Friday, 20 July 2018

Ruby Red Shoes - a book review

Details: Children's hardback picture book
Title: Ruby Red Shoes A Very Aware Hare
Author: Kate Knapp
Published by: MacMillan
ISBN: 9781509891894
Price: £9.99

This charming book was given to my two daughters by an Australian friend several years ago as it was first published there in 2012. We have cherished it ever after and my girls have grown to love it. As all great classics, it has proved itself timeless, bridging the gap from toddler to now almost 10-year-old.

Perhaps the reason for this are Kate Knapp's lyrical story and stunning illustrations. Paying great attention to detail, the cosy and bright water colours invite the reader in, every bit as the text. Both are playful and gentle, reminding each and everyone of us - not just children - what ought to be important in life: the simple things!

Ruby herself is a delightful protagonist. 'An aware hare' who lives consciously from day to day, enjoying everything about each day's routine, from the veg patch to her dumpling of a cuddly grandmother.

This book is so beautifully observed and elegantly written; wise and poetic. It is not at all surprising to find that six years down the line, Ruby Red Shoes A Very Aware Hare is being published again here in the UK. I'm pleased for Kate, and I'm pleased for Ruby, who remains every bit as fresh and fun for her new larger audience, who in no doubt will love her every bit as much as my two girls still do.

We can't wait to read the next instalment of Ruby's adventures, when she visits Paris this September! Look out for a LIFE AS IT IS review late summer.

Emma Oliver received a copy of Ruby Red Shoes A Very Aware Hare in exchange for this review, all ideas and comments are my own

Friday, 13 July 2018

Lyme 0 - 1 Me

I had sat reflecting over breakfast about how the appointment with my naturopath would go. Clouded by recent illness - ten days bedridden and three weeks unwell, I was disillusioned to say the least. A Lyme relapse brought on by pushing into non-existent energy reserves had left me wondering why, when I'd been trying so hard with the detox diet I began eight months ago. A diet, I felt would play a huge part in my recovery, for lyme bacteria (and other infections also passed via tick bites) thrive on a modern western diet, so by cutting out 98% of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, wheat, gluten and dairy, I'd been starving the pathogens; killing off spirochetes. Or at least I thought I had. Finding myself laid out again, so unable, had been terribly disheartening and made a mockery of everything I'd been working towards regarding the natural recovery I was aiming for.

Two hours later in Basingstoke at the NTA headquarters, tests revealed a residual virus in my system that wasn't lyme at all. It wasn't Lyme! The implications of this were huge. My efforts were not in vain. I was helping my body to heal using ONLY plant based meds! My relapse had been down to not listening to the warning signs, straying from the diet, indulging in alcohol and late nights and consistently pushing myself to do more instead of rest. Yes I had been enjoying a return of energy and feeling better, but that was not to say I had any stamina. I abused the rules. And being exhausted and run down laid my body wide open to a further opportune viral infection which took ahold and knocked me for six.

Want to know the greatest thing about having that virus? I was able to fight it off myself. This time last year, it would have spiralled into a chest infection or shingles or pneumonia. Proof in itself that I am so much better and the alternative medicine route I am following is working. Kale anyone?!

My tests also showed something else. Something really rather astonishing. My lyme, plus every single other infection, Babesia and EBV to name two, have gone into remission. INTO REMISSION!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

A detox diet will help with symptoms of Lyme & all disease

My lunch plan used to begin with the question ‘What do I feel like today?’ but since my Lyme Disease and co-infection diagnoses, I’ve had to think differently.

I now believe the most important part of my recovery is diet - detox is essential and certain foods will not only aid elimination, they'll also attack pathogens. Likewise certain foods will feed the machine that is disease. When I veer off the straight and narrow, boy do my symptoms flare up. I've just spent the last ten days recovering from eating, drinking and generally acting like I didn't have Lyme.
Keeping that in mind, today I created this delicious dish with sauerkraut for gut health, and salmon for omega, a dash of Himalayan salt for balancing blood sugar and ph, black pepper which aids digestion, extra virgin olive oil for its antioxidants, lemon for vitamin C + digestion, and apple cider vinegar (with the mother) for all manner of health properties - as well as flavour of course! I used a wholegrain spelt organic pasta as a base, cucumber for crunch and rocket to make it zing!
I’m not a doctor or a dietician, but I am suffering with Lyme Disease or rather the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria. This spirochete does not like certain foods; such as parsley which aids metal detox and celery, which is full of mineral salts and provides gut acid (something I’m lacking).                        

