Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG is a little known pregnancy complication. A sufferer (and it is a suffering) has severe nausea, and vomiting, which can lead to weight loss and dehydration. It is more than just morning sickness. It can sometimes last the entire pregnancy (for me until 30 weeks) and affects less than 2% of women. There is no known cause.
I am one of the lucky ones. I only lost weight in the first trimester and suffered severe dehydration once. Some women require hospitalisation a few times throughout their pregnancies and can vomit 30+ times a day. My personal best was 19.
This is a really difficult post for me to write. I don’t want to say it out loud as I am ashamed. In a world in which this Baby is the most hoped, wished, loved and longed for being, there were a few times I found myself wishing that I wasn’t pregnant, wishing it would all just stop.
Whilst I had my head in the toilet for the 20th time, violently vomiting up my stomach lining (i’d not eaten for 48 hours), listening to yet another opinionated, interfering, arsehole ask if I had tried eating a ginger biscuit (ffs!), I can appreciate how persuasive that thought can be. Fortunately for me, HG didn’t become a serious illness. I was a lucky one. For some Mother’s, a decision has to be made for her own physical and mental wellbeing.
I can only touch on my own experience and it’s really challenging to put down in words how much it affected me mentally as well as physically. Instead, I’m going to direct you to a couple of links that helped me during my pregnancy.
It’s been more than 12 months since my last blog post. It turns out that the withdrawal symptoms of a sugar free diet are also the same as early pregnancy symptoms!
In fact, pretty much all of my ‘sugar free’ symptoms are the same as what I experienced whilst pregnant with BV. I was so sure in fact that I took a pregnancy test. It was negative. However, the idea was in my head, I was so sure I was pregnant. I knew the test was wrong. I waited until the following day and I took another test (again negative), in fact I took a test a further 3 more times (all negative!) before the 5th one gave me a very faint positive. I knew it. I was knocked up with no.2.
Mr Intrepid and I were ecstatic. I was ready for it. I was hoping to blog my way through this pregnancy with cute, accuracy of what it is to be pregnant, a week by week growth of this little one. However, the little bean had other ideas. She (yes this one is a girl!) was determined to make me suffer more than BV ever did. I felt like hell.
I fainted all over the place, I had nosebleeds, headaches, sore limbs, and my god I was tired.
I had no energy and I was fucking exhausted. Pregnancy is hard and I had a toddler now this time. 6 weeks in I began to get really unwell. The nausea had kicked in, only this time there was vomiting too. All day and all night long. I was throwing up in carrier bags on my daily commute, in nappy bags whilst changing my son’s nappies, in the shower and once actually in the street. I couldn’t catch a break. I could barely get through the day, there was no way I was blogging about it.
1 year later, on maternity leave, the baby naps are back. Despite popular advice I can’t nap when baby naps (who would hang up the washing?), I am ready to get back on the blogging band wagon. First up, I want to spread awareness of a little know pregnancy condition, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
Time has run away from me but 17 days in and I am still sugar-free. It has become much easier as the days have gone by and the toll its taken my body has not been too bad. I don’t think I have lost weight (I never weighed myself previous to starting so have no idea anyway!), but this is not my goal. I am pretty body confident for now (I grew a baby for fuck’s sake – I am a super woman!). My aim is to cut the addiction, and I think I am doing well. I have had one cheat so far: 1 sugar added to my tea one evening last week. It was quite weak of me but I was feeling a bit peaky and this sorted me right out. I will not feel sorry for that. I feel stronger than ever.
I was really tested on Tuesday when I went to the cinema to watch Split as I love popcorn so much (I regularly make my own at home) and of course I always pick sweet. After oohing and aahing about whether I could just have a little bit, I chose to stick with a bottle of water instead. I can’t wait to have sweet popcorn when this month is over.
I have given up counting the sugar withdrawal symptoms, as many of them can be symptoms of other lifestyle choices. Now that I am feeling less addicted and more optimistic, I am relaxed (and making sugar-free banana muffins until they come out of my ears!)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven). Sift the flour and add the spices. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sultanas and make a well in the middle of the mixture. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and stir in the beaten eggs. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold in.
Add the mixture to a muffin tin (remember to grease it first!). Turn the oven down and bake the muffins at 160 degrees. for approx. 45 minutes or until done (check by inserting a skewer – must come out clean).
