Hospital Waiting Room – Scanxiety

As I sit here in the waiting room

Memories come flooding back

Tears sting my eyes, as they fall onto my cheek bones

I spent too many hours here

Moments of dread

Fear

Not knowing

I’m waiting for my yearly scan

Since having the tumour removed last November I must have a CT scan once a year

The last one I had, I can not recollect

Back then there were so many days that seemed to run into one

I spent 7 weeks in hospital, being prodded and poked every day

Being wheeled, in my bed, downstairs into the radiology department and left in the corridor waiting for my name to be called

I remember being in so much pain, that with every movement of the trolley it ripped through me

I remember crying and praying that the scans would be clear

After having the tumour removed, I ran into complications and had to have a further operation

But still, weeks after that operation the doctors had no answers as to why I was still in pain and why the bowel was refusing to work

Scan after scan, but still no answer

Today, I sit here and the memories of my time there came flooding back

Feeling the fear again, trying to control my breathing

Telling myself that all will be well

That this time is different

Entering this hospital, takes me back to diagnosis time

The day a black cloud entered my world

Having scans is an anxious time, especially for cancer patients

It’s a time when you hold your breath, awaiting the news that you’re in the clear or that the tumour has shrunk or that you’re stable

After, sitting in the waiting room for an hour, I eventually get called in

With this scan I have to drink 4 glasses of water prior to the scan. Then a canula is put into a vein ready for the iodine to be flushed through my blood stream

This is a horrible experience, as the iodine runs through the system, I can feel my body heating up. I almost feel like I have wet myself

It always makes me feel very sick as I get that copper taste in my mouth

Within a few minutes it is all over

The experience maybe, But not the anxiety

Now I await the results

I now need to focus on positive things

I will not allow the anxiety to take over

I tell myself that all is in the past and I have a bright future

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Make Your Own Mouthy Trick Or Treat Bags for Halloween

Are you ready for Halloween? Whether you’re ready or not, I can bet that your children are already planning what they are going to wear and how they want the house decorated ready for the many trick or treaters that will be knocking on your door.

Help your children collect their goodies in these spooky trick or treat bags. Which are also ideal to give out to any spooky guests that may turn up at your door

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They are simple to make and a fun activity for the children to do over the half term

You will need:

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  • Paper bags
  • Acrylic paints or felt pens
  • Scissors
  • Black marker pen
  • Pencil

First cut away the handle from the top of the bag

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Then place your hand on top of the bag, in the middle with your fingertips touching the top and mark with a pencil either side of your fingers (little and pointing finger)20171015_113139

Now draw in your monsters mouth – this will be your new handle

Once your mouth in place you can then draw your monster. Be as spooky as you like

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Why not draw a zombie monster or a spider?

Choose the colour and paint your monster, think bright colours like; orange, purple, green and red.

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You can design both sides with different characters or just do one side.

Add sparkle in with some glitter, paint it with glow in the dark paint or even some googly eyes

Now you’re ready to fill the bags with goodies

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Have a spooktacular Halloween 🙂

 

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Bungee Jump Experience – The Ultimate Rush for a Teenager

Bungee Jump – The ultimate energy rush, the perfect gift for any daredevil and thrill seeker.

My eldest son is 15 and buying gifts for him is becoming harder every year, although he is very easily pleased and doesn’t really ask for much. I wouldn’t say that he is a daredevil but he certainly likes to experience the wild side.

Leaping 160 ft from a crane, watching the ground rush towards you at a speed of 60mph, attached to nothing but a bungee cord, isn’t really something that I would fancy doing but for a young teenager it’s certainly a very attractive activity. There are no special skills needed, just courage.

I booked him onto a 160ft jump from a crane that is set up near to the 02, London. This isn’t far for us to travel to and is an ideal spot for some lunch after or just a stroll along the River Thames.

We arrived in good time for him to be fully briefed by one of the experienced instructors, before being kitted up and securely fastened into the bungee cord.

He sat in line and watched the previous jumpers leap to the floor. Getting more nervous as he moved along the chairs, getting closer to his turn.

It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and it was a clear blue sky, perfect for us to watch and for him to jump in.

It wasn’t long and it was his turn.

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He was taken up to the top of the crane in cage and once at the top it was seconds before the cage door opened and out he fell, plummeting to the ground only to bounce back up again, dangling by his feet. I half expected to hear him scream, but he was very reserved and held it all back, Or maybe the force of the air in his mouth stopped him from making a sound.

Once he was lowered to the ground he was taken by the shoulders and guided to a mat on the floor where he was taken out of his cord by two instructors.

