Monday, 24 April 2017

Out of the Cave - My Journey with a Paleo Diet (week 6)

I'm now in my 6th week of a Paleo diet but I have some confessions to make.
I was doing really well but the last two weeks while the kids have been on holiday from school I have really slipped, or fallen from the Paleo path.
I think having the kids around all day hasn't helped because I'd got into a really nice routine. I'd not have breakfast until the kids were at school, which meant I could spend some time preparing it. Then at lunch time I'd be making lunch just for myself so it was ok to spend time preparing something healthy and delicious. With the kids at home I'd be making lunch for them, and by the time I'd finished I'd end up grabbing myself a sandwich or another unhealthy snack.

It wasn't all bad though. I still kept off the sugar and dairy (apart from a little cheese on a couple of occasions.) And for Easter I had just one small dark chocolate egg (72% cocoa solids) with no extras. I have to be honest, I hated it and salivated over the kids Cadburys eggs. But I was good.

I know I said I wasn't doing this for weight loss but I had a bit of a shock today. I had a hospital appointment and the first thing they did was weigh me. I've put on a total of 3 stone since I first got sick, January 1st 2016. That's 3 stone in just under 16 months! That's heavier than I have ever been in my life, even when pregnant. My consultant said a lot of the weight gain is due to the steroids that I've been on, and I have to admit I do feel so much more 'swollen' since taking them. Even my face is fat, so is my neck. He said that once I come off the steroids then the weight should start to come off too. But that much weight is going to need a helping hand surely? The good news is, I'm starting to come off the steroids now and it should only take a couple of months.

I've yet to check if my next course of treatment will cause weight gain, I hope not. I really want the next treatment to work, the steroids haven't. If I can help in any way then I will, that is why I'm determined to get back onto this diet full swing.

Now the kids are back at school I can take my time over preparing my breakfast and lunch again. It's six weeks until they are off again so plenty of time to make a difference and hopefully I'll be more prepared for the next holiday so I don't slip so much.

I'm collecting recipes via Pinterest and various other places.

I'm looking forward to trying some new things in the coming weeks. I'm also hoping that I can shed a few pounds (or stones) too. The goal posts have been moved after today's shock.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

My Sunday Photo - 23rd April 2017

packwood house gardens yew tree garden

As you may have gathered from yesterday's post, we had a trip to Packwood House during in the Easter Holiday. I took so many photos and I still have more to share. So this weeks Sunday Photo is of the yew tree garden. I couldn't get any close because there was no way I could climb those steps *insert sad face*  I will go back one day when I'm better and do it!

Someone who visited Packwood House described it as 'A house to dream of and a garden to dream in.' The house is indeed lovely, but the gardens are truly beautiful and with the spring flowers just starting to bloom it gives you a promise of a garden of summer colour. I will definitely come back in the summer.

There was this lovely tree in the garden at the back entrance to the house. Our visit was coming to an end at this point which was lucky as it was just starting to rain. I love the blossom on the trees in the background too. And how fabulous is that lovely stained glass round window.


Sunday Snap

Friday, 21 April 2017

Packwood House - Our First National Trust Outing.

We decided to join the National Trust this year for the first time as an incentive to get us out and about. We have already researched all the places we can visit nearby and plan to visit as many as possible as well as venturing further afield during the school holidays.

We always have the problem of not knowing where to go or not having enough money. We love visiting places of history and information so the National Trust properties should be great for us. Then you have the wide open spaces and gardens which will be great for the kids to run around and explore.

We ventured out on our first journey last week to a fairly local place, Packwood House. We pre-booked as it's busy at Easter Time and the kids were excited to do the Cadbury Egg Hunt.

Packwood House is a Tudor House originally built in the 16th Century but much restored. It is in Lapworth, Warwickshire. There are other National Trust properties to visit nearby if you are travelling far.
front of Packwood House in Warwickshire

 Before we looked around the house the kids embarked on their Easter Egg Hunt in the welly walk.
I had arrived in my wheelchair, but on entering I was asked if I would like to use the 'Stomper' which was a four wheeled mobility scooter! Hubby Graham said yes straight away, it's hard work for him pushing me around. It's good when I can get around by myself because it leaves Graham free to run around with the kids, and keep a closer eye on them. As it happens, it worked out even better for us because I couldn't get through into the welly walk Egg Hunt as the entrance was a 'kissing gate.' It wasn't just the scooter, I wouldn't have got through in my wheelchair either and we probably would have had to abandon the hunt altogether. So, Graham was able to go on ahead with the kids while I went back to the other buildings with Star who wasn't feeling very well. We rested and waited for the others to catch us up.

