Easter and Eating Disorders

Its that time of year again…Easter

Everybody over indulges on chocolate and anyone not eating an Easter egg at Easter is odd. They even sell lactose free and free from versions so there is no excuse.

I have been over my eating disorder for more than 5 years now however, there is something about the holidays that make me uneasy.

Chocolate on any other day of the year (except Christmas) don’t bother me, I will happily eat a milky bar without the feeling of guilt.

I think because of my past, Easter and Christmas will always be a little tough for me, not to say I wont eat sweets on Easter as I do but its still tough. It does get easier year after year though.

I have spoken to a few people today who are struggling with eating disorders and Easter, I just want to let them know that it doesn’t last forever, learn to love who you are and find support…there are many organisations and charities out there that can help.

I have had a lovely day out with family and although Easter is still a hard day for me I get through it and I have beat it.

For information on Eating Disorders  – https://b-eat.co.uk/

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My Mum is there – Perfect read for Mothers Day

My Mummy surprised me this morning with two new books, the first book being My Mum is  there by Martin Thomas and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska.

This book is about you mum! Can we read it please, please…

The book is about a mummy elephant and a baby elephant. Mummy elephant is always there for the baby…just like my mum is for me. The mummy elephant is there to help baby learn, mummy elephant is always there when baby wants to explore, read books and look at stars. Baby is always learning new things and mummy is always there.

I really like the picture of the mummy elephant holding the baby elephant on the front cover, it makes me feel happy and loved. Every page my mummy read and turned I gave her a big kiss and hug because I know my mummy is there to help me learn and tuck me up in bed at night. This book really made me feel happy and  I loved the drawings of the moon and stars.

Mummy’s thought’s

This book was well written and beautifully illustrated. The book kept the attention of my son and I got lots of kisses and hugs from my little on as we read. A must have book for Mothers Day!

Reviews done on behalf of Primary Times.


Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disoder (FASD) NO Alcohol NO Risk!!

As most of my readers are aware I am the founder of Recovery Mummy, one of the things I offer is a play support group where the parents can get peer support and advice on living a healthy life in recovery. The great thing about play support is that babies and tots can come along and take part in sensory games, arts  and crafts whilst the parents receive valuable peer support.

More information on Recovery Mummy can be found at – http://www.facebook.com/recoverymummy

I have been taking part in lots of training associated with the work I am doing and one of the courses I recently took part in was Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Training… Prenatal Damage and the Life Long Effects.

I sat down to begin training and it struck me…I actually didn’t have a clue about FASD!! I mean I knew that some babies were born with the condition and that babies would have withdrawal symptoms and needed to be monitored but I didn’t realise that it was a life long disorder. I thought that once the withdrawal symptoms had gone the baby would be fine…Yep I cant believe how naïve I was until I did awareness training.

New guidelines state that women  are to avoid alcohol in pregnancy but If they do choose to drink, to minimise risk to the baby, the government’s advice is to not have more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week, and not to get drunk.

A few years back doctors and midwives would recommend pregnant women with low iron levels to drink Guinness and drink red wine for antioxidants.

When someone drinks alcohol it is filtered though the liver, it depends on the individuals body type and weight  how long this takes however on average if you drink a large (250ml) glass of wine, your body takes about three hours to break down the alcohol.

An unborn baby has no functioning liver so they cant filter it themselves, it is thought that the unborn foetus lays in the alcohol fluid for 3 days.

Imagine the foetus as a raw egg…below is a picture of a raw egg in water (L)  and another in Vodka (R)…after only 7 hours in the vodka the egg in Vodka has began to cook its self…now imagine it after 3days in the vodka.

egg vod

What is Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder??

FASD’S are mental, physical and neurobehavioral impairments caused by women drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of 
learning disability.
  • FASD and other alcohol-related birth defects are 100% preventable if a woman doesn’t drink during pregnancy.
  • FASD can cause serious social and behavioural problems.
  • Alcohol can cause more damage to an unborn baby than any other drug.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy.


