8 March 2017

DRAFT APRIL 2016 | A Grand Adventure is about to begin

I know it has been a long time since I have posted a blog, and while I take another few days to compile a plan of what topics to cover for you guys, I thought it might be fun to publish some of my unreleased drafts from around the time I found out that I was pregnant! I hope they bring a smile to your faces as much as they did mine, they are wonderfully rambly and I think you can get a sense of how overwhelmed and excited I was. 

So without further ado ... the blog post from the day after I found out I was expecting. 

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Wow, where do I even begin?

Today is the 21st of April 2016. I know this post won't be up for a few weeks, but I have so much going on in my mind right now that I needed somewhere to let it all out! It is no secret that I am certainly not the most patient of people, so keeping this little secret for the next few weeks will be so difficult for me! I am so overwhelmed with shock and joy that I just want to call everyone I know and share this with them!! So here it goes...

WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!!!

I am still very much in a state of disbelief and anxious to start the next chapter of this journey - but first let me tell you a little about how this all unfolded.

Before I continue however, let me just say -  yes, I have taken many a pregnancy test over these past four months and every.single.one was negative! Having decided that we really wanted to start a family of our own last last year, the absence of that second line each time was even more devastating than the last, but I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and all good things come to those who wait. So wait I did.

After much deliberation, I finally booked to see my GP (yesterday) who once again did a pregnancy test, and once again the result was negative. After much deliberation, and knowing I was anxious to start planning a family - she decided to refer me for blood tests to see if there were any hormonal imbalances that needed attention - and that was that for my appointment bar a quick chat about my general anxiety and stressed out personality.

Yesterday evening (20th April) around 7pm I received a phone call from the clinic - which is generally very unusual! I was worried that maybe they had to cancel the blood tests, growing more concerned when I realised it was Shane's phone they were actually calling! Shane was driving at the time, so I answered the phone and to my surprise it was the doctor that I had seen earlier in the day. What followed next was a complete blur!

She told me that she had left the pregnancy test on the counter and had checked it again as she was tidying. "Mrs Brady.." she said. "Congratulations are in order, the test is positive!".

I was awash with emotion. She was still talking on the end of the line about next steps, and second tests and scheduling prenatal appointments and all I could think was "stay calm, or Shane will end up in a ditch"! I felt awful downplaying it when I just wanted to jump up and down with excitement, kiss my husband and tell him I feel more filled with love for him then I have ever felt! Instead - compose yourself Amy - "Thank you so much for letting me know, I'll see you tomorrow" and I hung up the phone.

I could tell instantly that Shane suspected something. He asked if I was okay, and I made up some story about needing to go in for a pre-blood checkup examination thingy tomorrow. He didn't seem overly convinced, but one of my husbands most wonderful traits is that he is wonderfully trusting and supportive of me.

The drive home was torture and although a mere 10 minutes, felt like an eternity. I just wanted to tell him and have it out there. I knew that if I kept it hidden and tried to do one of those cutesy surprise announcements - it would never work (as I mentioned - I am way too impatient)! I decided on the drive home to tell him when we got in.

Home and parked, and when he finally stopped messing around with his car, I turned down the volume on the radio and turned to him. I asked if he wanted to know the real reason why the doctor called me. He looked at me panicked, worried that something was wrong. "She called to tell me that you're going to be a Daddy" I said, and before I had finished the sentence I welled up. The last time I seen a smile as genuine and heartfelt from Shane was our wedding day! I could tell he was going through the same huge influx of emotions I had felt, and he leaned over to kiss me! He was in complete disbelief! He just kept saying wow and smiling. I don't think it was any more possible to love him more than I did in that moment. We have been together for so long, and always talked of a family - but his reaction was so genuine and so sweet - it completely blew me away.

