Monday Magic – Inspiring posts for Halloween!

Good evening – yes, I know, evening, Pain Pals!  I am just about managing to make this a Monday Magic post, having spent yesterday and today asleep after The Book Club party on Saturday – I could tell you that it was over indulgence, but sadly these days it is just down to fatigue.  Those of you in the know appreciate how hard it can be to do anything – and believe me when this mum doesn’t even care what is going around her in the house (yesterday) things must be dire!! But a good time was had by all and we came away with some fantastic goody bags full of TBC author books – all arranged by the lovely Tracy Fenton (TBConFB and Compulsive Readers blog).22886045_10156006115356495_3468543215709480442_n

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The lovely Tracy Fenton – we got the cake there in one piece, just!

 

Anyway feeling a bit more human now, and noting the date…..I thought I would have a flick through some of the fab groups I belong to and find my favourite Halloween inspired posts.  There are some spooky books, scary films, ghostly doughnuts and a haunted Indian fort.  My personal favourite as a baker is the Brain cake! So it is time to sit down, grab your favourite tipple and enjoy some All Hallow’s Eve fun!  As for me…on the topic of all things eerie, I’m off to start season 2 of Stranger Things!

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http://www.imagineeredvacations.com/the-ultimate-disney-halloween-2017/

http://www.annanuttall.com/6-ghost-books-for-adults/

https://thephilfactor.com/2017/10/24/top-ten-tuesday-the-ten-scariest-movies-of-all-time-3/

https://jaipurthrumylens.com/2017/10/28/bhangarh-fort-ghost-haunted-stories-rajasthan/

https://butterflyinremission.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/funnybones-my-halloween-flashback-nostalgia/

https://www.momtrends.com/2017/10/delicious-healthy-candy-swaps-halloween/

http://www.natalieshealth.com/2017/10/halloween-ghost-vanilla-donuts/

https://justanotherblogfromawoman.blog/2017/10/26/halloween-playlist/

https://www.yourvetonline.com/halloween-top-safety-tips-keep-pet-safe/

https://fancypaperblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/how-to-theme-a-one-year-olds-party-for-halloween/

https://www.judyedwinamartin.com/couple-of-halloween-limericks-witch-and-werewolf/

https://marriedcatladysite.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/decisions-decisions/

http://www.sherbakes.com/2016/10/step-by-step-tutorial-on-how-to-make.html

Halloween Brain cake

Image from Sherbakes.com

Please like, comment and share anything you enjoy!

Claire x

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Nobody said it would be easy – cake, life and curveballs

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Tonight is the 3rd birthday for The Book Club on Facebook – a fantastic group that I belong to full of authors, reviewers and readers.  Basically book people.  Yours truly has been making the birthday cake over the last few days and with a shoulder slipping in and out of socket it has been no easy task!

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Of course I have been too ambitious and I always start with an image of the finished cake, and then am disappointed in my results.  This has taken me longer not just due to my lack of a right arm – yes, I am right handed – but also down to the design and needing to let it harden in phases.  More of that later.  It has made me draw parallels with expectations of everyday life – don’t worry I’m not going to get too deep here.

But how often do we set out with expectations of how an area of life will turn out only to be disappointed.  So many people talk about their life plans from university to careers to marriage to children etc, etc.  But life has this habit of throwing in a few surprises and curve balls along the way doesn’t it? Isn’t this true for everyone?

Life with illness – be it chronic, acute, mental or physical – is something few of us can anticipate and much less embrace.  When I set off to nursing college as an eager 18 year old, I never dreamed that life would turn out like it has.  But then I guess it is a good thing because with each setback it is so important to be able to get back up, brush yourself off and continue.  If I had known when I had major back surgery at 21 that by 38 I would be heading for medical retirement, I might not have tried so hard to get myself back on my feet and back to work.  I loved those years nursing and I think that I was a pretty good nurse.  If I had known my genetic diagnosis – Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – and all that it covers aged in my teens, I might not taken up rowing and then gone on to nursing – probably the worst things I could have done but great experiences.

But then some of the curve balls can be pleasant surprises.  For me probably the biggest surprise was falling pregnant when I had been told I would never conceive naturally.  The tiredness, anaemia and nausea/sickness turned into a pregnancy when my GP carried out a PAP smear and informed my cervix was blue – a classic sign of a 13 week pregnancy apparently!  I was taking HRT and had gone for a check up ahead of a new job – but came out as a mummy.  A huge curve ball, not in the game plan but fantastic (although I wasn’t saying that half an hour ago when said babe, 21 years on, created havoc in the kitchen with a pot of pasta on the stove!).

