical is a foot tapping, tear jerking, heart stopping journey through Marc Bolan's life, as told by his family, friends and Gloria Jones. It is a mixture of current events as his son tries to find out who his dad really was with flashbacks to Marc's younger days, progressing through his life from a school boy to just starting out with Tyrannosaurus Rex and eventually making it big with T Rex, to the bitter sad end.

It features all the hits, I Love To Boogie, Metal Guru, Get It On, Ride A White Swan, Hot Love and many many more.

I would recommend glamming up, taking your feather boa and being prepared to dance and sing along in this wonderful portrayal of a young star who was taken from us far too soon!

*Unless a large person, wearing a large hat sits in front of you

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

#psoriasis treatment days 1 & 2 and #getyourbellyout

Really not sure what to name this post, it's a bit of a mixture about my psoriasis treatment, and finally putting my belly on show to the world. To be honest I'm sure how I feel about doing it, I might chicken out and remove the picture later on, but here's the post for now.

Yesterday I had my first treatment session at the hospital. I'm starting off on 0.5% short contact dithranol for 20 minutes, I made a start on the lower strength stuff at home last week just so I could get a good start at the hospital.
I arrived promptly and was ushered into a cubicle where my nurse asked questions about what ointments I was currently using, where I had patches, and the usual height and weight, and do I smoke or drink. I haven't smoked since the day before my 30 th birthday, so that was over 5 years ago, and since having pancreatitis I haven't really drunk much either.

Then down to business, strip off to a little more than my birthday suit. OK so I'm slightly overweight, covered in scaly patches and have a massive scar on my belly, (I sound like a right catch don't I?)  But I've been through enough to feel confident in my own skin, ( behind closed curtains ), so flashing my boobs at nurses doesn't bother me, but flashing my belly has, well tonight's the night I unveil it to the world!

It took two nurses 10 minutes to cover me in ointment, I have chronic plaque psoriasis, so mine is itty bitty patches which means each individual patch has to be dabbed, they can't just put it on and rub it all over because it will burn my good skin!

connect the dots and see what you can create!

I donned a pair of hospital pyjamas and then took a seat and waited for my time to be up before going for a shower to wash it all off.

This season's fashion!

Today I returned for my second session, and already my skin has been burnt by the ointment. There is an area on my back that I haven't been putting ointment on because I can't reach, and well, it looks like I couldn't reach to wash it off either, so now I look like I've got sunburnt!

ouch! - and it feels hot, like a sunburn!

Will have to see how I get on tomorrow.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 21st April 2014

So how was everybody's Easter weekend, hope you all had a pleasant one and didn't consume too much chocolate. I feel like I've not stopped eating all day but it hasn't been chocolate, been snacking on grapes from the fridge, will be surprised if I don't get stomach gripe at some point tonight!

Anyway onto this week's menu, it's been a while since I've done one, my plans went out of the window with the school holidays, but it's back to normal tomorrow.

So this week we shall hopefully be having.

Monday - Lamb steaks, mash & peas
Tuesday - chicken curry
Weds & Thurs - pub tea for work purposes!
Friday - Fakeaway chicken burgers
Saturday - spaghetti bolognaise
Sunday - roast dinner

As usual this post is linked up with Mrs M!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail - A Day Out

Yesterday we had a family outing to visit the
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail.

We packed a picnic, bundled into the car and set off. Ingleton is situated just off the A65, half way between Settle and Kendal is easily accessible from the M6.

When we arrived there was already quite a queue of cars waiting to get in, there was a delay at the entrance because you need to pay upon arrival before you park,  note - they only took cash - no card payments.
Prices this year ( 2014 ) are:

  • Family Ticket    £14.00    For 2 adults and up to 3 children
  • Adult ticket       £12.00   Aged 16 and over
  • Child Ticket      £3.00     Under 16 years

and include free parking. Dogs are allowed too if they are kept on a lease.

The trail starts at the end of the car park and is approximately 4 1/2 miles long, so depending on quickly you walk, it can take anywhere between 2 and 5 hours to complete it.
The trail runs alongside the river, but it isn't suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs or people unsteady on their feet due to the rocks, steep steps and tree roots!
We went in just our normal trainers and boots, but I think I would invest in a decent pair of walking boots next time I go. There were some wet patches on the path which were a bit slippery in places.

steep steps and rocky footpaths
We decided to take our picnic with us but did struggle a bit with having to carry a heavy bag and a tired Squiddle towards the end of the trail, but there are plenty of places to stop and have a picnic, however I would recommend packing light. There are refreshment stops along the route by way of a kiosk, ice cream van, farmhouse and outdoor tea room. There are toilets but these are only at the beginning/end and half way round.

There are so many different things to look at and get involved in. There is a brass rubbing contest which runs along the path, children were running with sheets looking for the matching posts to get their pictures. There are numerous viewing and information places to stop at, and learn about the waterfalls. But my favourite was finding the money tree.

