Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wicksteed Park Illuminations and Enchanted Tales

Wicksteed Park Illuminations

We visited Wicksteed park this week for the Illuminations and they really were beautiful and it felt quite magical. 

The price includes unlimited entry onto the Carousel, Astroslide, Tree Top Walk, Cups and Saucers, Aviary and the vintage roundabout for toddlers.  It also includes a show as storytellers tell magical tales (We didn't do this bit).

We were there for about 2 hours as our children went on the rides available multiple times and they loved it.  However I do feel the ticket price is slightly expensive and they should maybe introduce a family ticket or cheaper entry for children next year.  The park was very quiet and I wonder if the ticket price has put some people off.  It really is lovely though and we had a great time as a treat for the kids pre Christmas.

For the parents just note the Tree Top Walk is not a leisurely stroll but an obstacle course which my kids loved but was a little tricky for me with my handbag and being 5 foot 7!

If you'd like to view my YouTube video click on the link below

My Youtube video

Enchanted Tales and Illuminations will be open daily from Friday December 16 2016. Our magical event runs between 4-8pm.

You can book tickets quickly and easily online or pay on the gate.
Per Person: £10.00
Children under 90cm: £2
Reduced rate: £8 (must bring proof of DLA on day of purchase)
There are group discounts of 10% for 10-19 people and 20% for 20+5

Click on the link below to go to Wicksteed's Illuminations page


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Airfix #QuickBuildTimeChallenge

We were lucky enough to be chosen to take part in the #QuickBuildTimeChallenge with Airfix.

We were sent two models to build the Lamborghini and Hawk and a stopwatch.

My daughter is a Lego expert but found the Hawk quite challenging.  She went wrong twice so I have a go and also went wrong but managed to build most of the model.  We seemed to make a mistake each time with the red flat bricks in the middle.  I'll have another try and report back at a later date.

The Lamborghini was much easier and looks great once built.  My daughter enjoyed the build and and got a time of 16.07!

Watch our video to see how we got on.

YouTube Video

The pre-coloured pieces push together without glue or paints.  This is a great introduction to Airfix for kids.  There are several other models to collect and build.  Spitfire, Bugatti, VW Beetle, McLaren P1, Apache Helicopter and Mustang.

The Quick Build set is aimed at 5+ but my 6 year old could not manage so I would suggest slightly older.  The 9 year old enjoyed the project.

Why not have a go and let me know your time?

Emma x

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Easy Christmas paper bag stars!

The kids love craft projects but I'm not the most crafty mum.  Sewing/Knitting etc is not my thing. 

This craft is super easy and anyone can do it.  Paper bag fold out stars.

All you need is paper bags, glue stick and scissors.  Easy Peasy.

I bought my bags on eBay for £2 but you can get them in loads of places.

Stick 9 bags together. You glue in a T shape. Along the bottom and up the middle.

Once all 9 are stuck together cut a V shape at the open end.

Then put a T shape of the glue on the top bag and fan out and stick together.

Voila fold out beautiful stars.  You can use any colour and attach ribbon to hang in windows, fireplaces or your Christmas tree.  We found 9 bags worked best but if you used larger bags 7 would be fine.


Emma xxx


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Scribble Scramble Review

Scribble Scramble review.

We were lucky enough to receive a game to review. The kids loved it & found it much easier & more entertaining than other drawing games. 

Its light & portable so could easily be taken with you to entertain the kids whilst waiting for a meal for example. I would throughly recommend.

Crayola Games

The game retails for approx £19.99 but is on offer at several retailers.

If buying fot Christmas remember to get batteries 3 x AAA 

Example of the items to draw.
Action packed Scribble Scramble is a frantic team game for 4-8 players aged 6+ where you have to guess it before it disappears! Race against the moving Scribble Scramble unit to decipher your team’s doodle before it disappears! Pick a Scribble card, start in zone 3 on the board and the quicker your team guesses your drawing the more points you get! First to 20 points wins! With storage for the 2 x Crayola Dry Erase Pens plus 80 x game cards included within the unit, Scribble Scramble has multiple game play combinations to keep you on your toes!

