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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Looking Forward To 2014

A part of me is glad to see the back of 2013, I've always being a little supersticious and had that feeling it wouldn't be a great year. But on reflection it wasn't that bad really, I'm not going to dwell on the negative parts of the year but I have looked back at the positives and realised that I am thankful for so much. 

In 2013 we celebrated our second wedding anniversary, which may not seem to be a huge deal but we celebrated our first with me in hospital very poorly with HG at 38 weeks pregnant, so the second one was really to cover both! 2013 is also the year that I joined Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS) as a volunteer, I am privileged to be supporting amazing women as they fight their battles with HG and NVP. I also met a lot of fellow volunteers through the year and was fortunate to spend a week away with a dear friend, Emma who suffered through HG at the same time as me, and of course her gorgeous HG survivor Adam who became great friends with Griffin. 

2013 also saw me graduating "Boob School", this was a course to train to be a breastfeeding peer support volunteer, but this course and Nikki, our Boob Coach, gave me so much more. It gave me the confidence to continue breastfeeding Griffin, to be confident in feeding him whilst out and about and of course the opportunity to meet so many wonderful women who are such lovely friends.

There were a lot of downs throughout the year too, including Hubster being laid off, it's being difficult for him to adjust as he's worked all his working life and finding another job is taking it's time. It's not just the financial strain that has taken it's toll it's the emotional effects too, his confidence has taken a big hit and he's not used to been at home full time with Griffin. But on the positive it has given us more quality time as a family, Hubster has bonded so much more with Griffin and of course he's had time to reflect on life and careers. 

So 2014, I have a feeling it will be a great year. We're starting the year off with celebrations for Hubster's 30th birthday, he doesn't like the fact he's moving out of his youthful twenties, but I'm going to make sure he embraces it of course! I am also planning to reach my goal weight at Slimming world, hopefully by the summer. I'm excited that we are almost at the end of the Nine Months Of campaign for PSS and I'm really looking forward to seeing how much awareness will have increased as a result of the campaign. Then of course there's the Baby Bistro's, I'm hoping we will see lots more breastfeeding mums there and continue our efforts to normalise breastfeeding. Finally I'm looking forward to continuing with my blogging journey, it's most likely a lot of ramblings to a lot of people but it's very therapeutic and fun.

I'm going to stop rambling on now and simply thank you all for reading, following and supporting Mummy Whiskers. I really appreciate you all and wish you all a very happy new year and the very best of wishes for an amazing 2014 

With love from 

Katrina, Scott, Griffin, Sooty & Sweep


Monday, 16 December 2013

Meat Free Monday Singapore Noodles

So last Monday I made Singapore Noodles, a recipe in my Quorn Kitchen recipe book, you can find it here on the Quorn website too. It's a really simple recipe with basic ingredients that are so easy to obtain and cheap too, so perfect for a family meal on a budget. 

I found the recipe really easy to follow and it's quick to make too so ideal for midweek or when you're busy. I prepared all the vegetables first before I started cooking as the cooking part doesn't take long at all. The only changes I made were to replace the cooking wine with more soy sauce so that Small Boy could try some and to cook the Quorn mince from frozen and add the sauces to the wok as cooking rather than to defrost and marinade. I cooked the mince from frozen in my large wok, I use a low calorie spray rather than oil. Once the mince had browned I added ingredients in the order from the cooking instructions. I boiled the noodles as per the instructions on the packet, although I did add a few cheeky splashes of soy sauce to perk them up a little, then once they we're cooked and drained I mixed them into the wok with everything else to give them a little crisp. 

Served immediately, this is what it looked like...

The Singapore Noodles were a hit around the table, we had my mum over for dinner and she absolutely loved this, as did Hubster and myself. Small boy enjoyed the mince, but he's not keen on noodles, or pasta for that matter. It surprised me just how tasty this dish was, I've made a lot of stir fry's with a bag of mixed veg and a packet of ready made sauce and I'll never go back to that now, this recipe was so quick and easy to make yet tasted wonderful.

My family have always being big meat eaters, my Grandad was a master butcher. My family and Hubster have this idea that Quorn is tasteless so they don't eat it, but they have agreed to try Meat Free Mondays and I am pleased to say they have found the recipes that I have tried so far using Quorn to be very tasty and said they would definitely have them again, this is a huge achievement!

Oh, for the record one tablespoon of hoisin sauce works out to be one syn for Slimming World, the rest of the ingredients were free, but please bare in mind that I follow the green plan with being a vegetarian. So it's healthy and low fat too! 

I'd love to hear from you if you try out this recipe yourself so please do let me know.

Tonight we'll be trying Lemon Linguine using a recipe from my new cook book, Lorraine Pascale, Fast, Fresh and Easy Food. Obviously I'll be switching the chicken in the recipe for a meat free alternative. I'll update you all on how it goes next Monday.

