About Me

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I love finding new worlds through writing and reading. I am excited by creating new flavours and tastes in the kitchen. I am fascinated by nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. I adore my my dog, family and friends.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Glimpse into an exciting move!

Hi there!

Just a reminder to say that this site has moved across to www.glimpsinggembles.com for a fresh, new look! Pop over and take a look around; I am excited to see you there!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Glimpse into a new look!!

Hello! The launch of the new Glimpsing Gembles Blog is here!

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The site is here to bring you various posts; from recipes I create, to book and product reviews, to ideas for living a fulfilling life. Dealing with chronic illnesses is a part of my life, so experiences surrounding this will also feature (because let's face it, living with health problems is no walk in the park, and we could all do with shared venting, support and advice!).

I have been blogging for about 2.5 years now, and the site was in need of a facelift! I am so grateful for all of your support so far; the old site has had 28, 221 views as this post goes live, so thank you very much for taking the time to visit! I really hope that you enjoy the new look, and I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and advice!

I look forward to getting to know you all if you are new, and checking in with my old faithful readers! Please say hello via the comments, email or social media, and tell me a bit about yourself!



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Glimpse into being M.I.A.

Hi there! I just wanted to check in with you all and make sure you know that I have not forgotten you!! I am sorry that I have been absent of late - health and life, and the desire to give this blog a face lift, has meant that I have been M.I.A. I have been working on recipes, and writing blog posts though, so as soon as I get the chance to finish the blog's cosmetic surgery, I will be back, firing on all blogging cylinders (or most of them, at least)!!

A glimpse of what is set to come!....

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Glimpse into March's Book Haul

    Hello all! I hope that you are all doing ok, and are looking forward to a nice Easter with friends and family. I am still behind with my blog posts, due to my health and being busy, but here is a quick monthly book haul post! I hope that you enjoy it! What have you bought lately?

  • "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel 
This is our next book club book - discussion commencing May 1st. I am yet to begin, but am eager to see what this intriguing story is like.

  • "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King
Excerpts of this book have already been used in the writing course I started this month. I enjoyed these, so decided to listen to the entire book on audiobook, read by Stephen King. It is light, interesting and enjoyable so far. We also have read one of his short stories, and having not previously read Stephen King's work, I have been quite pleasantly surprised!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Glimpse into January & February's book haul

I have always loved to read, and I also thoroughly enjoy the actual process of buying books. The smell of bookstores, the excitement of perusing the shelves; even online book shopping is fun!

Today, I want to share with you my latest book haul (books and audiobooks which I purchased in January and February). Some of these I have read or started to read, others are joining the ever growing pile of "to-reads". I will endeavour to do some book reviews here for some of them, and also will aim to do a book haul blog post monthly from now on (because, let's be honest, there is generally at least one book bought most months!).

"Love, Rosie" by Cecelia Ahern (originally published as "Where Rainbows End")

I watched the movie which was inspired by this book last year, and loved it. I found it inspiring, with a simple beauty. I am aware that the storyline of the book is quite different from the movie, but I look forward to reading it. I just hope I am not disappointed! I usually read books before movies, but as I loved the movie so much, I hold high expectations for the book!

 "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman
I also watched the movie inspired by the first book in this series last year (this one is the second in the series). I read the book first, thought it was great, and loved the movie also. It is simple reading, and I look forward to reading this one when I feel like something light and romantic (in a teenage angst kind of way!)

 "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

I watched the first 8 episodes of the tv series inspired
by this book last year. I think that it is an amazing series, and highly recommend it. I am desperate for the next episode to air after a break in filming. In the meantime, I thought I would read the book to keep me going! It is part of an eight book series, and as the tv series has been granted several seasons, I aim to read these books while I
eagerly await their release.

"The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon
    I listened to this as an audiobook in 2013, and really enjoyed it. I decided to read the actual book before reading the second book in the series which has just been released. It is a great story of another world, filled with drama, intrigue, strength and friendship.
"The Hambledown Dream" by Dean Mayes

I bought another copy of this book because my mum and I both wanted to re-read it for our book club review this month. I think this is a great book, and highly recommend you read it. You can read my thoughts about it on the Glimpsing Gembles Online Book Club site, and also join in with the discussion!

