It's my life, but not as I knew it!

I love Christmas, I love food and I love baking and, although this blog is not primarily about me, these are things I have spent more than an ordinate amount of time thinking about in recent weeks.

The Christmas ads are out; cosy, happy ads showing us all the delicious family foods we could spend our holidays tucking in to. Normally I watch these salivating and planning which foods to buy and which foods I would want to try making. This year I am watching them with different eyes; eyes which are starting to understand the magnitude of someone not being able to eat what most other people can. 

As of October this year, Biscuit was diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease. This was after years of being convinced that she wasn’t absorbing her food properly, months of toileting troubles (leading to embarrassment and a dip in her confidence) and goodness knows how long of discomfort, cramps and tummy pain for my beautiful little red-haired girl. 


For those of you who are not ‘in the know’ about Coeliac, here is my little run-down; Coeliac disease is an auto-immune condition, meaning that the immune system mistakenly see substances inside of gluten (the protein in wheat, barley and rye) as a threat and attacks them. This leads to damage of the villi (finger like projections in the small intestine) which affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food ingested. It is not an allergy or an intolerance. 
When Biscuit eats gluten she gets very constipated, with a bloated and uncomfortable tummy. She also feels very tired a lot. There are lots of symptoms (it’s worth checking out Coeliac U.K. for a list of symptoms) to watch out for, as some of them can seem quite non-specific. That’s why it can sometimes take a long time for a diagnosis to be made. It is important that a diagnosis is made as potential long-term complications of untreated Coeliac disease include osteoporosis, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies and it can lead to certain types of cancer.

The treatment of Coeliac disease is the following of a strict gluten-free diet. This is done with the supervision, support and advice of a dietician. 

So this is where we currently are. We have decontaminated the entire kitchen (cleaned it for top to bottom, sterilised the chopping boards and got a new toaster), got rid of all food containing gluten and refilled the cupboards after visiting all the free-from sections in our local shops. I have spent time with the school inclusion officer (and provided her the Coeliac U.K. school pack) to help the catering company support Biscuit to eat gluten-free school lunches). I have become militant at checking labels! 

It has been a tricky year for us, and I have neglected this blog but we are back and we will be showing you all the gluten-free goodness (and not-so-goodness) we have managed to find during our Coeliac journey. 

Thank you for listening 

2016 so far has not been kind to us. In the past 5 weeks we have visited 2 hospitals and 2 GP practices on 7 separate occasions; my mum has broken her femur (thigh bone), Cracker has had 2 anaphylactic reactions (to, as yet, an unknown cause) and is currently battling a 40oc fever (again of unknown origin) and Biscuit has been struggling with more viral-induced wheeze. 

The majority of these illnesses, and the subsequent doctor visits, have taken place in the evening or at the weekend. As parents we know that our children are more likely to need a medical assessment on a Friday evening, after a full 45 hour week at work, or on a Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend. NB: if Jeremy Hunt doesn’t believe that doctors work at these unsocial times, let me tell you that they do. I have yet to walk in to an A&E department and been unable to see staff there. These unsocial visits have an impact on who looks after the other twinkle, work, family get-togethers, catching-up with uni friends (sorry girls) and, trust me on this one, family weddings. I know if you’re not living it, it is hard to believe how many things get cancelled or missed due to your little ones being unwell. I know where I’d rather be just as much as  I know where I’ve got to be.

Then there’s the stress of it. I have been nursing for 10 years now, but nothing prepares you for when it’s your baby sick and needing help. Rob always says that, in fact, it is worse for me as I have knowledge of the worst-case scenarios. I’m sure that the stress alone is enough to make parents sick, but you have to keep going for the child who is poorly (as well as the children who aren’t, but still need you). It doesn’t make you want to do anything bar relaxing at home (obviously whilst listening intently to the monitor for the slightest cough or sniffle)

I wish I could make Biscuit and Cracker 100% healthy, but until they get a bit bigger and hopefully a lot stronger we are going to have to deal with just how inconvenient ill health is. I only hope that our friends and family are patient enough to still be around when that happens….! 

  

As you all start preparing for your weekends, please let me tell you our story. 
This time last Friday my beautiful little man suffered his first anaphylactic reaction of the weekend. He was first assessed and treated by amazing paramedics (including one who managed to get a cannula in to a 3 year old’s veins whilst in the back of an ambulance speeding down Tottenham Court Road), then taken straight through to resuscitation before going to paediatric A&E and then spending the night on the paediatric ward. The same thing happened to us again after discharge on the Saturday. 

Our nightmare weekend started on Friday evening and ended on Sunday lunchtime; trust me when I tell you how unsocial these hours felt to me, let alone to the people working their shifts. During this time we were treated (because, yes, they looked after me just as much as him) by paramedics, consultants, registrars, junior doctors, nurses and student nurses, not to mention the porters, domestics and countless other people involved in hospital care. We experienced expert care, amazing treatment, and outstanding compassion. 

I have worked for the NHS for the last ten years (as well as 3 years previous as a student) and I know how hard we work. I know what is it like to be there at someone’s first breath and to hold someone’s hand at their last. I know what it is like to miss Christmases and birthdays (and countless family dinners). I have done 12 1/2 hour shifts with no time to eat, drink or pee. 

So Jeremy Hunt, I dare you to look at the story of how the NHS saved my son’s life (at a weekend) and the story of my working life and say that the doctors are “greedy”, that the paramedics are “ambulance drivers” and the student nurses don’t deserve a bursary. In fact, I challenge you to look me in the eye and tell me that the NHS is not worth fighting for.

