Library And Lunch Dates With The Girls

Saturday’s are Library and lunch dates with the girls. We go to the library most weekends and occasionally we would stop somewhere for lunch after.

Library and lunch dates

Library and Lunch Routine

It has become a routine for us to leave the Mr to hoover the flat and bring him home something nice for lunch. We drop back our borrowed books and browse the children’s section of the library for a while. Once the girls have chosen a billion (slight exaggeration!) books and loaded them into the trolley we go for lunch.

Eva’s recent Book Finds

Library Haul

Eva is discovering more authors like Terry Pratchett and Adam Blade who wrote the Beast Quest and Sea Quest series she is fond of.

Eva's library haul

It’s lovely to see her discovering new authors and series. I had thought she would be re-reading all the Harry Potter books for life at one point! 

Izzy’s Recent Book Finds

Izzy's library haul

Izzy loves a good storybook, Titchy Witch is a favourite but she loves classics too! She likes picking out books at random which can be fun too.

History books

She is really big on facts and history right now. It’s actually quite lovely, her favourite topics are Ancient Egypt, the Romans and the Kings & Queens of Britain. Every night we sit together and read one of these fact books with Eva helping me read. She also loves a Julia Donaldson story! Cave Baby is her most recent favourite book.

Thameside Coffee Shop

The girls decided one weekend they wanted to eat at the Thameside Coffee shop as it is in the same building. Because of my Anxiety, I’ve been tempted so many times to stop for a hot chocolate but walked away. With the girls with me, we finally gave it a try and now it’s our favourite place!

Izzy eating

The coffee shop serves a range of food and drinks and some great meal deals. After our first visit, the girls decided we had to go EVERY weekend. Of course, I’ve mostly given in! It’s a lovely atmosphere, a family run place where the staff already recognise us.

The Best Hot Chocolate and Brownie

I love that the girls can order and pay without a fuss and are getting to know the staff. And most importantly, they make THE BEST Hot Chocolate and Brownies! Their cheese and ham paninis are tasty too and I feel relaxed enough to eat there. It makes our Saturdays even more enjoyable and we love our library and lunch dates.

An Afternoon Of Reading

Once we have grabbed any shopping we need in town, we head home to get reading! This afternoon we have been reading about Lost & Found Tombs around the world. It’s fascinating learning about different types of tombs and burial rituals. I really enjoy our reading sessions (when Izzy isn’t interrupting haha!) and hearing Eva’s confidence grow when reading aloud.

Lost and found Tombs

Our Library and Lunch dates are a great way to end the week. The girls love to read in bed at the weekends so it’s great to stock up on books. Stopping for lunch we chat and get a chance to catch up after the school week and be a bit silly. I’m quite enjoying our new routine and it’s helped me pace myself across the week knowing I need to be up to the walk. With the weather getting colder it’s nice we can go out at the weekend and stay in the warm too! 

Do you have a weekend routine? 


Chronic Pain Update At 28 Years Old

I’m writing a Chronic pain update at 28 years old since I wrote about Chronic pain at 25. Cleaning up the blog, I came across this post and decided to read it. I have noticed it is a well read post even after 3 years so I figured an update was a good idea.

Chronic Pain Update at 28 years old

Picking Up 

Having had the blog 3 years to vent and moan has been extremely therapeutic and uplifting for me. There has been low points but having the blog, twitter and new people to chat to on bad days has really helped. Having something to focus on has also been a huge help, I enjoy blogging so much!

Keeping Track

At 25 I mentioned that I wanted to document my journey with my physical and mental health. I have done just that and I know it’s helped myself and others. That’s something I’m pretty proud of. When you constantly feel pain you often experience something called brain fog. You can easily forget things, for quite some time over the last year I felt like a fraud. I forgot all about my diagnosis’ and began to think it was all in my head.

Reminders

Seeing old posts being read often makes me re-read them myself. About 6 months ago I relearned that I have peripheral neuropathy. I’d been so stressed I forgot, knowing made so much sense all over again. It seems so ridiculous to forget something like that but I was focusing more on my mental health, discovering I have PTSD as well as Anxiety and Depression. Reading these posts have reminded me I am ill and at home for a reason and I’ve been much kinder to myself. 

