December Challenge

Good morning and happy December to you all!  It is one of my favourite months, I love all things festive and spending so much family time having fun!  What are you looking forward to this month?

Last Month’s Challenge

In November I set myself a challenge to give myself some time each day to complete a task for myself. I honestly didn’t keep up with it as the month went a little awry with Ste being taken into hospital. However, I found time to make sure I kept up some semblance of self care. Ste was originally taken into Derby hospital as he became ill while staying with me but was then transferred to his specialist hospital in Leeds. This meant it became difficult to see him as often as the drive takes its toll, especially when I’m not 100% myself. Ste definitely helped me with this. He knows that I would do the drive, every day, even if it made me poorly so he told me I wasn’t to. This took a lot of pressure off me which was great. Although I didn’t do an individual thing every day of the month, I did do the majority of the things on my list at some point during November, and will definitely revisit this challenge again next year. 

December Challenge

So onto December. This month I decided I wanted to do a photo challenge. It is a skill I really want to start improving and I felt this month would be a perfect time to start with lots of fab photo opportunities. My lovely friend and fellow blogger – @thegranthams – is hosting a photo challenge over on her Instagram this month and so I’ve decided to join her. She’s also offering a prize for one lucky person who joins in which is perfect for this time of year, a £100 Amazon giftcard. Be sure to head on over, check it out and join in – you might be the lucky winner!

I hope you decided to participate and I will be looking forward to seeing everyones festive pics! You can find me on Instagram by my username @thespooniemummy 

BlogMas Day 23 – December Favourites

So with it being BlogMas I haven’t done a Five Friday Favourites post in a while, so I thought I would round them up in a monthly favourites post instead. There is a whole range of different things to share so I hope you enjoy reading through and maybe get some inspiration to give some of them a try yourself!

Screenshot_20171223-061337

First up is the current book I’m reading, Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher. I am only just over half way but it’s a real can’t put downer and I’m sure I will have it finished very soon. I will be sure to post a review once I have completely finished to let you all know what I think, but if you are looking for an easy, enjoyable, girlie read, this one is for you!

Screenshot_20171223-061200

Next up is the six part series of Alias Grace I’ve just finished watching on Netflix. Set in 19th century Canada, it’s the story of Grace, who was found guilty of murder in her teens. She is visited by a doctor, employed to see if she can be released on grounds of insanity and she tells him her story. I really enjoyed the series and was completely sucked in from the first episode. There was a slightly unexpected twist near the end for me but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable and although left with questions, I’m happy it ended the way it did. So did she or didn’t she?!

 

 

Next up are these two, my wonderful parents. They have been there for me through another difficult month with having Ste in hospital as well as the boys not being here every day to keep me going. They are currently going through a lot themselves, which I will go into at another time, yet they still make time for us and make sure we are all ok. I don’t tell them enough I’m sure, how lucky and grateful I am to them so here I am, telling everyone – my parents are amazing! Love you both!

 

 

I received this amazing artwork as a gift and it is truly beautiful. It’s going to go up in our bedroom which we are currently getting sorted and decorated as I want to use touches of pink and purple in there to go with the cream and light grey for a pop of colour. It is the first piece of ‘proper’ artwork I have owned and it is all marked up as only so many of each one is reproduced so it has an exclusivity about it. It comes from a website called Stag & Raven (which you can visit here) who specialise in tattoo art. Me and Ste both have tattoos and they are pretty popular in the IBD community. Many of my friends have some beautiful pieces, covering up scars and around their bags etc. The prices are super reasonable for what you get and they come well packaged and are very high quality. Definitely a good one to check out if you want some amazing pieces for your house at great prices, or are looking for a special gift.

mde

I was super pleased to receive my cards through the post this month. I’m planning on attending some events next year and want to be able to make the blog bigger, well known and trusted amongst mum’s, ostomates and spoonie’s alike. I’m looking forward to some exciting opportunities and these will help me be able to connect with more people, more easily. I also got a matching pen for when I’m out and about so everyone knows who I am!

