Tag Archives: food

Quiet festive greetings

I am going to be doing short posts between now and the 2nd January, sorry about that.

Have a lovely Christmas everyone or Hanukkah or both, if you are like me and raised in a multi-faith family – though I’ve never experienced a proper Hanukkah, only had some food from relatives occasionally from the occasion. Because mum shyed away from it a lot.

I think the most memorable food I remember getting from a Jewish relative this time of year was salted potato skins made very crispy, loved them! Also butter cookies with apple, pear and fig chutney, which seems to be a family staple on that side too for both occasions as well as copious amounts of toffee!

Thank for reading and have fun!

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Remission, weight loss and dreams

It may have been a long remission between Easter and last week, because for the past few days I have been sleeping a lot and finding things a little difficult again.

My immune system has taken a massive hit and I feel like I have influenza but there is no temperature and not much else of the normal flu like symptoms.  The brain fog is coming back, the depression is hitting hard again and then the washing machine breaks down two days ago and it needs replacing.

The asthma has got a bit worse too, but it’s the feeling that I am turning into stone or lead I can’t get over – every limb feels weighted. 

Very sleepy is not a good description really – I kind of feel like I am going into a hibernation period, if you get my drift?  But what is weird about that is the fact that I can’t seem to sleep at night.

My appetite has stayed much the same, not eating much at all, so the idea of gaining weight over Christmas is silly as I seem to be losing up to two pounds a week still or not moving on the scales at all.

I found a local gym for £8.75 a week membership, I can afford that with my personal allowance and I will be signing up for the membership around the end of January, to help me tone up – my upper arms in particular as they are the only things which don’t seem to be doing what the rest of my body is doing… losing inches and toning up.  They are a good gym to go to because they specialise in helping people who have long-term health problems or are morbidly obese, which I need because I have asthma and a couple of auto-immune problems, one of which is rheumatic arthritis.

It’s exciting to note that I have lost ninety six pounds over a year now without much effort, now let’s take it up a huge notch!  I am not that far off from my goal weight and with this gym membership I should reach my goal weight before July with any luck – at least I haven’t been on the morbidly obese scale for a while now- In fact I remember a time where I was a horrifying 56 on the BMI scale that was nearly two years ago!  No, this wasn’t the reason I was bedbound either, the bedbound came first and this kind of obesity was caused by that!

How did I manage that?

Simple!

I was a highly active person who walked an average of nine miles a day amongst lots of other exercises and physical activities, needing to eat an average of four thousand calories a day just to sustain myself or collapse – to becoming a severely ill and bedbound person literally overnight, but never readjusted my diet, until three years later when it dawned on me what the heck I was doing!

I had such spleen pain and constant chest infections for nearly eight years solid, the amount of times I was diagnosed with pneumonia too, I couldn’t move because the spleen was too swollen and I was literally advised to do nothing in case it ruptured!  NHS overstretched before covid even existed and so operating wasn’t an option given to me! 

Especially as I was eating my feelings when the depression stepped in, meaning I was over doing food on a massive scale for someone who was extremely sedentary!

It wasn’t until around three years ago that I realised when I am having an angry or a depressing day, I go to food again for comfort, I realised this is a base instinct we all have; why?  Because as animals we would take our anger and frustrations out on other animals and bite them and attack them, but as humans have learned to civilise ourselves somewhat we suppress our anger and food is the substitute for the primordial release for biting!

So when you feel depressed, sad or angry get yourself chewing gum – believe me, it works – only I find it hard to have gum these days because most of it contains soy and soy is really bad for my spleen issue.

Around four years ago was the time I had a completely free from diet, no eggs, no gluten, no lactose, no soy and a mostly paleo diet.  This helped a lot with the breathing problems and the swollen spleen, eventually I learned that I could eat almost anything without pain but there was something still off – occasionally my spleen would swell again and it took until earlier this year to find out what was doing it… mustard and soy. 

Now I am not on a free from diet anymore, but I have to avoid soy and mustard, or the spleen swells up again and my asthma has a bad day – unfortunately most of my favourite foods contain them, as I especially love mustard!  So suffering is a choice now – which I don’t choose often! 

Not a lot of people who are recently acquainted with me take me seriously about how much I understand nutrition and exercise since they’ve always known me to be this size.  But in actuality, I am really switched on, because I used to be very athletic and I can name in approximation the calorie worth and nutritional value of most foods.

But for some people they can’t understand that if you know all of this, then why did you allow yourself to get so fat?

Because if you live a certain lifestyle for too long, then you become ill where the physical aspect changes but not the food – you can see how this is easily done.  But people will be people and some people are morons and don’t use their head on this kind of stuff!

I remember a time where my doctor suggested my diet was too healthy, too low on salt, too low on fats and too low on calories, that I was blacking out three times a week on average and going into severe full bodied cramps.  Because of lack of electrolytes as I didn’t add salt to anything and I had a low fat diet which was mostly vegetable based.   I remember having to keep a food diary constantly and keep every nutrient in mind and I remember having to rush out to McDonalds at random times throughout the week to get the high fat, high salt and calorific food I needed because I didn’t have time or the wherewithal to eat a large meal, so I had to opt for big macs as a dietary supplement.  A weird contrast to my life now!

No, I do not miss it, because I didn’t enjoy having to do those things – what I do miss is the health and fitness I used to have and the energy I had as well as the body.

In the future, I am hoping to get all that back again, only this time I am going to be smarter, no big mac supplements anymore – I have a weight lifting professional friend who had the same problem, only she supplements the low salt problem not with crisps and salted fries or peanuts, like I did – but as adding rehydration salts to every bottle of water she drinks!

At the time I knew I was a protein type metabolism but I didn’t fully understand it as much as I do now and I never knew you could get really nice protein drinks to get what you need in per day.  I was literally trying to stuff down copious amounts of chicken and fish every day into my system – another thing which will change in the future.

You see, back in the good old days of when I was active, I was active alone and without a fitness network, so I was literally clueless and often had stomach ache and a bulimic reaction to the food I needed to eat.

You live, you learn.

Paul and I are still living together but we are separated, still he is trying to support me the best he can with the diet I need.  He has told me that our finances are better than we used to have as we are now being supplemented now he is retired, which means I can see the doctor more often and the diet can improve slightly.

In March my own personal finances will have doubled for me, which means I could also supplement myself too – so I should be losing the weight much faster soon.  I will get back on it all after Christmas, properly.  

Calorie, protein and nutritional monitoring that is, as well as signing up for the local gym classes!

My self-employment should be kicking off around March too, so hopefully I will earn enough to consider moving out of Paul’s by the end of summer, maybe – who know?  I can’t see me living alone to be honest, but there you go!

I don’t do New Years resolutions, so please don’t take all of this as that!

My second biggest dream right now is to rediscover my inner pride and vanity! 

When I was healthy and fit, there were a lot of people who said all I needed to do was dye my hair blond and get a Chihuahua and I’d be like Paris Hilton in my style!  I was offended, because what’s wrong with a brunette?  Though I like the idea of platinum hair! 

Though maybe they were just on about how much I love pink and fluffies? 

My first biggest ever dream I’ve had forever now, is to find someone who genuinely loves me and wants to keep me, build a family with me, push me to be the best that I can be and we motivate each other like live in life coaches!  Along with this the person has to tolerate that I can be suffocating with how I love them and hands on with them, because I am just like that!  I am like Elmira from Looney Tunes – but they also have to tolerate eccentricities, daydreams and creative pursuits as it’s all a huge part of who I am!  Please also, the person must understand I am very childish – I am overly playful and I am not too responsible really.  I am such a hedonist to be honest!