Disclaimer: Quorn have provided the voucher for use on their products for our participation in this week's Meat Free Monday, however the choice in Quorn products purchased is my own, the recipes that I make will also be my own choice. Any opinions expressed in my blog will be my own and unbiased.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Just Another Birthday

Well it was my birthday on Sunday, another year older. I really hate how birthdays seem to come around much faster since I hit the 30's, I don't feel like a thirty-something and it doesn't seem like five minutes ago that the thirties seemed to be in the distant future. Well it's not in the future anymore, it's here giving me a good bitch slap and saying "time to buy the anti-ageing cream!"
Now that I'm a mum I have started to think about my birthdays past, when I was a child I had a big party at home for my friends, my Mum would provide enough party food to feed an army and Big Brother would be the DJ. Birthdays as a child were so exciting, gifts were a surprise, there was the party to look forward to, all the fuss at school too. As a teenager things changed a little, instead of parties it became concert tickets for Boyzone every year and a meal out somewhere with family and besties. The excitement for birthdays was still there though, even once drinking age finally arrived... Yes from 18 to late twenties birthdays had become a week of nights out drinking and staggering in and out of night clubs, I have many fond memories and even more cringe some photos to look back on from these days. No I won't be sharing any of these drunken photos! I don't really know what it is that changes inside, but there is a turning point there where we go from all the fuss and dragging out of birthday celebrations to realising that actually the best birthdays are celebrated just one day with the people that mean the most to us and doing something that really makes us happy. Oh, and of course eating cake, cake is the best solution to every problem.
So on Sunday I spent the day with Hubster and Small boy. The day started with our little tradition where Hubster serves breakfast, pain au chocolates warmed and coffee. At lunch time we visited a Victorian market that was in our village that day, it's the first time we've been to this Victorian Market, there is one every Christmas in our village. I don't know why we haven't been before to be honest but it was great, lots of people were there, a good variety of stalls and some great food. Then my Mum made dinner for us, Big Brother & Nephew, which was lovely and then we had birthday cake... Yes you're never too old for birthday cake, everyone in my family gets a birthday cake regardless of their age! This year Hubster wanted to make a birthday cake for me, he's never baked a cake before but was very excited to do this. I wasn't nervous about the cake, just the mess that I imagined in my kitchen! Hubster looked through my baking books and eventually selected a recipe from the Nigella Lawson Domestic Goddess book, he chose the Autumnal Birthday Cake. Hubster chose this cake because he knows how much I love maple syrup and pecan nuts.
The cake was a huge success, despite how Hubster was in the kitchen making this cake until 2am, not only did it look fabulous, it tasted good too. Hubster also cleaned up the kitchen too after baking which I was really thrilled about. Although the down side was that this cake wasn't very good for my diet, but you only have a birthday once a year!
Amongst the birthday gifts were three new books that I had asked for, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook; Lorraine Pascale's Fast, Fresh and Easy Food; and National Trust Simply Baking. I had asked for the two baking books mainly for some fresh inspiration, I have flicked through them both to see what I'm going to try out first and quite honestly I can't decide, every single recipe looks delicious! I asked for Lorraine's cook book as I needed one with easy to follow recipes and quick recipes too as most days, like most of us, I'm pressed for time at dinner and find myself in a rut of making the same meals each week. I have over the weekend read this book from cover to cover and can't wait to get started. In fact I've already picked out a recipe to try for Meat Free Mondays!
Once we managed to get Small Boy to sleep the Hubster and I managed to relax and watch a film, Hangover 3. There's nothing like a good comedy on a Sunday to laugh at. To be honest I didn't think it was as good as the previous two films, but it was still very funny and I'm sure we will watch it again. Well that was my birthday, a perfect day for me, which made becoming another year older just a little more bearable...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas Stars

So I've attempted our first home made Christmas decorations, they're pretty easy to do to be honest, but I would say they are best made with children above toddler age, unless it's just my small boy that would equal a disaster when put in a room with glue and lollipop sticks!
Anyway this how to make them yourself....
Items needed:
1) Lollipop sticks (if you don't have them saved from the summer you can buy packs cheap enough from most craft shops and some supermarkets) You will need 10 sticks per star
2) PVA glue
3) Tinsel approx, 2.5 metres per star
4) Christmas ribbon, as much as you like!
5) Needle and thread
So the instructions are basically as simple as the shopping list!
1) Place the lollipop sticks on a flat surface, such as a table or large tray, and position them to make a five point star shape.
2) Once they are positioned where you want them start to apply glue to the ends of the lollipop sticks where they join to each other, one at a time, and apply a little pressure for a minute or two until the glue starts to set.
3) Leave about 20 minutes for all the glue to set, at this point you should be looking at something along these lines....
4) Once the glue is set you're ready to decorate the star. I used tinsel, you just can't beat tinsel at Christmas! I picked some that was made with wire inside so that it could be bent into shapes easily. I also made sure it was a fairly thin tinsel as you can lose the star shape if your tinsel is too thick. So quite simply you just need to start wrapping the tinsel around the star frame. Once you've finished the tinsel shouldn't need securing in place if you've used a tinsel with wire in, if not though you could use florist wire to secure it.

5) Finally you need a hook to hang the star with, just cut a piece of Christmas ribbon about three inches long, but it's best to thread it through the star and decide yourself how much ribbon you want. Thread the piece of ribbon through the star and then stitch the ends together with the thread and needle to make a loop.
There you have it, your star is ready to hang. If you like you could use some more Christmas ribbon to add a second loop so the star will hang longer or flat on a wall.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Meat Free Monday Quorn Bolognese Pizza

