Purple Relentless for Relentlessly Purple

I am ecstatic right now..My 2 all time favourite things have at last merged into one!! Purple Relentless!

The Mr went shopping yesterday and came across the new Passion Punch Relentless and sent me this picture..

purple relentless

Yes you are seeing correctly…Purple  Relentless! IKR amazing!! I wont lie I did get a little over excited seeing this picture and may have done a little happy wiggle haha.

Not only is it purple BUT it tastes amazing! The flavour – Passion Punch, is absolutely divine & most definitely going to be my go to drink for summer with it’s fruity flavour! I cant wait to try it with some Rum or Pimm’s!

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I tried pouring a little out to see the colour of the drink itself and although it is more a pinky colour I can see it turning a lovely shade of purple when mixed with Pimm’s 😉

It’s a little sad I know but I’ve been hoping for a purple can of Relentless for years now as Relentless has been my favorite drink since my college days and well.. Im obsessed with purple.. If you couldnt tell!

It seem’s a new flavour in an amazing purple isn’t the only change to Relentless, the brown origin can’s are now black. The design has changed a lot too and it’s a lot simpler now.. I love the colour change but I do prefer the detail in the old design but overall I’m more impressed that there is finally a can of Purple Relentless for Relentlessly Purple haha! 😉

How awesome is that!? If you could have your drink of choice in the colour & flavour of your choice what would it be?

Crochet fun

I’ve got to admit I’ve been having so much fun crocheting lovely pieces now I have such a lovely stash of wool! I’ve been having lots of crochet fun!

After finishing Eva’s bag I really couldn’t think of what to try making next but Izzy helped me out by asking for a hat for her baby since one baby already had one attached to her. I quickly got to work and got a hat made up and gave it to Izzy the following morning, she absolutely loved it!

Izzy loves watching and helping me crochet and gets really excited when I pull out a ball of wool so I wasn’t surprised when she passed me a ball of wool and shouted at me as she pointed to her baby dolls feet. Socks.. Or shoes? I went for shoes as I struggled to follow a sock pattern and just altered it to the style I wanted and they didn’t turn out too bad! Although next time I think I’ll use thicker wool as the wool I used was quite thin.

crochet fun

I absolutely love the colour of the wool though & may use it for a light cardigan when I find a pattern I can read haha! I seem to be having trouble following pattern’s although I know the stitches and abbreviations!? So far my guessing hasn’t worked out too badly luckily..

Next Izzy wanted a dress for her baby and chose a pink (yuk), purple (yay!) & blue wool. Trying to find a dress pattern I liked and was easy to follow was hell to be honest. Most were too girly and frilly and I couldn’t stand them so after a bit of a sulk.. (I had already had to put up with using a wool with pink in it lol) I decided to just use the stitches I know and made it up as I went along adding button holes on the straps to make it easier for Izzy to dress and undress the doll. I have a huge stash of heart buttons & found some dark pink ones that I thought went well with the colours too & luckily Izzy loved the dress when it was finished.

I’m impressed how quickly I can crochet things like this and really enjoying learning all the stitches even if I am struggling to follow patterns.

I’m now debating what to make next and sorting my stash hasn’t helped at all.. Sooo many choices!!! If you dont follow me already then pop by my Instagram as I tend to share wip’s & finished projects on there 🙂 dont forget to follow me too, I follow back!

Replanting Eva’s Weekend Box rain forest

Eva’s rain forest she planted from her first Weekend box grew quite well although only 2 seeds cracked (admittedly Eva did bury the other’s quite far down!) and Eva decided she wanted to split them and pot them up.

The Mr bought a 10ltr block of coco potting soil from one of the pound shops since the plants were already planted in coco and let both girls help.

replanting rain forest

Eva read the instructions on the soil and the Mr helped them soak it in the bag it came in after they had a feel of the dry block of coco soil. The girls were really impressed by just how much the small block had grown after adding water!

Both girls had a feel of the soil again once it was wet and then helped break it all up to put into the pots. Izzy seemed to know what she was doing and started filling her pot up with soil whilst they were still breaking it up haha!

The girls really enjoyed re-potting the plants and can’t wait to see how big they grow now!

Are you growing a mini rain forest too? If so how did your’s get on? If not then dont forget to visit our original weekend box post and find my promo code to get yourself one free too!

ESA Assessment

On the 22nd I have my ESA assessment and I have to say it’s really making me nervous. It’s so hard trying to explain to people how much I struggle on a daily basis with both my pain and mental health and I’m terrified as if I’m refused I just don’t know how we are going to cope. I tried to write on a ‘support’ group how I am feeling and was surprised to find so many people making horrible comments towards me, I know there are people a lot worse off than myself and I can appreciate it is so much harder for them but to me this is difficult too and I need to ramble about it somewhere safely… I guess this is kinda what the blog is for after all!