My third ever dream is not what you think it is either… nope… no, it’s not really anything to do with my stories or art – it’s having a great home and social life. 

The stories becoming movies is really a fourth dream… shock horror… I know!

I kind of kept that a secret as I kind of wore this with shame for a while – but I am starting to release the true me and I have to be honest with you as much as myself now, don’t I?

I feel bad admitting that actually.

I am still writing, don’t fret!  I am just not all that bothered in giving boring details about word count anymore, because nobody really cares enough to comment unless they are a troll who moans about how often I update word counts!

But meh – I always lacked structure anyway, I say I intend to write one novel but I end up writing a little towards twenty and so…. I am learning to become at peace with me and the way I am… so should you!

But project AD and the Easter project are the main focuses for me right now, even if I only write about twice a week on both of them – at least its progress!  You have to remember I have lots of other projects on the go too!

I know lots of people are eager to get their hands on project AD and this is why I am writing this as fast as I can, because I know there are a lot of people in waiting over it. 

I just got to get it out there anyway, because it’s a great story and I am very excited for it.  I am seeing merchandise in my head already; it will be a great new toy brand in my opinion as it is a dystopian comedy for kids.

But the Easter project is also gripping me a lot too with so many amazing ideas I am literally bursting to share them with someone but scared I’d shoot myself in the foot if I did!

So that’s what’s happening in my life right now.

Thanks for reading!

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What is Christmas to me?

December the 1st is the day that Christmas begins for me, maybe someday it will be earlier, who knows?  I’ve had inklings since I was a child, I would end up in the US at some point in my life – it’s something I have always wanted in any case, but never had the opportunity to go through with it. 

I have in actuality had four opportunities, but… well you know about my life enough by now to guess what may have happened to those opportunities, huh?

Well anyway, who knows?

For now, it’s unacceptable for Christmas to start before the 1st December in the UK here by some people and over half of the population thinks it’s unreasonable a week before Christmas!  But hey ho, I am not part of the grumpy bums of the British public; I am one of those annoying jolly types!

So for me, it starts Christmas 1st – I mean December the 1st, how many times do I need to clarify that?  For goodness sakes woman, get on with your post!

Righto!

December the first is when I start putting up the decorations, especially the tree; I have to get it up by then, it simply has to be erected and decorated!  The tree dear, the tree!

I love my bright shining balls just dangling there in the right light – please get your minds out of the gutter, really… think of the children!

But honestly it isn’t the start of Christmas really… I hadn’t thought this post out properly have i?

Because a few days before Halloween is when we make the Christmas cake and the mincemeat for the mince pies, because we have to let it soak in the brandy and mature enough to be just right for Christmas day!  Hmm… yes, forgot about those!  Oh and the Christmas pudding that nobody, including me likes!

I also start buying presents around July to store away – so technically for six months of the year my brain is in Christmas mode.

Ultimately it’s unacceptable to play Christmas music before the 1st December, that’s my thoughts on the matter!

I am going to talk right now like I have no poverty issues whatsoever, because Christmas here sucks – I am talking about all the things I loved about Christmas before I came here and all the things I was excited to share with my children when I have Christmas with a family, but most things never turned out – basically, I am going to write this with as little bitterness as possible… if that is possible, as these days I am finding it hard to hold my tongue!

Write mummy a Christmas list in July, review it in October and write it again by your deadline the 7th December or you are going to be disappointed is my rule to Henry!

Think of anything after the 7th December too bad… well… maybe, but you can’t send it to Santa his inbox is closed after the 7th!

Shh, they don’t need to know otherwise!

I am also very good at talking about things with kids around at this time of year, when I accidentally blurt out a tradition like that and a friends kid writes their list on Christmas Eve because their parents have memorised everything they’ve nagged for weeks – I sit there and change my tune instantly with… but you see the deadline is different regarding postcodes, you see… you don’t live around here, you live there… different rules in different locations love!  Wink to the parent, she winks back and carries it over!

I love kids!

So, we buy edible advent calendars before the 1st December, I have one too, because I never grew up and you don’t want to hear my reaction if you tell me to grow up either and don’t you dare try and sneak my candy away from me and trick me into absent minded eating either, not if you are fond of living!

But that’s not all, you see, because I am crazy and excessive at this time of year, especially when it comes to children I love and adore and worship!

I make little felt stockings with numbers on them and shove them with mini gifts as another advent calendar – before we hit poverty it used to cost me £200 alone for just that!   We did it one year, when I won 3k on the bingo, Henry was 6yrs old, it was the year too, when I bought him a Pendolino train-set.

Spoil my kids?  Not enough!  Not by my standards anyhow!

I also like homemaking things a lot between the 1st and Christmas Eve. 

So, with that done – we then don’t do anything much until the 12th December – when I started the wrong tradition of singing the 12 days of Christmas with Henry every day after dinner, leading up till Christmas.  Only to find out two years ago that I got the days wrong and it is supposed to be sung from Christmas day until the 5th January, which is the twelfth night.  Ho-hum… so we go for round two by then, don’t we, now?

Paul has tried hard to make me only have one round –the right one, since finding it out, but Henry and I won’t have it!

It’s also tradition for me to constantly be on the lookout for new Christmas tree decors the whole month too and add them to the tree every so often as well as adding candy canes and chocolates to the tree whenever I like and yes, some days, not every day, I will allow Henry to choose a treat from the tree after dinner!

We also have instilled impeccable self-control in Henry over the years, where he knows there is only 1 gift coming from Santa and it’s usually the thing he wants the most or the rarest thing he could ask for – this means whenever a new present is bought it is wrapped and put under the tree until Christmas Day – Henry is really good at not trying to peak! 

However, Ray the rabbit is a menace when he is out at this time of the year and we have to barricade the tree because he thinks all the presents are for him!

Oh and that’s another thing, every pet has their own stocking too!

We only go to the local church for three reasons at Christmas, that is to see them put the village Christmas tree lights on, to go to the Christmas fetes or fairs they do and to gift to the shoebox appeal or food banks, if it hasn’t been a bad year for us!

When I lived in London it as quite common for my paternal family to do a lot of charity work around these times, as my family on this side are descendants from the people who founded the Salvation army! So a lot of relatives are involved in that particular charity as musicians and fundraisers. Three of my aunts were also fundraising performers over the years for them. Also my great grandmother was a general for the Salvation army for a time!

My father’s family are very into the charity mindset and I was raised to be that way too there is always someone worse off than you, no matter how poor you are, you have to try your best to still help others!

We are struggling this year, but its not our worse year – we have so far managed to donate three items of food for a food bank and we are hoping to gift at least £5 of our budget to help other worse off locals this year! Meagre, I know but we can’t afford much else!

Paul has always been frightened if I were to become a best-selling author and became quite wealthy due to my writing, that I’d go overboard with the giving, but I am not stupid! He knows I call him a Grinch!

The Winter Solstice is celebrated in this house too, with a special three course meal normally, but this year things are tight and that’s unlikely to happen! 

Christmas Eve is the busiest time of the year or was until the family that liked us, dropped us… because every Christmas Eve we are so busy baking home goods for the next two days, that we can’t waste time or space in the oven to cook our dinner – so being it was the time that we had a lot of guests, we used to put on a huge buffet table and snack on that all day and guests were welcomed to do so too!

Since nobody visits anymore there isn’t a point in doing that, so now it become a boring rush to the fish and chip shop!

I want my Christmas Eve buffets back!

Christmas Eve around 7pm we have a special movie we never miss – it’s a sin to miss that movie!  We simply must watch The Muppets Christmas Carol, It can’t be watched any other day in the month – because of the song “After all, there’s only one more sleep till Christmas”.  After we have watched the movie it’s off to settle things down before Henry goes to bed! 

