Blogmas, christmas, general, humour, lifestyle, parenting

Welcome – to Blogmas

I’ve literally just discovered what Blogmas is about 5 minutes ago. So can I bang out 25 blogs in 25 days..? I’ve got a few festive things lined up over the next week, and sure I can think of more so let’s do this. I am particularly excited for Day 5, watch this space…

So it’s December 1st today and at around 10.30 last night whilst in bed, I realised I hadn’t done anything with that Elf thing I bought the girls. I’m new to Elf on the Shelf. I literally thought you just stuck it on a shelf and it acted like a Santa cam. Then last year I realised they caused mayhem by doing a whole range of naughtiness we stress to our children that they must not do. Then last night, I learnt they also come with letters for the children to encourage good behaviour. The pressure

I was going to get up and hang it off the light in the living room or something equally adventurous, but thought sod it, we’ll start on the 2nd.

Turns out it was up to mischief during the night anyway as we were woke with Emily kicking off. She’d woke up excited to open door number one on her calendar, but found somebody had already beat her to it, and eaten her chocolate. Jessica told her it was Elfie the Elf, as she saw him do it.

Obviously it was Jess. Emily cried for 20 minutes. Not even joking. Twenty. Minutes. of hysterical pleas of ‘where’s my chocolate gonnnnnnne’

On close inspections on both calendars, Jessica has about 15 chocolates left. A gal after my own heart. I replaced them 3 times last year throughout November for the girls, as I ate them all before the 1st. Yes, I ate my way through six.

Thismorning, I’ve decided my children shall always be school dinners as I spent about an hour in the kitchen cooking two sausages and knocking up Chicken Tikka Pasta for Emilys school trip. Her choice since I told her biscuits and a packet of crisps is now frowned up. She went to Dance City to watch a performance of The Little Match Girl. We used to go there quite often when she was smaller. She told me on her way to school she couldn’t remember, but I wondered if she would once she was there.

Decided to take the girls to watch the Lantern Parade after school and have a look around the Christmas market.

Kids whinged until I caved and let them go on the rides and we spotted the Brownie Bar. Came home about £30 down, but two words – Oreo. Brownies

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general, lifestyle, parenting

Roadtrip to Manchester

I realised just thismorning that we’re almost at the end of week 4 of the summer holidays! WEEK 4. Crazy. Looking back I feel like we haven’t done all that much, but putting it into perspective and to kind of justify it to myself,  we do a lot with the kids throughout the whole year. We’re out somewhere every Sunday regardless of the weather, so don’t really feel the pressure to have plans for every day over six weeks, or have the funds. Who does?

But my hubby was off last week. He takes two weeks off each summer but breaks them down as two single weeks. We’re strategic. Or rather I am. I figure I can do two weeks on my own no problem, it’s just like the Easter holidays (but minus the chocolate, unfortunately). By week three I’m usually lagging, and needing a bit of daddy support.

Rather than have a big holiday, we have short breaks throughout the year. This give us things to look forward to, an opportunity to unwind as a family, and I just love a roadtrip (and really really really, do not like flying)

So, as always the decision where to go was left up to me. I admit, I can be a bit of a control freak, but this is more because my hubby is rather laid back and happy to have little input in where we go. Although I always run suggestions by him, and this time we decided on Manchester. I then spent probably a whole afternoon deliberating where to stay. City Cenre, half an hour from the City Centre, or about an hour away in a country hotel, which wouldn’t really have even been Manchester.

We went with the city centre. I feel I want to boast for a second and stress that we set off around 9.30 am. I’m NEVER ready for 9.30 in the holidays (unless I’ve made plans to meet a friend. Otherwise I’m a sit in my pjs till lunch time kinda gal), but Andrew cleverly used the suggestion of  a McDonalds breakfast as an incentive. I have a feeling he will use this every time we go away, now

We arrived in Manchester City Centre after just under 4 hours travelling. We then spent around another hour figuring out how to get into the damn carpark. Andrew eventually resorted to popping into a local pub to use the toilet  ask the barman for help. He explained it’s a nightmare at the minute with roadworks and advised us to find another. So we did. Then we had a bit of an issue buying a parking ticket as it could be done over the phone only. Which would’ve been fine had we been able to find the ‘location number’ to enter into the automated phone system. We gave up and found another. Then had a 7 minute walk to our hotel (using google maps)

We then made our way to our rooms to sit back after the long journey, and relax. Only joking, we had a right muck on checking in having brought no photo ID with us (never been asked for this before) and I lost my patience with the receptionist when she looked at me with absolute horror that we’d booked a separate room for my son. I gave her ‘the glare’ with a sharp ‘And? Is there a problem’? Seriously though, he turned 18 on the sunday after we returned home.