I didn’t expect to get as far as actually going through with the assessment, I guess part of me hoped the steroid injections would have helped ease enough pain for me to start getting back on track and start looking for a part time job but after a good week everything has just gone back downhill and I’m back to where I was before the injections so I have no choice but to go through with the assessment and hope for the best but my anxiety is getting the better of me and feels like it’s eating me up.

How do you even begin to explain to a total stranger that although you look fine on the outside apart from walking a little funny that every step requires so much effort that even a 5 minute walk leaves you exhausted physically and mentally at the age of 25?

I know being completely honest is necessary but it’s also scary to think I’m going to have to admit to a stranger that I can’t pick up my baby at just 20 month’s old, if I take her out on my own I have to get the Mr to put her in her stroller as I can’t even do that without causing more pain, I cant even lift her onto a changing table so have to lay her stroller flat if I’m alone! How do you admit that you can’t even manage walking your 5 year old the 10-15 minute walk to school and back every day and have to rely on the Mr to do it otherwise I’m left in so much pain and feel so drained that I’m left completely useless for the rest of the day?

I guess a big part of it is me feeling like I am admitting I am a failure as a mother, I cant lift and rock my baby when she needs it, I cant walk my daughter to and from school and get chatting with the other mums, I cant take the girls to the park regularly, I cant bend down and pick up their toys properly, hell I cant even wash their damn clothes because the bending, lifting, and stretching to hang the clothes sends my back into spasm!

How do you admit all this to a stranger face to face? How do you explain that your basically useless and break down several times a day just trying to do the most basic of things? How do you explain that simple tasks make you feel so queasy because of the pain & a sharp bolt can make you vomit & leave you feeling so shaky and weak without sounding like a drama queen?

I’m also terrified my emotions will get the better of me on the day, I’m an emotional wreck most day’s as it is and if I get too worked up I get queasy and struggle to breath without throwing up! Any time I try to explain to someone what I’m going through it makes me feel like crap reeling off a list of basic tasks I struggle to do, how every time I struggle I become so upset and angry with myself for not being able to do such a ‘simple’ task etc. It all just sounds like I’m over reacting!

I guess I’ve tried to hide the pain and how it leaves me feeling from people for so long that now I need to open up and be honest so I can get the help I need it’s much harder and it feels like I’m about to go to confession to admit all my failures instead of sins.

It’s terrifying to think they could decide to deem me fit to work when I can’t even load the dishwasher daily, climb into the bath, push a hoover around and all the other thing’s most people do without thinking. The worst part is if they do say I am fit to work I have no choice but to try and find a job as there’s no way I could cope trying to keep on top of school runs, looking after Izzy etc so I need the Mr to be at home to carry on doing it all as I can’t.

Then there’s the added fear of how my health will affect a job as just 5 weeks doing 4 hours a day work experience at the job centre was draining and one of the day’s I had to be sent home as I was in so much pain & everything felt too much and I arrived in tears! I tried so hard for the first week or two to hide it but eventually the staff I worked closely with were picking up on it and I was made to go sit at a desk several times. One of those times I was struggling so much I buried my head in my arms on the desk to hide the tears whilst I tried to stretch my back out that one of the managers walked past and thought I was being lazy and told me to sit up which of course led to me feeling even worse and having to excuse myself to go hide in the toilet for 5 minutes to calm down.

I’d love to work, I’d love the chance to socialise with other’s and actually make some friends around here and do something to be proud of and show the girls the importance of working but I know realistically I just wouldn’t cope,I cant even keep on top of the blog on bad days because I just can’t even focus! It’s fairly easy to get this all down in words but how on earth am I meant to explain all this to a complete stranger and have them take me seriously? So many questions and I know on the day I’ll only feel worse and again afterwards waiting on their decision. I guess time will tell but I needed to get it all off my chest instead of letting it carry on eating me up!

Colourful Crochet Bag

Having received 2 bags of wool last week and unsure what to make with all my amazing purple’s I started a little project for Eva using some rather colourful wool that had Eva written all over it which I found in the bags!

I decided to crochet a bag for her to give myself a bit of a challenge but struggled to find a pattern I liked so decided to just wing it with what I know and hoped for the best.

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I was shocked when it started looking like a bag, maybe not perfect but for my first attempt with no pattern I was quite pleased with myself to be honest.