Disclaimer: We were sent this item to review but all opinions are my own.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Highs & Lows of parenthood

The highs and the lows of parenthood can be ridiculous.

For example my daughter got an award at school and my son has moved up a reading level and then............smashed kindle screen. It was an accident. But its the second time. By the same child. If you've read other posts I'm sure you can guess which one. 

He was upset. I was annoyed. There were tears. I only got it fixed in the summer at a cost of £50. It's still useable at the moment but I'm not sure how long for.

As a result he's in a strop and its sods law it's swimming lesson day. Queue stressy drive to swimming lessons and moaning about the placement of swimming hats!

Roll on bedtime and a happier day.

Emma xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Are you a friend or foe? - Poem

Are you a friend or foe?
Do you lift me up or make me sad?
Do the good times outweigh the bad?
Should we part ways or carry on to the end?

My recollections are sometimes jaded.
Have things got blurred or faded?
Do you remember them like I do?
Am I being selfish or not seeing your view?

Things have changed its clear to see.
Maybe interpretations are distorted.
To be judged or judge.
Do we really see through truth?

Our actions are not always as they seem.
We act on loyalty, friendship or duty.
Our thoughts are our own.
Are they friend or foe?

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Friday, 18 November 2016

The word ONLY!

Have you ever thought about the word only?

I'm only a mum.

I'm only part time.

I'm only term time.

I'm only able to do x, y, z.

Its so negative and I say it ALL the time.

Why do we put ourselves down? Why do we make our achievements seem insignificant?

I attended a workshop this week and for the first time ever something clicked.

I'm good at my job. I'm a good parent. Both through my job & being a parent I have loads of transferable skills (you do too!)

I can multi task. I have good communication skills. I have patience. I can empathise. I can be creative. I have strong English language skills. I have IT skills. I can budget. I can build a rapport with all types of people. I can effectively manage time & workloads. I can inspire.

I am not only a part time worker.  I am a valuable worker. I am not only anything.

Let's just hope I remember this in a few weeks time and I hope this has given you a boost too.


Emma xxx

Monday, 14 November 2016

Do you Believe? - Short Story

Do you believe?

I’ve always been a cynical person. Ghosts, angels, hypnotherapists I don’t believe in any of it so when a friend suggested a trip to a Tarot reader my first thought was what a load of rubbish, she’s certainly a fake followed swiftly by it might be a laugh.

My friend Samantha was organising a long overdue girls night out and had found out about a local restaurant offering tarot readings for £10. We’d decided to eat, see the tarot reader, and then head into town for some drinks and dancing.

The following week we arrived at the restaurant and were served swiftly. Samantha and Ellie had visited tarot readers before and were happily discussing what she may reveal as we ate and I listened smiling. “This isn’t really your thing is it?” Ellie piped up whilst swiping one of my onion rings.

“Well I just think most of these people just use generalisations or experiences most people will have had and embellish them based on your responses.” I said taking a sip of my drink. “It’s probably quite easy to fake if you have someone willing to divulge a lot of information.”

“Well some probably do but my mum has seen this lady about 5 times and swears by her. She told her about meeting Frank and buying that place in Devon.” Ellie continued,

“Yeah but she just said the coast not specifically Devon.” I said shrugging,

“And that’s loads of people’s dreams for retirement.” Sharon joined in grinning.

“Oh shut up you two.” Ellie said playfully throwing a chip, “I can’t wait for my go.”

After we’d eaten we moved to a small waiting area and were given a ticket to await our turn with Penny the Psychic. I grinned as I looked at the name on the ticket. Even the name sounded a little fake.

Ellie went in first and came out beaming with a sparkle in her eye. “Well?” I said smiling as she sat down next to me.

“She was amazing. Her prediction is that I’ll be engaged soon and she reckons a baby will be born in the family.”

