Blog Tour Book Review – Turning Left Around The World

Good afternoon and happy Friday!  Sorry for being MIA for a while, for the last couple of weeks I have been battling sickness bugs and a terrible cold and have been feeling pretty awful!  It has given me lots of reading time though, as aside from sleeping I haven’t had the energy to do much else.  Today I am sharing this fantastic non-fiction travel ‘memoir’ with you.

Turning Left Around The World by David C. Moore

 

The Blurb

For some people, retirement dreams can consist of comfy slippers and gardening. Not so David  and Helene, whose dream was of adventure. They presented Audley Travel with the challenge of exploring the history, landscape, wildlife, people and food in fifteen countries over ten months.
Fortunately, they were up to the task so David and Helene traded their slippers and gardening gloves for 53 flights, 30 trains, 8 boats, 3 cruise ships, 1 light aircraft, I hot air balloon, a motorbike and sidecar, countless speedboats, taxis, tuk-tuks, cyclos and bicycles. And a disobedient horse.
Turning Left Around the World is an entertaining account of their adventure, often intriguing, frequently funny and occasionally tragic. Share their adventure, enjoy the surprises and meet some fascinating people along the way.

What I Thought

Wow, what a book.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about David and Helene’s amazing around the world adventure.  David’s writing style was friendly, while being informative, funny and also conveying sometimes sad historic events which happened in the countries they visited.  There are many photos included too which were all stunning and helped illustrate the adventures they had.

I would absolutely love to take a trip like this – unfortunately health and wealth prohibit me but I really enjoyed reading about all these magnificent countries.  South America has never hugely appealed to me but this book definitely changed my mind about that.  I loved the way the couple decided on where to visit – a map and a pile of blue and pink pins and boom – a ten month once in a  lifetime experience.  I also loved hearing about all the people they met on their travels and how they immersed themselves into the local cultures and took part in the traditions of places and people they visited.

This was an easy to read book which I struggled to put down.  It has definitely fired up the travel bug once again in me and even though currently my destinations may have to be closer to home, I have found a new way of seeing and exploring things and have definitely added a few more places to my bucket list!

Some of my favourite bits and quotes –

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do.

So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in your ails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr. – Foreword

“The first day of our adventures was not shaping up the way I expected.  It just happened to be the day of Chile’s elections, odd day for elections but that’s okay.  So, Sunday 2nd July, voting day, was declared a ‘dry vote day’.  No alcohol to be served in any bar, restaurant or hotel until 2 hours after voting closed at 11pm so that everyone could vote sober.  Great!”

“We then attempted the walk across the Bridge Of Sighs.  Custom has it that you hold hands and then hold your breath and then walk across with your loved one.  If you can both hold your breath all the way across your wishes will come true.  On the third attempt we made it”

“If I thought Fiji was rugby mad that’s nothing compared to the Kiwis… comically most of the toilet symbols are rugby balls for men and footballs for women”

“Our flight from Sydney to Uluru… took over 3 hours and moved our timezone back by an hour and half – I always thought time zones were in full hours, apparently not, there are even some that move by 15 minutes”

“It was Nippers Day at Coogee Beach and Santa was due to arrive on a surfboard, I was not missing this”

Waving beads and bible in his crutched hand he raised his other palm with fingers spread.  Not quite sure what this meant I gave him a ‘high-five’.  ‘What on earth are you doing David?’ screamed Helene.  ‘You don’t high-five a Buddhist monk!'”

“pointing to the tray hanging in a cinema usherette style from the neck of a fierce looking local lady.  Instead of ice creams, confectionery, popcorn and Kia – Ora drinks her tray displayed coiled snake on a stick, brochettes of scorpions, barbecued tarantula, big black bugs that could have been cockroaches and an assortment of plump white grubs, possibly wichetty.”

