The morning I was rushed to hospital…

On 29 September, I had horrific abdominal pains, and I was almost calling NHS 111 for advice. I had the pains, cold sweats, and was feeling incredibly nauseous. Anyway, the pain went away, I went to bed, and I thought nothing of it. The following day I had another slight “attack”, but subsided within 20 minutes.

12 October 2017, at 9pm,  I had the start of a stomach ache again. I thought I had just eaten too much (pasta bolognaise and garlic bread…) I was in bed for 10pm, to try to sleep it off.

Hubby left for work for 1.20am (ish), going in to 13 October, and even though he didn’t intend to – his leaving disturbed me… Either that, or the pain woke me up, coinciding with him leaving.

Sweats, pain, nausea again… 2.10am, I call NHS 111. After a telephone triage, they decide that they need to send an ambulance – to check me over.

Next thing you know, hubby is home from work, and I’m in the back of the ambulance, on the way to A&E.

Several blood and urine tests, stomach and chest x-rays, and ecg’s later, the pain has subsided enough for me to be discharged, with the diagnosis that it’s more than likely my gallbladder / gallstones.

I’m now expecting a letter from my GP with an appointment for an ultrasound, so they can closer examine my gallbladder. This may mean an operation is on the cards…

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Oh, how life has changed.

It’s been exactly one month since my life changed, and I’ve been trying to work out exactly what I was going to write to update you all.

My hubby was offered a full-time job to start on 10 July, and if we were both to be in work, there would be problems with childcare.  Yes, we had the option to put the kids in to a private nursery, but even with both of our wages, this would leave us out of pocket.  So there was a decision to be made, and quickly.

On 7 July, I worked my last day with the DWP.  I am now a “full-time, stay at home mummy”.  I am now one of the people who I either envied… Or slated.

I was envious because they got to stay at home with their children.  They got to watch their children take their first steps.  They got to hear their children say their first words.  As a full-time working mum, I missed those moments.  I would never have them again, and it ruined me.

I slated the other “full-time, SAHMs” because they had no interest in working.  Their kids were in full-time school, and all they did was sit on their arses all day, watching Jeremy Kyle, or spending their dole money on alcohol and tobacco.  I am positive that most of the mums that fell in to this category were “baby boomers” – only interested in popping out another sproglet because they got more money…

Yes, I am one of those people who turns my nose up at the “minions”.  Yes, I do think I am better than all of the SAHMs that fall in to the latter category.

So now I can hear the comments, “what gives her the right to say that?”

Well, allow me to explain.

Today marks one month since I last worked for anyone.

Since then, I had enrolled on to an online course, and completed a new qualification.  I received my PDF certificate just a couple of days ago, and I am waiting for the “hard copy” to come through.  The certificate confirms that I had passed the final assessment with a “Higher Distinction”.  I have purchased various equipment that I will need to take my qualification further, started a Facebook page with my new “job”, created a Twitter feed, and built a website from scratch.  I am now “up and ready to go”.  My new career will allow me to choose my own hours; and means that I can do something that I have always wanted to do.

Meanwhile, it’s the summer holidays; so Gning is off school for 6 weeks.  I’ve had my two boys with me 24/7 (almost) since I left the DWP – we have had days out, here, there and everywhere…

Gning has been off for 2 full weeks so far (we’re just in to week 3), and so far we have been to:

Acorn Venture Farm (Kirkby)

Gulliver’s World (Warrington)

Treetops (soft play centre in Golborne)

Heysham, Morecambe, Knotts End and Sunderland point (all one journey – Lancashire)

Martin Mere (Bursough)

Windmill Animal Farm (Burscough)

Speke Hall (Speke, Liverpool)

I don’t think the boys have done too badly so far, and there are still (almost) 4 weeks left!

I’ve started a scrapbook for them, so they can keep track of what they’ve been up to, in the summer of 2017.

So what else have I been doing?  I’ve kept on top of the front garden – mowing, raking and strimming.  The back garden is much to be desired, and I really need to get out there, but the weather has been so bad recently, it’d just be like walking in a swamp.  I’ve also scrubbed the kitchen; got on top of all the washing; cleaned the front room – several times; and kept on top of the bookings over at the village hall.

I’ve got lots of other plans, but I need a bit of a rest first of all.  These past 4 weeks that I’ve been off work have been a bit of a whirlwind…  The first 2 weeks, I practically did nothing.  My brain was set to “holiday” mode, lol.

Here’s me, Gning and Donut – I took the selfie yesterday…  I think being a full-time SAHM suits me…

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It’s another Blogiversary!

Today celebrates my 6th year of my Insanely Normal blog.

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It’s been fun, although a little slack, and I know that I have said it time and time again, but that can now change…  I have a lot more time to be able to publish, and I have all sorts of ideas!

So, without further ado, let’s revisit my top three posts…

At number 3…

This post has somewhat amused me since I published it in 2014.  It was a review (a negative one at that!  And badly wrote, haha) about a local franchised café.  I can remember visiting the place – it was bloody awful, and I imagine nothing has changed, because I’m still receiving messages agreeing with my post!  You can read about the Pound Café in Huyton here.

At number 2…

2015 seems to have been the year that brought in most of my subscribers (hello stalkers!), and top of the shot (again), was my Christmas Ham post!  My second most popular post in 2015 was for my slow cooker sausage casserole…  With just under 10,000 reads throughout the year, it definitely got the attention it deserved, ha ha.  You can try the slow cooker sausage casserole recipe here.