Then we had a picnic before continuing on to explore the house and it's gardens.

I think the house is best described by the photos I took, so here are some collages.

Packwood House, interior photos

Packwood House, interior

Packwood House

The kids enjoyed looking around the house and were excited at finding the carrots which earned them a special sticker before they left.

I didn't mange to get upstairs, so I'm afraid I've no photos of the bedrooms myself, but here is a college of the ones my hubby took.

Packwood House, interior, upstairs

The kids were mostly in there element while out in the gardens of Packwood House though. They loved running through the giant Yew Trees which were really impressive and I was so jealous that I couldn't get up the steps to them.
They also enjoyed walking around the lake and viewing the gorgeous bluebells which where everywhere. Really exciting was the Inside Out House, which was built from bits of furniture from inside the house.

The kids in the Yew Tree Garden
Hubby was rather proud of this photo as he was trying to recreate an album cover from one of his favourite bands, Ocean Colour Scene. 

The Inside Out House
 What a great idea, building a house from old furniture, I wish I could do something like this!

The Inside Out House

We had a lovely day out and will definitely visit again, maybe for a picnic in the summer, and hopefully Star will be feeling better too.


Country Kids

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Word of the Week - Holiday

I didn't manage to link up to Word of the Week last week. It was a combination of having the kids around and not being very well. We didn't really have a bad week though. I enjoy having the kids home and not having to get up and ready early each morning. We managed a trip out on Good Friday with an Easter Egg hunt at Packwood house. Í'll be posting about that tomorrow. Then on Saturday we did some chocolate crafts by making chocolate bark and chocolate bunnies. Eldest son joined in and managed to make a solid chocolate bunny rather than a hollow one. It took some eating!

chocolate bark

chocolate shapes

We had our own Easter Egg hunt in the house on Easter Sunday, I named all the eggs to save the kids arguing.

We've had another week of holiday this week and Star doesn't go back to school until Thursday next week. When she does she'll be moving into a brand new building.

The weather changed this week which means we haven't been out so much. Hubby Graham managed to have a trip out with the Little Man to the Bluebell woods we visited a few weeks ago, and the bluebells were out in full bloom this time. Then yesterday we went out to a Brewer's Fayre restaurant for a meal. The food was ok but it took so long to get served and we waited for nearly an hour between our main course and desserts. The kids didn't get much time to play in the play area, but they did blow off some steam outside with their Dad.

I'm not looking forward to the end of the Easter Holiday but it's exciting to think that the next school holiday we will be going to Weymouth for the week.

Also, next Monday, I'm going to see my consultant at the new Rare Diseases Clinic and hopefully he will put me forward for Intravenous Immunoglobulin which I've heard can really help my symptoms. There are also very bad side effects that some people experience but I'm willing to give anything a go if it will ease my pain, even if it's only for a week or two. I'm hopeful at least.

The Reading Residence

Monday, 17 April 2017

Screen Addiction - Is it a Boy Thing?

My Little Man is the cutest, funniest little six year old. Of course, I'd say that, he's my precious boy. One thing does worry me about him though, his total addiction to screens. He just wants the laptop, or the PS4, or failing those, my phone! When he is told he needs to take some time out from screens he just complains that he is bored. He has toys, and he loves board games. He loves baking and crafting and even drawing and writing. But it's so hard to get him to focus on anything else. He doesn't even watch much television.

His older sisters like screens too, but while Star would happily stay glued to her pc all day long, if she's told to have a break she will without complaint. She'll draw or read or watch television. She will play with her sister or go out in the garden. Boo, is the only one who actively pulls herself away from screens and goes off to do something else. She really knows how to play and her toys get a lot of use. She also loves baking and arts and crafts and loves to watch a movie. She is definitely the least addicted to screens.

Now, because the older two are girls this leads me to think that The Little Man is the way he is because he is a boy, but is that true? When the girls were his age they barely went on the pc or laptop, it wasn't until they were much older that they discovered the lure of screens.

For my older children it was different. We didn't have a pc in the house until my eldest was twelve years old and even then the Internet was by dial-up and very unreliable. They took turns on the one and only computer and it really wasn't the centre of their lives. My eldest daughter had her first laptop at the age of fourteen. By the time Star came along, computers and laptops had become a daily feature in our lives and even though she would climb up to the family pc and bash a few buttons by the age of three, she wasn't really interested in it until she was about eight.