The idea is to take an old coin, and hammer it into the tree whilst making a wish.

Squiddle and myself had no problems hammering our coins in, but Mr H's just wouldn't stay still, it kept jumping out, so unfortunately it doesn't look like his wish will come true!

There are a number of trees that have had coins added to them - see if you can spot them whilst walking round.

There is also a small cluster of mushrooms too!

Money mushrooms!
It took us about 4 and a half hours to walk round and that's with a 4 year old, 2 fit and 2 unfit adults incorporating 3 picnic stops, a stop at the money tree, and time to stop and look at the waterfalls and take pictures.

I am looking forward to going again when Squiddle is a bit older and can get round all by his self.
I'll leave you with some pictures of the waterfall, as nice as they are, there's no substituting the real thing.

Has anybody else been?, what did you think? - feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, 11 April 2014


Unless you've been living in a cave for the past month, you will have seen the widespread cancer campaign, the #NoMakeupSelfie which has been covered online, in the press and on your TV. Women have been sharing their natural skin selfies on social media in a bid to raise awareness for Cancer. The amazing #NoMakeUpSelfie campaign raised thousands in funds and awareness for Cancer sufferers and their families.
Following in their footsteps, a small team decided to do the same for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), namely Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis - both of these diseases are debilitating, sometimes life-threatening and often come with humiliating symptoms yet very few people have heard of them. IBD is an auto-immune disease where sometimes surgery is the only option, sections of the intestines are removed, often resulting in sufferers needing permanent ileostomies, internal pouch construction and sometimes becoming reliant on tube feeding. Sometimes doctors find medications to manage the disease and the symptoms become controllable but some of these medications have serious side effects that can be as debilitating as the disease itself. Unfortunately these diseases are often confused with IBS which is a much milder and overall manageable condition. To date, there is no known cure for IBD. Crohns and Colitis UK is the UK association for IBD; providing information, support and guidance to sufferers and their families. They also work hard to raise funds which they hope will eventually lead to a cure for IBD. The problem is, how do you raise funds for, and awareness of, a disease that so few people are willing to talk about, because of the private and somewhat embarrassing nature of its symptoms. On March 23rd, Derbyshire based Marketing Manager, Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford had an idea off the back of the #NoMakesup social media campaigns for something that was much more personal to her and altogether more suitable for raising awareness of severe health conditions. Along with some of the other members of the team working on this campaign, Sahara was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2007 and has since had numerous operations leaving her with an internal pouch, constructed from her own small intestine and now battles a new form of IBD, pouchitis. Early in the campaign, Sahara decided it would have to be a campaign that got as many people as possible involved and it had to be something that didn't involve financial outlay. She decided on something simple yet effective. Everyone from the IBD community was encouraged to upload a photograph of their belly alongside the hashtag #GetYourBellyOut to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and instagram. They were asked to text IBDA99 £3 (or their donation amount) to 70070 if they wished to donate to Crohns and Colitis UK. The goal was to raise awareness and funds to support research into finally finding a cure for IBD. People without IBD were also asked to join the campaign. The only criterion needed to support the campaign is a willingness to raise awareness of IBD.

A dedicated team of people joined Sahara and have all worked very hard to co-ordinate the project. Gem Willingham and Lorna Haymes both have Crohn's disease and Victoria Marie and Kay Wilkinson have Ulcerative Colitis. Despite the daily struggles they are all dealing with, they have fought on with the #GetYourBellyOut campaign and have helped so many IBD patients come together with a common cause in mind: A cure for IBD and to tell people about what it's like to have Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The campaign has been backed by the charity Crohns and Colitis UK, who have published the campaigns details on their website. Sahara says of the #GetYourBellyOut campaign, which has now gone global “What started out as a campaign to raise awareness of an invisible illness that so many people suffer with in silence, has turned in to a campaign of Inspiration and unity!" The campaign has been met by great praise from the online IBD community and has had the backing of two celebs; Kay Murray and Ali Jawad, who also suffers from Crohn’s disease. The campaign has already raised in excess of £2,500 and the total is rising daily. It is an exciting, innovative campaign that is sweeping social media and the #GetYourBellyOut team are looking for your support. ### Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford is a Marketing Manager for a local Marketing firm, her day-to-day lifestyle is a huge struggle and despite suffering, she has been in full-time employment for over four years, with very little time off as a result of her illness. Sahara was first diagnosed with Colitis in 2007

With thanks to Kay Wilkinson at Brink of Bedlam for the information.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

'Not For Human Consumption'

I recently ordered a sample of cat food off the internet for Leo which arrived this morning. It was covered in messages stating 'Not For Human Consumption'

This got me pondering about what type of people would order free samples of cat food or any pet food for that matter to eat themselves!

