This week has been a bit of a bummer. The weather took a little turn for the worst. Wind and rain have become a regular occurence over past week. How unsettling.
I bought this little pot of thyme from my local supermarket this week. I don’t use thyme often in my cooking, but it is one of the more popular herbs out there so I thought why not! I want to have a little herb patch in my garden, full of wonderful herbs.
My mum is Vietnamese and has never come across the thyme herb before, so when I showed this plant to her she wasn’t excited about it. I let her smell the herb as I think it has such a warming aromatic scent. My mum’s verdict on the thyme herb …?
“It smells like armpit b.o.”
I’ll just leave that right there … moving on.
My little peony bud is growing. To be honest I was really sceptical about this little flower. I didn’t think it would start growing. I actually thought it was going to die in the first week. But here we are a week later and it is starting to open up. It’s really exciting to see … and for £2 from Wilko, it may just be the bargain of the century!
My cherry tree is coming alive also. As each day passes, I see more buds emerging from the branches and little leaves are slowly unravelling. It’s looking promising so my fingers and toes are crossed for some fruit this year.
The raspberry bush has grown more little leaves which is exciting to see. It’s just one stalk at the moment with lots of leaves emerging from it. Last year it grew so long that I had to “train” it to loop around itself. I just didn’t want it to grow wild and untamed.
I added these wall planters to my garden fence this week. I am hoping to grow strawberries and cherry tomatoes in them. I have a visions of an abundant amount of strawberries and tomatoes trailing over the planter. I bought these planters from Wilko and I think they look great in my garden.
I hope the weather improves next week. I could do with a bit of sunshine right now.
Welcome back to another potato tasting session. The next potato we are going to look at are the popular King Edward potatoes. You have probably seen these potatoes in your local supermarket. They are readily available, popular, relatively inexpensive and a great all rounder potato.
The King Edward potatoes are medium to large and irregular in size and shape with dents, eyes, brown spots and also pink patches. They are also of the fluffy variety which makes them a great all rounder potato and their flesh is creamy in colour.
I purchased this bag of potatoes from Sainsbury’s at £1.77 for 2kg.
King Edward potatoes can be traced back to 1902 and are of British origin. The name King Edward was given to these potatoes because at the time they were introduced to the nation it just happened to be the Coronation of King Edward VII. It is said that the grower of this potato wrote to Buckingham Palace to seek permission for this potato to be named after the king. Permission was granted and the King Edward potato is now one of the oldest surviving varieties in Europe.
Let’s start with tasting them … as always, these potatoes are going to be chipped, roasted, boiled and mashed.
Chips / Fries
The King Edward potatoes are a good sized potato and can be cut into decent chunky chips. I par-boiled these potatoes for 5 minutes just to soften the outside. Then I give them a good shake in the bowl just to rough up the edges … trust me you don’t want to miss this step.
These potatoes deep fry really well. I fried them in some sunflower oil for a few minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. The inside of the chip was really soft and fluffy and maintained its great flavour. The outside kept its crispiness which gave it a lovely texture against the softness of the inside of the chip.
For the boiled potatoes, I peeled and chopped the potatoes into large chunks. They were boiled for 12 minutes until the insides were soft.
They have a very strong potato flavour, almost grainy in texture. It’s not unplesant to eat but somewhat underwhelming.
I always get excited when I roast potatoes because I love them so much. I usually roast my potatoes with salt, goosefat and if I am feeling fancy a sprig of rosemary or two. It gives it such an amazing flavour.
For these potatoes I boiled them first (as always) so it is quicker to roast in the oven. These were roasted at gas mark 7 (220˚C) for about 30 minutes – turning over occasionally ensure they brown evenly all over.
Kind Edward potatoes are great for roasting. They crisp up really well yet still maintaining that soft fluffy interior – they tasted great!
For the mashed potatoes, I chopped the potatoes into small pieces (about 1cm chunks) then boiled them until they were super soft – about 12 minutes. I drained them thoroughly through a sieve, then passed it through a ricer before seasoning the potatoes and added a knob of butter and a splash of milk just to loosed up the mash.
These potatoes didn’t mash really well for me today. I was sure that they were going to come out good, but not really. I put the potatoes through a potato ricer too but they still ended up a little lumpy which was weird. The mash was not smooth and the texture was quite unpleasant for me this time around. I’m not sure if it is just me or the potato … I do pride myself in making the most amazing mashed potatoes.
These are a good all rounder potato … but they are especially work well as chips and roasties. They are relatively inexpensive and are available in major supermarkets so they are not hard to come by. I have actually added these potatoes to curry’s and stews and they hold up really well in the sauce and tastes great. They take on flavours well and are a great accompianment to any meal.