 

Jak says: “I was pretty nervous, even though I knew that nothing could happen to me I was still anxious about the experience and what to expect. The view from the cage at the top of the crane was amazing, but I didn’t get to look at it for long as I was soon guided over to the edge. I was told to stand still and put my arms directly out in front of me at 90 degree angle. They counted down from 3 and gently pushed me from the edge. I was told not grab anything as I fell from the edge of the cage. As I fell to the floor, it felt like  I was staying still and the ground was moving up towards me, however the feeling of falling was still there. I think the best part of the jump was seeing the 02 upside down. I almost felt like my heart had stopped until the moment I was pulled back up by the cord. It was an experience not to forget. I had a blast and almost wished that it had lasted longer.”

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It was the perfect gift for him and I was so proud that he approached the experience with such maturity and gallant.

Jak gives the day a big thumbs up

I booked the bungee jump through Buyagift costing £59, the minimum age of the jumper is 14.

Photos courtesy of Bungee UK

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5 ways to get your children drinking more water

Keeping children hydrated is important as they are less heat tolerant and are more likely to feel dehydrated, especially when they are doing physical activities and hot days. Children, especially younger ones need to be encouraged to have a drink as they are more likely to go through the whole day and forget to have one.

When my children were babies I always encouraged them to drink water in between milk times and I carried on that as they grew older. My children are very active, so I always like to have water readily available for them to drink to keep them healthy and energised.

Did you know that the amount of fluid a child needs to drink depends on many factors including their age and gender, the weather and how active they are? Children aged 5-11 should be consuming about 6-8 glasses of water a day.

A recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetable juice should be limited at one small glass (150ml) and they should really only be drunk at mealtimes. The best choice of drink to keep hydrated throughout the day is water – this doesn’t provide extra energy or risks them harming their teeth

My 5 top tips on getting your children to drink more water:

  1. Make sure water is readily available-When we are out and about I like to fill up a sports bottle with water and take it with us. I always carry one with me, so the children get a drink all the time, it also ideal to fill up from a water station when empty. Buy a water dispenser for the home. We have one in our kitchen, placed near to the edge of the work top. The children help themselves to water when ever they feel thirsty. We bought a Kilner one from Dunelm Mill, but they are available from lots of shops
  2. Be persistent. Keep offering them water, especially during and after being active. The more you offer it throughout the day they will eventually become accustomed to drinking it and get into the habit of remembering themselves
  3. Add in some flavour with fresh fruit and vegetables. We like lemon and lime but you can add in strawberries, melon, pineapple, mint, cucumber and berries. You can even freeze the fruit in slices and add them into the water to cool down as well as giving flavour
  4. Offer food that has a high content of water. Fruits, vegetables, smoothies, soups and even pasta and rice absorb water as they cook. Homemade ice lollies and ice cream are a great way of introducing more water to a child
  5. Remove temptation. Stop buying juices and fizzy drinks (or hide them away from the children) they will soon start drinking water if there is nothing else to drink. We still have juice but they are no added sugar types and are at the back of the cupboard away from there little hands.

Remember children will do as their adults do. So, if you drink water then they will too!

How do you encourage your children to drink more water? Please leave a comment below 🙂

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Luxury Chocolate Workshop with Red Letter Days – Review

*****Warning – this post contains the word ‘chocolate’*****

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to a chocolate making and tasting workshop by Red Letter Days at My Chocolate. The event was being held at My Chocolate Shoreditch, London. Although, they do have other venues available in London, Brighton and Manchester.

The workshop was ran by two chocolate connoisseurs, one who did all of the demonstrating and one who was preparing the chocolate and utensils for us chocoholics to use on our chocolate making.

I arrived fashionably late due to travel problems, so when by the time I had arrived they were already 20 minutes into the first part of the evening, which was preparing your very own indulgent chocolate martini. I was greeted at the door and was directed to the sink where I washed my hands first and then shown to a table where a few of the other attendees had already began creating the martinis. I believe that were shown a technique called ‘wagging the tail’ where they used a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the martini glass to decorate it before mixing up the chocolate vodka in a shaker.

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It tastes as nice as it looked. Very much like Irish Cream. They were creamy, rich and one could definitely drink one after another. What a treat! Very much-needed after the train journey I had just encountered. The smell of indulgent chocolate wafted around the room

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Whilst we gulped sipped at our chocolate cocktails, we all stood around the demonstration desk and watched how to make our very own oil infused large chocolate button.

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We was guided on how to place the chocolate onto the paper and how to infuse it with flavoured oil.  The chocolatiers made a huge milk chocolate heart decorated with dark chocolate, using the ‘wagging the tail’ technique again and then using the other end of the spoon to create a marble effect. The expert made it look so easy!

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Back to the tables we went, ready to create our own masterpiece. I chose to make a four-leaf clover and infused it with lemongrass oil. The oil is very strong and only a couple of drops is needed to add the taste to the chocolate. It was very hard, but I resisted, not to lick the spoon, as we was going to be using them again to do the marbling

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I chose dark chocolate, as that is my favourite – the darker the better! The marbling wasn’t as easy as it looked. I think my finished button looked a bit like a toddlers drawing rather than an exquisite chocolate, it was definitely authentic and handmade.