Serve as dessert with natural yogurt or as a quick on the go breakfast. You can also add the mixture to a loaf tin to make one Banana loaf cake. Boom.
Today is an unexpected family day. Mr Intrepid usually works Sunday lunchtimes (the hospitality burden) but I got lucky and we had a few hours all together. We decided on a river walk followed by a low-key lunch (a la Byron). It was so cold outside, I needed warming up and (surprise, surprise) ordered coffee. Rank. Turns out not all sugar free coffee is delicious. Coupled with the fact I couldn’t order my usual malt banana milkshake (super tasty!). I was miffed. Food as usual was delicious so this is not a negative review-it just means I need to stick with coffee shops for coffee. Lesson learnt.
Mood swings are another symptom of sugar withdrawal as is bizarrely feeling chilly (with flu like symptoms). I know it’s cold outside but I am a bare arms and coat kind of girl so I was taken by surprise to feel freezing and desperately wishing for a jumper, a hat and gloves! I used to always feel cold until I had a baby. Then I overheated every day and had the windows open, and the central heating switched off all year round. I assumed that it was hormonal and that my new resting body temp. was just naturally a couple degrees warmer. Now, I have realised that actually it’s down to my sugar addiction (yes it’s a real thing!). I am experiencing a whole heap of withdrawal symptoms.
Fatigue (9pm bedtime!)
Change in Appetite (I am starving all the time. I’m scoffing half of my packed lunch for work as I make it!)
And also finally cravings!
Tonight, I have eaten (inhaled actually) a handful of grapes which is a bit naughty. It may not be refined sugar but they have a lot of fructose. They tasted incredible. So unbelievably sweet. Like…well, sweets.
Day 5 has definitely been the trickiest so far. Headaches, moods and chills and porridge oats with cinnamon as a last ditch attempt to fill me up before bed. I am still refined sugar free (just about) and with my early bed time? I am definitely still rock ‘n’ roll. I’m just having a rest.🤘🏻
1 Handful of Kale, 1 small cup of Almond Milk, 1 kiwi, 5-6 large strawberries and a teaspoon of chia seeds.
This one is BV’s favourite so far (too many strawberries) so obviously it’s quite sweet. My body has definitely reset itself because even I found this a bit too sweet. Nevertheless, smoothies are a great way to add some extra goodness into him (as well as me) especially as there are not too many vegetables he eats. This also proved to be a fun activity for him to help me with. Not only did I get my boy to consume Kale (bleurgh) but he did it so proudly!
Day 4: I feel constantly hungry and I’m still knackered. I’m actually starting to like sugar free coffee, although I can’t get used to sugar free tea (the everyday kind), and I’ve cut out most of my cereal (today I had bran flakes, the best of a bad bunch). My skin feels rotten and I’m cold all day long but I am still Sugar Free! Get in.
Thank Fuck it’s Friday. My 2 hour commute is really starting to take it’s toll. I’m grateful it only happens 3 days a week but I am exhausted! I’ve noticed today (Day 3: No Sugar) that some of the withdrawal symptoms are starting to show up.
When we eat sugary foods, our bodies release serotonin and beta-endorphin. These are neurotransmitters that improve our mood, and ease anxiety. It’s a feel good buzz that our bodies crave over and over again. Removing sugar from my diet will also remove those cravings.
Firstly I’m shattered. Fall asleep whilst on the train shattered (unusually I was able to actually get a seat). That hasn’t happened in a long time. The second thing I’ve noticed is the strange dreams. I’ve experienced a few over the last couple of nights and they are weird even by my standards. I guess now that they are showing up, this is where I may start to crack.
Today we had a birthday in the office, which means…cake! Well for everyone except me that is. But It’s ok. I still don’t need cake. I deliberately filled myself up with my own antipasti cheese and meats. And humous (one of my favourite things). Just so I wouldn’t even be tempted. I wasn’t. I am still cake free.
I rediscovered As Nature Intended too whilst trying to track down Rice Malt Syrup (no such luck) and forgot how much good stuff they have. Raw Chocolate Mulberrys anyone? It’s a great place to stock up organic, wholesome goodness so I found myself some treats to scoff whilst everyone else ate cake!
I am getting in to the swing of this now. I might even…dum….dum…dum bake something…watch this space!