“I had the most extraordinary toilet experience in the airport lounge high-tech loos.  It sensed me walking into the trap so the toilet seat rose automatically in a welcoming kind of look up from a bow, and bizarrely a rather comforting blue light came on in the bowl itself.  This was not the only comfort, the seat itself was heated… upon sitting the personal piped music began to play…there was a digital display just above the auto loo roll dispenser offering a variety of flashing buttons and symbols including spray, +/- spray strength, nozzle position, cleansing, wide/narrow, bidet, blow and massage.  Massage?  Well we promised to try everything” – I couldn’t resist a toilet one!

“The tannoy announced that ‘crying children should be taken into the vestibules immediately and those leaving the train should do so in an orderly fashion'”

Where To Buy

Buy now on Amazon (kindle or paperback versions available)

The Author – David C. Moore

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David owned and managed a London marketing agency for 15 years,
creating advertising campaigns to promote iconic international brands
including Mars, Kellogg’s, Disney and Coca-Cola. Following the sale of
his agency in 1999 he became one of the leading Consultant Marketing
Directors in the UK, steering business in the launch or re-launch of their
consumer brands including B&Q, Direct Line and RBS. David lives in
Berkshire with his wife Helene.

Website

I hope you enjoyed this review, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this none and highly recommend it, especially to those who enjoy non-fiction and travelling.  Thankyou for baring with me while I haven’t been well and hopefully things will all be back to normal very soon!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Thankyou to Mirador Publishing and Cameron Publicity & Marketing for my copy of this book in return for a review.  All opinions contained within are my own.  Check out more reviews by visiting the other blogs on this tour –

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My Holiday Wish List

Good morning and happy new week!  I hope this will be a fabulous one for you all!  I have lots planned so will be a busy bee again.  The boys are now with their Dad for the next two weeks of the holidays and I am missing them lots already.  Saying goodbye never gets any easier.

I am delighted to share a post with you today which has been sponsored by www.holidaygems.co.uk

Holiday Gems specialise in holidays closer to home, and offer a wide range of destinations which will entice anyone!  They are currently running a campaign about popular holiday attractions and landmarks – such as water parks like Siam Park in Tenerife and the preserved, walled, medieval Old Town of Alcudia.

Me and Ste have been unable to travel abroad since getting together due to our health issues meaning the cost of travel insurance is very high.  I love exploring new places though and have previously been to America, Greece, Spain, the Canary Islands, France and the Caribbean.  A holiday abroad is definitely on the cards as soon as we can afford to take one though.  Ste has never been out of the UK before and I cannot wait to take him on a plane.  I thought I would share five places on our travel wish list that I would love to visit over the next few years, and are available through Holiday Gems

SPAIN – COSTA DORADO

The boys have asked about going to Spain recently.  I think some of their friends have been and they want to see what it is like for themselves!  I have visited Spain a few times and love that you can get such good weather and the flight is relatively short and ideal for little ones.

“Costa Dorada offers such fantastic beaches that it is unsurprising that most people simply enjoy relaxing on the beach and soaking up the glorious sunshine. For those looking for a little bit more excitement Costa Dorada has excellent facilities for a number of water sports including scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and jet-skiing also popular are boat trips sailing along the miles of glorious coastline. The region offers excellent options for entertainment for those on family holidays with several aqua parks and theme parks including Portaventura, one of the most popular theme parks in Europe.

For those interested in history there are numerous castles, forts and other medieval remains in the region with an excellent history museum in the resort of Cambrils. Other resorts like Salou offer more modern entertainment with theme parks, restaurants, bars and a vibrant nightlife. In some of the more traditional Spanish villages visitors can experience a true taste of Spain relaxing in the laid back atmosphere of small restaurants enjoying the tapas, fresh seafood and wine and whiling the hours away.”

Me and Ste both have an interest in history so the chance to explore the castles and medieval ruins is very appealing.  We also love a good theme park and so all four of us would have a fantastic time at the Portaventura park as well!  Riley is such a daredevil and the bigger the roller-coaster the better for him!

MAJORCA – THE BALEARICS

Another relatively short flight time and popular destination for families.  Majorca offers great weather in the Summer and lots of fab beaches.

