My Top Ten Posts Of The Year 2018

So it is the time of year we start rounding up and reflecting.  I thought I would start this years top ten posts with a collection of my favourite posts which I have written throughout the year.  Hopefully you will have already read and enjoyed these, but if not I hope you have a read and let me know what you think!

Handy Hacks For People With Arthritis

There aren’t many bloggers talking about arthritis and it is something I definitely want to focus on more next year.  It is still so often associated with old people, yet I was diagnosed at just 15 months of age.  This post was really well received by my readers and led to a fantastic opportunity with Ecovacs Robotics (see post).  There are so many more things I do to try and make my life that bit easier so keep your eye out for more hacks in 2019!

Date Night Ideas For Spoonies

I have a lot of people contact me and see a lot of posts on the online support groups about relationships when you are chronically ill.  It can be a real worry – so many think having a chronic illness makes them unlovable which is just not true!  This post showed some of the ideas you can do when you are flaring and not feeling great to keep your relationships spark alive.  Me and Ste got the chance to do an Instagram takeover this month of Gutsy Dating – it is a dating app designed for people with digestive health problems.  Such a fab idea and I hope it is a great success and lots of my fellow chronic illness warriors find their someone special!

Better You Iron Spray Review

I wrote this for Jenna over at A Balanced Belly.  I feel really lucky to have made some amazing friends in the blogging world and to get the chance to write for one of my favourite blogs was amazing.  I have been really lucky working with Better You this year as well.  It is a fab company with some really amazing products which I have had some brilliant benefits from.  This iron spray and the magnesium bath salts are two of my favourites.  Definitely take a look if you are a fellow spoonie!

Back To School For £50 or Less?

Anybody who follows me on Instagram will have seen my #ootd posts.  I created the hashtag #whatostomateswear as I hope to show others with an ostomy that they can still wear what they want, regardless of having a stoma.  Pep & Co is one of my go to places – their high waisted jeans and jeggings are my absolute faves!  When they contacted me about working on a post with them, I was over the moon!  They challenged me to kit one of the boys out for the new school year for less than £50 and this post lets you know how I got on.  A blog highlight for me this year for sure!

FAQ – The Flu Jab

Having been ill for basically, all of my life, I have learnt quite a lot along the way.  I don’t claim to be an expert but I listen, read and ask questions a lot.  I really hate it when I see false and sometimes potentially dangerous information being passed around support groups and online.  I like being able to create posts like this to help people make more informed decisions about their health.

The Top Ten Things About Getting My Stoma

This post has been shared alot and I think it has helped people who have just had, or are about to go through stoma surgery.  For some reason an ostomy is still often seen as the very last option and something that nobody wants, even by many doctors.  But my stoma has given me a new lease of life, I can’t begin to explain the positive changes it has made to my life.  This post is about celebrating my ostomy and the great things it has bought to my life.

Advocacy

I was asked by my lovely friend Stephie of Colitis To Ostomy to write a piece about being an advocate for the Comfizz blog which she runs.  It was great to write about and share the pros and cons of what we do.  I love being able to help people at all stages of their chronic illness journey and it gives me such a sense of joy to be able to help them in any way I can.

Blog Tour Book Review – Leo’s War

I am going to do another round up featuring my favourite books of the year but had to include this one in my favourite posts.  I love to read and enjoy sharing what I read and what I thought of them with you.  This year we have been lucky enough to be sent some amazing children’s books as well.  Both of the boys love to read and this one was Leo’s first review this year, which made me so proud.  

Recipe – Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne

My recipes section of the blog has been a little slow during the second half of the year but this was one of the favourite things I created earlier on in 2018.  I am a massive pasta fan (should have been born in Italy) and this was a great twist on an original.  Hopefully this section will be updated more regularly for you in the coming year.

Stinky Stanley – Coping With Smelly Output

There had to be a place for my most successful post I had written this year – this one has been viewed nearly 1000 times!  I am glad it was well received as it took a lot of research!  Every time I thought I had tried all the products available I cam across another one.  Hopefully lots of you found this helpful.  I know from my own experiences that coping with the smell of output, especially when out and about, can be really worrying so it was good to find things that worked!

