Thursday, 26 June 2014

A - Z of Me

The lovely Louisa from Duck in a Dress has an A - Z of Me on her blog and I thought it would be a really fantastic idea to do as a) it lets you wonderful readers know more about the person behind the blog and b) it's a good way to fill in a blog post if I am struggling to come up with something :)!! I will cover a letter a fortnight so here is my letter A.

Autumn or to our American and Canadian cousins Fall, is my favourite season as I love it when the air gets a bit cooler and you have to wrap up to keep warm (this also means buying some new clothes for the change in season).  Other reasons to love Autumn are:

  1. The leaves changing colour from green to lovely shades of reds and golds.
  2. My birthday.
  3. Halloween.  This means decorating the house, making and baking, scary films and if you are lucky, parties too.
  4. Eating warming foods such as soups, casseroles, etc instead of salads and barbeques.
  5. Guy Fawkes night and seeing lots of pretty fireworks in the sky.
  6. Being all cosy indoors when it is pouring down with rain and blowing a gale outside.
What's your favourite season and why?



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Sunday, 15 June 2014

DIY: Make your own Tea/Coffee Station

I saw these lovely Tea and Coffee Canisters in Next and just had to have them.  I felt that they were too pretty to be hidden away in the cupboard like my old ones were but was also concerned that the cute little birds would soon be decapitated or knocked off their perch on the lids with them being taken in and out of there!

I have seen loads of tea and coffee stations on Pinterest and thought why not have one myself.  Some people have dedicated areas in their kitchen, others use a unit in their dining room and I even saw one lady on YouTube who had a coffee grotto which was like a tiny room that had wine racks filled with K-Cups for her Keurig machine, she had loads of mugs and a Sharpie pen that you could write the person's name on it so you would know whose it was and even a couple of pretty table lamps in there too.  Nothing as fancy as that in my house as we don't live in a Mansion so we just had to settle for a dedicated space in the kitchen instead.

Tea/Coffee Bar at Home


Looking around my kitchen I settled on the space above the dishwasher as this is where the kettle and mugs already live and it would be a big enough space to put everything but it did mean moving my Homepride Fred baking set however I did manage to relocate him to another spot in the kitchen so was happy about that.  I had bought a sandwich tray in Tesco  for my Afternoon Tea party that I had a while back but had never used and thought that the canisters could sit on there.  It was only when washing the canisters that I noticed they had "Tweet Tweet" printed inside of them. I had also bought some Kilner jars for storage a couple of months ago to store things like flour, sugar, etc (after we discovered some Field Mice squatting in our kitchen) and had a few left over so I bought a bag of Amaretti biscuits as a treat for Mr M that he could have with his coffee, to put in one of them.  I then added the biscuit jar along with a bottle of Caramel syrup to finish off the station.



While it might not look as fancy as some of those on Pinterest it serves the purpose what it was made for and it shows off those cute canisters too.



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Friday, 13 June 2014

Hoping for Third Time Lucky


From Pinterest


I've been debating for months whether or not to write such a personal post on my blog as once it's out there, it's out there! One of my reasons for not posting is that should my next IVF cycle fail then I don't want the reminder on my blog of how my life could have been had the IVF worked.  I also don't want my blog to become all about infertility either.  It is estimated that one in seven couples (3.5 million people in the UK) have difficulty in conceiving, which means that it is quite likely that you will either know someone or be the person that this is happening to.  So I decided to man up and post about it as it seems to be a subject that no-one really likes to talk about but seeing as it is becoming a common problem I think it should be something everyone is aware of.

We decided to stop using contraception when we were 29 with the attitude of "if it happens, it happens".  We naively thought we had plenty of time to try properly and also you always hear of people who get pregnant within the first couple of months of trying so obviously it wouldn't take too long.  After a few months I wasn't too bothered that I wasn't pregnant, I mean I was now 30 and you hear about women falling pregnant in their 40's all the time in the media so I still had years ahead of me for it to happen.  After a year I did start to wonder if there was a problem with me.  Or was the problem with him?  I just pushed it to the back of my mind for a few more months before deciding to go to the Doctor about it.  To cut a long story short all the blood tests, semen analysis, scans, swabs even an exploratory laparoscopy came back with nothing abnormal found and we were given the diagnosis that we had "unexplained infertility" which means that they don't know why it's not happening for us.  We were given the option of IVF but at that point we decided against it as we felt it was too invasive and also we were told there was no reason for it not to happen naturally.

A few more years had gone by and there was still no sign of a baby coming along, with every month that passed and Facebook announcement that one of my friends were pregnant I felt myself getting further and further depressed about the fact that here we were years later and still not pregnant.  So back to the Doctor I go for yet more blood tests, swabs, scan, etc and still the result came back as normal, for a second time we were referred off to the Fertility Clinic but this time we decided to try for IVF.

From Pinterest

We were invited to an open evening at the hospital to explain what goes on through the IVF process last May and we were then booked in for starting IVF in mid July.  July passed very quickly due to the daily injections, check ups to the clinic, egg retrieval and then finally embryo transfer.  I had two embryos transferred at the end of July and I had to wait two weeks to find out if it had worked.  If you have ever been through IVF or trying to conceive naturally you will know that these two weeks feel like two years as time just drags by.  Now as there was nothing wrong with us and the fact that we were able to fertilise the eggs on our own it was bound to work wasn't it?! Wrong!! I started bleeding the day before my test date.  Obviously we were both upset but determined to try again as it doesn't work first time for everybody, does it?  Round 2 happened in February this year and again it failed.

