2017 Started With A Bang – Litterally


Happy New Year Blogging World! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break, if you were lucky enough to not be working! Hubby only had the stat days off but we did get to head away along the Great Ocean Road for 5 nights in early Jan. Although it’s not really that far from where we live, Lorne is a beautiful seaside town that we love visiting. We spent 5 glorious nights at the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park, our first time as a family but the second time Hubby and I have visited. We stayed in a spacious riverview cabin, swan every day at the beach and did a day trip to the 12 Apostles.

**Warning, you need to book at least 12 months in advance if you want to stay there over the Christmas period as they sell out of accommodation every year**.

It was so great to get out of Geelong (albeit not that far away) and spend time relaxing as a family. Ella loved the novelty of sleeping in a ‘strange’ bed every night and we discovered that she is a water baby at heart. She absolutely loved the ocean! All in all, we had an amazing time away as a family of 3.5. Our last holiday together before our baby boy arrives mid-April. There’s only one thing I would change…

We were heading home from our 5 night stay in Lorne and only about 20kms from home when our car broke down just outside of Torquay. Thankfully, we weren’t on a busy freeway and traffic was relatively quiet, but still, Ella and I weren’t impressed at the prospect of waiting for a tow truck to arrive in the 30+ degree heat. Hubby decided to call us a taxi, seeing as we were only 20kms from home, and he called his mate Leo who runs Mobile Mechanic Geelong, to come down and take a look at the car. Ella and I arrived home within 45 minutes of breaking down but Hubby didn’t make it home until 4 hours later. This wasn’t entirely car related though – as a thank you to Leo for fixing our car, hubby took him out for dinner at their favourite local in Geelong. I never did find out what exactly was wrong with the car. We’d only had it serviced a couple of months prior but Leo did a great job at getting it back on the road again.

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Merry Christmas and Farewell 2016


I still can’t believe how fast the end of 2016 has rolled around. It was a big year for our family, hubby’s new job and dealing with his existing allergies as well as our daughter Ella’s diagnosis of several allergies (read more here). It’s been a learning curve this year, but one our family has grown through and conquered more than we anticipated. Now, we just have to get through the remainder of the silly season before 2017 takes over.

I thought I’d use this Christmas blog as an opportunity to give you a quick update on family life, since it’s been just over a month since my last post.

I’m really not a huge shopper but thankfully, I started my Christmas shopping in mid November and had finished it by the time the shops got hectic in early December. I hate big crowds and people who walk slowly or indecisively, so malls are not my friend around Christmas time. Now that Ella’s almost 2 and a half years old, she understand that Santa is coming tomorrow and is excited to open her presents. I wish she could have been this excited when she sat on Santa’s knee earlier this month… Like many kids her age, there were lots of tears when she got her photo taken with Santa, hopefully next year is better…

We’re having family over for Xmas dinner tomorrow, a traditional Aussie style Xmas day with a BBQ and lots of swimming. It’s meant to be mid 30’s so it’s going to be a scorcher. We’re forgoing the the roast and seafood this year and sticking to allergy friendly foods that won’t harm Ella. Lots of freshly BBQ’d meats and salad, fresh fruit and Ella-friendly chocolate cake. Thanks to Ella’s egg allergy, my favourite, pavlova is off the menu. Next year we’ll do food testing again with Ella to see if we can start weening her back onto certain foods, so I’m hoping for plenty of pav at Christmas 2017!

What else does 2017 hold for our family? Well, some exciting news. We’re expecting a baby boy in April 2017 which we’re all very excited for. I’m excited for bub’s arrival but very nervous about becoming a mother of two. Sometimes I barely feel like I’ve got control of one child 😛

On that note, in 2017 you can look forward to more posts about our dear Ella and her allergies, as well as the introduction of our son in April. From my family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and safe and happy holidays with family and loved ones.

All the best for 2017

Cathy x

Eczema, food, latex and pollen allergies

balloons-1732470_640Before I met my husband (many moons ago), I’d never been exposed to allergies. 25+ years ago, growing up in my little old town of Hokitika, on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, allergies and food intolerances were so uncommon that for me they were non-existent. This all changed when I met hubby and was introduced to his dust, animal dander and pollen allergies. I’d gone from blissful ignorance to full blown allergy submersion. Of course, Hubby had lived with his allergies for as long as he could remember so the learning curve was all mine, thankfully he was well versed in how to prevent a flare up, I just had to take his lead. For more on his allergies, check out my previous post “The Impacts of Our Family’s Allergies”.

Things have changed dramatically in the last 15 years or so. In fact, recently the World Allergy Organisation announced that allergies should be considered a global public health problem and that steps need to be taken to promote awareness about them. Allergies like eczema were estimated to affect 334 million globally in 2013, with an alarmingly increasing number of children being subjected to this form of allergy.

In this post I want to a bit of information about the eczema and food, latex and pollen allergies, along with their symptoms and various treatment. The information outlined below should not be considered medical advice and I urge you to seek professional medical treatment should experience any of the symptoms below.