Chronic Pain Update

So where are we up to now? Not much has changed to be honest, I collect my repeat prescriptions and only see a GP when necessary. I know we’ve exhausted all options right now. Without being asleep 24/7 I am on all the medication possible to help me. I have severely bad days, worse than ever with even more issues but I am learning to cope better. Today is quite a bad day, I’ve felt extremely hot and sick with pain but I’m taking breaks when I need to. It’s important to not to over do things as you always feel so much worse.

Feeling A Lot More Positive

Whilst things have been getting worse I feel a lot more positive these days. 
With a support network online, the Mr happy to do anything I can’t and me being kinder to myself things are more manageable. I’ve learnt to accept this is the way I am, I just need to pace myself and not push myself too much. I’ve learnt to say no when I don’t feel up to something. I guess I’ve grown a lot over 3 years!

Holiday Cheer Teas – Adagio Teas

Adagio’s Holiday Cheer Teas are now available for anyone looking to boost their Christmas spirit! For just £14 for 30 pyramid bags, there are 6 full leaf teas bound to give you that holiday cheer! I was kindly sent a box to try for myself and I wasn’t disappointed. Having tried several Adagio Teas, I’m always eager to try more. 

Holiday Cheer Tea

Holiday Cheer Teas

Another fantastic, gourmet collection of full-leaf teas from Adagio Teas full of holiday cheer. There are 5 individually packaged pyramid teabags of each flavour in this fabulously festive collection.

Pumpkin Spice Tea

I know so many Pumpkin Spice fans who would absolutely love this tea! A black tea infused with cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin to give a spicy, uplifting tea.

Candy Apple Tea

This tea is reminiscent of the carnival favourite to enjoy all year round. With a rich caramel, apple & cinnamon flavour. 

Gingerbread Tea

A perfect cuppa for all gingerbread lovers! Infused with ginger, cinnamon and orange pieces this tea is perfect for all gingerbread men and women out there.

Candy Cane Tea

A black tea infused with peppermint flavour and actual candy cane pieces! This is my favourite out of the collection, who doesn’t love a candy cane?

Chestnut Tea

Infused with sunflower seeds and chestnut flavour this is a warming cuppa, ideal for chestnut connoisseurs. This tea is bound to give you a comforting reminder ’tis the season to be jolly!

Cranberry Tea

Infused with cranberries and raspberry leaves, this festively fruity tea is a great compliment to your next festive feast.

You are bound to feel the holiday cheer and warmth this season with this lovely collection of teas. Adagio has a tea perfect for every occasion! Why not treat a loved one or yourself this Christmas?

Which Holiday Cheer tea appeals to you the most? 

10 Ways To Reduce Stress #StressAwarenessDay

I’m sharing 10 ways to reduce stress as it’s #StressAwarenessDay. Many of us feel stressed out but Chronic stress can really affect your health. In a demanding world, we need to find ways to help reduce the stress in our lives.

10 Ways To Reduce Stress

Stress can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive & reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack or stroke and speeds up the ageing process. Stress can also rewire the brain leaving you vulnerable to Anxiety, Depression and other mental health issues.

10 Ways To Reduce Stress

1. Crafting

I find crafting really helps me calm down and live in the moment. Crocheting is my favourite craft to get lost in. Finding a craft you enjoy not only relaxes you but it gives you a sense of achievement too which we often lack. 

2. Music

Listening to your favourite songs is an instant mood booster! I had forgotten just how much of an effect music has until recently. Now I’m listening to something most of the time and I feel much happier and calmer, even though I’m ill and exhausted!

3. Have a bath

In a busy world, it can be tempting to jump into the shower quickly. Taking time to run a nice, warm, bubble bath for yourself and soaking for 10 minutes not only relaxes your muscles but your mind too. Why not light some candles or play your favourite music?

4. Read a book

A lot can be said for getting lost in a book. After a busy summer holiday, I began to enjoy books again. Taking time out to get lost in another world really helps calm your mind. 

5. Talk

Often we get so stressed out with so many thoughts we can get easily confused. Talking things over not only helps you feel heard but it can also help you figure out how to tackle the situation better.

6. Rest

Resting can really help you think more rationally and feel less stressed. That’s not always easy to do but there are several ways to help you fall asleep from hot soothing drinks, white noise, herbal medications and more.