FASD is an umbrella term that covers Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND), Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD), Foetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) and partial Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS). Its effects range from reduced intellectual ability and Attention Deficit Disorder to heart problems.

FASD may not be detected at birth but can become apparent later in life and carries lifelong implications

A child can not be affected by FASD if the mother didn’t drink during pregnancy.

FASD Characteristics

Invisible characteristics

  • Attention and memory deficits
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty with abstract concepts (eg maths, time and money)
  • Confused social skills
  • Poor problem solving skills
  • Difficulty learning from consequences
  • Poor judgement
  • Immature behaviour
  • Poor impulse control

Physical effects

  • Smaller head circumference
  • Heart problems
  • Limb damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Damage to the structure of the brain
  • Eye problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Specific facial characteristics, including a flat nasal bridge, upturned nose, thin upper lip and smooth philtrum (the vertical groove between the upper lip and nose)

There are 428 conditions associated with FASD.

Of all the FASD disorders FAS is the most recognisable…

FAS is characterised by the following anomalies

  • Central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction
  • Facia dysmorphology
  • Pre- and  post-natal growth deficiency

Below is an example of a doll with FAS:


Below is a chart of foetal development. As you can see it is never safe to drink alcohol during any stage of pregnancy.


Many cases of FASD go unnoticed as mothers are not asked about their alcohol consumption before finding out they are pregnant. Most women find that they are pregnant when they are around 4 weeks gone. So what if the mother went on a drinking binge not realising she was pregnant? Mothers are not asked about the weeks before so no record would be made of it thus making it harder to diagnose FASD later in the child’s life.

So as you can see FASD is more common than we think, FASD is a life long disability that requires on going care and understanding.

Its shocking to think that most health professionals don’t know much about it and therefore many infants, toddlers, adolescence and adults affected by FASD live in a world without support. I was also shocked to find out, that of all pregnant women, on average, the most educated women are those found to be drinking during pregnancy.

If this blog post has interested you and you would like to find out more about FASD please go to – http://www.nofas-uk.org/

If you would like to find out more about the training I received

Please email – Joanna@redballoontraining.co.uk

Website – http://www.redballoontraining.co.uk


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The Bipolar Ride

Over the last few years I have learnt to identify when I am about to experience mood fluctuations. My episodes used to last so long but with time they have become less frequent and less severe…when they start it’s like a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. They can play out like this…

I don’t mind when it starts in fact it can be quite enjoyable…the feeling of amazing energy and thoughts and ideas that come flying out of my head at 100mph can be thrilling and exciting.

I get so much housework done it is quite mad, I talk for hours about how the world will look in the future or anything for that matter. I become artistic and become very organised…I feel almost alien like…my senses tingle and my reaction speed is increased. My work speed and focus becomes mind-blowing that if someone could bottle it and sell it they would be millionaires!


But with all this amazement and thoughts and ideas also come the bad. I usually require treatment (medication) to bring me out of my manic state and then I start to experience low moods

I start to feel anxious, I think about what I have started… but now I can’t finish…this gets me down. I start to worry that my mental state is not strong enough to succeed if I’m not hypomanic. I worry that I don’t have enough energy…I feel down. I get thoughts of dread and think lots of negative thoughts.

The low moods are horrible.

With self management I have become quite good at recognising when one of my rides is about to start and I know most of the ups and downs I’m about to take. I usually feel excitement, agitation, restlessness, panic, worry, no sleep, too much sleep, racing thoughts, mad ideas, no patience…the list goes on…

If you don’t identify the fluctuations in moods it could possibly get worse and become an episode that requires treatment.

If you think you may be experiencing any of the symptoms I have mentioned please seek help…there are many organisations out there that can offer so much…take the care and advice offered.

For more advice and information about bipolar please visit –



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My wales online article response & my work with BDRN

An article about my struggle and recovery from postpartum psychosis was published by Wales Online last night. Article can be found here – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/postpartum-psychosis-cardiff-mum-opens-10776288

I was asked to consider the article after I had been having a chat with someone from BDRN (Bipolar research network) and NCMH (National centre for mental health) and they had read my Blog post about postpartum psychosis.