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The Impacts of Our Family’s Allergies

Allergies impact families in different ways. For us, Ella’s diagnosis was really only the first sign she’d shown of having a food allergy so we were lucky to not have to experience a variety of reactions prior to her diagnosis.

medicine-415397_640My husband’s allergy towards dust, animal dander and pollen were harder to adapt to initially but over time we’ve got that down pat. We went through a lot of trial and error with medications for hay fever and cleaning products before we found a happy medium. One of our most successful discoveries was finding Geelong’s Cleanest Carpets, an eco-friendly carpet cleaning company here in Geelong. As carpet and rugs can hide obscene amounts of, not only dirt and dust, but the faecal matter of dust mites (to which my husband is extremely allergic) it’s important for us to get our carpets cleaned regularly in our household. Although the general consensus is to get your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months, we get ours done every 6 months. We can’t afford to have a build-up of dust and dirt in our carpets due to my husband’s adverse reaction.

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Our Diagnosis

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a bit about our family’s direct struggles with allergies which all started when our daughter Ella was 18 months old, early in 2016. Ella had developed a rash one morning, all over her back, stomach and limbs. Pretty much the only part of her that wasn’t covered in a rash was her face. Alarmed at this I took Ella straight to the emergency department of the Geelong hospital and she was seen to very quickly.

egg-allergiesAlthough she wasn’t in any pain or discomfort the Doctor mentioned that he thought the rash could be an allergy to something Ella had eaten or touched. Immediately I thought of the peanut butter toast I’d fed her for breakfast but she’d had this many times before so surely that wasn’t the issue? The doctor mentioned that it could in fact be an allergy to peanut butter but we wouldn’t know for sure until Ella had food allergy tests done. Ella was given an antihistamine and booked in for food allergy testing later on that afternoon.

strawberry-allergyjpgBy the time the food allergy testing rolled around later that afternoon, Ella’s rash had cleared up completely and she was none the wiser to what she was about to experience. The testing involved a mix of skin tests and blood tests to which, very surprisingly Ella had mild reactions to peanuts, almonds, eggs, shellfish, strawberries and kiwifruit.


shellfish-allergiesThis was a huge surprise to us as Ella had never reacted before to any nuts or eggs (she’d never been exposed to shellfish as we don’t eat a lot of that kind of seafood). The doctor explained the food allergies can start at any age although are more commonly diagnosed on first exposure to a food, not set on in later life. As Ella’s immune system was young, the Doctor said there was a chance she would grow out of it by her teens but there was no guarantee.

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Anaphylaxis – What is it?

I wanted to give you all some information on anaphylaxis as this is the most fatal of all allergic reactions. Bear with me, it’s a long post but it’s full of all of the information you need to know about Anaphylaxis!

Thankfully we haven’t experienced anaphylaxis in our household but we are prepared for that event should it happen one day. It’s a scary thought but the more you know the more you can prevent it from occurring so have a read below…

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The Dreaded Peanut Allergy

Cathy’s “What You Need To Know” about peanut allergies:


Peanut allergies are very common around the world and have increased dramatically over the last few decades. Here in Australia, peanut allergies affect approximately 3% of children and, although this allergy can occur at any stage, it mainly appears in the early years of life. While around 20% of children grow out of their peanut allergy when they reach adulthood, 20% of sufferers may experience worsen reactions with time. A shocking report in 2012 also revealed that nearly 75 people in the United States die from this allergy each year. Deaths from peanut allergies are rare in Australia but do occur.

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What Are Allergies?

peanut allergiesLet start with something simple Cathy… For those unaware or unaffected by allergies, a) LUCKY YOU and B) this blog post is for you. I’ve got the low down on the different types of allergies and touch on a few of the major allergies that affect so many.

For some, it happens almost abruptly. For others, it is subtle, gradually making itself known after some time. You feel your skin start to itch and swell up and discover a rash developing on the surface. Or maybe you begin to find it hard to breathe a few minutes later after finishing a dessert at a restaurant that you didn’t know included nuts. Yes, allergies are a common hindrance for many people throughout the world. Many reactions range from mild to life-threatening, and it’s all the more upsetting and nerve-wracking if you have a child that possibly suffers from them. It is important to know the different types of allergies so that you can learn how to spot symptoms and treat them accordingly. Let’s consider the four main types of allergies – skin contact, injection, ingestion and inhalation.

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Hello Wonderful World!


Hello and welcome to my blog. I’m Cathy and I can’t wait to get stuck in and update my blog regularly with the details of my family’s journey to a happier, healthier home. You can find out why we’re on this journey by going over to my About Cathy page.

I’m new to the whole blogging world so be nice 🙂 … And feel free to share any tips or advice you might have for me by commenting on my posts or shooting me an email at cathy@cathysquiltsnembroidery.com.

Let’s getting this blogging party started!