Last Monday I made Quorn bolognese pizzas for dinner for Hubster, Small Boy, my Mum and myself. I used the recipe in the Quorn Kitchen recipe book, a book that has been on my shelf for over a year. I'm just starting to cook properly again since the HG pregnancy which left me terrified of foods and in a state of panic whenever I needed to prepare a meal, so this is a learning curve for me.
As I'm currently on the Slimming World diet I had to adapt the recipe slightly, so instead of using pizza bases I used square wraps, the white ones are eight syns each. I also replaced the olive oil with a low calorie oil spray so that was syn free and I weighed the cheese so that I could use one of my healthy extra A choices to cover the cheese going on my pizza. The Quorn mince and other ingredients for the Bolognese we're all syn free, but I was a little naughty, I added a cheeky tablespoon of red pesto to the bolognese sauce while cooking, which once divided over four pizzas only worked out at half a syn per portion. So all in one pizza worked out at eight and a half syns, which I personally think is pretty good for a pizza. Served along with a bowl of syn free salad this makes a delicious filling meal.
As for the Hubster, to make his pizza more of a "man portion" I used two square wraps and added a layer of mozzarella, crushed garlic and a sprinkle of oregano in between the two wraps to give him a stuffed base, then added the bolognese, mozzarella and seasoning for the topping and put in the oven.
I set my oven to 180 and put the pizzas in for approximately ten minutes, until the cheese had browned how we like it. This isn't a fan assisted oven though, so if you are using fan assisted you may need to reduce the time or temperature.
Everyone loved the pizzas, they we're delicious, even my Mum loved it and she's not a very big fan of pizzas. The bolognese was very tasty and we all found the meal to be very filling. Needless to say this is a big thumbs up for the Quorn Kitchen book and I'll certainly be trying out another recipe from the book tonight...




Disclaimer: Quorn have provided the voucher for use on their products for our participation in this week's Meat Free Monday, however the choice in Quorn products purchased is my own, the recipes that I make will also be my own choice. Any opinions expressed in my blog will be my own and unbiased.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Hiding The Presents

Well I had figured that with Small Boy being the tiny age of twenty months that we would be safe this year with Christmas gifts in the house... How wrong I was! Obviously he doesn't understand Christmas yet, but he is a smart kid and he has "toddler radar" installed as standard so he can sniff out anything that he isn't meant to see.
Last week Nephew and Hubster went on their annual Christmas shopping trip and when they arrived back Nephew was very excited to show me what he had bought for everyone. Within minutes we hear a familiar "ooooooh" sound from Small Boy and turned to see him hugging one of the Christmas presents that was for him. The second incident was yesterday when it took all of twenty seconds from him getting out of the bath to him pulling out one of his Christmas presents to play with!
As for the element of surprise I'm pretty sure he won't remember these incidents by Christmas day, so hopefully he will be surprised when he unwraps his gifts in a few weeks. Obviously I'm not worried about blowing Santa's cover either, we're safe there for one more year.
This has however got me thinking about the next nine or ten years ahead, I can't imagine how we're going to hide gifts and wrapping paper from him. I am one of these people that likes to buy Christmas gifts all year around and there is no way around the fact that I have nowhere to hide these things from him in the house. I've given this some thought though and I've decided the best option for us is to hide them at Big Brother's house, or Uncle Donut as Small Boy now likes to call him.
I have also being worried lately that Small Boy could be over faced with wrapped gifts on the day, however he surprised me at the weekend when we visited Santa. When we arrived home he sat down on the floor to unwrap his gift from Santa and to our horror he knew exactly how to unwrap this parcel. Hubster and I looked stunned at eachother and tried to figure out where he may have picked up how to do this, still we are clueless so that's 1-0 to Small Boy.
I think it's safe to say toddler's are much smarter than we give them credit for, so take my advice, hide those presents well!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Meat Free Monday

From today, every Monday I will be cooking a meat free meal for the whole family. I myself have being a vegetarian now for around 19 years, but Hubster and Small Boy love their meat. They are however going to participate in Meat Free Monday, so I will be cooking up a meat free meal every Monday for dinner for the three of us and anyone else who might be here for dinner, I will share the details with you the following Monday and let you know what everyone thought of it too.
For the first three weeks I will be making these meals with Quorn as they have very kindly sent us some vouchers to use on their products for the purpose of Meat Free Monday. I'll be using my Quorn Kitchen recipe book for inspiration over the next three weeks too, but I may need to adapt them slightly so that they work well with my diet.

Disclaimer: Quorn have provided the vouchers for use on their products for our participation in Meat Free Mondays, however the choice in Quorn products purchased will be my own, the recipes that I make will also be my own choice. Any opinions expressed in my blog will be my own and unbiased.

Back To Basics

So I started the Slimming world (SW) diet in the summer, this is the first time I've ever done a SW diet and it's safe to say I love it! I was doing pretty well until the winter weather kicked in, tins of chocolates have started stacking up in the pantry with various other naughty treats. The problem with this cold weather is that I crave my comfort foods even more, I'm sure I'm not alone there though....Anyone??
After two weeks of feeling horrendous with the flu, days of not eating and days of eating what Hubster was able to prepare or cook, I was very nervous to be weighed at my SW meeting this morning. Much to my surprise I had actually lost 1/2 lb! I was really expecting to have gained weight. I'm glad I lost, even though it's only 1/2 lb it has given me a much needed boost. After the meeting I felt much more motivated, our coordinator is lovely, as are all the members there and I always feel very motivated after the meetings. It's towards the end of the week that I struggle, the temptation kicks in as Hubster and Small Boy are eating chocolate in front of me.
Yes chocolate, this is my weakness. I also love crisps, but have actually found it quite easy to give them up. I used to eat one or two packets of crisps a day, but now I only have two or three packets a week. But chocolate, now this is one thing I cannot sacrifice, I've tried but I can't do it, I think it's safe to say I have a chocolate addiction, but I personally feel that cutting something you love out of your diet will simply make you miserable, and life is too short to be miserable so the chocolate stays. Yay!
I've decided this week to go back to basics, just like the first week of my diet, simple meals, writing everything down, counting syns meticulously. I will not slip up this week, despite the fact it is my birthday on Sunday because when I sit down and think about it, losing weight this week will make me feel much better about myself than stuffing my face and feeling fat would, and who really wants to feel bad about themselves on their birthday? My plan is to follow the green plan as I normally do, but two days this week I will be trying the Success Express plan, wish me luck..!
Right, so now it's winter I'm getting back into soups, but I find the tins and cartons are full of syns, even the low fat ones. I've never ever in my life made a soup before, but I'm going to try this week, the syns on these soups are wasted for me personally and could be put to much better use in chocolate. The soup has to go! I have the laptop at the ready and I'm going to search the SW website for amazing syn free soup recipes this afternoon, I will let you know how it goes later in the week....

