30/11/2013

M.E. Feelings: Buzzing.

This is a post written by Laura.
Found through Pinterest
This is the second post in the M.E emotions post, you can read the first here, so seeing as it's nearly Christmas i thought it would only seem right to do excitement. Everyone has those moments when they turn into a 5 year old child on blue smarties but with M.E it can put stress on your body, it sucks. So, i thought i'd give you a few hints and methods to help deal with all the craziness of the season. This post might be a bit wobbly as my M.E has worsened but i know you'll all forgive me, after all i am writing a post for you.

Excitement affects people in different ways and people show their excitement in many different ways. My brother has always been a complete fruit loop when it comes to Birthdays/Christmas, waking up at 1 and trying to get everyone up (even on Mothers day!), then when Mum says wait until 5 he sits on the landing until it is exactly 5 o'clock. Yeah, crazy. I, on the other hand, have never really been big on Birthdays or Christmas but it's all changing this year. The worst my body's ever been and i want to go to every Christmas market possible and cook all kinds of Christmassy treats, not possible. We are decorating the bedroom though, little red angels and a real mini Christmas tree in the corner (Michael absolutely loved that idea, joking), we're also going to try to get me to Southampton to see the coca cola van and see the Christmas market. All in moderation.
Found through Pinterest
If you have M.E or any other poorlyness then you know excitement is tiring, so here are some tips to get you through the most celebrated season of the year:
  • Plan, plan, plan. Seriously, at the beginning of the Christmas season sit down and look at all the events/places you would like to go to then pick one a week if you're up to it, or one like i have if your M.E is severe. But, if you can't go don't stress! Easier said than done, believe me, i know. Stay home and have a Christmas movie marathon, a few of my favourites are White Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street.
  • Start early in your head and months wise, if that makes sense? I'm already planning next years presents so that I can spread the cost/effort out throughout the year. Leave December to enjoy Christmas without the tizz of present buying. For example there are a load of sales going on throughout the year so why not save yourself some pennies? Although, I have all big birthdays next year, my nan turns 70 in June, one of my brothers turns 18 in July, my 21st in September, then in December my youngest sister turns 13, my other sister turns 18 and my other brother turns 16, January is Michael's 21st! Whew, that's a lot.
  • Excitement can mean eating a lot of junk you really shouldn't be having, after all it is Christmas. But when m.e is involved you need to be more careful, getting caught up in the food binge around Christmas can have consequences, some worse than others. Try to even it out with one *naughty* meal a day but make sure you eat really healthy the other times and it should help. Don't stuff yourself silly people.
  • Enjoy the holidays and relax. Easier said than done, believe me i know, after 19 years of Christmas arguments! But you want to enjoy yourself, not set yourself back until next Christmas. If something's not going right then ask for help (i'm the worst person for this), rope everyone in and use them as minions, i know that your family/friends would rather give you a hand and spend Christmas with you than leave you to struggle and have someone missing.
  • Use your excitement. I get absolutely crazy about giving Michael presents but i need to hold back sometimes. The best way for me is to put all that excitement into planning or searching online for the perfect present, they'll appreciate it more. Another easy thing to do is talk to someone about whatever you're excited about, although i'm sure everyone gets fed up of me jabbering on about it (i may have told my Mum about most of her Christmas presents).
  • Everyone with m.e knows how deflating it can be when all the craziness is finished, it can leave you feeling pretty low. This doesn't make you a bad person, it just means you need to come down slowly. Have however long you need to snuggle up in bed with all the leftover food and all your favourite movies. 
  • A more general tip for managing your excitement is to control it. There are many ways to do this so it's whatever suits you or your energy levels best. I used to do a lot of yoga before i got ill and i think it can still be used now by using the breathing and meditation side. Also, I saw a throat therapist a little while ago for my tiredness and difficulty breathing or swallowing and i think the things she taught me will be really useful in this area too. One is to lie on the bed and slowly tense and untense one muscle at a time from your feet to your throat, whilst keeping your eyes closed and focusing on your body. Breathing is so important too, she told me to breathe in through my nose and then breath out as long as I could until i needed to breathe in which really relaxed me.
  • If all the excitement tires you out then don't be afraid to sleep/nap, even at someone else's house. We went to visit my family after Christmas last year even with me being really poorly and I went up and napped in their bed a few times. Obviously this has changed now but what i'm trying to say is it's okay to *step outside* for a while.
  • Just go all out Christmas! Movies, fairy light, tinsel, angels, gaudy Christmas jumpers, baubles, advent calendars, Christmas stories and, of course, a good old Christmas album. I've been listening to Now That's What I Call Music! Christmas 2013.
taken from Attack of the cute
I hope this has helped some what, i know this is a bit Christmas orientated but all of these tips can be altered for daily life or other events.