We decided not to talk too much about it, as the doctor had asked that I go back today for a second test since there is always a small chance of a false positive in instances where the result changes. Shane didn't want to get my hopes up, and we tried to stay calm and collected - occasionally making remarks about what we would need to start planning etc. As the night wore on however, I felt myself getting incredibly anxious. The fact I haven't had a regular cycle in so long meant there was no sure fire way to tell how far along I was, I started to panic about the repercussions of not knowing I was pregnant and if any of my activities, diet etc would affect the baby! Shane (being his usual wonderful self) comforted me and told me not to worry about anything - that everything would be fine, but my anxious mind was still ticking away.

Then, I messaged one of my best friends Sinead - as we often do - checking in every few days with each other. A few weeks ago - she had told me that she was going to see a psychic and asked if I would like to go along. I declined at the time, but told her I was excited to hear what the psychic had to say to her. I had completely forgotten that she had gone that day, and when she told me she had it was a welcome distraction to let her tell me what had been said. This is where the story gets strange. Amongst the general things, Sinead had said that psychic had talked about her friends to her. Without giving other peoples personal business away let's just say that of our motley group of four - the psychic for all intents and purposes detailed to Sinead the major life changes we were currently going through. Sinead was then able to pinpoint who each person was because these changes were actually occurring - the only one she said hadn't happened yet (to her knowledge) was the "friend having a baby" which she said was more than likely about me - being that my want to start a family has been no secret. What she said next floored me. Sinead told me that the psychic told her to tell me "not to worry, that everything will go well". I burst into floods of tears and ran out to Shane who almost fell over the kitchen table running for me! I showed him the message (he is very sceptical of psychics and he dismissed it) but I couldn't help feel incredibly overwhelmed - especially since all I had spent the evening doing was worrying about the welfare of my unborn baby - and anxious to organise a scan or something that would tell me he/she is okay! I felt it was much more than coincidental that Sinead had been told that one of her friends would have a baby the very DAY I found out that I am pregnant!

I'm a stage now where I am lying on my bed, trying to make sense of these thoughts! Maybe I'll come back to this a little later in the week!


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6 January 2017

We had a baby!

Hello my lovelies! 

It has been a long time since I have chatted to you all here! I promise that will change very soon! I have been quite busy these past few months with work and making preparations for the arrival of our baby boy Eirik. 

I have definitely been a little sidetracked needless to say, but now that our little boy is finally here, I feel like I can finally take a breath and focus on my blog and channel again. 

I plan on popping back within the next week to share my labour and delivery experience with you, but for now I just wanted to share our exciting news. Our beautiful baby boy Eirik arrived on December 21st. I don't think we could have asked for anything more precious, just in time for Christmas. 


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30 August 2016

Final Surgery Update | 1 Year Post-Op


I can't believe I am finally writing what will (hopefully) be my final surgery update! Yes! Saturday the 20th of August marked one whole year since I went under the knife to repair the damage that Freiberg's Disease had done to my right foot.

As always, why don't we start with major changes and accomplishments since my last update back in February! I love sharing these with you guys because they help me to appreciate and remember the control that I have back in my life because of this surgery.

CYCLING THE GREAT WESTERN GREENWAY

With my surgeons blessing that cycling would do my continually recovering foot the world of good, my husband and I took a trip back in March to Westport, County Mayo with the intention of cycling the 42km trek from Achill Island to Westport. I actually wrote a blog post about our experience which you can read more about by clicking here.



A GRAND ADVENTURE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN

Quite pleased with my progress cycling The Greenway the month previous, I was feeling stronger and more confident than ever by April. Mentally I felt prepared to start sorting  my life out again. I had finally adjusted to my return to work, my limp was much less noticeable and my endurance when it came to walking or standing for long periods of time was getting stronger as each week passed. Gone were those niggling pains and aches and finally I was feeling a sense of relief and purpose. 

Mid April, I decided that it was time to start taking care of myself better and one way of doing this was by visiting my GP for a routine health check up. During the check up we talked about a variety of things both mental as well as physical and I left her office that day feeling a new found sense of encouragement and determination. 

