Family Time

Hello to a new week!

As I mentioned in my last post, last week Tom was on holiday so there was been two of us around to entertain Theo.  The week flew by!  It was a mix of practical things and fun activities.  Monday we were on our way back from Wales, Tuesday we gave our garden a makeover.  On Wednesday we had my nuchal scan at the hospital.  It took forever!  We were there for most of the morning as the baby wasn’t in the right position for all the measurements.  We gave up in the end as Theo was desperate for lunch and a nap.  Wed afternoon we went food shopping.  Not much I can say about that really.  Thursday morning Tom took Theo to a massive Soft Play centre by us, which Theo loves.  Meanwhile I did boring errands at home.  I’ve gotten way behind on housework and other errands since being pregnant.  The nausea was easing but this week its become worse again, as has the bloating.  But not as bad as the bank weekend when I ate dairy and meat, so that’s something.  I’m wondering if I need to be more mindful of my FODMAP triggers again.  I’ve been eating more wheat, for example, as I’ve gone back to making my own bread.  We’d been having shop bread, which I don’t like, so I’ve been largely bread free for the last couple of months.

Thursday afternoon I took Theo to get his feet measured again and bought him a new pair of shoes and wellies.  So cute.  His feet are huge!

Theo's new shoes

This was the best picture I could get as he never keeps still for long enough.

Friday morning we had a play date with two of my good friends and their boys.  We took them to a kid’s cafe where there’s a big fenced play area, with tables and chairs just outside the fence so you can keep an eye on the children whilst chilling with a drink.  I found out that one of my friends is about 8 weeks pregnant too, yay!  I love sharing the pregnancy journey with someone else who’s at a similar point.  Friday afternoon I had to pop into work to drop off my time sheet (for the short shift I did a few weeks ago) and buy a wedding gift in the nearby shopping centre.

Which brings us to the weekend.  Toddler time for Dads whilst mummy indulges in her favourite health food shop.  I’ll show you my finds in my next post.  And a short shift on my ward on Sunday.

Incidentally, food this week has been rather carb heavy (I just can’t resist homemade bread with marmalade).  Here are the meals I remembered to photograph.

Tuesday night Tom wanted to get Thai takeaway as a post garden-workout reward.  Since I wasn’t in the mood for Thai I made myself a salad with loads of veg, pickled onions, hummus and tempeh.  I was in the mood for a side of veggie spring rolls, however.  I get these every time we order; I think they’re the best I’ve tasted.

Wed night I roasted a bunch of veg and potatoes, which Tom had with fish and I had on top of salad and tempeh.


Thurs night was fajitas night made with roasted veg, instead of kale, and baked beans.  No pic, sorry.

a lunch

This is the only lunch time salad I had all week; sad times.  It was with a very average veggie quarterpounder.  Not a fan, and I’ve got another 3 in the freezer to get through.




Friday night I made a batch of bolognese sauce for Tom and Theo.  Not wanting to partake in the meat, I made myself this simple dish of brown rice, peas, and veggie sausages.

I’ll leave it at that for today.  The weather remains miserable, and I remain tired.  One week left of first trimester, woo woo!  I hope I start to feel more human then… Oh, and a belated happy mother’s day to those who celebrated it yesterday! :)


Low FODMAP Snacks (GF, V)

Today I thought I’d share some of my favourite low FODMAP snacks that I eat when my IBS flares up and I’m trying to be sensible.  Some of them you would have seen on here countless times before, but others may be new.

All of these are vegan, gluten-free, and FODMAP friendly.

Fruit and nut mix.


Corn thins topped with dairy-free spread, marmite, avocado and grated carrot (sounds weird but I highly recommend it).


Banana and cashew butter on gluten-free toast.


Blood oranges.  I cannot get enough of these at the moment; try to buy organic ones as they taste markedly better.


Corn thins with sunflower seed butter, melon and grapes.


If you have any questions about IBS and/or the low FODMAPs diet then please leave a comment or drop me an email and I’d be happy to help and share information.  Also, I realise I haven’t done a full post on the low FODMAP diet which I can do in future if you guys fancy it?

Ok, your turn.  What are some of your fave vegan snacks?

Sharing the love… for kale.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Am I the only one not celebrating it today?  I’m working a late shift (which  means I won’t be home before 21:00) and Tom and I have given each other strict instructions not to buy each other anything.  I’m not a fan of being forced to celebrate love on a day that has no personal meaning for us.  Plus, I have a cold and a fever and am going to have to drag myself around the ward today so whatever, St Valentine.