27/11/2013

Tip #6

taken from http://www.esoftload.info
We didn't really do social media up until around a month ago but now we understand why people use it so much! Seriously, it's a great way to keep in touch with people and keep up to date with the down low. All our social media links are in the right hand collumn on our blog, take a look.

25/11/2013

Funny Mondays: Parenting, you're doing it right.

O.M.G. It is bloody freezing! But if you snuggle under a duvet with a nice hot mulled wine, good company and this lovely blog you will find yourself feeling warm and fuzzy. So, this weeks Funny Monday is all around parenting, enjoy!
found on The Meta Picture
Wow. Hopefully we'll be keeping up to this level of awesome when we have kids.
found on Jokideo
This had us giggling, what a silly girl!

24/11/2013

2. Christmas bake of the week! 24/11/2013

 The key is in the name: Rudolph's Carrot Flapjacks. December is in a week, and we're definitely whacking that tree up! This is Laura time of year to turn into a real foodie, what more could you want than cinnamon, mulled wine and lots of custard? This week is a slightly healthier Christmas bake that would be perfect after stuffing yourself silly for a few days. Thank god for BBC Good Food.

The recipe was super simple and easy to follow so you won't be needing to slave away in the kitchen for amazing results. We added some water icing to ours to top up the sugary sweetness, yum. Laura loved it, that's all i can say.

22/11/2013

Floating on air: a LUSH bath melt review.

Seeing as Laura's been getting progressively worse, we thought it was time to bring out the big guns. Enter the Dreamtime Bath Melt. *Puts seductive voice on* "This is no ordinary Bath Melt, this is... Only joking! It is really nice though, your skin's so moisturised that you're like a slippery bar of soap and the smell will send you to cloud 9. 

Lush's luxury bath melts are made to give you the most moisturising bath you'll ever have, whilst containing the perfect blend of o'natural ingredients to make the perfect combination to knock you out. The main ingredient in this bath melt is Lavender, the best flower for relaxation (it's been used for hundreds of years to treat insomnia). It also contains Coco butter, Almond oil, Chamomile and Jasmine. The Coco butter and Almond oil is the reason your skin feels like a baby's bum, you will find these two ingredients in all of the bath melts. 


Laura absolutely loved this melt. For someone who has great trouble relaxing and getting to sleep this bar is perfect, in fact it's one of the only things that's worked for Laura. As soon as you drop it in the bath it turns the water to a scented cream, with little flower petals floating about. We'll definitely be getting this again! If you're really poorly like Laura and need to have a bath then this will leave you wanting to be a mermaid and stay in the bath forever.

20/11/2013

Frosty the snowman...

Warning: long post.