“Things To Do As A Family

Arta Caves

If your family are up for adventure, take a trip to the limestone cliffs of Cap Vermell, which is near Canyamel Beach on the east coast. Lights and music accompany this trip through a labyrinthine network of caverns, with a collection of stalagmites and stalactites resembling creepy silhouettes, funny vegetables and even ghosts.

Katmandu Park

This theme park, voted the best in Majorca and the second best in Spain, is found on the Calvia Beach area of Magaluf. Experience the unexpected with exciting rides, 4D encounters and splash park fun.

Palma Aquarium

A trip to the gorgeous city of Palma is a must – and a visit to the Aquarium should be top of the list on every Majorca family holiday. Wander through the tunnels around the 55 tanks which contain around 700 different species of marine creatures and marvel at the sharks, rays and colourful tropical fish.”

They also have their own version of Go Ape in Santa Ponsa, Jungleparc, which the boys would love.  Full of platforms reached by a range of zip wires, ropes and bridges it would be perfect for an adventure packed day out!  The aquarium sounds amazing too.  I love that there is so much to do for families here.  Although a day or two relaxing at the beach is fun, we do like being kept busy on our holidays

MARRAKESH – MOROCCO

Obviously a slightly longer flight and sa great place to head to for some winter sun.  This is somewhere I have always wanted to visit as I would love to experience the food, culture and visit the ‘souks’.

“Known as the ‘Red City’, Marrakech is famous for its colourful array of crafts, materials, spices and more, on sale in the Jemaa El Fna, and its neighbouring Grand Souk.  The Koutoubia Mosque is another prominent symbol of Marrakech for it stands proudly above the many other colourful and majestic buildings, being visible from almost anywhere in the city. Walking around the exterior of the Koutoubia and marvelling at its structure is something many tourists will include as part of their break. It is also a fantastic landmark used as a base or meeting point for further tours around the city.

Besides walking tours, shopping and sightseeing grand palaces and gardens, Marrakech also attracts visitors for its excellent array of food and dining options. There are street cafes, restaurants, food stalls and an excellent night life and atmosphere to complement. Music is key to Moroccan entertainment and many bars will stay open late in the tourist areas.”

There are definitely family friendly destinations in Morocco, Agadir probably offering more for children travelling with you.  However, this is somewhere I have always wanted to visit with the children when they are older, or as an adults only holiday.  I would be terrible at bartering but the souk markets have always held appeal for me.  Me and Ste both enjoy our cooking too and it would be great too explore the street cafes and stalls for a real taste of Morocco.

DUBROVNIK – CROATIA

When I was younger one of my favourite Derby County football players was Igor Stimac who came from Croatia and it has been somewhere I have wanted to visit ever since!  In recent years it has become a popular holiday destination from the UK, with a relatively short flight of around 2 hours and a host of beautiful spots to visit.

“From Gothic palaces to Roman cathedrals, Dubrovnik is steeped in history. Wander the city’s winding cobbled streets and you’ll come across many diverse architectural styles. One landmark you cannot miss on your visit is Dubrovnik’s Ancient Walls – the vast structure was built in medieval times to protect the city.”

As I have said previously, both me and Ste have a huge interest in history and Ste, in particular, loves anything to do with the Roman period.  Dubrovnik’s Roman cathedrals would definitely be a huge appeal for him!

EGYPT

As history buffs, Egypt has to be on the list.  The flight is around 6 hours and the weather slightly hotter so probably not ideal for families with very young children, but we would love it.

“The Ancient Egyptians were a true powerhouse in their prime, comparable to the influence of the Roman Empire. Because of this there is a dense population of mind blowing historical monuments in the country, which makes sightseeing a huge part of holidays in Egypt.

The most famous city in Egypt for history is the capital of Cairo. Located just outside of Cairo and visible from some of the closer Egypt hotels is the Giza Pyramid Complex. This is where the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is located, along with two other pyramids. Not far from the Giza Pyramid Complex is the Great Sphinx of Giza, the largest monolith statue in the world.

Inside Cairo itself is the Egyptian Museum, which specialises in Ancient Egyptian artifacts. Located in the Egyptian Museum is the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun. This 11kg gold death mask is one of the most famous symbols of Ancient Egypt. All of these experiences, coupled with the fact that Cairo itself is a world class city, makes the capital an ideal destination for Egypt holidays.

