November 2nd – Meal Plan For The Week

Meal planning is something that I always intend to do, and I do really have the best intentions. But often I can forget to plan in advance, and then I have a mad dash to the cupboards and and curse myself for not pulling certain things out of the freezer in time. We have all been there. However, I am determined to get more organised and so I thought I would share the meal plan that I have just come up with for the week ahead. 

MONDAY 

Pork a la Creme

This is one of my husbands favourite meals and is a classic Delia recipe his mum told me about when we first met. I had never heard of it before, but it is a lovely flavoursome dish with paprika and uses pork fillet. It isn’t the most healthiest of dishes, but it certainly feels like a nice treat for a Monday. I will serve it with rice and potato croquettes. 

Recipe is linked here

TUESDAY

Beef Casserole

Tuesday evenings are a busy one for me when it comes to after school because I need to get Logan off to football training. So ideally I am trying to use my slow cooker on these days and with it being winter it is the perfect opportunity to be organised with it. I use the Schwartz mix for my casseroles as they are so easy. I add in whatever vegetables I have to it. This week will be carrots and parsnips and I will serve it with mash potato and Yorkshire puddings. Logan loves this as well so it is a meal we can all enjoy.

WEDNESDAY

Chicken enchiladas 

I always try and mix things up in the week and try and avoid having the same sort of dishes, as in, casserole after casserole. I tend to cook the same things a lot, and I am trying to mix things up a little. So today I plan on cooking chicken enchiladas and serving with some chips and salad. I use the Old Del Paso kits because again, during the week I need the simplicity. 

THURSDAY

Chilli Con Carne

Another dish I plan on putting in the slow cooker. Thursday is usually another busy evening as Logan has football training again, but with lockdown I am unsure even if it will be going ahead. But, even so, I plan to put everything in the slow cooker and serve this with rice, grated cheese and sour cream. 

Recipe linked here

FRIDAY

Toad in the hole

All being well our eldest will be with us for the weekend, so I want a wholesome family meal that I can dish up for everyone. So it is going to be toad in the hole. I saw a recipe on Lorraine show that included leeks with the sausages and it looked so tasty. I will likely serve this with mash, mushy peas and gravy. 

Recipe linked here

SATURDAY

Take Away

Not sure what sort of take away we will be having but I think it may be either KFC or a curry. A takeaway is always part of the meal plan, I need a day off sometimes. 

SUNDAY

Sunday roast dinner – Pulled Pork

We will be having a Sunday dinner this week and it is always a staple on the meal plan when I am organised. I love pulled pork, so will get that in the slow cooker early in the morning and leave it cooking all day. I am going to serve it with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips and Savoy cabbage. One of my most favourite meals of the week for sure. 

What are you cooking this week? 

Half Term In Tier 3 And Mum Guilt – 5 Things To Know About Motherhood This Week

When I first became a mum, I had huge expectations of exactly the type of parent I would be. There were moments where I used to think the TV wouldn’t be a babysitter, that my child wouldn’t be using an iPad, and let’s not forget the visions I had of my child eating only nutritious food and wouldn’t be the chocoholic he is today. But fast forward to today and I am not that mother, far from it. There are things that have turned out great, but there are situations that I assumed I would react differently to.

1. Mum guilt will never leave you

Being in some form of lockdown due to Covid-19 since the end of march has taken its toll, there is no denying that. Mum guilt would always rear its ugly head every now and again, but this year has certainly taken the biscuit. This week has been half term, and in tier 3 restrictions mixed with typical Manchester weather, it has been tough. We have had to stay at home. With our baby being 7 months old, she’s full on right now, and with a 7 year old boy that wants stimulation and attention, I have felt stretched. The guilt has been unreal. Logan has spent way too many hours playing fortnite, and not enough time spent with me. The mum guilt reached a climax come Halloween, with no trick or treating allowed, I genuinely felt like I’d let my son down. It wasn’t my fault. It was out of my control. But yet here was the guilt once more. I ended up creating some sort of make shift spooky Halloween bath time surprise with slime. Logan seemed to love it and it eased the guilt momentarily. Mum guilt will never leave you, but know this that there will be times when it peaks and when it subsides. Don’t let it get to you!