We are now in Christmas territory and for us we bloody love it! But, of course, Christmas comes hand in hand with freezing weather so we thought seeing as we did a keep cold post in the sweltering heat it's now time for some warming tips to be shared. Seeing as Laura has had Raynauds since she was young she's the best person to help you out with this, you're in safe hands. Here's our list for staying toasty:

  • Hats - They're magic. It's unbelievable how much of a difference popping on a beanie can make. If you buy a decent hat (ideally wooly) then it will last you for years and trap all that hot air that will leave through your head. Asos do a great selection of hats, especially the mens.
  • Gloves - Laura had over 10 pairs of gloves at one point and they were all well used. Little wooly gloves are perfect to layer up so it's harder to let all that chilliness creep in. If you can try to spend a little more on a really thick pair of gloves that will really keep you warm and last forever. Also, fingerless gloves (Laura has these) are great for indoors so you can still go about your daily business.
  • Scarf/Snood - I bought Laura a big snuggly snood a few years ago and she doesn't wear any other. Try to buy the biggest, thickest scarf you can find, you'll thank me later.
  • Electric blanket - We've been through a few of these, you have to be careful of faults otherwise you'll be a whole different kind of toasty! These are so good if you have severe M.E and are bed bound, just turn it up to a good temperature and put it over you under your duvet. We have this one. Laura used to have one that went under your bed sheet so you could put it on to warm your bed up.
  • Electric heater - Perfect for when you don't want to leave the warmth of your bath/shower. Most people can't afford to put the radiator on just for 5 minutes so we plug one of these in and put it wherever needs warming up to make hopping out of the shower bearable. Ours is very old (Nan gave it to us) but it does the job, you can find some here.
  • Wooly clothes - Half of Laura's wardrobe is knitwear, no joke. And she still manages to steal mine! Primark is cheap and cheerful but they still do cosy knitwear, fleecey pyjamas and those super cosy tights. Although, sometimes it's worth splashing out a little more for a really thick fleecey jumper which will get you through winter.
  • Hot water bottle - The old fashioned way of keeping warm, just fill it with boiling water and pop it in your bed for a cheap way to keep warm at night. Laura's Mum popped one in the bottom of a sleeping bag when we went to a firework display last year and it really worked (i wouldn't recommend doing that unless you're in a wheelchair though).
  • Hot beanie toys - Not only great for the cold they also help aches and pains all over your body. I bought Laura one a few Christmas's ago and it's falling to pieces after years of snuggles, but she loves it. These are surprisingly cheap too. 
  • Warm drinks - Whittards. Seriously good drinks in that shop. But, not many of us can afford to regularly shop there other than a treat, Laura's Mum bought her some Mulled Wine Instant Tea and she's been drinking it everyday. There's so many options out there that there will be something for everything, as long as it's warm and warms your cockles.
  • Soup - It's got to be Heinz Tomato Soup if you're not vegan, it's the classic comfort food. A good hearty soup does wonders, not only does it contain lots of vegetables to keep the cold and flu at bay but it's so easy to eat for all you poorlies out there. If you're ill and can't make your own then tins are great but nothing beats proper homemade soup with a chunk of fresh bread.
  • Coat - The cheaper clothing stores do great coats now but we would definitely recommend spending a little more for a better quality and weather-proof coat. If you're into fashion and like to get a new coat every year then fine but try to get it for cheaper and always have a decent coat that you'll be able to turn to for years. Last year i bought Laura a Fat Face gilet and even though it didn't have sleeves when we went out in the snow she didn't get cold. First. Time. Ever.
  • Hand warmers - Snap and you've got instant heat. Laura used to carry these around in her bag at school for when she got way too cold. You can find them everywhere now, we've just bought these Hello Kitty ones for Laura's little sisters Birthday.
  • Thick curtains - Insulation is key. You'd be surprised how much of a difference this can make. Unfortunately we don't have these yet but we're planning on buying the Blackout Curtains from Dunelm Mill when we move out.
  • Blankets - There's nothing better than getting into bed and snuggling up under piles of blankets. There are so many different types made of different materials, we like big thick tartan ones because they look awesome. We know that they're hard to store but if you buy some vacuum storage packs they will easily slide under your bed or the top of your cupboard.
  • Slipper socks - Big fluffy balls of comfy. Put a pair of these on and you will feel the difference. Primark, Primark, Primark. They sell so many big fluffy socks for pretty cheap and they do last fairly long. If you can't go to Primark due to illness then we bought these Polar Bear Slipper Socks for £12 from Next,  more expensive but so worth it.
  • Layers  -Upon layer, upon layer, upon layer. Laura's an expert in this, she's been known to wear 15 layers before (and still be cold!). A lot of thin layers is much better than one big thick layers, there's more walls for the air to fight for escape. It helps that layering is totally cool.
 We hope this has been helpful for you. Do you have any tricks to keeping warm? Have we missed anything? Comment below and tell us anything you want!