Boss Mum x
Best for: chips and roasties Availability: Sainsbury’s and all major supermarkets Price: £1.77 per 2kg (price correct as of March 2021 at Sainsbury’s)
I am eagerly awaiting for the chill to pass. Some days the skies are blue but misleading. When I open the kitchen doors, the cold air hits my lungs and for a second my breathing stops. Yep … it’s still cold.
This year is the first year whereby I have a clean and fully functioning garden, it is a blank canvas ready to be brought alive. I have been waiting for this moment ever since I moved into my house 7 years ago. It’s been a long time coming.
Yes, my garden is small … but it is still my little haven. I am going to make the most of it and utilise every inch of my land. It’s going to be wonderful!
I have two flowerbeds running down the sides of my garden. They are long and narrow. The flowerbeds are deep and it took a crane to hoist 4 tonnes of soil into my garden. We blocked the road for a good half an hour – much to the annoyance of oncoming traffic. We filled the flowerbeds with soil using a humble spade and elbow grease. It was hard work and took forever … well almost! Luckily it wasn’t raining that day.
The first thing I planted into the flowerbed this week is a peony bulb. Peonies are my favourite flower. I’m not much of a flower grower to be honest … I’ve only ever grown things that I can eat. But I really wanted to grow a peony. Fingers crossed I’ll get a lovely flower from this. I bought this single bulb from Wilko for just £2. Bargain!
This bay leaf plant is stunning. The leaves are bright green and the plant is bountiful. I cook with bay leaves alot so it made sense to have one in my garden. I had one previously for years but it died on me … I think it got diseased. Fingers crossed this one stays healthy.
I bought this bay leaf tree from Suttons. It was £16.99 and delivery was quick. Suttons is one of my favourite online stores for fruit and vegetable plants and seeds. Great variety and reasonably priced.
This rosemary bush is special. This rosemary bush brings me sadness but also brings me hope. I’ll just call her “Rosemary“. She belonged to my late brother. He passed away 8 years ago. I miss him dearly.
Rosemary lived outside my parents house for years. It started off as a small little plant. My brother nutured it and planted it in the front garden. He looked after it and it grew healthy and strong. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my mother is being re-housed and she couldn’t bare to leave Rosemary behind. It holds a special place in her heart. It was her last connection to him. So I decided to dig Rosemary up and I gave her a new home. My home. I hope she will be happy here. She will be loved.
These two plants have been with me for a few years. I usually forget about them and don’t look after them, but every year they fight through the winter and poke their sweet little heads just to say hello. They are resilient … fighters and never give up! They are on my front porch so I am just going to leave them there for a while. There is not much direct sunlight on the front side of my house … but I’m sure they will do fine.
On the left here is my raspberry plant. For the first 3 years this raspberry plant did not bear any fruit. It barely grew and was covered in green fly. I couldn’t bare to get rid of it and just left it in the corner of my cluttered garden. Then last year, out of nowhere it sprouted! It went haywire and started growing wildly. It produced so much juicy raspberries! I was so proud it did well and I am so glad I didn’t give up on it. I am hoping it does well again this year!
On the right is my dwarf cherry tree. Now this tree I bought about 6 years ago. It hasn’t done well at all. The main tree died but it grew another plant from the soil. I wasn’t even sure if the new plant that was growing was even part of the cherry tree. I thought it was some kind of weed … but I Ieft it to grow anyway. This tree has disappointed me every year, it never fruits but teases me with lush green leaves. Maybe this year it might give me the honour of some cherries. This cherry tree is in a large pot and not in the ground. Because it is a dwarf plant, it is happy in a pot. I am worried that if I put it in the ground it would grow big very fast … I don’t think my teeny tiny garden could cope with that! Small buds are starting to appear.
The name of this potato threw me off. Apple … is this an apple? In stores they are just known as Pink Fir potatoes, but when I researched these delightful little potatoes – the actual name is Pink Fir Apple. Cute name!
On my quest to sample as many different variety of potatoes as possible, these beauties were first on my list.
The first time I tasted these potatoes, my sister in law brought them over from her garden. Her husband is an avid gardener and that particular year, he grew these knobbly looking things. I laughed when she brought them over. They were small, skinny and knobbly. Were these really potatoes? I didn’t know what to do with them!
Fast forward a few years and these potatoes were top of my list. Not for any particular reason, they just were.
What Are Pink Fir Apple Potatoes?
Pink Fir Apple potatoes are an old French variety which can be traced back to at least 1850. They are one of the oldest and more expensive variety of potatoes. They’re not popular or commonly available in supermarkets and your usual grocery stores. You would be more inclined to find them in specialist, independent shops and grocers. This particular pack was from Natoora and purchased through my favourite online grocery store Ocado. They were a tad expensive – £2.99 for 500g.
