When the going gets tough, just keep going

Sometimes you have to battle through The Wall to reach the happiness on the other side, it won’t be easy but it is most definitely worth it. This weekend has been a battle but one that I have won hands down.

It was my parents 39th wedding anniversary yesterday and my Aunties 69th birthday today so I decided to host a BBQ for my family! I love taking on a challenge and I really love trying new recipes to share with family so I was in my element. I spent days trawling the net to find yummy marinades for a selection of meats and some new and tasty (hopefully!) side salads to accompany them. Lots of lists and mind changes but finally my menu was finalised and I set off in search off all the ingredients, a good few hours and aching arms later I returned home with what seemed like half the supermarket!

Saturday morning was bright and sunny, I felt good for once and full of energy which is a rare blessing these days so I went off to cuddle Ashley for a while, he had to have some steroid injections on Friday so no riding for a few days but he gets a bag of carrots instead which I’m sure he prefers! After taking the dogs for a long walk my energy levels were draining fast and that irritating niggle in my back was getting worse by the minute. Needless to say my enthusiasm for the award winning BBQ was beginning to waiver but I don’t do giving up, if something tries to bring me down I come back fighting and won’t back down until I win. So with that attitude kicking in I pulled on my compression leggings, strapped myself into my back support and got myself into the kitchen to start prepping everything for my dishes.

A few hours later I was making great progress, the prawns were soaking up their lime and chilli sauce, lamb was swimming in a pesto and yoghurt mush, chicken cubes were swimming in a homemade masala mix and chicken wings had been drowned in my favourite Nando’s lemon and herb marinade. Now for the burgers and I had no idea where to start, I’d never actually made my own burgers so I got my recipe in front of me and started chopping the onions (it took a  while due to crying so hard I couldn’t see where my knife was headed!), in they went along with some coriander, paprika and a couple of eggs. I wasn’t so keen on the next part, mixing everything by hand and squishing the slimey mixture into burger shapes, but sometimes we have to do things we don’t want right? It was incredibly satisfying though, it didn’t take long and soon I had 8 perfect looking burgers all wrapped up and ready for action.

You can’t be a cake maker and not make a cake for your Aunties birthday so I whipped up a Victoria sponge mix and popped it in the oven before starting on my sides, minted cucumber with a dash of lime, Greek quinoa salad, halloumi and courgette skewers and my all time fave tomatoes with pesto marinated mozerella … super easy and sooooo yummy! Out came the sponge and that could be left to cool while I finished the salads, my Auntie isn’t a massive fan of iced cakes so I decided a whipped cream with fresh fruit one was going to be the winner which meant it would have to be done in the morning. Dead on my feet and more than ready for bed I gave in to a couple of painkillers and made it to bed by midnight, I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow!

Sunday had arrived, I can only assume I’d slept crooked because I woke with a horrific pain screaming through the right side of my neck giving me an almighty headache … oh the pleasures of floppy ligaments that refuse to support my body! Still, today I had my family coming for a celebration and I was NOT letting anyone down so I hobbled downstairs and found some frozen peas which I managed to wrap in a tea towel and strap around my neck. I opened the fridge to get milk for my cereal and immediately felt a smile from within, lots of bowls and platters met me laiden with all the goodies I’d made the day before and suddenly the aches and pains didn’t matter anymore. I sliced up the fruit and whipped the cream adding a good few dollops of lemon curd (if you haven’t tried this you really must it’s delicious!), after trimming the sponges I sandwiched them with chopped strawberries and cream before covering the whole cake in my lemony whipped yumminess. The fresh fruit was piled on top in an orderly fashion and it was put back in the fridge for later.

By lunch time everyone had arrived and I was feeling beyond shattered but happy none the less. My sister helped me get everything out and ready for action while her husband fired up the BBQ, I can make food and prepare it but the actual cooking is best left to someone who knows what they’re doing I decided and to be honest I was mega grateful because I was really beginning to wilt by this point! Three hours later and we were all rolling around having eaten far too much … SUCCESS! I had actually done it, everyone loved the food including myself and I knew my determination had paid off. After a little pause I brought out the cake and impressively everyone managed to find a gap for a generous helping of calorific delight! Mission well and truly accomplished – I was surrounded by all my loved ones and seeing everyone smiling was more than enough for me today.

I have a phrase which I hope I can always stick by and it’s one I share with anyone who is suffering from illness, “When you are diagnosed with a condition or illness I believe you have two choices, you can stand tall and accept that YOU HAVE an illness or you admit defeat and let your illness HAVE YOU”. Sure, I’m sat here tonight beyond exhausted, everything’s hurting and it seems I’m having a potsie flare up (I know I haven’t explained this yet but for now imagine it as an adrenaline rush which can last for a few hours in my case) but I’m ok with that because I feel on top of the world right now and I really hope you all had a fantastic weekend too xx

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