18/11/2013

Funny Mondays: Wiggle your moustache.

Seeing as it's Movember, we thought we would share some moustache related giggles. Movember is a great cause to raise awareness of men's health troubles which is very important for all the shy guys out there. So here's our contribution!
  
Found on Jokideo
If your men haven't grown a sweet little 'tache then they can join me next year and pick from one of these.
Found on short-jokes-quotes


This week we've got a keep warm post to keep you all snuggly, you might need a moustache!


17/11/2013

1. Christmas bake of the week! 17/11/2013

From now until Christmas all of our bakes are going to be of a festive nature to get you right in the mood of the season. We may even have bought Now That's What We Call Christmas... First up are our Ginger and Orange Fairy Cakes. This week, we're very excited to share one of our own creations, we hope it pleases you!

These were delicious and very orangey, yum! The cupcakes were surprisingly light and airy (power beating by me). We like to use a basic cake recipe and put our own little spin on it, as you would have read in the Baking Beauties Tag. So here's our first very own recipe to be shared on the blog!


Ginger & Orange Fairy Cakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:
8oz margarine
8oz sugar
8oz flour
4 eggs / fake equivalent
The rind of 2 oranges
3 tsp ginger

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 / 375f 
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, until smooth. 
  • Add the eggs and flour a little at a time until combined.
  • Stir in the orange rind and ginger.
  • Line 2 cupcake trays with cases and fill each case about 2/3 full.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • For icing, mix together sieved icing sugar and margarine until fairly thick. Then add the juice of half an orange and the zest of an orange. You will now need to add more sieved icing sugar until stiff. 


13/11/2013

Holidays are coming.

We wanted to get you in the Christmas spirit because we are definitely in full swing! You know it's Christmas when the Christmas adverts start, it's time to get excited. So, we know it's only November but we thought we'd share 2013's best adverts with you (if you haven't seen them already that is). Even you Scrooge's out there won't be able to resist these adverts.


First up is John Lewis. There was a lot of hype surrounding this advert, considering it cost £7 million to make it would be silly if there wasn't. Although not as emotional as the 2011 advert where the little boy can't wait to give his parents their presents or the 2012 advert showing the love story of the snowman traveling to get his lady a scarf.


Marks & Spencer gave well known stories a new make over with their Christmas advert. Somehow they managed to squeeze in Alice In Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Aladdin and The Wizard Of Oz. They didn't hold back (two of the most famous models in the world) but by jove, does it work!


Coca Cola adverts signify the beginning of the Christmas season for many people all around the world, it also means we get to drink Coca Cola from a proper glass bottle! This advert is awesome, they've taken clips from surveillance cameras all over the place to show the love people share with each other.


Our weekly shops are always done at Aldi, they're cheap but still have a high standard. Their adverts are always so cool and they've definitely continued that with their Christmas one. Watch it, we dare you not to smile. Look out for Aldi's little adverts too, they will make you chuckle.


The Tesco Christmas advert will make your heart melt. Tesco have been doing pretty awful with their adverts lately but the way they've made this is perfect (whoever came up with this idea; you're a genius). We love that it shows one family across the years and how all their Christmas' have been. This is how we see our future Christmas'.

11/11/2013

Funny Mondays: Doctors apparently know best.