Drum roll please, because at number 1…

Every Christmas, I make a ham.  It’s by far the best thing I have ever made, and you all seem to agree, as the amount of views that post has received is amazing!  I first published the post in 2012, and it seems to be a recipe that is used right throughout the year, as it’s always my most read…  My “best” stats for this recipe was on 1 December, 2016, when I had a little over 4,000 views – just on that day!  You can read my Christmas Ham here.


So, it seems that my stalkers like recipes and negative reviews!  Ha ha.  Yes, those were my top three posts in the past six years, and other posts in my top ten include more recipes, a holiday post, and how parenthood drives me crazy.

So, here’s to more exciting times – more recipes, more random stuff, and I may even through in a mini-comp somewhere…

Live Video Stream NOW!!

Last week I published a post, to say that my husband is taking part in a 24hr live gaming challenge, raising money for Macmillan.  He’s now a little over 8 hours in to the session, and is still streaming LIVE!!

You can view his live stream HERE.  You do not need to register to watch, but you will need to register / log in to chat!

He’s been broadcasting from midnight, and will continue live streaming until midnight tonight…

The Just Giving page for donations is HERE.  Please consider making a donation to this great charity.  Even if you can only give a pound / dollar – it all goes a long way.

Thank you.

24 hour gaming session

So my darling hubby has decided to take one of his passions to the extreme, and in doing so, he’s helping a fantastic charity.

Macmillan know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything. So they’re there to support you and help you take back some control in your life. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, they’re there.

No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, Macmillan are there. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life, and feel more like yourself again.

My hubby has decided to take part in a 24 hour online gaming marathon, and will be “live streaming” the session via the xbox one app, “Beam”.  The session will start at midnight on 2nd going in to the 3rd of June, and will end at 23:59 on 3rd June.

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Snipped taken from the donation page – Just Giving

So this is a post asking for donations.  Not for me – not for my hubby – but straight to this wonderful charity, so they can continue with their excellent work.

Even if you can only donate a pound, as the saying goes – “every penny helps”.

Please click here to make a donation.

Thank you.

A Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins

Phil Collins, born 31 January, 1951 in London, England.  He started as a drummer for Genesis, and when Peter Gabriel left the band, he took lead vocals.

Let’s face it.  He can’t sing.  Well, he can, but he’s certainly not got the best voice.  However, ever since before I came in to this world, I was addicted to the sounds and voice of Genesis, and later, Phil Collins.

Their music was constantly playing whilst I was in my mothers’ womb, and right up until now, my dad still plays their music loudly.

If I had to pick just one song, that ever has existed, to be my favourite, it would have to be Phil Collins’ version of “Groovy Kind of Love”.  It literally gives me goosebumps, and more often than not, a tear to my eye, and I don’t even know why.

Here’s the lyrics – the video is below.

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When you’re close to me, I can feel your heart beat
I can hear you breathing near my ear
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love

Anytime you want to you can turn me onto
Anything you want to, anytime at all
When I kiss your lips, ooh I start to shiver
Can’t control the quivering inside
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love, oh

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When I’m in your arms, nothing seems to matter
My whole world could shatter, I don’t care
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love, oh
We got a groovy kind of love

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…  A partridge in a pear tree.

I didn’t want to make the “Santa Sleighs” for the kids at Kung Fu this year.  I was getting a little bored in repeating the same gift, year after year, and I felt under-appreciated that I had gone to the painstaking effort of (wasting) three hours to make.  I had to make twelve of them last year, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it took me three hours.  I wouldn’t mind because they looked great…

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I had wrapped a 4-fingered KitKat, a ‘Freddo’ chocolate bar, and a Turkish Delight up in red paper…  Then I taped the candy canes to the bottle (with extreme difficulties, I might add), then the Father Christmas was added last.  To say that I had to rearrange the way that the candy canes and Santas’ were sitting more than once is an understatement.

So this year, I had decided that I was going to put together the dry ingredients for Christmas Elf Soup.  That way, all the kids had to do was to ask a grown-up for help in pouring the hot water over the mixture.

Christmas Elf Soup – How to make

What you will need:

Three re-sealable food bags.  Small.

One slightly larger food bag; to store the latter in once full.

Cocoa powder.

Milk chocolate drops.

Mini-marshmallows.

Candy Cane.

The label with instructions…

Hole punch and Christmas ribbon OR a stapler with staples.

How to put it all together:

Add four heaped teaspoons in to a dry, re-sealable bag.

Add two heaped teaspoons of the dark chocolate drops to another dry, re-sealable bag.

Add a small handful of mini-marshmallows to a third dry, re-sealable bag.

Position the filled bags neatly in to the slightly larger food bag.

Add the (still wrapped) candy cane in to the bag.

Seal shut with the label, using staples, or hole punch with ribbon.

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The label was designed, and made by yours truly.  It reads:

Front:  “Christmas Elf Soup”

Back:  “How to prepare your Christmas Elf Soup:  Empty the soup powder and pieces of Elf poop in to your favourite mug.  Ask an adult to help you pour hot water over the mixture.  Sprinkle on the snowman pieces, and stir with the North Pole!”

The latter on the back of the label states the ingredients (Cocoa powder, Milk chocolate drops, Mini marshmallows, Candy Cane).

I managed to fit four of my labels on to an A4 sheet of card for printing.  Feel free to use it, but if you are going to use it on your own site, please give credit where credit is due.

Christmas Elf Soup Wrapper for A4 print

Click to enlarge the picture

Once again, after handing the packets out to the students of the school, I felt like it was a waste of time.  Just a look, and a “thanks”.  Not a heart-felt one.  I suppose that’s just the way I am, but nether-the-less, my hubby certainly appreciated the leftover one I had made for him…  🙂