No Bake Energy Boosting Date Balls

Raw food and no baking is becoming very popular. I am always experimenting in different ingredients to make healthy nutritious snacks for my children.

When I was diagnosed with Cancer last year, I researched what food the body needs to help fight those bad cells. As a family we changed our diet and now consume more foods that are not baked and that are raw, with no added GMO and organic. Does it help? I don’t know but it tastes good and we do feel more healthier.

These energy balls are mostly made from medjool dates that are high in fibre and an energy booster. They are simple and quick to make and are super healthy.

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Ingredients:

  • 24 Medjool dates (or similar) de-pitted
  • 2 tbsp refined Coconut oil
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 2tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp organic cacao powder
  • 3 heaped tbsp organic oats
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1tbsp chia seeds

Method:

Place the dates and coconut oil into a blender and blitz to a paste, add in a little bit of water to smooth it up.

Add in the peanut butter and ground almonds and blitz to combine it all.

Empty into a bowl. Mix in the cacao powder, maple syrup, oats and chia seeds.

Place in the fridge for half hour.

These balls are quite oily because of the coconut oil.

Take out of the fridge and take a heaped tsp and shape within the palm of your hands to make a ball.

Wrap each ball in some cling film and store in the fridge.

 

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These balls are ideal for grab and go food as they are stored in the fridge and wrapped in cling film it makes it easy for the children to grab a healthy snack when they need one.

They are high in fibre, minerals and vitamins promoting a healthy bowel. They also provide energy for people who suffer from anemia.

As long as you have the base of the dates and coconut oil you can experiment with adding in different ingredients. Our next one we are going to add in desiccated coconut or even roll the balls in the coconut or cacao powder. You could even add in dried fruit.

Thank you for reading 🙂

 

Our tricks to make children feel better when unwell #VicksTricks

This post is an entry for the #vickstricks campaign

The cold and flu season is well and truly on us. It’s that time of year when the snuffles, aches and pains begin to surface. Not that there is any particular time to catch a cold as it seems my children can come down with the symptoms of a cold any time of the year.

Being a family of five, when one comes down with the sniffles, we all do. It can go round the family faster than Usain Bolt running 100ms. Working in a school myself, I can be sneezed in the face up to 10 times in one day. I understand the importance of keeping our immune systems strong in order to fight any nasty germs that may want to enter our bodies. That is why we make sure that we eat our five a day to keep our immune systems healthy and we always drink lots of water. I have to be extra careful not to catch any nasty bugs going around due to the Cancer treatment that I have received. Radiotherapy can damage many of your organs and cause many problems like lowering your immune system. I make sure that we take multivitamins and cook with fresh ingredients, adding in garlic and turmeric which help with fighting bad bacteria

When our children are feeling poorly, as parents we try every trick in the book to keep them entertained and make them feel better, especially when they need to be back in school so that they don’t miss out on too much class work.

Britmums have set a VicksTricks challenge, they want to know what I do to entertain my children when they are ill and make them feel better, as well as wanting to hear what my parents did to soothe me when I was young and not feeling too good.

I was sent a parcel to help me with this challenge. Inside was a story book, a selection of fun finger puppets and a bottle of first defense.

Firstly as a family we try our best to stop a cold from developing. As soon as I hear a sniffle or a sneeze we do the following

  • Drink as much water as possible. Warm water is best and always place a slice of lemon into it to flavour it up but it also helps strengthen the immune system. Keeping yourself hydrated will help the congestion and keep the nasal passageways clear

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  • Take a tsp of warm honey in the morning. This helps with sore throats and reduces the coughing
  • Up the intake of fresh fruit especially apples, bananas and oranges. Did you know that one apple has an antioxidant effect equivalent to 1500mg vitamin C. Bananas are a good food source for fatigue and help keeps our bones strong. A good way of getting all this goodness into the children is by a smoothie. Blend it all up and drink away. I also find that if the child helps make the smoothie they will be more inclined to drink it especially if it’s a funny colour. This helps support the immune system.
  • Mug cakes are ideal to make with the children. We make one made from bananas, peanut butter, cacao and honey. Not only do they taste good but they keep the children entertained without stimulating them too much, the least sugar the better. They are nice and warm and healthy too.