7. Say no

It can be all too easy to say yes and help everyone else out. The problem is we often end up overloaded, but it’s ok to say no! I’m learning this myself and have to admit it is better to say no than to say yes and feel like a letdown. 

8. Treat yourself

Buy yourself something every once in a while, whether it’s your favourite chocolate, new shoes, or even that hot chocolate you (I) always put off! It doesn’t have to break the bank but it will make you feel happier.

9. Eat well

A balanced diet will help you feel more energetic. It’s easy to fall into bad habits but food can really affect our mood. Ensuring you have adequate amounts of nutrients can also help you avoid diet-related diseases.

10. Stop putting yourself down

Often our stress is triggered by our own heads telling us we aren’t doing or being enough. We need to be mindful of our inner voices, ask yourself, would you say that to a friend? Look for the positives and praise all those little ‘wins’ even if that is simply making it out of bed that day.

Getting Help

If talking to friends and family isn’t helping and you feel you need further help, you can contact your GP who can advise you further. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or counselling may be offered. There are also several charities you can contact – 

Mind – 
0300 123 3393
info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Call Samaritans free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

Find Psychological therapies locally (England) on the NHS site here.

Do you use any of these to reduce stress?

Favourite Athleisure – Staying Warm & Comfy!

What’s your favourite Athleisure wear? Do you prefer joggers? Hoodies? Trainers? As a spoonie, I love warm cosy hoodies the most. I have quite a collection of hoodies, especially as I struggle to stay warm. I’ve been doing some online window shopping for comfy Athleisure wear to keep me warm this winter. 

Favourite Athleisure

At the moment my favourite hoody is an Umbro one I picked up in Asda on sale for £4! It’s so cosy and it’s smart enough for me to wear out with my jeans on a cold day too. It’s very similar this one below from the Umbro site. 

Photo Credit: Umbro.co.uk

Hoodie Wishlist

Of course, you can never have enough hoodies! So I’ve been eyeing up a few on the Adidas site. The Mr has an Adidas hoody almost as old as me that is still going strong, so I checked out the range Adidas has right now.

I love this oversized Trefoil Hoodie in blue, it would be perfect with jeans for nipping to the shops and lounging around indoors in.

Oversize Trefoil Hoodie Super Blue DH3181
Photo Credit: Adidas.co.uk

There is a lovely fleece purple Nike Hoodie I have my eyes on right now too! 

Nike Sportswear Women's Fleece Hoodie
Photo Credit: Nike.com 

Another lovely hoodie is this grey Sport ID Hoodie. It looks so cosy and warm! Perfect for keeping wrapped up this winter.

Sport ID Hoodie Medium Grey Heather / White CZ5667
Photo Credit: Adidas.co.uk

I love hoodies, there are so many different styles available and they really keep you warm. They can look smart with a pair of jeans whilst still staying casual and comfortable.

Joggers

I love joggers for lounging around indoors, warm yet not too restrictive! Jogging bottoms are essential for me, if we have people over I need to at least look like I’ve got dressed but due to my chronic pain wearing clothes is painful. Being able to wear joggers and a hoodie makes a big difference and there are some lovely joggers around like these Adidas Essential 3 stripe grey joggers. 

Essentials 3 Stripes Closed Hem Pants Medium Grey Heather / Haze Coral CZ5750
Photo Credit: Adida.co.uk

Trainers

Lastly, my trainers are hugely important. I may not go out much but I need something comfortable, warm and sturdy on my feet. Most boots just don’t feel right to me so I live in my Nike Air Max’s. I currently have a gorgeous black & purple pair I bought from the Nike Outlet Store. 

Favourite Athleisure

I’ve been looking for other purple trainers and the Women’s Originals Superstar range has a fab pair with purple stripes!

Superstar Shoes Ftwr White / Red Night / Silver Met. B41510
Photo Credit: Adidas.co.uk

Do you have favourite Athleisure wear? 

Wooden Jigsaws From Wentworth – Find A Golden Puzzle Piece

We received Wooden Jigsaws from Wentworth for #NationalJigsawDay which is the 3rd of November. These puzzles are so cute and well made, not to mention perfect stocking fillers. I loved getting jigsaw puzzles in my stocking as a child and these are such great quality too!