My husband and I have wanted to start a family for years, and no matter when we felt the time was right, something would crop up to delay it further. Naturally all of the issues I had gone through with my foot didn't help, and for a further two of those years really threw us and delayed so many plans we had made. 

So you can imagine my surprise when the evening of my checkup, my GP called me to tell me that the routine pregnancy test she had performed had turned from negative to positive over the course of the day!!


I cannot even tell you the emotions I felt at learning that we were finally going to be parents! Our little baby is doing so well and growing so fast! As I write this I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and growing more and more excited as each day passes for my delivery date to be here! Little Baby Brady is due December 25th and I have plans to update the blog with a few pregnancy related posts so watch this space if that is something you think you may be interested in. 


PHYSIOTHERAPY, EXCERCISE & WEIGHT LOSS

With my return to work and pregnancy, I was naturally feeling pretty exhausted on a more regular basis. My early morning work shifts didn't help and I would often fall into bed for hours when I came home. 

Although I feel blessed to have not endured awful morning sickness during my first trimester, I was incredibly nauseous, and despite forcing myself to eat as healthily as possible I actually lost quite a significant amount of weight. 

My post surgery, return to work weight was coming in at 102kg (16 stone) - officially the heaviest I had ever been, but hardly surprising given two years of limited mobility.  At the time I fell pregnant I was squeezing myself into a UK Size 18 and even sometimes a UK Size 20. Although I probably should have felt worse about my weight, I really didn't because I knew what my body had gone through had contributed to my drastic weight gain, and by getting my life back on track - I knew this was something I could deal with in time. 

I've always eaten well (I love food) and always been careful not to over-indulge. I carry most of my weight on my stomach and people would always seem surprised when I would tell them how much I weighed or what size clothes I wore. I exercised regularly by walking before my immobility and after my surgery, but despite a good diet and regular exercising my weight would often fluctuate. One thing I will admit I was terrible for, and one thing I feel has contributed (apart from the nausea) to my weight loss these past few months is drinking more water! Before, I would drink on average maybe one glass of water a day, if even, favouring tea / coffee / juices instead. Since I fell pregnant I drink on average, 4- 5 500ml bottles a day and I continue to do so out of sheer routine now.

Left: At my heaviest (101kg) January 2016
Right: 23 Weeks Pregnant (91kg) August 2016
Another aspect I feel has greatly influenced the weight loss is a lack of stress in my life. Since finding out I was pregnant, I have felt so calm and unaffected by the little things that would have generally bothered me before. I definitely am a firm believer that mindfulness and positivity can affect our weight. When I was at the lowest points in my life, I would always gain. At the highest points, I would lose weight.

By 12 weeks pregnant I had lost 10kg bringing my weight down to 91kg (14 1/2 stone). Initially I was worried about this, but my midwife assured me that this is totally normal given my weight before and factoring in the nausea etc. The most important thing was that I had a healthy gain rate during my second trimester, which so far I have been. I know I still have at least another 15kg to lose before I am considered a safe weight on the BMI index, but that is something that I am not worrying about right now. No doubt, having a little baby to worry about will help get rid of that extra weight in no time! 

WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY

Thankfully, I have had no need to return to my doctor since my last appointment with my surgeon.

If I have a particularily bad day, I know how to manage it now. Ice for the swelling and plenty of rest. I also remind myself not to push myself too far, and be aware of my limits. 

The scar one year post op

HOW I AM FEELING NOW

Relieved! Relieved that finally after years of pain and no solution, that for all intents and purposes the surgery seems to have been incredibly successful. I may not be able to wear high heels or be involved in high impact sports, but these are minor things in the grand scale of things. I can sleep, walk comfortably and finally live my life again. 

I think the most rewarding thing to come out of all of this, is the realisation that I can actually function normally once our son arrives. I have so much to look forward to with him, and I feel confident that the issues I have had with my foot will never limit me again now that I know the warning signs, and how to maintain the pain when it is bad. 



