It’s been a while {6 quick updates on life lately}

It’s been over 4 months since my last post. It’s hard when you haven’t blogged for a while to get back into the rhythm, but I’ll try!

First, a quick update.

1. The reason for my silence isn’t anything dramatic; in short, a general election was called and I knew I didn’t want to bring up my kids in a country with a Tory majority, so I started a community group with a friend and we campaigned hard against the re-election of our Tory MP. Unfortunately he did get re-elected, but I am so proud of what our group has done. I met loads of incredible people and forged deep and lifelong friendships with a few. I was simultaneously in my element and so far out of my comfort zone, and I’m so excited about what lies ahead. Even though the election has been and gone, we are continuing to work in the community – we have already had a charity bake sale for a little local girl with cerebral palsy who needs an operation, and we are currently campaigning for more funding for police. It feels amazing to contribute to the local community and also to actually DO something, rather than just complain or rant on Facebook or whatever. Because if not us, then who? Anyway, the whole thing consumed my life for about 6 weeks – every night, every weekend, every lunchtime – and there was just no time/energy for any other blogs!

2. Working part-time is intense. I do three days a week, and there’s never enough time to do everything I’d like to do. I feel so lucky that I get to do something I like and that I’m able to do that flexibly, but balancing things/knowing where to draw the line/acknowledging the limits of my abilities is still a challenge.

3. I’m trying to take better care of myself. During the election campaigning I didn’t go to my usual Fitsteps/Zumba classes and had many late nights, poring over the laptop designing flyers, writing social media posts and drinking lots of wine and eating chocolate. I gained a stone and a half, not helped by the fact that, as it turns out, I am undermedicated for hypothyroidism. So now I’m trying to get a better balance (there’s that word again), not overcommit myself, and invest in the good stuff… like spending time with friends and family, saying “no” more, and getting back to exercise. I’ve particularly liked getting on my bike more, especially going for long solo rides and getting covered in mud!

4. I got my first blog freebie! It was a box of sweets from Swizzles and I was as happy as a kid in a … sweet shop! It came about as I was looking to check allergen info on their site and discovered a nifty tool for checking allergen info. Only, it didn’t work, and showed me pretty much all their delicious goodies have … errrr… shellfish in them. Eh? So I contacted them and the were so grateful I pointed out the website gremlins that they sent me some treats. We took the sweets with us on a roadtrip to North Wales, and we picked our faves: mine was the green Drumstick, the hubs favoured the sherbet lollies and big boy loved the Squashies. All the Parma Violets were mine, as nobody else liked them and I love ’em.

Sweets aside, I love when companies make an effort with allergen info and take their responsibilities seriously.

5. Unlike Cineworld. I took the big one to see Cars 3 yesterday, and thought to myself on the way there that I really ought to contact them about the fact that their Munchbox offer includes the choice of raisins or Magic Stars – both of which are May Contain Nuts. I would still get some popcorn for C as he loves “warm popcorn”, and just have the Magic Stars as my treat. So we got the popcorn and as usual I just double check with the guy on the till that nothing has changed with the popcorn and it’s still safe. Rabbit. In. Headlights. He said he needs to check with the manager, so he phones her and during the (long) call, fumbles for a folder, then give up and tell me the manager says the “popcorn may have nuts in”. Sorry, what?! Turns out they can’t guarantee the safety of the popcorn, despite having been told on numerous previous occasions that it is safe. So I tweeted them, but even that response was poor. They seemed to misunderstand my concerns (for example saying they can’t guarantee the safety of anything as products with nuts are sold on the premises), and ultimately just saying sorry for our rubbish experience and it will be discussed with the management of the particular cinema. It’s just not good enough. There is still so much that needs to be done to ensure people with allergies have access to the information they need to make confident decisions when they are out and about.

6. Since my last post, we’ve had more food challenges! After passing the oat challenge in March, the little passed a soya challenge! What a HUGE difference that has made, not least that he could finally have some chocolate buttons aka the ultimate toddler bargaining chip. We also discovered Tesco’s soya yoghurts are delicious, so much so that he now turns his nose up at Koko yoghurts. It also means I need to worry less about calcium for him.

Next up we had a challenge to peas. This was also one of the allergens that the blood tests showed only “some” sensitivity to. However, he reacted pretty much immediately after the (wonderful) nurse smeared some around his mouth. So a pretty serious allergy there.

And then today, we had a wheat challenge. It was the first of the allergens to which the blood test showed “significant” sensitivity, so I felt sick to think we were going to give him Weetabix. The nurse smeared some around his mouth and … nothing. Twenty minutes later he had a tiny bit, we waited, and nothing! Then another 20 minutes later, we pretended the Weetabix was a biscuit to convince him to have some, and it worked. Still no reaction. But then our boy became very sad and clingy, and refused any further food, even treats. We put it down to it being naptime and the nurse suggested completing the challenge at home this afternoon (as it had been going so well).

However, when we got home he was still miserable despite napping in the car, and he felt hot. Turns out our boy has a fever and is quite poorly from some sort of infection. I spoke to the nurse on the phone and we decided not to continue. So now it’s back to the hospital to repeat the challenge at our next appointment (which would’ve been egg I think) and hopefully he can pass it.

Wheat was the biggie for me as it is EVERYWHERE and such a risk for accidental exposure. Now I feel really confident for the October appointment, and keep chastising myself for doubting God. I pray every day that the kids will outgrow their allergies, and I’m a fool for doubting!

So tonight I’m feeling very grateful and positive, and I wanted to share it on the blog. Here’s to getting back in the swing of writing!

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