“Well that’s a bit vague and has Rob actually mentioned getting married?” Sharon asked,

“Well no but I had a feeling it was on the cards. We are going to Bath in a few weeks just the two of us so you never know. We are staying in a really nice hotel so maybe a bit of ring shopping might be on the cards,” Ellie replied beaming. “And my sister has mentioned being broody again.” Ellie continued whilst gazing at her ring finger obviously already visualising the sparkling diamond.

Sharon was called up next and came out saying she thought she was credible but wouldn’t be holding her breath. Samantha was next and looked just as thrilled as Ellie when she re-emerged saying Penny had given her very good vibes about her forthcoming promotion. It was my turn next and I vowed not to reveal anything. Penny could work hard for her money.

“Hello Lauren.” She said smiling whilst consulting her list and I took a seat. “Not really your cup of tea is it?” She continued frowning slightly. “It isn’t for everyone but I always advise to have an open mind.” I shrugged non committedly and she began turning the cards. She began making the general observations I’d assumed and I gave a few half-hearted responses. “Do you live on a flood plain Lauren?” She said looking more animated,

“No. I actually live at the top of a hill so pretty safe from flooding.” I replied smiling,

“Do you have a pond of stream nearby?”

“Not that I know of. Both of my immediate neighbours don’t have anything watery in their gardens.” I shrugged,

“That’s strange. There’s definitely water involved.” She said certainly and turned another card. No further revelations came and I thanked her for her time and left the room.

“So what did she say?” Ellie said excitedly before I’d even closed the door.

“Not much. The usual stuff. You are a little restless at work, happy at home, strong friendships which she’d probably guessed from me being here with you guys. She asked if I lived on a flood plain though which was a little odd.”

“You live on a hill.” Sharon laughed, “Oh well was a good experience. Now come on girls I need a drink. Let’s get going.”

We had a brilliant evening and I forgot all about the tarot reading until a few weeks later when I got an excited phone call from Ellie. “He proposed!” She screeched down the phone. “Penny was right. We went for an amazing meal and he got down on one knee. He gave me a haribo ring as he said he wanted me to be able to choose my own. We are going shopping tomorrow. I’m so excited.” I was thrilled for Ellie who said she’d send me a picture of the chosen ring tomorrow. I hung up smiling and began to wonder for the first time ever if psychics did indeed have a gift.

Over the next few weeks Ellie excitedly told us about her wedding plans. To my utter surprise a date had already been set and they were looking at venues. I’d offered to babysit so Ellie could visit a couple of venues with her older sister Sophie. Sophie had a gorgeous little boy called Ethan who had just turned 4 and luckily for me thought coming to my house was a mini adventure. We made crispy cakes and carrot cakes which were Ellie’s favourite and the only thing I could successfully bake. We watched Toy Story whilst I did the voiceover of some of the characters and made a den out of blankets. I was taking a 5 minute breathier whilst Ethan entertained himself in the den when I was suddenly aware of the sound of running water and dashed upstairs. The sink was overflowing. The tap was on full flow and a flannel had blocked the plug hole. Ethan had obviously washed his hands but forgot the tap. I hastily turned the tap off whilst throwing two towels on the floor to soak up the growing puddle of water. Ethan appeared silently behind me. “Sorry Lauren.” He said looking glum.

“Don’t worry darling. It’s only a bit of water.” I said grabbing a third towel. “Good job I heard it though else we would have had a swimming pool.” I laughed ruffling his hair. He visibly relaxed and I smiled straightening up. The doorbell rang and we both jumped laughing. “I bet that will be your mum.” I said bounding down the stairs.

Ellie and Sophie excitedly babbled about their day and Sophie thanked me for having Ethan. “Any problems?” She said as they were leaving.

“No he’s been as good as gold.” I replied,

“But I forgot the tap.” Ethan said looking at the floor,

“Oh don’t worry about that.” I said giving him a hug.

“What happened?” Sophie asked as she gathered Ethan’s bag and coat. I filled them in on the minor accident and Ellie began to laugh.

“The flood warning.” She said now grinning.

“What?” I replied confused.

