28.11.11

Turkey: How Do You Cook Yours?

As previously mentioned, when I was little cooking the turkey always seemed like such a mammoth task for my mum in particular.
4 years ago my mum then informed me of a new, almost stress free, way of cooking turkey.
She'd seen Phil Vickery (on This Morning I expect) share his way of cooking his Christmas Day Turkey and said it was genius and really quick.
I didn't quite believe her.
Approximately 2/3 hours cooking and then its done? How could this be? How can it go from taking hours to cook this sometimes beast of a bird to just 2/3 hours?
I had to try it.
My husband wasn't so sure but once I'd convinced him to at least give it a try we went for it.
And success!!

Every year we now cook our Turkey "The Phil Vickery Way" (we make some adjustments in that we don't use bay leaves or add stuffing but I believe the key to a good recipe is room to adjust it to suit your families needs and likes)
Our Turkey is ordered from the Butchers (after our Fresh Free Range Delight last year long are the days of hunting the perfect frozen Turkey from Supermarkets-fresh if we were lucky!) so I have dug out this recipe from my recipe folder in preparation for the big day!
I use a large foil tin, the ones which only seem available in the supermarkets around this time of year, as its perfect when boiling and adding the double foil covers.

Taken from his website this is the way you SHOULD be cooking your turkey this year...and every year!!

Serves
8-10 adults
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 2½ hours, approx

1 x 5 kg just under 12lb, Bronze turkey, with giblets and the wish bone removed.

2 large carrots, peeled
2 large onion, peeled
6 sticks of celery
leek        
2 bay leaves

2 chicken stock cubes
½ bottle dry white wine
2 pints cold water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
55g melted butter
2 tbsp roughly cornflour
4-6 tbsp cold water

Methods/steps
Pre heat the oven to 200°C gas 6.
First job is to remove the giblets from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird then make sure that it is fully defrosted.
Season the bird well inside and out well with salt and pepper and pack the stuffing into the body cavity.(see recipe)
Tie the legs and the Parsons nose together with a piece of string and secure well, so the stuffing is held inside the bird.
Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray place the turkey on top, the tray should be large enough so the bird has at least 2 inches gap around.
Pour in the white wine, cold water and chicken stock cube, and place the whole tray on to the stove.
Bring to the boil and cover tightly with two layers of foil and pop into a preheated oven.
cook the bird for about 2 hours, approximately.
To check if the bird is cooked, remove from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and turkey juices.
Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird, the juices should run clear. If not, then cover again with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes.
When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven, turn the oven up to 230 degrees C, Gas 8, brush with the melted butter and cook until browned, about 15 minutes.
When nicely browned, remove from the oven and carefully, tip off all the stock and keep warm.
Wrap the turkey in foil to keep warm, it will keep perfectly wrapped for 1 hour.
Re boil the stock and juices, you may need to add a little more water in a saucepan and skim well.
Mix the cornflour and water together and thicken the bubbling stock, don’t go mad.
Carve the bird the flesh will be soft and juicy, and serve the gravy and stuffing separately.
Additional Tips
The above recipe was for a 5kg bird.
For a 8kg bird I would steam it for 2 hours and 30-45 minutes,and then brown it in the same way.
For a 10-12kg bird I would steam it for 3 hours and 45 minutes, and then brown it in the same way.
Please remember that times will depend on each individual oven, but the most important thing is that you seal the turkey well (use a tin with a lip) with foil so that you steam the bird.

Turkey, The Phil Vickery Way! www.vickery.tv
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2005: A Christmas Day Disaster.

I remember when I was little, Christmas Eve would consist of us [me and my twin brother] going to bed early awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and our gifts. My mum would head to bed soon after us as she would have to wake at around 4am or 5am to prepare the Turkey and stick it in the oven ready for Christmas dinner.
Christmas Day was spent opening presents in a house with windows covered in a misty condensation covering. It was part of what Christmas was about. One of the little things that made Christmas Day what it was.
Sometimes it'd even be put on the night before, we'd wake up, head downstairs, and after we'd opened our presents round the tree with the video camera aimed at us, my parents would head to the kitchen to carve the turkey and prep the vegetables before my grandparents arrived.