This specialist variety – also can be described as “fingerling” potatoes, are usually long, narrow and knobbly – they actually look like little sweet potatoes, well that’s what my mother thought they were.
The skin has a light pinky brown colour, knobbly with obvious dents and brown spots. When sliced, the flesh is yellowy and with subtle pink streaks running through it (not all the potatoes will have these pink streaks). It reminds me of a raspberry ripple ice-cream.
The shape of these potatoes are unique and does catch your eye, often with a little giggle. They are not your average looking potato. The shapes of Pink Fir Apple are unpredictable, you never know what shape you’re going to dig up. I delightfully received this unusual shaped potato in my pack. I adorned it with little goggly eyes and a smile, it was just too cute not to bring it to life!
To start off my potato fascination, I am going to cook these potatoes three ways: chips (or fries as some may call), boiled and roasted.
Chips / Fries
The knobbly feature of these potatoes doesn’t give a smooth peel, I quite liked the spots of pink skin on the flesh. These long skinny fingerlings were easy to just quarter lengthways for the chips.
I always par boil my potatoes, allow them to cool completely before frying them in oil to make chips. I believe this method makes the best chips. I deep fried this small batch of Pink Fir Apple potatoes for about 4 minutes until they were nicely browned. I removed them from the oil using a slotted spoon and drained them on some kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
I sprinkled them with a little Maldon sea salt and had a little nibble.
I found that the Pink Fir Apple potato chips were not so soft and fluffy on the inside. I presume this is because these are waxy potatoes and their nature is not to become fluffy when boiled. They remained firm but cooked in the centre, the outside of the chip was a little greasy from the oil and it gave the chip a slightly soggy texture but it still had a nice buttery flavour.
Boiled Potatoes – With and Without Skin
For boiled potatoes, I boiled some with and some without the skin. Some people like them with and some people like them without. Pink Fir Apple potatoes have a thin skin which are easy to eat.
I boiled the potatoes in a small pot of water for about 15 minutes. Their waxy texture allowed them to keep their shape whilst being boiled.
The potatoes still retained its lovely yellow colour after being boiled and the skin stayed on too. I find that with the thicker skinned potatoes, the skin usually peels off when they’re being boiled.
They remained firm in texture and had an almost crumbly texture when bitten into. It’s distinct butter flavour shone through more when they were boiled.
Whenever I roast potatoes, I also give them a quick boil in water. It just speeds up the roasting process and also makes for a soft and fluffier roast potato interior allowing for a full crispy exterior. Now, that is what makes a great roastie.
I parboiled these potatoes for about 15 minutes, then roasted them in the oven with some goosefat and a sprinkling of salt. They were roasted at gas mark 7 (220˚C) for about 30 minutes – turning them over a couple of times in the process to get that even brown crispiness.
The Pink Fir potatoes browned really well and developed lovely crispy edges. The inside of the potatoes was soft and buttery – it had a lovely flavour. I roasted some in their skins which I like to do sometimes. These potatoes have a thin skin so they crisp up really well and doesn’t become chewy when bitten into. A dusting of flaked sea-salt really brought out their earthy flavour.
What Happened To The Mash?
I chose not to turn these potatoes into mashed potatoes. This is because of their waxy nature – in my experience waxy potatoes do not mash very well. Mash tends to work better with floury potatoes.
They are novelty aren’t they? I mean, how many potatoes would you need to make a fully fledged bowl of roast potatoes? The potatoes in this pack were not that big, the biggest one was only about 5 inches long and less than 2 inches wide. So you get where I’m coming from in terms of quantity, but for £2.99 for just 500g it would cost a small fortune to serve a big bowl of these during a roast dinner … if you compare that to a big bag of white potatoes for £0.95 for 2.5kg (Sainsbury’s), you don’t get a bargain for your buck with the fingerlings! Don’t get me wrong, they taste great – lovely buttery flavour, but are they they best potato out there? I reserve judgement … until next time.
Best for: roasted potatoes Availability: Ocado Price: £2.99 per 500g (price correct as of February 2021)
I love the name of these potatoes: Yukon Gold! They sound like some sort of exotic flower or even an exotic form of Far East gold. You wouldn’t have guessed that these are potatoes of all things.
The name Yukon Gold was given in honour of the Yukon River and the gold rush of that time. But these potatoes did not originate from the Far East, these potatoes actually have roots (pardon the pun) in Canada. They were developed in the 1960’s but were only available to buy in the 1980’s.
They are large yellow coloured flesh potatoes with light brown skin – typically round in shape. They are a great all rounder potato – all rounder meaning they are great for mash, chips, roasties and boiled potatoes. They absorb flavours really well due to their fluffy nature, so get a spoonful of good quality butter in there and you will taste the difference.
These potatoes are from Natoora and were purchased through Ocado – a little expensive at £2.79 per kg but you know they are going to be special.
