Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Little Story About Southwold, A Family And A Woman With MS.....


The first time we went to Southwold, we fell in love....our perfect seaside town. We had just got both girls in school, I'd just landed myself a brilliant job, and we had money in our pockets for the first time since starting our family. We could eat at the lovely restaurants, I could shop in the lovely penny pinching, life felt good. Very good.
We discovered the cafe by the boathouse which served the most delicious cakes, and I just adored the battered, mismatched vintage decor. We sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea, talking about paying off our mortgage early, then travelling the world we them. Yes, very good.
I knew my little family was complex, I knew we were a bit quirky. I could handle this, I felt I could take on the world......bring it on.
The next year, once again we found ourselves sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea. This time however, things were very different. Someone had turned my life upside down, sprinkled its contents all over the floor, and I was scrabbling about, desperately trying to make sense of things.
The year had been difficult, my mums behaviour had changed dramatically, we had watched her disappear bit by bit. It had been hard, looking after her as well has holding down a full on stressful job, and caring for the girls.
I had become increasingly tired, unwell, one virus after the other, refusing to take any time off work, refusing to appear weak. Everything however changed in a second, suddenly I couldn't move my body. I felt the change. I knew it was serious. I was forced to take time off body was making sure of that!
Just a few days before our holiday, I'd been sat with my neurologist who told me I had Multiple Sclerosis. He offered me no hope. No plan. No treatment. I just needed to 'look after' myself. Not everyone who has MS ends up in a wheelchair, so just live your life, don't think about the future too much, try not to worry, the stress will have an adverse affect on the MS.
So that was the holiday where I wanted to walk. I had an overwhelming urge to walk, and walk, and walk. I not sure what I thought was going to happen. Perhaps I thought I would wake up one day and not be able to get out of bed, it can happen that way with MS, after all I had woken up one morning and I'd lost most of my sight. I was very scared.
I now know that things don't usually happen like that, many people have no real mobility issues, some very quickly need to use wheelchairs. Some, like me, progress slowly. I might not get any worse than I am now. But at the time I didn't know this. I wanted to walk, so I did.
My poor family, no sooner had we got back to the cottage I would be dragging them back out again...,let's just walk along the beach again, let's just have a stroll around the town....
Our next trip to Southwold was a couple of years later, we were camping in Norfolk and I decided a day trip to Southwold was in order......I hadn't figured on how long the traffic jams would be! We did however enjoy a lovely few hours, on the beach, on the pier. Sadly the boathouse cafe had been revamped and for me, lost its charm, the cakes I'm told are still delicious.
I was in a much happier place, I'd returned to work part time, and adopted lifestyle and diet changes that gave me hope in managing my MS. Mum was being cared for in a lovely Nursing Home. Things were different, but good.
Last year I visited Southwold with my friend, we were having a girly weekend away. I didn't walk far this time.....but we did enjoy the sun, the sea and a couple of glasses of wine.
This was a sitting and putting the world to right break, not much walking required! It felt strange being there without my family. Wrong somehow...
And this time, well that was perfect. I strolled around, camera in hand, snapping away. There was a little warmth in the sun, the girls really wanted to get in the sea, we had a great time on the pier, and a lovely dinner.
We stayed on the beach until the sun was setting and it got too cold to endure. And I walked, yes much slower, but there were plenty of benches to rest on when needed. We updated our mandatory picture of the girls sat on the cannons. We didn't eat ice cream.
I really need to live by the sea, it does me good........
Amanda :) xxx
Next post I shall review the cottage we stayed in.....if that's ok! ;) xxx