Friday, 29 November 2013

Getting the house ready

It's officially on, the mad race to get the house ready for the 1st December. The house needs cleaning and the furniture needs reorganising so that we can somehow fit my beautuful 6ft Christmas tree in.  Hubster has tried on several occassions to talk me into having a smaller tree, but he failed, for me Christmas is not Christmas without a big tree. So we will be spending tommorow night moving furniture around in the lounge to find a way to make our tree fit. It will fit, one way or another!
So with Sunday being the 1st of December this marks the first of our traditions...
Firstly the tree goes up in the morning, decorated with love, so many of my tree decorations have a story. I have a selection of baubles that once belonged to my Grandad, some that I brought back from an awesome trip to Canada to visit family, special baubles from my childhood, so many with memories of others, very special decorations made by Nephew and of course Small Boy's additions. Finally there's the fairy, she's a woodland fairy and absolutely gorgeous. I searched far and wide to find the perfect fairy and perfect she certainly is. All this tree decorating is always without fail every year done by Hubster, Nephew and myself whilst singing along to our special Christmas album and scoffing a tin of chocolates! I have to confess this year I'm a little worried about how Small Boy and the cats will behave with the tree! Last but by no means least, there's Small Boy's advent calendar. We decided to buy him a Christmas wooden house advent calendar that he will use every year, we'll fill each drawer with his favourite chocolates, although all chocolate seems to be his favourite at the moment!
Once we've finished we go to Whiteleys Garden Centre to visit Santa, last year was Small Boy's first time meeting Santa and he did really well, never cried once, however he did try to pull Santa's beard off! We have a photo taken with Santa, take a leisurely walk around the shop looking at all the beautiful decorations, maybe even buy some then finally write and post a letter to Santa.  Then we move onto next door, the Whitegate pub for lunch, we love it here, the staff are wonderful and the children's menu is great too.
Once we're back home there's nothing better than curling up together on the sofa to watch a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate, especially a Baileys one!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Surviving a bus journey

Since Macca broke down last week we've had to make a few bus journeys, I can safely say it has been enlightening and that's putting it nicely! I noticed that the buses have notices up with certain seating rules and after observing other passengers I have come up with a few pointers to help others survive a bus journey...

1) THE SEATS AT THE FRONT These seats are supposed to be reserved for disabled or elderly passengers, but also parents with a pram. If you have a pram and need to sit here whatever you do avoid eye contact with the elderly as they board the bus, wow you just wouldn't believe the deathly ninja stares that come from them!

2) DON'T FALL ASLEEP Besdies the obvious, that you would miss your stop, there are many other dangers of falling asleep on the bus. The chance that there are a couple of school kids on the bus with a marker pen in their possession is highly likely, if you fall asleep then you're just asking for those whiskers, the porn tash or that pirate eye patch they've lovingly drawn on your face... If you're lucky enough to avoid this you still need to worry about embarrassing yourself, snoring, sleep talking, drooling. Not a good look for anyone!

3) WEAR A SCARF Preferably one you have sprayed a fragrance onto, you'll thank me for this one when you're sat next to Sir Farts-A-Lot!

4) MP3 Take your earphones with you, you'll need them to drown out the annoying voices, I guarantee you will hear at least one annoying conversation whilst on a bus journey and they're a great excuse to avoid talking to the random smelly weirdo that chose to sit next to you despite the fact the bus isn't even half full.

5) NO SINGING Whilst we're on the subject of MP3's, you must remember where you are, otherwise you could get carried away listening to your favourite tunes and let's face it, not many of us have the voice to pull off "Dancing Queen".

6) QUEUES Don't be fooled by the friendly looking pensioner who is stood behind you in the queue smiling sweetly at your tiny person who is sat  nicely in the pram. When they're looking at you stood there with the pram, juggling your shopping bags they're plotting their move, be ready! When those bus doors open you need to be ready to run like Usain Bolt because believe me they will move at the speed of light to push past you to be first on the bus!

I'd love to hear of any other survival tips that any of you may have for bus journeys as I'll probably have a few more to go on before Macca is back on the road...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Its my shed, I like it, f**k off!

I've always loved cars even though I don't know very much about them, as a child I would imagine that the lines on the carpet were roads and run toy cars up and down them. I would always ask my brother, Ian to dig out the box of his old toy cars, Matchbox cars, they were my favourite! I have fond memories and photos from visits to car shows with my Grandad and Ian, as I've grown up this hasn't changed and I still love to look around car shows, although now it's with Ian, my nephew Zak, Scott & Griffin.

I bought my current car five years ago, I was very excited to own a Volkswagen and had high hopes for my little car. I took my nephew Zak with me to collect the car, which was lucky really as I spent twenty minutes at the petrol station trying to find out how to open the petrol cap, luckily Zak found a button for it under the hand brake. Yes that's right, an 11 year old had to help me put petrol in my car, the shame! It took me a couple of days to decide what I was calling my new car, well I say new car but I mean new to me, he was actually seven years old when I bought him, so I called him "Macca", named after the great Bradford City legend Stuart McCall. I loved him, I would take him out for a drive just for the sake of it. I've always found driving with some decent music on quiet roads without other drivers, especially annoying drivers, to be very therapeutic, I just love the freedom that comes with driving, how you can be in your own world, your bubble and whatever is going on in life just fades away into the distance.