This is where I would make a special magick concoction with my cauldron (yes I have one of those) filled with porridge oats, silver foil stars and edible glitter and pieces of dried carrot and I will say an incantation as this is the magic dust that attracts Santa’s reindeer!

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

Come and bring Santa on the sleigh tonight

Bring with you Rudolph and his nose for light!

Yeah I know my version sucks – but the kids love it and I got the whole village doing this since Henry told them about it at nursery when he was 4yrs old!

Henry also knows about the magical flying donkey the Italians have and asked why Dominic isn’t up there with the reindeer, I say it’s because he is a spare in case anyone is sick!  That keeps him happy!

So we sprinkle this magic reindeer dust down our front garden path, so it glistens in the night to show the reindeer we’re special folk, not normal humans here!

Also, we take the golden key of Santa and hang it on the reef of our door, because that’s Santa’s special key to get inside as we don’t have a fire place!

Then Henry leaves a treat for the reindeer, because Henry is a body shamer and thinks that Santa will die of diabetes if he adds another cake or pie to his diet and goes off to bed!

Meanwhile, we are baking until 1am, mince pies, strawberry gateau, pecan pies, shortbread – gingerbread houses etc, you name it!

Christmas Day, I am up before Henry!  Weird that!  But I am!

Always am!

6am, tired as Hell – but still up like a five year old raring to go!

Paul has to hide my presents until Christmas Eve because I can’t help myself!

I remember two years ago, they tried to trust me and Henry noticed there was a tear in the corner of his present he got me, and was like “mum, seriously”!  So they took them away again!

I can’t help it!

The thing that makes Paul laugh the most is when I open them, I am very careful with the pretty wrappings to unwrap them carefully and fold the paper neatly for scrapbooking – that’s if it’s really nice and unusual.

Anyway, we unwrap things slowly, taking it in turn so we can all see the joy in each other, until someone has more presents than someone else and we just let them get on with it after a while.  But we like to take turns, so we can appreciate things better and it’s fun to see people’s reactions!

I love giving presents!

We stop after around five presents so we can go and make breakfast, special Cinnamon plum compote on cinnamon French toast, believe me, its heaven and its very much an aphrodisiac!  Well for me anyway…

We tend not to eat lunch because dinner is usually 3:30pm after the Royal speech, my goodness, this will be the first year without Madge.  So sad!

Dinner used to be always excessive and leftovers eaten the next day either in the form of chips and beans with the cold meat or turned into a turkey curry! 

After dinner we all try to encourage each other to play board games… I don’t need encouraging…  and it’s the biggest thing I miss about Christmas.  They don’t like it much and will usually argue a lot over it – so I don’t bother anymore.  Nobody spends time together at Christmas in this house after breakfast; it’s such a boring shame! 

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, in my family it was always the special day where parents spent all day playing with their children and their new toys or going for walks together!

That’s Christmas for me anyway.

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What is spring?

Spring is lovely, you still get frost and crystals in the morning at times, the mornings are prettier and you get to see little flowers peeking through snow, if you’ve been lucky enough to have snow that late in the winter that is –it is fun going out on colour watch at those times!

This makes spring my second favourite season of the year and by now you should be able to guess my third!

But there is one pet hate about spring, that is peoples obsession with daffodils, I don’t like them much, not the regular kind!  I am also severely allergic to another late winter/spring plant, hyacinth; by severely allergic I mean that I go temporarily blind if I touch them – so keep them away from me please!

But other than that, I love seeing the spring come in and planning the garden for the summer and autumn!  I love seeing how my late winter seedlings are coming along, it’s fun!

Such a pretty time of year and I love Easter!  I love any holiday or celebration if you haven’t been able to tell just yet!  But I really love Easter because of my obsession with rabbits and Candyland fantasies.

I sometimes imagine having some kind of edible theme park someday, but it will probably be an insurance nightmare!

I love organising things for kids too – outfits and games to play – Easter egg hunts and decorations and loads of cakes and biscuits!

I love making wreaths for Easter too, in fact I like making seasonal wreaths for any season or events no matter what it is!

For me Easter is usually a time I am most likely to go to a circus or a pantomime, I never knew why I do, it’s just something I always did up until five years ago.

It is also a sad time in retrospect because it’s around the time we have to ration the chutney and things we’ve canned from the year before harvest.

This is something I forgot to put in the winter and autumn posts, jam, chutney and pickle making as well as homemade candied fruits and candies and pies etc.

I love watching farmer’s shows on TV and watching lambing season on LIVE CCTV on YouTube as well as other animal channels such as, albatross fledgling watch and that sort of thing!  I’d rather watch a good wildlife or farming CCTV than the actual TV at times!

But mostly Easter is all about baking and arts and crafts, sugar crafting and things!

It is also the best time of year for fashion in my opinion as you get all the exciting predictions at the beginning of the year and you see which ones will actually happen after all!

You also get to move things you don’t like around the garden before everything grows too big, it’s a time of opportunity out there and mid-spring is the perfect temperature to garden outside all day!

It’s also the time I start to do more exercise and diet from the winter glut I tend to do, so I have confidence in the summer.  Before I got sick, I would gain an average of fifteen pounds in the winter and it would usually take me six to eight weeks to get it off again!

I also start wearing tighter fitting clothes as I lose the pounds, I am strange like that – ultra baggy near frump midwinter and it’s like my clothes shrink for the summer, it’s an interesting transition I went through each year!

I don’t do silly things like New Year’s resolutions; I am more likely to accomplish things on Easter resolutions!  Generally, though spring is the time I start thinking about diet – really I tend to see Easter Sunday as the last glut until my birthday or if I am invited to one – a BBQ party!

The only gluts I have between Easter Bank Holiday Monday and my birthday or a BBQ party, is berry fruit salads and watermelon!

Now there’s a glut for you!

Thanks for reading!

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What is winter?

What does winter mean to me?

Cool crispy frosty mornings, where cobwebs are frozen solid, glistening in the morning sunlight forming prisms on the snow.

I’m like a dragon breathing smoke because my breath is hot in comparison to the air around me and I am snug and warm in fleece from head to toe.

I get to throw snowballs at my favourite people in jest and run after each other in tension that we might slip and fall down; if we’re lucky it will be powdery snow this year, not the sludgy wet kind.

Winter means lots of lovely filling hot meals, beef stew, chili, roast dinners, soups – all my favourite comfort foods and it’s plum season to boot!

Morning walks are more of a pleasure because of the icy beauty around us from the night before; everywhere has newly made crystals which shine like rainbows if you look at them the right way.  Skinny dogs are uncomfortable and need a coat, fatter ones are eager to stay indoors – but get the right dog and it is a heavenly time of year to go for a walk!

Just at the end of winter is the time where I start to think about the garden for the coming year, sometimes prepping seeds before spring in the greenhouse already, to give me a few weeks head start in comparison to other people, therefore a longer harvest time.

It’s a spicy season, it’s a sweet treat and high fat season – it’s not the season for diets!

It’s the season for hot water bottles and fleece blankets and cosy snuggles by the fireplace.

It’s not the season for cold desserts; it’s the season for cherry pie, French toast and peach crumble all washed down in hot chocolate, ginger or hot apple spiced tea.

Poinsettias around the house welcoming in Christmas with holly and ivy and red roses!

The house sparkles in the joyous illuminations of the season of celebration, hope, renewal and promise.

Families and neighbours come together to sing, to dance, to pray, to forget the badness of the past year and to give thanks, gifts, charity and love.

It may be the end of the year, the harbinger of death all around us as nature is laid bare – but it is really the busiest time for creation, planning and new beginnings.