I remember when I left home and faced cooking Christmas dinner for the first time. Cooking a Turkey made me panic. Could I live up to my mums standard and get up early just to put the turkey on?
I longed to be the perfect Fiancee/Wife.

As it happened my husband had to work the three Christmasses when we lived away.
We'd wake up early, get dressed up in our nice clothes, and drive along the quiet streets from St Neots into Bedford for my husband to entertain those listening to his radio show on Christmas morning.
2004. We bought our Christmas Pudding early and had it sat in the cupboard. One night, 3 days before Christmas Day infact and feeling peckish, we decided to eat it and planned to get another from a shop in Bedford before Christmas Day.
Big.
Fat.
Fail!
Nowhere had any left! And Bedford is a big town!!
Due to busy work schedules we couldn't even travel that far out of town to see if there were any other puddings waiting to come home with us.
Christmas Day dessert was a cheap supermarket trifle.
It just wasn't the same.
2006. The Turkey hadn't quite defrosted so we spent 3 hours once we got home from his show with it sat in a bowl of water whilst it thawed.
Then there was 2005. Good ol' 2005! Everything was perfect. It was our first Christmas as husband and wife, we'd had a tough few months but now everything was great. I had a lovely job, had made some great friends there and felt almost settled in this new town. We were having a lovely morning, again my husband was presenting his show on the local radio station. We got home, put the turkey in the oven, put the vegetables on, opened a bottle of Champagne and opened our presents.
Except halfway through opening our presents we'd finished the champagne.
"Should I open the Sparkling wine?"
"Yes, why not?!"
So, the Sparkling wine was opened and away we went. Within no time this was also gone.
Now, we have never been BIG drinkers, and never really got drunk together as such. We never went out drinking unless it was a special event and others were with us.
But this day we really let our hair down.
By the time dinner was ready to be served we had consumed so much alcohol that we were ready for bed...to sleep, nothing else!
So that day our lovely turkey and trimmings were wasted and instead were consumed the following few days, whilst nursing sicky hangovers.

We've yet to make the same mistake!
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23.11.11

My Mummy Tummy: My Sons First Home

A couple of years ago I was taking part in a photo a day project on Flickr and one day was feeling particularly brave and decided to post quite a personal photo. I just let the words flow as I looked at the photo. Nothing inspirational but exactly what I think.

I've just been able to find this again after trying for so long and wanted to share it here too.  


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20.11.11

Today Is The Day



After months of planning, meetings and phonecalls with the Reverends, emails to and fro with the pub, outfits dry cleaned, a dress search, cake discussions, chocolate truffle testing and making, haircuts, invitation creating and sending, lack of rsvps sent back, (seriously people, etiquette?!) reception venue decorating, Itks finally Harrys Christening Day!


My camera is charged, lens' have been cleaned and an empty SD card at the ready.
Outfits are hanging in the wardrobe.
My husband, Charles and I all have new hair-do's. Freshly cut and in my case coloured.
Balloons and banners await our arrival at the pub. As will a table full of food.
Added to that table will be my homemade coconut chocolate truffles, hazelnut chocolate truffles and white chocolate drizzled truffles and a 10 inch Christening cake made and decorated by my step-nanny.
Two helium balloons will be placed on this table too.

In the corner, a small table decorated simply with one single Christening balloon and some 'Christening' table confetti, ready to also include some cards and gifts.

In my lounge are two black bin bags filled with pearly blue, green and purple balloons ready to be kicked, thrown and no-doubt popped by the 5 hyper young boys attending.

All that is left is to work out a way to get all four of us ready and out of the house by 12 noon at the latest, without a smear or smudge on our super clean outfits. To get to the church on time and ready to greet our important (and some not so important) guests.
And most of all, celebrate a special day for a very special boy.
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18.11.11

10 Questions

Ages ago I was tagged by Mum 2 Baby Insomniac in a 10 Questions meme. Due to being laptopless I've only just been able to get access to a computer to write my long overdue post!