I am grateful for finding an incredible surgical team, for my incredible friends and family who supported and cared for me though every stage and of course to all of you for reading and sharing your stories with me.  

In my last surgery update, my surgeon told me to "start living", finally I feel like I can say that I have. 
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4 August 2016

A well overdue update



I haven't posted here in forever! For which, I am extremely sorry! If I'm to be honest, I have just been having the worst case of writers / content block these past few months! I mean, I have a LOT of ideas jotted down that I really want to share with you - but when it comes to actually constructing a post that will make some sense - let's just say it doesn't go so well! The sheer amount of "drafts" I have waiting to be finished and posted is just crazy! Anyways, enough of my rambling. I thought today, I would pop by and share a little update with you all in the hopes that I will find some much needed inspiration to finish and post some of the little projects I have been holding on the back burner! 

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Unfortunately, it's not just my blog that has been suffering from a lack of posts lately - my poor Youtube channel has been neglected since January of this year! For those new to my blog, I returned to work in January after suffering for two years from a joint disease (my journey with which has been documented - if you are interested - in the Lifestyle menu above).  

I have a bunch of ideas planned for my channel, both beauty and craft related so watch this space. Links as always will be posted here for you and don't forget to click that little Subscribe button over in the sidebar to stay up to date with my latest posts! 

BABY BRADY

Since returning to work, I was dealing with extreme exhaustion both mentally and physically for some time. By March I had finally started to adjust to my return to work and felt like I had finally gotten the tiredness under control! By mid April however, I started feeling extremely tired again and decided to book an appointment to see my GP. My GP was initially concerned (following several negative pregnancy tests) that I was suffering from a combination of anxiety related to my return to work, as well as a possible hormonal imbalance. I was scheduled for a blood test later that week, and my doctor did another pregnancy test just to be sure. Low and behold the test was negative, and I went on my way with no immediate answer as to why I was so tired all the time! 

That was until later that evening, when my doctor called me to tell me that the test had come up as a false positive (it had changed over the course of the day) and I was in fact pregnant with our first child!!! You can read more about our little announcement etc here.

Well that was 15 weeks ago now and our little baby is growing and growing! We're now at the halfway mark of 20 weeks and getting more and more excited as each day passes to meet our little one! We have been super busy trying to look for new accommodation which is unfortunately not going so well right now! As an alternative, we have decided to stay put in our little one bedroom apartment until little Baby Brady is here. On the plus side, we are most definitely learning how to utilise space to it's full advantage! 


As of now, the tiredness is finally gone and I am really truly enjoying being pregnant! I'm planning a few pregnancy related blog posts, so again watch this space! Our "big" scan is next week so I will keep you guys updated on how that goes! We are still very much on the fence about whether or not to find out if we are having a boy or a girl. 

FOOT SURGERY RECOVERY

This month marks one year since my foot surgery! That just sounds incredibly crazy to say! I feel like this past year has been such a blur! 

Since my return to work, I have found it difficult adapting to being on my feet all day, but I really do think it has done the world of good in regards to strengthening my muscles. I still have good and bad days, but thankfully nowhere near the level of pain I was experiencing pre surgery! 

My surgical scar gives me little to no trouble thankfully and I feel like temperature wise the aches and pains I was previously associating with either too hot or too cold conditions are starting to even out. 

My limp is now much less pronounced and much less noticeable then it ever has been. The only time it will really become apparent is when I am very tired, or have been walking for long periods of time.

BLOG AWARDS IRELAND 2016


We've made it to this years Longlist in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Lifestyle Category. So a massive thank you to everyone for your nominations and continued support! I am so thrilled to have my little blog nominated for the third year in a row. 

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I think that pretty much sums up what I have been up to these past few months! As I said, I do have a lot planned and will be hopefully finishing and posting some new content both here and on my Youtube channel very soon. 

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11 June 2016

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin!

Hi everyone! 

So sorry for my hiatus these past few months! I have been suffering from (from lack of a better explanation) writers block and literally could not find the thought of motivation for new posts!