I would love to hear what you have bought so far this year to read or listen to!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Glimpse into blog tweaks

I love to write and to share my ideas and experiences on my blog. I am constantly thinking of new ways to make it more interesting and give my readers a blog which they enjoy. Due to my health, it is quite hard for to me remain consistent, but I try my best, and you are all so understanding and patient with this! I wanted to share with you some new ideas and updates I have for the blog, so here they are.                                                              

Friday, February 6, 2015

Glimpse into raw chocolate

I am a self confessed chocoholic, and thankfully, I have not had to let this go with all my food intolerances (apart from a few phases of elimination diets - but they won't take it from me!). The great thing about having to reassess what type of chocolate I eat, is that I now consume a treat which is actually full of nutrients and healthy fats, and low in sugar. I make a raw chocolate, which is easy and simple to make. It is such a quick recipe that you can satisfy your chocolate cravings almost immediately! It can also be flavoured to suit your tastebuds and creativity. All these attributes make this chocolate pretty darn amazing, I think. Life is about finding things which make you happy. Instead of denying yourself something you love, alter it so that it is good for you!


1/2 cup raw cocao powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup/rice syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt

  1. Mix together ingredients until well combined. 
  2. Pour into a shallow tray.
  3. Sprinkle with your favourite additions. Try these ideas: zest of one lime and one orange plus a handful of cacao nibs.... Shredded coconut.... Smashed frozen raspberries... Crushed nuts... Or stir into the mixture 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of mint essence, or 1 - 2 teaspoons of rosewater.
  4. Set it in the freezer for at least 1/2 - 1 hour. 
  5. This keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer so that you are always ready for those chocolate craving moments! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Glimpse into Lamingtons

This weekend in Australia is a long weekend, because on Monday, January 26th it is Australia Day. On this day in 1788, the arrival of the First Fleet of the British Ships occurred. It is now a celebration of our diverse country, our history and this beautiful land.

As with all celebrations, iconic food is a must! One such treat is the humble Lamington. Typically, this is a square of sponge cake, covered in chocolate sauce and desiccated coconut. I decided that I must create a grain/gluten/egg/dairy free version, which is also low in FODMAPs, and simple to make. Here is what I came up with, and from all accounts, it is reasonably close considering the limitations!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Glimpse into finding the right foods for you

Recently, I received a comment that stated that the raw vegetable juices I drink are full of anti-nutrients and cause my autoimmune diseases, and that I eat too many sweet tasting foods. To be honest, this sent me into a bit of a spin.

Trust me, I have read about the fact green leaves might impact my thyroid condition. I have researched about fructose like there is no tomorrow. I have learned as much as I can about what foods are good and bad for autoimmune issues.

When you bounce from one recommendation to another, desperately trying to find a way to heal your body, sometimes it can feel like every element of our lifestyle is against you and how on earth are you ever going to become healthy? I have so many food intolerances that a lot of foods are taken from my diet whether they are healthy or not. I also now avoid some foods because of research which shows their contribution to autoimmune symptoms. So when someone comes along and says that the foods that remain on a short and precious list are bad for you (in their opinion), the only reaction available is a melt down, envisaging starvation and banging your head up against a brick wall!

At some point, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each food, and decide what to eat. Most foods actually contain anti-nutrients or toxins; they contain something which could cause some type of reaction in the body which is not considered good. However, a lot of those foods are also bursting with amazing qualities which keep your body functioning. Can you imagine avoiding anti-nutrients completely?! You would starve to death. That does not seem to be conducive to good health to me! Take into consideration pre-existing conditions, determine which foods can cause issues because of these conditions and adjust your diet accordingly, and then continue to eat a healthy, wide variety of whole foods.

I recently learned of a condition called orthorexia. It is an eating disorder which focuses on eating healthy foods and avoiding unhealthy foods to an excessive level. This stunned me, because I think that it would be quite easy to find yourself on this track when you are so desperate to heal from chronic health issues, and you begin to use food as a healing method. When you read that even a mouthful of gluten can set off an autoimmune flare, and that more than 2-3 serves of even low fructose fruit a day can hinder your healing, and thousands of other facts and opinions to consider, it can be quite stifling and stressful. Throw in that your body is not doing what you want it to do, or looking the way you want it to because you are unwell, and this could be a recipe for disaster.

