Thursday, 14 June 2018

Back to work

Squidge running towards the camera
You might be wondering where I've been these past couple months. It's all been a bit crazy to be honest! So about 2.5 months ago, I went for my return to work meeting. At that meeting it became apparent my old job no longer existed, so it was time for me to brush up my CV, and HR were going to try and find me a new job that matched my skills in the business (it's a big company, so this shouldn't be a stretch).

A couple weeks went by, and eventually they created a role for me, one that matched my skills well, and one there was a need for. After a couple weeks on gardening leave, I returned to work (like, 5 weeks ago now, where has that time gone?!). 

For the first 3-4 weeks, each week we had a different routine, which was unsettling for Squidge. First week I was taking him to School and heading into work late, second and third week he spent at Nanny & Grandad's and not in School (so he was at theirs early), and 4th week he started at a childminders for the first 2 hrs of the day (she gives him breakfast and takes him to School). It's taking him a while to adapt as he struggles with change, but we'll get there.

Then last week I had my driving test (OMG scariest thing I've done!) and I passed, first time! Whoop! And with only 3 minors :D That's all well and good, but OMG I'm terrified driving the family car! I've had some bad drives in it too, I'll be glad when I'm a better and more comfortable driver.

Dot has been great, he's handled the change really well. I was so worried as he's exclusively breastfed and feeds on demand (usually every 2 hrs), but he's adapted to having 4 x 2oz bottles a day really well (with sippy cups of water and/or hemp milk at food times too). If you have a formula fed baby you might find is shocking he only has 2oz, but breastfed babies only typically have 1.5oz per hour. Dot has always fed little and often. And as he's practically 10 months old now, he's losing his reliance on it too. He still feeds from me at 6am, 5:30pm, 7:30, 11:00, 2am, 4am and back to 6am, but as is typical, only for about 5 mins at a time.

I've found juggling work and home life quite challenging, hubby and I find that we don't get to sit down until about 10pm most nights. That's when I express and he plays the Xbox (every couple nights I play). What I've struggled the most with is my tiredness, I'm feeling pretty wiped out most days as I'm doing a full (hectic) day of work, driving (which is exhausting at this stage) and then I'm up half the night feeding Dot (my Fitbit tells me I'm getting an average of 4-5 hrs (interrupted) sleep a night. Not enough :/ To try and combat this I've bought myself a few nice pampering bits and bobs from The Body Shop (via Groupon to save some pennies!) - I've ordered a mango exfoliating body scrub (sounds amazing!), a pink grapefruit shower gel (I love this!) and my favourite blueberry body butter, I cannot wait to have a little relax and pamper :) 

So there you have it, life has been busy, but I'm still here :) I'm trying to vlog regularly too (although I'm failing at that too... but if you do want to watch our vlogs, you can visit my channel here).

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Dot's cows milk protein allergy story

Dot crawling on the floor

When Dot was a few weeks old, I grew concerned. I noticed that he had a rash over him, he was screaming and arching his back when feeding, especially if it was after I'd had chocolate or something milky, his poops were very explosive and stank of vinegar and he had silent reflux.

I did a bit of digging on the internet and became increasingly concerned he might have a cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). So off we went to the Drs. He prescribed infant Gaviscon to address the silent reflux - now giving a breastfed baby Gaviscon is no picnic, you have to make it up with 15ml water (or breastmilk) and spoon feed it to them before each breastfeed (bloody impossible if you ask me!). I did this once, and decided there and then I wasn't going to do it again, instead I was going to cut out dairy (and soya) from my diet to see if that helped.

A few days later I'd bought all the dairy-free (DF) alternatives I needed and was ready to cut it out. About 3 days later I saw a pretty big improvement in Dot. His rash had pretty much gone, he was calmer and the nappies were improving. Then about 2 weeks later, he was transformed to a totally normal baby, proof that he had an issue with cows milk. But I wasn't sure about soya. I'd excluded that as the protein strand for soya is very similar to cows milk, and if they are allergic to one, they're most likely unable to easily digest the other. About a month after being dairy free, I decided to test with soya - I had some vanilla custard donuts from Sainsburys that were so so amazing, they had soya flour in them.

