Snowman Soup

I came across Snowman Soup when I was browsing Pinterest – the invention of Pinterest has a lot of answer for in this house that’s for sure! Though a quick google of Snowman Soup, brought up hundreds of links to different versions of this so I suppose I’m just late to the party.

I found a link to a lovely printable to attach to the ingredients over on Ginger Snap Crafts

Ingredients:

* Brown paper bags – I picked up 10 in Home Bargains for 80p
* Hot Chocolate packets
* Candy Canes
* Hershey Kisses – I got a packet of these in Tesco in their international aisle for £3
* Mini Marshmallows
* Ribbon
* Printable Snowman Soup poem found here

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I cut the handles of the bags I had as I thought they looked better without, folded the top over then punched two holes in to be able to tie with ribbon and added the Snowman Soup poem.

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I think they look really cute and they were cheap and easy to make so a winner all round.

Claire xx

Christmas Printable O Holy Night Print

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas Hymn of all time and when I came across this printable last year I knew that I really wanted to make it.

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It is available via the lovely Emily Hope over at Hope Ink . Emily has very kindly set up the print to be downloaded and printed as an 10×8″ PDF print so it is really easy to print out at home. I decided that I would like to frame mine too so that I would have it for every year so I picked up a cheap 10×8″ white frame to put it in to match my living room.

I also decided that I would like to add a little bit of sparkle to it so that it would reflect when my Christmas lights were on. I felt the design really lent itself to adding some small gems which I had at home already

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I loved the end effect of adding them, I didn’t put too many on, I just wanted a few to help set it off and to draw your attention to it.

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I then put it into a plain frame so I could put it in the living room for Christmas.

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It now takes pride of place on our fireplace and I am so happy that I finally got round to printing it off.

I couldn’t blog about making a print from my favourite Christmas hymn without linking into my all time favourite version of the song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Claire xx

Coping or not?!?

This infertility lark catches you unawares, coasting along thinking I’m coping fine. Telling everyone I’m coping fine, putting a smile on, believing I’m coping fine.

Then bam, it hits you like a slap around the face, the feeling of being so overwhelmed, that maybe you’re not coping, maybe you’re just kidding yourself…. What’s the truth? Am I coping or I’m I just kidding myself on?

To be honest with you, times like this morning, I’m not actually sure. But what I do know, the coping face needs to go back on, it’s the only way I know how to survive.

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Claire xx

Quick Christmas candle crafting

I had seen a picture of candles covered with cinnamon sticks on Pinterest a while ago and thought it would be a really easy Christmas craft that would look great on our dining table so I thought I’d give it a try.

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You really don’t need much to make them.

* candle
* cinnamon sticks
* glue
* string or ribbon
* small decorations of your choice

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I picked up everything I needed in Hobbycraft and set to work.

All you need to do is glue the cinnamon sticks on around your candle, tie with the string and allow to dry then add your decoration. Easy peasy!

I had a few cinnamon sticks left over from my bag so decided to make a cinnamon stacker.

IMG_9107.JPG I just cut enough string to gather them together then tied them up leaving one out to glue to the top and added some decorations.

Overall I’m really happy with the end results.

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Are you planning any crafts for Christmas?

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ November edition

The small things that have made me happy over the last month *disclaimer, features lots of sunshine pics to start. Sorrynotsorry

IMG_8912.PNG There was comparing the weather forecast whilst lying by the pool.

IMG_8931.JPG Cocktails by the marina.

IMG_8934.JPG Beautiful marina views.

IMG_8955.JPG Cloud watching.

IMG_8969-0.JPG Anniversary cocktails at the end of the pier.

IMG_8988.JPG My first viewing of the ‘holidays are coming’ ad!

IMG_9003.JPG Beautiful sunrises

IMG_9022.JPG Scotland excelling itself with beauty at sunset.

IMG_9037.JPG Memories of my beautiful Granny.

IMG_9054.JPG 5th Birthday’s celebrated.

IMG_9066.JPG Hearts filled with hope.

IMG_9086.JPG First red cup of the holiday season enjoyed.

Claire xx

IVF follow up appointment

We had our IVF follow up appointment last week, Or what is more affectionately known as the ‘wtf’ appointment in the infertility world!