That’s what winter means to me – it means hope – it means a new start!

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Got to be grateful

I have a bunch of friends, mostly online but there some friends that I once knew offline when I lived in London, but maintain contact with them online only these days.

Quite a few of these friends are new age, hippies, gothic, artistic or writers of some description or another and at least two thirds are part of the LGBTQ community – nearly half of which believe in doing one thing regularly;

Being grateful or finding gratitude in things, no matter how hard they might be.

This is something I have never really thought about for myself.

Ungrateful cow, eh?

But some of my friends are encouraging me to become grateful even for the hard times, because it will result in healing old wounds.

They have claimed it has helped them somewhat.

Becoming more self-reflective is key to understanding the pains and turmoil’s of the past, so you can then sweep the negative space clear and put in a positive vibe via gratitude.

Nobody has ever really taught me to be grateful, not in the way I have always tried to encourage Henry to be.

It’s funny that – how I’ve always made a point in ensuring Henry is always grateful for what he has, yet I never practised what I preached there for myself.  Well, to tell the truth, I am grateful for what I have now, even though it is much less than what is comfortable and much less than what I used to have – but I am grateful I am not in a worse situation than this, I’ve always have been.

I am very grateful for living in a country that cares for its poor and sick like they do, I am very grateful not to be a situation of many other people in the world.

I am also grateful for no longer being in situations I used to be or having certain people in my life anymore.

But that’s just generalising and in order to do this properly I shouldn’t generalise, I should be more in depth about what I am grateful for.

Things from my past;

I am grateful that although my mother wasn’t the best, she at least had one personality trait which stopped her being much worse than she was – that is the fear of what others thought of her.  This always held her back from doing the things she really wanted to do to me, because she would often tell me exactly how she felt, but how she wouldn’t do it, because of so and so.

But she was still who she was, despite this.  Imagine if she was more self-assured, what my life could have been like if she had been more confident to be herself.

I am grateful for the situations my family put me into, living amongst addicts and drunks and domestic abuse temporarily and then moving me onto more stable homes, so I learned to appreciate what my true home life was like in comparison!

I think that’s why my mother did that – move me around a lot to different people for weeks on end, to show me, that in the scheme of things – or in the scheme of what is available in the family, our house was a haven in comparison.

Even if it was a prison, it was quieter, more predictable and physically safe if you did what you were told.  In some of the other homes I spent time in, it didn’t matter if you were good as gold, if they were inclined to hurt you, they’d hurt you!

I was always grateful for how clean, organised and fresh the main house was in comparison to some places I was sent to live, where their houses were infested with rats and beds weren’t made, they had no bottom sheets and in the winter in order to keep warm you had to snuggle up with the kids you shared the bed with and the dogs just to keep warm!

It’s funny looking back at how those places were actually considered my happy places, my favourite places to go to, to get away from mum.  The people were nice, but poor, much poorer than Paul and I – this is something to be grateful for.  I don’t have to scrounge around at neighbour houses begging for 50p for the electric metre like the mother of the house did and then go to her dad’s house to get them fed, because her husband drank away the food money for her and her 5 children and an extra to boot!

It’s one of the reasons why I am tired of sausage and beans, it was a staple there.  My mum tried to teach me to be grateful by showing me we are much better off, because we would also have sausages and beans, but with chips and fried eggs and buttered bread and double portions to them around twice a week on average.  Good living, she thought, though she could afford more, it was laziness more than anything when she was home cooking. 

This is why from the age of 7yrs, she insisted I would be the main cook of the house as she had night shifts to do and couldn’t spend the time to cook for everyone, so left it to me – because it’s normal I her family that the eldest or only daughters are fully domestic by 7yrs old and can take a mothers place at the drop of a hat.

I learned by 9yrs old, there is one thing you should never do as cook of the house and that is ask dad what he fancies for dinner as it will almost always be steak and chips, pie and chips, fish and chips or a full English breakfast!

By the time I was 11yrs old I learned lots of recipes from other relatives and I diversified our diet a lot, mum pushed against it for a while, until she learned that some of the food I was making was actually nice.  She never had a Bolognese before I was 11 and it became one of her most favourite meals of all time ever since!

As time went on the diet got healthier, for them.

I am very grateful for the freedom I had in choosing what I cooked in my main home.

Always had compliments throughout all the family over the years about being “the proper little housewife”, someone who didn’t laze around, always willing to help, someone reliable and dependable.

It’s why it’s hard being here now, where I feel like I am not needed by anyone and if anything in the way!  Its poles apart from the life I used to have, where I’d skip from relative to relative, living with them temporarily and cleaning and cooking for them.

Everyone was happy to have Tina over for any length of time, I was a treat for them, I even remember my mum setting up rota system, and it was almost like a bidding war to get me to stay with them at times!

My maternal grandmother, Uncle John, honorary aunties Gina and Anna (which turned out to be distant cousins), Cousin Jenny and neighbour Debs, honorary granny Esme, got me the most though!  Seems a lot of people but actually weren’t a lot to me.  Mum wouldn’t let me stay anywhere more than six weeks in case I bonded too much!

I am grateful that I had that kind of life, shifting from person to person, it made me broadminded and adaptable, it also taught me how to change like a chameleon – I suppose it taught me acting skills.  Because each household was different, some were really poor and I mean this in the best possible way – but common, others were posh, others middle row and you had to adapt your behaviour and speech to where in the country you were going and the class of people you are going to socialise with the most at the time.

It really was adapt or die, or at least have a hard life there!

This even meant my religion had to change to whom I stayed with as many of these people went to church, the cathedral, the JW meetings and so forth.

I remember going to stay with some relatives where egg and chips is a luxury, you wear jog suits and hoodies, you have to be into RNB and rap and you have to play console games and learn how to talk about football.  If you didn’t you didn’t get to have friends, you were ignored in the corner as the weird posh girl.

I also remember going to other places where I have to groom horses and talk about horse racing, horse breeding, dog shows, dog breeding, gardening and sitting in watching cousins learn gymnastics and ballet – I wanted to join in but my mum wouldn’t give my relatives the money for me to participate.  Do you have any idea how humiliating it is seeing your thin beautiful cousins doing all that, whilst you are the fat girl sitting on a bench watching grumpily whilst the tutor tries to talk you into making your mother part with cash so I can join in for the benefit of my health and being told umpteen times at the age of 9yrs old that I am responsible for my weight, not my mother?

It’s really humiliating actually! 

Just as embarrassing is being the only fat person in a household of half-starved poor kids, especially as I was the most vocal about being so hungry all the time!  I feel bad for them now, back then I was very selfish upon reflection and didn’t have much empathy for them, I was entitled I guess.

I sometimes wonder if the universe is cruel enough to punish people for their lack of insight as children when they are much older… like living here in poverty like this with Paul is some kind of karmic debt?

But I was never mean or rude about it; I was just self-absorbed that’s all – I mean, isn’t every child?

I know I was ungrateful back then for a lot of the kindness I got.  I remember thinking sometimes that their dog ate more than we did in some of those homes.

I even remember saying this once half-jokingly and the mother said, we have to feed the dog he works!  The dog belonged to her husband who was a security guard and the dog went to work with him every night!

It’s a funny contrast too, when you are with the richer families who are super posh and they seem more self-absorbed than you – but on Sundays they go to do charity work as a family at soup kitchens etc. and you tag along to help them.

You try to tell these people, you know the soup they need should contain noodles, meat chunks or vegetable chunks, not be pureed within an inch of its life, it’s not filling.  They look at you and rightfully challenge “what would you know”?  Because they didn’t think I had other lives with other people who were like the people they were helping, they thought I was like them and they didn’t know any better!