So what do you think of my favourites?  Do you agree?  Are there any other posts you would have liked to see in the top ten?  Let me know in the comments below!

Ways To Make Your Favourite Naughty Food Healthy by Guest Blogger Brittnay Sharman

Today I have another guest post, this time written by the lovely Brittnay Sharman.  Brittnay is an Australian who lived in London for two years.  She managed to squeeze in 21 trips to Europe & Africa in that time . She is passionate about her health and her family.  You will find her healthy and delicious recipes on The Nut Butter Hub

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Ways to Make Your Favourite Naughty Food Healthy

Junk food is great right? It’s scrummy and tasty and moreish, but it’s not always so great for our health. The likes of cheesy pizza, crispy fries and ice cream make it difficult to avoid. Just need to arm yourself with a little bit of knowledge to understand how to tweak  your favourites so you can still enjoy them. Here are some healthier alternatives our favourite comfort food.

Don’t Step Away from The French Fries

The next time you want fries try baking them instead of deep frying them litres of oil. When at home try tossing your sweet potato wedges in a bag with olive oil and semolina. This coating with ensure you get a crispy oven chip every time. You can also try using a healthy oil like coconut to help reduce your cholesterol levels.

Healthy Fried Rice, That Still Tastes like Rice

Rice can be good in moderation however, if you find that when you cook it there is enough for the whole village (and you managed it eat it all) it might be time to find an alternative.

All you need to do is roughly chop your cauliflower and throw in a food processor for a minute.  You will find that the texture is very similar to rice. Use this ‘faux’ rice can be used in any dish where you would have normally used white rice and it tastes just the same. One of our favourites is cauliflower fried rice, the family didn’t even blink an eyelid when I served this one up!

Add Some Smoky Flavours

Smoking food is a simple way of packing loads of flavour into your food. It also adds a great depth to your dishes. You can hot or cold smoke your food to give different depth of flavour. Hot smoking both cooks and flavours your food whereas cold smoking only flavours it

I’m sure we’ve all heard of smoking meat and fish however, using your gas smoker you can also smoke fruit & vegetables. This can open up the world to a new level of tastes! What about smoked garlic or smoked aubergines? You can use different woods to give different smoke flavours or even soak the wood in your wine. You can also add spices and herbs to your smoker to infuse new flavours

Use Healthy Natural Sweeteners

One of the main culprits for making your food unhealthy is sugar. Well, there are lots of things which are naturally, which you can use to replace sugar.

You can use honey, dates, agave or coconut sugar as a replacement for sugar in recipes. Dried fruits like sultanas are a great way of making cereals a bit sweeter and palatable. Bananas are great for making pancakes with, they add a sweetness that is absolutely delicious

Make Your Own Chocolate Bars

If you find you a get a hankering for chocolate, try making it yourself. There is a huge difference between cocoa and cacao, so just by making the conscious decision to use better ingredients will improve your healthy. Cacao powder is packed with nutrients and taste just as good as cocoa. We love making our own truffles, it only takes a few simple ingredients such as coconut oil, cacao powder and sea salt.

Can’t Give Up Mac and Cheese?

Processed pasta is not a good thing to eat on a regular basis. Get rid of boxed mac and cheese and make some at home. You can make a velvety cheese-based sauce with added butternut squash. This sweet taste on mac and cheese is sure to be satisfying.

Take it a step further and replace your high carb noodles with a plant-based pasta made out of chickpeas or legumes. The texture may be a little grainier than regular pasta but it tastes almost the same.  

Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging, just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea and behaviours in habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (well still enjoying it)!

 

Top 15 Blogs/Vlogs I’ve Loved in 2017

So to round up 2017 I thought I would do a few ‘Top 15’ posts on different things I have enjoyed from the past year.  It has been a tough one but I have also had some great times, memories and successes.

I started my blog in February and it has really made me happy.  I have decided to make my first list about those bloggers who have inspired me, that I have enjoyed reading and that I have discovered during my first year of blogging.  I have included people from across all different forms of social media and hope you enjoy checking them out.