Anwayay, after around another hour,  we finally made our way to our rooms. They weren’t the best, but fine for a couple of nights and a reminder that I really need to check out Tripadvisor first.

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We felt we really could do with a swim, so got kitted out in our swim gear, and the kids waddled down the corridors with arm bands over their clothes and goggles on,

2to be told children could only use the pool up unitl 5pm. It was 4.45.

So we had little options other than to check out the city centre instead. We thougt a Chinese buffet for tea would be nice, but the kids insisted on chicken nuggets and chips. Cue our second trip to McDonalds of the day for them, then a Chinese for us. However, they then thought they quite liked the look of Chinese too, and I think one of the waiters clocked me giving Emily some prawn toast. Although she was pretty vocal and drew attention to our table stating rather loudly ‘oh that food looks YUMMY. I wish I could have some’.

 

 

 

Obviously I had to try a cocktail, and Emily showed signs that she is going to be a bit of a party girl by asking if kids could have cocktails too.

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We then made our way back to the hotel, picking up a load of leafltes from reception for more ideas what to do the following day

bf After breakfast, we headed to Gullivers World in Warrington. We’d never took the girls to a theme park before, so this would be something different for us all. I wished I’d knew of Guillivers World earlier as it also has a hotel with themed rooms which looked amazing. and the girls would’ve loved a night there. But we were staying in a hotel which I am convinced smelt of illegal substances, had the smallest tv known to man on the wall and a Jacuzzi bath which didn’t work, so it was all good

We spent a full day there, arriving at 11 and leaving around 4.30. It’s a great place to go for kids from between the ages of 2 – 13. I was really worried surprised when the girls asked to go on the wooden rollercoaster. Obviously myself and Andrew had to go on with them, and it was fast. Really fast. The kids loved it, we actually really did too and a must if you visit.

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We also got thoroughly soaked on one of the water rides, but luckily the sun was out and we dried in no time. Only for Andrew and the girls to get soaked again on the Log Flume, which I found amusing.

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After about 5 hours in the theme park, we made our way back into Manchester. And we even managed to get lost walking back from the car park to the hotel, again.

 

After a quick change, Turtle Bay was my our choice of place to dine that night, and it was just amazing. We were literally spoilt for choice with a menu of Carribean food. I was however, gutted we’d just missed the 2 for 1 cocktail off. Didn’t stop me ordering a few though

Along with Garlic and Chili Pit Prawns and a Garlic and Herb Flat bread which we all shared, then a main of a Jerk ‘n’ Pull Pork Bun

Then we made our way to Gino Gelatos for ice cream and the most delicious Oreo Waffle.

8 So if you’re planning a trip to Manchester, you have to visit Ginos. To.die.for

37And no, my hubby will not thank me for this pic

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So after an early rise for a morning for a swim in the pool and use of the steam room and spa, that wrapped up out trip to Manchester.

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But one more thing. No matter how many hotels we visit, or how many gyms and leisure centres I go to. I just can not get my head around communal changing.

This hotel went one step further with a windowed shower. No curtain, just a big pane of glass. I showered in my costume and changed in the toilets.

We’re on our travels again in the last week of the holidays. We chose the last week for Andrews second weeks as presumably I’ll be demented by then. We’re off to Bath to visit family and we have lots of days out planned, and I am so happy to see there is a Turtle Bay in Bath.

dance, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, parenting, wellbeing

Clubbercise Mush Event

I know I should’ve written this way before now, but with it being the summer holidays and having two children to entertain, it’s often hard to find the time

But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, to wrap up the two weeks of promoting Mush – the free app for mums, I’d planned another Clubbercise event. I’d chosen the same venue as the previous one, as Flares as it is just the perfect venue for what I was looking for.

So after weeks of first of all getting myself in a right panic nobody would turn up, deciding what to wear and spending a small fortune on accessories and decs for the venue, the night was just brilliant. 

Along with Mel I arrived early to set up the venue. We thought having an electric pump, 45 minutes before the doors would open, would be more than enough time to inflate a variety of animals, palm trees, sharks and lilos and even a giant donut. However, the pump failed to do it’s job and I think we had our work out before it even began, by inflating them ourselves.  However, once done and put in place the venue looked ready for us to rock a Caribbean Neon party.