Laura's met many a doctor but there are some real weirdos out there. Here's a little story for you; Laura's step-mum went to the doctors with back pain but the doctor didn't speak very good English so she couldn't understand what he was saying, this lead to her showing him her boobs when he asked to feel her back. Luckily Laura's Mum was there to translate and managed to save her from flashing her boobs! Here's some other funny Doctor things.
Left: Jokideo.com        Right: Pinterest.com
We hope we've brightened your Monday. And we're planning on brightening the rest of your week too! On Wednesday there will be a Christmas advert post to get us all in the cosy Christmas spirit, then on Friday there will be a keeping warm post to make sure you're not feeling worse due to the cold.



10/11/2013

Bake of the week! 10/11/2013

We're on a winning streak, some of my best bakes have been created in past few weeks. Laura is a very happy bunny! While looking for something to bake this week, we remembered a delicious tomato bread we bought at the Hampshire food festival a couple of years ago so we made it our mission to find re-create the masterpiece. Luckily we came across this recipe on HonestCooking.com.

This bread was in fact better than what we sought, jolly good. We've had trouble with tomato bread in the past, it never really tastes of tomato but this is the one. I am the master baker. This bread would go with anything; soup, butter, toasties, cheese, pasta, etc. It has a super crispy crust that's fantastic for dipping into your favourite bowl of soup. It's the type of bread that would look amazing on a wooden board in the middle of a family dinner. Win Win.

09/11/2013

Baking Beauties Tag.



Written by Laura.
So, we had no idea what to post about today so we thought we'd do something a little different and do a tag. This tag is the Baking Beauties Tag from Water Painted Dreams and it seemed perfect for the amount of baking that goes on in  our household.

1. What is the first thing you remember baking?
For me, it was fairy cakes with my Mum, we'd get those cartoon stickers to stick on the top and i loved it! Michael thinks he first baked in a cookery class in school but he has no idea what it was, awful memory.

2. What was the last thing you baked?
The last thing i baked was my Mums birthday cake last year before i got too ill, it was an Amaretto sponge and just one slice made me feel woozy. Michael baked a Tomato and Herb Bread yesterday which we'll be sharing with you tomorrow.

3. Something you've always wanted to bake?
I've always wanted to try choux pastry but it looks quite hard and it'd probably end up in the bin. Michael's always wanted to bake with passion fruit (he's crazy for the stuff) so that will be a bake you should see on here in the new year.

4. Tell us about a time you baked something and it went ridiculously wrong.
One day i decided me and two of my younger sisters were going to make some fairy cakes but i got really confused and told them to mix it with their hands (like biscuits). Boy, did that make mess! Michael made some Pistachio Rolls a little while ago that went straight in the bin 'cos they wouldn't do anything they were supposed to.

5. Be honest, do you lick the soon?
In my family we fought over the bowl after Mum was done cooking, when one of us did get hold of it then it would be gone in less than a minute. Michael's not overly keen on it so the spoon is my pleasure.
6. How often do you bake?
If you regularly read our blog, which you should, then you know that Michael bakes once a week. On special occasions we bake a bit more. We love having a new bake to try out every week.

 
7. What baking success are you most proud of?
I made a lemon cake for Michael's 18th Birthday (picture above) an decorated it with the Superman and Batman logos, everyone complimented me on it. For Michael it was our last bake, the Cinnamon Rolls, they're his crowning glory. I'm sure that man could win the Great British Bake Off.

8. Do you tidy up as you go along or leave one big mess until the end?
I can't bake anymore but when i did i left one big mess until the end and Michael does the same, just tidying a little as he goes along.

9. Do you use recipe books or get them online?
We use both but tbh, Pinterest is the bomb when it comes to recipes. Normally, i pick a bake at the beginning of the week from food blogs or pinterest, although we are overflowing with recipe books.
 
