Thursday, 25 March 2010

Love Note

He knows, absolutely, that I love him.
And yet these are the notes I leave him after six and a half years of marriage and a decade together.
Today as I was rushing to get Frank's lunch ready and packed for pre-school I realised I wasn't going to be the one injecting his insulin at lunchtime and that I was actually going to be an hour's drive away.
I quickly wrote down the carbs for his lunch and what I considered to be the corresponding units of insulin.
I left it by the kettle. My man likes a good cup of tea so it's the place he will go to most.
These are the new routines. More to remember. More to do. Layers of responsibility.
And he thanked me when I called him after lunch and asked how it had all gone and how Frank's numbers had been.
He understands that his note was a Love Letter of the New Era. Post D-Day.
And from the heart.
Thank you too, my love.
We are in this together.

Monday, 22 March 2010

A Smooth Start to the Day

We have decided that Sunday is smoothie day.
So I whizzed up a raspberry and yoghurt smoothie for our breakfast (frozen raspberries are great).
As I was then working out the carbs I realised that it made for a pretty healthy and low carb breakfast for Frank.
We all followed it up with toast and almond butter, which is the spread of choice for all of us at the moment.
It was a little taste of all the berries to come in the Summer and we lapped it up.
As you can see, Frank made his feelings very clear!

We used 350g frozen raspberries, slightly thawed, and 300g natural yoghurt. Ice cubes can be added for more crunchy coldness.
Using my trusty hand blender I whizzed it all up amid "Mummy, be quiet!" and then "Ooh, smoovie!" and then the festivities began.
It was yummy and healthy and around 43g carbs for the whole jug.

It certainly floated our boat this Sunday and is a great way to eat berries that taste great but maybe aren't as pretty as the fresh ones flown in from Jupiter in your local supermarket.

(Confession: When Frank was younger I used to tell him this was "ice cream". He doesn't fall for that anymore. I also used to give him cornflakes and tell him they were crisps. I wouldn't get away with it anymore. The boy is snack-wise!)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

30 Days of Beauty : 11

On Friday it was so warm and sunny that we were finally able to get out into the garden and even had our afternoon snack out there.
Nothing beats the beauty of being outside with a pot of green tea for the three of us and our little plate of snacks. Weeks and weeks of this ahead, we hope.
Hope Spring is peeking out where you are.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A woolly saga

About a month ago I bought some lovely chunky wool with the idea of finally knitting a hat that fits and suits Andrew. I had tried a couple before but they looked so bad that I didn't even get a photo.
This one came out enormous and we called it Hagrid's Hat before I frogged it and started again.

Enter this nifty little number.
It fits him.
It suits him.
And I made it in an evening.
The little Frankster is also sporting a new hat this week with this stash-busting little number.
He wore it proudly to watch the Jock Wadley Race on Sunday. He loved seeing the big group of cyclists pouring around the corners.
Poetry in motion.
We love cycle racing in this house and are glued to the Tour de France coverage every Summer. Can you imagine the dodgy deals we tried to strike with each other about who put Frank to bed each evening in July?! Coverage here begins at 7pm. Prime baby bed time.

Maybe this year Frank will want to stay up late and watch it himself?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

30 Days of Beauty : Ten : A Magical Mystery Tour

One of my birthday presents from Andrew and Frank was today.

A Magical Mystery Tour in the camper van.

We woke to bright Spring sunshine. About 45 minutes from home is the Deben estuary and Ramsholt.

We parked up, played about on the beach, running around, throwing stones into the water and making animals in the sand.

I defy anyone to say East Anglia isn't beautiful.

We have such gentle scenes and big skies.

Then it was a pub lunch before heading into Woodbridge for a coffee in the afternoon.

A blissful and uncomplicated day with my two boys.

And to top it all Frank was at or under 10 each time we tested his blood sugars.

Now that's what I call a birthday present!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Earl's Colne, Jackson Pollock and a green boy

Cryptic title, bet you're all wondering what pearls will be falling from my keyboard today?
OK, so you're not but I'll tell you anyway.

Frank woke me at 5:30 this morning. Much earlier than normal but he seemed fine.

We had breakfast and packed the camper van for our trip to see my parents.

En route to my home town of Haverhill in Suffolk to visit the ageing paroids (like parents but also not quite human as we know it , hence the android tag-on) I glanced in the mirror to see Frank's normally rosy and healthy face turn a rather alarming shade of green.

"Are you OK, Franky?"
Frank stares at me blankly, looking rather spaced out.
"Are you wobbly?"
He shakes his head.
"Are you hungry?"
He shakes it again.

We drive through Chappel and under the beautiful viaduct and I am glancing back in the mirror a lot rather than watching the road.

He turns greener.
"Shall I stop the van, Frank?"
He nods.
Suddenly a Jack Russell terrier runs out into the road and I very narrowly miss ironing it with the front wheels of the van.

Into Earl's Colne and I pull over at the Primary School that I know quite well.
Quiet road not much traffic.
I climb into the back of the van.

Frank looks very pale and green, green, green.

We decide to head home as my Mum only came out of hospital yesterday and we don't want to give her anything to make her turn green as well.

Almost home, just a mile to go, and Frank coughs and follows this up with (rather spectacular, I must say) throwing up all over himself, his colouring books, his new Spud the Scarecrow toy (it's a Bob the Builder thang) and a great part of the van.

Jackson Pollock could not have done a better job.

Oh, joy ...