Well I have to confess my friendship with Macca had a rocky start, after only three months the exhaust had gone, then the brakes, parts of the engine, even the hand brake. I couldn't afford to replace him and I needed a car for work and college so I would scrape the money together and repair him every time. I resented him for letting me down all the time, I felt like he didn't have a personality like my previous cars had, we just didn't have a connection. For the first time ever I didn't enjoy driving, it was becoming stressful wondering what disaster would happen next under the bonet. After three years I decided to pull out all my receipts and add up what I had spent on repairs, I was horrified to find it came to almost the same amount I had paid for the car in the first place! Not long after I became pregnant, and I'm sure you all know by now how awful my pregnancy was, so I couldn't drive Macca anymore, my mum had to drive him. Over those nine months I really missed driving, I started to miss my Macca. From that point on things started running smoothly for him and I found it frustrating that he was finally running well when I couldn't drive him, typical! I counted down the days until Griffin was born and I would be able to get behind the wheel again, which was delayed again thanks to the complications during labour.

Finally the day came that I was well enough to drive again, I had counted the days and it had been exactly 43 weeks and 2 days. At first I felt nervous, I couldn't help thinking what if I have forgotten how to drive? But I guessed that was silly as everyone says that it's like riding a bike, you never forget. So I packed Griffin up in the car, I decided to have my first drive without my mum or Scott there as I wouldn't feel as anxious then, and off we went. Well we didn't go far, just around the village and back, but it was amazing, absolutely amazing! I didn't even have to think about what I was doing, I just drove, for the first time ever the pieces fell together and Macca's personality came shining out, I finally felt that he was my car. I've often taken Griffin out for a drive with nowhere in particular to go, Griffin loves it, he just loves to watch the world go by out of the window and listen to music, now that he's older he sings along too.

Macca had a mini disaster at the start of the year when we travelled to Morecambe for New Year's Eve celebrations and the football match, just before the game I went out and the clutch bust. Typical the first day of 2013 and we missed the football and were towed all the way home which took hours! Luckily I managed to get Macca fixed pretty quickly and the rest of the year went well, he sailed through his mot, took us to Wembley twice, for the League Cup Final and the Play-Offs, and more recently he took Griffin and myself to Norfolk to visit friends. But it's happened again, on Tuesday whilst driving up a bypass the clutch blew, AGAIN! To be honest what upset me most of all was how dangerous it was, Macca just stalled and stopped dead, the clutch pedal was stuck and wouldn't move at all, we were in the right hand lane with traffic flying up behind us, it was pretty scary. Luckily my mum was there to help me get Griffin out of the car safely and onto the grass banking out of the way. Once again we were towed home, luckily not as far this time!

At the moment we need to have Macca looked at as we're not sure if it's just a new clutch that is needed or if there is any further damage. I'm really hoping no further damage has been caused to Macca as this could mean goodbye for him, he's 13 years old now and he may cost too much to repair. It's hard to think about letting him go, he's a very special car to me despite our ups and downs. He's the first car that I bought by myself, my statement of independence so to speak. I bought him when I got divorced, he took me to my first apartment, then he took me to a new job, that job is where I met Scott, he took Scott and I on our first date, to Scarborough where Scott proposed, to our wedding, he brought Griffin home from the hospital. Macca was the turning point in my life, when everything started to get better, when I found happiness and love. He's a part of our family and I know that cars don't last forever, that one day I'll have to let him go and find a new car, but right now I'm not ready to. So were keeping our fingers and toes crossed that the repairs won't be too big, keep yours crossed for us too because even though you may think he's a clapped out shed of a car, he's my shed. As his awesome sticker that Ian and Zak bought him earlier this year says... "It's my shed, I like it, f**k off!"

Now come on, don't be shy, who else drives a shed and likes it??

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Monday, 11 November 2013

More decisions to make...

I'm not quite sure what happened to the past two weeks, they seem to be a blur! We all had a sickness bug in our house which took just over a week to get over and we seem to be rushed off our feet every day recently.

There are so many decisions to make at the moment, one decision in particular I have to say for once I'm not enjoying... Which smart phone to choose? For the past five years this decision has been quite simple for me, iPhones all the way! But I have to confess I'm starting to feel a little bored of them now, nothing seems to change with them apart from the odd app here and there, but I'm not a very techy person and I'm sure they do, I just don't notice it myself. So I'm looking at other smart phones this week as I'm due an upgrade again. 

There are way too many phones out there now and they seem to have improved drastically over the last couple of years too. I've asked a few different people for advice and opinions are varied which has left me feeling lost! I went to look at phones in the shop today with Scott and to be honest they all looked the same to me, when I asked about the different phones I was left even more confused by all the techy jargon. I do love my iPhone though, it's my third now and I'm still very tempted to stay with what I know, it's a tough decision!

To be entirely honest I hate that I have become so reliant on smart phones, but I think it's just a part of life now for most of us. For me personally I have a laptop that is verging on prehistoric so I tend to use my phone to browse the internet as it's much quicker. I find it so convenient that if I'm out shopping I can use my phone to compare prices, reserve items and even find my way around if I'm lost. The convenience of the camera is also a huge asset for me as I never remember to pack the digital camera or the video camera. I also organise a lot with the apps, such as keeping track of my diet with the Slimming World app, shopping lists, appointments, to do lists... It's endless! 