I am a bit of a "cat woman" myself, they seem to follow me around and I have on occasions had a tribal gathering of them in my garden. Does this mean I possess some feline qualities, am I fully human? And what about the people who undergo body modifications to look like more like animals than humans? for instance the Cat Man and Lizard Man, could they be classed as more animal than human.

Also the more you tell somebody ( me ) not to do something, the more they ( me ) want to do it!

So what would happen if I ate the sample myself?, Would I be undoubtedly sick as I expect or would I sprout whiskers of my own and start purring in front of a nice warm fire?

Cheshire Cat & White Rabbit

I neglected to actually eat the cat food but remembered this picture from a fancy dress party I attended with my brother, could this be the future if mankind was to eat cat and rabbit food marked 'Not For Human Consumption'? 
Would we all turn into our pets?

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Psoriasis flare up ( 2014 )

So here I am again, just coming out of the tail end of winter looking more like a scaly lizard than a yummy mummy. Desperately wanting to shed my winter clothes in favour of lighter summery tops and dresses but unable to because of the embarrassing scaly bleeding patches on my arms and legs.
My psoriasis has flared up yet again and I am hard pressed to find a sizeable area of normal skin on my body, but thankfully my face has escaped it this time.

So having been back to the dermatologist I am now faced with the decision of what treatment to take. The coal tar lotions haven't been successful over the winter and I'm pretty sure it's because my body has got used to them and built up a tolerance.

So what options do I have?

Topical Steroid Creams
These are just used to treat the inflammation of the psoriasis and don't do anything to actually cure/heal/clear it up. They can only be used for a limited period of time but can be used longer if a rest period is used, for example 4 weeks use then 4 weeks off.

Coal Tar
Coal Tar has been used for more than 100 years to treat dermatological conditions, it can be used both on the body and in the scalp. It too has anti inflammatory properties which is helpful in reducing the redness of the skin. The downside to this treatment is it's very messy and smelly. Who wants to go to bed with a creosote fence? The more commercially available products like Exorex are less messy but still smell and take longer to work because they don't have a high concentration of the coal tar.

Coal tar or fence paint - all smells the same to me!

There's two versions that I know of Lassar's Paste and Short Contact. The Lassar's Paste is mainly used on in-patients but the Short Contact can be used at home.... but with a warning. Dithranol stains both the skin and any clothing or fabric it comes into contact with, and it can burn normal unaffected skin. It comes in various strengths with the idea that you build up to a strength that suits and continue to use until the skin is clear.

Comes in pretty coloured tubes be will leave
everything a nice shade of purplely brown!

Ultraviolet Light Therapy
Sunlight has been shown to help clear psoriasis. There are two treatments available PUVA and UVB. PUVA uses UVA light and a plant extract called psoralen which makes the skin more sensitive to light. Psoralen can be taken in tablet form or in a bath solution.
UVB is used to penetrate the skin and slow down the growth of the affected cells. The treatments need to be monitored and limited to a set number of exposures to the light per year because as with the sun, they can cause burning, premature ageing and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Vitamin D applications
These are not like taking a vitamin D tablet, they have been modified to have a completely different effect. They help to slow down the overproduction of skin cells but still must be used in moderation and as like the steroid treatments should be used on a 4 week on 4 week off rota. These treatments are usually as an ointment so are very greasy to use.

greasy horrible stuff!

There are two main ones that have been offered to me - Methotrexate and Ciclosporin. Methotrexate is used in severe cases and works by stopping the skin cells dividing, it has many side effects and shouldn't be used by men or women who are trying to start a family.
Ciclosporin was first used in transplant patients to stop organs being rejected but doctors noticed an improvement in transplant patients psoriasis and so further research was carried out.

The only time I have ever been truly clear from psoriasis was for the 9 months I was pregnant and about 12 months afterwards. I didn't have one scaly patch on me. Unfortunately I cannot be pregnant for the rest of my life but I do want another child so maybe one day I will get a good 18 months of being clear.

After discussing in great detail with the dermatologist I have declined the immunosuppressants because I need my immune system to be at its best for the foreseeable future with all the problems I've had after my pancreatitis I cannot afford to take any risk. So I've agreed to go back on short contact dithranol and light treatment. It means visiting the hospital 5 days a week.

So I will have UVB treatment on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the short contact dithranol on Monday - Friday.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

No Housework Day - 7th April

Right folks, this is one to put in your diary - Monday 7th April 2014 will be No Housework Day!

There I was, casually reading my latest craft magazine and making a note of upcoming craft shows and special days to make cards for when this date jumped off the page and screamed at me.

Oh what a fantastic day it could be, a whole day off from washing, drying, ironing, cleaning and generally tidying and picking up after everyone else. A guilt free day to ditch the chores and go and do something else instead.