To start off, for the chips, I peeled and cut the potatoes into the shape of chunky chips. The chips were cut into approximately 2cm thickness, then par-boiled for about 6 minutes. I always par boil my potatoes before frying or roasting. It speeds up the cooking time and makes the potatoes more crispy on the outside and maintains the fluffiness on the inside.
Once the chips have been par-boiled, I transferred the chips to a bowl. I put a plate on top of the bowl and gave the chips a little bit of a shake. I do this to “roughup” the edges, trust me this will give your chips an extra crispy crunch.
The chips are then cooled down completely (pop them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them). They are then fried in some hot oil for a few minutes until the are golden brown and crispy.
The Yukon Gold chips are divine! They maintain their crispy exterior even after they have cooled down. The inside of the chips are fluffy and soft with a wonderful creamy potato flavour.
To make the mash, I chopped the potatoes into small pieces before boiling them for 12 minutes. I wanted these potatoes to be super soft to make them easier to mash.
Once the potatoes were soft, I drained the water, then put the potatoes through a potato ricer. To the mashed potatoes I added a little butter, a touch of milk and a pinch of salt and mixed it well.
The result was the most delicious, creamy mashed potatoes. The mash just melted in the mouth, the salt and butter just enhanced the flavour of the earthy potato. The mash was thick, but smooth – it mashed really well and took in the flavour of butter and salt really well. I can imagine this being great with some sausages and a rich onion gravy.
For the boiled potatoes, the potatoes were simple peeled and chopped into large chunks. They were boiled in a large pot of water for about 13 minutes. I didn’t want to boil them for too long because they would turn to mush really quickly.
I’m not a big fan of boiled potatoes in the first instance, it always feels like something is missing … some goosefat or some kind of sauce. Continuing my potato quest, I boiled some of these Yukon Gold potatoes just to see what they taste like in their most basic form.
The potatoes were soft with a subtle buttery taste, they had a really lovely flavour. The husband said they tasted alot like Charlotte potatoes … I don’t particularly agree with that, but I guess everyone has they own opinions.
For the roast potatoes, they were par-boiled for 8 minutes so that the inside is firm but the outside is fluffy. They are roasted in the oven with a little goosefat for 30 minutes at gas mark 7 (220˚C).
These roast potatoes were gorgeous! A lovey crispy exterior with a lovely fluffy centre. A great buttery flavour, the potato taste is great and they browned really well in the oven too. I totally fell in love with these roasties!
Yukon Gold are a delight. Such a lovely potato, versatile and full of flavour. I love their size – perfect for cutting into chips or good sized roasties. They hold their shape well even though they are a floury starchy type of potato. A great all rounder and if you can spare an extra £ or two, they are worth the splurge.
Best for: roast potatoes Availability: Ocado Price: £2.79 per kg (price correct as of February 2021)
Last year my anxiety levels went through the roof. Not only was the pandemic in full swing, but I was worried about my health. My glands felt swollen. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I panicked and made an appointment with my GP. It was a difficult time, the pandemic had reduced our normal healthcare services.
I initially spoke to a locum doctor who didn’t seem to be too worried about my concerns. “Your glands are probably just that size, I wouldn’t worry about it” she said. I wasn’t convinced but I left it for a couple of months and got on with my life. A couple of months went by in a blur and I just couldn’t shake that feeling that something was just not quite right. I called the GP again and spoke to one of my regular doctors. He looked at my notes and saw I had a history of lumps and bumps. He calls me in to see him.
I go to my GP surgery. It was empty and I sat there nervously shaking my leg in anticipation. My doctor calls me in to see him. He is fully covered in PPE. He examines my glands and looks confused. He wasn’t quite sure what he was suppose to be feeling. After another poke and prod he feels something “squishy“. He explains to me that what he was feeling did not feel like cancer in his experience, but to be on the safe side he refers me to the hospital ENT department for further investigation.
Over a week later I get a phone call from an ENT doctor at the hospital. They were only doing telephone appointments at this point. I explain my concerns and he tells me also that that was probably just the size of my glands but he was going to arrange for an ultrasound scan and refer me to the maxillofacial department as this was their area of expertise.
A week later, I see the maxillofacial doctor and he tells me that the gland that I was worried about was a little enlarged but it was still within normal limits. He wasn’t worried about it. I think he saw in my face that I was worried so he suggested I have an MRI scan just to put my mind at ease. He even said to me that he wasn’t suggesting an MRI scan because he thought there was something wrong, but because he just wanted me to have peace of mind. He was sure that the results would come back normal.
About a week later, I have the MRI scan – not the most pleasant of experiences but it was ok. The whole thing took about 40 minutes – they tell you to try and “sleep” whilst in the scanner but it is impossible. It’s claustraphobic in there and the scanner is super loud. After the scan I went home quite optimistic.
