HelloFresh: Review

I love cooking. It relaxes me and it helps me express love.

The months I spent in hospital with Georgie were really hard for me from this point of view as well. I express love through service and although I was there looking after my precious boy I felt that I was neglecting the other members of the family by not being able to provide meals cooked with care and love for them.

Once we came back from Greece, after our time away this summer, I found it hard to get into cooking again. Not having cooked for almost half a year(!!), I had a hard time finding motivation, getting the portions and quantities right…etc.

When I came across HelloFresh, who were running an offer at the time and offering their classic box for £20 instead of the usual £39, I decided to give it a go. I needed some professional help to get me out of my cooking stupor!

I am so glad I did!

1. The box comes with three COMPLETE meals inside. I mean, from the step by step recipe to the meat and carbs you need for a meal, down to the very last detail: seasoning, sauces and all the other small but essential bits and pieces needed to cook a flavoursome meal.

10665171_10152248663816512_5856604643746756019_n2. For me, this was priceless help in those hazy, post-traumatic days of “life after Georgie.” All I had to do was pull the recipe card out, dig out the ingredients and…simply cook!

10013525_10152245831321512_6189911380057984014_n 3. You would expect meals from a box to look and taste average but with HelloFresh my cooking ended up looking (semi-)professional and my pictures got a lot of attention on Instagram and my personal Facebook page. And as you can see below, they deserved the attention, as the meals ended up looking very appetizing, indeed!

10649855_10152245885706512_4128445305009915595_n4. I also experienced the joy of seeing Emma trying new things with the HelloFresh meals. For a fussy wee madam, she did really well and I put it down to the excellent quality seasoning and the lovely aromas drifting through the house at dinner time ;-).

10686410_10152250888331512_1084958022_o5. We also tried a variety of meats, from chicken to pork sausages to fish to duck. Every product is carefully sourced: I was slightly amused to read that the same fishmonger supplies the queen, imagine, it is as close as I will ever get to having a meal with her Majesty:-). Their duck range is supplied by the Gressingham producers and it is beautiful, just like the rest of the produce.

10659433_10152244256751512_8135584293906708217_n6. Needless to say, the food cannot taste but delicious and many an occasion Alex ended up polishing the meal in one seating!

10647009_10152244321441512_7237505282864250151_n7. Meals are usually delivered weekly, via courier, and delivery is free. Since I don’t work outside the house at the moment, I chose to have our boxes delivered every other week and the staff was very helpful in rescheduling and arranging the deliveries to suit our budget.

8. For those of you keeping count of calories, the recipe cards come with full calories/fat/carbs charts.

9. Everything comes carefully measured and portioned so no more waste and uncertainty at cooking time. You just literally cook and enjoy!

10. Once you have been with them for a few weeks, HelloFresh will reward your custom and include you in their reward system. We got a lovely shopping tote bag, which comes in handy every day, and a bottle of rapeseed oil with our third delivery.

Not only that but they do tend to encourage your friends to join in, so they sent me an email shortly after my second delivery offering 5 FREE boxes to friends who would be interested in joining in. Let me know if you’d like one by popping your email address in a comment under this post or in a private message on Facebook if you don’t want your personal data to be revealed and I will forward the details to the lovely Nia at HelloFresh to let her know about you.

Disclaimer: I purchased the subscription to HelloFresh at my own expense. I was not rewarded in any way, neither in cash, nor in products, to write this review. I was just impressed with the quality of the produce and the flavour of the meals and decided to blog about it.

On Heaven

light angels wings god fly heaven angel wings_wallpaperwind.com_79Heaven is a dilemma for the human mind.

Not for the human heart, though.

In the weeks following Georgie’s death I couldn’t allow myself to imagine heaven as I knew my imagination, even my wildest imaginations, could not do it justice. My heart had this deep and intricate and intimate perception of what heaven looks like but my brain, my inner eye couldn’t imagine it, couldn’t “see” it.

Go on Google and type in “heaven images” and you will understand what I mean. Your soul will be totally dissatisfied with the images it sees because it knows that heaven cannot be rendered in images. Its magnificence and glory cannot be portrayed by any drawing.

Have I told you before that on the night Georgie died, the very moment he transitioned from this earth to the heavenly realm, I heard almost audible clapping?

You can call me delusional or grief-stricken or plain exhausted but I know in my heart, in my spirit, that Heavens were roaring with cheering and clapping when my baby boy entered Heaven.

I know that he was welcomed by his Father and told: “Well done, baby boy, well done.”

Well done for living to the full. For bringing so much joy to your mama. For loving so much from such a tiny heart. For taking almost everything that came your way with a big smile. For showing everybody how life is meant to be lived.

Following Georgie’s non-healing, his suffering and his death, I was left with questions. So many questions.

One that kept coming to my mind was: “How does he look like now?”

I know that the body I loved so much, his tiny little frame is no longer. I made my mind accept this reality very early on.

But I guess my heart needed to know how “the real Georgie”, as Emma puts it so beautifully, is.

So last week, during one of my morning walks, I asked God.

And He answered.

He said: “He is both.”