1) Answer the 10 questions
2) Tag someone to do the same
3) Go and leave a comment on the original blog post over at Super Amazing Mum and comment that you have done so in order for us to find out who has been tagged and therefore find out more about our fellow bloggers!

1: Describe yourself in seven words:
Mummy, housewife, twin, blonde, funny, oversensitive, hollywilloughbywannabe.

2: What keeps you awake at night?
Not wanting to stop staring at Harry or Charles.
And my busy head.

3: If you could be anyone for a day who would you be and why?
Holly Willoughby. I heart her.

 4:  What are you wearing now?
Skinny jeans, tunic and a cardigan.

5:  What scares you?
Death.
Something I can't talk much about at the moment.

6:  What is the best and the worst thing about blogging?
Best: Its like therapy for me sometimes, being able to write down things I can't say to people face to face.
Worst: The fact that people seem to think there should be "rules" when it comes to blogging. No, my blog is my space. My online diary. I wouldn't have rules if I wrote a diary at home so why should I for my online diary?
I'll only follow rules if it concerns a linky/meme.

7:  What was the last website you looked at?
Other than fellow bloggers sites and the usual social media ones it was Daily Mail. Catching up on the celeb gossip with my hairdresser!

8:  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I would be tidier and not so trusting.

9:  Slankets Yes or No!?
Probably yes. I'm all about comfort when I'm at home and at night rather than being sexy. I get annoyed at blankets falling off every time I shift a bit on the sofa so a Slanket is probably right up my street!

10: Tell us something about the person who tagged you?
Mum 2 Baby Insomniac is a fab blogger, one of my favourites although I am very slack at commenting on her posts but enjoy each and every one.She is a really lovely girl, funny honest and she also has amazing eyes which she has admitted to not being so keen on. WHAT?! Seriously, they are beautiful.

I think everyone has been tagged now as I'm so late to this so if you haven't, but want to be, then let me know.
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The Things My 2 Year Old Says...

One of my favourite bloggers, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps has tagged me in a super cute and potentially hilarious linky all about "toddlerisms". The linky originated at The Crazy Kitchen. Helen says:
As I was getting Jack ready for bed tonight he said said something to me and it struck me that he often says things that I may have said once...but you will never hear me say again.
Our Task, as written by Helen:
Come up with 5 things that your 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 18 year old says that you never say....I'm not a stickler for rules so if you want it can be things that your husband says. If your baby doesn't yet speak then you can make them up based on what you think they would say if they could speak. Then tag others to do the same - you can tag 1 other or 10 others, again I'm not going to make you stick to any rules on that.

If you haven't been tagged and you want to join in then please do.

The only rule that I would like to make is that you come back here and add your post to this Linky so I can laugh at them read them too, and ask those that you tag to do the same please.

So, five things Charles says/has said that I never will/have/or will say again!....

* In the middle of a shop/public space: I done a poo!! (Or) I need a poo!!

* Mummy, I love your boobies.

* My poo looks like a crocodile/snail/frog/jellyfish/octopus/etc

* Mummy, kiss my bum/willy better please.

* The Rhinos/Elephants/Giraffes/any zoo animal have very big willies!

I tag (sorry if you've already been done)
Seasider In the City
SAHMLovingit
Not My Year Off

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Things I Said....

...Before I Was a Parent.

My child will NEVER watch that...upon first viewing In The Night Garden. I was pregnant with Charles and my husband just happened to find it whilst having an explore on the childrens channels.
"What on earth is that?" We both said.
Guess what happened? It became a favourite programme for the three of us when Charles was around 12 months old.

