Hi, hello!! (Ostrich no more)

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I really wasn’t sure what to put as a headline/subject? How do you say hello again to social media, life, your blog after spending months as a recluse?

Let me give you all a little tip (or a few actually).

If you have a hysterectomy, don’t think you can be batman or someone of equal power and strength and move country 4 weeks later. Also, if you’ve been on medication for your mental health for years, don’t quit that medication 7 days before said hysterectomy.

Dont move country, by yourself, with two kids and a dog who you cant even lift because you’ve just had surgery… dont move to a house thats cold and empty and have your furniture on a boat following a month later. Dont throw yourself in to everything without any regard for yourself and your own well being, because chances are you wont do so good…… chances are you will need months to get back on track.

And so, here I am.

I did all of the above, I learnt that I am more fragile then I admitted to myself, I realised that I’m an idiot (!! HAHA) and that just because you always land with your feet down eventually doesn’t mean you should put yourself through hell again to get there. I learnt that there is enough stress and crap in my life without me adding extra, and that there actually is a limit to how much stress somebody can handle…..

So. Thats that ok? Im not there anymore, Im forwards from there. Zebra kid has been sick properly and didn’t go to hospital, it happened and I didn’t have a nervous breakdown so I guess we are good. I realise that what P the counsellor in Poland told me about stressing about the stress that hasn’t even arrived yet is a very real thing for me. I was so scared about how I would feel when she got sick for that first time that it actually consumed me. She got sick. I stressed. We found a dr. We managed….. it was all ok in the end! 

I am happy. I am happy with where I am, the kids are happy, we are settled and life is good. I realise also, that I have a lot of guilt about not enjoying it “as much as I should” and not feeling “grateful enough”. Very real emotions that Im putting on myself, nobody else, just me! I set my own bar so bloody high sometimes, all I really can do is fail.

I am not superwoman, or batman, or supermum or even close. The bar doesn’t have to be set at roast dinner with 3 vegetables for dinner, Ive moved it down to cereal for dinner and finally somehow, Im winning a bit (and we haven’t actually had cereal for dinner even twice!).

Im getting my crap together, maybe more because I lowered the bar than because I am better?

I made myself a to do list on Monday morning to make sure I actually accomplished stuff this week. It had 7 things on it, 2 of those things rather major, the sort of stuff I stress about. Well, its Wednesday and the list is complete. And there was NO need to stress. I actually took one thing off the list, because Im being kind to myself and lowering the bar, another thing sorted itself out, and the other I just got on with and did. And not only that, but we had good healthy dinners every day! See, with a lower bar its so much easier to win.

I will fill you all in on everything else one day, but Im in no rush. These things can take time, and its ok. If I dont look after me, nobody else will get looked after.

 

xx

My top 6 #Back2School items for an allergy kid!

So, Im one of those mums remember? (Eye roll as you see fit). As one of those mums back to school is a little bit harder, and a little bit more stressful. Whether you are new to the allergy / celiac game or an old timer, my list of must haves may help make your life a teeny bit easier. Aili was diagnosed as a baby, not yet 2 years old, now she is over 7, and making sure I have these allergy must haves around is totally routine.