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  • Place some Vicks Vaporub on the underneath of their pillows and rub a little onto their backs. This helps them breathe a little better, which is always worse at night when they become congested up from laying on their backs and helps them drift into a good nights sleep. It has one of those smells that you remember from your child hood and it is a staple product that is always in our bathroom cabinet

Vicks Vaporub Infographic

  • For us adults, at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat we drink our special home remedy of garlic, ginger, lemon and honey in hot water. Sounds horrible, tastes not as bad as it sounds but works well.

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  • Also plenty of rest helps our bodies fight the infection. We always bring the bedding down to the sofa, turn the tv on and watch a good feel good movie.
  • Lots of love and affection. There is nothing more than a cuddle from your parent when you feel under the weather. Research shows that a kiss and cuddle from a parent can releases oxytocin and endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ neurochemicals. I am 38 yrs old and still to this day yearn for a hug from my Mum, it makes me feel warm and loved.
  • Time together. When snuggled under the blanket, with a hot water bottle and vicks vaporub rubbed onto the back we lay down and read a book. We often fall asleep before we finish it but sleep plays a good part of the healing process. Children do not need anything that will over stimulate them when they are feeling unwell. Company of a loved one is enough. Colouring is always very good too as it relaxes the children and takes their minds off of the sniffles and sneezes

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I remember when I was a child, my Mum used to give us a glass of warm milk before bedtime whilst she read us a story. The one thing i will never forget is the time she spent with my siblings and I when we was ill, she would keep us busy when our strength was back with making crafts or baking cakes.

Vicks believes that traditional love, fun and laughter are the key to comfort your children when they aren’t feeling themselves. That’s why Vicks have developed a series of sharable #VicksTricks magic videos that are simple, easy and great fun to replicate at home! Laughter is good for the soul, just as Katherine Mills explains in this magic video. watch what she does with a banana

Vicks consumer research looks at the most common home remedies with British parents. Here are the findings:

• Over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better
• This was followed by ‘medicine’, which 40% of parents rely on
• More than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC
And when it comes to keeping children entertained:
• Three out of four (75%) British parents put on the TV or a DVD
• Over a quarter (27%) read to their children
• 1 in 10 parents get really creative; either telling jokes (8%) or even do magic tricks (2%)
Family Psychologist Corinne Sweet highlights that “one of the most powerful antidotes to sickness developing further, is parental care and concern.”
Corinne advises that “listening to a story or watching a film is a good idea, as it is soothing and promotes laughter (an immune booster). But don’t let them play video games, watch scary films or spend hours on screens. This will keep their minds over-stimulated, when their immune systems need gentler stimulation and rest.”
Laughter and Love is the best medicine needed to gain strength to fight bad bacteria oh with a little help from Vicks Vaporub too 😉
This post is the entry for the #vickstricks campaign. Photos and words are my own. 

 

 

Homemade No Churn Coconut Ice Cream

Love ice cream but you have no ice cream maker to make some in! No worries. Ice cream can be made without the use of a machine, just with a little patience

Homemade ice cream couldn’t be easier. I have always been a little worried that It wouldn’t turn out as nice as a churned ice cream but I was proved wrong last week when the eldest and I made up a batch for the first time of Coconut ice cream. It was simple to make and tasted incredibly delicious.

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Once you master the basics of making ice cream you can then go on to invent your own flavours, becoming more adventurous with the flavour and texture. I have previously tried making ice cream from bananas, which tasted lovely but i wanted to try it another way.

This recipe is so creamy and smooth. You will be making up batches every day.