2. You cannot fight your sons battles

We are at that stage right now with Logan where he is loving playing video games and talking to his friends online. Fortnite is the game of choice, and while I am not so keen on the game itself, or the amount of time I let him play on it, queue mum guilt once more, it certainly got us through lockdown and times after school where I have felt torn between my children. The one thing I have had to learn, especially this week it seems, is that I can’t fight my sons battles. As much as I want to. Being kicked out of games, hearing them say to leave him out. It’s not easy. Don’t be fooled, Logan can be just as bad, but all I want to do is put that headset on and say stop it! I can’t fight his battles. He needs to learn that actions have consequences, and subsequently that things won’t always go his way. I know I have more battles of this nature to come, and will have to resist the urge of interference again in the future.

3. Meal planning helps, do it more often

There has been way too many nights this week that I have scrambled to the cupboards wondering what I am going to cook for tea. It’s a short and simple solution, meal plan. Write it down, stick to it, and shop in advance. When I do it, and I stick with it, there is less stress, less pressure. Will I ever learn?

4. I am not a Pinterest mum, and that’s okay

Who else scrolls through pinterest and gets many ideas of crafts, bakes and play inspiration thinking that they can do the same? Me! Am I the only one? Pinterest is a great site. I love it. But I have to be honest, I am just not a pinterest mum. I long to be able to do the crafts, and create the wonderful things I longingly browse through on a Sunday morning. However, I just can’t do it. This week I tried to create my own wrapping paper for my husbands birthday. Hand prints of Logan’s and Luna’s footprints. In my head, it was going to look amazing. While the end product looks, at best, mediocre, the carnage of creating it was something else. Logan was easy to sort out. He did his handprints, then straight in the bath. Great! Luna was more difficult. How do people manage to get wonderful prints of their babies hands and feet? It ended in tears, me and Luna. The thought was there, I guess.

5. That no matter how terrible you think you are, your children don’t have the same view

Tonight, as I tucked my son up in bed, I apologised for being such a rubbish mum recently. I’ve not had much patience recently, and I have felt so guilty because of the current situation, the changes in his life, and well, having a new baby has stretched me more than I thought it would. He simply said that I wasn’t a rubbish mum, that I was the best mum ever! He loved his slime bath that I panic ordered through Amazon Prime, he’s loved having extra time on his game, and he understands more than I give him credit for that things are hard right now. I’m the best mum to him, he’s happy with me, and well, what more can I ask for?

So there you have it, five things on motherhood this week. Have a great week ahead.

Pregnancy After Loss – Fears And Emotions

There is no easy way to discuss this, because I genuinely think that people will feel different. But I have also found that it is still a subject that isn’t discussed enough, so I wanted to share how I have been feeling about it all. I guess pregnancy after loss was always going to be a rollercoaster of emotions. Some happy, positive and feelings of being overjoyed. Sometimes feeling like you are in a dark place of fear and anxiety. I don’t think the conflict of emotion will go away until there is a baby in our arms. 

Pregnancy after loss - couple looking happy and lady is pregnant

Loss isn’t easy to navigate

Going through an ectopic pregnancy and the two miscarriages changed me as a person, in ways I can’t begin to describe in words. I am not the happy, care-free individual I once was. I am so much more aware of hidden stories and things people go through behind closed doors, because I have been there. I break far more easily and probably rely on my husband way too much to build me back up again. However, while I wish we never had to go through what we did, I also want to take some positives from it. I’m so much more grateful for the things I do have in my life. I am much more aware of emotions, and I guess, to give myself a little credit, I am a far stronger person today than I ever was. 

Today, as it stands today, 30 weeks pregnant, and I wanted to talk about the conflict of emotions that I have been feeling since being pregnant and to reach this stage, when my other pregnancies haven’t been so fortunate. To say that it hasn’t been easy will be an understatement. I have a conflict of emotion on a daily basis from feeling happy and excited to feeling anxious and worried from one minute to the next. 

Those early days can often be hard

Back in the early days of pregnancy I had a huge fear every time I went to the bathroom. It was an expectation to find something was wrong. That history was going to repeat itself. I also felt hideous with pregnancy symptoms, albeit not as tough as some people have, and I felt conflicted to moan about those symptoms because I felt like I had to be this positive and happy person to be pregnant all of the time. 