I remember telling them once about what I have experienced, they laughed raucously and told my mother about the funny little stories I make up and how I definitely will be a writer some day!

Mum never told them the truth, just laughed along with them agreeing!

I will always be grateful for whatever food or shelter I get, whatever warmth I get, whatever attention I get and whatever help I get.  My life has taught me never to take anything for granted, because you never know how long it will all last.

You can be the richest person ever and lose it all over night due to a storm or a thief or anything, but you can also be a pauper and strike it lucky and find your feet and soar.  I’ve seen it happen to the best and worst of people – I am grateful for having such an enriched life full of varied experiences, no matter how painful they were.

I learned a lot.

I have learned what I am comfortable with and what I am not comfortable with and the types of people that make it better for me in the long run.

I’ll admit I prefer the comfort and mindlessness of buying a whole bowl of fruit without pinching the pennies, I would love to go back to the place where the idea of choosing blueberries or pomegranates this week is laughable, just stick them both in the trolley, don’t be silly, we’re not that bad off!

Of course, anyone would! 

I remember spending £25 a week on just a handful of different magazines, £50 a week on take outs, £20 a week in lunch money, £20 a week in bingo with gran and anything up to £75 a week on books and clothes – this is a dream these days!  Those days died out for me fourteen years ago! 

I can’t buy any magazines anymore, not even once a month.  Take outs never more than £14 once a month if we can afford it or cut back on other things for the treat, we can’t spend money on the lottery anymore let alone bingo – £40 is our average food bill for the whole household and there is nothing spare for books and clothes, clothing money goes to creditors through catalogues if we’re desperate. 

I suppose I should be grateful buying things on credit is an option, especially as there are rumours the government wants to ban those sorts of enterprises. 

Thanks for reading…

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What is it?

How Italian am I?

In my opinion not very much, but my heart is with that side of my family!  I at least learn Italian and I do cook Italian food a lot, but ultimately I say my family hasn’t readily been open about our ancestry – or least my mother’s generation hasn’t been.

Why?  I am a fourth generation Italian/Brit or as some people call us Britalian.  My grandmother’s generation was more ready to acknowledge the Italian ancestry in us, but my mum’s generation fought really hard against all their cultural mixes because they experienced extreme racism in the 50s and 60s growing up in London over it.

My grandmother’s family are a mix of many cultures in the past six generations, Romany, Italian and Greek or Greco-Italian being the strongest bloodline hailing mostly from Naples/Napoli, my grandmother is quite dark skinned and that’s because her great grandmother was mixed race black American and there is Vietnamese in her side of the family too.  So there’s a lot to chew on there. 

Her husband, my grandad is simpler Jewish and Roman Catholic mixed, Welsh, English with some unknown Slavic origin they believe may be Polish or Romanian but they don’t really know, it’s also rumoured there is Italian there too, but again no one has proved that yet – but we do know his Jewish family are considered to be mostly Levite and Sephardic.

My dad’s family have a very ancient history in Italy, they became mostly English though by 1919 as the family became too poor and too lethargic to keep skipping countries as they used to.  Italy, France, England, Italy, France, England, you get the drift, almost every one or two generations the change went on.  Once again his Italian ancestry is 2306yr history in Naples and Amalfi and an ancestral home is supposed to be Montalto castle in Chianti which is much farther north of Italy.

Both sides of my family fled Italy almost permanently around 1919 to 1950 because of various problems with fascism, though some started to come to the UK much earlier than that as they were seeking to better themselves outside of Italy as some of the ancestors felt there were better educational opportunities for their children in other places.  Particularly my dad’s family, they wanted to spread their genetic legacy to other European aristocracies. 

My mother’s Italian ancestors were mostly farmers. 

But as a fourth generation Italian Brit, I was very interested in all the culture I am a mix of and so I was always begging information from the oldest members of the family!  The most vocal are the Italians, Jews and the Greeks in the family.

Everyone else is shy about their heritage, because hey, we’re British now.    So in my mind, my personal culture has been shaped by the most vocal and the most proud of my family.

Unfortunately actually knowing Italian is rare in my family, because nobody sees the point in learning a language unless they are going to move to the country.  So only the oldest relatives knew any Italian and my mum forbade most of them to teach me anything!

As an adult I taught myself, because it was safer that way – my grandmother who knew a little bit of Italian was a rude and naughty woman who taught me all the bad things to say first – as she’s a natural imp!

So there’s lots of things I know about the family and their ways, but it is very different to how other non-related Italians do things… for example, I had an ex called Tony who was half Japanese and half Italian, his family love ragu/Bolognese – to them bolognese is meat, onion, salt and pepper, and pasta, nothing else – no tomatoes and the meat is always beef!

My family however we use lamb in almost everything!  Our Bolognese has tomatoes, tomato puree, bell pepper, onions, all the Italian herbs, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper and minced lamb.  Yet it’s not traditional in Naples, some Neapolitans say they either have vegetarian ragu or they have chunks of pork in it.

There’s lots of food traditional in my family, that I don’t even have a name for!  Some are Greek and some Italian; sometimes I don’t know which is which!

The confusion of mixed cultures gets me all the time!

Chicken Arribiata is popular in the family; we really spice it up because you’ve got to make that chicken angry!  Arribiata means ANGRY!  So we put chilis in that dish, cinnamon, onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper, cayenne – but you know so many people in my family they are wimps!  You give them that amount of chili and they cry about abuse!  But you just want passive chicken then, you don’t want it to be angry… lol

It’s fun in my family, you have the cultural deniers and the hard-core proud – eh what’s this long vegetable that looks like a cucumber but its slimy and bitter?  It’s a courgette innit?  No it’s a zucchini, that’s American – no not at all I say, nana what’s this vegetable called?  Zucchini!  See I told you!  It’s Italian for courgette!  Whatever!

I get served some green leaf vegetable with nice herbal rice inside it like a parcel and I ask my cousin Maria, hey Maria what is this?  It’s food innit, she says!  No I mean what is it?  Why you don’t like it?  I didn’t say that I just wanna know what it is!  Its vine leaves wrapped around rice and herbs, you know what it is you’ve had it before!  But what is it called, I say!  Stuffed vine leaves I just said!  What is it called in Italy?  I am fucked if I know, just eat it!

I ask my older relatives who all say stuffed vine leaves with rice with a shrug – I ask them but what’s it called in Italy?  50% will say it’s Greek not Italian and the other 50% says it’s Italian not Greek!

You can see why I give up!

Ok so next up we have a large style macaroni dish that’s like tomato macaroni and cheese, super cheesy, real big macaroni style pasta – what’s this called?  Pasta!  No what’s the name of the dish in Italy?  I am fucked if I know!  Eye rolls, same answer every time!

I go and research and find out its Ziti!

I told my cousin Sabrina, hey that dish you make it’s called Ziti in Italian!  Ew that sounds disgusting don’t say things like that at the dinner table, you make people feel sick!  No that’s what they call it there – I don’t care it sounds gross in English!  You don’t like my cooking?  She asks.  No I love it, but I went and googled it and found out it has a name – well keep it to yourself will ya that sounds insulting!

There are lots of dishes in my family and I am still trying to find out what the blazes they are – ironically 50% of the dishes my mum makes are Italian, yet she tells me it’s English.  Haha – she’s the biggest denier of her heritage in the family, but she won’t stray from their cooking or idioms!

Why am I posting this?  Because a lot of my family home cooking has no names, so I don’t bother including them in lists because I am more or less writing the recipe out to describe it, lol.

So with that being said, I was raised in a family that didn’t accept any cultural qualities at all – all of them make shifting a new British ideology and failing miserably whilst still eating traditional family food and shouting typical Greek and Italian idioms everywhere but in English this time, because we’re British now!