One thing my older kids did have was games consoles. My eldest had his first console at the age of six and he was instantly addicted. It was hard to get him to do anything else, despite him having lots of toys. If friends came around to play he would sit in front of the television playing his games. The only time he didn't play them was when we were out and about, which fortunately was quite a lot. Although, when he went to stay with nanny his console would go with him.

Or Maybe it's a generation thing. When I was young there was no screens, we didn't have computers, games consoles or mobile phones. We only had our toys to play with and of course our friends. I was outside at every possible chance. They were fun days but my mum was strict and I was not allowed out as long as my other friends, and she had to know exactly where I was. It must have been worrying for her, I know they say times were different back then, but were they really? Children still got hurt and went missing surely. When my older children were younger, I too would worry whenever they went out with friends. If they were late back I'd be stressed to the limit. I was much happier when they wanted to play at home and would often have a house and garden full of their friends. The older children seemed to have the best of both worlds, lots of outside fun and friends and  screen time too.

I have three daughters and two sons and I have to say that if I compare them then it's the boys that have spent the most time addicted to screens. However, out of my three daughters only one of them would prefer to do something else other than play with screens. So could it be a generation thing instead? Is it just the normal thing to be glued to some sort of screen for at least part of the day? I spend two or three hours a day on my laptop, but  I do a lot of reading and writing on it. If I didn't have a laptop then I'd be writing it down in books or maybe I'd still have  a typewriter? My hubby spends the least time on the laptop, but he does seem to be forever glued to Social Media on his mobile.

Back to my little boy, is it so bad that he loves screens? Of course, I do limit his time on them, and make sure he gets plenty of fresh air. But, sometimes we have abandoned a craft session because he just wanted to get back to his game. Is it a boy thing? Why are his sisters less addicted? Is it his age, will he grow out of it? Or will it get worse?

I'd love to know what you think, is it a boy thing? Do you have a boy that is addicted to screens? Do you have a girl that is addicted? Is there a difference?
I've set up a Qutee to collect answers, all you have to do is click the box and have your say. If you sign up to Qutee it's completely free and there are lots of different sections for you to join in and have your say, or you can even make your own. It's and easy and great way to collect information. Just click the question in the box below and have your say.

Or if you wish you can just reply in the comments as usual.

One Messy Mama

Saturday, 15 April 2017

My Sunday Photo - 16th April 2017

robin on the gate at Packwood House

Happy Easter! 

Today I bring you something a little Christmassy! I spotted this little fella on a trip to Packwood House on Good Friday. It was raining, I was on a mobility scooter, and my hubby was trying to snap this robin sitting on a gate, while the kids were running off down the road. I grabbed my camera, zoomed in, (blind as I didn't have my glasses on) and hey presto, it was one of my favourite photos of the day. I've not even edited it.

I'll be writing up about our visit to Packwood House very soon. It was our first visit to a National Trust Property since joining the NT this year for the first time. We have many more places on our bucket list to visit and I can't wait. The day didn't go completely smoothly but the whole point was to persuade us to get out of the house more and I'm sure it will work.

Boo and the Little Man enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt while Star and I enjoyed checking out other facilities. We all enjoyed viewing the house together. I even manged to have a little walk around downstairs. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the stairs but I had a nice rest while my other family members had a mooch around the bedrooms. 

In the spirit of Easter, here's the dining room table all set for a fabulous spread. What's on your Easter menu?

Dining room at Packwood House


Sunday Snap

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Introducing Qutee - Should You Share Your Children's Photos Online?

You turn on your computer and it's full of photos of children on all Social Media channels and on blogs. What do you think about it? Is it right to share photos of children, or do you keep your family private? Do we overshare or not?

I have recently found a great site that allows you to ask questions like this and gather other peoples thoughts and opinions.
This question of mine can be found on Qutee in the forum Parenting 101. Please take a moment to answer using the widget below. Just click in the box that says 'say something about Over Sharing.' Or you can click like or dislike, it's up to you how you have your say on the subject.

What is Qutee?

Qutee is a free service that covers all topics and queries. You can use this service yourself to ask questions or discuss topics of your own. It is an opportunity to collaborate with other parent bloggers to reach a wider parent audience to find out answers to the hottest parenting subjects. 

Please click on my qutee above to find out what it is all about. 

Qutee is a new generation comments and social platform for any discussions and data analysis. It is free to use and a great new way to engage with followers and understand what topics or posts they would like to see in the future.