Thankfully I feel like I finally have some great ideas and posts to share with you guys! While on hiatus, my husband and I discovered something pretty exciting that I just cannot wait to share with you all!

We're having a baby!!! 



Can you tell how excited we are?? It has been SO difficult keeping this wonderful little secret of ours these past few weeks! We actually found out when I was about when I was about five weeks pregnant but made the decision to keep it under wraps until I was near the end of the first trimester. We didn't even tell our family and friends until just last week!

Well today I am 12 weeks and 4 days and more excited than ever to meet our little bundle of joy! Hurry up December 20th!! 

I have been keeping little secret pregnancy diaries, but I feel like if I was to post them all together,  that would be an overload of baby themed posts here. So I have decided to condense them down to one "First Trimester" themed post. So bare with me for a couple of days while I try not to make it TOO long winded! Haha.

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24 April 2016

Remembering Charli

I have already posted on my private social media about this, but since she was so prominent and made an appearance in most of our vlogs, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our beautiful little zebra finch Charli. 


People always tell me that they can't understand the fascination with vlogging, or why we would bother, but it's times like this I am glad we do vlog from time to time. In the past year our gorgeous Golden Retriever Duke crossed the rainbow bridge, and as of last night Charli joined him. 


We are utterly devasted at losing her, but knowing I have so many videos and happy memories with both her and Duke to look back on brings some comfort at least. 


Sleep sweet beautiful Charli, we will always love and remember you. 



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4 April 2016

Cycling The Great Western Greenway



I can't remember the exact moment when I became so interested in outdoor endeavours, but it was most definitely during my time cooped up whilst suffering from the painful effects of late stage Freiberg's Disease. I suppose, seeing as I was unable to enjoy the outdoors as much during that time, I longed for it more than I ever had before - and made a vow to myself to spend as much time appreciating what nature had to offer as much I possibly could.

Wednesday the 30th of March 2016 marked not only the first big physical challenge I had set myself since my foot surgery seven months ago, but probably the biggest physical challenge have set myself in my life to date - to cycle the 42 kilometre journey from Achill Island to Westport in County Mayo, also known as The Great Western Greenway.

Not long after my surgery - I recall spontaneously asking my husband if we could attempt to climb Croagh Patrick together. Never before, had I ever considered visiting a mountain in Ireland - let alone climbing one! Yet, the request was there with no substance or reason. I suddenly wanted to climb a mountain, and I wanted Croagh Patrick to be my inaugural climb.

After visiting my surgeon for my final check up and getting the green light to start moderate hiking, we decided that Croagh Patrick, while not an unobtainable, may be a little too big of a dream right now and so, as we approached our wedding anniversary and weekly annual leave, we found ourselves longing to embark on a mini adventure that might assist in easing us into finally achieving our ultimate goal.

We decided that even if I couldn't climb Croagh Patrick just yet, we would at least go and see it in person. So we booked a four day trip to Westport, County Mayo with the intention of resting and generally just sussing out how difficult the climb would be for me.

A week before our trip, and anxious to get some sort of activity in, we found ourselves researching more and more about The Great Western Greenway, a 42 kilometre off road pathway designated specifically to cyclists and hikers, and offering some of the most spectacular views of our beautiful country. We excitedly decided to try it, despite being told it was quite a difficult trek to spontaneously attempt. Nevertheless our minds we made up, and we booked to hire some bikes from a fantastic company in Westport called Clew Bay Bike Hire.

The electric and standard bike
Shane hired a standard bike, while I opted for the electric bike - which I was so thankful for when reached the more hilly areas of the trail. Bike Hire also included shuttle transfers, and so we decided to start our journey on Achill which would ensure that the wind would be on our backs as we cycled the Greenway back to Westport. 

We took off from Achill sound around 10:30am to begin the first 13km of the trail which would bring us from Achill to Mulranny.

Achill to Mulranny
This section was probably our favourite, with beautiful sweeping mountain views that took our breath away. 