Surprisingly it began to look like the bag I had pictured in my mind fairly quickly and I was quite impressed with how quickly I managed to finish it considering I was only doing 10-20 minutes here and there across the week. I managed to twist the handle when I stitched it on so had to unpick the stitching then  untwist the handle and restitch it again but luckily that didnt take too long either!

Im looking for 2 funky buttons so it can be done up and I still need to tuck the ends in but this is the finished product so far…

Eva absolutely loves the colours and pattern of the bag and has asked several times if its for her and if she can have it but I’ve told her I’m making it for someone else so I can hide it and fill it with gifts for her birthday.. Which I may have a little head start on already… 😉

I cant wait to give it to her! What do you think?

Now I need a new project.. Haha!

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

Me You and Magoo

Half term & chronic pain

As a parent you look forward to the idea of half term even if its just a little bit, no early hectic school runs to do, no uniform to sort, more time with the kids.. But then we also kinda dread it a little knowing we have to make sure we keep the kids occupied as much as possible to prevent the dreaded repitition of ‘I’m bored!’ aswell as having twice as much housework to keep on top of!

For me although it is a welcome break from the routine and I love the girls having more time to play together half term has also become one of those times that I feel a little sad. Being in pain so much of the time often leaves me feeling so exhausted I end up feeling guilty for doing so little with the girls in the holidays.

We are half way through this half term and so far unfortunately I have only managed to take the girls to the park twice. I wish we had done more over the past week but I haven’t been feeling great so it has been a struggle to get us out and about as even the short walk to and from the local park wears me out most days.

We have been lucky to review weekend boxes which at times has been a godsend being able to occupy Eva during Izzy’s nap times & we have been doing a few crafts ourselves but I feel guilty that they aren’t out socialising and playing with other children more, especially Izzy as she is now at a stage where she loves playing with other children.

I need to find a way to fit everything in and still manage not to push myself too hard but I get so stressed with myself falling behind as it feels like I’m constantly behind on everything and the girls suffer by being stuck indoors bored doing the same things over and over simply because I’m either busy pushing myself to catch up or suffering from pushing myself.

I am lucky as I now having a working dishwasher so have to stand at the sink less, the Mr does the clothes washing, hoovering, cleaning & feeding the animals, the majority of the cooking and shopping etc but somehow I still struggle!?

I try to make it up to the girls by reading and talking to them, taking pictures and doing what I can from the sofa on bad days but I still feel like I’m letting them down. If anyone has any tips or suggestions I’d really appreciate it as over the last few days especially its been getting me down!

Parent’s with chronic pain.. How do you do it? Honestly? I need to change the way I’m doing things but have no idea what to do or where to start!

Purple crochet/knitting project hunt

I am absolutely over the moon! Some of you may have seen on my Instagram yesterday a friend gave me 2 carrier bags full of wool, knitting looms and needles. It really made my day as I was very low on wool and hadn’t done much crochet or knitting lately!!

I’ve been struggling again since the steroid injections began wearing off and clearing through the flat over the weekend has left me hurting even more so lots of new wool to play with is a much needed distraction. I love how many purples there are and have already begun a little crochet project for Eva with the neon multi-coloured wool but I’m on the hunt for a project I can use the purple’s on for myself!

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I know a few of my readers crochet and knit and would love some suggestions if anyone has any?

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

Cat Food Delivery From Petshop.co.uk

Some of my readers (especially those that follow my Instagram) will know we have 2 cats, Batgirl & Freyr. Since getting them 2 years ago for Eva’s 4th birthday they have been rather fussy cats, perhaps it’s the Bengal in them but they really are quite particular.

When it comes to food they know what they do and don’t like and can sniff out a change of ingredient instantly and will refuse to eat it if it’s not something they like so when Amy from the Petshop.co.uk offered us some products to review I couldn’t wait to find out what their reactions would be!

When the parcel arrived Batgirl was instantly sniffing around to see what was inside.

petshop.co.uk delivery

We received:

  • Symply Cat Turkey Dry Food – 1.5kg
  • Dreamies Chicken Cat Treats 60g
  • Almo Nature Jelly Chicken Cat Pouch – 70g
  • Almo Nature Jelly Tuna& Sole Cat pouch – 70g
  • Almo Nature Classic Chicken & Whitebait Cat Pouch – 55g

Having only ever heard of Dreamies before I was even more interested to see how Batgirl & Freyr got on with the samples. The Almo Nature pouches are very different to the Felix pouches they usually eat so I was keen to see how they got on with them.

Almo Nature cat food & dog food offers some of the highest quality dog food and cat food tins, pouches & dry food made with human grade, natural ingredients. Almo Nature dog and cat food offers both complete dry and wet food with added vitamins and minerals to keep your pets healthy.