You will need:

  • A tub to store your ice cream in
  • Hand held electric mixer
  • Tin of condensed milk
  • Carton of double cream
  • Tin of coconut milk
  • 1tsp Vanilla essence

Method:

  • In a bowl pour in the double cream. Using a mixer or by hand whip the double cream until it begins to thicken
  • Add in the condensed milk and whip again
  • Fold in the coconut milk
  • Add in any flavouring or colouring
  • pour into you tupperware tub and place in the freezer

The ice cream will set around the edge first so take it out after an hour and stir to combine it all. Repeat an hour later.

Leave to set over night.

You are now ready to serve up your treat

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We added banana slices into our ice cream. For my next batch I am going to try ginger and cinnamon.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Phantom Boy DVD Review and Giveaway

Phantom Boy is a highly anticipated new film from the Academy Award-nominated writers and directors of A Cat In Paris is a stylish noir caper, set in the shadowy streets and alleyways of New York.

A touching story of an 11 year old boy, Leo who discovers he has a special power that he uses to help lieutenant Tanner fight a very dangerous villain,The Face.

Leo has a secret. A mysterious illness has transformed into a phantom boy, able to leave his body and explore the city as a ghostly apparition. While Leo is in hospital, he befriends Alex Tanner, a New York cop who got injured whilst attempting to capture a nefarious gangster who has taken control of the city’s power supply, throwing the metropolis into chaos. The pair unite and form an extraordinary duo, using Leo’s phantom powers and Alex’s detective work to foil the plot and save New York from destruction.

Alex and Leo are both in hospital both different reasons. Leo is in for treatment for hos illness and Alex is in a wheelchair with a broken leg, hurt from attempting to capture The Face. Leo is able to become invisible and fly through walls, his body stays still whilst he has an outer body experience. Leo is a big fan of the Police and couldn’t wait to introduce himself to Alex and help him save Mary, a journalist, who falls prey to The Face when she goes in search of him. With Leo in the air and Alex on the ground they become quite the fighting pair. They have 24 hours to save the City from a deadly computer virus.

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The film is very touching, portraying Leo as a brave young man. It is an action packed, simply animated and a heart warming film.

It has its humourous moments from the villains trusty side kicks and vicious tiny dog, Rufus. The film shows us about the power of teamwork, friendship, family, and courageous acts of kindness. Leo’s illness pulls at the heart-strings yet The Face and his gang bring humour to the film.

My children aged 14, 9 and 5 all enjoyed watching this simple animated fantasy film and found it to be entertaining. They were engaged the whole way through. Leo spends a lot of time in his hospital bed due to his illness and gets the freedom that he yearns by becoming phantom boy. He feels free from the disease by soaring up high in the sky over buildings and flying through walls.

Phantom boy is a beautiful story but also a brilliant superhero film and will leave you feeling warm inside.

Released on DVD 13th February 2017

The film features the voices of Fred Armisen, Vincent D’onofrio and Jared Padelecki.

I have 3 copies of the film to give away. Just enter via Rafflecopter below.

Competition ends 21/02/17 12am

Uk entries only please due to postage

Winners will be picked via rafflecopter

Prizes will be sent out directly by the PR company

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dear Cancer I’m not ready to Die

I hate writing this. But this is how I am feeling at the moment.

With tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart.

I think about who I would leave behind

I dread the thought of being told that I am going to die.

I have always feared death. Always cried about dying. Having children made it all become a little bit more real.

Having Cancer has made it all the more real for me. It has made me think more and more of death.

Right or wrong. Positive or not. You can not allow your brain to not think of it.

I have three beautiful children who I adore so much. I have so much to give them. So many more memories. So many more cuddles and kisses.

I want to be able to see them grow into handsome young men.

I want to see them graduate from University

I want to hold their hands through the good and the bad.

I want to watch them fall in love and enjoy life

I want to watch them walk down the aisle and I want to hold my grandchild in my arms

I am not ready to die.