“Psychic Penny.  She asked you about flood plains. Maybe she meant a flood in your house not outside?” Ellie explained.

“Oh!” I said surprised. Ellie hugged me and winked nudging Sophie.

“I have news too.” She said beaming. “I’m pregnant had my 12 week scan yesterday. Had no idea. It’s a very happy surprise.” I congratulated her and we had a group hug. As they finally left Ellie squeezed my hand.

“Maybe Penny wasn’t a fake after all. Fancy going again?”

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Dinosaur DNA sets review

We were lucky enough to get a Stegosaurus  Dinosaur DNA kit to review from Ryman Stationary.

The kit is priced around £14.99.

As of todays date it is only £9.99 via Ryman Stationary so it might be a good time to grab a Christmas bargain.  The link below will take you to there page.

Dinosaur DNA

Now onto the product. My kids LOVED it! It is aimed at 8+ but my 6 and 9 year old both loved it.

The block of clay is quite hard and it took a while to get the pieces out but this was part of the fun although I did have to help.  The kids loved revealing pieces as we dug into the clay block. It was quite dusty but I just had it on a large sheet of paper which I shook into the bin.

Our kit had 9 pieces of dinosaur to discover plus the DNA code. It was a little tricky to put together so adult help will be required but the kids love the finished dinosaur which has been named 'Steggy'. It glows in the dark and is a fun little item.

To use the interactive play mat you need to download the app Dinocodes for free via Apple store or Google play.

I found the app didn't work fully. We got the fun facts, sound and dino feet but not the full image. The second play may with the tornado did seem to work fine. This didn't really bother my children but might be something to look into.

On the whole I think it is a great product and would be a huge hit for any dino fans.  My daughter reckons several class mates would like one.

There are 3 different dino kits. Tyrannosauras, Stegosaurus and Tricerotops. I think I'll purchase a second kit for Christmas.

Hope this has been useful and provides some Christmas idea inspiration.

Emma xxx

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for a review.  Opinions are 100% my own.

Postnatal depression???

Following Adele's recent confession she had postnatal depression it has been a much talked about topic.  By her own admission she felt inadequate but speaking to friends & confronting the feelings alleviated it.  I think its brilliant its in the media & far more open but is it becoming the new must have baby accessory?

I believe a lot of mums have a little bit of postnatal depression. The 'baby blues' are common for 2 weeks but the health professionals consider longer as abnormal. I had my first child nearly 10 years ago. The first few weeks are a blur of tiredness and pain relief due to an emergency c section & lengthy labour. I remember being slightly terrified when my partner went back to work after 2 weeks paternity. I was in charge and felt under prepared. As is sod's law I also become ill and felt on the brink.  This didn't last long thankfully but I began smoking again when my daughter was about 5 or 6 weeks old as I craved the solitude in the garden. I was jealous that my partner could legitimately go into the garden & not hold the baby. I was jealous he could escape & I couldn't. I loved being a mum but the isolation & tedious nature of feeding/changing/napping could sap my energy & spirit.

These feelings lifted after a few months and life moves on.  I didn't speak about it or get treatment.  Was it postnatal depression? I didn't have the same feelings 3 years later when I had my son. I knew I was OK and so was he.  I felt more confident & able.

My point is every new mum struggles sometimes. Every new mum sometimes thinks oh my God!  We are all winging it. We are all doing great jobs.

If these feelings do not lift or worsen then do speak to someone. You are not alone and will not be judged. Being a mum is bloody hard work and there's no instructions. Remember you'll be OK and there is help. Ask. Don't beat yourself up.

I'm glad women feel more comfortable discussing this issue but I hope the media do not trivialise the symptoms or condition and a million celebrities climb out of the woodwork for 5 more minutes of fame.  It feels a little like its the new fashion must have instead of real women and real lives.

If you are worried or not sure what to look out for the main symptoms are:

a persistent feeling of low mood.

loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.

lack of energy.

trouble sleeping at night.

feeling that you're unable to look after your baby.

problems concentrating.

feelings of guilt.

difficulty bonding with your baby.

frightening thoughts.