LOL.

For the word, since living with Paul I have thrown myself into learning more about proper Italian and Greek culture, but mostly leaning to Italian as the family seems to be more of that than the Greek it seems.  I am slowly learning the names of the dishes my family made and I am trying to learn more traditional ways in making things, instead of doing weird things to the food like adding spices which makes it like some weird Middle Eastern hybrid that happens occasionally in the family!

The things I can name, that I make are…

Homemade ravioli, yes I can home make my own pasta, thank you very much!

Homemade pizzas unfortunately without a traditional pizza oven as of yet!  Yes the base and all, I can do that!  My dream is to have a dragon shaped pizza oven in the garden which puffs out smoke from the dragons nostrils whenever I bake pizza! 

I make focaccias and ciabatta and for the Jewish family I can make sourdough, or at least used to – lost the mother/starter, someone accidentally tipped it away thinking something went off in a bottle!

I do Bolognese or ragu whatever you wanna call it – I am easy going, I don’t care!  Lol

Chicken arribiata

Pesto

Of course people kill for my carbonara

They also kill for my ziti and macaroni and vegetarian ravioli and the pastichio and lasagne…

I make polenta but no one likes it no matter who makes it lol

I make vegetarian and gluten free Bolognese and ravioli!

Homemade meatballs

Now I don’t know where this is from but there is a big debate in my family about vegetable burger pates being Italian or not!  But I don’t know!

Eggs in purgatory!

Caprese

Cesar salad… which I discovered may actually not be an Italian invention lol

Gnocchi

And up until recently I found out a family pudding which we called Creamy chocolate fingers is actually Tiramisu only nobody in my family puts espresso in it. 

Still trying to work out what other dishes are in the family… we have homemade biscuits like digestive biscuits but we put in chopped glace cherries and other fruit jellies in it in tiny bits.

We make what we call bread pudding, which is wholemeal bread soaked in milk and drained semi dried with sugar, Christmas spices, eggs and raisins and bake it until crispy. 

We have chocolate pasta with large half melted chocolate chunk and vanilla ice-cream as a dessert!

Knickerbocker glory desserts!

But there are so many I don’t know the name of – most notably a thing we make which is almost identical to Slovakian goulash with dumplings, only it has lots of tomatoes, more spice, more mushrooms and lots of red wine and it served under mashed potato for some weird reason!  Or on some occasions we eat this with beef stuffed ravioli instead!  I call it an Italian goulash but everyone rightfully looks sideways at me! 

I am trying to sew up the holes of my heritage, I am trying! 

Thanks for reading!

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Top 10 foods

My top ten of everything food is here, to show you all what I like! 

Top 10 fruits

Watermelon

Red grapes

Pomegranates

Cherries

Blueberries

Cranberries

Bananas

Jaffa Oranges

Cantaloupe melons

Apples

Top 10 Vegetables

Celery

Carrots

Broccoli

Fava Beans

Sweetcorn

Red cabbage sauerkraut

Kale

Cucumber

Swede/rutabaga

Beetroot

Top 10 Breakfasts

Vegetable frittata

Scrambled egg bagels

Bacon Bagels (sorry gg)

Porridge/oatmeal with cinnamon

Muesli

Nutty granola bars

Kippers with fried tomatoes on toast

Cheese and tomato on toast

Cornflakes with sugar and whole fat milk (not sorry)

Blueberry jam with warm croissants

Top 10 lunches

Tuna chive and mayonnaise bagel

Vegetable frittata

Chicken BLT

Ploughman’s sandwich

Chicken Cesar salad

Prawns with stir fry veggies

Heinz Tomato soup and crusty rolls

Corned beef salad sandwich

Jacket potato with cheddar and baked beans

Chicken salad wrap

Top 10 dinners

Minted roast lamb with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas

Roast lamb salad wraps

Chicken Arribiata

Salmon stir fry

Southern fried chicken, corn, wedges, BBQ beans

Roast turkey Christmas dinner with all the trimmings!

Homemade Lasagne with spinach salad

Homemade ocean pie and salad

Vegetarian pizza and coleslaw

BBQ chicken salad with boiled or scotch eggs

Top 10 favourite snacks

Nutty granolas or flapjacks

Any nuts in chocolate, honey etc

Sunflower seeds in vanilla

Sweet popcorn

Any potato chip

Dates and peanut butter

Crudites

Apples

Banana

Avocado, banana and chocolate smoothie

Top 10 favourite desserts

Fruit salad

Pecan pie

Strawberry sundae

Strawberry cheesecake

Blackberry & cinnamon sugar crepes

Nutella crepes with flaked almonds

Crepes with maple syrup

Mille feuille

Melons and honey

Knickerbocker glory

Thanks for reading! 

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Filed under About Me

Things are different but hard

Disclaimer, this is a very long post, nearly 3k, sorry.

Things are definitely changing in my life, I have a little more personal freedom – not much, but it’s a lot for me and I haven’t had this amount of freedom for at least eight years now.

My physical health is improving enough where I am no longer staying in bed most of the time; in fact I am able to do a little exercise and chores on a daily basis now.  I believe it has everything to do with the new high protein diet.  I do however choose to escape into the bedroom for up to three hours a time these days, because I am not coping with Henry’s behavioural problems and the arguments in the household.

I am trying my best to do the housework, but Paul and Henry have got into the habit that I have been sick, so when I have made the efforts to tidy up, no one appreciates it and undoes my work around the house almost as soon as I have done it.  There is no respect for me in this regard.

I clear an area and Paul or Henry fills it again, in less than half a day, I have to say, it makes me wonder why I bother.

The other day, I spent forty five minutes cleaning the carpet in the hall and clearing away coats, hats, garden equipment and the vacuuming the living room, clearing up shoes, clothes and robots all over the floor.  Paul and Henry were both out – they came home and threw their coats wherever they liked, it had rained heavily and the mud was trapesing all over the floor, they sat down and not one of them mentioned about noticing I had done anything.

When I asked them about if they had noticed, all I got was an “ooh sorry, yeah, thanks”; But no effort to amend their slobby mess in the hall.

There are things I am desperate to clean, but with the finances being really hard on us, Paul is reluctant to buy the cleaning materials I am used to.

We have mild bleach and antibacterial wipes and a sponge for the bathroom, but that is all.

I struggle living in this house because a house usually reflects the quality of the wife or mother of the house – believe me when I say, this house is not a reflection of me at all!  I have been sick for years and Paul was a hoarder/pack rat before he met me and I had to struggle and deal with this problem of his for ages before I got sick and I nearly sorted the whole house out.

There are things Paul leaves for months, no matter how much I complained when I could leave the bed, he still never got around to doing things.  There are four rooms in the house that I ban everyone from going into, if they are guests because I’d die of embarrassment over it – Paul doesn’t have the same inclination as I do.  He doesn’t see what’s so bad about things, though he admits it needs to change.

The dining room has been unusable as Paul’s hoarding is coming back; this has been unusable for three years now.  The kitchen is just plain dangerous and dubious.  The utility room is dangerous and the roof has caved in and there is fibreglass hanging from it, every time it rains the whole room gets soaked and that is where we do our laundry – or rather where Paul does the laundry as it’s too dangerous and narrow for me to get out there, as whatever Paul can’t throw away, old broken electricals etc. gets stored out there.

The other room isn’t a room a guest would go to anyway, that’s the big bedroom, which is now Paul’s room and the room where we store Christmas decorations, DVDs, towels, linen and clothes.  It’s basically an enormous disorganised store room.