Being Mum

The surprise. aged 4 weeks….now a cover board on Pinterest!

I suppose what I am getting at is the importance to strive hard but also to accept that not everything will go exactly to plan…..and this is ok.  For me I’ve been thinking about the periods of needing to let my cake set before I can continue with it – living with chronic illness has these periods when fatigue hits and symptoms flare equalling a need to rest and pace.  Wait for the cake to set!  Don’t rush it, don’t take short cuts because there will be some sort of pay back.  In my experience this is life – illness or not.

So back to the cake….it is for a book club, so clever clogs here decided to make a stack of books.  The individual books were made – one chocolate, one Victoria sponge and one lemon – and then the icing covers started.  This is where the patience and waiting was required and I’m not good at this part!  Then last night came the final assembly of the three tier cake to form a stack of books……it wasn’t completely straight forward, there have been a couple of corners broken, some scaffolding was required and this morning some patch were required to plaster a few stress fractures.  The result is a stack of books that are not altogether straight and definitely look like they have been well loved if a little dog eared.  Not so different to life, I’d say – starting with high expectations (nothing wrong with that and I am not saying they should be lowered), hitting a few bumps along the way, the odd curve ball and maybe the finished product not quite as expected, but nevertheless created and to be made the best of.  Not always easy to do or accept, but as the infamous anonymous quote says “Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it..”

Will let you know if this holds for the cake when it is tasted, as for comparisons with life….what do you think?

Nobody said....

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Another week has flown by, there have been yet more storms – why did ours in the UK get the name Brian? – more Brexit and the increasing #MeToo campaign.  In our house we saw the end of the German exchange as our lovely girl and her friends’ student partners returned home.  Absolutely exhausted!  The girls are now coming down off a high and the start of half term is a bit of an anticlimax, particularly with mock exams looming.

Our girl is studying art – you probably know already as this proud mum has posted pictures, much to the disgust of my girl – and has a portfolio to work on and also a sketchbook for an interview.  The house is destined to filled with paints, charcoals, paper and panic!  I am doing something this week that I don’t normally, but I’d like to shamelessly introduce you to some other talented youngsters – the triplet daughters of an old school friend.

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Art By Three

They have  been featured on Sky Landscape Artist of the Year, and are currently working with the UK’s National Trust on the Scotney Old Castle campaign. Whilst not strictly a blog post, I have included both their website and the campaign site as I strongly believe we should support and nurture young talent – I am not asking you to donate but to take a peek, maybe follow them on Facebook and Instagram…..

The other posts are all fantastic and range from an article that fits with the #MeToo campaign but stems from a personal story of surviving from Illness to Wellness, to acupuncture at My Migraine Life to social well being from a new blog to me Little Adventures NZ.  There are a couple here that are particularly great reads for you ladies – I love the look at Envy on Wendy Fairy Art – and all you mums and dads must read “My Husband Doesn’t Help” from the Coffee Mom.  It is not what you think it is!!!  Add in some OCD at The Thyroid Damsel and what more diversity could you want?!

So it is that time to grab a cuppa, turn your mobile to silent and spoil yourself with some great reads.  Please comment, share and follow some of these lovely people if you enjoy their work.

https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/scotneyoldcastle1010campaignwithartbythree

http://www.artbythree.co.uk/

https://littleadventuresnz.com/puzzle-piece-series-social-well-being/

https://wendyfairyart.com/fairieartblog/sistership-wound-called-envy-deal/

 

https://www.thecoffeemom.net/2017/10/20/husband-doesnt-help/

http://notebooksandglasses.com/sitting-disability/

http://coffeeandcarpool.com/be-less-stressed-as-a-special-needs-mom/

http://thethyroiddamsel.com/?p=310

https://mymigrainelife.wordpress.com/2017/10/22/does-acupuncture-work-for-migraine/

https://illness-to-wellness.com/2017/04/07/showing-up-for-sexual-assault-survivors/

https://thepainfreelife.com/life-interrupted/the-death-of-a-marriage-the-year-that-changed-everything-part-1/

Have a great week,

Claire x

Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! 23 Oct

 

 

 

 

Suzie Speaks Blog Party!

Another fantastic link up party for us bloggers hosted by Suzie Speaks….well worth a visit!

Suzie Speaks

Welcome to my blog party!

