Help! Baking bread – in need of ideas please! GF and student proof!

I have just done my first gluten free ( and a few other frees!) Christmas!  For various health issues I have had to alter my diet this year – another post for another day, but I shall just say I was feeling really ill! – and am learning as I go along, particularly with gluten and lactose.  The supermarkets are catering more and more with “free from” ranges, but some of these seem to me to be ridiculously expensive whilst others are a downright con…..check out the equivalent to certain things in the regular aisles and they are already gluten free and a fraction of the price.  Rant over….

Shot Code C

Google Image….not my own, yet!!


Anyway, hubby had a brainwave and suggested to my lovely in laws that they buy us a bread maker for Christmas – the idea being that we will make our own gluten free loaves.  However I think it will be hijacked by other members of the family, particularly the student engineer who has been almost singing that he will have fresh bread every day.  If you could hear him sing, you would know that this is not a good thing for the rest of us – nor has he taken the machine out the box yet to attempt his daily fresh produce.  Silly me, that is what mum is for!

Lemon drizzle

Lemon drizzle with Cranberry & orange jam, beneath batter

My dodgy body parts have meant that I haven’t managed bread yet – although I did bake some Victoria sponges and lemon drizzle using my own cranberry & orange jam as gifts for family and friends before Christmas.  Being inventive with limited income means uses talents you know you have sometimes!! Last year the festive jam in mini doughnuts worked a treat!

Anyway my blogging friends – I wonder how many of you bake using a bread machine, and who can send me some foolproof gluten free recipes?? Not forgetting something for the student engineer!!

Look forward to your ideas,

Claire x

P.S:  My Rickshaw challenge is nearing the end and I hope to complete 150 miles on the exercise bike – not bad considering how much of December I have been laid up.  All donations for Children in Need gratefully received – thanks x


Monday Magic – Christmas Blogs for You!

We are now well and truly into the countdown for Christmas, PainPals, so it seems only right that Monday Magic for the next couple of weeks will become Christmas blog posts for you!  Here in the UK the old song “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” is very true as a blanket of snow has enveloped great areas of the country.  The snow here south of London hasn’t settled, but other parts of the country have ground to a halt with schools and Christmas markets closing, ice rinks shutting and grid lock on the roads.  Those of you in other parts of the world accustomed to snow must look at us and laugh…..

Pin for later

Christmas Blogs 1

So it is bitterly cold – pretty awful for the nerve pain – the Christmas tree is bought and just about decorated and the outside lights are up…..but only half are working! Aghhh.  This weather is pretty grim for us spoonies and believe me that the cold and damp really do make a huge difference to our ability to do things.  Friends, please still ask us to parties and carol concerts, but don’t be too upset if we have to bail at the last minute. I for one will always get to a party if I can!!  At the moment though the cold, nerve pain and spinal cord stimulator are doing a manic battle in my back and leg!

On a family note, for those who sent such lovely messages when I wrote about my lovely girl and her friends’ exams – she did really well and is so pleased.  So fingers crossed for next summer.  Meanwhile the art coursework takes priority….


Sketchbook street scene by Lucy

I have really enjoyed reading some fantastic Christmas posts over the last few weeks and have pinned many.  This is a selection of just a few – they vary from traditional recipes(check out the slow cooker hot chocolate – gorgeous), a Christmas book review, gift ideas for the family and for those with chronic health, ways to keep stress at bay and some classic Christmas movies. But to start off I’d like to direct you, with some mulled wine or cider in hand, to a Christmas limerick….enjoy!


Pictures from Oriana’s Notes website


Picture from Play Pennies website

As always friends and bloggers – please share the goodwill by liking, commenting and sharing these posts.

Have a great, warm week!

Claire x

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

This weekend has been one of Remembrance in so many places across the globe.  With Saturday being the 11th November, it was totally fitting that the Lord Mayor’s parade in the City of London started with the playing of the last post and a 2 minute silence.  In true UK style, the weather was miserable – I can’t remember the last time it was fair for the Lord Mayor’s show!!  Sunday however was a beautiful, crisp day as the veterans and current serving forces gathered alongside politicians, members of the public and the royal family for the service at the Cenotaph.  The oldest veteran attending, a 99 year old former Royal Marine Ernie Searling, sent a heartfelt message to the world – “I feel very humble seeing so many hundreds of men and women on the parade today. So very, very humble, particularly those who are not with us on this day today… All I hope is that the future generations could see this parade, see some solidarity in it. See that the betterment of mankind in England, especially Great Britain, should be at its highest level. We don’t want street fights. We don’t want arguments. We don’t want racial injustice. All those things are horrible!” He brought a tear to eyes in our lounge.