Firstly I would like to thank everyone for there support and kind words. I was nervous when the article was put online but the article is true to what I have said and I think the response it is getting will really help raise awareness of addiction, mental illness and postpartum psychosis.

I was diagnosed with bipolar at 20 and I didn’t admit it to anyone for a while, however I did start having contact with BDRN and I wanted to help with research. At 20 years old I had a research assistant come to my home, take a blood sample and then give me questionnaires. At the time I think I wanted to see if they could help with my condition as I was calling it. I was considered quite young at the time to have been diagnosed with bipolar.

I actually remember many saying it was rare to be diagnosed so early on and that I must of had an understanding doctor to refer me to relevant services so young. As it goes my doctor at this time had a family member with Bipolar and do feel this helped me to get help early.

I took part in a Bipolar Education Programme in Cardiff back in 2011 the course facilitators John Hyde and John Tredget were really good at delivering this course. I met with some lovely people and I kept in touch for a while or until I was to suffer another episode then I stopped the research and didn’t talk with the friends I had just made and grown to really appreciate.

After years of rapid cycling bipolar and years of self hate I become pregnant and felt amazing. After I had my first born I became ill with postpartum psychosis here is that blog post link – https://recoverymummycardiff.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/1044/

I recovered from this and then began my research with BDRN again. Christine Fraser came to my home and we discussed what I had been up to for the last few years, postpartum psychosis and then how I can help now.

I have started True Colours mood monitoring system with BDRN they send me an email weekly with a questionnaire to see how my moods are affected week to week. This is confidential. It is  also quite good to monitor my moods at home.

I will be continuing research with BDRN for as long as I need to. At present I am training constantly to become the best support worker I can be, my specialist subjects are substance misuse, pregnancy and mental health. I love to study so who knows what I will be studying in the near future 🙂

Right now Recovery Mummy has started working with Recovery Cymru on a project that we hope will be up and running really soon. I am at present conducting research for a parents in recovery self management course and will be running a mother and baby group from Canton within the next few weeks…this group is only suitable for bump to 18 months as we don’t have the space for happy toddlers running about just yet, however this wont be for long.

I will be emailing relevant organisations with the research questionnaires this week coming.

Recovery Mummy Raffle Event will be at Café Junior on 5th March from 1pm, all money raised will go to funding the research and starting the baby group. Café Junior has supported me right from the start when I was jotting my ideas down in my butterfly journal. Gareth at Café junior was the one to mention having a mums meet up at the venue so I will always be very grateful to them for boosting the start of Recovery Mummy.

Here is the link for Café Junior event – http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/myevent?eid=20985999690

Lots more plans and events are in the pipeline but you will have to keep watching 🙂

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Café Junior website – http://www.cafejunior.com/






Strictly No Crocs… My sons book review

Wow mummy a book about crocodiles! Crocodiles are naughty, will the crocodiles in this book be naughty like in Peter Pan??

I was really excited to read my new book Strictly No Crocs by Heather Pindar, my favourite DVD at the moment is Peter Pan so anything to do with pirates and crocodiles gets my attention.

This book is about a zebra having a birthday party and inviting everyone to the party but not the crocodiles.

The crocodiles decide to sneak into the party so they can eat everyone! The crocodile dress in disguise so no one will notice them.

At the party the crocodiles start to have lots of fun, they play on the bouncy castle and play pass-the-parcel. They sing happy birthday to zebra and then go home. They have fireworks and then the party is over. The crocodiles are sad to go home, I get sad when I have to leave parties too.


On the way home the crocdiles say what a great time they had and then they realise they didn’t eat everyone!

Don’t worry crocodiles you have Giraffes party next week!

I loved the pictures in this book and I liked the funny clothes the crocodiles dressed up in to go to the party. This book really kept me interested and I enjoyed reading it with my mummy.

Book written by Helen Pindar and illustrated by Susan Batori.

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This review was done on behalf of primary times.

Read my reviews here http://www.primarytimes.net/reviews/ethans-reviews