I haven’t hosted a blog party in a very long time, and there are a few things that I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate:

  • Suzie Speaks hit 20,000 collective followers a little while ago
  • I am getting married next week
  • Halloween is approaching

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Book Review Eva Jordan’s new novel “All the Colours in Between”

I was fortunate to be given an ARC via The Book Club on Facebook in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

I must be honest with you.  When I asked to review this book by author Eva Jordan I had not read the first book in the series, “183 Times A Year”, so my first stop was to do just that.  I read the books back to back so it is possible I may muddle some events, BUT the first thing that I would recommend is that you do read the first novel before embarking on “All the Colours In Between” for both maximum background and enjoyment.  I will try my best not to give any spoilers for the second book!

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The modern blended, extended family.  Marriage, divorce, teenagers, love, deceit, 3 generations, ex partners, friends, illness, flying the nest – this list is the tip of the iceberg of the life topics to be found in “All the Colours In Between”.  Lizzie is the mum, step mum, lover, daughter, ex-wife, friend and mentor driving the story of her family and the individual members life journeys.  She lives with her daughter, step daughter and son – all young adults by this book – and her partner Simon.  Her parents play a huge role in the family, along with her brother and his family and not forgetting the rollercoaster that is best friend Ruby.  The relationship with her ex, the father of Cassie and Connor, is strained at best.  But at this point Lizzie has become an author against all the odds – selling real books and featuring in the best sellers list – whilst in the first book she dreamed of this whilst working with books as a librarian.images (2)

In this book Lizzie’s daughters Cassie and Maisie have grown up, ditched their teen disguises, spread their wings and left home. Her son Connor has evolved from a lovely pre-teen into a grunting, hoody wearing, sullen sixteen year old.  I normally write a bit more about the plot in my reviews, but I really don’t want to give too much away.  Reading both of Eva Jordan’s novels gave me the same feeling that I had when I first saw the BBC comedy Outnumbered.  I was certain that someone had planted cameras in my household!  Of course as mum I identify with Lizzie – so much.  When she describes her conversations with her children and her own parents, I was shouting “Yes!”  The feelings of exasperation trying to get through to a teenage boy who looks like a man, is the size of a man, sounds like a man, and thinks he is a man yet is really a man boy – these could have been penned by yours truly!  The descriptions of her forays onto Social Media mirrored my own – my young adult kids shake their heads and ask themselves why they introduced me to it!

But Ms Jordan shakes up the commentary by writing different chapters with the voices of different family members.  In the first book she writes as Lizzie and Cassie for the majority of the time, and in this book Connor features to a greater extent too.  The Cassie of “All the Colours In Between” is older, slightly wiser, but still hilarious in her ability to use completely the wrong phrase or to misunderstand a saying.  Whilst her story is extremely dark in places, her love for her family shines through from start to finish.  Her description of a particularly stressful car journey with Maisy toward the end of the book is just hilarious – no spoilers, so no more!  Connor is that teen who feels misunderstood by all adults, is just experiencing sexual attractions, the pull of alcohol, spliffs and parties, yet is still damaged from the rejection by his father as a young child.  Maisy has moved across the world as true love struck, but when life took an unexpected turn (including a meeting with biological mum) it is her family who she returns to.Book Review - All the Colours In Between

I really could write an essay about this book, but needless to say I LOVED IT!  There is no sugar coating life here – relationships fail, family life is hard work to maintain, good things happen and shit happens.  Eva Jordan gives us it all in a way that had me laughing out loud one minute – particularly with Salocin, the grandfather – and then crying the next.  But no matter what life throws at them, this family will continue to grow and love each other….with some hiccoughs along the way. I cannot wait for the next instalment…..please, Eva Jordan!

Five golden stars from me.

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You

Welcome back to Pain Pals for what I hope will be a great week following a fantastic weekend! Those of you who have read my previous couple of posts will know that our lovely girl has her German exchange partner staying – an equally lovely young man of 15 and about 6 feet 3!!  We had a house full on the first night as we hosted all the English girls and German boys & girls to help break the ice; and then when hubby arrived home Saturday evening having collected from ice skating & bowling, I couldn’t help thinking “Bloody hell, my new car really is big” as the front door opened and a stream of teens came in.