Pregnancy after loss - lady is pregnant and looking happy

Being pregnant was a dream, it was something myself and my husband wanted for so long. So to moan about something that you have wanted felt so morally wrong. Had I have not been through the miscarriages, would I think twice about complaining of sickness or tiredness? Definitely not as I certainly didn’t when I was pregnant with my son. 

It can often be easier to just talk, so I decided to discuss it openly through a video. This went live on YouTube and IGTV a few months ago. 

Let’s hope that if you find yourself in this situation of being pregnant after loss that the worry you feel. So that the fear, and the anxiety will feel more normalised. It’s totally normal to feel down and out. 

Trying To Conceive? The Best Advice

Pregnant lady looking happy and smiling

Did you know that today is National baby making day? The truth is, many couples decide around new year that they are ready to start a family or add to their existing one, and some even set it as a goal or resolution for the new year ahead. So with fresh motivation today is one of the most popular days to conceive and technically get pregnant. 

However, whether you are reading this in January or any other time of the year, trying to conceive is not as easy as some people expect it to be. Sure there are couples out there who are lucky to catch fairly early on in their TTC journey. Other couples take longer for a variety of reasons. Some need some extra help.

It isn’t an easy journey to start with

The trying to conceive journey is not plain sailing, and at times, it can end in heartbreak. But, to keep things positive, it is an extremely exciting time in your relationship. To decide to start or add to your family can feel like you are about to embark on the next chapter of your life. So are there any things that you can do to help the journey along? 

While there are no guarantees that these things are sure fire ways to get pregnant, getting yourself in the best possible shape or in the best position doesn’t cause any harm. So here are some of the best tips to help you on your TTC journey. 

Trying to conceive? Maybe change diet. Strawberries are good for it

Image source – Pixabay

Eating the right foods

Yes, believe it or not, your diet can play a big part. There are foods that are worth adding to your diet or increasing your consumption of if you are serious about conceiving and getting pregnant. These foods include leafy greens which are spinach, broccoli and Kale. Other foods include oranges and strawberries and beans and nuts. These foods in particular contain folic aside which is a great vitamin to have as part of your diet and recommended throughout the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Other foods to indulge on is things containing calcium, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Also iron is important which you can find in lean meats. Going for a balanced approach is key, but ensuring you are getting all of the essential nutrients to nourish your body is an excellent platform to begin with. 

 Trying to conceive? Exercise more regularly. Woman walking up a hill

Exercise or being more active

While you may not want to start some gruelling exercise regime, getting more active can be a great way to naturally get your body in shape for pregnancy. It includes things like walking more or maybe staring light exercise classes or taking up running. Funnily enough, in 2019 I had started the couch to 5k with some friends and happened to be in really good shape. Something I had not prioritised for a long time. low and behold, 2019 was the year that I got pregnant again but I was also able to get beyond 12 weeks so there may be something in it. If you just want to increase your activity focus on how many steps you take each day. This can be a great starting point. 

Get to know your cycles

I know this one can be tricky, but getting to know your period and menstrual cycle can be a great way to indicate the days you are ovulating and more likely to conceive. I never realised there was a window of opportunity before my husband and I began trying for a baby a few years ago. Our son was a surprise so we had never had to do that before. I used a few different applications on my phone, some of which are free, and it can give you a great indication of your fertile window. Also you can now do ovulation tests at home which can also help you to understand the best days to “try”.

Trying to conceive? happy couple, no pressure, enjoying their lives

Take the pressure off

The one piece of advice I wish I had listened to sooner than I did was to take the pressure off. I can admit that I got consumed with which days to try and what was going on with my body. Which means that you can easily forget that the whole “baby making” process should be a fun and loving time in a relationship. The more pressure you put on yourself, the less likely it will happen. Last year I had actually given up hope. Having had a lot fo tests done and investigations into why we were taking time to conceive and then unable to keep a pregnancy, I cam to the conclusion that we were done. But then our little miracle happened. Enjoy the process, be excited and happy about the next chapter, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make it happen. 

trying to conceive? Pregnant lady posing in a garden

The year that changed me

In 2019, it happened to be the year that I began to take better care of myself. There was a reduction in the amount of alcohol I drank in the week. I exercised more regularly with walking and running, and I ate well. It wasn’t about sacrificing anything or deny myself anything that I wanted. But I also took better care of myself physically. Having said that I also worked hard on my mental health. Anxiety can be troublesome for me, and I can often have days where I feel low and down.