Paul is very tactical, he knows with my balance problems and weight, that I can’t get to places if he puts things a certain way.  This means there are lots of places I cannot access around the house unless he assists me; this makes me completely dependent upon him to help me.  The thing is, with this new diet of mine I am slimming down and I am gaining better balance, dexterity and agility as well as energy.  This is starting to cause ructions between us, as he doesn’t like the idea I no longer need him, despite knowing we’re separating soon.

I am a house proud woman; I was raised by very domesticated OCD housewives through my mother, paternal grandmother, various cousins and aunts I was sent to live with over the years.  I am meticulous about the house, I am an organised person who is driven nuts by the idea of piles upon piles of things and a throw it anywhere attitude. 

I am the kind of woman who goes into cafes and wipe the table down before I do anything and wipe up after myself too, I am that tidy it’s my nature.

I am the kind of person who has dinner, take the plates out and the sauces.  Whilst Paul says, leave it on the table I will deal with it later.  The plates are taken out and washed immediately, but the sauces can be there for days.

My little bit of freedom is that I can now do a little per day around the house, but living with people like this I often wonder if I should bother at all?

I have also paid off a debt, which means I now have for the first time in three years £25 a week to treat myself with.  I haven’t seen this kind of money for three years!

Paul won’t let me spend the money on anything but treats for myself, but the thing is, I need to.  I need to consider putting £10 a week away for savings, for travel money to the doctors and hospital.  Paul doesn’t know that’s why I am saving the money.  Because of the heat or eat crisis, I have tried to give Paul £5 here and there for treats for me and Henry, he accepts it but doesn’t like it if I extend that to say… fruits or meats I may want to add to the diet too as he sees that as part of the family money.  He doesn’t want me to spend money on the family or the house.

He admits he is proud and he doesn’t like that he can’t provide for me.

I want him to spend some of my money on getting the cleaning equipment I want but that is hard for him to digest, Paul tells me, he will clean it himself with what we have.  I am still waiting…

To be Frank with you, I can’t wait until I move out.  But Paul doesn’t like the idea of me being alone, because of my inclination towards avoiding meals and going into bouts of depression where I could self-harm.

I wasn’t depressed like this before I got sick and lost control around the house.

My depression was mostly to do with being sick and in constant pain, then it got worse because of my helplessness, followed by seeing the declination of the house hygiene and my son’s mental health and then the severe poverty, where we relied on a food bank for Christmas and for other occasions.

I don’t care that Paul is starting a new relationship with another woman, I care that I will lose my son, because Henry wants to stay here with his dad because he knows I go with the flow  and I probably wouldn’t stick around Rugby town when I move out.

I go where I am wanted or needed.

I am very flexible.

I am able to start going out once a week without it affecting any budget, this is why I have chosen to go to the library once a week on a Saturday afternoon around 1 to 4pm or thereabouts. but not today.

I will take my laptop so I could get extra writing done there for my novel, because I can’t write in a smelly, untidy house where Henry and Paul have screaming matches every fifteen minutes.

Perhaps as I get fitter, I could eventually walk to the library like I used to instead of getting the bus and then maybe go every day? 

I remember around 2014 before I got sick, that I regularly walked 9 miles per day, I miss that!  I also had enough energy left in me to be meticulous around the house, chasing a toddler and doing 45 minutes of Tae-bo a day too, this is not counting whatever I did at the recreation ground near the house, I used to power walk or jog around that five to seven times three times a week!

Paul was in constant exhaustion as he followed me everywhere, because I have a weird problem.  I don’t like going anywhere alone, ever.  Unless I have a dog, then that’s different as I don’t feel alone with a dog.

I can go out on my own, if I have a dog.

I’m weird I know, but there is something that makes me anxious when I am not in a small group.  I like groups, I thrive in them, but make me alone or put me into a situation where I am having a 121 or a 2 on 1 discussion with people I hardly know, I get so tense.

I tell you, it’s this weird… I will willingly go and talk to an audience of a thousand strangers about any subject you want as long as there is one person back stage or on stage that I know is there, the more people I know, the better; than say, go into a small confined room where I am far away from a door with two complete strangers.

It’s a trust issue.

If people are friendly with me around three or four consecutive visits, I will relax to them very quickly and they go into my trust circle, but if they are rude or mean in anyway, they will never get into that sense of security with me.

It’s just the way I am.

I am very much a pack animal and without my pack I am lost.

My fitness efforts are part of my project to get myself fit enough to find myself a pack, so I can feel like I want to live again.

I think finding my tribe or people who want to be in my life, as the key to my happiness.  I did have a wonderful community here in Rugby before I got sick, but when my sickness got so bad I couldn’t leave the house anymore, people dropped me over a time.  Nobody wanted to come and visit someone who was so sick they could hardly talk and they couldn’t get off the sofa.  Especially as I wasn’t diagnosed with anything that was potentially fatal!

I was just recovering from pneumonia and having multiple chest infections over the years that meant I became very disabled, it badly affected my mobility and I gained a lot of weight. 

In 2017 I decided that perhaps food could be my medicine?  I read a book called “The Wahl’s Protocol” which enlightened me enough that I went on an elimination diet, no gluten, no lactose, no eggs, no soy and as paleo as you can get.  I did see some improvement but not a lot, but I then developed certain deficiencies.

I then decided to try going slowly back on everything; it was fine until I started back on soy and mustard.  Then I decided to listen to my body from when I used to be athletic – go back to a high protein diet.

It’s the protein I need.

It’s the protein fixing me.

I try to get 75g of it per day at minimum, but it’s hard on our budget and I am writing this on the 28th October 2022 – today I haven’t been able to eat much at all.  I had some chicken barely enough to fill half a sandwich and a protein shake and a little light snack, but I was unable to keep things down today.  I had barely 800 calories worth of food, this is becoming regular these days and it’s scary.

Paul think its stress, because I can’t cope with Henry’s behaviour and Henry’s behaviour is worse at the dinner table, where things get so heated between everyone, my stomach goes into knots and I physically cannot eat more than a couple of mouthfuls for a couple of hours.

We have discussed that I should have a separate meal time, away from Henry.

Henry appears to be developing such bad behavioural problems that it is almost like autism, the thing is, he didn’t have any of the signs of this when he was younger.  He is nearly thirteen, but his behaviour is so erratic and sometimes dangerous that it puts tremendous stress on us, especially me.

I half believe he is putting it on, so he doesn’t go to school.  He also finds his behaviour hilarious and doesn’t seem to understand that this behaviour is not funny, the more we show our concern and try to calm him down or even ignore him, the worse he gets.  We can’t win. Paul believes there is something genuinely wrong with him, but I think he is playing us a fool.

Why do I say this?  Because Henry is a huge attention seeker and because I used to work with the mentally disabled, that are far more severe than Henry and they were adults and I can tell you now – Henry’s behaviour is extreme and Henry is an A+ student, he only acts like this when he wants attention or when he doesn’t want to do something.

This is something the school has noted.  Henry is fine in certain classes and when he is around his favourite people, but put him into things he don’t like, he goes berserk literally.  He isn’t violent, he just plays up – acts the fool, reverts back to a toddler, if you get me?

For example, whilst at home if he gets his favourite dinner he is happy, naturally.  But he starts to grin really big and make repetitive noises such as heeee heeee heeee almost donkey like and starts to bounce on his bottom rapidly and shake, then he will hand the food into his mouth without using knives and forks.

This gets him noticed, this causes a reaction from Paul – Henry sees this reaction and likes the attention, so does it all the more and does other things that Paul will notice and comment on, making Henry get all the worse.  Till it escalates and they scream at each other, Henry hits himself and runs away, Paul makes chase, scream, scream, scream, Henry comes back at the table going on about how everybody hates him.

It is happening daily.