I am new to Qutee but I'm already seeing how it can benefit me, both in my research and in moving my blog forward to bring you more of what you want to see here. Even if you are not a blogger you can still find useful information and gain insights of others by using the site. Of course I would love you to join me on the Parenting 101 forum but there are many others to discover too, from business to celebrity, politics to sports, entertainment to technology and much more. Just take a look and join in the discussions. 

How Easy is it to Use Qutee?

I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed at first because Qutee is nothing like anything I've seen before. However, once I'd signed up I found it pretty easy to get going with my first Qutee question. 
First you create a title and then a headline. Then you choose how people can answer. You can keep it like a discussion, or ask for opinions on specific questions. You can also add polls to your qutee so people can vote on them. You can even set up a Qutee as an article or announcement that people can comment on and share.

What Can You Gain from Qutee?

Apart from interaction from others on those important questions, you will also find that Qutee is a great sharing platform to get your ideas out there. Qutee also offers a detailed analysis of all the activity on your particular question. By viewing your analytics dashboard you can find really detailed analytics on how your Qutee has been recieved, from analysis of comments, polls and a breakdown of sentiments. In fact, it's the most detailed collection of data analysis that I have ever seen on a site that is free to use. 

Qutee is for everyone, not just bloggers, so I do hope that I have encouraged you to join in and see what the site can do for you. At the very least, please take a moment to answer my question about over sharing. Thank you.

Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Qutee and I'm looking to sign up others to this free service. this post was written in collaboration with Qutee. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

My Sunday Photo - 9th April 2017


The Easter Holidays have begun and we have lots planned. (well, ok a little more than usual planned.) To start the holiday though we decided to clean out the hamsters. The Little Man was keen to help and here he is playing peek-a-boo with Marty. 

Little Marty doesn't seem to have grown much at all and is still small enough to sit comfortably in The Little Man's palm. His brother, Doc, is a little bigger and fatter and bites a little harder too! Their teeth are so titchy though you barely feel a thing if they do take a nibble. 

I like to share the blogs I visit through the Sunday Photo linkies on my Pinterest Board.

If you like my photo you might like my videos too, please check out my latest video on You Tube 


Sunday Snap

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Lighting Up Your Home and Garden

As Spring appears and we see more sunlight in our day I am taking a look at how we use lighting in our home.
First of all I'd like to share this video about he History Of Lighting, from the Festive Lights website.

Can you believe it was 1878 when we had the first light bulb?
It wasn't until 1972 when we started seeing LED lights and now we use them all the time. I love my fairy lights, they really add a little extra to any room, or indeed any garden.

On The Abigail Ahern blog she talks about 3 Types of Lighting Every Room needs.

  1. Ambient Lighting
  2. Task Lighting
  3. Accent Lighting
I like to have lamps and lights to hand for when I need to work or cook, and my accent lighting is usually provided by fairy lights, I like to place them around shelves or headboards in the bedroom.

The idea really is to create places of shade and light altogether in one room and to layer your lighting sources. 

I love rooms with big windows that let in lots of lovely natural light. That's something that disappoints me in my own home. Although, the living room area has big patio doors, they are in fact the only windows in the room. So, I have to be careful with my lighting choices. I do this by layering my lighting with ceiling lights, lamps and decorative lights. 
I also love candle light and if it's a nice smelling candle then all the better. You can't beat a nice Yankee Candle in the room.

I think my love of fairy lights is why I love Christmas so much. I just feel so cosy and relaxed at the festive time of year when I have twinkly lights everywhere. You can't really do this all year round though (can you?) but you can move the twinkly lights to the garden. I can't wait to show my hubby the new fairy lights I've bought to decorate his shed with! I also want to get some solar lights to go along the path. We've got lots of bushes that would look good with some solar lighting too. 

garden lights

Finally, lighting can be fun and quirky and I have been craving one of these cinematic light boxes for ages now. It would make a really nice feature in the house.

I would love to hear how you light up your home and garden? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Disclosure: This post may contain collaborative or affiliate content.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Word of the Week - Hope

There has definitely been a hint of Spring in the air this week. It's been warmer and lighter and I'm hoping the weather continues over the Easter Holidays.

Star broke up from school on Wednesday lunchtime and it was her last day in her current school. When she goes back at the end of April it will be into a brand new building. I'm hoping she'll get on okay with the changes.
The other two break up at lunch time today, let the holiday begin.