He is both innocent, just like he used to be as a sweet baby but his soul is aware of where he is and fully capable of worship and praise.

He is both the smiling, gurgling, inquisitive boy I came to adore but also a mighty soul, lifting the heaven’s lid with the strength of his praise and adoration.

He is both gentleness of spirit and strength of character.

I still don’t understand. Why the ultimate sacrifice had to be made. Why not “only” illness. Why not “only” disability but actually death.

Death is so…final. So…devastating.

All I know (and this coming from the heart of a Father who lost His son too), is that the pain of the whole experience could not be diluted this time. There was no negotiation to be done. Only the ultimate finality satisfied in this case.

Whom?

I still don’t know…

Until my final day, my only option remains…to imagine.

To imagine in my heart how things will be like in eternity.

How that first hug will feel like.

How that first week in heaven will be spent.

Silent Sunday – Nine Weeks

DSC_0152Silent-Sunday

On grief, anger and pain

It’s been two months since my baby died.

I remember reading this post back in July, on the 5th, the day my baby died, and having no clue about grief. How could I have had?

The numbness wore off.

The numbness that followed the indescribable pain of watching my sweet son die. The baby that I longed for with fierceness, the boy who was so bright and was meant to become a doctor and save so many lives, according to his doting Bica. My mini me…

And numbness was followed by anger and searing pain. In a chaotic and overwhelming melange of emotions and feelings.

I have been angry. With everyone. With myself. With God. With Alex. With Emma. With people saying things. With people not saying things. With pregnant women. With women with babies. With people sending me shitty links meant to “guide” me through my grieving process. “Spiritual” links. With people staring dumb-folded when I say I lost my baby. 

But do you know what has been the overwhelming feeling since the numbness wore off?

PAIN.

I feel like an emotional sieve.

Everything I live filters through the sieve of loss.

My baby’s absence is “present” there at any given time.

In McDonald’s, while Emma is chatting to me about school. And I know Georgie will never attend school.

In church, while the speaker talks about the healing powers of God and my mind screams: “Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!What do you know? He didn’t heal MY baby. Acknowledge the exceptions! Be real! Remember MY son, don’t just talk generalities and platitudes!”

In the car, in the parking lot, in the coffee shop, in bed, in the shower, in my sleep…

Nothing can fill me. Not one single thing.

Joy, laughing, joking, shopping, travelling, going out? 

EVERYTHING seeps away through the holes in my sieve.

Nothing holds.

Nothing.

Except for a tiny voice coming from deep, very deep within telling me in my moments of peace. In the moments I worship. In the moments I allow myself to cry.

Telling me my baby is ok. That doesn’t make my pain ok. Or his loss ok. But for a few split seconds, the comfort of knowing he is well and he is safe and he is happy where he is makes me feel at peace. Just for a few seconds. Just for a wee while.

And then, the storm rages on again within. And my sieve gets empty, once again.

IMG_9662Oh, to hold you one more time, sweetheart.

To feel your warmth and look into your eyes and see your precious, precious smile!

One day, son, one day.

Mummy loves you and hasn’t forgotten about you. She longs to be with you. And one day, she will. Just wait for me at the heaven’s door when the time comes, ok? Cause only then this mama with be ok, once again.xx

 

 

 

A pain that never goes away

What were we found to be lacking, Lord, that you took our baby away so soon and in such a cruel way?

Could we not have been trusted with him for another year or decade?

Were we so much worse than so many other parents on this earth who are still enjoying their children and know nothing of the pain of losing their heart in the cruelest of ways?

Is he still remembering us or has your glorious realm and presence deleted our very existence from his memory?

What am I supposed to do with this pain that leaks like puss from me and makes people draw away?

What can I say and do?

How many times can I say sorry for my sins.

How many times shall I repent for wanting another child?

How will I ever forgive myself for bringing the sweetest child in the world in order for him to suffer? Cause suffer he did, from the very beginning, till the very end.

And it is Sunday. And we should celebrate Your resurrection.

But what about my dead heart?

When will it be resurrected from pain and choking grief and anger and resentment?

When? When? When?

I had 8 weeks without my baby.

And it doesn’t get easier.

It gets flipping harder.

Every single day.

And I have no clue how I will pull through another 8 days, months or years without my baby.

And people seem to expect me to move on.

Even my brother, who never “likes” any of my baby’s pictures on Facebook. Trying to shame me into silence. As if silence ever shamed me into anything.

Even my husband, who ever since he returned from his prolonged holiday, hasn’t said a word, one single f…. word about his son without my prompting. “Move on”, his silence says. As if silence ever solved anything between us.

Moving on to what?

I miss you, baby boy and I will never stop writing about or thinking of or loving you.

NEVER, until we meet again.

IMG_9679

                                   Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain…

 

Guess how much I love you

Dear boy,

You have been gone for more than seven weeks now.

Seems like an eternity yet no time at all.

You know, for someone who has lived on this earth for only five and a half months, you have left a humongous gap behind you.

I miss you everywhere.

I miss you in the health center, where I remember taking you with Emma for your vaccines. I remember how proud she was of you. How in awe you were of her, your big and caring sister.