Within hours Dot was reacting - back to screaming and arching his back on the breast, bad nappies and a very unhappy baby. I now knew I had to exclude soya too, just as I had been, not a big deal.

So far in 6+ months I've only had 2 slip-ups, first one was about a 4-6 weeks ago and it was a bad one. I'd bought some sweet potato falafals from Waitrose (I'd had them before and they'd been dairy free). For what must be the first time since going DF, I forgot to check the label. After 2 days of grazing on them, I thought to check... low and behold, milk was the 2nd ingredient on the list. Dot reacted and was bad for 6-7 days, I felt awful :( I should do better. Then a couple weeks ago, hubby bought some sausages with the weekly shop, I'd always checked them and they'd always been fine, but he'd bought a different brand to normal (Richmond). I saw a FB post in the CMPA group I'm in about how sausages all have soya in... I quickly went online to check the ingredients as we'd had Richmond sausages the night before, and 4 days before that - yep, SOYA, goddam soya, WHY? I'd done it again, failed my baby and he was paying the price :( 4 days of bad nappies, unhappy and lots of tears.

For the most part, it's been pretty easy changing my diet to dairy free, I've even filmed a YT video talking about the swaps you can make, you really do just have to be really vigilant and check every label every single time just in case the ingredients have changed (which happens...).


If you suspect a dairy allergy in your baby, please do go and speak to your GP. It can be really hard to diagnose, but be persistent if you believe that's what's wrong. And if you're breastfeeding, cut out dairy and soya and see if that helps, that should help you whittle it down :) If you're interested in following our journey, I've started a YouTube series called 'Dairy Free Friday's' where I talk about different aspects of a dairy allergy, if you want to keep an eye, our playlist is here.
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Attack on Titan 2

Attack on Titan 2

If you're a long term reader of my blog, you'll know I have a fairly deep love of anime, as does the hubby. Our tastes differ quite a bit, I adore the more cutesy films, pretty much all Studio Ghibli and other random films like The Girl that Lept Through Time (great film!), whereas the hubby prefers anime series like Steins; Gate, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. So when the opportunity arose for us him to get our his mitts on a review copy of the latest series of Attack on Titan 2, he jumped at the chance. Here's what he thought.

***** WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS *****

Series 2 picks up where series 1 left off, focussing on the main character Eren Jeager. In the first season, you see Eren become a titan and go on to help fight off other titans, but there's distrust in the military for him as he's a titan, whereas the military is trying to fight them and stop them (think Avatar).

The military suspect that there are other soldiers that can turn themselves into titans but they're torn - as much as Eren wants all the titans dead (thanks to them destroying his mother in season 1) they also want to learn more about them (again, think Avatar).

Eren

During the season they discover a new type of abnormal titan, a beast titan (a bigger and more fierce titan that's seriously strong) and they find a big horde of titans have breached the wall. The scout regiment set out to take down the titans and find the breach in the wall, but despite searching they can't find the breach. 

They do however find villages that appear to have been attacked by titans. The villagers appear to have escaped, but they've left all their horses, and there's no sign of blood or bodies. The plot thickens!

After the scout regiment survives a siege of titans at an abandoned castle, two titans (an armoured one and a colossal one) kidnap Eren. Does he escape? Does he destroy his captors? You'll have to watch to find that bit out :)
beast titan

I really liked how the series is very un-typical of the usual anime tropes - so in this most of the women don't have giant boobs and are actually well covered, so it doesn't play to the typical young teenager target audience. 

The continuity between both seasons is great - continuation of story line and fantastic animation. It's easy to pick up where it left off and be re-absorbed back into their post-apocalyptic world, fighting to save humanity from the Titans.

If you're looking to dip your toe into the world of anime series, Attack on Titan is a great window in to the anime world (obviously start with season 1), but be warned, it can be very dark. It doesn't have the cheery upbeat of a Miyazaki film, but it is absorbing and engrossing. I'm really looking forward to seeing more.


You can pick up the DVD/Bluray from good stockists from around £19.99 upwards.

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*Bluray copy supplied for review purposes
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