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By now, the only evidence of our chocolate vodkas was the empty glasses on the table. They were soon replaced with a glass of prosecco.

Once we had made our chocolate slab, we was ready to move on to the next part of the workshop, Truffle making. Now I have attempted to make truffles at home before as presents for the children’s teachers and they were a nightmare to make, I had cocoa all over me. So, I was looking forward to this part of the workshop to find out where I went wrong.

We was shown how to make them first by the expert chocolatiers and a helper from the other attendees and then we was sent back to our tables. For this part of the workshop we had to get into pairs.

Firstly you mix the chocolate with double cream, stirring it quite rigorously until it starts to set and become thicker – this is your Ganache. Then you place it into a piping bag ready to pipe out little chocolate slugs or wizard hats on the parchment paper. Once all of the ganache has finished, you wait for them harden.

This part of the workshop brought lots of giggles to the table as we quickly became aware that out little chocolate ganache slugs looked more like little emoji poops. Although, It didn’t matter what they looked like at this point as they were soon to be moulded into truffles.

Once we got the hang of how to hold and pipe the bag, it was quite easy.

And once they were all done, our glasses got topped up by the very nice lady at My Chocolate with Yet more prosecco

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The evening was definitely activating our tastes buds – chocolate and booze!

The chocolatiers tutor was what really made the experience enjoyable, she was fun, humorous, interactive and full of chocolate knowledge.

Whilst we waited for the Ganache to set we was treated to a talk about the history of chocolate and how it is made. We also got to taste 90% chocolate. We was tested on our taste bud knowledge of recognising dark or milk chocolate and taught on how to feel and smell the quality of a chocolate. High quality chocolate should smell strongly of chocolate and the texture should not be gritty or waxy.

The sound that your chocolate makes when snapped is a good indication of the quality of it. Good chocolate has a clean, crisp, sharp snap when broken and milk chocolate tends to bend, because it contains more sugar and milk

After our little fun lesson in chocolate it was time to get dirty with the truffle making. On the tables was a selection of topping to decorate our truffles with; honeycomb, cocoa powder, coconut, salt, raspberry swirls, white chocolate swirls and berry dust.

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This was definitely the time to get creative, release the chocolate demon in you and dig in. First we rolled our ganache into a ball, then coated them in some cacao powder and then dipped them into more chocolate. Before they set I added some of the toppings. Some of our ganaches were a little on the small side so I added two together and at the same time pressed in some raspberry dust and salt into the middle as a surprise when bitten into.

We made quite a mess of our table

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But it was most definitely a sign of a good time. I really enjoyed the whole evening. We got to wrap up our chocolate creations in some cellophane and ribbon to take home. My chocolate goodies didn’t last long once I arrived home as they were eaten by all in the house. the chocolates were mouth-watering and tastes as good as they smelled

The whole experience lasts for about 2 1/2 hours . It’s a great gift for someone who loves chocolate or even as a hen party. I may add that we did not prepare the chocolate- temper it, as that process takes a while. We did the decorating and producing of the truffles, buttons and martini.

Currently priced at £98 for two people on Red Letter Days Website

I was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received

 

 

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Raw nutty (Snicker) Bars Recipe

A raw food diet is about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives. It’s a great way to cleanse the body, your skin becomes a lot clearer, you will have a lot more energy and it improves your digestion. It means cutting out refined sugar and only eating food that is raw or heated up in a dehydrator that is below 110 Fahrenheit.

I took the steps to removing refined sugar from my diet over a year ago. I did miss the sugar taste at first but after a while my taste buds changed – for the better.

Raw food doesn’t have to be all fruit and veg, you can still enjoy deserts and treats.

Making raw snacks are easy to do and have a fulfilling taste. Take a look at our raw date bars here

These little bars of goodness are so delicious full of nutty flavours with a rich deep, dark chocolate

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Ingredients:

Base
125g ground rolled oats or oat flour
125g ground cashew nuts
60ml maple syrup/rice syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Peanut Caramel
350g dates – medjool
95g merdian smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
40g peanuts-raw
20ml water (if needed)

Raw Chocolate topping
100g coconut oil
60g cacao powder
4 tbsp maple syrup (50ml)

Method:

  1. Make the base. Grind up the oats if you do not have oat flour in a blender. Add in the cashew nuts with the coconut oil and syrup – if like me, your blender is too small then grind the oats and cashew nuts separately and then combine a bowl with the coconut oil and syrup. It should be the consistency of dough, but not too wet. Press the base mixture into a square or silicone tin. Place into the freezer to set.
  2. Make the caramel. Blend the dates, peanut butter and coconut oil together – I blended the dates first and then mixed in the peanut butter and oil. Chop the peanuts into pieces and add them into the mixture (you could keep them whole if you prefer) Add on to the top of the base and place back in the freezer.
  3. Make the chocolate. Melt some coconut oil and in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Mix together. Pour on to the caramel and place it back into the freezer to finish setting. Leave for a few hours or overnight. Cut into chunks.