Away from Cairo, the city of Luxor, known as Thebes in ancient times, is a must see for history enthusiasts on holidays to Egypt. As well as containing the Luxor and Karnak Temples, Luxor is home to both the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, where Pharaohs and their wives were buried in tombs after pyramids fell out of common use.”

Leo did a huge school project on Egypt last year and loved speaking to my Grandad about when he and my Grandma visited Egypt around 30 years ago now!  The pyramids hold a strange fascination with many people and would be an absolutely amazing place to visit.  The beaches are absolutely spectacular too and fans of water sports would be well catered for.  Many of the hotels have private beaches that lead straight off the hotel complexes which is perfect for popping back for shade, food and drinks!

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 holiday wish list.  How does yours compare?  Let me know in the comments somewhere you would love to visit soon.  Thanks to Holiday Gems for sponsoring this post and do go and check out their website if you are looking for your next foreign holiday to book!

nat

BlogMas Day 3 – Long Car Journeys With The Boys

Every other Friday I drive down to Essex to pick the boys up from school.  It takes about 7 hours there and back, so I use Audible on the way there to keep me entertained and then pack the boys up lots to do on the way back.  Rush hour traffic on a Friday is a bit of a nightmare!

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Both the boys have one of these on the back of our seats and I like to fill them with things to keep them occupied on the journey.  There are some little toys (kinder eggs, Lego men etc) in one of the pockets.  These were about £3 each and have been a brilliant buy, keeping everything together and within easy reach for the kids.

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I always like to pop a snack or two in there for them for after school.  This week they had these cute little Santa chocolate lollies which I picked up from Marks and Spencer’s in the hospital while visiting Ste.

I also got them one of these little Christmas activity sets each.  They have some felt tip pens, stickers, colouring sheets and plain paper in.  Riley did some great colouring in his on this journey!  Places like Poundland are great for little sets like these.

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I always pop them both a book or two in.  Leo, especially, likes to read on the way.  He is a real bookworm like me!  I also downloaded a couple of Audible books for them – Paddington and the Christmas Play and Froggy’s Best Christmas.  Riley really enjoyed both of these and wanted to listen to them again and again.

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I always get them a couple of drinks for the journey as they are always thirsty after school.  I picked up these cartons from Asda so they had one of this flavour and an apple one each.

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I picked this up in Asda the other week, as I knew both boys would like it and they did!  Each page has a number of characters (including Santa) to find as well as a list of stuff for each particular page.  They enjoyed doing this separately and together which was nice.

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I also picked up this game.  They were 2 for £7 in Asda and it is obviously their take on Guess Who.  I also got their version of Battleships.  Unfortunately I forgot to check what set up was needed prior to the journey and the boys started but soon got bored trying to fix the boards so will sort this out for next time I go and get them!  Epic Mummy fail!  We also love to play our own games.  The boys favourite is the A to Z game where we make a list on different topics – the boys favourite’s are countries, Christmas, Capital cities, football teams and animals – and we have to name something on that topic beginning with every letter of the alphabet.

We also had a good sing song with the boys playing DJ on my phone and taking it in turns to pick a Christmas song, which was being blue-toothed to the car stereo so we could all hear it and join in!  We enjoy talking about what they have been up to in school that week and what we are going to do for the weekend.  We sometimes pick up a treat for tea like McDonald’s or Subway if the boys have been well behaved, so they don’t eat too late as we often aren’t home till just after 7pm.  We also have in car DVD players which are great, although the charger is currently broken, but normally the boys have a stash of DVDs in the car which they choose between themselves to watch.

I hope this gives you some long car journey inspiration, I am sure lots of families will be doing some travelling over the festive period and it can be hard keeping the children happy and content in the car!  The boys are always really good and I think a little prior planning to get them some bits I know they will enjoy doing helps lots!  Happy travelling!