My child will NOT have toys in his/her room...surely they'll never go to sleep and will stay up all night playing. Naps would be non-existant just due to being distracted by toys and wanting to play.
Guess what happened? We let him take cars to bed, this at one point was the only way he would sleep. Some children like to have teddies as a comforter, dummy, muslin but for Charles it was cars. And it had to be seven cars. Not five, not six. Seven.
He would go to sleep with them by his head and in the morning would wake up and check he had them all. If we put him on his change unit with six cars he would know one was missing.
We gradually let him have other toys in the room, nothing huge, nothing noisy, not lots of toys. Just a couple. Along with books, which are the things that are more likely to keep him up at night.
If we put him to bed and he isn't tired or quite ready to settle we know that he will play with his toys until he is ready to go to sleep.
He's always been really good at settling himself down, recognising when he is too tired to continue playing and will put himself to bed and fall asleep.
He used to fall asleep on the floor by his baby gate but we have since moved his bed near to the door and everytime he now gets into bed.
Naps have never been affected by the toys in his room either.

We will always sit up the table to eat...Sometimes its far more convenient and easy to just sit on the sofa and eat dinner whilst watching tv.
In the mornings Charles is placed in his high chair, in the playroom in front of Cbeebies whilst daddy is in the lounge eating breakfast watching the news.
It works.

I'll never send my children to their room as punishment....I had a feeling that using their room as punishment would mean that bedtime would become hard work and that their rooms would just be seen as the place to go when they are naughty.
I do this now though. I have found, for us, that this is effective. Its not a straight "you've been naughty, time to go to your room". I give 5 chances and if I feel the only way a problem will be resolved is for us to have a bit of time away from each other to calm down then I will take Charles off to his room and shut the baby gate.
Once we've calmed we then cuddle, talk through what happened, what went wrong, he says sorry, we kiss and say we love each other and then everything is ok.
Or, he will go to sleep. Which is a good thing because it shows his behaviour is due to tiredness.
How people use the naughty step I do not know. I tried it Wednesday to see if it was for us, next time I checked on Charles he was on a completely different step and we both just started laughing.
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7.11.11

The Letter That Came Early

Sitting having a natter with a friend whilst our boys played nicely together I heard the postman deliver some letters through our door.
With Charles busy making his friend some cups of tea and they looked over his toy cars (he normally grabs the letters from the door and sorts them into mummys letters, daddys letters, charlies letters and food letters) I went to the door myself.
Straight away I noticed the envelope with NHS stamped in big blue writing on the front.
I felt sick.
The only letter I was expecting was the one with the results of my Cervical Screening Examination from last week. I was told the results would be with me in 14 days...not 5.
So obviously I thought the worst.

The morning of the examination I sat in the bath for an hour. Followed by a shower. I then waited until I needed to be out of the door until I got dressed.
I cried just before I left but pulled myself together and headed out. My life, my health, my boys, Jade Goody, all ticking over in my head. And yes I'd even put on some of my Jade Goody perfume just so it kept her fresh in my mind.
I got to the doctors surgery, signed in at the electronic screen and was informed of a 19 minute wait.
Not good.
I didn't want to be able to sit for 19 minutes and think about what was going to happen. And what happened last time I was examined.

Then the board bleeped and my name was written in small red led lights.
Its time to do this!
I walked towards the doctors rooms and went to head right down a seperate corridor to the nurses rooms, I was called by a lady and told to follow her into a room which was in amongst the doctors rooms.
I'd seen this nurse recently when she diagnosed Harrys oral thrush and I warmed to her immediately.
I walked into the room, and didn't know whether or not to sit down or strip off straight away and get on with it.
I sat down.
"So how are you?"
"Nervous" Then the tears came.
"Ok, we're doing a smear test then are we?" She said in a soft kind voice.
We talked about my concerns, about my labour.
She told me I didn't have to do this.
I told her I did.
We to'd and fro'd for a while with this until I said "I'm doing it today. I have to" and with that she said ok, locked the door, drew the blind around the bed and shut the window.

As soon as I sat on the bed I gave myself a pep talk, in my head of course.
Just relax. It'll be done soon. She does this everyday.
I looked at the wall as the examination took place. Although I was ok with her doing what she was doing I just couldn't look. I'd then not be able to relax.
We were talking through some of the examination and I was surprised at how much it didn't hurt.