I am not ready to leave my family behind to cope with me not being around.

I have so many more bumps and bruises to kiss better

So many more bedtime stories to read.

So many more experiences to enjoy with my boys

Death is a horrible thing and I know we all will die eventually. This has always scared me. I’ve always been upset about leaving my children, young or old, behind.

Coping with having Cancer has made it all real.

I am not ready for my body to give up. I am not ready to leave my boys without a Mummy.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know. Its how I am feeling. It’s what I am thinking.

It’s in my thoughts all the time. I don’t want it to be there. I want to enjoy the time I have with my family.

So many people tell me to enjoy my life, but It’s so hard. Cancer takes over.

I want to take control of my thoughts and body. I do not want it to win.

Am I feeling down? Am I depressed? YES

I want to be healthy and I want to live a long and good life

I want my children to enjoy growing up with their Mum around to guide them and teach them right from wrong. What Mum wouldn’t?

They need a strong Mum and a happy one.

I will carry on fighting with every inch of my body for the sake of my boys. I will try to keep strong and not allow them to see the weak me, the depressed me, the unhappy me. I will not let this defeat me without giving everything I have.

 

 

 

 

 

Bowel Surgery My Story Part 1

It’s been a long, hard struggle, but fingers crossed I’m on the road to recovery.

I was admitted into hospital last November 9th, for a scheduled bowel removal operation. I was in good spirits as i arrived to the hospital at 7am in the morning. I had my suitcase packed with a few essential items of clothing, magazines, books and a few snacks for the evenings whilst I was in hospital. I was due to stay in for 7-10 days but all depending on the rate of my recovery. I was told by my surgeon that there wasn’t many risks to the surgery for someone as fit and healthy like myself.

As I laid on the hospital bed waiting to be called into theatre, my surgeon came by to see me, I was in a positive mood and was hopeful that my surgery would be a success. I had tried hard not to think too much about the surgery but had researched the type of surgery I was having. I knew that my rectum was going to be removed as the tumour was sitting on the sphincter muscle, which meant if the rectum was left intact then I would not be able to control when I wanted to release my stools. My surgeon shook my hand and told me that I was first into theatre. I got dressed into my gown and had a last minute trip to the toilet before being wheeled into theatre.

I remember the lights were so bright, everything seemed to be gleaming. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed in theatre and the nurses and anaesthesist running around me, all doing something important. They all seemed to be really busy and I was just sitting there like a little lost lamb. Not sure what to do or say. I remember watching the nurses gather together the surgery tools, placing them onto a trolley, all lined out in a specific way and thinking how shiny and sharp they looked. I took a bug gulp. A deep breath and closed my eyes. I thought about my children at home and how they would be feeling today, how they would wake up and notice mummy not there. I remember a nurse coming over and fitting in a cannula to my hand and a needle into the base of my back (I believe this was an epidural, but I’m not sure). I remember the anaesthesist commenting on how calm and collected I was. How I seemed to be composed and ready. I didn’t feel it. I was then told to lay down. And that was it. I can not remember anything more until I woke up 6 hours later

I was in a different room this time, different people running around me. There was a nurse sitting on a chair next to my bed. When I opened my eyes she asked me how I was feeling. I felt fine. I felt no pain. I felt OK. I didn’t want to look down at my tummy, I didn’t want to see what they had done. I remember feeling hungry and thirsty so the nurse went and got me a yoghurt and some water. It felt so good to eat it.

I had a catheter to help drain the bladder of urine. I also had a colostomy bag on the left hand side of my abdomen. I had a drain attached, coming out of my bottom collecting blood/fluid. I also had 3 little incisions where they had performed a laparoscopy to remove my rectum and lymph nodes.