I went back to the hospital a few days later to get the results of my scan. The doctor wanted to see me in person rather than discuss the results over the phone. That was when I started to get worried. I mean, if the results were normal, why would she call me into the hospital especially with the pandemic in full swing? The hospital is limiting the amount of people it has in its building so to call me to come in was quite worrying.
It turns out this doctor just liked to give results in person rather than over the phone. She begins to tell me that the results came back normal. There were no lumps, bumps, growths in my face or neck. I was so relieved. However, she did point out that I was congested and my left tonsil was a little enlarged, but she didn’t seem to think it was anything to worry about. She referred me back to ENT to have a look at the tonsil but she didn’t think they would do anything about it.
I see the ENT doctor a few days later. I think he was stressed because he was a bit grumpy. He tells me my scan showed that I was severely congested – he prescribed me antibiotics and steroid tablets to help with that. He recommended that I have sinus surgery to help with the congestion. He also told me that he was concerned about my left tonsil. He tells me that it is unusual for one tonsil to be enlarged and not both. Asymmetric tonsils he called it – a sign of something sinister i.e. tumour. I was worried again. He suggested I have my tonsils removed – both of them. He wanted to send the tonsil off to histology to see if anything sinister shows up. Ahhhh man … surgery. Another surgery, I’ve had my fair share over the years. I agree to this and he tells me it will be done within the next two weeks … elective surgery he calls it.
I was scheduled to have my surgery on the 30th December 2020 but a few days before that I had developed a cold and I had an asthma flare up. I felt awful. I went to the hospital anyway and told the anaesthetist I wasn’t feeling well … they decided for my own health that the surgery should be rescheduled. When you have any type of surgery, they usually put a breathing tube down your throat or through your nose. If you are not in the best of health, you can develop a chest infection which can be fatal. They said that if I was to develop problems during surgery, there just wouldn’t be any intensive case facitlities for me due to the ongoing pandemic. They sent me home and the doctor would call me in a week or two to see how I was feeling.
A week later, the anaesthetist called me and asked how I was feeling, I was feeling better – he decided that the surgery should be postponed for another 4 weeks just to make sure the cold virus had completely left my system. Now it becomes the waiting game … my anxiety levels were through the roof.
On the 4th of February 2021, the anaesthetist calls me and asks me how I was feeling. I was feeling good. My congestion had cleared up immensely thanks to the steroid tablets and antibiotics. My asthma was also behaving itself. I hadn’t been using my blue inhaler often. The anaesthetist marks me down as fit for surgery – I was booked in to have the tonsillectomy on the 9th February 2021.
Moment of Truth
On the morning of my surgery, I couldn’t sleep. My husband asked me if I was scared? I wasn’t scared, but very anxious about the whole thing. I was suppose to be at the Day Stay Unit by 7:30am (it was a day case so I didn’t have to stay overnight in the hospital) – my husband dropped me off outside the building. I checked in and waited in the waiting room. Two other patients came in, checked themselves in and waited. One of them was having a termination – she told the receptionist across the waiting room floor.
Me and the other two ladies were called in to the Day Stay Room and we were allocated our cubicle. I was cubicle 1. It was a little cubicle with a comfy reclining chair. I had my blood pressure and heart rate checked, then I was given a gown to change in to. I was also given disposable underwear, a pair of compression socks and a pair of fluffy red socks with slip proof soles. They were cute and comfy.
The doctor came and spoke to me – he had to do his obligatory warnings such as risks and what to expect. The possible risk of bleeding in which case I should go straight to A&E and also there is a risk of infection. I also got the all clear from the anaesthetist so all was good. I was number 2 on their list.
I was called into surgery at 9:50am – I quickly texted my husband to tell him I was going into surgery. I was actually feeling very calm … not as anxious and scared as I thought I would be. I think I was just eager to get it over and done with. It’s been such a long and worrying journey – and now finally I am getting fixed.
I walk with the anaesthetist to operating theatre. There were about half a dozen doctors standing around the theatre – all looking at me as I walk in. I take a deep breath and walk towards the operating bed. They had put a cotton sheet over the bed and were blowing hot air under the sheet to keep the bed warm. Nice touch I thought, it was particularly cold in that theatre.