10. Do you stick to the recipe or do you experiment a little?
We like to find a good recipe and then make variations of it, like the time we used a normal cake mix and split it, adding banana to one mix and jam to the other then topping them both with white chocolate frosting (picutre above). Now Michael does all of the baking he tends to stick to the recipe, but if it sounds wrong or doesn't go very well then he'll do what he thinks will work.
11. Who are your favourite food bloggers?
Michael doesn't read blogs but i show him the ones i really like so here are ours:  

12. What is your favourite thing to bake?
I love baking cakes, there's nothing better than beating cake batter when you're feeling a little stressed. Michael loves baking bread, it also helps that he's so good at it.

We hope you enjoyed this tag, we loved doing it! We'll be doing plenty more in the future so you can have a good nosey into our world.


06/11/2013

Tip #5

Picture taken from The Animal Rescue Site
If you can afford it then you need a pet! Seriously, when you feel so poorly there's nothing better than a furry friend to cuddle up with and it's so good for you psychologically. Yes, they like to bounce about and yes they do poop, but it's so worth it. We have 3 dogs and when i'm stressed or upset they're always there, people may laugh, but they do know when something's up. When i'm feeling especially ill they stay stuck to my side and keep licking me (which can get a little annoying) like they would to their own problems.Even a little pet makes such a difference, i know i certainly love when Michael brings my rabbit upstairs for a cuddle.  So, if you love animals, if you don't you're completely bonkers, then getting a pet is so good for M.E. Read more about our pets here.

04/11/2013

Funny Mondays: Babies are bringing it.

We don't normally do Halloween, but we thought we'd get in the blogging spirit and dedicate this post to all the awesome Halloween costumes everywhere. But, we're doing it our way which means lots of cuddly babies (whenever Laura sees a baby, she melts).


These photos are from Costume-Works. We dare you to click that link, you'll be lost forever.


 Laura       &       Michael

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03/11/2013

Bake of the week! 03/11/2013

Yum yum, in our tums! This weeks bake is glorious, crazy sh*t. Yes, it's a little more complicated than usual but it's well worth the wait and if you're like us then they'll be gone is less time than it took to make. Cinnamon Rolls! Another wonderful recipes from Averie's blog, although compared to hers ours are looking a little lack luster.

They taste and smell just like you would find in your good ol' local bakery, except you've got a load more to scoff. These do have buttermilk in which is a bit of a pain if you're vegan like Laura. But we found a way to make our own version of buttermilk through the wonders of the internet, just add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per 1 cup of milk substitute. In fact, even with a lot of vegan substitutes they taste just as good the norm! All you've got to do now is beg someone to whip them up for you, puppy dog eyes included.

Laura       &       Michael


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01/11/2013

October leads to snuggles.

The Summer has definitely turned into Autumn, and boy are we pleased! Snuggly jumpers, delicious candles and comfort food, add in a few films and you've got our perfect day.

This film really is epic.
9.5/10

This is an easy film to watch, great for when your brain fog is especially bad and would be good to watch with the family.
6/10

WTF?! We really are speechless about what to say for this one, it's is a very creepy film that'll get you forehead wrinkles early.
1/10
Boom. Pow. Whack. We really liked this film, it's definitely our type. Who doesn't love giant robots fighting giant monsters? This films also got a good bit of drama chucked in to make this a truly magnificent film!
9/10
Another film added to the series and another easy watch. Nothing new here but if you're a fan of the others then you won't be disappointed.
7/10
Will Smith and his son do make a good team. This is a great action film but we do think there could have been more emphasis on how Earth has changed.
8/10

Baaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. We love minions, who doesn't? We were told this wasn't as good as the first but personally we think this rocks.
9/10

We were so excited to watch this and we weren't let down. It's a must see for all comic book fans (if you read this blog then you'll know we're crazy for a good superhero) and will leave you on the edge of your bed.
9/10

This film was made out to be something it wasn't, maybe it would be scary for younger teens or people like Laura's Mum who scream when they drop a pen!
5/10

We hope we've encouraged you to get watching in the chilly winter months, we know we love to snuggle up and let our imaginations run wild.

Laura       &       Michael


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