Both cat’s love their biscuits and currently eat Wagg or Brekkies so I looked up the Symply Cat Turkey Dry Food and they sounded quite impressive although slightly pricey compared to what we pay.

Symply recipes contain only the finest natural ingredients for the balanced and complete diet your pet needs to stay in top condition. All Symply products are free of artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Formulated with wholesome ingredients and natural antioxidants rich in vitamins to enhance the immune system.

Surprisingly although both cats were interested in the Symply Cat Turkey dry food, to begin with after a day or so they began to eat fewer biscuits across the day than they usually do and began leaving over half, I wasn’t sure if this is because they are more filling or they aren’t keen. The biscuits are a lot smaller than what they normally have and don’t seem to be as crunchy either. We decided to try them back on their normal biscuits for a day and they demolished them all but then refused the Symply biscuits again so I’m guessing they weren’t too keen.

When it came to the pouches we decided to let them have a 70g pouch each for dinner and the smaller pouch split between them for breakfast.

Freyr had the Almo Nature Jelly Chicken cat pouch and Batgirl had the Almo Nature Jelly Tuna & sole pouch. When I opened them up instead of chunks of meat which we usually see the meat was shredded and the jelly seemed a lot thinner than the Felix pouches. Both cats seemed a little confused when we first put their bowls down but tried a little bit. Batgirl had a few mouthfuls but seemed more interested in what was in Freyrs bowl whilst Freyr seemed to be happy with her’s. Unfortunately, Batgirl decided to scare Freyr away from her bowl in an attempt to try it herself which meant Freyr stayed away from her bowl for quite a while but she did finish it off slowly across the night whereas Batgirls bowl stayed untouched.

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When we gave them the Almo Classic Chicken & Whitebait Cat Pouch Batgirl quickly demolished her bowl but Freyr had a taste and refused to eat the rest. I don’t think Freyr like the Juice the meat was in as she isn’t keen on gravy either and prefers meat in jelly.

The Dreamies Chicken Cat Treats, however, they couldn’t get enough of! They scoffed them down so fast and instantly wanted more when we put the packet away. We have previously bought them other varieties of Dreamies and both cats absolutely love everything they have tried so far and always want more.

It was really interesting trying these products out and seeing how they both reacted a little differently with the pouches yet both seemed to feel the same about the biscuits and both most definitely loved the Dreamies without a doubt!

A healthy diet and the best pet insurance is all you need for happy, healthy cats.

* Please note I received these products free for this blog post.

Steroid Injection Recovery

On 8th march I had my steroid injections as some of you may know and I posted about the procedure and the first 24 hours and thought perhaps it would be helpful for other’s if I share the following few day’s too.

By the second evening I really felt exhausted after doing very little all day and the injection area was extremely sensitive and sore making it a struggle to get comfortable at all but surprisingly I woke up the following morning feeling slightly less discomfort and managed a short trip around town. I did really feel it having walked for a while and a cheeky stop at the pub probably didn’t help as the chair’s weren’t the comfiest and on top of that Izzy decided to jump and pull me to the floor and Eva managed to knock into me so hard I was almost in tears so again on the third evening I was really uncomfortable and tired. (Moral of the story actually rest for the 2-3 days following and avoid children 😉 haha) I did have a slightly earlier night in the hope I would feel better the following day.

Luckily by Friday morning I really did feel so much better and although I wasn’t completely pain-free the majority of the pain was the injection area again. My burning knees and tingly legs seemed to have stopped for a while. Unfortunately I just can’t stop myself trying to do thing’s I feel I’m supposed to do instead of resting otherwise I think I may have recovered a bit quicker but by Saturday morning I sat straight up in bed without even thinking and got up and dressed before I realised I wasn’t struggling to do so!

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it felt to suddenly realise I was almost completely pain-free! I still felt a few twinges across the day but nowhere near as bad as usual. The Mr suggested taking the girls to the pub for lunch as the weather was warmer and nice enough for them to play in the garden. Normally I dread it knowing after 15 minutes sat in the pub my back, hips and knees will feel like they are on fire and I wont be able to concentrate or enjoy myself but for a change I felt up for it and we spent an hour or 2 there having some lunch chatting with a few people whilst the girls watched a bit of the rugby before coming home for dinner.

Usually I get back and feel exhausted and just want to die on the sofa but instead I came back feeling just slightly achy but over the moon as we had managed a lovely lunch out where I didn’t spend the whole time trying to ignore my pain and getting stressed. We even received a compliment as we were leaving from the staff as we always tidy up after ourselves and the girls behave well too. Apparently they really notice the difference when we visit, we have visited several times over the last week or 2 with friends to try and stop feeling stuck in the flat and I was worried about taking the girls in there and annoying customers & staff so to be given such a compliment really cheered me up on top of the pain relief!