Wooden Jigsaws - Wentworth Wooden Micro Puzzles

These gorgeous wooden puzzles are just £7.50 each and you could win simply by ordering some!

Wentworth Golden Puzzle Piece Competition Details

Bookshelf MicroPuzzle

To celebrate #NationalJigsawDay Wentworth are running a great competition! Find the golden puzzle pieces in any of their 40-55 piece micro puzzles from 2nd-4th November. Simply order online during the #NationalJigsawDay Period for a chance to win.

Festive Bookshelf Micro-Puzzle

If your puzzle contains 1 of 3 golden pieces you’ll win £400 of Jigsaws for a year. Take a picture of your completed puzzle with its golden piece and send it to Wentworth to win. Click Here for full terms & conditions.

#NationalJigsawDay 10% Discount

During this period you can receive a10% discount too! Enter Code NJD18 at the checkout to receive your #NationalJigsawDay discount. Don’t forget to check your puzzle for a golden puzzle piece!

Wooden Jigsaws

Wentworth’s wooden jigsaws are handmade, unique and intricately crafted in Wiltshire. All their puzzles are made from a specially developed wooden board called Medite PremierTM, all taken from sustainable sources.

Cat Selfie Puzzle

Wentworth Wooden Puzzles come in a wide range of designs from seasonal to weird and wonderful. There truly is something for every jigsaw puzzle lover. I love how the pieces are so different from typical puzzles too, it makes it much more fun.

Cat Selfie Puzzle

We were sent the Festive Bookshelf & the Cats Selfie Micro Wooden Jigsaw puzzles to review. I was really pleased with the quality overall. Even the box is of high quality not to mention the jigsaws themselves.They would make fantastic gifts from stocking filler 40-55 piece micro puzzles to bigger 1500 piece jigsaws.

Do you love Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles too?

Healthy Wellness Teas -Adagio Teas


I received Adagio Teas Healthy Wellness Tea range last week. Just in time as I’m focusing more on mental and physical health & wellness on the blog for a few days. This week I’ve shared the mental health benefits of crafting and today I’m sharing some healthy wellness teas that will help your mind and body too.

Health Wellness Teas

Adagio has kindly been sending me different ranges of tea to try out and share with you. I recently shared a large selection of Adagio Teas and their limited edition Wicked Teas, a Halloween special. Whilst reviewing Adagios different tea ranges I’ve become a big fan, each tea is a unique blend full of flavour.

Healthy Wellness Teas Range

Day & Night Collection 

Day & Night Teas From Adagio Teas

Adagio has curated a trio of loose leaf teas for everyday use, specially blended for each phase of the day. Promoting healthy wellness with these teas available individually or as part of the set for £20

Jump Start

Jump Start

Enjoy a cup of tea blended to get you going in the morning, we all have days where we need a morning boost! An invigorating breakfast blend of toasted mate and black tea. Full of cinnamon and cocoa nibs, this warming tea will give you a kick of caffeine without the jitters! I love a morning cup of tea and Jump star has helped a lot this week. I’ve felt so ill I haven’t wanted to leave my bed but Jump start helps me feel a little more human!

Daydream

Daydream Tea From Adagio Tea

Sustain your afternoon with a cup of Daydream! Blended with soul-soothing herbs such as passionflower, lemon balm and lavender. The perfect cuppa for handling daily stress. Perfect for an afternoon or evening break from a busy day. Softly minty with a delicately floral bit of tanginess from hibiscus flowers. This calming blend is oasis in a teacup!

40 Winks


40 Winks From Adagio teas

The perfect cuppa to wind down with and promote healthy sleep, this bedtime tea will lull you into a deep sleep! A commonly used sleep aid, Valerian root is combined with soothing chamomile, spearmint and lavender. I’ve been drinking a cup before bed as my sleep has been awful lately and it does help me drift off much quicker! 

Body & Soul Collection

Body & Soul teas from Adagio Tea

With winter approaching rapidly Adagio have the perfect trio of teas to ease the effects of winter sniffles and promote overall health and wellness. Tea and herbal blends offer care and kindness to your body and soul. Taking a moment to enjoy the comforting qualities is a great way to promote healthy wellness and take 5 minutes out. You can buy each tea individually or as part of the set for £20.