Our society is starting to realise how important food is in the process of healing our bodies, instead of instantly reaching for medication or surgery. In this time, there is so much information circulating that we can easily obtain. This can be highly empowering and useful, but it can also be overwhelming and debilitating. Reach out for help from nutritionists, dieticians, naturopaths and doctors if you need help to find your way. Do your best to feed your body healthy and enriching foods, and then relax. I still feel stressed about the comment made by someone who does not know me or my situation, but I know that I am doing the best I can for my body. I am constantly learning and looking for better ways to improve my health, and will continue to do so. Giving into the negative scare tactics and debate which is rife will only render your health into an even worse state. Make informed, educated decisions about your health, and know that you are doing the best you can.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Glimpse into blueberry and coconut cake

For my family's Christmas Eve dessert, I made a blueberry and coconut cake. It is like a fruity, coconut cheese cake, without the dairy!

This was the perfect cake in terms of preparation, because I was able to make it the day before, and as it is a raw cake which is set in stages, you can do it a little at a time for an even lower energy consuming cake!

It was also great for a summer time treat. I had left it in the freezer til a half hour before we wanted to eat it, however, we had to keep waiting for it to thaw, and eventually ate it quite hard and frozen! It was still good, but the leftovers revealed that it was much nicer and easier to eat when left in the fridge rather than the freezer. I suggest that you set it in the freezer, but store it in the fridge so that it is soft when you come to eat it.
It can be kept in an airtight container for several days in the fridge, or will keep well for a later date in the freezer.

My recipes are usually my own creations because I rarely come across recipes which I can use that contain ingredients that I can tolerate. However, this recipe is a result of the inspiration from a recipe from The Merry Sisters. You can find it here: http://themerrymakersisters.com.au/paleo-choc-blueberry-cake-epic/. I have made changes to it, to make it more appropriate for my low fructose, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and egg free diet. I find I have trouble tolerating too many nuts, so I went for more coconut than nuts, but if you prefer nuts, feel free to swap the 2 cups of coconut in the middle to soaked cashews.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Glimpse into our next book club book

Dean Mayes's first book, 'The Hambledown Dream" is our next book for the online Glimpsing Gembles Book Club. This is a very special book by a great, Australian author.

The author is giving readers the chance to own a FREE digital copy of this story. All you need to do is comment on the announcement blog post (link below) by Friday 16th!


I really hope that you will you join us. Everyone welcome. Whether you rarely read, or have never taken part in a book club, or you are bed ridden, or you are busy with life, this is your chance to take part in a group who chat about a variety of books. Your input in the discussion can be tiny or in depth, it is completely up to you. Just enjoy the chance to read stories you may not have thought to otherwise, and enjoy some book banter!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Glimpse into Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

In March last year, I wrote a post about my recent diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). You can read it here. I did not go into great depth with an explanation of what this syndrome is, as I was still taking it all in. I was fortunate to have learned a lot about this condition prior to my own diagnosis as a family friend has suffered from it for years, however I had a lot to learn about how it affected me. I want to share more of my experience with this now, and what POTS is.
POTS covers quite a broad array of symptoms. What is prominent for one person, may not be such an issue for another. Treatment options are also extensive. There is no cure for POTS, and what works well for one patient, may actually make another worse. Subsequently, experiences of dealing with POTS can be varied, so what I may write might not be suitable or relevant for you.

As the name suggests, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome revolves around an issue with an abnormally increased heart rate when changing position, typically from supine to upright.
When all humans stand, gravity causes a shift in blood from the head to the lower parts of the body. In a healthy person, the heart rate increases slightly, the heart pumps stronger, and the vessels in the lower part of the body constrict, all ensuring the blood is pushed back up to maintain a healthy blood flow in all parts of the body. This all occurs in about 2 heart beats.
In someone with POTS, the heart rate increase does not result in improved blood flow, the vessels often do not contract efficiently, the blood pressure may drop drastically, and the heart rate continues to increase. There is then a decrease in cerebral blood flow, resulting in light headedness or fainting. The high heart rate is considered to be a sign of POTS when it is increased by more than 30 beats per minute upon standing, or to a heart rate greater than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing still.

Although POTS is an issue which results in a heart rate and blood pressure issue, it is not actually a problem with the heart. The problem is with the autonomic system, which is the body's involuntary nervous system that controls the actions that we do not need to think about, such as sweating, breathing and heart rate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Glimpse into fighting for the life you want to live

Having chronic illnesses is like being a tightrope walker, juggling twenty different balls, with one arm tied behind your back and a blind fold over your eyes.