All I had been told by women before, for years, is how much a smear hurts, how humiliating it is, etc. Never hearing of a positive story.
Sometimes I think women can be far too dramatic. I think its just in our nature to be like this. And sometimes we can't just say "actually it wasn't that bad". We have to, instead, talk about how it hurt, how we were embarrassed, how the nurse was rude, and just the bad points.
Sometimes I think we need to "man up" and look at things from a mans perspective and just say "yeah it was ok, done in 2 minutes, nothing to worry about".

And that's what I'm saying now.
Ok its not comfortable and I expect the device placed in could hurt depending on your body and the person placing it there but we have a voice.
If its uncomfortable, then say so.
If it hurts, then say so.
I was surprised at how quick the examination was.
I had 3 swabs taken and it lasted all of 2/3 minutes.
The nurse said she was done and I asked what the fuss was all about.
And felt silly for crying.

As I got dressed she explained about when I would get results back and about a possible small bleed.
I thanked her for being so kind and admitted I was glad when she called me through as I found the other nurses can be quite hard and harsh and thinking I'd be seeing them made me nervous.

She then said that for future examinations to ask for her if I want to if it makes me feel comfortable.
I said I would.
Then as I left she said something we can all relate to...
"Its your body and your choice"
She was right. You decide what to do with it, who see's it and who touches it.

I did have a little cry of relief in the car and when I got home.
It did bring back some memories of Harrys birth but more so at how rough one of the midwives was and how her actions could of ended up with the vessel being broken and Harry not being with us.

So then I relaxed, thinking that I might as well relax for 14 days as there's no point in worrying until the letter arrives.
I thought surely the letter arriving today must only be a bad thing.

"The results were normal. This means you are low risk at developing Cervical Cancer"

Now I wait another 3 years until my next one and I do feel relaxed about it.
Its daily routine for the nurses and will now become a 3 yearly routine for me.
Nothing to get worked up about. Infact I wouldn't even feel too disappointed if the tests became yearly.
I will try and make sure I can again have a nurse I am comfortable with and I do believe that we should fight to be able to choose who see's us for private consultations.

As for the examination. 3 minutes of feeling a bit uncomfortable for such an important test is so worth it.
Seriously, if you're putting it off for fear of embarrassment then pick up that phone when the surgery opens tomorrow and book your Cervical Screening Examination PLEASE.
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Nanny X's Comforting Turkey Soup

Every Christmas my nan (and granddad when he was alive) would come to our house for dinner.
My mum would always hand my nan a bowl containing the Turkey Carcass and some meat.
A couple of days later the bowl would be returned filled with a thick homemade soup. Mmmmm. It was always the best part about Christmas, food wise, when I was little.
It was always such a warming thick soup. Great with a slice or two of bread. Perfect for cold winter days and nights.

When I moved out of home it was quite a quick decision. My fiance (now husband) had got himself a job in Bedfordshire. I didn't want a long distance relationship and it was a case of let me move with you or we split up. Delighted at the fact he chose for me to move with him, once my A Levels were done, he moved first, I had to set about learning how to do certain household jobs. I could already cook but wanted to learn how to make this beautiful soup.
My mum also made it and gave me the recipe. Its so simple and a great way to use up leftovers from a Sunday Roast or from Christmas Dinner.
Its now part of my Christmas routine and Boxing Day morning is spent making a batch of soup.
Three years ago my nan lost her second daughter in the March and had a pretty tough time, understandably, and became a bit frail. We saw her at Christmas and on Boxing Day I sent her home with a bowl of Turkey Soup. I felt so good about myself, knowing I was giving my nanny a lovely comforting meal, which would fill her up and put a smile on her face.
Suitable for a snack, lunch, dinner or supper. Roast dinner-Soup Style!