It is common for some of these to last a couple of weeks but if it's longer or you tick every box do speak to someone.

Take care all you wonderful mummies you are all doing fab.


Emma xxx

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Things I want to do before I'm 40

I am nearly 38.  I'm slightly shocked. How did that happen?

I've decided to compile a list of somethings I want to do before I hit the big 40 and I can then check back in 2 years and see how I've done.

  • Visit Venice & Barcelona child free.
  • In the UK a visit to Bath is top of my list and Bourton on the water.
  • Change job - Hoping to work in a school
  • Get another tattoo
  • See Strictly come dancing at Elstree Film Studios
  • Go back to Majorca for a family holiday
  • Family stay at Center Parcs
  • Have some success from my blog or writing
  • Have pink hair (Slight cheat did this in the summer)
  • Be comfortable in my own skin
  • Maintain good health (Crohn's)
  • Get a piercing considering Tragus!
  • Learn how to apply eyeliner on my top lid!!! I'm an absolute failure at this.
What about you? When's your big 40?  Any big plans?

Emma xxx

Ah memories of Center Parcs & Majorca.............

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Twinlakes in Melton Mowbray

Twinlakes in Melton Mowbray is a brilliant family park and ideal for toddlers to tweens. There are loads of outdoor play areas dotted about with picnic tables and a few covered areas to help with rainy spells. The new dream Fantasy Castle area is great and my 5 year old preferred the play areas to the actual rides.

Twinlakes Melton Mowbray

There is a mini farm and great splash park for warmer days.  Some people were using it on Tuesday but it was a tad too chilly for me.  It does look brilliant though and on a hot day  it would be a good idea to pack the kids swimming costumes and towels.

We spent nearly 5 hours at the park and could have stayed longer as the kids weren't bored.

We had lunch in the Buccaneers Island Zone.  It is a bit noisy but clean and loads for the kids to do.  Prices also reasonable.  My children had a chicken chunk & burger meal (similar to McDonald's happy meal) with slush puppy upgrade and it was £4.45 each.  I had a jacket potato with tuna which was £4.75 and was really nice.  This zone has several rides and lots of seating so perfect if it does rain.

As the weather was nice we stayed outside & didn't try the Labyrinth Zone on this occasion which would be another good place to get out of any rain. 

Both kids loved the new bouncy pillows just outside the Labyrinth Zone and would have stayed for hours!  My son loved the Bumper boats (steering was terrible though haha!) and Running Bears Summit Toboggan Run. My daughter's favourite was Jester's Revenge (fast teacups) and Buffalo Stampede (Rollercoaster). The Action USA Zone was our favourite zone and perfect on a sunny day and also the place to get very nice donuts 3 for £2.

I would definitely recommend Twinlakes but would suggest checking the website for height restrictions before going to ensure your children can go on enough rides and will be entertained.

It is an all weather park but obviously the sunshine helps and means you can enjoy the whole site.

Twinlakes has themed events throughout the year including Super Hero and Princess February Half Term, Easter and Halloween with FREE pumpkin carving.

My only criticism is that it maybe needs more signage as we got a little confused with which zone we were in.

Check out the website for prices and more information. Website link below


Prices are dependant on height.  Under 95cm FREE.  It is cheaper to book online so make sure you book before going.  Address is Melton Spinney Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 1SQ


Emma xxx

Twinlakes Melton Mowbray
Pin it!

For more days out ideas and a brilliant interactive map click on the link below

Days Out Now

Disclaimer: I was given 4 free tickets in exchange for a review.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own.


Pass the Pen Review

We were lucky enough to receive a copy of Pass the Pen from Wicked Uncle.

Wicked Uncle

Wicked Uncle is a website of fun, unusual and different presents for children. They can giftwrap your presents, send them direct with a handwritten birthday card and even send you a birthday reminder every year.