So, the food shop arrived today! In the words of Mr Intrepid “your weird stuff’s here”. I have never spent so much money on food like this before. Eating well is expensive! I have never owned so much chia seeds, flaxseeds, cacoa and spirulina, and I have no idea what to do with it. For the first time ever in my life, I bought Kale (I hate Kale), but times are a changing and my smoothies (thank you trusty Nutri-bullet) need some extra special goodness to keep me sweet. Pun intended.
It’s day 2 and I’m still feeling happy, positive and strong. I added cinnamon to my porridge to take the edge of and pretty much filled up on cheese for the rest of the day. I did enjoy a sweet, super healthy, green smoothie (totally forgot to get a picture!) that even BV enjoyed. I’m not even missing the sugar from my tea and coffee yet. It all seems a bit too easy to be honest….
Feb is here and I’m finally cracking on with my New Year’s resolution: to give up sugar (for at least a month). Anyone who knows me will tell you this is no mean feat.
Remember asking “what’s for tea?” and being told “shit with sugar on…” it’s not quite so literal but it’s still kind of true.
Yes I am one of the worst eaters I know. I skip lunch (and sometimes breakfast), eat cereal for dinner and drink tea and coffee all day long. I never used to have such a sweet tooth but I got the craving for sugar whilst pregnant and it’s never really gone away.
I know it’s bad for me but I eat sugary treats to relax. I get the same endorphin high I used to get from exercise. Once upon a time, I used to train four evenings a week just for fun and cycle the fuck out of my Sunday morning hangovers at ‘double spinning’. These days my evenings involve curling up on the sofa with Game of Thrones, a bowl of cheerios and an entire packet of custard creams! Oh yes, I am living the dream.
Bloggers, Celebrities and Health food extraordinaires worldwide are promoting and praising the benefits of a sugar free lifestyle.
Sarah Wilson and Ella Woodward are currently two of the ‘low to no sugar’ lifestyles biggest advocates. Both offering best selling books and blogs. I’ve been avidly reading both over the last few weeks. I’m not educated enough to give up all sugar. There are loads of different names for sugar and it’s hidden in everything
I don’t believe in fad diets, I truly believe it’s all about balance and moderation. However time is short and it’s not so easy fitting in a spin class between work and toddler bed time, so I’m giving this one a try. I’m reconnecting with the ‘old’ me and making room for this ‘new’ one (well an improved version). It’s time to get off this chocolate see-saw before my teeth fall out! Wish me luck.
Day 1: My resolve is strong 💪🏻 I managed to enjoy my morning coffee sugar free. This was my biggest concern as I love a sweet coffee but today was a good day. As they say on the Eurovision Song Contest: Sugar: nil point.
Once again January is nearly over and I’ve not written a word in weeks. Life got in the way again, and I’m not sorry about that.
My last post was actually a guest post written for Bad Mum in early December. For those that missed me, you can read it here. I can share it now as the news is official. My bestie Gravy, has totally made a baby!
I did hope to write a festive post in December as I usually get creative and wanted to share some of my festive makes and bakes. Instead, I want to talk Instagram shops.
I’m not recognised as a trendsetter (try this lady for that!) nor do I care too much to follow fashion closely. I just pick things I like and hope I don’t look too much like Stig of the dump…I’m definitely not a fashion blogger. However, I do like to shop Independent, and I’m not just talking clothes (just as well as I look like an oversized potato these days….) #dontdresslikethismum
Im talking, quirky cafes and bars, locally sourced produce, handmade arts and crafts, and personalised touches. I have a particular fondness for ‘Mama Merch’ as despite my Bad Mum post, I am very much in awe of all those mamas that can get shit done and still create. You get the gist. I like to support small, local business’, whenever I can.
I was hoping to write this post closer to Christmas as it has been a long time coming but I’m going to share it now. We’re all getting over the expense of the holidays I know, but we can still look, right?
I absolutely love their ‘Scandi’ take on monochrome and these beaut beaded necklaces are rad. Handmade and contemporary, they are also practical and baby-friendly! They’re made from Food-Grade Silicon and unfinished wood. It’s a cool gift for a cool mama, and perfectly fine for baby to give it a good chew!
I was already a fan before I discovered (and subsequently won in a pre-Christmas giveaway) this cheeky, little number:
Coffee and Calpol. Medicine for mama, medicine for babe. Take note: the gift box service is spot on! #bestgiftwrap
These guys have been a favourite of mine for a few years now and I am still in love with them. Most of the jewellery is made from acrylic and it’s all hand cut by fret saw (no laser cutting here!). All pieces are individual and iconic.