#JuniorContract #NotFair #NotSafe #BursaryOrBust 

  

Hello and welcome to the last Trendy Toy Thursday of 2015. Once again, I thank you for your patience in sticking it out with us  since Biscuit and Cracker started school in September and our #TT_Thursdays became more sporadic. 

Our course this week has a Christmas theme, how could it not?! We love anything and everything about Christmas in our house. 

  
Biscuit and Cracker are both wearing jumpers from George at Asda. They were bought by their godfather Paul, and are absolutely fabulous! They go together as a pair really well and, surprisingly, there wasn’t even any fighting over who would wear which one! 

  
Biscuit decided that she was a “princess elf” because of the jumper coupled with her beautiful red, tutu skirt from Zara in Italy. We bought it in January thinking it would be perfect for Christmas, and it is! She has paired that with her elf Slugs and Snails tights. These are the exact same ones she wore this time last year, they just last so well! And her sparkly shoes purchased from Zulily have made another appearance!

Underneath her jumper is a brilliant Minion Christmas t-shirt from Primark, which declares “Santa, I can explain”! 

  
Cracker is a little trainee Father Christmas. He paired his jumper with some tracksuit bottoms from Marks and Spencer. Now he is choosing his clothes more and more, he will always go for tracksuit bottoms or shorts; like his mamma for loving comfort! At least they’re relatively smart ones! He is, as he always is, wearing his Lightening McQueen Crocs (we can’t get him in anything else when he’s not in school). 

His t-shirt is another Santa body one (like his jumper) from Primark with “#Santa’s number 1 fan” on it! 

  
All of us here at Casa Biscuit and Cracker wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

To look at more of the last of 2015’s Trendy Tot Thursdays then please go to  The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex to see what everyone is wearing this unseasonably warm winter! 

My, life does seriously get away from you sometimes! I was all prepared to go with this Trendy Tot last week (12/11/2015) but totally forgot to post it. It wasn’t until first thing Monday morning that I had that face-palm moment. Sorry about that, it is why this post would have made so much more sense last week! 

We do not have an Asda near us. However there is one in deepest, darkest South London (relatively near my work) so I did get an opportunity to go in after work. And that is where I found these lovely pjs!    

 I grew up watching BBC Children In Need, and never failed to be touched by the images and stories told throughout the night. I had bought Cracker Pudsey ears and Biscuit Blush ears from Boots when they first came out. When in Asda I couldn’t resist the Pudsey/Blush pyjama bottoms for both of them. Cracker is usually hotter in bed than Biscuit so I got him the short-sleeved super hero t-shirt. Biscuit looks so beautiful in her amazing Blush long-sleeved t-shirt. Her pink slipper boots are from Joules and are perfect on these chillier days (Cracker wouldnt pose in his blue ones). 
I hope you enjoyed my rather belated Trendy Tot Thursday. Please keep up to date with the linky via Mother Geek and Clearly Bex; both of whom are much more organised than me and can keep up to date! 

Hi everyone! How are you all?

Having come from a huge rugby-loving household I have got really stuck in to the Rugby 2015 World Cup and have enjoyed watching it (even though we went out far too early for my liking!). 

Before the half-term holiday, Biscuit and Cracker had their very first non-school uniform day at school with the Rugby World Cup as the theme. 

  
Honestly, how cute do they look?! Biscuit and Cracker are both wearing England rugby tops, bought by Mammy and Mamps for the occasion. Obviously these are very hard-wearing and tough tops. As they are also half-Italian, they are wearing Italian tops from the 2014 Football World Cup underneath! We couldn’t say fairer than that! 

We teamed Biscuit’s top with her pink leggings from Boots. She was more than a little excited to be able to wear her Frozen Crocs to school as she still loves them. 

Cracker is wearing a pair of denim jeans from Primark with his top, as well as the Cars Crocs I struggle to get off his feet at any time other than school. 

Thank you for reading our #TT_Thursday. For more information, and for other posts please check The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex and look at their wonderful websites! 

We hope to see you very soon. X 

Hello! Remember us?! We’ve missed three weeks of #TT_Thursday, which is unheard of for us. I apologise; Biscuit and Cracker have started at pre-school full-time and so wear uniform all day and then get home and it’s straight in the bath and then in their pyjamas as they’re so tired. This current routine is not great for showcasing lovely clothes. 

Luckily, we finally managed to get out and about last weekend and here are the results. 

  
  
Biscuit’s gorgeous dress is from a brand called ‘Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve’, which I found at T K Maxx a little while ago. It is short-sleeved (worn here with a long-sleeved t-shirt from M&Co for warmth), beautiful embroidered front and a delicate blue flower pattern on the skirt. It also washes surprisingly well (I’ve even managed to wash chorizo sauce out of it) and Biscuit thinks she’s a princess in it. Her flower headband is from Next Children, it was bought for my brother’s wedding and I wanted her to wear it more than once!! Obviously she has on her Frozen Crocs; she has missed these having to swap them for school shoes most of the time! Goodness knows what we’ll do in winter. 

  
Cracker makes no secrets of his absolute love for Disney Pixar’s Cars, so when we recently popped in to Primark for harvest festival clothes and he saw this short-sleeved Cars t-shirt he really wanted it! I teamed it with a long-sleeves grey t-shirt from Mini Club at Boots for warmth and he picked his new grey shorts from Blue Zoo at Debenhams to wear with it. You can’t see them, but I think you can guess what shoes he has on- yep, his Cars Crocs

Thank you for bearing with us through this huge period of change. I hope to be more organised on our weekend and be able to show you when Biscuit and Cracker wear when we aren’t totally exhausted in the evenings!!!! 

For more Trendy Tot Thursday you know what to do; pop on over to The MotherGeek and Clearly Bex and see what other Trendy Tots are out there (there are a lot of them). 

Thanks again Cx