I think there was around 30 of us ravers who turned up in the usual neon, but this time with grass skirts, garlands and even flowery bras, to go with the Caribbean theme. 

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We were all just as rowdy and excited as the last event, and did our dance workout for around 45 minutes (I spent a lot of it taking pics/videos. Dancing wasn’t easy, and far too sweaty under a lot of pink and purple clip in hair pieces, a flower hairband and sunglasses)

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The girls were awesome, with their smiley faces, singing cheers and whoops. Seeing that alone made the night for me, as this is what it was all about – having fun with friends. And I know it’s always gonna be a good night with this crazy lot

The event itself definately ended on a high, with some of us even getting frisky with or riding on the ‘Dophin of Clubbalove’. You’re right Mel, Dave the Dolphin should to be your mascot and join us in every class.

We all stayed around for drinks afterwards, (like we were ever gonna just go home). My lovely friend Jeannie was lucky enough to have won us a VIP booth so there was 2 bottles of fizz and a giant Partini and a booth for us to sit and chat afterwards. We also decided rather than keep going to the bar, we’d all just order a cocktail jug for ourselves. So I was classy as always sat drinking 2 pints of Woo Woo, straight out the jug.

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We also found ourselve having a bit of a dance off with another group of girls in the VIP area, which is always fun. 

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I said from before I started my 5 weeks of marketing with Mush, I wanted to host an event which was all about forgetting about parenting duties for one night, letting our hair down, having a laugh, and remembering us mums can have fun too. Smashed it. Thank you girls all so much, for helping me do just that.

Thank you to Melanie once again for leading (and putting up with my often outlandish ‘Lou, we can not do that’ ideas), and Flares for their hospitality. The guys at Flares really are ace and could not do enough to help make us feel welcome, and the event a success. And they do awesome cocktails.

If you’re looking to make new mum friends, check out the app which can be downloaded via Play Store, and if you’re still to try Clubbercise, and think it may be the work out for you, click this link to find your nearest class.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video, but it’s from a Facebook Live

 

anxiety, birth, depression, general, health, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy, wellbeing

July and why and what’s next

So, just briefly, around 8 weeks ago I noticed a post on the Facebook page of a free app, Mush, looking to recruit mums around the UK to market the app in their area.

The app works similar to Tinder (I don’t even know if this is the best comparison) but without the creeps, and the sleeze (no offence if you’re loved up through Tinder and views/opinions my own). But it’s similar in how it connects mums with other mums in the area.

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The reason I wanted to get involved is I know too well how social isolation feels and it ain’t nice. I saw this as an opportunity to help mums sat at home feeling like I did for so many years, with hope of helping them turn their life around.

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve dropped flyers off at local childrens centres, maternity units, handed them to Teachers, Childminders, Midwives. I’ve felt like a super sleuth quickly dropping them in baby change/feeding areas (do you know how weird that looks without a baby?!), changing rooms and even ladies toilets (yes, I know – living the dream). I’ve stuck stickers on park benches, pic-nic tables, bus stops, attached posters to park railings, school gates. I’ve done interviews over the phone for Smooth Radio, The Chronicle and had an exciting morning at Metro Radio, sharing my experiences of how life changes once you have a baby. I wanted to highlight that as expected, you are filled with love, you do feel complete, you do feel blessed, you do feel joy, but you also lose yourself as you put this new little person first. You completely forget who you are and what you like. It takes forever to get ready to go out anywhere, so often don’t bother. You lose contact with friends, or turn down any invites to nights out, to the point your friends stop asking you. The days are long as they start super early, the nights are late and sleep is broken. These are the negative aspects we don’t seem to hear or read about and the devastating affect they can have upon your emotional wellbeing. So basically I progressed from wanting to promote an app, to highlighting issues in parenthood we tend not to talk about. The more taboo subjects if you like. I don’t do taboo. I’ll talk about anything and everything

Moving forward, I knew as part of this role I’d be expected to plan an event. This event would be an opportunity to bring more mums together and to mark the end of the 5 weeks as part of the Mush team. I knew I could organise a coffee morning at a local soft play, or a picnic in the park. But I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted this event to be all about the mums. I wanted an event where the babies stay at home with Dad (you don’t see dads giving up their social life once baby arrives, right?) and the mums get some much deserved ‘me’ time. And I thought I’d throw an opportunity for a well deserved cocktail or two

So it’s in a pub. Out of the 50 Mush recruits, pretty sure I’m the only one to be hosting a piss up. But in my defence,  we’re not just meeting up for a Saturday night sesh in town. We’re Clubbercising first for an hour. We’re throwing on our gym gear and trainers, grass skirts (Caribbean theme) and coconut bras (not me, but my friend is) painting and glittering our faces and doing a dance work out, with our glow sticks, whistles and whoops to 90s to current day tracks on the lit up dancefloor of Flares. I can not wait and loving the prep I’ve been doing this week. I’m currently sat on the sofa with a blow up dolphin to the left of me, and giant banana and crocodile to the right. And a pile of lilos and rubber rings on the table.