Educating myself on what to eat has been vital for getting better. I’ve learnt that as much as a little of what you fancy does you good, a little of what you wouldn’t usually have fancied, can do you better! 


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Two years ago today I had a full hysterectomy...

This photo never ceases to amaze me... 2 years ago today I had a full hysterectomy. My surgeon removed a 7lb fibroid that was the size of a football. Turns out it was actually very likely down to the lyme bacteria invading my uterus - which soon became known as the womb of doom. 

I suffered painful periods, heavy too. I'd go through a box of super plus in a day. The PMT was horrendous. Emotional twists and turns which I could never see coming included outbreaks of anxiety and depression. Small wonder when you consider by the time a fibroid (cyst) is this big it becomes a little being, having a hormonal production and vascular system of its own.

My gut and tummy were plagued with problems; mainly the bloating which could look like this... My 'baby' sat on my bladder and bowel affecting how I slept too. It was like a pregnancy in so many ways. Not surprisingly many assumed it was and answering the question of 'when was I due?' became far the most difficult association attached to how I looked and felt at the time. 

But what I want to shout about here is how at the time I had no idea this was in fact all symptomatic of chronic lyme disease (lyme when it is dormant goes into cyst form, hence I’ve since had 3 breast lumps removed in 6 months). Now that I have a lyme diagnosis and I have the sometimes warped benefit of hindsight, it’s time to spread awareness on just how lyme can manifest. 

Don’t take exhaustion, fatigue or chronic fatigue lying down - excuse the pun. Recognise that it is not any kind of normal for a young woman (I was 44 when I underwent this operation) to feel that sort of tired. That sort of hormonal. That sort of anxious. That sort of sad. That sort of bloated. No, it's not actually any kind of normal full stop.

#LymeDisease NOT #LymesDisease

Friday, 8 June 2018

Strictly Briks Brik Tower - A review

DETAILS: Strictly Briks Brik Tower
Age: 5+
92 pieces
Comes with a satisfaction guarantee

Strictly Briks has arrived on the market. Not easy to do when one of your rivals is a much loved Danish brick brand. But they've a neat stacking system which is standing tall amongst its competitors.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Neurologically speaking

Monday I went to London for work; I travel up once a month to produce the audio version of Tesco magazine that I also script. I’ve done it for over ten years and I love both the work and my team to bits. Monday though, I shouldn't have gone. The brain fog was extreme. I sat reading the intro having an almost out of body experience as neuro symptoms played havoc. After getting through it, I found myself struggling to get home, literally putting one foot in front of the other was exhausting. 

Having taken my recovery situation seriously, I’ve been in bed ever since. Learning to listen to a lyme ravaged body is the only way. This morning, the fog is clearing and my energy returning. I’ve neurological Lyme. This equates to major cognitive processing issues and my brain tires easily. Recognising and accepting this is very much key to understanding the stealth pathogens associated with tick borne diseases. 

Changing my diet has helped enormously. Grapefruit is just one of the foods that Lyme doesn't like. By changing my diet I am starving the bacteria. The detox is difficult to sometimes stick to. Of course it is. Who wants to eat so 'cleanly' all the time? Last week we were away for half term and not only did my diet steer off course, I kept up with everyone as if I didn't have Lyme at all - staying up 'til 1am one night, pushing myself each day until Lyme eventually caught up with me. Of course it did.

If you saw the post prior to this, you will know that only a few weeks ago, I felt incredible. With the help of a great naturopath, I AM seeing great results. I’ve been doing so well lately. This was a blatant reminder that I'm not there yet. Yes I have more energy but the difference is, I don't have stamina. I need to remember that. Monday scared me. If you have Lyme you will recognise you need to say ‘no’ to stuff. Recognise you need to not overdo it. Frankly recognise you need. And that is crap.