On suspecting myself and Mr Intrepid had duplicated an order (we ordered the same thing, separately on the same day 😂) they contacted him to query if he’d ordered me a surprise present, and offered to cancel his order without giving the game away. Super, sweet service to go with the super, sweet products. #bestservice
This is my mama crush. Everything about Mere Soeur is uber hip. Madame Mere Soeur herself, is a powerful, positive role model for us womenfolk and her merch oozes strength, support and good vibes. Never underestimate the power of a girl gang. #bestgiftsforyourgalpals
Nor-folk is a graphic design-led, lifestyle brand. It’s neutral, minimalist and timeless designs are ideal for everyone. Quality over Quantity, and perfect for monochrome lovers. I’m a big fan. #bestfortwinning
This is your reminder. Even on your darkest day, you can do this. I can do this. I am enough. We Are Enough Co merch empowers, unites and supports through good times and bad times. A percentage of profits go to charitable causes that do just that too. You got this. Strong, positive designs to empower. Very special. #bestforreassurance
Gisella is a Peruvian born Spanish artist based in London. Her work is particularly influenced by women and her blend of colours really bring her creations to life. She is a real inspiration and extremely talented. #bestcolours
Gisella is currently exhibiting at Coya in Mayfair, London until 1st March.
Unisex Handscreen printed t-shirts and sweatshirts made with eco-friendly inks. Award winning (Junior Design Awards 2016) clothing for our little one. My own BV loves his tees from here. Fun designs to wear on fun days. I’m looking forward to getting him the new ‘bossy’ tee. #bestforfun
No website for this one yet. Handmade in Cornwall (yay home county!) crocheted hats and blankets made to order. Fam-A-Lamb received a beautiful hat each as a gift and we just love them! Great for gifting (and receiving). Just ping them a message with your request! #bestforhandmade
This is proving to be quite a lengthy post as there are still a heap more cool shops I have not yet mentioned. Il carry on Instagramming the shit out of life for now but watch this space for a part 2!
I would never usually write about somewhere this close to my home, but in this case, I can’t not. Living in Suburbia has taken its toll. I’m no longer down with the kids, and although Surbiton is rich in delicious, independent cafes, it’s also rich in big branded restaurants, (everything you expect from a family friendly ‘burb). I’m not a fan of the big brand and I have been struggling to find anywhere to call my local. Surbiton is designed for families and whereas I do really appreciate this, (I’m a proud owner of one little monster), how fucking amazing is it to go somewhere that’s just that bit too cool for the kids? I’m not a Pizza Express kind of girl, and it’s great that Surbiton finally has a fresh alternative for us Suburbitons, fighting the stereotype.
Tapa literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’. In the beginning there were olives, almonds fried in oil and sprinkled with salt, and chunks of bread served with an olive oil dip. These are the original tapas. Simple foods, requiring little or no preparation. As the tradition evolved, tapas became more of a gastronomic event, with each new venue developing their own specialties.
Tapas, is based on simple recipes and the imaginative use of seasonal vegetables and local ingredients. The concept of tapas is to share. It is essentially a style of eating rather than a method of cooking.
Tapas (or one tapa) can be whatever you want. It is very popular in Spanish culture, the Spanish traditionally don’t drink without eating something, and originally these small snacks were given free as an accompaniment to a bought drink. Tapas can also be dinner with friends too. That’s the beauty of it. You can order as little or as much as you want. It can be kept simple or be made more complicated. It can be a small snack taken with a drink or two at lunchtime, an appetiser in the early evening before the main meal, or even as nibbles with a post-dinner cocktail. Whichever way you prefer it, I prefer mine best served with a gin cocktail amongst great company and a lovely atmosphere. Let me introduce you to this little beauty, Number NinetySeven
Tapas at N.97 is hearty and unpretentious. The ingredients are fresh, flavours are robust and the presentation is simple. In it’s own words “innovation and buzz of the city meets the openness and warmth of the country”. N.97 is a breath of fresh air and just what my corner of Suburbia needed. Oh yeah, and did I mention it has a Gin bar? It’s hip, sleek and perfectly cutting edge. My kinda cool.