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I wasn’t expecting too much from it to be honest, but I couldn’t go into another cycle without making the long trip back to the clinic to ask some questions about why they felt we may have been unsuccessful, or what we might be able to change when we cycle again. We are very lucky to be getting two attempts on the NHS and I want to try and ensure we give our final attempt our very best shot so off we went to the clinic armed with all our questions.

My main focus I suppose was on response and quality from the cycle, all along I was told that due to having a good level of AMH that I was at a high level of over responding to the stimulation drugs and therefore was put on the lowest dose of Gonal F. When I had gone to my scan during stims I was expecting lots of follicles and was disappointed with only having 10, now I know that for some that is an amazing result but I suppose that when you are thinking you might over respond, 10 doesn’t seem that many. Obviously I wouldn’t want to over respond either so there goes the emotional see saw of infertility again, carefully trying to balance everything, wanting a good response but not too good a response. The consultant was okay with my response but did say that they would like to see a response of around 8-15 eggs so although my final count of 9 mature eggs was good it was at the bottom end of the scale so for our next cycle we will up the stimulation drugs to 225 Gonal F.

That brought us onto the topic of the next cycle. It was initially suggested I re cycle with the increase in stimulation drugs but keeping everything else the same so long protocol like this one which lasts around 7/8 weeks

IMG_1007.JPG Image Credit ~ Ninewells ACU

However I wanted to speak directly to the consultant about the side effects that I had using the down regulation drug or mainly the hearing loss I had and the tinnitus that I still have 3 months later! Again the consultant was of the opinion that it was unlikely to have been caused by that but I’m not convinced that it could just be a coincidence that it happened when I took it and as it is listed though seems to be a very rare side effect of this drug. We had quite a bit of discussion about it and he offered me the chance to do a Short Protocol it had been something that was on my list to discuss as I had read that it was good for people with a good AMH level. It lasts 4 weeks from start to finish and no waiting on Day 21 to start with Dundee starting this type of cycle at Day 3 of your cycle, so very fast.

The consultant felt that we have no egg or sperm quality issues, or at least none that are overly obvious from this cycle anyway and felt if we decided to swap to a short protocol we would be looking at 1-2 eggs less than a long cycle but with the increase in stims we would hopefully get around the same as our first cycle. He left it up to me to decide what I wanted to do as obviously he doesn’t have a crystal ball and can’t tell exactly what will happen but was agreeable that I could go into the next cycle on a short protocol. Cue, a tweet of ‘help’ when I got home and lots of advice from Twitter ladies who have done a short protocol and particularly those who have switched from long to short. It was so helpful and thank you to everyone who helped me over those next couple of days. The general consensus seems to be that a short protocol is not only faster but is kinder to you without the effect of the down regulating drugs and all the twitter ladies felt it helped them with egg quality compare to their previous cycles. I know the consultant felt quality was not jumping out as a issue but our embryos dwindled very quickly leaving us with only one left to transfer so if I can do anything to help then I will, so it’s a Short Protocol for us for our next cycle. Nerve wracking but exciting!

Because I’ve decided to do a short protocol I’ve also decided to delay for a month. I never thought I would be saying that, that’s for sure, but it makes more sense and I’m happy with our decision. I’m pleased we went to the appointment, it was good to talk through some of our concerns and to get a plan for the next cycle that we are all happy with.

I’ve now got a few months between treatments, we will off course keep trying naturally as you know there’s always a chance even if it’s a small one. My main focus is now going to be on losing more weight, using supplements to enhance fertility and looking into natural fertility approaches. I have found a natural fertility centre in Edinburgh that I’ve made an appointment with so hopefully I’ll blog about that soon.

Before I go I just want to say thanks to you all for reading and supporting me. It’s been so much easier knowing I’m not alone.

Claire

Weight Loss Wednesday

After a slight break for a week in the sun, weight loss Wednesday is back in my life. I did weigh myself on the Monday we got back from holiday and wasn’t surprised with a gain.

IMG_9043.JPG I think most of that was on vodka! But I went there with the full intention of putting the last few months behind me and that I did. I started back on Slimming World on the Monday so this weeks weigh in a 10 day one.