We did this in May in aid of Radio Lollipop where I volunteer and it was such a good night, I could not miss and opportunity to do it all again.

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I want music, I want dancing, I want laughter and I want a night to hopefully remember. But most of all, I want a fun night with my friends. The girls who mean more to me than they probably know. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve already seen three of them this week. How awesome is that. I want other women who feel alone to realise that it’s never to late to rediscover yourself. To remember what you like, what makes you laugh, how it feels to have fun. But most of all, how important it is to have friends, as they could be a lifeline.

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And I was about to share some more exciting info, but I’m keeping that for a future blog. I’m keeping this one all about the Mammys, how awesome they are, how hard it can be and how they don’t ever have to do it alone.

For more info about my event click on this link

https://www.facebook.com/events/102859490355781/

And to download the Mush app

https://mushapp.app.link/zeSiqqr4mE

 

 

anxiety, autism, dance, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, special needs, wellbeing

My postnatal depression story

I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I have trouble remembering the first two years of my sons life. I can not tell you at what age he got his first tooth, his favourite food as a baby, his first word or when he began to sleep through the night.  I’m not even sure of what age he took his first steps.

My second child, I can tell you all her milestones. I think that’s mainly due to the amount of times I’ve had to go over them with paediatricians, therapists, doctors. She has autism, and was finally diagnosed at age six just last year.

My youngest,  Emily. I know all her firsts. Mainly because I was extra vigilant looking out for any red flags we had with my eldest daughter.

Each pregnancy was different. All had the usual sickness and discomfort.  But my third pregnancy, I just wasn’t feeling those feelings you associate with pregnancy. The excitement,  the happiness, the eagerness. I didn’t really feel anything.

I brought my feelings (or lack of) up with my midwife whilst getting my bloods done. I was assured it was perfectly normal , due to hormones and it would all settle down probably by my next appointment.

Only it didn’t.  I didn’t take joy in shopping for baby clothes, I was in no rush to pack my hospital bag, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was emotionless.

I booked a 3D scan around the 32 week mark, hoping that would make everything feel more real, I don’t think it did. It was a wonderful experience, of course it was, but the sadness continued.

The years which followed my daughters birth in September 2011 were dark, very dark. I was dealing with the likelihood of my oldest daughter having autism, which was causing stress along with that lingering feeling of worthlessness. But before even falling pregnant with my daughter, I was dealing with body image issues. I hated my appearance to the point it was affecting my everyday life. These feelings got worse. I’d stay home all day unable to face the world, or I’d only leave the house when it was dark. I’d avoid mirrors and my reflection in windows. I’d panic if we had a party or wedding to go to. I hide away in the toilets to avoid any social interaction.  And my heart would pound and my  head spin if I saw anyone with a camera.

I’d apologise to my children, as small as they were and unable to understand, for being a useless mother. I’d tell them I loved them as the tears rolled down my face, and that I was doing my best. I’d ask my husband why he was with me and give him the option to leave, which always left him gobsmacked and confused.

I’d go to bed each night and secretly wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’d have dreams of living a life where I am happy and have friends around me, and wake up devastated when I realised they were just that. A dream

My husband found me a video on Youtube about the ‘Black dog’, and asked me to watch it. I did. I broke down and he told me to get help.

I went to my GP, told her my feelings and filled in a questionnaire. From that she gathered I had depression and extreme anxiety. I was referred to the Mental Health Team. Again. I was already in therapy before falling pregnant with Emily dealing with body image issues. Hence my panic when faced with the prospect of having my photo taken. I was a mess. An absolute broken mess

That was September 2013. From then on I had fortnightly visits from my Health Visitor. She didn’t come to pry or check up on me. She came to lend and ear aswell as advice and support, and I thanked her for that.

October 2013 I began attending well-being courses. I picked up techniques to deal with stress, become assertive and gain confidence.