I've not been so good this week, when you get sick on top of a chronic illness it's never a good combination. I've had a few early nights this week to try and compensate. I've also had to go out a couple of times which I really didn't want to do, but some appointments can't be missed. I'm hoping that I will feel much better over the next couple of weeks while the kids are at home.

One of those appointments was  to see a new nurse for Star and we came away filled with hope that she will be able to help her with some of her issues. The bad news is that it's going to be a long and tricky road to recovery but at least we can see that there is hope of things getting better for her.

I also have an appointment with my consultant at the rare diseases hospital (it's brand new!) coming up, and I'm hoping that he will agree to me having IVIG treatment which I've heard is really good. I could even be pain free for a couple of weeks, now that's something I always hope for.

We have some exciting things planned for Easter. We will be doing lots of Easter Baking, including biscuits, cake and the kids are hoping to make their own Easter Eggs (well we have chocolate bunny moulds!) Then we have a day out planned at a National Trust site for their Egg Hunt. We hope to have another day out coming up too, but that's a surprise for now.

I'm also hoping for  a little home improvement during the holiday, I'm still waiting for our family bathroom to be decorated and the new cabinets put in.

So what are you hoping for over Easter and how has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Sunday, 2 April 2017

My Sunday Photo - 2nd April 2017

mothers day cards and flowers

Can you believe it's April already?

This week I'm sharing a photo from last Sunday, Mother's Day. These cards were made at school by my youngest two and they put so much effort into them. The Daffodils were from the garden and the vase is one that my daughter decorated with our Chakola Pens which are great for drawing on glass. 

Who could wish for more!

I like to share the blogs I visit through the Sunday Photo linkies on my Pinterest Board.

If you like my photo you might like my videos too, please check out my latest video on You Tube 


Sunday Snap

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles.

What is a WAV? Well, you’ve probably seen one in the carpark, they generally have a sticker on the back asking you to leave access for a wheelchair. So, yes, they are a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.

I don’t have one right now but it may be something I’ll consider in the future. It would certainly be useful to get my wheelchair in the car. We did take a look at some of the WAVs on show at the Naidex Exhibition and they are very impressive. You can also get a WAV from Motability if you are in receipt of a disability benefit for mobility.

Having access to a wheelchair accessible vehicle has literally changed the lives of many wheelchair users, and their families or carers. Having a WAV allows a wheelchair user to enjoy a more diverse, safer, and more satisfying way of life.

The most common, and the cheapest type of WAV is one that can accommodate one wheelchair user, the driver and up to two other passengers. The vehicle is normally entered through the back doors via a ramp and the wheelchair user travels in the rear section of the vehicle. In most conversions, the floor level of the vehicle is lowered so that the incline of the ramp is gentle enough for the wheelchair user to propel themselves up and into position unaided, and to provide sufficient headroom. The ramp folds up and down quite easily and is normally hinged in the middle so that when it is folded up the driver still has a clear view to the rear.

This type of vehicle needs to be parked with enough room behind to deploy the ramp, and the wheelchair user has to descend from the pavement into the road, and vice versa in order to mount and dismount. For this reason, some people prefer a side-entering arrangement so that the wheelchair enters and leaves directly onto the pavement. These, however, are more expensive and not so common.

Instead of a ramp, some WAVs have a remote controlled lifting platform which can be operated by the wheelchair user or by an assistant. These require less operating room but are again more expensive and they require regular maintenance to ensure that they remain functioning correctly.
Once inside the vehicle, the wheelchair is firmly anchored into the correct position for safe travel. In most standard  WAVs the wheelchair user travels in the rear part of the vehicle. If the user is exceptionally tall this may be uncomfortable as there is not much headroom in smaller models and also all-around vision is sometimes restricted. Some WAVs are designed so that the wheelchair user can pass all the way through and into the front of the vehicle, either as the passenger, or as the driver, and some WAVs have interchangeable front seats so that the wheelchair user can accommodate himself on either side.

WAVs can be purchased new or used, rented or leased. To help you to decide which might be the best way for you to obtain a WAV visit the website WAV Compare which contains all the information you need about each of these different options. It also has listings of vehicles for sale, and registered converters if you need to have a customised adaptation done to accommodate your particular needs. The site contains loads of useful tips and information about things to consider before purchasing a WAV, and as it is written by a fellow wheelchair user, you will find that it covers many relevant points which will help you to make the right decision.

So as you can imagine, choosing the right kind of WAV is really important and it’s vital that you get the right information and help before you purchase one.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post
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