 

 

We have all been really impressed with the Wilkos Blox Advent Calendar. So much cheaper than the Lego version at only £8 but some great little models which the boys have really enjoyed putting together. They have now had a few sets of these (and Santa may be bringing some more). The price is so much more reasonable than Lego but they do connect with the Lego bricks so the boys can put it all together and play as one toy. The castle is pretty epic (and only £20), Leo enjoyed putting the bus together for last year’s Advent and the dragon family was another favourite. Definitely worth checking out if you have a Lego fan!

nor

I had to include my new mug in my favourites! Those of you who follow me on Instagram (check out http://www.instagram.com/thespooniemummy) will have seen it already but I couldn’t resist. It came from B&M and was only £1.50. It is a good size and covered in my favourites – flamingoes!

mde

I got one of my Christmas presents from Ste early as it was my advent calendar. I was so pleased he got me this one, as although he sometimes moans about the amount of candles I buy, he knew I would love it. The scents are gorgeous and Christmassy and Yankee really are one of the best at making your whole house smell amazing. Did you have an Advent this year? Let me know which one in the comments below.

 

 

I am so pleased my local Asda has started to stock the ‘wonky veg’ boxes. They are just £3.50 each and you get plenty of veg for the whole week in there! It’s supposed to be the stuff that is less aesthetically pleasing but for the most part I see nothing wrong with it and the taste is certainly no different! The only extras I’ve needed to buy are more potatoes and some garlic and I’ve had two now. Brilliant bargain for families so make sure you keep an eye out in your local Asda.

IMG_20171220_104132_556

And last but not least, me and Riley made our front cover debut on the Winter edition of Respond’s magazine, Connect. This was a gorgeous photo taken by my mum last Winter. We had such a great day, seeing a Christmas show and then going ice skating. The boys hadn’t done it before (and neither had I since being a teen) but we all had an amazing time. Check out the online magazine here and you will be able to find details on the website about how you can receive your copy through the post. The magazine is full of great content and also features my lovely co-host of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show, Louise and her story.

So there’s a round up of some of my favourites this month. From January I will be doing a monthly, rather than weekly round up of my favourite things as I am planning to change around my schedule a bit. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite things this month have been and I look forward to reading them.

BlogMas Day Twenty One – Our Favourite Children’s Christmas Stories

So today me and the boys are sharing our favourite Christmas stories which we like to read at this time of year.  I love reading and it is something I have encouraged from a young age with the boys.  They are both now very good readers and enjoy doing so.  Every year they get a new Christmas story in their Christmas Eve box to read that night and they will both always get new books for Christmas too.

Here are some of the stories I will be reading to them before bed in the next few days.

img_20171221_190838.jpg

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

This is a traditional Christmas story which I remember being told as a child. I also love the film. I got this when Leo was born for his first Christmas. This one has a CD which tells the story too which the kids love as it’s something different. For those that don’t know the story is about a snowman that comes to life and has a night full of adventures with the little boy who made him.

cof

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

I absolutely adore the Jolly Postman series and this is no exception. The story follows the postman delivering the mail to lots of famous storybook characters which children will recognise. The added bonus being that the children get to open the envelopes and see what is being delivered. This book was firmly kept on the shelf for many years until I could trust the boys were old enough not to rip it, but they love to read it together and open the envelopes throughout. The Ahlberg’s wrote some of my favourite children’s books and this one is up there with the best in my opinion.