I clean him up and we get home to put him on the sofa , where his colour returns and he sleeps.
In an hour he moves from 14.9 to 3.1.
Juice and a biscuit.
Cuddle and more sleep.

He smiles at me sleepily.
I am his Mama and feel like a bear with her cub.

This is where I belong.


This time last year on my birthday weekend I was in hospital with Frank as he had gastroenteritis. Vomiting and Type 1 don't make happy bed fellows (I love that phrase, so 1950s and camp!).

Today as I contemplate another trip to the Children's Ward I realise I am much less fazed by the idea. I have come a long way in my understanding of this condition and what is needed to keep Frank from harm.

I am more confident in dealing with it at home without rushing him to hospital.

As we were released from hospital almost 18 months ago now after his diagnosis one of the fantastic, humane and humorous nurses told me that in one year I would be more of an expert than she was. Especially in relation to Frank's diabetes and his body.

I realise the wisdom and truth of her comment today.

Andrew and I are the experts in our son's care.

And so I end today's post tired but content and send all my best wishes to parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes, that uninvited guest that just won't go home, but especially those newly diagnosed.

You will find strength in yourselves that you never knew you had.

What you are dealing with is non-negotiable.

You have to be there and deal with it BUT you are not alone.

Take care of yourselves and take it a day at a time.
Find joy wherever you can.
My love to you all.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


I turned 43 today.
I feel it and look it!
A year and a half of dealing with T1D has aged me.
Being a year and a half older has also aged me.
These are the pearls of wisdom I offer you today.
The day I became a year older.
The day Sev took me out for breakfast to The Food Company for eggs Benedict and coffee.
The day I took flapjacks to my Knit and Natter group.
The day Frank cried at lunchtime because I wasn't there to give him his injection and sometimes only Mummy will do.
The day my Mum went into hospital for a wrist operation.
And the day my love took me out to see the English/Argentinian (with Tango music) Romeo and Juliet at the Mercury Theatre.
A good day.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Chanelling Lady Macbeth

Making beetroot soup this morning I took a moment to contemplate my gruesome hands.

Having studied Macbeth for O Level and then immediately after that for A Level I know the play pretty well and always loved the character of Lady Macbeth.

Strong at first and then descending into madness, with a little obsessive compulsive hand washing thrown in.

I was definitely channelling her today and we had Lady Macbeth Soup for dinner this evening along with rolls fresh from the oven, a winter slaw and Finnish piirakka from Ville's parents.

All very yummy and not a witch in sight ...

Sunday, 7 March 2010

30 Days of Beauty :: Nine

Our favourite family walk takes us from Dedham along the river Stour that serves as the Essex Suffolk border to a National Trust cafe in Flatford, famous for being in many of Constable's paintings (Flatford, that is, not the cafe!).
I love this landscape whatever the season.
I am sure it will appear in another of my 30 Days of Beauty as there is so much beauty in this mile and a half. It was bitterly cold but we still had fun running after Frank's Moomin frisbee and climbing into old gnarled trees. We stuck it out for as long as we could in the cold wind before heading back to the van.
Then we walked along to the weir and fed the ducks.

After that it was off to Stratford St. Mary farm shop and cafe for lattes, peppermint tea and cheese scones and a thoughtful boy waiting patiently for his scone and tea.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mojo Muffins

These muffins were one of the first recipes I adapted for our big entry into the world of muffin making for the Woodbridge Christmas Fayre and I have been making them ever since, with endless variations.
They are based on Nigella Lawson's Jam Doughnut Muffins in How to be a Domestic Goddess (a fabulous book) but have been changed a lot by me. The changes have involved halving the sugar and making the ingredients wholemeal rather than white. I also omit the dipping in butter and then sugar at the end. I find cakes are good and I prefer them if I can taste the ingredients rather than just sugar.
The photo below shows some of the ingredients before I got started.
I love the way my kitchen looks nothing like the beautiful, clutter-free ones I see on the blogs I drool over so much.
In this picture you can see my dandelion coffee, a glue stick and Frank's picture of Spring duckings. For around 8 muffins you will need to beat 125ml milk, one egg, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 85ml oil (I used a very mild olive oil to minimise the flavour interference) in a bowl or jug.

Then add this to another, larger bowl of the dry ingredients which are 200g wholemeal self-raising flour and 50g brown muscovado sugar.
Mix quickly, not worrying about lumps. Mixing muffin batter too much will take away the lightness and make them heavy.

Fill each muffin case one third full with batter.

Top with a teaspoon of either jam (we use St Dalfour or Tiptree high fruit) or fruit puree or, as I did today, mincemeat (homemade by the wonderful Fiona!).

Top with the remaining batter and bake at 190C/Gas mark 5 for 2-25 minutes until golden and bouncy to the touch.

Apply to face.

Let me know how they work out for you.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

30 Days of Beauty :: Eight

We spent a whole day in the garden earlier this week. The sky was bright blue and the washing even dried out on the line.
Below are Frank's cords and my favourite little table cloth from a flea market in Hyvinkaa, Finland.
The Green Man on the summerhouse wall was beaming in the Spring sunshine.

We are well this week, having left colds and sniffles behind, and have been busy in the garden, clearing out the garage, noticing cobwebs that I swear weren't there a day or two before and generally feeling the sap rising.

I will be back tomorrow with the first of a monthly series:
Muffin of the Month.

My baking mojo has returned and all shall share in the joy!!