I expected to wake up Sunday morning and regret going out Saturday yet instead I felt amazing and managed to walk to town as well as tidying when I got back. It was so strange being able to do things without thinking again, I’d do something silly then get overly excited because I managed it so easily!

Again Monday morning I woke up feeling great and had the dishwasher loaded and on by the time the Mr & Eva had left for the school run at 8.20am! I put some music on to motivate me even more and managed to scrub half the kitchen before the Mr was back from the school run. I’m so pleased the injections have done something for me. Bolts of pain that were bringing me to tears feel like little tiny shocks now and are so much easier to ignore. My walk doesnt look as awful and im slightly faster than a snail again. Even if it only lasts a few more days I’d happily go through it all again just for the relief I have had already!

Have you had steroid injections? How did they work for you? If at all? How long did the effects last?

 

First steroid injections

I finally had my first steroid injections yesterday at Orsett Hospital after what felt like an extremely long wait. In the end my consultant decided to give me a Lumbar epidural steroid injection, Left L5, S1 Dorsal root ganglia and Right S1, S2,  S3 lateral branch diagnostic blocks.

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I was so nervous but somehow managed to keep fairly calm on the surface. I arrived at 9am where I was shown to a bed and given a gown and the most stunning see through granny knickers going (haha!) to change into. I had my blood pressure taken once the nurse finally found a small enough arm wrap for me  & she checked my temperature before I signed some forms and was given my hospital bands and told someone would come and see me soon. I sat and skimmed the book I took along with me whilst trying to stop myself thinking of anything and working myself up. Then the lady next to me was called in after a while and I was told I would be next and someone would collect me in about 20 minutes.

I felt ridiculously nervous and mentioned on the way to the operating theatre that I had a bit of a needle phobia and was trying my best to ignore it. I had to be propped up with 2 pillows under my stomach as I am slim. They cracked a few jokes about but by then I had already began to panic and was trying to focus on not jumping off the table but my consultant Dr. Thompson noticed my heart rate and asked for me to be sedated and  I felt calm almost instantly and although I kind of felt something was happening it didn’t hurt and I wasn’t really aware of what was happening. I remember rolling onto my bed to be taken to recovery and slowly coming round fully a little while later.

Apart from a few tingles I felt very little to begin with, in fact I was amazed I had no pain! After I had been back on the ward a little while I was given tea and toast before attempting to stand. Surprisingly I felt fine standing and walking just a little stiff so the nurse let me change and called our friend Steve to come and collect me.

I felt a little stiff walking to the car and struggled to get comfy but didn’t feel too bad until I was almost home. Luckily Steve stopped and popped into a shop just in time for me to throw up. We managed to get home before I was sick again and I had a rest on the sofa. I tried to make sure I got up regularly and moved about to ease the stiffness although the pain gradually crept back over the afternoon.

first steroid injections

Over the next few hours my hips, back and legs felt like they were stiffening more and more and bolts of pain were taking my breath away and making me feel nauseous. By the evening I was in so much pain I felt so sick with each bolt of pain and struggled to eat. I spent most of the day on the sofa cuddled up with my pillow and wheat bag feeling exhausted and sorry for myself.

Before bed the Mr ran me a nice warm bath so I could de-tango myself and try to ease the pain a little in the hope I could get some sleep. I dosed myself up and although I did wake several times I had a fairly OK night but woke up very stiff again. Unfortunately I was sick a few more times when I got up due to bolts of pain and felt exhausted still but I tried to move around gently across the morning having a few rest periods on the sofa.

I decided to look Dr Thomson up on-line to see if there had been any feedback from his other patients and was surprised and pleased to find out just how successful he is in his field. When  I came across this page I really was impressed reading about Dr Thomson’s work and the 5th paragraph reminded me how it amazed me when he actually listened to me at my first pain management appointment and I had a feeling he really knew what he was talking about.

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http://www.basildonandthurrock.nhs.uk/media-centre/747-pain-consultant-highlights-international-work

 

Having read this I am so glad I am under such a great team and although I am struggling with the pain I am confident that whether the injections work or not I am under a great consultant who will continue to help me. From the very few people who were able to share their experiences with me it seems I have been very lucky so far and hopefully the pain will ease up soon and the injections work even if its just a few day’s of relief! I will be sent another appointment in the next 13-18 weeks so I guess for now its just a case of resting and seeing how things go. I think I’m going to set up the Catch My Pain app to remind me to track my pain levels again now I have the G4 back so I can monitor everything until my next appointment.