Tea-Tox

Tea-Tox Tea from Adagio Teas

Cleanse your body and lift your spirits with a minty fresh, spicy zest of detox Tea-Tox tea. Naturally caffeine-free with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This blend is specially formulated to aid in restoring your body to its natural state. I love this as a mid-morning tea. It really does leave you feeling perkier.

Throat-Therapy

Throat Thrapy from Adagio teas

A tea blend perfect for your sore throat. A warm and soothing cup of sweet liqorice, calming anise and fresh raspberry leaves. Add a bit of honey for an added coating effect and your sore throat will soon be feeling better! Yesterday I was worried my sore throat was turning into a chest infection so I tried Throat-Therapy and was pleasantly surprised how soothing it was. Hopefully, a few more cups of Throat-Therapy and my sore throat will disappear!

Happy Belly

Happy Belly Tea from Adagio Tea

Specifically blended with Pu Erh and ginger root to encourage stomach and digestive health. Happy Belly combines soothing Senna leaf and the natural sweetness of anise and liquorice. A cup of tea that will keep you tummy content. I’ll no doubt be drinking this tea fairly regularly, medication really affects my digestive system, as does stress. Happy Belly sounds like the perfect cup to calm that down!

Loose Tea

I’m sure you’ll agree these healthy wellness teas sound perfect, especially this time of year! 

Discussing Feelings With My Mood Stars

We’ve been discussing feelings with My Mood Stars this week from Wendy Woo. As mental health and wellness is the focus on the blog right now these fit in perfectly! Being able to discuss our feelings is important and learning that from an early age can only be beneficial. 

My Mood Stars

My Mood Stars

My Mood Stars are a fun developmental aid which encourages children to learn about and discuss their feelings. Through imaginative play children can find fun ways to share their feelings. There are 8 stars in total, Happy, Sad, Sleepy, Shy, Scared, Silly, Cross & Surprised. My Mood Stars comes with a Velcro board for the stars to attach to for £29.99

My Mood Stars Velcro Board and Stars


The Idea Behind My Mood Stars
 
Self-confident children in touch with their feelings find it easier to flourish in social situations. Indeed personal, social and emotional development and communication are key aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK. Children who understand and can express and manage their own emotions, as well as those around them, are more likely to develop a positive sense of self and be assured and inquisitive learners.

Discussing Feelings

Discussing Feelings With My Mood Stars

We’ve spent the week discussing & drawing what makes us feel each feeling. We began with finding one thing for each feeling and I was pleased to see the girls could easily come up with ideas. We received a My Mood Stars book to record our feelings in which you can buy for £5.99.

Feeling Scared

Eva really enjoyed drawing each feeling and came up with some great pictures!

Feeling Happy

We’ve used the board to throw Stars when we want to discuss a feeling too. Angry has been used quite a bit with the girls off school and arguing. It’s had a very positive effect as they then take the time to listen to each other.

Discussing feelings with my mood stars

Another activity we have enjoyed is looking back at our day and through feelings and what made us feel that way. From waking up Cross because there’s too much noise in the building to feeling Happy because we watched a film. It’s lovely to see the girls discussing their feelings and I love the whole idea behind My Mood Stars.

Izzy showing Happy Stars

You can also buy a fantastic rhyming book called Rat’s Musical Band written by Wendy White which the girls really enjoyed reading. It really flows nicely and appeals to children with colourful illustrations by Claire Rollinson. This is just £9.99 on the Wendy Woo Site.

Rat's Musical Band

Another lovely addition to the Wendy Woo Site we were kindly sent are cute baby Tooth Pockets. The girls love these and now can’t wait until they lose a tooth! Right now they are only £2!

Baby Tooth Pockets

What do you think of My Mood Stars and the other Wendy Woo products?

Mental Health Benefits Of Crafting

Mental health benefits of crafting ranges from stress relief to a sense of achievement. There are several benefits of crafting, something I have written about before. I especially find crochet relaxing. Having anxiety, depression, PTSD and chronic pain (peripheral neuropathy) is hard work, focusing on a small craft project can be really beneficial.