Raw snickers need to be stored in the fridge or freezer as the chocolate melts.

These little snicker bars are so tasty and very Moorish. You get the creamy texture from the base and caramel, the sour bitter taste from the chocolate and sweetness from the dates and syrup.

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Getting bowled over at Num Noms Series 4 Launch Party

Just over a week ago the boys were invited along to celebrate the launch of series 4 Num Noms at All Stars Lanes in Shoreditch.

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Although Num Noms are predominantly branded towards girls, my son loves to play with them. He sees beyond the female orientated branding and really enjoys playing with the Little collectible characters. He doesn’t see it as being just for girls. So, when we received the party invite, I had a very happy little boy who could not wait to meet the new Num Noms in series 4.

Nums are little squishy characters that smell like their namesake and Noms are lip balms and stamps.

Series 4 bring a new menu of cute characters and delicious smells. Not only are there a new mix of sweet scented adorable characters but there are also scented nail polish and flavoured, glitter lip gloss

We arrived at All Star Lanes and was given a time slot for our game of bowling. We was taken up stairs to a sectioned off area where there was lots of different activities for everyone to try.

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As soon as we entered the room, the boys quickly noticed the sweet cart, the aroma was already wafting through the door (just like the sweet smell of Num Noms).

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 17.09.17 London, UK. Num Noms event at All Star Lanes, Shoreditch, London. FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs
© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 17.09.17 London, UK.
Num Noms event at All Star Lanes, Shoreditch, London.
FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE.
Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

The room was kitted out with helium balloons and Num Noms channel being played on the big screen. As we walked around we found that there was a little play area full of num noms, a nail art area where you could make up your own nail varnish, a craft area, face painting and biscuit decorating. Once the boys had filled up a bag of a mixture of yummy sweets they sat down at the craft area where they got to designing their own little character by colouring in the sheets and adding stickers.

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We had about an hour until it was their time to bowl so they sat down on the cushioned mat and played with the Num Noms on the floor. They had fun piling them up on top of each other and seeing how many of them they got to until the tower of Nums fell to the floor

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They even placed them all in a line. Series 4 Nums are totally yummy! They are all inspired from baked goods: Cookies, Creme filled, fancy cakes and milk shakes

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There was a few tables set up for nail varnish making. Series 4 bring the new Nail Polish Maker, which includes everything you need to make your own scented polish. Along with the Cafe playset, there are polish base, colours and glitter. My boys didn’t show much interest in playing with this set but they did pinch a ready-made polish nom and gave me my very own little manicure20170917_120534

The varnish goes on very well but it does come off just as easy too.

The biscuit decorating table was very popular, so as soon as there was a space the boys made themselves comfortable at the table and waited patiently to be shown by the expert on how to decorate their Num shaped biscuit.

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Following the instruction and taking on what he had been taught by the biscuiteer, the youngest produced a very impressive iced biscuit. He was firstly shown how to pipe the icing into lines and dots, learning how to control the piping bag. Once he was confident in trying himself, he chose the colours that he wanted and got started.

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The biscuit was then put to one side to set and ready to collect later on.

After all the playing, it was time for the food. I must say, that it was very tasty. We was served up a selection of mini burgers, rice balls, mini hot-dogs, fresh fruit and chocolate brownies

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The boys were actually a little shocked when they bit into what they thought was a chicken burger, to find that it was in fact grilled cheese! The food really did play a little game with the taste buds. My favourite had to be the little rice balls, they were so creamy and flavoursome.

It was soon the boys turn to hit the alley and knock down the pins, in a game of bowling. They really enjoyed getting a little competitive against each other. Each attempting to get a strike every time they rolled the ball down the alley.

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We finished the day off with some face painting/tattoos.

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How good are they? We did notice that some of the other attendees had gone for some glitter tattoos, my boys chose little Nums with a little glitter added on for that extra sparkle.

After 2 and a half hours of fun-filled activities and filling their faces with some delicious food it was time to leave.

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Thank you Num Noms for a lovely day, we really enjoyed ourselves.

Look out for the new Num Noms series 4 in the shops.

© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 17.09.17 London, UK. Num Noms event at All Star Lanes, Shoreditch, London. FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE. Photo credit: Simon Jacobs
© Licensed to simonjacobs.com. 17.09.17 London, UK.
Num Noms event at All Star Lanes, Shoreditch, London.
FREE PRESS, EDITORIAL AND PR USAGE.
Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

We was invited along to the event for the purpose of this post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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