Former Royal Marine Ernie Searling

Over the last week the BBC have been broadcasting a series of programmes celebrating and highlighting the roles women have played in war over the last one hundred years – Women at War 100 Years of Service.  – currently available on the iplayer.  It is difficult not to be inspired by the young women of the World Wars who were trailblazers for so many careers that women had previously not been able to undertake – and I would imagine that this is the case in other parts of the world when the men were on the front line.  Some of these women, now elderly ladies, recounted tales of their training and deployment – as radio operators, munitions workers, pilots and engineers. These women paved the way for both women in the forces and in the workplace generally.

My first inspiring blog for you today follows this theme and gives thanks on Remembrance Day – but the others have a mixture of themes from midlife crisis (me!!) to migraines to books & disability to Christmas baking & gifts!  Not on quite the same par as WW2, but I think that you will enjoy these inspiring posts and urge you to grab a drink, take a seat and enjoy.


Image fro The Recipe Hunter

As ever please share this post and these posts if you enjoy them!

love Claire x

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Monday Magic - Remembrance




Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!


I am shattered today, PainPals and those pals not in pain!  Saturday was the day for the big reunion – that is 3 decades – 30 years since we left school.  I’m not quite sure which timescale sounds better!  How did that time pass so quickly? I remember my grandma telling me to value every day as the older you get the faster the time flies…but as a youngster I never took any notice.  Put together a group of people, some who haven’t seen each other for said 30 years, but who grew up together during those important teenage years….and it will feel like yesterday.  Similar theme to last week!

I was worried on Saturday morning for 2 reasons – firstly would anyone turn up and secondly I was feeling extremely POTSIE with the shakes and snow vision and forgot to take my midodrine pills with mine!  But on the up side about 20 people turned up over the course of the day/evening….and whilst I spent the first part of the day in my wheelchair the adrenalin seemed to kick in and I was able to stand for periods in the pub, sent out for my pills (good old Duncan) and was still in the pub for dinner in the evening.  It is amazing how you can push yourself when you need to and when you want to.  I find that it is about picking the occasions wisely to use your spoons, as it isn’t possible to live like this every day when a chronic illness is your constant companion.

The feedback has been fantastic – we had a great day renewing old friendships, reminiscing (being thrown out of choir, altering the wording on the carol service leaflet, sending Valentine cards, hockey, rowing, detentions for pranks…..the teachers) but also learning how everyone’s lives have moved on.  We had doctors, a headmistress, lawyers, an acupuncturist, a sports coach, a teacher, a horticulturist, an entrepreneur….the list goes on. Families have grown..and shrunk. Life goes on!

Class of 87 pic

Class of 87

So whilst I have had to sit back due to a self imposed inability to stand, I have found some new blog posts for you.  This week we have blogging posts, a yummy looking recipe site, a musical tribute and the feelings encountered when a pet is found to be very sick.  I am delighted to report that my list of blogs I have shared here has grown to 230 and many of these have been featured several times.  What a wonderful community you are!

Hope you have a cuppa in your hand, an hour to sit back and the enthusiasm to enjoy and explore these fantastic blogs.

Please, please share, pin, like, comment to let our bloggers know that you have enjoyed and value their writing. Have a lovely week!

Claire x


Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Welcome back, pain pals, for another week and that means another Monday of inspiring blog posts that I have found for you.Monday Magic

I’m not going to write about the ups and downs of life in the Pain Pals house here this week – I still need to write a proper post about genetics, my lovely girl and i can now include our new family handbook….more of this later, I promise!

The dislocations have been fast, furious and very regular over the last week and severe gut pains after every meal have both left me fatigued and sofa bound……but the good news is that I have spent time finding and reading some great new blogs.  I have picked some posts here and they range from chronic illness depicted as sweets, to body image, to a review, to some delicious looking frozen treats – perfect for the summer holidays (if only the sun would come back!!).  If you are a mum of a daughter, or indeed an adolescent daughter, you must read Dear Little Girl With the Smart Mouth – it made me laugh and cry….and read it to my teen girl!


Image from jthreeNMe blog

So….grab a cuppa, sit down and unwind with these great, inspiring blog posts.  Please, please make someone’s day with a like, a follow, a share or even better a comment!


Image from My Fruitful Home website


Claire x