Father Christmas Needs A Wee! and Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps! By Nicholas Allan

Definitely one of the boy’s top choices and they love this one all year round, not just at Christmas! What is it about boys and toilet humour? I really quite enjoy the stories though too, and like the way they rhyme. Funny and entertaining and we can’t not laugh at a good toilet joke in this house!



mde

Sproutzilla Vs Christmas by Tom Jameson and Mike Byrne

Lots of fun and you can’t have Christmas without a sprout! This was last year’s Christmas Eve book and both boys really enjoyed it. We aren’t sprout fans in this house but the story got a big thumbs up!

mde

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Last but not least, a Christmas classic. I absolutely love this and the boys are always enthralled as I read it to them. This version is beautifully illustrated too, which makes it even better. It’s one of those stories like The Gruffalo, which you end up being able to read off by heart and the rhyming pattern makes it even more beautiful sounding. This should be a part of everyone’s Christmas!

So there are our top five (or six) children’s Christmas stories. Please let us know your favourites in the comments below and if you haven’t read any of these yet, be sure to let us know if you enjoy them as much as we do!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night… Xxx

BlogMas Day Nineteen – Book Review – Hark! The Biography Of Christmas

This is another of the Christmas themed books I have recently read and really enjoyed. It is written by Paul Karensa and the foreword by Chris Evans is a great introduction.

hark!.png

The Blurb

In this delightful sleigh ride through Christmas history, Paul Kerensa answers the festive questions you never thought to ask… Did Cromwell help shape the mince pie? Was St Nicholas the first to use an automatic door? Which classic Christmas crooners were inspired by a Hollywood heatwave? And did King Herod really have a wife called Doris?

I really enjoyed this one.  I am quite the fan of non-fiction books on topics I like and this one is great as it includes plenty of random and often funny facts about Christmas, as well as plenty of history which I love.  I like the way the author writes and his humour is good, often making me laugh (although occasionally like you would at a funny/unfunny Dad joke!).

The book is split into twelve chapters (of course) which all cover different periods in history and how we came to celebrate Christmas as we do today.  Did you know there was no donkey with Mary and Joseph on that walk to Bethlehem?  And that the average Brit will guzzle 27 mince pies during this festive period?  There are some really good, historical and little known facts out there about how Christmas has changed over the years which I really enjoyed reading about.  He has also included a Christmas timeline and a quiz at the end which would be perfect for Christmas Day festivities.

Some of my favourite facts included what the Japanese eat for Christmas dinner and why Charles Dickens was not a fan of Prince Albert (you will have to read the book to find the answers).  The last section was really lovely and includes the following:

“As to where next for Christmas – well, Christmas doesn’t know.  It doesn’t look forward, it looks back, just once a year.  We still sum up our year in December, even if it’s watching highlights of the year’s news rather than counting our denarii or comparing our crops.  And we’ll keep harking back to a 2,000-year old manger, via 1,000-year old plays, 700-year old carols, and a 500-year old turkey – or possibly a twenty year old Japanese KFC Bargain Bucket.”

I agree with the feedback of Miranda Hart on the book, that this would make a great stocking filler, for fans of history and Paul Karenza alike.  It is also great for Christmas fans like me!  If you have read the book, or read it following seeing this review, please let me know your thought in the comments below!

Where To Buy

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hark-Biography-Christmas-Paul-Kerensa/dp/0745980171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513625223&sr=8-1&keywords=hark+the+biography+of+christmas

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/hark/paul-kerensa/9780745980171

 

BlogMas Day Seventeen – Coping With A Stomach Bug When You Have An Ileostomy

I recently caught the dreaded diarrhoea and vomiting bug that seems very prevalent at the moment.  These kinds of bugs can be really dangerous for people with an ileostomy, mainly due to the ease we already become dehydrated even when not ill. Severe dehydration can quickly lead to kidney and other problems which can become life threatening very easily.  I do not mean to alarm people with this, but it is important you take this seriously and seek appropriate help in a timely manner.

This time I managed to avoid hospital but I know of three ostomates (and friends) who have had to attend A+E in the past week alone after suffering as I did.  I wanted to share the lovely Fiona’s post on her blog page, Winnie and Me, as she explains what happened to her and gives some excellent advice too.  You can read it here

I thought I would share how I coped with being poorly.  This was my experience and although I offer advice on how to cope, if you feel at all unwell and are not improving, please seek medical advice through your stoma nurse, GP or by attending your nearest A+E department.  A trip up there may result in you staying in long enough to receive some IV fluids but can really help you avoid any nasty complications.