There were 16 in total – and no it turns out that the car isn’t really a Tardis – but they were followed by a steady stream of takeaway deliveries from 5 outlets.  I can’t remember when, if ever our doorbell has rung so many times on a Saturday night! I just commented on an EDS Facebook group that a huge positive for us this week has been to see our normally angst ridden teen turn into a group organiser and hostess.  We had only been expecting 6 back on Saturday, but in order to avoid some breakdowns within the group our girl sorted them all (and took over our lounge ha, ha, ha) with tact and diplomacy to ensure everyone had a good evening.  Teenage relationships can be so tricky at the best of times, but throw in different languages, exchange partners paired who ordinarily wouldn’t be in the same friendship groups, one all girls school & one mixed sex, and the probability for issues is huge!  It has been interesting to see that the mixed sex pairings – like our lovely girl and lovely German boy – have been less problematic than the all girls – teenage girls and friendships equals another blog post entirely methinks!  The mixed sex group – 4 couples – went to Thorpe Park Fright Night on Friday and had a fantastic time. Not my cup of tea but they loved it.

IMG_3477As for me I am officially exhausted, typing one handed whilst in a sling again, but am officially one very proud mum having watched my girl blossom before my eyes.  Some might say turning into a chip off the old block – and even her eldest brother commented that the social awkwardness she professes to have is just not evident for the rest of us.  Today they have all gone to Brighton – the Pavilion, fish and chips, the beach and the lanes. Whilst the fatigue and dislocation have taken their toll, I have found some more fabulous blog posts for you to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

So grab a cuppa, kick you heels up and sit back to read some fab pieces, all very different but all inspiring.  I particularly love the Lush products review from Katie Cupcake and the beautiful piece about friendship from Happiness and Food. Enjoy!

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Photo from Katie Cupcake Life With ME

 

https://fictionisfood.com/2017/10/14/thoughts-on-nannowrimo/#more-4179

https://www.sp-bx.com/rick-and-morty-season-3-review-the-best-season-so-far/

https://clockworkclouds.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/can-you-overthink-an-idea/

http://katiecupcakelifewithme.com/review-with-me/lush-karma-spa-treatment-event-review/

https://www.happinessandfood.com/name-happy/

https://zebratalez.com/2017/10/15/10-social-security-disability-tips/

http://invisiblenotbroken.com/blog/2017/10/4/best-podcasts-to-listen-to-when-stuck-in-bed-with-chronic-pain

http://withoutacrystalball.com/2017/10/12/day-found-family-chronically-ill/

http://www.healthyeatingexperts.com/holistic-therapist-kicked-depression-said-bye-bloat-chronic-digestive-issues-naturally/

https://livingwithme.blog/2017/10/12/all-time-low/

Please comment, share and spread some love for your fellow bloggers.

love Claire x

Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! (1)

 

 

Inspiration Link Party: 10/13/17

Inspiration Link Party over on Danny’s blog Dream Big

Dream Big, Dream Often

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In an effort to continue to give back to the blogging community I want to host a weekly Inspiration Link Party.  The rules are simple:

  1. Leave a link to an inspiring post or a link to an inspiring blogger that you enjoy and believe others will enjoy as well (not your own).
  2. Leave a simple note as to how the post or blogger inspired you and why you believe others might find value in reading.
  3.  Try to link to posts that offer up an inspiring story or maybe demonstrate incredible courage.  The idea is to share posts in one place that can become a one-stop-shop for inspiration!
  4. Reblog this post to get as much inspiration spread as possible!

It is easy to complain about what’s going on in the world.  Let us see if we can come together and shine our light on others!

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Tips for Throwing a Party – from Julie at ME/CFS Self Help Guru blog

I might have mentioned in a post earlier this week that it is currently the return visit of our lovely girl’s German exchange partner…or more specifically the return visit of thirteen 15 and 16 year olds.  The British girls, led by our daughter, decided that they didn’t want to revisit the awkward first few days of getting to know you that they had in Germany – they have all kept in touch in the intervening months and wanted to fall straight into “having fun”.  So this meant all being together on their first night….but not in a formal setting of a restaurant….”really we just want pizza and music in someone’s house, Mum!”.

Hmmm……no prizes for guessing who hosted 26 youngsters on Wednesday night.  It did prove to be a great ice breaker and they were extremely well behaved (I think there was more noise last week with just 8 girls!). The lack of mess after a delivery of 10 takeaway pizzas, crisps and drinks was unbelievable.  Whilst I had little to do on the evening, the beginning of this week was busy and Thursday morning saw me have an incredible crash and symptom flare.  I am just so hopeless at pacing myself and saying no…..we had 4 staying last night after visiting Thorpe Park and I think there might be 6 tonight…..I think that I should have read this post by Julie a little sooner!!  Great tips here whether you are chronically ill or fighting fit!