Check out this fab post by Thimble and Twig – ‘Screen Free Ways To Entertain Kids On A Long Journey’ – for her ideas on how you can keep little ones entertained on your travels

An Interview With Laura Zappula (a.k.a Stomalicious)

This week I had the pleasure of talking to Laura, who writes a blog called Stomalicious.  She appeared on The IBD and Ostomy Support Show at the end of August, talking about travelling with a stoma.  As we are discussing food this month I wanted to ask her about what she eats on her travels, how this affects her stoma and what weird and wonderful delicacies she has tried!

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1) Roughly how many countries have you visited and what would you say are your top three (I know you struggled with this the other night but I won’t hold you to your answers ha ha)

I am blessed to have travelled to around 46 countries in total in my life (so far!). Around 18 of those were with an ostomy! I love going back to places I’ve been before so several countries I’ve been to multiple times. I used to be a travel consultant and worked in the industry for over 10 years, so I have been lucky to have had some amazing trips tied in with that. It’s really hard to pick my favourites as I honestly love everywhere and each place is unique and has different things that draw me to it!

My last big trip before being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease was in 2009, and that will always be memorable for me for a number of reasons. I spent a month travelling through the Middle East before all the trouble really started in that region. Syria in particular will always stand out. It saddens me greatly to see the horror that has happened there. It is such a beautiful place and the people are so gentle and lovely. I remember an old Syrian man showing us around the market in Aleppo which is now nothing more than ruins. The fact that it was the last overseas trip I could take for a long time due to my health will always mean a lot to me too.

In the 10 months I spent travelling the world after my ostomy surgery, Turkey is another place I will never forget. Hot Air Ballooning above the fairy chimney landscape of Cappadocia at sunrise was a once in a lifetime experience. Incredible!

If I had to pick a third, it would either be somewhere in South East Asia, Southern Africa or Italy! I absolutely loved Vietnam especially trekking through the muddy hill tribes in Sapa with an ostomy, but I am equally enamored with Thailand where I have been multiple times both pre and post ostomy, including getting married on the beach in Koh Lanta! South Africa is another place I have been to both pre and post ostomy because my husband Michael has relatives there. There is nowhere else quite like Southern Africa especially when you’re out in the bush on a safari with wild elephants, lions, rhino, and hippo to spot. It becomes quite an addiction. On our last trip there we went to Namibia where we had quite an adventure at a watering hole when our cat battery went flat just after some lion had made a kill! I also can’t help but hold a soft spot for Italy! Again, I have been there both before and after my surgery, but travelling to Sicily with my dad earlier this year to the home town where he was born and grew up before moving to Australia, means that Italy will always hold a special place in my heart!

Carnival in Rio, an orangutan sanctuary in Kota Kinabalu, paragliding and ziplining in Cape Town, seeing my favourite band play live in Amsterdam, game drives in the African dessert, Macchu Pichu, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, seeing the Eiffel Tower, Central Park, the Colosseum, and Big Ben for the first time, all those iconic sights – I am truly blessed to have been to so many amazing places!

2) What were your top three worries about travelling with a stoma? Are any of these still worries now?

My biggest concern when I took my first overseas trip after ostomy surgery (a 10 month world trip – I don’t do things in halves!!!) was being away from my support network of family and doctors. I was relatively new to my ostomy, so leaks were also a bit of a concern. I am also a huge foodie so was a bit worried about being able to try all the amazing delicacies on offer around the world. I can honestly say that I needn’t have been concerned about any of these things, and none are worries for me now.

3) What were the top three foods you have tried from other countries that you wouldn’t get in the UK?

Living in London we are lucky to have SO many different cuisines at our doorstep. I think we’re pretty fortunate here in that most cuisines are fairly readily available. I’m yet to find really good/authentic Thai food in London though. Sushi is another fave of mine, but compared to the quality and price of a nice tuna or salmon and avocado sushi roll back in Sydney, I’m sorry but London doesn’t quite cut it! I’ve also tried some of the game meats (don’t judge me!!) in Southern Africa like warthog, kudu, ostrich, and biltong, all of which were surprisingly really good, and I don’t think you’d get them in the UK!!