You are forever fighting against losing every aspect of your life which is important to you, while at the same time finding the delicate balance of where to step so as to not over do it and make yourself more unwell. Sometimes I fear that I have dropped too many things - I do not work, I can not study, I do not exercise, I barely attend social functions, I often can not do my hobbies, I have moved back in with my parents; so much of what makes me me is currently not part of my life. Sometimes I feel so shaken and distraught by the thought that I am getting older and I am missing out a crucial part of my life. I know that I have fought; every day I work towards better health. I know that I do not make excuses, I have definite goals, and I am determined to reach them. The body's weaknesses are hard to beat though, and I am on a long, slow road. Finding that happy medium, where you do not give up, where you battle against the odds to reach your goals, and where you do not push too far that you create damage; that is the real challenge of living with chronic illness.

Reassessing what you want from your life is often part of the answer. Making realistic goals will get you further. I have posters on my wall with my goals written on them. These goals are not the same as the ones I had 2, 5, or 10 years ago. Some are smaller versions of them. Some are completely new ones, born out of the rediscovery of myself through the shake up that illness is to life. Some seem huge to me now, but I know that if I can keep fighting, I can keep working towards them.

While you work towards these goals, find something that you find rewarding that is within your capabilities. Try so hard to not be the illness. You are you, and there are so many things that make you you, and only you can fight to keep them within. Every little step in the right direction, as small as it is, takes you a step closer to good health, and a step closer to getting back the life you want and deserve.
I am thankful for what my body still allows me to do, but there is so much that I miss out on and I want to do everything in my power to do all that I want to do with my life. Look deep into yourself and find what it is you want to fight for, and claw back to that point with every fibre of your being. We can do it.

 *In trying to find tight rope walking photos, I stumbled across this photo of Chinese acrobat, Aisikaier, who tight rope walked 656 feet over a ravine, blind folded. Moments before the reaching the end, he felt dizzy and fell. Amazingly, he walked away from it with barely a scratch! Everyone has to give what they are passionate about a go, no matter how crazy it may seem! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Glimpse into Motivation Monday - week 1 2014/15 - design the story that you want

This Wednesday is New Year's Eve, so of course, the "make sure you are the best you that you can be" motivational talks are everywhere. I think that it is as good a time as any to make a fresh start, to take stock of where you are in life, and make new goals and plans, but of course, you do not need to wait til January 1 to do this.
If what you plan for your year is not working out, make adjustments to your strategy. Reflect and assess throughout the year. Be aware, be grateful, aim big, be realistic, learn from mistakes, don't be discouraged, work hard, treat yourself, love your life, do not take any day for granted, fight for what you want and be happy.
Stay safe this New Year's Eve, celebrate within your limits, and enjoy the start of a fresh chapter. Happy New Year and may 2015 be one filled with good health, happiness and new opportunities.

Glimpse into end of year best wishes

Hello there! I truly hope that you have all had a lovely Christmas. I had a beautiful time with my small family, revolving around good food, thoughtful presents, Christmas movies, board games, love and happiness. Thankfully, my body allowed me a couple of fairly good days, and I was able to join in on the quiet celebrations at home. Since Boxing Day, I have felt pretty well wiped out though, however, when you deal with chronic illness, I think that is a fairly good trade. I am also a cricket addict, and I think Boxing Day is the best time of year (leftovers and cricket, thank you!), so I have quite happily rested on the couch in front of the test match since.

I am sorry that I did not complete my planned festive month of blog posts. I did not have a great few weeks health wise, and sometimes even the best laid plans go astray! I will still post them, they just will not be Christmas-style.

I just wanted to pop in and say that I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that you all enjoy safe and happy New Year celebrations.
I look forward to bringing you more blog posts and recipes in the New Year! Thank you for all your support this year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Glimpse into Motivation Monday - week 51 - what do you want this Christmas?

This week, in the days leading up to Christmas, take stock of all the amazing things in your life. I know, that sounds cheesey. This time of the year, however, is the best time to be cheesey! No matter what your health, family or financial situation, be aware of the things that make you happy, and if you can not find one thing that makes you happy, take this time to figure out what you are going to do to fight with all your power to get something which does make you happy! Material things do not matter; loving and being loved, doing what you makes you happy, and being a good person is what counts. Get out there and make it happen. Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Glimpse into Foodie Friday - week 50 - pancakes

I love pancakes - who doesn't?! The only problem with pancakes, I feel, is cooking pancakes! I can not do it. Even back in the day, when I used "normal" pancake ingredients, like eggs and wheat flour, I was never any good at it. I am a very patient person, but when it comes to delicious treats, waiting for the pan to be the correct temperature, and knowing the exact time to flip, is obviously not my forte!
However, as I do love a good pancake, I try every now and again, and who knew, but persistence was the key! I developed these grain free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, low FODMAP pancakes, and they are pretty darn scrummy! Learn from my mistake; be patient and wait til your fry pan is hot!