Pass the Pen (Family game Ages 8+) is a super fast drawing game with a special pen that retracts the tip on a timer.
This game is fun and simple to play. Pick a card & roll the die to determine what your drawing challenge will be, then press the pen timer and start to draw. If someone guesses correctly what you've drawn you both get points, but if your nib disappears before they can guess, then you have to ‘Pass the Pen’. The pen timer can be set to 10 or 15 seconds.  There's 500 subjects to draw.

My children are 9 & 6 and both loved the game although we needed to adjust it slightly for the younger one and doubled up the time limits.

It is a quick easy game that takes up minimal space and could be easily transported.  My children loved the retractable pen. I must admit it was a little harder than it looks to get a meaningful picture done against the clock but it was good fun & we ended up with some funny pictures. It was nice to play a proper game instead of the kids being glued to YouTube or computer games. I would happily recommend.

Disclaimer: We were sent Pass the Pen to review.  Opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spooky Short Story

I was looking at photos on my phone whilst lying in bed. The night before had been my best mate Megan’s 30th birthday and had been brilliant. My head throbbed slightly and my feet were ruined from hours of dancing but it had been worth it. The pictures were all of smiling happy people and I laughed as the last few were blurred; my ability to take a photo effected by alcohol at that point. I was just uploading a particularly good one to Facebook when I noticed something odd in the background. I squinted at the photo and shivered. It couldn’t be. In the background someone was smiling over Megan’s shoulder. The problem was it looked very much like our friend Chloe who had died 2 years ago. I quickly looked through the other photos and felt my eyes water as I noticed Chloe’s happy face in each and every one. I rang another friend Rebecca knowing she’d also been taking pictures and hoping she could offer a reasonable explanation.  Rebecca answered after a couple of rings and in a rush I told her about my photos.

“What? Slow down. You aren’t making sense.” Rebecca said. She sounded like she’d just woke up and I knew what I was saying sounded ridiculous. I explained again slower and I heard her take a large intake of breath. "Let me check my phone and call you back.” She said sounding confused. A few minutes later my phone rang and I snatched it up.

“Well. Is Chloe in your photo’s?” I said hastily my hands shaking slightly.

“Yes.” Rebecca answered quietly. “I can’t believe it. She looks so happy as well. I’m torn between being terrified and overjoyed to see her again.”

“That’s exactly how I feel. Should we actually do anything? Why do you think it’s happened now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it was a big celebration. We had always joked about turning 30 in style.”

“Yeah I guess.  I wonder if she’s in anyone else’s photos?” I said wondering if anyone had already uploaded to Facebook without really looking properly.

“Who knows? We better tell Megan though. Shall we go over together? I’ll get breakfast and we can deliver the news. I’ll pick you up in half hour.”

“Ok sounds good.  See you soon.” I had a quick shower and threw on some clothes. Rebecca arrived just as I was putting my shoes on and I rushed out of the flat.

In the car Rebecca thrust her phone at me. “Dave, Phil, and Vicky have uploaded photos and Chloe is in most of them. This is so weird!” I scrolled through the photos and smiled as I looked at our former best mate. Chloe had a rare heart defect and had died two years ago. She’d always known about her condition and lived life to the full. She’d backpacked for 12 months, bungee jumped, swam with dolphins and her proudest achievement had been meeting Father Christmas in Lapland. She’d been quite ill for 6 months prior to her death and she was bitterly disappointed she wouldn’t reach her 30th birthday. She looked so happy in the photos but I wondered if it would upset anyone especially her mum who she’d been extremely close too.

As the day wore on we realised Chloe had photo bombed every single photo from the party. Some people thought it was morbid, others took great comfort from it, and her mum decided to visit a psychic. The local paper took up the story although I refused to be interviewed.
Over the next few weeks’ things returned to normal. I had been worried about taking more photos but Chloe did not show up in anymore. The existing photos had taken on a shimmer where she stood and looked faded but her smiling face was still clearly visible.

Rebecca was the next of our group to turn 30 and had decided that a small group would visit Dublin. On the short flight Rebecca asked me if she thought Chloe would appear. “I have no idea. It’s so strange. Maybe this time though we’ll sense her as we are prepared.”