Actually, I will share and celebrate some love: I have just rediscovered my love for kale!

Formerly, I’ve only loved kale in soups (such as my superfoods soup and soup for stress) and smoothies.  More recently I’ve come to like black kale (only) in stir-fries.  But last week we recieved curly kale in our veg box.  So I was forced to give the curly variety another chance.

I cracked out our very basic rice cooker,

To make a simple quinoa and greens dish,

Using the lovely Emily’s inspired recipe.  It’s perfect for when you don’t have much time and want something nourishing.  It also makes a great base for other meals as you can add different flavouring (herbs, spices, sauces ets) and accompaniments to it once cooked.

I promptly used it as a base for dinner,

and willl defo be enjoying it for my packed meals this week.  Plus, it’s a low FODMAP recipe so it’s soothing as well as nourishing.

What are you loving right now?

Sunday Blues

Anyone else get the blues before going back to work after a weekend off or a week or so of holidays?  I’ve got them.  Big time.  And an unsatiable appetite (not linked just thought I’d add that in there).

This weekend we went back to Wales where we spent time with my favourite golden lab,

Dranks lots of red wine,

And hiked up a snowcapped welsh mountain,

To see if we could spot the lady of the lake.

Oh, and we watched Wales beat Scotland in the rugby today (well done, boys!).

It was a blissful weekend.  No wonder I have the blues.

Since I can’t think of a good linking sentence or paragraph between the previous half and the following half of this blog post I’m just going to come out with it:

Before I go, I would like to point you in the direction of two guest posts that I have written and were published over the weekend.  The first one is over on Celery and Cupcakes, and features my tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle when life is busy.  And the second is on Elise’s FODMAPs diet blog about how the FODMAPs approach has helped with managing my IBS.  Speaking of FODMAPs, I have been rubbish at minimising FODMAPs lately (as you may have been able to tell from my recent posts).  As a result the old IBS symptoms have been appearing.  Tis time to be strict again.  Yet I’m stuck.  Anyone else struggle with self-motivation and discipline at this time of year?  Mine has completely disappeared; my former self has been replaced by a sloth.  And I hate it.  Time to do something about it.  Any tips or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  Genuinely.

Greens & Beans

My weekend has finally began!  My actual weekend at work was relatively ok and not too busy but I’m so glad that I have today and tomorrow off.  I slept for 12 hours last night and it was glorious.  Today I’m just going to take it easy, do some exercise, and whatever else I fancy.  How I love my days off now that I no longer have to write any essays.

So, how was your weekend?

I made my first green juice of the year yesterday.  It was great but I forgot how much fresh produce is needed just to make 250ml of juice!

It tasted so much better than it looks.  This one had kale, carrots, celery, apple, ginger and lime in it.  The only downside to juicing (other than the amount of fresh produce required to make juice) is that juicers are such a hassle to clean!  The sensible option would be to make enough juice to last a couple of days but I think it oxidizes too quickly and loses some of its nutrients in the process.  I could be wrong though.  Saying that, I may start making my green smoothies the night before my early shifts so that I can have them for breakfast without waking Tom and our neighbours up by using the blender.

Yesterday was tinged with sadness as I said goodbye to my trusty old micra.

(Ahem, excuse the illegal parking). 

She rarely gets used since Tom and I walk to work and we have another car.  Thus she has now gone to live with Tom’s brother and his girlfriend.  It makes sense environmentally, financially etc.  The only thing is, I’m not always the best driver so I’m hoping I don’t scratch Tom’s beloved car when I drive it.  It’s quite a bit bigger than the micra (not hard) and I tend to lack spatial awareness.  Marital problems may ensue.

Back to happier things, i.e. food (naturally).  For lunch today I wanted something snacky since I woke up and had breakfast late.  What makes the perfect snack?

Yup, a hummus snack plate.  Hummus has to be one of the easiest things to make (if you have a blender or food processor).  I try to avoid eating raw garlic when I’m working as I don’t want to smell of garlic when looking after my patients who are often feeling nauseous.  Also, garlic and beans are a bad FODMAP combo (as they’re both fructans thus tricky for the old IBS) but since I’m not back in work until Wednesday I figured it’d be ok.