Beautiful views | Achill to Mulranny

Achill to Mulranny

Achill to Mulranny
It was also a fairly easy trek which ended at the Mulranny Park Hotel where we decided to take a well earned break and treat ourselves to tea and scones. The first 13km had taken us a leisurely two hours to complete with rest stops for pictures and snacking. 

The view from Mulranny Park Hotel
At this point we had the option to turn our bikes in and be picked up by the shuttle which would take us back to Westport - but we were feeling pretty great - so after a quick refuel - we decided to push on. 

The next portion of the cycle was the longest - 18km from Mulranny to Newport. While we also enjoyed this stretch, it crossed over a lot of farmland and was much less scenic than the Achill to Mulranny stretch. We did however manage to get some beautiful sea views in which gave us time to admire Ireland's beautiful coastline and the abundance of Islands dotting it. 

Mulranny to Newport


Reaching Newport, we felt we had stopped for plenty of breaks - and so we decided not to stop off here for a coffee break. We pushed on through Newport town at which point we had to dismount and walk our bikes through. For a brief time while in Newport you come off the Greenway for a while - again with the option to drop your bikes in at the Clew Bay shop and be collected by shuttle which again we decided not to do. 

After walking through the town - we embarked once more on what was probably the most disappointing leg of the trek (hence the lack of pictures). This was mainly due to the extensive amount of roadworks going on in the area as well as the fact that the Newport to Westport leg is much less scenic than the previous 31km we had just travelled. Most of this part of the route is adjacent to the roadway and we also found ourselves tackling a new obstacle - hills! Aside from the roadworks and the hills, we enjoyed our cycle back nonetheless and it was an incredible feeling to arrive back in Westport to the impressive backdrop of my ultimate goal - Croagh Patrick - towering over the town. 

Reaching Westport Greenway Station 5 1/2 hours later
Reaching our final destination was an incredible feeling for us! We were completely surprised at just how much we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience and we cannot wait to do it again!

To learn more about the Greenway you can do so by clicking here.
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29 February 2016

Surgery Update | 6 Months Post-Op



It has been a few weeks since I have updated the blog, so I thought - what better way to get back to it - then to give you guys a little surgery update! 

So in true surgery update fashion, lets start with major changes that have taken place since my last update. 

BACK TO WORK!

Firstly, I am finally back to work! Yes, after over two years I was finally well enough to re-enter the working world! I was super nervous that I would have to wait a bit longer than expected following an extremely bad relapse of pain just before Christmas, but surely enough my doctor gave me the all clear to ease myself back in for the end of January. Hence the lack of posts lately! 

I won't lie, the first week was absolute hell and it was pretty deflating to not be able to fit into my old uniform due to my drastic weight gain. The role I have is also pretty intensive in terms of being on my feet all day, and I am very much a person that needs to complete a task as soon as I think of it, so sitting was not an option for me - no matter how much my colleagues advised. For the first couple of days, I ended up back in bed as soon as I came home for hours on end with ibuprofen, my ice pack and Netflix binging. 

The second week, while still tough was getting a little easier on me. I was using muscles that hadn't been used in a very long time between stretching and stooping. I was exhausted and week, mentally and physically - but a little voice kept telling me to push through!

By week three, I felt like I had never left! I was thoroughly enjoying the company of my colleagues as well as having something to do during the day! (The pay check at the end of the week helps too). I was still struggling with swelling after standing for a few hours, but I could feel myself getting stronger and less exhausted by work as each day passed. 

Last week was probably the best week since my return to work, my limp became less apparent and I generally felt much strong than I have in months. I also weighed myself for the first time since before Christmas and was thrilled to see that in just 10 weeks I had managed to lose 15lbs! 

Overall I am really happy to be back to work! It feels amazing to finally have a schedule and routine back on track again, not to mention be able to walk around with significantly less pain then I had been before. 