Menta Health benefits of Crafting

Mental Health Benefits

Over the last few years, I’ve realised crafting is so much more than a hobby for me. It’s a stress reliever, a way to escape, a way to quieten my brain whilst I’m ‘in the zone’. For someone who struggles to go out and can’t work, it gives me a sense of achievement I otherwise lack. With low self-esteem and confidence crafting gives me a huge boost!

I encourage the girls to craft too as I know there are so many benefits. You’re are never too young to look after your mental health, a day at school can be stressful and crafting is great for winding down. 

I’ve teamed up with BestFabricStore.com to share the infographic below highlighting the many mental health benefits of crafting.

How Crafting Is Good For Your Health from BestFabricStore.com

Anyone that follows my blog will know I craft most days, whether it’s crocheting blankets, drawing with the girls, crafting Cardboard box dragons, I even learnt to make a felt woodland garland last year!  The Mr, having realised how much blogging & crafting is beneficial to me has encouraged me to create my own workspace too. It’s made crafting, writing and storing things so much easier. 

Especially as the cold weather closes in rapidly on us, crafting can turn dull days into something positive. You can turn your mood around completely by working on a craft you enjoy. From painting, drawing, crochet, knitting, paper engineering, sewing and countless other crafts, there is something for everyone. 

Do you craft to benefit your mental health too? What is your go to craft?

Izzy’s First Term At School

Izzy’s first term at school went surprisingly well. I was a little nervous for her to be honest but after running straight off to the paint table on the first day, I knew she’d settle ok. She goes into class happily each day and comes running out at home time happy. Starting reception has gone fairly well!

First Term

Izzy’s First Term – Toilet Training

As some of my regular readers may remember, Izzy started toilet training a few weeks before starting school. I am extremely thankful she’s managed a whole term with only one small accident at school. I expected a fair few more accidents! Izzy is confident using toilets anywhere, she can change herself if she does have an accident too which I am really pleased about. 

Pranking Teachers

Anyone that has met Izzy will know she is a joker! She loves to make people laugh and has a fantastic sense of humour. Izzy made this clear to her teachers from day one. For the first week or so children wear name badges to help teachers learn their names. Izzy is of course Isobella, so we reminded her this is what was on her name badge. Obviously Izzy’s mischievous brain decided that was a great way to prank her teachers. 

Several teachers spent a while calling Isobella, she acted oblivious. A learning support aid sat with her for a while and asked if her hearing was ok. She told Izzy teachers kept calling her but she wasn’t responding. Her reply? ‘I can hear them fine but I prefer Izzy!’. So of course the LSA suggested changing her name label to Izzy but she refused, leaving teachers confused all day! 

When the Mr collected her at the end of the first day he asked for Isobella, the teacher laughed and asked if he meant Izzy and explained what had happened. Izzy came bouncing out laughing her head off as she had pranked her teachers on the first day of school!!!

Making Friends

As anyone with a 4/5 year old in reception will know, you never hear the full story! Izzy says she has no friends yet according to the Mr comes out chatting to other children daily.

Eva was meeting Izzy at the dividing fence between upper and lower school for the first few weeks. Unfortunately, this led to Izzy getting upset each time Eva went back to class. I was also worried this may make it harder for Izzy to make friends at break time. The girls weren’t too happy about it but I encouraged them to play with their friends and catch up on the way home from school instead. 

Lunch Times

Izzy has a mix of packed lunches and school dinners across the week. She gets on well with her school dinners but I’m finding packed lunches can be tricky for her. She struggles to open her drink and some packets so occasionally she has come home with half her lunch & drink untouched. We have been using half term to teach her to do these things properly so hopefully next term there won’t be any issue.

Getting Ready

The idea of getting both girls ready each morning filled me with dread to be honest. Eva isn’t one for just getting on and doing what’s needed, she needs constant reminders which can be stressful! Thankfully Izzy is ready in under 5 minutes and can mostly dress herself, put on her shoes etc. This makes mornings easier than I had imagined, now I’m only left chasing one child around.

A Great Start

Overall, Izzy has had a great start in reception. She likes her teacher, loves the sandpit, paint table & play dough (nothing new there!) and seems to be getting on ok. She has moments where she say she doesn’t like school, but that’s more because she’d rather snuggle up with a film and mummy! 

How did your little ones get on in their first term?