“Wow! I hadn’t thought of that.” Rebecca said and turned away deep in thought. I looked out of the window relishing the calm before the madness of a boozy weekend and wondering if Chloe would join us.

Throughout the weekend no one sensed anything and although photos were checked almost obsessively Chloe did not appear. It was only once home that she made her appearance. Photo’s seemed to change and it looked like she was actually with us. Her arms were wrapped around us in several shots, she was doing bunny ears over Phil’s head smiling, and she was actually kissing Megan’s cheek in another. I couldn’t quite believe it.

Over the next few months. Chloe appeared in each of our 30th birthday pictures.  Instead of worrying we looked forward to seeing her. Her mum although sad loved seeing the photos and had become an honorary member of the 30th birthday gang. People offered all sorts of explanations ranging from camera glitches, group hallucinations or even that she wasn’t really dead. I have no explanation but have loved seeing my friend and hope she has enjoyed partying with us.

Emma xxx

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

My Crohn's Story

I have Crohn's disease and luckily have stayed in remission since my diagnosis 8 years ago.

I thought I would share my story to help any others suffering feel less alone and also to encourage anyone with symptoms to get checked out.  Its not the most glamourous disease and therefore people are a bit embarrassed to discuss it or get checked out.

For those who don't know Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  Symptoms often include abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is severe), fever, fatigue and weight loss.  It is a chronic inflammatory disorder, in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract causing all the stomach issues. 

I became ill in May 2008 when my daughter was 16 months old.  It started with stomach pains when I was eating. I'd get half way through lunch and bin it feeling full, uncomfortable and sometimes sick.  I visited my G.P who said it likely to be excessive stomach acid and gave me some tablets to try. Two weeks later I felt worse, had lost weight, had terrible stomach pains and had reoccurring diarrhea.

I went back to the G.P and it was then suggested I could be wheat intolerant. A blood test was taken for celiac disease. The test came back positive so I began a wheat free diet.  In 2008 gluten free bread was awful cardboard anyone? Unfortunately I got worse and was signed off work.  I had lost 1 1/2 stone and was weak and felt really low, was now anemic and suffering night sweats.

Another trip to the G.P and this time I took my partner and burst into tears.  Walking anywhere was a mission. Picking up my daughter was getting to be a huge effort and carrying her upstairs nearly impossible. I was tearful, tired and in pain.  My blood pressure was so low the G.P was surprised I hadn't fainted.  This time the G.P called our medical admissions unit at the hospital and I was admitted for tests.  As soon as a consultant read my history he suggested Crohn's. I'd never heard of it and he gave no information.  I had some tests an upper endoscopy, stool sample, blood tests, x ray and scans.  These proved inconclusive but I was told I was 100% not celiac so celebrated with a chicken wrap which instantly made me feel happily and then extremely ill. I was discharged with medication to treat Crohn's and a 2 page leaflet. I had steroids Prednisone and later Budesonide plus iron and calcium supplements. The steroids made me feel sick.  I was supposed to take them on a full stomach but couldn't eat. It was a vicious cycle. I was also totally paranoid about the moon face side effect.  I remember one of the few things I could eat were jelly sweets. Haribo kept me going.

As my tests had been inconclusive although steered me towards Crohn's and the tablets didn't seem to be helping a further test was ordered a Colonoscopy.  I had this on the 29th July 2008. I'd been ill for just under 3 months and lost 2 stone 4lbs in weight.  Thankfully these test gave me answers.  I had Crohn's. It was advanced but could be sorted. I was admitted to hospital again and given intravenous steroids and infliximab.  It was like a miracle.  By day 4 I felt human.  I could sit straighter and I ate my first full meal. The hospital food seemed heavenly. Not rushing to the toilet was amazing.  I stayed in hospital for 8 days and came out 5 lbs heavier and so much healthier.