PHYSIOTHERAPY

Due to work absorbing much of my time (and my energy), I haven't had a lot of time to work on my physiotherapy in the swimming pool. I think I have only made it over a grand total of three times in the past four weeks, so we have made the decision to cancel our membership for now. 

We have been a walking a lot more, which suits me perfectly since you all know how much I love walking! We also recently invested in our first car, so we are excited to see what adventures we can go on now that we will have more mobility! Ireland plays host to some incredible hiking trails, so we are hoping to take on a few of these during the summer.

Walking and photography has become our favourite way to unwind
Another passion at the moment is yoga! I never in a million years thought I would enjoy yoga but let me tell you, I do feel like it has played a massive part in building not only my strength but helping me cope with stress and anxiety. I haven't tried it in a studio yet, I just follow along with these beautiful videos by BohoBeautiful. This sleepy bear routine is one of my favourites and really helps me feel energised and ready to take on the day!



WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY

February 20th marked 6 months since the surgery, and today the 29th was my officially my final appointment with my surgeon! I had a brand new set of X-rays taken this morning, and got to see just how my foot has been healing. My surgeon pulled up my old X-rays to do a comparison and it was amazing to see new healthy bone growing where the debriment and osteotomy had been performed. It looked much different and healthier to my last X-rays back in November. 

While I still have the option to have a joint replacement done in the future, my surgeon was happy that what was done is maintainable enough for the next few years. It's up to me now to know my limits, take it easy and don't do anything TOO strenuous on my foot. 

It felt truly amazing to be told, "That's it, everything looks amazing - go live your life! Don't let anything stop you again!". 

I feel honestly blessed to have found such a wonderful and positive surgeon in Mr James Walsh. I don't think he will ever truly understand how much more he has given me than simply my mobility back. 

HOW I AM FEELING NOW

Ready. Ready to live and forget the pain and stress of these past two years. 

I still have good and bad days, I still have swelling and slight discomfort, but I have been reassured that all of this is normal and to be honest, I feel so used to it now that I rarely even think about it.

I still get swelling and minor pains, but nothing as severe as pre-surgery
From here on out, its all in my hands (or feet so to speak).  

It's finally time to start living!


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7 February 2016

Recipe | Fluffy American Pancakes


Pancake Tuesday is upon us and what better way to start the blogging week off than by sharing my favourite pancake recipe with you!


I'm not even kidding when I say that it has taken me YEARS to perfect this recipe! I have searched through books, websites, blogs and nothing ever seems to turn out just right! I put this mostly down to the fact that a lot of these recipes were from American sites, and of course there are slight differences in our ingredients here in Ireland which can either make or break a recipe. 

After many trial and error attempts, countless botched pancakes in the bin and heavy stodgy pancakes in our tummies - I am convinced that I have finally found what I feel is the solution to perfect fluffy American style pancakes! 

If you would like to learn how to make them, keep on reading! 

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

  • a mixing bowl
  • an electric whisk
  • a mixing spatula or wooden spoon 
  • measuring cups (1 cup measurement and 1/4 cup measurement)
  • flat based frying pan
  • a spatula for turning your pancakes
  • some tasty toppings


METHOD


1. 
Crack your eggs into your mixing bowl, and using your electric mixer - beat until light and foamy. Once mixed transfer to a smaller bowl or grab a spare mixing bowl.

2. 
In the bowl add your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix your dry ingredients together.

3.
With your dry ingredients now combined, make a well in the centre and pour in your beaten eggs, vanilla extract and half the milk. Mix well until everything is nicely combined. 

TIP: Don't be overly fussy about some small lumps here and there as over mixing your pancake batter can actually effect how well they will rise during cooking. 

4.
Turn your pan on over a medium heat and add your butter. Allow the butter to melt for a few seconds and remove from heat to cool for a minute.

Add melted butter to the batter and mix well. 

TIP: No need to grease your pan since the residual butter left over will have already done it for you! You should get between 4 and 6 pancakes without the need for adding any more! If you do need to add more butter, I suggest using a paper towel to grease your pan or a pastry brush as adding too much butter can make your pancakes greasy. 