I’m working to increase my walking back up again and I’m quite happy with

IMG_9042.JPG I normally average between 22-25 miles per week and still love using my Fitbit.

I was very happy with the scales this morning and am pleased to report the holiday gain is gone!

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I’m giving my diet an overall as well in an attempt to plan for our next IVF, I’m hoping that following a fertility friendly diet will also help with my weight loss. We are not looking to cycle again for at least another few months so my focus is on to get my weight as low as I can before then. Wish me luck.

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ October Edition

The small things that have made me happy over the last month.

IMG_8693.JPG There was a double rainbow and a wish made.

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Autum Schnauzers posing.

IMG_8772.JPG Saturday afternoon cocktail drinking.

IMG_8777.JPG Amazing cocktails drank, hair let down and all the worries of the last few weeks let go.

IMG_8784.JPG Seaside visits that were good for the soul.

IMG_8840.JPG Autumn batch cooking.

IMG_8844.JPG 3rd Wedding Anniversary celebrated.

IMG_8845.JPG and because I love our wedding photos an extra picture!

IMG_8852.JPG Amazing gifts from very special friends.

IMG_8868.JPG A well needed holiday countdown begun!

IMG_8878.JPG The last park walk done until the light nights come back .

IMG_8892.JPG Autumn holidays departed.

IMG_8898.JPG life celebrated with cocktails in the sun.

IMG_8894.JPG Beach sunsets admired and all troubles pushed to the back of our minds

Claire xx

The need to return Weight Loss Wednesday

Here I am again! Weight Loss Wednesday returns and boy is it needed. I didn’t weigh myself the whole way through the IVF cycle so we can blame the drugs, the isotonic drinks, the high protein diet, the inability to walk anywhere due to the sheer exhaustion of down regulating hell and of course the chocolate which to be honest going through the hell of IVF should just be prescribed alongside the drugs!

None of this of course was good for my waistline that’s for sure. I had last entered my weight on my app the day before IVF started and got back on the scales the day of my official test day and this was the rather embarrassing result.

IMG_8843.JPG I had expected to gain weight but tbh I’m a bit disgusted with myself at that weight gain. It also threw my weight back up again over the IVF target weight for the clinic so if it stayed that way it would mean I wouldn’t be eligible for treatment again. It was only 4.5lbs over so achievable enough to get it back down before my follow up appointment.

So back to my old faithful Slimming world and up with the challenging myself to more steps on my fitbit. This week I’ve managed

IMG_8863.JPG I have been trying to make myself move more and get my motivation back and I’m feeling quite good for it.

IMG_8861.JPG I’m happy with this as my first week back, especially seeing as we have had visitors, dinners out, wine and our wedding anniversary all in this week.

Only one pound to get back to my IVF target!

Claire

Official test day ~ IVF

Well today was official test day, the day that was given to us with much excitement two weeks ago, God is that all it was, it feels like months ago now with all the emotional rollercoaster we’ve been on since we knew the cycle failed.

Anyway, despite knowing it failed, even I’m not delusional enough to think that what I had last week was anything but my period. We still had to pee on a stick this morning and call the result into the clinic. I don’t take pregnancy tests, I’ve only done two the whole three years of trying so to take one this morning knowing 100% I wasn’t pregnant was weird to say the least. Of course the result was just as I was expecting.

IMG_8827.JPG BFN ~ Big Fat Negative in fertility speak.

Surprisingly I was okay with it, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything else and the thought of doing it was far worse than actually doing it. I made the call to the clinic with a fake smile plastered on and got the we’re very sorry, there’s nothing else that can be said is there? I’ve asked to be booked in for a follow up appointment. I would like to speak with the consultant on whether there are some parts of my protocol that can be changed for our final attempt on the NHS. I know there are no real answers to why it failed but I want to throw everything at the next cycle. I have lots of questions about this one that I’m hoping they can at least attempt to give some sort of answers too even if it isn’t clear cut.

I’ve come to terms with it and we are going to take some time out to remember who we are in the middle of all this. We can still try naturally which is one positive of ‘unexplained infertility’ and that will be our plan for a while. Not this month though, this month is just about us…

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Claire xx

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