I lay down on the bed and try to get comfortable. This feels all too familiar … I’ve done this before. There is a trainee doctor and he is trying to put in a canula in the back of my right hand. He has trouble finding a vein … another (experienced) doctor is supervising him. They have trouble locating a vein, the trainee doctor finds one – pushed the needle in and it was at that point I knew that he did not find it. He kept pushing the canula in deeper and deeper – it was so painful I yelled out in agony. It was all abit too much. I get upset, the tears start rolling down my face. The (experienced) doctor apologies and states that “we sometimes don’t get it in first time”. I’m not new to this … they usually do get it right unless you don’t know what you’re doing. The (experienced) doctor switches to my other hand and he quickly puts in the canula, 2 seconds and it was in, pain free. He tries to talk to me to calm me down and take my mind off what was going on around me. He asked me questions about my family and my job. I knew what he was doing, I didn’t want to engage, I was still upset. He puts a gas mask on me, telling me it was a painkiller but I knew it was a sedative, I started to feel drowsy and my eyes started closing …
I hear someone calling my name … wake up, wakey wakey … who was that? Where was I? I slowly begin to open my eyes. The first thing I thought was “I made it!”. I have always had this fear that I wouldn’t wake up from a surgery … or I would wake up and something would be drastically wrong. I keep hearing the nurse calling me to wake up. I kept trying to open my eyes but my eyelids felt so heavy, they didn’t want to open. What time was it? I really wanted to know what time it was. It felt late … afternoon maybe. I noticed a clock on the wall in front of me so I tried to lift my head to get a better look. I managed a quick glance before allowing my head to fall back on the pillow. I felt dizzy.
The time was 11am … so it took about an hour. That wasn’t too bad. My throat hurt each time I swallowed. It wasn’t overly painful but my throat felt dry and coarse. I needed water. I think it took me about half an hour or so to wake up and feel better. Around about 11:40am I was wheeled back to the recovery room. I was escorted to my little cubicle … I felt a bit light headed but that’s to be expected after an anaesthetic. The nurse helped me into my comfy recliner and I just sat there … I was relieved. I checked my phone, there was a missed call – my husband had called me about 10 minutes previously. I quickly texted him telling him I was done and I was in recovery and that I was ok!
The thing about a tonsillectomy is that they won’t let you go home unless they can see that you are eating and drinking properly. Sounds crazy right? I mean I’ve just had throat surgery and they want me to shove food down my throat? The nurse came over with a jug of water and encouraged me to start drinking. The water actually came as a welcomed relief. The cold liquid soothed the throat and it made swallowing bearable. So I kept sipping the water and took too many toilet breaks because of it. The nurse then brought me over a little pot of jelly which was easy to eat. I hadn’t had jelly for so long and it was really tasty. I mean there is no chewing involved in jelly is there? I just let it slide down my throat and the coolness of the jelly soothed the incisions.
Half an hour later the nurse comes back and asks me if I wanted a sandwich? How they think a sandwich is palatable after throat surgery is beyond me, but I wanted to go home so I agreed to an egg sandwich. She brings me one over, it’s one of those pre-packed ones. I open it up, it was cut into quarters so I attempted to eat a piece. It wasn’t the easiest of things to eat. The dryness of my mouth made the bread thick and stodgy. I bit off a little corner of the sandwich and chewed it as much as I could but I couldn’t move my mouth much. I tried to swallow the sandwich but it got stuck at the top of my throat. I had to drink water to wash it down. I only managed a quarter of the sandwich but it was enough. The nurse was satisfied with that.
I rested for a bit longer and by 3pm the nurse said I was ok to go home. The words I was so excited to hear! I called my husband to pick me up and whilst I waited for him, I got dressed and waited for the pharmacy to issue my medication.
The pain after tonsillectomy wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had read stories of people experiencing excruciating pain, swelling and bleeding. I was expecting the worse. But the actual recovery wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it is painful and I am not denying that at times I felt like it was never going to get better. But I persevered, listened to my body and looked after myself. Recovery is something that should not be rushed … believe that time will heal all.
The first three days I experienced swelling in my throat which made eating difficult. Food would get stuck at the top of my throat and I would have to drink water to help push it down. The painkillers did not take the pain away … it took the edge off the pain slightly and made eating a little more bearable, but don’t be naive in thinking that the painkillers would allow you a pain free recovery. The painkillers made me very sleepy and light headed, but that was ok because it allowed me to sleep alot and helped time pass quicker.
I stocked up on palatable foods such as jelly, ice cream, pancakes, yogurt, porridge, baked potatoes and beans. Nutrition wasn’t high on my list of priorities … food was food at this point. The doctor did warn me that at around day 7 post-op the pain will be at its peak, but after that it will slowly start to get better. It was around day 8 that I started to get pains in my left ear – it felt like someone was stabbing my ear with a knife and also I also had pain down the left side of my jaw – it felt like a bad toothache. This went on for about 4 days. It was making eating quite a chore … so I ended up not eating much (I didn’t poo in 7 days!).