5.
At this point if your batter is too thick, you can go ahead and add a little bit more milk at a time until it has reached your desired consistency. I always end up using around 3/4 cup of milk, but depending on mystical factors that I have no explanation for (haha) sometimes you may need less or more! 

6.
I like my pancakes to be all roughly the same size, so to achieve this I normally use my 1/4 cup measurement. You can of course use larger cups, depending on how big you want your pancakes. 

Scoop out the batter and dollop in the centre of your heated pan using the cup to even the batter out as it begins to cook. I find dabbing motions works best. 

7.
Cook your pancakes for roughly one minute either side, or until golden brown. 

My favourite thing about cooking these pancakes is watching them expand and rise in the pan! 

TIP: If you want to eat them straight away and still keep them warm, place them in a deep bottomed dish (like a pasta or soup dish) and keep covered with a large pan lid. This will retain the heat and keep the pancakes soft and toasty! I find keeping them warm in the oven can dry them out or overcook them! 

8. 
Stack your pancakes, add your favourite toppings and enjoy! 


I have my wonderful friend Debi to thank for my giant bottle of maple syrup you can see in the pictures! Yummy! 


Happy cooking! 
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29 January 2016

Tip | How to Iron 100% Cotton / Egyptian Cotton Sheets


I have wanted to own my very own cotton bed set ever since we visited Disneyland Paris on our honeymoon back in 2012. Before that, I never really understood the fascination with what I just assumed to be overpriced bedding. After having the best weeks sleep however - my mind was changed and both myself and Shane fell in love with the idea of someday owning our own set. 

Our honeymoon suite. Sequoia Lodge Disneyland Paris 2012.

The appeal for me in choosing white cotton bed linen was the fact that I would have so much freedom when it came to accessorising and dressing the bed with accessories such as blankets and cushions. As much as we loved the idea, we could not bring ourselves to shell out €90 plus for the duvet cover alone and since we live in rented accommodation, it seemed ridiculous to spend so much on bedding when we were so restricted to the overall design and decor in our room. 

A few weeks ago however, we came across a brand called Sleepdown in our local store which was on sale for what we thought to be a very reasonable price and we decided to finally treat ourselves. Trust me when I say, these sheets are so comfortable to sleep in!! We opted for the all white 100% Egyptian cotton set and they are divine! Super soft and luxurious! Everything we wanted on a budget! 


When it came to wash the sheets however, I found myself presented with the task of figuring out the best way to iron them. I know most people wouldn't bother when it came to ironing bed linen, but these sheets really only look the part when ironed. Since cotton sheets don't have polyester or other synthetic fibres, they crease much easier that standard duvet sets. 

After a mild wash cycle, I tumble dried the sheets on a low heat setting as suggested on the tag instructions. I then took the sheets immediately out of the dryer and tried to iron them, and tried .. and tried ... and nothing seemed to work. The creases appeared less creased but were still very prominent. 

I took to Google to look for a solution and came across a variety of different suggestions and so I tried my own little combination of techniques that I felt might work best for my sheets. Thus this post today! I thought I would share with you how I achieved my beautifully soft, crease free Egyptian cotton bed linen.

After following the above steps and unsuccessfully attempting to iron my sheets, I read time and time again that the best way to iron 100% cotton is when it is slightly damp. 

Top of sheet: Standard steam iron.
Bottom of sheet: Slightly dampened - then steam ironed. 
Since I had tumble dried my sheets already, I need to make them damp enough to iron without breaking the fibres. I opted for a spray bottle filled with clean water and I proceeded to lightly spritz the sheets before passing over them with my iron on a cotton and steam setting. 

Left: Steam ironed
Right: Dampened then steam ironed
That's it! Simple as that, but nonetheless I felt it was worth sharing! I know it seems like a lot of work, but trust me it's more than worth it! I cannot wait to have our own home someday and fill it with beautiful Egyptian cotton sheets!
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