What You'll Need

Chicken or Turkey Carcuss (with tiny bits of meat left on if poss)
1 or 2 stock cubes (chicken or vegetable)
Vegetables (leftovers or whatever veg is in your cupboard-for this batch I am using potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots. I've even added yorkshire puddings before)

Put your carcass into a large saucepan (break it up to fit it in)
Fill with water until the carcass is covered or almost covered.
Boil for 20-30 minutes, until the water has changed to a beigy colour and the meat is falling from the bone.
Then either, *remove the bones and place in a bowl or another saucepan to make another batch *or sieve the stock into another saucepan and start a new batch in the original saucepan.
Then add your stock cube and vegetables to the stock. If using leftovers then boil for 15-20 minutes. If using fresh vegetables then boil until the potatoes are cooked.
Once this is done then mash the potatoes and vegetables or whizz in a food processor until you are happy with the consistency.
Serve with thick bread.

You'll be surprised at how much meat falls off the bone. Don't throw this away. Save as much as you can and add it to the soup.

To make the soup thicker add more potatoes, add more water to make it thinner. I tend to make a thick batch to begin with as I like my soup really thick. I then add water to my husbands batch as I cook it to make it thinner (as he likes it).

For an alternative to bread why not dip in some Yorkshire Puddings.

When boiling the carcass for a second time you'll need to boil it for a little longer and possibly need to add an extra stock cube.

I find I can make 2-3 batches from one Large Chicken carcass.
Easy to freeze and reheat when needed.
Sorry for lack of photos but still laptopless and having to using my Blackberry.
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2.11.11

A Broken Bed and The Secret Book Place

When Charles was born we agreed that, because I was "in charge" of feeding him, my husband would be "in charge" of nappy time (which he never minded) and bath time.  
He's also always been head of story reading, well as he's a voiceover in the daytime it seems only right that he would use his talents at home too.

There have been times when I've been downstairs cleaning or making dinner, or just having a 5 minute sit down after a busy day and felt the need to rush upstairs to be with them both at storytime.
Not because my husband is that good at reading stories (although he is very good but that's not the reason I rush upstairs)
But simply because I get a bit jealous. I hear them both having fun, giggling away, making little jokes that I don't understand. But also I just love listening and watching them bond.
I love seeing this strong father/son relationship build and get stronger and stronger.

Imagine my shock a week and a half ago when I realised that Charles' bed had somehow broke. I asked him if he knew what had happened and he told me "nanny sue done it" (my mum had been changing the bedding when I found the bed broken)
I told my husband who simply said "I didn't do it" Giggled and scuttled off. When I asked him to explain the giggle he told me that Charles has pushed him onto the bed and it had split.
Surely a toddler couldn't push a grown man hard enough that he could break a bed?
Staring at him I eventually got the truth.
"I might of jumped on his bed when we were playing"
Oh dear!
That night I tried to get the truth out of Charles. He looked at his daddy not knowing what to say. It was quite a sweet moment. He didn't want his daddy in trouble, but at the same time, knew he had to tell me the truth.
He gave my husband a "please forgive me" smile and turned to me and said "oh no, daddy broke the bed".

Other than this secret, they also share another secret.
Secret book place.
I remember putting Charles to bed one night and he kept mentioning "book place".
I had no idea what he was talking about.
My husband then told me it was the place he keeps his current favourite book, rather than with the rest on the shelf in his bedside table.

Although I don't want to encourage Charles fibbing and keeping secrets from me I do love Secret Book Place.
Every night I sneak into his room whilst my husband is getting him ready for bed and ask where Secret Book Place is. Sometimes he'll tell me.
Sometimes he'll tell me he doesn't know, or gives me the wrong answer.

I truly hope my husband is able to build this same sort of relationship with Harry too when he's older.
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1.11.11

Almost.

Looking at memorial photos.
Writing messages of support.
Reading miracle stories.
Reading tragic stories.
All I can think about is that it was almost him.
It was almost Harry.
He was almost a Vasa Praevia Angel.

It was almost my fault.

It's not as easy as people think.
To move on from that situation.
To accept that he is here, and he is ok.

Everytime he smiles at me my tummy fills with butterflies and my eyes fill with tears. Realising how close we could've been to not experiencing these moments.