Well writing that all down hasn't really made the decision any easier, so I'm going to have some chocolate and a think, yes chocolate is the easy decision here and solves all problems in life... Now do I have milk chocolate or dark? Hmm...... 

Saturday, 26 October 2013


So I've finally got around to setting up a blog, it's something I have thought about doing for a while now. I thought I'd start with a little introduction about myself and my family for those of you that don't know us very well yet. So I'm Katrina, I'm a stay at home mum, I can safely say it's the most difficult and most rewarding job I have ever had, I love every moment!


As you can see I have a son, called Griffin, he's 18 months now and he is my world along with my Husband Scott. We have been through a lot together over the past few years, Scott is my rock and I can't imagine life without either of my boys.



There are two more members of our little family, they are Sooty and Sweep, our beautiful kittens. They are six months old now and love to play, day and night! Sooty is very curious and she likes to wonder and visit the neighbours. Sweep is more of a homely cat, he prefers to stay close but he does love to follow his cousin Ringo who lives next door, he also eats everything in sight!



When I was pregnant I suffered from a serious condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I was very poorly for my entire pregnancy which became a battle for survival. I am planning to write about my pregnancy in the hope that it will reach out to others who are suffering or who have suffered and also to help raise awareness of the condition. 

I am also a breastfeeding mother and have come across many issues in this area, I'm a strong believer that a mother should choose whichever feeding method suits her and her baby best, regardless of if it's formula or breast milk and I also understand and am sympathetic to the fact that a mother sometimes doesn't have the choice for whatever reason. I am passionate to support women who want to breastfeed and to normalise breastfeeding so that women can feed anywhere and whenever they need to with confidence. So you will also find me writing about breastfeeding often too.

Scott, Griffin and I are also completing 9k walks every month to raise money for a charity that is close to our hearts, so I will be updating you as we complete each walk, with lots of photos! You will also be hearing lots about our journey as a family, places that we visit and hopefully an improvement in my cooking skills. 

I hope that you enjoy reading the blogs, I'll be back very soon with the next one. 

Katrina x

Bradford City Vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Well today is a very exciting day in our household, today our beloved Bradford City welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) to Valley Parade for the first time since 2002 when we drew 0-0 with them in the old league division one. This is our first season in the new Sky Bet league one and I think it's safe to say that Wolves are the biggest club in the division. This game will be a huge test for us, I'm sure all the Bantams feel the same today, buzzing with excitement with just a hint of nerves.

We are hoping for a large crowd today, I'd expect similar to the recent home fixture against Sheffield United which was 18,041. There should be a lot of noise in Bradford this afternoon, no one can say the mighty Bantams don't get behind their team!

As for team news, Nahki Wells has been spotted training during the week so it will be interesting to see if Parkinson will start him today.

Today's game should be an eventful one, I can imagine there will be a lot of goals scored as both teams are very attacking minded. Hopefully we will be the ones to take all three points!

Predictions for today:

Im predicting a 2-1 win for the Bantams.

Scott is predicting a modest 2-2 draw.

Ian (Big brother) is also predicting a 2-2 draw if Wells is playing, but 1-1 if not.

Griffin is too young to make any predictions but he will be singing along with the Kop!

Friday, 25 October 2013

My fight with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Scott and I brought our wedding forward a year because we couldn't wait to start a family. Friday 1st April 2011 was our wedding day and in the May I was given the all clear from some abnormal findings from a cervical screening so we were good to go! It didn't take long to get pregnant, we found out on the 10th August at 5am that I was four weeks pregnant. We were so excited, we'd done everything by the book, eating healthy, taking pre natal vitamins and completely cutting out alcohol since we started trying to conceive. For that one week we were walking on air...

One week later and the sickness struck, I thought "Ok, this is to be expected"... After a week it was becoming progressively worse, I was vomiting every 40 minutes around the clock over the weekend and by the Monday morning I was so weak I couldn't lift my head from the pillow. Nausea had at this point hit me like a truck. There's no point trying to explain the severity of the nausea, no one who hasn't experienced HG would understand it and there are literally no words to describe it! I tried to get into the shower and collapsed, so I had to stay at home while Scott went to work. I felt so humiliated to call work for a sick day because of "morning sickness" I hated myself, I couldn't understand why I was so pathetic that I couldn't cope with pregnancy like all other women? My mum took me to see the doctor that afternoon, 5 weeks pregnant and I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). I had no idea what HG was, I just assumed it was a fancy name for morning sickness. In fact Hyperemesis Gravidarum is nothing like pregnancy sickness (morning sickness as it was previously referred to), HG is a very severe and debilitating condition that can in some cases last for the entire pregnancy. HG can be a life threatening condition if it is left untreated which is why it's so important to raise awareness. The doctor prescribed me some anti-sickness drugs and sent me home with a sick note and instructions to send in urine samples daily until the doctors were happy that the ketones had gone, otherwise it was a trip to the hospital. After a week off work I thought that I was improving so I returned to work for one week. But by the Friday the HG was coming back with a vengeance! On the Monday, 7 weeks pregnant, I was back in the GP surgery, this time I was prescribed some different anti-sickness drugs to try and a sick note with strict instructions not to return to work without a full assessment from the doctor this time. I never made it back to work...