I miss you when I drive through Carrick. Every single street and corner holds a memory of you.

I pass the church where Emma goes to GB and I remember being expectant with joy and you!

I go shopping in Tesco’s and you are there, accompanying me. When I glance at the baby boys’ bibs. When I see the nappy aisle.

I remember you when I go for a stroll and see the coffee shop where we took you one rainy morning.

I miss you when I go to the library and I see the baby books and I know you should have been here with me, on my knee, reaching out for them.

I miss you when I go clothes’ shopping. I miss you in the bright colours you loved so much. I miss you in the coffee shop I took you one very unsettled morning and nearly fell asleep. Me, not you, remember :-)?

I miss you in IKEA. When I see the baby cots. And babies in pram. And pregnant women.

 

And at times, it makes me sad. And somehow I know you know about my tears, there where you are.

At other times, it makes me angry. Not with you, never with you. Just at a future without you.

At times, it makes me feel lonely. Lonely with my pain and sorrow. Lonely for your smiles and your sweet presence.

 

And they say time heals but I know now it is not true. Time doesn’t. Grief comes back, in vicious and distressing circles, again and again and again.

And nothing makes it better. NOTHING. Only your presence would, baby boy. Only your giggles. Only YOU.

 

Guess how much I love you, sweet boy?

I love you to eternity and beyond.

I love you to heavens.

I love you all the way into my future, until the very end of it.

I love you with a fierce and never ending longing.

It will never end. It will never diminish.

It will never change.

 

And God, I have given you my heart.

Twice.

Once when I became aware of your love for me and surrendered to it.

And again, once again, when my heart was ripped from my chest and flew to be with you.

So now, I wait.

And I expect your blessing, once again.

You will need to show me how to live again.

And how to grow another heart, capable of love and vulnerable to pain.

How to be like you.

DSC_0027

 

 

 

42 Days of Summer

So BritMums launched this challenge at the beginning of the summer. How do you fill your days during the summer, how do you entertain your little ones?

Here is 42 ideas:

1. Go out cycling.

2. Blow bubbles. Inside or outside. Doesn’t matter as long as you spread a towel on the slippery floor to make the activity safe.

My sweet Georgie loved bubbles.

                                                                                                                                                  My sweet Georgie loved bubbles.

3. Go for a walk to the beach.

4. Go swimming. Indoor or in the sea, weather permitting.

5. Make a scrap book with pictures and activities you do over the summer as a memory for when they are all grown up.

6. Sleep in late after a movie night in with popcorn and sweets.

7. Build a fort indoors or in the back garden. Chairs and blankets will do.

8. Join a summer class. Emma is big on drama at the moment and although she didn’t get a chance to do any classes this summer due to our circumstances, she will start in September.

9. Go fruit picking, if you have where.

10. Go to an local farm, buy organic eggs and make scrambled eggs for lunch.

11. Go to an open air market, encourage the children to pick new fruit and try them all in a fruit salad when back at home.

12. Join a church summer club. Or more :-). Our local churches have a rota over the summer and the children get to be entertained every week by a new and exciting summer club.

13. Make ice lollies. Or fruit lollies, the healthy version.

14. Take a walk in a local park or forest and observe the nature together.

15. Take pictures of new things. It encourages creativity and makes for hilarious pics.

16. Go to a kids’ cinema show. They are cheap and a fun way to pass the morning.

17. Make summer paper plate crafts: the sea, the sun, anything summery to brighten a dull day spent indoors.

18. Give their room a good tidy up with them helping.

19. Encourage the children to get their rooms ready for school by throwing out/donating/passing on things they no longer need/have grown out of.

20. Join the reading scheme in the local library and do a reading challenge.

21. Play in muddy puddles on a rainy and miserable day.

22. Let the kids loose with chalk. Provide a board for indoor creations and a safe path for outdoors.

23. Syringe painting. Emma had loads of fun doing this in the children’s hospice.

24. Take a trip to Home Bargains, give the kids a low budget of a few pounds and see how much they can buy in the arts and crafts section.

25. Paint everybody’s nails.

26. Play a board game.

27. Get the baby swimming pool out and let them splash around. Add bubble bath for chaos.

28. Download Netflix. I was so late with this, I still resent myself the lost weeks, LOL.

29. Camp, indoors or outdoors.

30. Make jam or just bake together.

31. Shaving foam in the bath tub, if you are really struggling for ideas :-)

32. Collect sticks, stones or shells, depending on location. I “forgot” our stone collection in Greece.

33. Build sand castles.

34. Water balloon fight. Shall I say more?

35. Do a sponsored charity walk for a charity of their choice. Teaches them compassion.

36. Watch at least a serious movie that teaches the children that the world can be a sad place.

37. Talk about life. Answer honestly when they ask serious questions.

38. Sleepovers. For both you and your littles. Ideally at the same time :-)

39. Visit a butterfly farm.

40. Have a dress up day. Morning to bedtime. Including yourself :-)

41. Make a bird house. Or a bird feeder.

42. Have a picnic indoors and let them make a mess in the living room.

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. We were sent biscuits to sample, tough job :-). Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

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