I began feeling unwell on the Monday, suffering stomach cramps (which aren’t unusual with my Crohns anyway) and an extremely high and watery output.  I had to call Ste upstairs to help me out of bed as my bag had begun to leak and my stoma was literally pumping water out all over me and the bed.  It’s a good job he loves me! I continued with my day as usual, taking pain medication for the cramps and anti sickness medication for the nausea I was experiencing.  I had been struggling with nausea pretty badly on the Sunday too but as this is also a common symptom for me, I just tried to manage as I always do and battle through.

It wasn’t till just before midnight that I began being physically sick.  I am sure you are all aware of the phantom poo pains and for those that don’t – even though I have an ileostomy and my bottom is basically redundant, I still sometimes feel like I need to go to the toilet.  I generally just sit on the toilet and often end up expelling mucous – as I still have some of my large bowel left this still produces mucous which is the only thing my bottom is good for expelling these days.  As I was being sick however, these pains were awful and although I know it is physically impossible for me to poo that way, I had to sit on the toilet just in case!  I was then up again in the night around 4am and was sick again.  I often pass out when I am sick. I think it is more to do with the anxiety of it.  When I was little my Dad had to do the Heimlich on me after I started choking while being sick and stopped breathing.  This memory and the fact I get so hot often causes me to pass out which is pretty scary and means I am exhausted and feel even worse every time I come round.

The next morning Ste went off to see Layla for the day but I was just too unwell.  Aside from not wanting to pass the bug on, I had only stopped being sick a little time before and wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t be again and the stomach cramps were horrendously intense.  After previously suffering from really bad dehydration from being sick, I knew I would give myself the best chance if I was able to keep as hydrated as possible.  On my bedside table I had some fruit and barley squash, Lucozade and I made up a litre of Glucodrate which is the new oral re-hydration powder Ste has been given to try, which is supposed to be even better than St Marks Solution.  It certainly tastes a lot better too!  Plain water isn’t much good for us ileostomates as it generally just runs straight through and out into our bags.  Squash, especially the barley varieties are much better (and tastier).  Lucozade is also good but you have to be careful due to the amount of sugar and if you get the fizzy version, how that affects you.  St Mark’s solution is great, easily made by yourself, although it does taste foul.  I mix in some squash to help it go down a little easier.

St Marks Solution Recipe

In 1 litre of water mix –

5 tablespoons sugar

1.5 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda

This is a great alternative to Diarolyte (which can also be used – two sachets in the amount of water it advises for one), much cheaper and with the correct amount of the ingredients we need.

I ended up not being physically sick again but spent the whole day asleep, only waking to go and empty my bag which is when I would take the opportunity to top up my fluids.  By the next day I felt a lot better and I think managing my fluid intake so well was the main reason.  I stayed away from too much milk and milk products and stuck to pretty bland food such as toast at first when I started to eat again.  I also found myself craving crisps.  I find that often your body knows what it needs and mine was obviously lacking in salt so I went with it and ate a few packets a day for the next couple of days.

Your urine output is almost as important as your bag output during this time.  Making sure you are weeing regularly will help indicate if you are getting dehydrated or not.  If you do not wee in 12 hours or more you are advised to seek medical attention and if you have pain when urinating it may signal an infection so you should also get that checked out.

Screenshot_20170803-230649

Back to my idea of full health (are you ever ‘well’ when you have chronic illnesses?!) now and getting ready for Christmas.  I hope this helps if any of you suffer with any upset tummies over this festive season.  If you are interested in learning more about keeping hydrated with an ostomy you can read the post I wrote on it a while ago here

Meanwhile, enjoy your pre-Christmas celebrations and fingers crossed you won’t be catching any bugs for Christmas!

stomach bug