Practicing self care and taking time to understand what was causing my anxiety helped. I learned to be grateful for what I had, the life I was living and have a more positive outlook on life. It certainly didn’t happen over night, but I do think that working on myself was a factor into getting pregnant once again and getting to the stage beyond twelve weeks and beyond. 

Let’s hope that some of these tips and advice helps you if you are hoping to conceive. Leave me your comments and tips on what worked for you. 

My Babyloss Story – Ectopic Pregnancy

Back in 2015 the thought of baby loss hadn’t crossed my mind. I wasn’t aware of an ectopic pregnancy or what it was, and had minimal knowledge on miscarriage and loss. I’d had a baby that went to term, and all was well. But we knew we wanted to add to our family and as little as a year after Logan was born we thought we would try once more. My plan was to have children close in age. I wanted the nappy years and the lack of sleep to be a consistent period of my life. Hoping that I wouldn’t get used to a normal routine only to be thrown back into sleep deprivation once more. That was my plan, but the reality was somewhat different. 

It took a while to conceive

It took a while to conceive, but eventually in september 2015 I got a positive pregnancy test and I was overjoyed. But the truth of the matter is that something didn’t feel right from the start of the journey. I don’t know whether I had a feeling, but it didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it. 

However, for about two weeks things seemed to progress, but I didn’t seem to have many symptoms. In fact I felt fine, but I just put that down to the early stages and it not being that far along enough to start having the signs. 

When I started to worry

My first worry was spotting and bleeding, and at this point I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I managed to get in touch with my GP and attended an appointment that day. They referred me to the early pregnancy unit, a place I never knew existed. A department that unfortunately I have attended more times than I would like. I headed to the hospital, and the procedure of the early pregnancy unit began to take full force. It started with blood tests, and a discussion about how I was feeling. There was no heavy bleed, just spotting, and the first HCG results came back as a positive sign. 

I went back a few days later only for my results not to rise as much as they should have, and they advised the devastating news that in this case I was miscarrying. I had no idea what to expect. It just feels like a blur to look back on. 

The irony of this time of year is that during baby loss awareness week, which is between the 9-15th October, this was happening. It was the 15th October 2015 that I put on social media that we were miscarrying. 

Not the end of the story

However, that sin’t the end of this story. I was still having my HCG levels monitored and fate the 15th I went back and there was a slight rise in the levels, something the staff could not explain. They had told me i was miscarrying, so how was that possible? I went in for a scan and they described it as a pregnancy of unknown location. That It was either over, and the hormone levels hadn’t dropped, or it was something else. 

I was due back in on the 18th October 2015, a Sunday, for another HCG blood test, but the night before I felt terrible. It was in pain on my left side, and I had no idea why. I assumed it was an after effect of the miscarriage, or the last element of it. I’d struggled all night with the pain, thinking that there was no point talking to the doctors because I was there the next day anyway. I didn’t class myself as an emergency, and I certainly didn’t listen to my body. Something I do regret now. 

surgical management of an ectopic pregnancy

Not knowing it was an ectopic pregnancy

I went into hospital, the pain was unbearable by this point, and they could see that the colour had drained from my face. I was rushed down for a scan, and they focused on the area causing me pain, my left side, and there it was. A pregnancy. In my left fallopian tube. This is what was called an ectopic pregnancy, and what I didn’t realise, is that it can be life threatening. That day I was booked in for emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy and that was the end of it. 

Ectopic pregnancy was something I knew nothing about, but pain in your abdomen, shoulder tip pain, miscarriage signs like spotting and cramps, and also fainting can all be signs that it is an ectopic pregnancy. 

There is nothing that could have done, nothing I could have done differently. It is just one of them things. During the surgery my left fallopian tube was removed. Had I have listened to my body at the time, then perhaps I would have had a different outcome. Who knows! 

ectopic pregnancy - view from the hospital window

Four years on

This pregnancy four years ago was the start of the journey to conceiving, and further losses. It is a monumental time in my life where I was changed irreversibly. I still think about it, the grief never goes away, but you do learn to deal with it and move forward with your life. After all, I had my husband and two boys to think about.

The one thing that raising awareness for ectopic pregnancy can do is to help others feel less alone, and maybe sharing my story with you will help you to feel less alone. It is also good to raise awareness so that more people will feel comfortable in asking for help and reassurance should they need it.