My parents had come with me to the hospital that morning and I hadn’t seen my Mum since they wheeled me down to theatre, I wanted to let her know I was OK. A nurse told me that My parents were waiting outside in the waiting room and wanted to know how I was. I wanted to see them but they wasn’t allowed through to the recovery room. After an hour or so they were allowed to come through and see me for a quick cuddle and to see how I was. It was good to see them, I held them tight

At about 6 in the evening I was taken upstairs to the surgery ward where a bed was waiting for me. I don’t remember much, I was very tired and kept drifting in and out sleep. Paul was with me and then it was time for him to go home. I didn’t want to be on my own. I slept. I awoke in the middle of the night in immense pain, screaming out to the nurses for help. I can not describe the pain but I remember it being so strong, I was crying. I wanted it to stop. I don’t even know where the pain was coming from, I just know that whatever the nurses gave me it wasn’t strong enough to take it away.

I don’t when, but they hooked me up to a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) where I was in control of when I administered morphine for the pain by pressing a button. This way I was able to control my pain whenever I needed to.

I don’t remember when I got up and out of bed. The days went by in a whirl. I slept so much. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I asked the nurses if I could get up and walk around but they said that I needed to be assessed by the physiotherapy team first.

I remember asking to get out of bed so I can sit in the chair. One of the nurses helped me out and then just as he was walking away I remember feeling really weak, sweating and then nothing. I must have blacked out. The next I remember was being carried into my bed and being hooked up to a saline drip. I believe that my blood pressure was low and that is why i fainted after getting out of bed.

I wanted to try again. I wanted to get better. But I was so scared I would faint again. I felt weak.

Days went by and I was soon feeling stronger. I was eating and drinking but not enough. The food was horrid. Tasteless.

My parents came to visit everyday. My mum helped me wash and when I gained enough strength to get out of bed she helped my shower. I hated seeing myself in the mirror. Who was the person looking back at me. A thinner, weaker version of myself.

My boys came in to see me, but I didn’t want them to see me so ill and weak. My eldest son came to visit after school, on his way home. Most days he would just sit next to my bed holding my hand whilst I slept, other days we would talk about school and his brothers. I hated seeing the hurt in their eyes. I would cry when they went home. I wanted to gold them close but my wounds and stoma meant I couldn’t have them close to me incase they knocked the tummy.

Where my rectum had been removed I had been stitched on the bottom. I wasn’t allowed to sit on my bottom for longer than 10 minutes. It felt weird. I had to keep moving from one side to the other every half hour. Sleeping was uncomfortable. My pert bottom was gone and in replace was a disgusting looking flat piece of skin that covered some bones.

It took over a week for the stoma to start to work. I was told I was constipated and that I needed to drink more but I just couldn’t take in anymore that what I was drinking.  I was given an enema to help. My first stools were watery. I was taught from the stoma nurse how to change the bag and what equipment to use. It didn’t seem too bad.

I was told what I could and couldn’t eat. So much of my normal diet was a no go. I went off of food and could only manage a few mouthfuls at a time. I began to feel sick and started to throw up whatever I was taking in.

I wanted to go home so much. I wanted to be with my boys. I hadn’t seen much of them whilst I was in hospital. So when a doctor came round to see me two weeks after surgery and asked me if I wanted to go home, I obviously said yes. I knew I was being sick but if they thought I was well enough to go then I was happy to do so.

We waited around for the discharge papers. Two hours later I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and ready to set off home.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t stop here. Read part 2 later on this week. 

Thank you for reading.

Mini Marathon Trials 29/365

It’s that time of year again when we stand out in the cold weather and watch our eldest boy compete for a place to represent his borough in the London Giving Mini Marathon.

He is quite lucky as he can choose between the borough that he lives and the borough that he goes to school in. 

Today he attended the trails for the borough that we live in. 

He ran well and yet again made us proud. I love watching him run as his passion for the sport has grown within him the past year. He has always enjoyed running but only the past year he has really enjoyed it. Taking himself out for runs after school and competing in a few races for his school and running club.

He managed to gain a place on the boroughs team today, so the next 1e weeks he will have to train hard if he wants to do well.