  1. Gluten Free labels! I stick these on all our lunch box containers, these serve as a great reminder for any teacher or other adult approaching my child and hopefully reminds them to not touch my carefully prepared allergy safe meal. These are from Ladybug Labels and they ship internationally. The labels are dishwasher safe and stay on for a long time. Through the years I tried many different brands and these win hands down. The quality is superb and they are easy to peel off and stick. (http://www.ladybuglabels.com)
  2. Name labels. The last thing I need is for my kids to lose anything (they do, anyway obviously, especially my son, lol), but even worse would be their stuff getting mixed up with someone elses. All their lunch gear including cutlery has a name label. Again I tried many different ones from different companies and these are now my go to every year. Delivery is fast and cheap even for international delivery. I always get the plain label, it sticks well, peels off easily and is dishwasher safe. I still have some labels from when my son was 4 that are stuck on! He’s almost 10 now, thats value for money right there! These are from Easy2name and come in lots of different colours. (https://www.easy2name.com)
  3. Good lunch boxes! My kids bring lunch to school every day and I need something that lasts, is good value for money, and works! It needs to be able to keep my kids food hot or cold, and I need to be able to clean it easily as it goes in to a contaminated environment on a daily basis. We now use only Pottery Barn lunch boxes. The kids get to pick a new one every second September, so we have a few, the first ones we ever got are still alive and kicking (!). We use lunch boxes for every day outings as well, so even though the Pottery barn boxes aren’t exactly cheap, the fact that they are practically indestructible makes them value for money. I pop them in the washing machine regularly to clean them and so far, no problems! Pottery Barn also delivers internationally! (http://www.potterybarnkids.com)
  4. Good Thermoses! My son goes through anti cold food phases, especially in winter. Ive tried so many thermoses its unreal, many of the kids ones are actually good, but to small for my growing boy! I also found many are hard to open once the hot food is in and I prefer my kids to be able to open their own containers. Surprisingly, the best food thermoses I have found are the IKEA ones (or maybe not so surprising, it is SWEDISH after all, haha). They are a great size, easy to open, no flimsy silly seals that come off after 5 uses, and best of all, I can wash them in the dishwasher (they do say not to, but I do and so far no problems). As far as affordability goes they are amazing. The food stays nice and hot too which is obviously great as so many thermoses don’t keep their heat well. (http://www.ikea.com)

     

  5. Baby Wipes and hand wipes. Seriously, you cant get enough of these babies! I keep them in every school bag, in every handbag and each kid has some in school. The baby wipes are sometimes on special and you can get a box with it, cover the box in funky stickers and make it non babyish for school. Alco gel is of no use as it does not kill gluten or other allergens, allergens need to be washed / wiped off! You can get wipes in pretty much any shop. Not all wipes are gluten safe! Johnsons contain no gluten.
  6. A good freezer block. Again, I tried so many. Having had my kids in school in Dubai I may have gotten overly paranoid about the whole cooling issue, but unless you are sending a hot lunch you really do need to worry. These allergy / celiac kids are often more sensitive then others, and the last thing we want is to give our kids food poisoning. I have every size and shape imaginable, these ones are firm favourites as they are slimmer then others, come in pretty colours and stay frozen until lunch time even though they are slimmer. I got these particular ones in Jula. (Yup, another Swedish shop!) (http://www.jula.com)

Anyone want to add anything? Is there something you cant live without for sending your allergic or celiac kid to school? Id love to know 🙂

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Bolesławiec

I have to tell you all about our little trip to Bolesławiec! Although dont ask me to spell that again, or say it, its really hard to say it.

Basically, every Polish person knows this town, and so do most tourists. Its where the famous polish pottery is made and sold.

Now, Im a white and pastels kind of girl, not really in to these patterns and stuff, so when hubby asked if I will be buying anything I said “no, probably not, but its the kind of place you have to have been to”. (Im laughing now as I write this- just wait)

So, off we went in the car, we were in a group so drove there together, the drive was around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Wroclaw, and that was not the kind off full blast driving I may have done if I was alone.

Im not going to bore you all with every minor detail, lets just say we went to A LOT of pottery shops. In the first one I bought a couple of things, in the second some more, and so on….. Yes. I bought something in every shop. And let me tell you, pastels and white NO MORE. Polish pottery all the way! We had Chris with us, my friend from the blog Kielbasa stories, we met online via another blogger almost 3 years ago, now we are like bff’s that never see each other, we talk (online) almost daily. She is a bit off a polish pottery addict and I never really got it. Now, Im totally there, she just laughed and said “I knew it!” Basically, its all her fault. She was an awesome guide though, took us to all the right places. Lets get to the pictures, because this is totally a picture post!

Obviously (I mean, obviously) I came home and realised I pretty much have to go straight back because I need more! Heres the stuff I didn’t buy and absolutely need (need. As in, I MUST HAVE IT – you will all help me explain to my husband right?) I mean the sink, I need that sink in my life!

I was sending images to relatives throughout the day, and this pottery may very well be the reason some finally come to visit, LOL!