This seemed like a great addition to our Christmas theme, as no matter what season your Christmas falls in, pancakes are an indulgent and delicious (and healthy, in this case) treat for holiday breakfasts!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Glimpse into Wellness Wednesday - week 50 - lunges

Lunges are a simple exercise which can be done in various ways to suit your fitness level. As I have mentioned before, when you are often resting, the hip flexors in particular can become tight. Regular lunges can keep this flexible and minimise other issues caused by tight hip flexors, such as a bad back.

Begin by kneeling, both knees pressed onto the floor, the tops of your feet flat to the ground. Bring your right leg through, so that your foot is in front of you and your knee is bent. Slide your legs apart from each other until your thighs make a straight line which is at a diagonal to the floor (you know what?! Lunges are very hard to describe in writing!). You may need something like a chair next to you so that you can balance yourself. Gently stretch by pushing more deeply into the lunge. Hold for as long as you can; gradually work up to at least a minute each side.

Once you can do that level without wobbling, upgrade your level. You can try extending your arms straight above your head as you lunge, slowly going into a slight backbend. You can also lunge so that your back leg is no longer resting on the ground. Ensure you do not rotate your knee too far around, otherwise you will hurt your knee and hip.

This is a great exercise to throw into your routine. Try to do it when you first get up out of bed, after you have been sitting for some time, or when you feel tight; just as often as you find comfortable really!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Glimpse into Motivation Monday - week 50 - the importance of balance

We hear it again and again; everything in moderation, balance is key. I absolutely believe this. I think a lot of people put the wrong amount of pressure on themselves though.

The "naughty" does not have to be unhealthy, negative choices. When you realise this, it is a major breakthrough in life! Whether it be food treats, in the form of nutritious chocolate slices as opposed to sugar and fat laden chocolate blocks, or lifestyle choices. A treat, a splurge or an indulgent moment can be so good for you, possibly even better than the "nice" choices you make; you just have to learn the best way. There are so many options out there, now that we are all so aware of how important health and wellness are to our lives. A "naughty" treat at a cafe which is actually nutrient dense is easily found now. Bath scrubs are available with healing, relaxing and muscle soothing ingredients. Movie sessions can be highly entertaining and educational at the same time. The list goes on.

I follow a lot of inspirational fitness blogs and I love the motivation they give out. However, as someone who has a body which is not functioning properly, I sometimes have a problem with some of the exercise messages put out. In particular, I find the "there is no excuse/your body is only as weak as your mind" type concepts a little stressful and unfair. I want to work out and be fit with all my heart. I used to love being active. I am not making excuses, nor am I weak. I know that I can not push myself because my body is not capable of it. It took me a long time to accept this. However, now that I have, I am learning how to incorporate it into the concept of balance. To some, spending the day on the couch is perceived as lazy; as a "naughty" indulgence. For me, it is an unavoidable (and highly frustrating) necessity. I can not feel guilty about it. Nor can I feel guilty about having a laugh with friends when I can not work, or about watching a movie when the paperwork chores are building up. 
An important part to balance, is learning what is relevant to you. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone's situations, bodies, goals and abilities are different. Finding what is at your core is mandatory when developing balance.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Glimpse into Foodie Friday - week 49 - Christmas trifle

I hope that you are excited! It is our first Christmas Foodie Friday for 2014! That means the great reveal of this week's big recipe, which has slowly unfolded over the week.

Did you guess what it is?!

What does a combination of strawberry jelly, ice cream, chocolate sauce, and banana bread turn into?!....

Christmas Trifle (1 serve)

Choose your favourite long or large glass, or pretty bowl suitable for a trifle.

  1. Start off with 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate sauce
  2. Place a jiggly layer of 3-4 large tablespoons of strawberry tea jelly
  3. Then scoop on 3-4 large tablespoons of mint ice cream
  4. Break up a few chunks of choc chip banana bread over the ice cream
  5. Top that with 3-4 large tablespoons of strawberry ice cream
  6. Pour on 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate sauce
  7. Sprinkle the top with a combination of shredded coconut, dried strawberries, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and crushed nuts.

I hope that you enjoy this Christmas coloured trifle! Such a decadent treat packed with nutrition! Double score!