Wednesday, 25 February 2015



Quintessentially English.
Pastels houses.
Sunny skies.
Fish and chips.
Shingle beach.
Bracing winds.
Seagulls swooping.
Salty lips.
Fishing boats.
Lapping waves.
Meeting friends.
Laughing children.
Warming cafes.
Happy parents.
We don't do last minute things here, our lives tied to routine, to keeping the equilibrium. Sometimes I feel stifled by this, I often feel stifled by this. Living with Extra Special people can often mean keeping things the same, change can cause stress. Holidays can cause stress. Holidays ALWAYS cause stress. The change of environment is difficult.
But this time we did, this time we were spontaneous. I need spontaneous. I dream of being more spontaneous. This time we booked last minute, we didn't prepare, we didn't plan.....and it was ok. Yes it was stressful for some, but we survived.
I loved it, I loved sitting by the sea, watching the waves, smelling the salty air. The fish and chips were delicious. Yes it was ffffreezing, and no paddling in the sea, but I LOVED it. And you know something, I'm going to be spontaneous more often. My Extra Special peeps might not like it, but I need it, and I think I've earned it, so every now and again we are going to do things my way.....
Next post, all about our lovely day in Southwold.....
Amanda :) xxx


Monday, 23 February 2015

February Mantle.....


February Mantle.......all about love and Spring! If I'm honest we aren't that much into Valentine's Day, but this year we pushed out the boat and cards were exchanged, and a few spring flowers purchased, nothing grand but appreciated none the less!
We've just returned from a rather lovely few days on the coast.....I will upload my photos and share soon. Hope you all had a great half term, I will catch up with you all this week.....
Amanda :) xxx







Tuesday, 17 February 2015



Hello Everyone, sorry I've not been around's half term here and things have gotten a little busy!
On the Fab, Fit, Feb front, things are going well. I've not tried any new recipes this week but still enjoying my extra healthy diet.....the exhaustion is still ever present, but I'm hopeful that at some point the tide will turn!
My friend Penny made me this lovely cushion cover from an old needlepoint she had squirrelled away, she also introduced me to a new antiques centre that's opened up locally......I will visit there again soon and share some photos with you, I think this might be a new stomping ground for me!
Some very exciting news is that we've booked our family holiday.....well actually, I've been very busy booking a few! I said this was a year I would be having a bit more fun didn't I, well this is also the year I turn 50! Fun at Fifty! It's no good me having a big party, as my birthday is so close to Christmas everyone is always so busy, so I thought I might as well spread the celebrations over the year! Well that's my excuse.
We are spending a few days in Florence in April, and now I'm frantically trying to get the girls some passports......I know, very silly booking flights without a passport, especially in the UK where the passport system hasn't been working very efficiently! Fingers are crossed.
It's proving to be a very social half-term, not quite the quiet week I had in mind.....I will stop by here next week and fill you in, hopefully with lots to tell, until then, hope you all have a great week!
Amanda :) xxx
I really must sew the ends in on this blanket......;) xxx


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Colour On A Grey Day.......

It's a grey day today, I'm needing a bit of colour, so I thought I'd share! Colour has always been important too me, I'm not sure if it's because I grew up in the 70s, lots of psychedelic colours there.......colour does something to my soul.
Quiet day today for me, I'm going to potter quietly at home, I have a child asleep, poorly with cold, so I don't want to disturb her. It even feels like a quiet, calm sort of day, the fog dulling any sounds. A grey day, which makes you appreciate the colours even more.
Back soon,
Amanda :) xxx



Sunday, 8 February 2015

1st week of FFF!