The pain in my ear shifted from one side to the other … one day it would be in my right hear, then in my left. But it was always just there … it was only painful when I swallowed so it wasn’t a continuous pain so it wasn’t that bad. All in all … the experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was painful but bearable. The most difficult part in all this was not being able to eat properly for over two weeks. Living off jacket potatoes and beans with a side of jelly was not enjoyable. But I am happy to say I made it through another surgery.
Here is a little advice for anyone with an up and coming tonsillectomy – but as always, follow the advice of your health practitioner. Any advice given here is from my personal experience and what worked for me.
Always listen to your doctors and health practitioners and follow their advice.
Take at least two weeks off work to recovery – rest is so important so take it easy.
Stock up on supplies before your surgery e.g. water, jelly, yogurt etc … any soft foods you like. Drink plenty of water – it helps sooth the throat.
Avoid hot food and drinks for at least 2 weeks.
Do not take hot showers or baths – the steam can cause your incisions to open up and bleed.
Talking will be difficult so rest the throat and don’t talk too much.
If you don’t already use one, buy a soft bristle manual toothbrush, brushing your teeth will be limited during recovery time.
Your prescribed painkillers may run out after a few days so stock up on paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends with chores and errands. You need rest … make the most of it.
I also want to express my gratitude to the NHS and to my ENT surgeon. He has been amazing at pushing through my elective surgery even though the hospitals are over-stretched with pandemic cases. It saddens me when I hear people saying negative things about the NHS and how under-appreciated they are. Our healthcare system is one of the best in the world. It is not perfect and there are people that abuse the system … but when I have needed the NHS the most, they have been there and given me excellent care.
Dover Castle has stood proudly on the shores of England for over 9 centuries. It’s foundations hug the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
We spent a wet and windy afternoon there as we continue on our journey visiting as many Englsih Heritage sites as possible. Dover Castle is one of English Heritage’s most popular sites and is only 21 miles away from France. If you squint out to sea, you can just just see France hovering on the horizon. I didn’t realise we were that close.
Dover Castle was built between 1180 – 1185 and was built as a defence system for the British Empire. Its location makes it ideal for scoping out the enemy. The castle is flanked with towers and high walls, ramparts and moats. All of them working together to build one of the best defence systems of that era.
The castle also sits above three miles of tunnels which were used as air-raid shelters during the war. There is also a military hospital which was used to treat wounded soldiers in battle. After the war, the military hospital became a maternity hospital for a few years before being abandoned altogether
Dover Castle has the longest recorded history of any major castle in Britain. Spanning over 80 acres of ground, it has survived two world wars and is still one of my favourite castles in the UK.
It’s best to visit the castle on a clear day so you can see far out to sea. Bare in mind the castle has plenty of towers – particularly the Great Tower so there are alot of stairs – not suitable for those with limited mobility or health issues. I’m asthmatic myself and I struggle to get up to the top of the Great Tower – but if you do manage to the top, the views are just breathtaking.
I’ve always wanted to post a Q&A about myself. It’s probably because I am quite nosey myself and love knowing about people. It’s not the big things like … “where do you see yourself in 10 years time?” Blah Blah! I’m more of a “Do you like apples or oranges?” type of gal.
I recently discovered the Vogue 73 Questions (Q&A videos). I love watching them … they are not your average interviews.
So I thought I’d give myself a 73 question Q&A … here goes!
To start .. do you like apples or oranges? ~ Neither, I’m more of a vegetable girl
Where do you live? ~ London, UK
How long have you lived there? ~ Since 1984
How are you feeling today? ~ Anxious
Who was the first person you spoke to this morning? ~ My husband
What did you eat for breakfast? ~ Mocha and garlic bread
What is your favourite drink? ~ Water
What is your favourite dessert? ~ Anything with custard
What is your favourite season in London? ~ Autumn
What is your favourite activity in London? ~ Walking in the park
Would you ever leave London? ~ Never say never
What three words would you use to describe London? ~ Cultural, Expensive, Congested
What was it like growing up in your family? ~ Difficult
Favourite movie(s) of all time? ~ Dirty Dancing and Grease
Favourite TV show(s)? ~ Grey’s Anatomy, Friends and The Twilight Zone (1960’s series)
Rachel or Phoebe? ~ Neither … it would have to be Monica, I’m abit OCD
What was the last movie you watched that made you laugh? ~ Home Alone 2
What was the last movie you watched that made you cry? ~ Me Before You
When was the last time you cried in general? ~ Yesterday
Name a book that you’ve read more than once? ~ The whole of the Harry Potter series … many times.
What Hogwarts House would you be? ~ Hufflepuff
What book do you plan on reading? ~ ASong of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones – bet you didn’t know it was a book series before the TV show)
On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you right now? ~ Super excited because it’s Christmas so that would be a 9?!
iPhone or Android? ~ iPhone all the way!