I had 24 hour care, my mum would arrive every morning 15 minutes before Scott left for work and she would stay with me until he returned home. Scott never went out, he went to the football because I begged him too, the way I saw it I couldn't be there to support the team, but he could at least! Scott also went out for a couple of drinks once with an old friend we used to both work with, but even then he stayed at the pub just down the street and even called back to check on me, despite my mum been there with me. He really is a wonderfully kind and caring man, I am so lucky to have him. I could not have survived this pregnancy without the love, care and support of Scott and my mum.  

Vomiting would be at its worst from around 6pm through until 2pm the next day with nausea so extreme that I could barely sleep. This was the same every day. Scott would stay up all night with me, holding me up because I was too weak to sit up on my own to be sick in the bucket, holding my hand when I was feeling scared, he would talk to me for hours despite the fact that I could never say a word back. My nephew Zak, who was 14 at the time would also come and sit with me every week, he would sit there for hours telling me about school, his ice hockey matches and his computer games. He didn't mind that I barely spoke a word in return. He always made me smile and when my bump started to show he started to call me "Podgy" to make me laugh. He's such a fantastic kid, so kind and caring. My brother Ian was also a great support, he would call me regularly to check on me and to let me know he was thinking of us while he was busy away with work. He would call in to visit on a weekend too. My mum would drive me to the hospital every other week to see the consultant who would review my anti-sickness drugs and swap or change them, trying to find something that would work. She would drive me to the hospital for IV fluids usually every ten days - two weeks. My GP would see me every week and check my ketone levels twice a week too. No drugs seemed to work, I would vomit between 25-40 times every day for eight months. I also tried acupuncture with absolutely no improvement what so ever.

I had a lot of hospital admissions ranging from two to four days at a time hooked up to IV's and injected with drugs to stop the vomiting and rehydrate me. 28 weeks was when HG peaked to it 'a worst, the GP sent an ambulance, I was very weak, tachycardic and barely conscious. Scott was at work so my mum came with me in the ambulance. I had a severe allergic reaction to the first anti-sickness medication that I was injected with, which lead to temporary paralysis and breathing difficulties just to add to the trauma! Basically all the medications had stopped working and I had a severe kidney infection. After a week in hospital hooked up to IV's I went home with more new drugs, but literally within six hours HG was back in full swing! At 36 weeks whilst on the CTG machine at the hospital a doctor that I hadn't seen before, who was covering for my usual consultant, came to see me. He had researched HG due to his wife suffering from the condition previously and he very quickly prescribed me a new anti-sickness drug that I hadn't tried before, a very strong anti-sickness drug that is usually reserved for cancer patients. I took this along with the other medications that I was prescribed at the time. Within a few days the improvements we've clear, vomiting reduced to around 15 times a day and a "window" of about three hours mid afternoon where the nausea reduced enough that I could eat small amounts of food! I even managed a trip out to my Aunt & Uncle's wedding anniversary party, although HG made sure that I paid for that for a few days after!

At 38 weeks, Easter bank holiday weekend I was rushed into hospital late at night. They patched me up, checked baby on the CTG monitor, took some bloods and sent me home. On the Tuesday, 10th April I had the call from the hospital asking me to go in and bring my bags with me. They put me on the CTG monitor to begin with to check the baby's heart then informed me that my bloods had come back and that they needed to induce me as my liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. So I called Scott to come to the hospital and at 5pm they put me in a delivery suite and broke my waters. They gave me IV fluids and continued my anti-sickness medications. I was also put on a drip to increase contractions to help move the labour along. After 12 hours of labour, constant vomiting and barely conscious, baby's heartbeat started to slow down, he had also turned onto his side. The doctor came and decided that I needed taking to theatre for a forceps delivery. Griffin was then born very quickly. He was breathing, his heart was fine, he was perfect. I kept asking them if he was ok and I couldn't take my eyes off him. I couldn't believe that after eight months of  starving, dehydration and so, so much medication that I had this perfect little baby!

The surgeon told me that I had sustained a third degree tear and that he was repairing it, it wouldn't take long. The midwife then asked me if I wanted to breastfeed still, which of course I did. I was shaking terribly though so Scott held Griffin on me and he fed for such a long time! That to this day is the happy moment that I hold onto through what was a terrible, traumatic day. As I was laid there in theatre feeding Griffin, I heard the surgeon call for the head consultant to come and assist him. The anaesthetist was instructed to give me another dose of the epidural, no one was smiling anymore, everyone went quiet. Even Scott looked white as a sheet, I was more scared then than I have even been in my life. The surgeon told me that the tear was worse than he had initially thought, that I had actually sustained a fourth degree tear and that he was having difficulty stopping the bleeding, the head consultant arrived and together they got to work. My eye lids were so heavy at this point, I could barely stay awake but the fear that I would never wake up kept me going, just. This was more terrifying than any part of my pregnancy had been and to this day I still remember every tiny detail of that theatre room. It took them three hours to repair the damage and stop the bleeding. I had lost a lot of blood and my blood pressure was very low, I was also very anaemic before I was induced which wasn't helping my recovery. I continued to breastfeed Griffin with Scott's help. I felt amazing to be honest, the HG symptoms stopped very quickly after Griffin was delivered and a few hours after the surgery I regained my appetite! I had toast and a cup of tea, it was amazing and wonderful to finally be able to eat and drink. I stopped my anti-sickness drugs straight away. By the afternoon they were still concerned about my blood pressure and I was extremely weak so I was moved to a side room 
and they arranged blood transfusions for me through the night. They allowed Scott to stay with me at the hospital that night, he helped with Griffin which was a relief as I still couldn't move off the bed. By the next day I felt much better and had regained some strength, a couple of days later and we were able to go home.