I went back to work on reduced hours for a couple of weeks and then things went back to normal. For several years I had an infliximab infusions every 8 weeks at the hospital. It really was my wonder drug. About 18 months ago I was moved to azathioprine which is a daily tablet. I see my lovely consultant annually and so far (touch wood) I've been healthy. My last colonoscopy 2 years ago showed some active disease which I was surprised about but it just goes to show that the medication keeps it at bay.

I have very few photos from this time my album skips from 10th May 2008 to 26th July 2008 (A brief but much needed visit to my mum in Devon) and then 25th August 2008. I found the only photo I have of me to share.  It is weird to have no visual reference but camera phones weren't that common and in the grip of illness you don't really stop to take selfies.

I wanted to reassure anyone struggling that things will get better once your diagnosis is confirmed and you get the right medication for you. Things have progressed greatly since 2008 and the health professionals know more about the treatments required. I wish you the very best health and if you have any symptoms do get checked out.  For me my diagnosis was delayed due to my Celiac result.  I still test positive apparently I'm a medical anomaly!!!

For anyone having a colonoscopy I would 100% recommend sedation.  It's not the most pleasant experience but is the best at getting a diagnosis.

Take care

Emma xxx

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Halloween themed days out to entertain the kids (Northamptonshire)

I love Halloween and also October half term. Here's some ideas for days out to keep the kids busy. There's a mixture of indoor and outdoor for all weather. Don't get too spooked!!!

Potz Ceramic Studio
The Causeway,Northampton,NN3 9EX
Potz Ceramic Studio
Halloween Party Friday 21st October 7pm until 9pm.  Children can dress up, paint a ceramic Halloween item and do a craft activity.  The pottery studio will be doing kiln baked jacket potatoes, cheese, beans or salad followed by monster doughnuts, pumpkin mallows and soft drinks.
They have space for 34 little monsters and it is £15 per child.

Riverside Hub
7 Carousel Way,Northampton, NN3 9HG
Riverside HubSaturday 29th October 6.30pm - 9pm
Your little monsters can have fun on all our fantastic play equipment, including electric go-karts, 10m high climbing tree, toddler village, sensory room etc.
There'll also be a special Spooky Halloween Disco and prizes will be awarded for the Best Fancy Dress Costumes.
Tickets for the Halloween Party are only £10 per child (plus a small booking fee) and adults are free!
(Laser tag is available at an additional cost of £2 per game or £5 for unlimited games).

Melton Spinney Road, Melton Mowbray,LE14 4SB
15th to 31st October
Family Halloween attractions (so suitable for the little ones). 20,000 FREE pumpkins  for kids to carve or paint. Win magnificent prizes plus wicked Halloween workshops including children's magical wand making and Halloween broomstick flying masterclass, meet and greet Marty the friendly Monster! and Fruti our forgetful Witch!! creepy Halloween competitions, children’s Halloween craft workshops and family trick & treat, children’s fancy-dress is optional but we love it when they do! Plus the all new Harry Potter workshop.

Gullivers Land
Livingstone Drive, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DT
Join the official Swizzels Trick and Treat Trail at Gulliver’s Theme Parks.
At each stop along the trail we’ll have spooky tricks and plenty of treats! Look out for different themes as you face some frightfully fun activities. Each trick performed earns you a sweet surprise.  Get your picture taken at each stage as you transform into some seriously scary characters, from a wicked witch to Pumpkin Peat.

West Lodge Rural Centre
Back Lane, Kettering, NN14 2SH
West Lodge Rural Centre
15th October to 31st October
Loads of spooky activities to keep you entertained. Pumpkin carving, Spooky walkway, Witch’s house tours, Spooky Tractor rides, Panto style ghost stories plus all of the usual farm activities.
Family ticket approx. £22 if booked online
Family = Any combination of 4 people, 1 must be an child

Castle Ashby
Northampton,NN7 1LQ
Castle Ashby
Pumpkin Hunt 22nd to 30th Oct 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Follow the trail around our gardens to find the hidden pumpkins, once found copy the face on the paper provided.  Find all the pumpkins to win a prize!
£2.50 per child (I think it is also £4 to park it was last year).

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