My haul below, not bad eh? (why didn’t I buy more!!??)

I used half of it already, and Im happy to report it somehow matches my white and pastels!

After we had shopped and browsed some second hand stores we went for lunch. A place called the Blue Beetroot owned by a british-polish couple, real fish and chips, steak pie and other goodies, never mind that stuff though, they managed to feed us gluten free people pretty well, and nobody got sick. They have menus in English and all the staff spoke excellent english as well.

Great day, highly recommend it if you ever go to this area. I cant wait to go again. Thanks Chris! (<- In a good way and a bad way I think….)

 

Dzien Dobry! Saying hello in Poland, and you MUST! 

say-clipart-11971028791107470649FunDraw_dot_com_Cartoon_Kid.svg.hiIn Poland you say hello. To everyone! I mean really, you do! I used to think my husband was super embarrassing when he walked in to shops in Dubai and said a bright and chirpy ‘Hello’ to the sales assistant or any worker who happened to be nearby. Now, after a little over a year in Poland I get it, and I also do the same!

Everywhere you go, bank, post office, small shop, you walk in, you say Dzien dobry. When you have paid, you say Do Widzenia. Yes, even in the bank!

The post office one is crazy, you actually walk in and say hello to the other people in the queue, not to the person working there. If you are not the talkative type you may get away with a nod. Its weird how courteous people in poland are, yet if you smile at someone they will think you are totally bonkers.

Im a smiley kinda girl, I guess its what I do, I smile at everyone (ok, maybe not everyone, but lots of people), and this seems to almost frighten polish people. I guess its a bit like the ‘no eye contact rule’ in London on the tube! But say hello you must!

So here I am, like a total lunatic. I happily say hello to the other customers when I walk in to the post office or a bank, I say hello to the security guard at the door of any building, and bye when I leave. I say hello to the joggers outside of school every morning, and the old lady who walks her dog. I say hello to the ladies at the till and the other patients in a doctors waiting room. I say hello to pretty much everyone. Not in Tesco though, its to big, to many people to say hello too! Only the security guard and the till person gets a hello in there. I also say hello to anyone before addressing them. So if I need help in a shop I would say, ‘Dzien Dobry, do you speak english’, rather then ‘Excuse me, do you speak english’? Unless its someone very young, then chances are they know english well and wont be offended at the lack of a hello!

And with that I bid you Do Widzenia! Im off to IKEA where I will say hello and goodbye to a ton of strangers 🙂

-Linda

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Celiac, Dubai, School and another Pneumonia!

Image Boy do I owe you all an update, its been a month! Admit it, you couldn’t sleep at night for missing me? 😉 Right, so we went to Dubai, had an awesome awesome holiday. Got a sunburn, went to Wild Wadi, splashed around on the beach. Celiac kid had a wheeze by day 3, so once again it just reconfirms how right our decision was! Being in Dubai was so ‘normal’, felt like we never left, so comfortable being around those people we have known for so many years. I miss having friends like that here. It will come, Im sure. Anyway, back to Wroclaw, picked up our puppy and then Big kid started school. 1 week in he says he loves it JUST AS MUCH AS HIS SCHOOL IN DUBAI!!! Woop Woop! RESULT! After the horrid experience in the last school he deserves the best school we can possibly give him. I need to know that my kids are happy and loved whilst in school. Fingers crossed and touch wood this school keeps on delivering 🙂 Celiac kid had her birthday! She’s 5, FIVE! How the hell did this happen? My baby is a big girl? Then yeah… the crappy news. Celiac kid coughed a few days ago, just one cough, but I looked at her and I just knew what was around the corner…. the day after I ended up taking her to our landlord’s clinic (our landlord is a gastro and knows Celiac well, what luck!?), he helped me find a good Dr who speaks English and works with kids. I must say, so far the Dr is wonderful. The same afternoon we saw her, and although Celiac kid just had a slight cough and no fever (yet) the Dr listened to me and believed me. Examination confirmed a bad right lung, and by evening her fever was reaching close to 40. Thank God we acted so fast. Saw the Dr again yesterday and the entire right lung is very bad, but luckily her left lung is clear and because of this her oxygen levels have managed to stay high enough for her not to be admitted. Obviously any other kid would be admitted, but again, the Dr has listened to me and agrees Celiac Kid is better of at home. We have remained in phone contact by texting every few hours. Best part though, this Dr is already sitting at home doing Celiac research and learning more then she knows now, and is finding us a string of expert so we can investigate every avenue there is and make some kind of plan. Its not fair to keep having these pneumonias. I am no longer able to tell you how many she had…. awful. Anyway, once she is better there will be testing for other allergies, lung scans etc, Im actually at this point thinking finding something may not be so bad, because at least then you can try to treat it! Im glad I decided to not let her start school til September, this time was meant to be spent growing and getting stronger, not having pneumonia number 6 or 7, but hey ho. Im feeling positive despite all. How can I not? A great landlord, a great house, a great and understanding Dr, ok oxygen levels, a puppy!  We choose our reactions to some extent, and I am truly grateful for what we have and that I haven’t lost the plot. Every time the sh**t hits the fan and Im able to stay with my feet firmly on the ground is a victory in it self. I have blog posts waiting to be written, Celiac Awareness one with some great links from lovely blogging friends, and also an Airplane food one. Soon, One day InshAllah! -Linda