18 months on and I am still recovering both physically and emotionally. I have suffered with post traumatic stress disorder since the birth and post natal depression during the earlier months. But writing down my story and talking about it has over time helped me to come to terms with everything that happened. My experience has motivated me to help other women who suffer from HG, I just can't bare to think of another woman suffering that way that I did or even worse.

Looking back I am so proud of our little family for getting through what has to be the toughest year of our lives, it has certainly made us stronger! 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


I am a volunteer for a charity called Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS). They are a charity that offers support to women who are suffering from all degrees of severe nausea and vomiting including Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). I am also currently involved in a personal fundraising event for the charity. Scott, Griffin and I are walking 9k every month for nine months in order to raise funds and awareness for PSS. You can see our fundraising page here.

Two weeks ago we completed our September walk in Blackpool, we decided to stay for a couple of days and make the most of some family time together. 

We walked along the promenade under all of the illuminations which are 10k long so we walked a bit more than the 9k we had originally planned! We set off walking around 5pm and it was pretty dark by the time we finished. It's amazing to think that over one million bulbs are used in the illuminations, it must take a long time to get them all set up. Griffin bought his own illuminations to carry around.

We were pretty tired by the end of the walk so on our way back to the hotel we decided that we deserved a treat so we shared some do-nuts...

The next day we visited the Sealife Centre, Griffin loved it, he has always loved watching fish though as his Uncle Ian has lots of tropical fish. We also walked around the arcades, Griffin shares our love of the 2p slot machines so we spent a lot of time in there. Sadly we didn't manage to win any minions!

I will update you all again later this month when we have completed our 9k walk for October. If you would like to sponsor us please take a look at our fundraising page here

Where have the past 18 months gone?

It's hard to believe that you're 18 months now, it only seems like yesterday that you arrived. You were so tiny and so perfect, which was a miracle considering how ill I had been and how much medication I had to take to keep us both alive. You really are a HG hero, a true miracle!

From the moment you were born you filled our hearts with joy, we can't imagine what life was like before we had you. You have a cheeky smile and could charm the birds out of the trees. It's going to be very difficult to be cross with you when you do anything naughty! 

Your first birthday came along far too quickly, you had grown so much and your first two teeth had just popped through. 

You were 16 months when you took your first steps, we were so proud! Now you're running around everywhere!

You love your food and right from the start you insisted on feeding yourself. You love to explore your food too, which makes a lot of mess, but we don't mind as we love to see you enjoying your food and well it's just part of who you are! 

We are so proud of you and love you so much that there are no words to describe how much. You make us smile every day, you fill our lives and our hearts with so much joy. It doesn't matter how old you are or how tall you become over the years, you will always be Mummy and Daddy's little man... 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Car Seats - Harness Vs Safety Impact Cushion

Choosing the right car seat for your child is a huge decision and can be very stressful. I spent a lot of time researching car seats, safety tests and reviews. Unfortunately though the decision ultimately lies with two factors, which seat will fit In your car securely and secondly which seat your child is happy to sit in. If the child is unhappy and likely to escape from the restraints then it doesn't really matter how safe the seat is, it won't be safe for your child if they do climb out. We recently had to move Griffin up to the next stage car seat. He was using his first seat which was a group 0+ which can take upto 13kg weight. Griffin only weighed 9.5kg at the time but had become too tall for the shoulder straps. I took him to the shop so they could check him in his seat and they confirmed that he needed to move up to group 1. 

We made three separate trips to the shops, each time we spent quite a few hours trying Griffin in the car seats and trying the seats in our car. The problem we had was that Griffin hated harnesses and would manage to escape from them all. Griffin also wanted to be forward facing and became quite upset when sat in a rear facing seat. I found this to be very stressful and upsetting as I felt that we would never find a car seat he was happy with. Ultimately the safest seat for a child under four is rear facing, which is what I was hoping to buy. We did well to keep him rear facing in his Group 0+ seat for 17 months really, but he was ready to turn around now so we had no choice other than to buy a forward facing seat. We then started to research car seats with a safety impact cushion instead of a traditional five point harness. Because these seats are still quite new and the market is still dominated by five point harnesses, the thought of not having a harness terrified me. However, I researched the seats with a safety impact cushion thoroughly and actually found that they are better for the child on impact as they reduce the strain on a child's neck when they are thrown forwards. I did come across a video that was released showing a crash test with a safety impact cushion car seat and the car rolling over. This video put me off the seats straight away, however when discussing this with a car seat expert in the shop, she talked me through the video and how the tests hadn't been performed accurately. We fitted Griffin in the seat properly and could clearly see he wasn't going to slide out in the rare event of the car possibly rolling over. After talking to the sales person at great length I was fully reassured, then seeing how happy and comfortable Griffin was when fastened into the seat confirmed my decision. 

We purchased a seat that has a safety impact cushion and this is secured in place using the seatbelt in the car. We allowed the sales person to install the seat and help us to fasten Griffin in for the first time so that we were confident that he was fastened in safely and correctly. Griffin loves his new seat, he always lifts his arms up so that I can slide the cushion into place without been asked. I feel happier that he is safe, happy and comfortable. Car journeys are so much more relaxed now. 

I have listed below a few tips that I have learnt along the way for when choosing a car seat:

• Do your research before visiting the shops

• Always check a car seat in your car before buying

• Always check your child in a car seat before buying

• Always ask the shop assistant to help install your new car seat and to show you how to fasten it properly

• If you buy online then take your seat to your local fire station or a shop that sells car seats and have it checked to ensure it is fitted correctly

• Try to buy a car seat with detachable covers that are machine washable

I hope this helps if you are currently looking for a new car seat or will be in the near future.