It’s exhausting.

I have suggested that we talk to Henry calmly, I am ignored.  I have suggested not giving attention to bad behaviour but noticing and praising the good behaviours instead, I am ignored.

When Henry has lunch when Paul is out, he never acts like this.

This is why I have severe reservations about leaving Henry with Paul.

Henry doesn’t react badly like this, when Paul is out, Henry is attentive, vain, clean and tidy when it’s just me and him.  Around Paul he loses it, he doesn’t want to take care of himself, he doesn’t want to do anything good and I can understand why.  Henry gets more attention when he is bad and is completely ignored when he is good, except by me.

I over compensate for Henry’s good behaviour, because I know it is lacking from his father.

There are times when Henry and I speak together away from Paul, because both of us do not want to trigger another screaming match by being overheard.  Henry often talks about how he doesn’t feel wanted or loved and because I am anxious about any shouting going on around me because of my PTSD, I am eager to be out of ear shot of Paul when he tells me these things.

It’s difficult here.  This is why I am finding it hard to do much.

I am constantly drained; I am running on empty lately.  Whenever I sit or lie down, I am inadvertently falling asleep very easily.  I have black circles under my eyes and it’s not lack of sleep or dehydration.

Sorry for such a long post, but I needed to get this off my chest.

Thanks for reading. 

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New energy

This high protein diet is doing wonders for my health and body, I am getting more good days than bad.  Despite currently having a throat infection with a mild chest infection, everything else is improving a lot!

I believe the throat and chest infection has come about because of my birthday weekend splurge of sweet treats and refined sugars, something I am not known for usually, but I wanted a change this weekend.

I don’t normally have a sweet tooth more than three or four times a month and that’s because of hormones and then I usually opt for fruit.  But this past weekend I have splurged on cream cakes, chocolate, jelly babies and a lot of honey and maple syrup – shock and horror!

It’s my birthday weekend, let me live a little.  My weight is stable, I am managing to exercise more often and I am feeling happy for it, but I still have a lot of fat to lose and toning up to do.

Since I started a few months ago to do just squats and standing from a seated position several times a day, I have noticed a positive increase in my mental health. 

I knew from the past that I loved exercise and being active, but when I got sick, I just lacked all motivation to try again.  It is especially hard when you have a lot of people tell you “take it easy, don’t rush things” all the while.

Paul was always stressed out by the idea that I may be rushing back into exercise after poor health and would often moan me into submission about it, so I found it hard to get back into the swing of it all.

I have had some harsh and strong words with Paul about this recently, when he noticed I was doing exercise. 

“Well I got news for you” I said defiantly; “I have been doing these things in secret for the past few months to get back into the flow of it and now I am ready for harder tasks”.  He almost went white.

I am not satisfied staying fat and lazy, I love exercise, I love doing things – I am not content in sitting on my ass all day whining about how poor we are and what we don’t have… if there is something about me that I can say in a positive and confident light is that I am a go-getter.  But like the water dog I am; I flow with the energy that is around me the most and at the moment I am in stagnant waters and I am trying to make some currents.

In my youth my mother encouraged a peacock attitude, but as long as I kept to her lame fashion advice and her fashion advice really was lame!  I have always been a lover of fashion and I strongly believe that your clothes can show the world your personality. 

Unfortunately that is really hard to do when you are obese and you have virtually no budget to play with! 

People do judge you for the clothes you wear as well as your general looks and I am not happy by the kinds of reactions I get when I wear the clothes I do currently, I get very little respect and I am treated like an ignoramus.

I want to be a peacock again, well, you know what I mean right?

I have too much work to do, it’s scary!

I also have to be cautious because in the past I had severe issues with anorexia, bulimia but also another condition where I was addicted to exercise to the point of exhaustion and collapse!

Paul knows this and thinks that any exercise outside of walking everywhere and twenty minute boring aerobics is too much, he is very cautious.

My ideas are very different.  The only lengthy work out I like is forty five minutes long and it is Billy Blank’s Tae-Bo workout, gosh I miss that – this is one of the things I am working towards, being fit enough to do the whole workout again.  It’s fun!

I am also working out to try and get back the flexibility I used to have when I was a contortionist – yes, that’s right; I used to be a contortionist.  Not professionally, just for fun!  Don’t sideways glance at me like that, it was fun!

A friend recently suggested I take up yoga and I laughed, because, I wish… But my body needs a lot of work before I can cock my leg up over my head again!

When I am writing in a calm and peaceful environment I have noticed I work better creatively when I am doing stupid things like this; Fifteen to twenty minutes writing, getting up and doing three minutes of HIIT exercises, followed by jumping jacks and jump rope exercises, then getting back to the desk. 

Not only am I happy doing this, but my brain works better for it!

I wished I had an office which could also be a gym and library all rolled into one, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon by itself, so I have to work for it!

At the moment I am really trying to develop a positive mind-set and a healthy body and a handful of online friends have DM and told me that they really believe, in their hearts of hearts I should avoid sending my work to an agent in October so I can focus on all this other stuff first. 

My friends think I should send it out around February, as the agents will be more prepared as I am sending the work out at the start of the busiest time of the year.  I don’t know what to do to be honest, but I am wondering if I am dumb if I ignore their advice?

I believe the high protein diet is really fixing my body.  As much as I love fruit and vegetables, I know I could never be a vegan because you can’t get Vitamin B12 as a vegan; with my digestive and bowel disease I already struggle to get enough B vitamins my diet as I don’t absorb them very well; not only this but I have allergies to soy and mustard, which can cause my spleen to swell.

According to google;” Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anaemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces large abnormally shaped red blood cells that do not function properly. Dementia, paranoia, depression, and behavioural changes can result from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Neurological damage sometimes cannot be reversed”.

I have pernicious anaemia and rheumatic arthritis, but I am stabilising that the best I can with supplements and a healthy diet where I have to be mindful about what I eat and can’t get stuck into food ruts.  My body really struggles absorbing vitamin B because of those conditions.

My arthritis is the first noticeable change since starting a high protein diet.  Since starting this diet, my pain is getting less and I am starting to get some muscle mass back again, because around Easter time I loss a lot of muscle mass where it started to become very scary for Paul, my doctors and I.

I have a protein metabolism and I am an hourglass shape, I know what I am doing with my body because when I was younger I brainwashed myself to try to be the best that I can be, but Paul encouraged me to get lazy about things, because he was scared I was pushing my body too far and I had such a long term illness after pneumonia due to mono, that I flaked out, literally for years.

Slowly gaining back the fifty pounds I had lost after moving out of my mother’s house, but that’s changing now!

I noticed the worse parts of my ill health came back after three days of slipping up with my protein intake; Paul has noticed it too and has said that losing the high protein diet is unnegotiable now!

I forgot the high I get when I exercise and it’s great!

When I am sad or stressed I eat a lot, it’s a compulsive habit. When I am happy I forget to eat, so I have to watch that too! When I was twenty four my mother took a bigger control of my life and took a lot of things away from me that made me happy, I gained thirty pounds a year in depression and would have got fatter if it weren’t for Paul coming into my life and saving me when he did! I have always struggled with body dysmorphia one way or another. The thinner I get the fatter I think I see myself in the mirror and weirdly enough vice versa.

I have been using Mel Robbin’s technique recently whenever I look in the mirror, don’t see me as myself; I see myself as another person who I am deeply in love with and care about and weird enough it is helping my body dysmorphia a lot! I know it can lead to another problem of disassociation, but if it makes me happy in my own skin then I am all for that!

So look in the mirror, see another person in the room, don’t associate it with yourself, and high five that girl or boy you love!

So that’s what’s happening in my life right now.

Thanks for reading!

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