Moving time! (again)

What a week!

Friday morning last week we were in Poznan, Friday evening we were in Wroclaw. By Sunday I had somehow magically managed to unpack everything! Then a frantic whizzing from place to place to sort out the school, kennels for dogs for our trip, food shopping, food shopping research (gluten free peeps know exactly what I mean!) etc etc.

We somehow managed to pick a great area for ourselves without ever having visited (thats how we roll, haha). Its great with tons of greenery, kids and barking dogs.

Im not sure what it is with barking dogs here…. if my dogs bark they get told off, but it seems here many people have dogs to deter from break-ins, and a quiet dog sleeping indoors obviously doesn’t deter much, so dogs are left stood in gardens barking. Drives me slightly bonkers, but it is what it is. At least I feel totally warranted to smile smugly at all these dog owners that MY dogs are so well trained and don’t bark.

We found a great little shop that sells organic produce and some freshly baked gluten free goods. I was to scared to get any of the baked stuff because even though the lady assured me it was baked in a gluten free kitchen you just never know. I need my hubby to go and ask her all the tough questions in Polish. But the produce! Gigantic organic apples that tasted like the apples from my childhood, I cant wait for summer when all the locally grown berries will come!

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The shop is called Awokado – delikatesy ekologiczne, they have a facebook page (opens in new window).

Slightly further up the same road there is yet another eko (organic) shop, a family farm and the produce is sold in someones garden! Eko eggs and veggies. Im in HEAVEN 😀

I have yet to find where the shops selling all the breads are hiding, so far its all schar. Im guessing I need to find another delikatessen. In Poznan we found most of the breads in normal supermarkets. Im sure I will find all what we need eventually.

Few more days now then its Dubai time! Cant wait. Also cant wait to come back and for kids to start their new international school where people speak only english. Happy happy happy! 😀

-Linda

 

Let the farm begin!

So much now to look forwards to. A new baby will be joining us in the end of April, he’s furry with 4 legs. I cant wait. Our dogs are not really ‘our dogs’, they are my dogs. This little guy will belong to the children as much as me, and I cant wait for us all to bond with him!

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He is a Havanese of course, its s small breed, non shedding, a breed that most people with pet allergies tolerate well. Celiac Kid wants a kitten, and big brother wants a budgie, and daddy said yes… (!!!!??!!). Lets see what happens with that. Big brother says ‘Let the farm begin’ and laughs. He must have heard one of us say it.

Before fur baby joins us there will be a trip to our beloved Dubai, and even before that another move!

On Friday we are off again, Im grateful that this time we are ‘only’ moving town, not country! Funnily enough Im not stressed in the slightest, just very very exited to go – get settled – make friends. And obviously, as with any new location… find all the best gluten free stores!

Wroclawians (can you say that?), if you have any good gluten free tips, please share with me!

So April will be busy to say the least, but good busy 🙂 Great busy!

-Linda