April Favourites | 2017

I’ve got something a little bit different today- I love reading these kind of posts on other people’s blogs so I thought I’d share the things that have made me happy this month!

 

 

  • Seeing my best friend (and eating our favourite ice cream)

I finally made a trip down to see one of my favourite people for the first time in about nine months. I was feeling so unwell but since Katherine is an absolute gem of a friend we had a lovely relaxing weekend. We even managed to squeeze in an Amorino ice cream (all their sorbets are totally lactose and soy free, including the chocolate one, hooray!) and it almost felt like we were back in Paris. 

  • The return of PLL

Pretty Little Liars is back and I’m delighted. I’m happy because I love PLL, excited because there’s finally going to be an ending, and a wee bit sad because this is the final half season.

  • Fodmap friendly baking

Craig has made this absolutely delicious fodmap friendly cake not once, not twice, but three times this month.

It was recommended by a fellow low-fodmapper, and how very grateful I am. It’s quick and easy (so I’ve been told) and it’s seriously yummy. The recipe is here if you’re interested- it’s gluten free but Craig used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make it low-fodmap too.

  • Dawn O’Porter’s book signing

I took a trip through to Glasgow and met up with another Paris pal to go to Dawn O’Porter’s Glamour Book Club event for the launch of her new book The Cows. Dawn O’Porter is such an inspiration. It was a fab evening and I loved listening to Dawn talk about female solidarity, the pressures of being a woman and why we should be taking YOLO seriously. And that brings me onto…

  • The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

I finished reading The Cows in two days and would definitely recommend it. It’s a bit lighter than anything I’ve read recently, as well as being intelligent and very funny. The themes could be considered quite provocative and I think that’s the point- Dawn O’Porter wants to challenge us to think about how we judge others.  

  • Bryony Gordon’s Mad World podcast

I’m always looking out for new podcasts to listen to. I was very excited to hear about this, and even more so when I found out the first guest was none other than Prince Harry! Bryony Gordon’s podcast is basically encouraging conversations about mental health. I think it’s a huge deal for someone as high-profile as him to advocate looking after your mental health and I was amazed at how open and honest Prince Harry was in his episode.

  • Trip to Alnwick Castle

Craig and I had a fab day trip to Alnwick Castle, via Lindisfarne. We stopped at Lindisfarne on the way down since neither of us had been before.

Unfortunately the castle is closed for renovations at the moment, but the island itself was still very interesting to see. We then drove down to Alnwick and spent a rather chilly afternoon there exploring Alnwick Castle.

It’s absolutely beautiful and a must for any Harry Potter fan! The last time I was there I was young enough to take part in the flying lessons on the lawn used for filming the scenes in the Philosopher’s Stone…I’m maybe a bit too old now but it’s still pretty magical.

  • Submitting my final piece of PGDE coursework

My final piece of academic writing has been submitted! Keeping all fingers and toes crossed that I’ve passed everything. I’ve just got one more placement to go!

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January Update

This is a fairly quick post from me, as this month has flown by! In January I…

  • Cooked more 
    This was one of my goals for 2017 and so I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking is not my thing at all, so I’ve got plenty of room for improvement! I’ve tried out a couple of new recipes this month. I made a lowfodmap version of these delicious chocolate and raspberry brownies and they were fantastic. The recipe in the BBC Good Food Gluten-Free cookbook is identical to this but with GF flour, and then you can use a fodmap friendly spread instead of butter and all dark chocolate. Definitely not something to make if you’re trying to keep healthy but they were absolutely delicious. They did take ages to cook (like an hour instead of the recommended 35 minutes) and they were better enjoyed with a spoon as they were super gooey, but honestly these might be the tastiest chocolate brownies I’ve ever had. No bias from me whatsoever 😉 
    I also tried Karljin’s healthy strawberry crumble recipe. She recommends it as a breakfast but I made it as a quick dessert. It was super easy to make and I thought it was really tasty, but had to eat it solo over two days myself as the cooked strawberry wasn’t for Craig (all the more for me!).

    chocolate and raspberry brownies, strawberry crumble, courgette pizza


    My absolute favourite meal is pizza, and I’ve been exploring various gluten free pizza bases. One of my uni friends mentioned courgette base pizza to me, and so I gave it a go! Pre courgette-crisis, this is a fairly simple alternative base. I can’t remember what recipe I used but there are loads if you have a google. Mine turned out to be a fail because I didn’t make it thick enough and it totally stuck to the tinfoil and had to be scraped off by Craig (he stepped in at this point to save the day), who then rolled it so it was like a courgette burrito instead. The photo above makes it look quite revolting but it was delicious, I promise! It was a bit of a faff squeezing the water out of the grated courgette but it was so tasty that I think it was worth it. A lot tastier that some of the GF pizza bases I’ve tried!
    I tried yet another pizza base alternative, from Emma Hatcher’s The Fodmap Friendly Cookbook. I was so so excited for this to arrive because I love the recipes on her blog. She has included a recipe for a buckwheat flour pizza base which was another success. I’m excited to try more recipes from her cookbook!