Hello......hope you have all had a great week!
Just thought I'd do a round up of how the my Fun, Fit, Feb is going! I will try my best to update you all on Sunday, let you know what I've been up to!
Firstly I'd like to say I've ENJOYED this week, I feel like I've spent MOST of my time in the kitchen, but I've really enjoyed it......not something I'd EVER thought I'd say!
This week I've had no processed food, well apart from a few of my friends crisps last night....well we were sat in a pub, and I was drinking herbal tea whilst she had alcohol!
I've mainly been concentrating on my Delicious Ella book and Keep It Vegan, both books I will review at a later date. I've managed to make several new recipies.
Lentil and Buttersquash Dhal from Ella Delicious....this was lovely but I'm not sure the spices were sufficiently cooked through, next time I will add them into the oil at the start, and oven roast the butternut squash before adding it to the dish. I've made lentil soup, vegetable soup and the most delicious Crusty No-Knead Carrot and Courgette bread from Keep It Vegan, which is really a meal in itself!
Raw Brownies......these are very sticky, and very delicious! Sweet Potato Brownies, I'm really not sure on these, they are not chocolate flavoured enough for me, at I'm going to make a chocolate/hazelnut spread and pop that on the top. I've been using raw cocoa, which hasn't been cooked so retains more of the goodness.
For breakfast I've been eating my homemade Pecan and Cinnamon Granola, it's been soup or salad for lunch and something equally delicious for dinner.
And so how do I feel? Exhausted! It's worn me out! Not quite what I envisaged.
But you know something.....I feel blooming brilliant, I feel happy, contented...I feel like I'm doing my absolute best to keep my body as healthy as I can. Empowered.
I've got so much to learn, I'm not the best of cooks....I'm definately along the lines of Wendy Craig's character, Ria in Butterflies! Yes I'm tired, and perhaps I need to pace myself more this week, but I really believe we are what we eat. I really believe making more changes to my diet will help keep my MS under control.
So there we have it, first week finished.....and it feels good, very good! This week I'm going to try and incorporate a little gentle exercise too, my day out yesterday made me realise just how weak my body was becoming.
Oh yes, and I need to work out how to cook, and get some creative time in there too!
Amanda :) xxx
Read Gone Girl book this week......think I might be only person who didn't really like it, it was good, but not brilliant :) xxx



Thursday, 5 February 2015

A Recipe Of Happiness?

'It's the knocks that toughen you up' now there's a cliche! Who wants to hear that when they are being beaten to a pulp? When you're on your knees? But actually it's true, when the punches stop, and the bruises have healed, you realise you've feel stronger.
This is all metaphorically speaking of course, I would never, ever advocate to anyone, ANYONE, to allow themselves to be actually physically punched and abused. But 'life' sometimes punches us, knocks us about.
Saying that, I have got have got some frustrations with this philosophy......I've never actually SAID I wanted to be stronger! I've never announced to the universe, I'm weak, I could do with a few hard knocks, I could do with toughening up a little! No, never, I was quite happy with who I was, thanks all the same. But The fact is, I have been been given a fair few knocks, more than some, a lot less than others. And yes, I'm definately a stronger person for it.....I don't always feel strong, but I am.
So when my little 'treat' was cancelled this morning, I remained calm...took it all in my stride. This is the third time it's been cancelled. Before I've felt overwhelmingly disappointed, surprised by my 'over' reaction, and the dark place it took me. It caught me unawares and unsettled me.
I had thought I had got used to 'disappointments'. How can this woman, who's life's been completely changed, who's 'life plan' had been thrown out of the window, who's had to completely rewrite everything, fall so badly at the thought she wasn't going to get away for a few days? It seemed silly and childlike.
I've learnt a fair few lessons over the last few weeks. I've learnt you can't pin your happiness on things, or events, or holidays, or little treats. We only have what we had right now, at this very moment. If we aren't happy in this very moment, then we won't be happy by any manner of things. Well actually yarn and fabric do make me happy.....but that's a different story ;)
Now don't get me wrong, there are moments that of course that make us sad, and they SHOULD make us sad, seeing those we love suffer, well that of course makes us sad. The point I'm trying to make is, in order to be truly happy, we need to be happy with what we have right now. Yes have dreams, have aspirations, but don't rely on THEM to make you happy. Be happy with what you have, if it needs tweaking, then tweak it.....make those changes you need to make of course, but be happy in the very moment you're in.......
Right now, I'm happy.......writing this, reading my book.....making lentil soup, (although it needs tweaking with extra seasoning for me to be truly happy with it!). But I'm also wise enough to know this state of mind needs to be nurtured, if you take your eye off the ball it can slip away again. So nurture it I will, as I nurture myself and those around me that I love.
So Lovelies, what's making you happy today......and what tweaks do you feel you feel you need to make?
Amanda :) xxx
Love the where's that pepper......