If you're not one for doing the housework, then maybe you could reverse your role on this day and go and help out, whether in your own home or at an elderly neighbours house. Give somebody else the day off instead.

Unfortunately for me,  I've checked my diary and noted that it's the first day of Squiggle's Easter holidays from nursery. Can I really sit by and watch while my four year old destroys the house?

Maybe not

But for the rest of you, put down that broom, switch off the washing machine and leave the dishes, they can wait 24 hours.

Leave the washing up to soak overnight!

Remember a tidy house is a sign of a mispent life!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Which TV tribe do you belong to?

Ok, Ok, I'll admit it, when Squiggle is at nursery, I do turn into a bit of a couch potato. There's nothing more I like than being able to settle down on the settee, with the remote in one hand and a brew in the other and watch TV in peace and quiet. The TV is on all day every day but Squiggle tends to determine what we're going to watch it whether it's Cbeebies or Disney Jr when he's home.
My Sky+ box is up to its limit with downloaded boxsets and films and programmes that I wouldn't be able to watch otherwise, so I do enjoy my couple of hours in a morning trying to catch up.
Having switched to Sky recently I have gone a bit overboard by downloading boxsets of programmes that I'm ashamed to say I've never seen - programmes like House, Star Trek Enterprise, Bones, Once Upon a Time and the hugely popular Game of Thrones.

As you can see I also prefer The Wright Stuff to Jeremy Kyle

I like to browse through the movie channels and pick out hidden gems and record them to watch later, in fact I tend to record most things now, simply so I can fast forward through the adverts. I like watching good old British dramas and comedy, but don't tend to watch the soaps.
Strangely considering my past medical history and extensive hospital stays I cannot get enough of medical dramas, so I have Grey's Anatomy, Holby City and Casualty on series record.

I recently took the Talk Talk Challenge to see what TV tribe I belonged to and it was no surprise to find out that I'm a Me-Timer!

The Me-timer
I like to watch TV on my own with no disturbances; I hate it 
when people interrupt. I download and binge on boxsets. I love 
watching TV in a separate room for a bit of peace and quiet. 
I often watch TV on a laptop or tablet with my headphones on
and love to get stuck into a good TV drama, watching episodes
back to back. I never miss an episode of my favourite shows. 
34% of people belong to this TV Tribe

It sums me up except I don't watch TV on my laptop or a tablet with my headphones on. I sit and watch TV on my TV with the subtitles on. Not that my hearing is going but I think the sound quality on some programmes on my TV is rubbish so I have to have subtitles on to see what's being said!

Like I said earlier I do share the TV with Squiggle, he gets to choose what he wants to watch when he's home from nursery, he loves Cbeebies and has to watch Mike the Knight before we leave in a morning, he loves Mr Bloom and has now started to watch Topsy and Tim. He could become a Me-timer like me, because he does have a tablet of his own and knows how to find Youtube and the various iplayers and is quite happy to watch on their whilst mummy puts her programmes on.

Daddy hasn't been mentioned in this blog post because he doesn't get a look in! - He watches whatever me or Squiggle have on - The only time he gets to watch is if/when I ever go out and leave him alone!

What tribe do you belong to - take the test and let me know

The subject was featured on the tots100 site as part of a competition, I have not entered, but liked the idea of the topic so still blogged about it.

Competition Wins

I am a self confessed 'comper' I like entering competitions, all sorts of competitions, whether by email, online, postcard, Twitter, Facebook or text I'll do anything to win anything.

I'm not an obsessed comper, unlike some people I know who enter hundreds a day, I'm happy to just do it sporadically and maybe enter hundreds a week when I have the time.

Over the years I've had some great wins and some strange wins, and I'd like to share these with you, and maybe do a regular update at the end of each month to share what I've managed to win myself and give you good people out there a chance to share what you've won as well!

I love using Loquax for my competitions, but you can easily find competitions on MSE ( Money Saving Expert ) and The Prize Finder.
Most of the sites are run by the members for the use of other members, ie members find and post competitions for each other to enter.

There are a whole host of prizes to be won from DVD's to holidays and cars, you just have to be in it to win it.

March was a particularly good month for me, I won lots of books, so have a lot of reading and reviewing to do, which will all count towards my Good Reads Reading Challenge.

Was accidentally sent ten copies of one book instead of one copy of ten books!!

I also had a nice surprise in the post yesterday by way of crafting stamps.

Stampin Up!
Hubby was also rewarded last month by a nice win I had on Twitter for a designer jumper.

My strangest win to date was one of my first wins, many years ago. It was a years supply of Um Bongo, and even with the help of work mates, I still couldn't get through it all in a year!!

My best wins are probably the monetary ones, these have always come at just the right time and have helped me to buy a new TV and loads of Christmas presents, pay for a holiday and the latest win is going towards a new car.

So have you won anything recently and what are your best and strangest wins?