  • Went to Paris!
    Paris! My favourite! We had a (last minute for us) weekend trip to Paris to celebrate my Dad’s 50th birthday.

    Opera Palais Garnier, chocolate mousse at Chez Janou (for two!), the Pantheon, Place des Vosges


    I spent my Erasmus year in Paris and absolutely fell in love with it- I’ve been back once but this is the first time my family have. Paris is wonderful any time of year, winter included, which I feel isn’t necessarily the case for everywhere. There are countless museums to visit, but this time we did a guided tour of the Opera Palais Garnier and went up the Tour Montparnasse again (I think this is a fantastic alternative view of Paris- you can see everything and miss out on nothing!). We also ate a lot. I tried to at least stick to being wheat free as I knew it was going to be tricky to be totally fodmap friendly. I thought I might as well enjoy myself for the weekend and suffer the consequences armed with peppermint tea and peppermint oil capsules. This was manageable but uncomfortable for the weekend but I arrived home on the Sunday with an incredibly bloated and painful tummy. Was all the delicious food worth it? Definitely! And if nothing else, I suppose it serves a reminder of why I’m bothering with this super restrictive low-fodmap diet: it really does make my life so much more pain free.

  • Fodmapped fairly successfully
    I’ve been doing well on the low-fodmap diet, apart from the weekend I was in Paris. Over the next few months I want to try a more systematic reintroduction of foods, in the hope that I’ll have better success. The basic idea is that you have a little bit of something that only contains one kind of fodmap on the Monday, see what your symptoms are, a little bit more on the Wednesday if you can, see what your symptoms are, then if you’re fine have a larger portion on the Friday and see how you manage. So there’s a reintroduction week for each fodmap type. I’m reluctant to try this while I’m on placement so I think it will probably be March until I do so properly.

Until next time, all the best from me!

 

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December Update

I hope you’ve all had a fun, relaxing Christmas and that you’ve enjoyed plenty of chocolate and mince pies! I’ve finished my lactose-free advent calendar and survived my first ‘fodmap friendly’ Christmas much better than I’d expected to!

I cannot believe how quickly 2016 has flown by. Can you remember being little and how six weeks of summer holidays felt like forever and ‘a year from now’ felt too far away to comprehend? I can remember sitting in my flat in December last year with one of my best friends talking about how fast our final year of uni was going and wondering ‘is this it from now on?’- would time just continue to get faster and faster? I know people say time goes faster as you get older, but I thought I was still too young to notice!

This year I graduated, then started another uni course to train to be a teacher. I was lucky enough to travel to Paris, Copenhagen, Nice, Florida, London and Berlin. I also said a (hopefully temporary) goodbye to wheat, lactose, onions, garlic, beans, as well as a whole load of other formerly loved foods, and tried to embrace a fodmap friendly lifestyle. In a bid to better look after both my physical and mental health I started running, which turned out to be very good for my poorly tummy, and I’ve actually managed 288km this year! I was hoping to make it up to 300km by the end of the year, but I’ve not been very well since I got back from Berlin so I don’t think it’s on the cards this year. However, in the excitement of all the Black Friday sales, I bought a half price place in the Women’s Running 10K in Glasgow next year! It’s not until August so I’ve got loads of time to get up to that distance, but I thought it would be motivating for me.

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November Update

It’s officially winter!

I’m not a fan of the dark nights and the cold at all. However, I had very comforting thought that it is less than a month until the days start getting longer again. That seems within reach to me! This month has been very busy with uni and other bits and bobs. I’m on placement and I’m actually really enjoying it. I mean I’m knackered, but that’s because I’m getting up so early in the morning to leave at 7am. I’m progressing, getting positive feedback, and gaining some more self confidence in actually being able to do something (and not just write about it). I do like a challenge!

In terms of my poorly tummy, I was back to the doctors at the start of the month. I’ve now been on this low fodmap diet for four months. It’s recommended as an elimination diet for two months, but every time I try to reintroduce something I get a very sore tummy. I’ve been worried that part of this is mental, as I’ve never really had the best relationship with food. However, I had a really sore tummy last week and couldn’t think what it could be because all I’d had was a very ‘safe’ breakfast of gluten/wheat free rice crispies and lactose free milk. Turns out, I’d used ‘normal’ milk by accident. So, at least that explained that one! At the doctors, when I said I was struggling to reintroduce anything he told me to just keep at it. I don’t think it’s sustainable and neither do the research papers I’ve read about it. But what do you do, when there’s seemingly a huge amount of food causing you pain? I’ve booked an appointment with a nutritionist recommend by a friend next month, so I’m hoping that a different approach will be useful.

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