Twitter or Instagram? ~ Instagram … I don’t know how to use Twitter to be honest
What is Custard and Pie Adventures you may be wondering?
Let me introduce you to Custard and Pie.
Custard is the nickname of my son Devon. He is 9 years old and the most awesome dude I know. He is very much mummy’s boy and likes nothing more that a great “cuddle session” aka lots of hugs. Why is his nickname Custard? Have you heard of [Ambrosia] Devon Custard? No more explanation needed.
Pie is the nickname of my daughter Skye. Many family members adopted the name Skye-Pie mainly because it sounds cute and it rhymes. Skye is 12 going on 20. A sensible and bossy little human – but she is my little side-kick. I rarely need to worry about her because she has a good strong head on her shoulders.
Click on the image below to access our wonderful world of adventures!
When I am not working, baking or cooking … one of the things we love to do the most as a family is roadtripping. We love jumping in the car and just travelling around the country, exploring and visiting landmarks and just enriching our lives with knowledge and history and having fun at the same time.
We have been around alot of the UK … but there is still so much to explore closer to home and beyond. Somebody once said to me that a holiday is not a holiday if you don’t get on a plane. Girl PLEASE! A holiday is what you make of it … and believe me, our roadtrips are not any ordinary roadtrips … our roadtrips are just EPIC!
So welcome to Custard and Pie Adventures. Here I will be sharing with you some of our most memorable visits and I hope it will offer you some inspiration to get out there and start exploring with your friends and family.
If you need any suggestions or recommendations of where to visit, especially with young children, please drop me a message. I am happy to point your in the right direction.
I have decided that this post will be the last lockdown post … for now. It’s been four months. Can you believe it?
As restrictions are slowly being lifted in England and people are now getting back to some kind of new normal and infection numbers are slowly decreasing, I think it’s fitting to call time on my lockdown blog. It’s been quite an emotional journey.
The lockdown has pushed my anxiety and mental health to the limit. I must admit, the pandemic has scared me. I was super anxious at the beginning when the virus was spreading like wildfire and the country went into chaos. I experienced subtle racism … like nobody wanting to sit next to me on the bus and people swiftly covering their mouths when I entered the vicinity. The anxiety was relentless … my emotions were pulled in all directions and I broke down many times. Not being in control of your own health is scary. What frustrated me the most was the way some of the nation were still not abiding by the lockdown rules. The selfishness of some people shocked and angered me. People could still be seen socially gathering, visiting beaches when the weather was nice, having bbq in the park when it was warm. I personally know some people who breached those rules … people that I have known for years. People that should have known better. The complete lack of compassion for others is somewhat overwhelming.
Remember when eveyone was stock-piling toilet rolls? Now, that was funny. I also remember empty shelves in the supermarket, not being able to buy flour because everyone was suddenly baking! Hand sanitizers were impossible to get and were being sold at ridiculous prices online. The roads were quiet … like a ghost town. Children were sent home from school and parents developed a new appreciation for teachers after the nationwide home-schooling fiasco! The two metre rule kicked in and the queues into the supermarkets were longer than a piece of string. The price of everything sky-rocketed and small businesses were struggling. Then the furlough scheme was introduced which was a lifeline for a lot of people who had not been able to work. We clapped for the NHS and Keyworkers on Thursdays and children were making rainbow and heart posters and sticking them in their windows.
I haven’t been to work for four months now but I have always received a salary regardless. My workplace has been amazing … they have gone above and beyond to ensure that their employees are protected healthwise and financially. They sent home all those who have underlying illnesses and they are now actively encouraging more people to work from home. I don’t know when I will be back in the office. I am working from home and it looks like it will be like that for a while. I am not complaining. I am loving being at home with my family. I am going to make the most of it before they call me back in again.
My husband is still furloughed from work. He doesn’t have an exact date of his return. He speculates that he might be off for another couple of months. He’s a little worried as there is some talk of redundancies.
I went for a hospital appointment this morning. This is the first time I have been to the hospital in ages. (I have alot of medical problems and I am always at the GP surgery or in the hospital for one thing or another). I had an appointment with the gynaecologist this morning. It was bizarre … before I could sit in the waiting area I had my temperature taken, I was given a mask and told to wash my hands. This is before I had even checked in at the reception desk. The waiting room consisted of 5 chairs all spaced 2 metres apart and each chair was in its own little make shift hazard square marked out on the floor using black and yellow (hazard) sticky tape. I can’t wear masks because of my asthma – so the doctor told me it was fine to take it off. There was hardly anyone there in the clinic anyway. I was only there for half an hour and quickly left.
The virus is still out there, but we need to kick start the economy for the sake of the nation. I get it! Let’s just hope people are careful out there.
Do I think there will be a second wave of infection? Definitely … watch out for Lockdown – Part 2 … coming to a blog near you!