From Pinterest



So August this year is when we are going to do Round 3 of IVF.  Unsure yet whether this will be our last try as you can only put yourself through so much before you can't give anymore.  Belle from Part of Belle's World explains it so well here.  So in a few weeks I will be going for an endometrial scratch where they scratch my womb lining so hopefully after the next period the lining will grow back differently and help the embryo implant when the time comes.  As this is maybe our last shot at it I'm throwing everything I can at it, I've started acupuncture, taking so much supplements that I'm rattling and just trying to be as stress free as I can.  Oh and also keeping everything crossed that it will definitely be third time lucky for us!!

Do you suffer or know someone that suffers from infertility? Have you had ivf, successfully or not? I'd love to hear from you?


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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Chilli Con Carne

I haven't blogged a recipe post in quite a while so I thought that it was about time that I done one.  I've just started the Paleo diet where you cut out dairy, grains, etc as I have felt sluggish, bloated and just generally bleurgh!  Two weeks on I've lost 7lb, feel more energetic and have even stopped my after work snooze.  I do really miss hot chocolate and macaroni cheese though but if it makes me feel better then I will just have to go without (I might allow myself a sneaky hot chocolate or two in a couple of months time).

I thought I would do Chilli con Carne as this is one of Mr M's favourites and I could modify the recipe to suit my diet.  Also if you are vegetarian you can also replace the meat with Quorn or other meat substitute.


Ingredients:

Mince
Passata/Tinned Tomatoes
Onion - Chopped
Pepper - Chopped
Kidney Beans
Tomato Purée 2 Tablespoons
Garlic Clove - Minced
Chilli Powder 1/4 Teaspoon or more if you like it hotter!
Salt & Pepper


How to make:

Fry your mince or meat substitute in a pan until brown.  Add your chopped onions, peppers and garlic and cook until slightly softened then pour the tomatoes over the mince.  Rinse your kidney beans (or soak them as required if you are using the dried variety) before adding them to the mix.  Season with salt and pepper then chuck in the tomato purée and your chilli powder.  Simmer over a low heat for 20 mins.



Serve with tortilla chips, rice and loads of soured cream or cheese (or both if you prefer).  This photo turned out a bit crap due to the steam coming off the food :(



If you are on the Paleo diet then there will be no kidney beans for you; or tortilla chips, or soured cream, or cheese and definitely not rice :(!  I used broccoli instead of the rice/tortilla chip combo.  Saying that it was still tasty and I didn't have the bloated, lethargic post chilli feeling that I normally have so that makes up for the lack of soured cream & cheese!



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Sunday, 1 June 2014

My Furry Monsters Part 3 - Chorlton


Chorlton is the final part in My Furry Monsters series.  Along with Louis, Chorlton lives with my Mum and Dad as when I moved in with Mr M I didn't think it was fair to move him into a new home with another cat.  He was very settled there and he doesn't cope with stress very well due to his past.

He is another waif and stray that came into my work and ended up coming home with me.  He was brought in with two other kittens (approximately 4 months old) as they had been dumped in the city centre and were seen wandering about the street.  The Cats Protection League managed to trap them and they were then brought in to my work.  I have always wanted a ginger tabby and fell in love with him straightaway but I was staying at my parents at that point and as it was another two months before I was moving in to my new flat I didn't think it was fair to them to bring yet another animal home.

I had a couple of days off from work and when I returned he along with one of his sisters, had gone off to a new home.  I felt a bit of disappointment that he had gone but glad that he had been rehomed. Fast forward a couple of days when the Cats Protection League took him back in to be put to sleep as his new owners had said he was totally unhandleable.  He was sitting in his cat basket, looking petrified and was meowing loudly.  It broke my heart to think that this cute ginger ball of fluff was away to be put to sleep.  I spoke gently to him and he seemed to quieten down, I stuck my finger through the bars in the cage and started stroking him and he didn't seem to mind this at all.  I eventually opened the lid of the cat basket and picked him up and he clung to me as he was so scared.  He then started purring and there was no way he was going to be put to sleep, he was coming home with me!

I had a large dog crate at home that I made up for him in the living room and put him in it for a couple of hours so he could adjust to all the new smells and noises of his new house before letting him have a wander of his new surroundings.  After a couple of days we started to gain his trust and he liked to be cuddled and wanted to play or cuddle up with Louis and our other bunny we had at the time although they were having none of it!  He settled in well and even my parents who didn't even like cats loved having him.  He didn't settle at all in my flat when I eventually moved in and was much happier being back at his Grandma and Granda's and there he has stayed ever since living a life of luxury as a pampered puss.


Name:  Chorlton

Nickname:  Chorley

Age:  8 years old in September

Eats:  Iams Senior, prawns, tuna, chicken and Dreamies.

Loves:  Eating! I know when it's dinner time and make a lot of noise so my owners know it's time to feed me.  Prawns are my favourite and I'm also partial to a bit of Salmon too.  Cuddles.  My blanket I got at Christmas.  My favourite thing. Ever.  Playing Chase with Louis, until he annoys me that is and then I hit him to let him know he has bugged my happiness.

Hates:  When my owners go on holidays.  When there are people in the house that I don't know.  Workmen, they are so noisy. The ginger cat who looks like me and comes into my garden, especially when he sits on the windowsill and looks in.  He bugs me!!

Favourite toy:  My laser pen! Love it!! Also when Louis isn't hogging my activity mat I like to play on it.  My new cat nip carrot toy, I love playing with it until it's soggy.



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