4) What have been the worst dishes you have tried abroad?

I tried guinea pig in South America. It kind of tasted like chicken, but I couldn’t get the image of my friend’s pet guinea pig out of my head!!!

5) What is the strangest thing you have eaten on your travels?

I ate deep fried crickets in Thailand once. Thais eat fried bugs like a snack (like we would eat chips/crisps)!! It’s more just knowing what you’re eating that puts you off. If you didn’t know and had a blindfold on …. Okay well I reckon it would still be a bit strange, but I’m willing to try anything once!!!

6) We get warned about things like sweetcorn and popcorn causing stoma blockages. Have you had any issues with any foreign foods doing this that you weren’t prepared for?

Nope. I am very lucky with blockages and all those foods that we are warned about. I haven’t had a proper blockage in my 4+ years with a stoma. I just make sure I chew extra carefully when eating any problem foods, but I’ve eaten corn, popcorn, nuts, dried fruits and all sorts of foreign foods and have not had any problems. I did get a bout of food poisoning in Thailand once (I think it was from eating some bad chicken). I didn’t get a blockage, but had liquid output and couldn’t keep anything down for 48 hours. It’s quite strange having diarrhea when you have an ostomy bag!!!

7) If you had to pick the food from one country to eat for the rest of your life where would you choose and why?

It would have to be Italian. Italian food is always so fresh and tasty. You get delicious salads (I love a good Caprese with fresh tomato and mozzarella), plus pizza and pasta of course!!! Italians also know how to cook a good piece of meat with a side of delicious green vegetables, and of course Italian desserts like cannoli, pannacotta and gelato. TDF!!!!! Whenever we travel to Italy we have a policy of 1 x gelato every day (even if it’s for breakfast)!!! The secret is simple, fresh and uncomplicated. The fewer ingredients the better!

8) What is your favourite Australian vs your favourite English dish

We are very lucky in Australia that it’s incredibly multicultural so you get a lot of first class cuisine from around the world. Apart from the typical meat pie or pavlova, there really aren’t that many typical “Aussie” dishes. We have been trying to find the perfect chicken parmy in London (to no avail) but to be honest I never really ate them back in Sydney anyway. We did bring a jar of vegemite with us (but you can buy it here at Asda nowadays)!! I would have to say my favourite Aussie dish is vegemite toast, and you can’t go past a good old Sunday roast in the UK!

9) What is your favourite thing to cook at home?

Whilst I love to eat, I am not the world’s greatest chef, and I am happy to admit that my husband does the majority of the cooking in our household!!! I make a pretty good salad, and if I had to cook something hot it would probably be a vegetable quiche.

10) What is your go to comfort food?

I’m a bit of a sucker for pizza, or anything with white chocolate, coconut and/or salted caramel!!!

11) What is your favourite breakfast food?

Museli and yoghurt. I didn’t eat muesli for several years when my Crohn’s was really bad (for obvious reasons) but I am now back to my regular week day morning ritual of natural muesli (including dried fruit, coconut etc) with a nice dollop of full fat Greek yoghurt. Delish!!! Once again, as long as I chew extra carefully, my stoma has no problems processing all that fibre and dried fruit goodness!!!

12) If you were taking part in The Ostomy & IBD Support Show #maSTOMAchef challenge what is the one ingredient you would pick for us to try/cook with that you haven’t eaten or cooked with before?

There aren’t many ingredients that I want to try/cook with that I haven’t already, but for the purpose of this challenge, I will say fennel. I love raw fennel, fresh, cut up through a salad with some nice orange wedges or just as a snack on its own. I’ve also tried a few different variations of cooked fennel, but I am yet to find a recipe with cooked fennel that I enjoy as much as raw fennel. Challenge on!!!

This lady has given me a serious case of wanderlust!  My mouth is watering too!  I am taking up Laura’s challenge and will post the results in an extra #maSTOMAchef post.  Thankyou for taking the time to talk to me Laura, it was such a pleasure to hear about your adventures.

You can visit the Stoma-licious Facebook page here

Watch Laura on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show here