13 Top Tips for Throwing a Party When You Have a Chronic Illness

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A couple of weeks ago, I turned 50 and I really wanted to celebrate with a party. I shared the following tips in a Facebook live broadcast on the day. But just in case you didn’t see that or you prefer to take things in, in writing, I thought I’d share them here too, with the added wisdom of a little hindsight and an extra tip!

  1. Remember you’re choosing the consequences!

Sometimes we can choose to do too much, we just have to be willing and prepared to deal with the consequences (and what better excuse than turning 50!) I planned lots of rest before and after the party. Although my parents were coming to stay a couple of days after, they were warned that I might not have done all the clearing up by the time they arrived and that I would probably have to take it easy. I was willing to accept not feeling on top form for a while afterwards and when I felt rough for a few days I didn’t resist or resent it.

  1. Only invite people you really want to spend time with.

I decided I would only invite people that I really enjoyed socialising with.

To read the remainder of Julie’s tips please visit ME/CFS Self Help Guru

World Arthritis Day – 2017

A Scottish Journey with Chronic pain

Today, 12th October 2017, is World Arthritis Day.

WAD

At some point in our lives, we will all be affected by Arthritis.  Whether that’s personally or someone you know, perhaps a loved one, we will all be affected at some stage.

With over 10 million adults living with Arthritis in the UK alone, that’s too big a number for this condition to be misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

“ARTHRITIS IMPACTS THE LIVES OF OVER 10 MILLION ADULTS IN THE UK”

But what do you know about Arthritis?  Is it a condition you know anything about?  Perhaps you have heard of it, but never really gave it a second thought?

So with this in mind, I thought I would share some information on Arthritis, perhaps this may help to give you a better understanding of the debilitating condition that so many people suffer with.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis describes a range of different conditions…

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Hello friends!  Welcome to another week on Pain Pals Blog.

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It has been a busy week in our house with wedding anniversary celebrations, my last governance meeting at our local primary school, a quiz night and all the usual comings and goings.  To say that I am feeling low on spoons would be an understatement, but I never have been very good at pacing myself or saying no!  However our lounge currently resembles a florist shop having been bought some beautiful flowers – 2 bouquets contain lilies which are just opening and are simply stunning. The downside is the pollen getting up noses and on clothes.

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We are currently living in a state of mixed emotions as we await the arrival of the lovely girl’s German exchange partner later this week.  On the one hand she is very excited to see the whole group again and the next minute she is completely stressEau de teened as to how they will all get on, will they have a good time…So – this is another fab example of me not being able to say no! – we are hosting the first evening that the German students arrive, that is 26 teens (half British, half German) in our lounge becoming reacquainted over music and pizza.  Our girl and her best friend happened to be paired with 2 young men who are also best friends – very handy! They spent most of their time in Germany together and I think that we will have a house full over the weekend as they visit Thorpe Park Fright Night & plan trips to London and Brighton!  I have spent this morning fumigating the politics student’s bedroom so that our guest can use it without catching anything.  Why do the rooms of adolescent males all have the same aroma? Eau – de – teen!!

 

Enough of my ramblings – I shall report back on exchange progress as the week unfolds!  Before I share my pick of inspiring posts for the week, I am going to shamelessly plug my book review that I published yesterday for Shelley Wilson’s book “How I Motivated Myself to Succeed” – please take a look and keep an open mind.  There are some great tips to be found.  But now find yourself a comfy corner and curl up to enjoy a really wide variety of posts this week.

https://marriedcatladysite.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/lets-do-something/

https://croneconfidence.com/2017/10/05/communicate-is-the-word/

https://wellsbaum.blog/2017/10/08/the-chemicals-between-us/

http://angelanoelauthor.com/guest-post/love-letter-memories-of-the-grandadest-of-grandads/

https://moderngypsy.in/2017/10/04/mindful-break-2017/

https://thechangeplace.com.au/product/diy-option-freedom-to-choose-self-paced-coaching-program-special-offer-copy/

http://www.balancedespitethechaos.com/blog/mecfs-exercise

https://findingmymiracle.com/2017/10/05/undiagnosed-chronic-illness-fire/

https://strengthandsunshine.com/gluten-free-vegan-chickpea-nuggets-allergy-free-grain-free/

https://achronicspoonful.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/a-new-neurologist/

Please like, comment and share these posts – support your fellow bloggers!

love Claire x

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