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Colitis To Ostomy

My beautiful and very special friend, Stephie runs this blog.  This was one of the blogs I read before I started blogging and she was a definite inspiration for me to start.  She is extremely knowledgeable and writes so honestly.  She has introduced me to so much this year and I will be eternally helpful for the help she has given me and also for being a wonderful friend.

Rocking2Stomas

Rachel is another blogger who I am now lucky enough to call a friend.  We met when we were both asked to participate in The IBD & Ostomy Support Show and her continued support has been immensely helpful this year.  Rachel is a ‘double bagger’ as she has both an ileostomy and a urostomy.  I have learnt so much from reading her posts.  She has some fantastic ideas and a real drive and commitment to raising awareness which is so inspiring to me.

CrohnsFighting

I was so honoured to be invited to be part of The IBD & Ostomy Support Show by Louise.  Her idea was brilliant and unique, and doing the show has been a passion and a driving force for me this year.  Her blog is honest, informative and witty.  She has a lot of experience due to the things she has been through which are very helpful to people.  I am so thankful to have met Louise and that she has supported and stuck by me this year with everything I have had going on.

Holzie Loves

This is a blog I have pretty recently come across.  I love the conversational style of her posts, like you are talking to a friend.  She is also very caring and likes to check up on people across social media which is lovely.

Jenna Farmer

Jenna runs two blogs. She also has Crohns disease but her tips and information about running a blog have been amazing help to me this year. Jenna is super knowledgeable and extremely kind for sharing all her experiences and advice to help others succeed.

Visit her Facebook group for bloggers here

Vegan Ostomy

A pretty big name in the ostomy blogging world, Vegan Ostomy is definitely someone I look up to as a blogger.  He gives great advice and is a fountain of knowledge.  His posts are always well written, informative and respected and I hope that my blog can be as well received one day.

Burnished Chaos

I came across this blog on  Twitter and am so glad I did. I love her posts and her monthly bucket list posts inspired me to start setting myself monthly goals and be accountable for them which will be a great addition to my blog (and life) this year. She also helps run a linky post which has been a great help, connecting me with some other amazing bloggers.

Mamas Scrapbook

This lady has been one of my favourite ‘finds’ of the year. Her Instagram stories keep me amused every day and her posts about mental health are honest, helpful and inspiring.  I love her writing style and she comes across as friendly and approachable.  I was excited to receive my Christmas present to myself – Blom Cards – which she created so will be filling you all in on how I find them in the New Year.

Mrs Meldrum

This is a great channel I have found on YouTube.  Mrs Meldrum is a mum of three adorable girls and the whole family vlog on The Meldrums channel which I follow too.  I love her posts about all things mum and the whole family just seem really lovely!

You can check out The Meldrums channel too

This Mama Life

Sarah is another inspirational find of the year.  I follow her YouTube channel and her Instagram.  She is extremely honest about the highs and lows of parenting and I love her posts.  Any working mums will find a great deal of comfort and solidarity with her as she posts often about the work/life balance and her little ones are adorable.

Check out This Mama Life on Instagram here

Kalyn Nicholson

I have followed Kalyn for a while on YouTube but it was her Vlogtober posts that really got me super interested.  She seems super lovely and I love her organisation and routine posts which inspire me to be more organised myself.  I also love the quotes she put up at the start of her videos.

Lisa Kate Ostomate

Lisa is a fellow ostomate and one person I really looked up to when getting my ostomy.  She had hers a little longer than me and her positivity about it all was brilliant to see.  She now runs an Instagram account which is all about what she wears with her ostomy bag, tips and tricks to keep it covered up and shows you can still wear what you want.

Stoma Stella

Amy runs this blog but I also wanted to mention the amazing Osto-Colledge which she launched this year.  It is a great service for new ostomates, offering support and lots of help with different products and things to try.  Each Osto-bag is personal to the recipient and Amy sends a lovely letter along with offering continued support to the ostomate which is fantastic.

Guts, Giggles and More

This is a relatively new blog launched by my friend Surak.  It has so much potential as she has a lot of different experiences under her belt and is a great writer.  I am sure it will go places in 2018!

Me, Being Mummy

This blog is all about the journey to becoming and being a mummy, by the lovely Lucy.  She also runs a fab Twitter linky post every week which is always great to join and get to see so many more posts from other great blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!



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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!

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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