Here’s the recipe:

Butter Bean Hummus (slightly adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday)


400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp sunflower seed butter
2 tbsps good quality walnut oil
Juice of half a lemon
Leaves from sprig of thyme
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Paprika, to serve


Chuck everything in your food processor and blend until pureed.  Sprinkle the hummus with paprika when serving.

Tricky, huh.  What I do love about this particular recipe though is that not only is it a good source of protein, but it includes super healthy fats from the walnut oil and sunflower seed butter.  Go forth, make, consume and enjoy!

I’m off now to listen to The Hurts (my new fave band) and potter around.

Back to it

Good morning!

My six weeks holiday dissertation writing break is over and I’m back in full-time placement on the haematology (blood disorders and blood cancers) ward today.  I’m really looking forward to it!  As you may have been able to tell from this summer, I don’t react well to spending too much time on my own and having no real structure to my day.  Plus, I really missed the ward so it’ll be great all round!  With the shifts comes the return of my packed lunches!  A necessity for anyone following a non-SAD/standard diet.  Today’s late shift includes…

All IBS-friendly, possibly minus the nakd bar- rice salad (with nutritional yeast, grated carrots, chopped tomatoes, cashews, ground pepper and tamari), oat cakes, munchy seeds (love), and the usual salad (greens, toms, carrots, roasted parsnips and potatoes dressed with tahini-balsamic vinaigrette).

Back to this weekend- I’ve just been taking it easy.  Watching rugby (don’t want to talk about it), watching the grand prix, watching the X-Factor.  Not all of it has been spent on the sofa, honest.  I made it to yoga on saturday, which was amazing, and went on a run on Sunday.  My IBS has been awful so I’ve been trying to relax and play things safe by avoiding all high-FODMAPs foods.  I don’t generally avoid them; only when my stomach has been particularly bad and needs a break.  In fact, I’ve pretty much been eating the same things all weekend:

Apart from the breakfasts, the salads are pretty much the same as what I’m taking with me to work today.  And all of them are simple and FODMAP friendly.  Oh, and there’s been far more snackage and chocolate than pictured (of course!).  I’ll be sure to get more creative with my meals once I’ve got time on my hands (32 days and counting!).  For now, I’m keeping things simples.

How was your weekend?  Hope your week’s started well :)

On the up

Happy Saturday!

Thank you, once again, for your kind comments on my last post.  You guys always manage to lift my spirits and cheer me up.  Since then, things have been improving.  The heartburn and IBS is still there but that will take time (as always), I’ve been going to yoga, and I’ve finished my dissertation!!!  The only thing left is to get it bound and submitted.  No more brain power is required of me, as far as that is concerned.  I promise I’ll try to be back to my usual cheerful, chatty self from here on in.

I start back on my haematology ward on Monday, and am really looking forward to it.  I’ve missed the staff and patients.  Sure, it’s going to be busy, and I’ve still got deadlines to meet and uni work, but at least I won’t be stuck in front of a computer constantly.

Since I was last here I have flexed my baking muscles to bake some gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.  Classic.

Oh yes.  Whilst they tasted good on their own, they tasted even better like this:

Best breakfast ever.

I also decided it was time to have GF pasta back in my life.

Generally, I’m not a pasta fan.  Tom loves the stuff, but I rarely crave it.  However, a little while ago I found a recipe that compelled me to revisit the quick-cooking carb: Choosing Raw Roast Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad.  I’m a big fan of Gena’s blog and recipes.  Her posts often get me thinking (I have been known to leave stupidly long comments in response to some of her more weighty posts, oops).  And, if I’m looking for new recipes to try that appeal to my love of fresh, clean flavours she’s my go-to gal.  This recipe fit the bill nicely.  I made it FODMAP friendly by using garlic powder instead of the garilc, and using FODMAP friendly veg.  I still roasted the onion with the veg, I just didn’t eat the onion.  This is the best way to get the flavour from fresh onions without actually eating them- they’re a major FODMAP offender and never fail to do a number on my tempermental GI system.  It was great.

I’m not sure what dinner will hold tonight.  But I do know that my evening will include catching up with emails, making my way through my out of control google reader, and X-Factor!  I gotta say, I wasn’t going to watch this season of X-Factor but I caught some of it last week and it’s actually not too bad.  Plus, I love Gary Barlow.  Love.  I also need to start the next book for book club, Reading Lolita in Tehran.  It looks like a good ‘un.

What do you guys have planned for your Saturday?  Anything exciting?

Hope you’re having a great weekend! :)