You can't just move on.
Not just like that.
It's not easy knowing your body almost let you down, right at the very end.
It helped to grow, protect, nourish, love this baby then....
It's almost like a punishment.
Like building your perfect, dream home. Then right at the last minute, it all crashes down, with no warning. Leaving you with nothing.

I realise how lucky I am.
How lucky I was, that my body almost fought against itself. Not pushing hard enough, just incase that vessel burst.
At the same time, my body had planted
the vessel there.
Its hard to decide how you feel about yourself after that.
How you feel about your body.

Ashamed. Respected. Disappointed. Proud. Angry. Joyous.

Its not a case of "just don't look" at the photos and the stories.
I was one of the few lucky ones. (95% mortality rate) and feel that its my duty to show respect and support to those who weren't as lucky as us.

Something I can never get my head round is how hard it would've been to have to come home and explain to Charles that Harry wouldn't be coming home.
I am so grateful that this wasn't the reality.

I'm so grateful that I can look I both boys, smiling at me, smiling at each other, cuddling, babbling/talking to each other.

I'm feel so terribly lucky to have Harry here, next to me...
Every
Single
Day.
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The Jade Goody Effect

I've mentioned before and am not ashamed to admit that I was (and still am, despite her no longer being with us) a Jade Goody fan.

I'll never forget the images of her so poorly during her tough battle with Cervical Cancer.

I was pregnant at the time with Charles.
It was hard to know that she would be leaving behind two boys, especially a I was due to welcome my first into the world soon.

I remember the moment my husband came into the bedroom on Mothers Day 2009 and told me that she'd lost her fight. I cried all day.
The day of her funeral, I cried all day. My husband ended up taking me out for lunch when he got in from work that morning and tried to keep me out of the house for the remainder of the afternoon so I didn't watch the tv footage of her funeral.

Last year I received my letter inviting me for a Cervical Screening Examination. I was, at the time, going through an abnormal bleed which turned out to be a chemical pregnancy but my plan was to have the examination once the bleeding had settled down and my periods were back to normal. This was also agreed with a doctor.

I then fell pregnant with Harry so didn't get round to booking my appointment and having the examination.
And I will be honest, I was quietly relieved.
I don't understand though why we are so self-conscious and shy about "that area" of our bodies.
Why do we treat it any differently to our hands? Knees? Feet?
Since breastfeeding I feel more comfortable showing my breasts to a doctor if I had a problem but still feel tense and anxious about them giving me a vaginal examination.

I'm incredibly self-conscious about "that area". Especially after having two children, and especially as it was only recently that I gave birth.

Last week I received a letter.
It was an invite to a Cervical Screening Examination.
I immediately went all funny and my mind was telling me not to pick up the phone and book an appointment. Just rip up the letter and ignore it.
But I couldn't.
One name popped into my head, Jade Goody, and that was it. I had to book it.
I figured I had to book it there and then before I changed my mind and put it off.

"Next Wednesday at 9:50?"
"Yes, ok. I'm free."
I felt an odd weight lifted from my shoulders yet a sick feeling.
The last time I was examined "down there" was when Harry was born and it brings back awful memories for me due to the trauma I suffered.
Thankfully I know that on the system at my doctors surgery they have noted that I had a traumatic birth so I hope the nurse is aware of this and isn't so harsh when I cry and tense up.

When I was 21 I asked my surgery if I could have a smear test and was told no, because the age in England for smears is 25+.
I honestly think this is disgusting.

If it wasn't for Jade Goody though I doubt I'd of seen the appointment as terribly necessary. Especially as my previous smear test request was brushed off and made it feel as though it wasn't important.

With two young boys now and not being that much younger than Jade was I know how important it is to get seen, to get tested and to seek help when there is an abnormality.
Thankfully this is just a routine test and not due to any abnormalities I have sensed or am worried about.
Before go into the room tomorrow I will think of Jade, her boys and my boys and know that this 15 minutes of discomfort and embarressment will be totally worth it.

If only they supplied gas and air to make it a little bit easier.....
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