Summer 2014 I had my first appointment with I think it was a life coach. She pretty much assessed me to see if she could help. She couldn’t. My condition was too extreme.  I was then referred to a clinical psychologist. Again

I met with my therapist every two weeks and I think I had around 10 sessions before I decided I felt ready to face the world alone once again.

I learned through these sessions I was suffering with post-natal depression, and that the depression had even grown DURING pregnancy. I found out through a quick glance at my notes at the doctors surgery as they came up on the computer screen during an appointment, that  I had been suffering with PND after the birth of my second child. I found out through a letter sent to my doctors and a copy to sent to me, that I’d even been suffering with PND after the birth of my first child way back in 1999. I had my son at 21 so I’d spent most of my adult life with depression. I genuinely thought I was just useless, unlikable, disgusting. I was non of those. I was depressed.

PND took away my memories of my first child growing from baby to toddler, it kept me indoors, it filled me with fear, took away my self-esteem and stripped me of my confidence

When the therapy ended, I took up blogging. I decided to chase my dreams and enrolled on a distance learning course. This both occupied my mind and my confidence began to grow. I‘ve taken up exercise, and spend most days either in a gym or an exercise class. I’ve made new friends. I even spend two hours on a Sunday night as part of a team for a local radio station. I’m still building up my confidence to become more involved, but I know I will. I know I can do it. I can do anything if I continue to believe in myself.

Over the months I’ve thrown myself into situations I would usually avoid. I’ve done things I could never imagine doing and I am in a place now where I have never been in before. A very good place and although I am an anxious person by nature, I have my anxiety under control and I will never let depression take over my life or steal my memories again.

general, lifestyle, parenting

A little girl and her Random Act of Kindness

The most beautiful, heartwarming thing happened to me yesterday afternoon, so special that I know I need to share with the world.

I was walking through Whitley Bay town centre with my daughter Jessica yesterday, when I heard someone shout ‘Excuse me’, I turned around expecting someone to tell me I’d dropped something, or ask who my energy supplier is – the norm in my home town
But instead a young girl aged around 8 or 9 handed me a bunch of daffodils, a chocolate bunny and a note and said ‘These are for you’ completely thrown I asked ‘Oh my goodness, why’? and she replied ‘Because you’re special, and people need to be told they’re special. And we all need to be kind to each other. So these are off me and my Grandad’
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Completely gobsmacked and amazed by this kind gesture, I thanked her and told her she’s extremely kind and that makes her special too, and wandered home, abandoning what I had went out to do. I needed to get home and tell my son, and share the story on social media there and then, when full of emotion.
Reading over the note again, I saw the little girls, name is Cassidy. I have since found her parents on Facebook and my post has gone viral and full of compliments Cassidys mum and dad can read to her to let her know what a special little girl she is.
Of course I was not the only person to experience this amazing act of kindness yesterday, I have heard from at least five or six others too.  One my friend Jo who runs local homeless charity Making Winter Warmer and it’s great to see her on the receiving end of kindness for all the good work she does.
This little lady and her Grandad completely made my day, if not my year and I’ll keep the note forever and look at it every single time I feel I’m having a difficult day.
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On the note Cassidy states we need to be kind to others, and she’s right, we absolutely do, and as parents, we need to teach our children to do the same ❤
birth, general, health, humour, lifestyle, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy

The truth about pregnancy

We’ve all read stories and watched documentaries where mums-to-be talk about feeling so maternal and womanly and fulfilled now that their body is doing all the things it’s made to do, and how they are fully embracing their expanding bodies.

But maybe we should talk more honestly and openly about pregnany and realise it’s perfectly ok to admit you’re finding it tough and wishing the 9 months over without feeling inadequate or ungreatful.

So I thought I’d share an insight into what to really expect during pregnancy, based on my own experiences

‘Morning’ sickness

How naive was I when I thought it would just automatically stop at I around 12 weeks, like it’s on a timer. It lasted all day, every day, with all three babies. I’m not talking just little bouts of nausea as you go about your day. But a full on hangover. I spent the majority of 9 months with my head in the toilet. Any toilet.

Baby brain

The pregnancy-induced fog which many women experience and scientist ‘claim’ may exist. It does exist and we don’t need a dude in a white coat in a lab to confirm it.

You’ll forget everything where the ability to remember even your own name becomes difficult. I was asked the DOBs of my two children whilst pregnant with my third, along with my due date at a doctors appointment. All I could offer was a blank stare which just screamed ‘are you freaking serious’?

I ended up skint for four days when I incorrectly entered my pin number in the cash point three times and said goodbye to my card.

It’s not just a pregnancy thing either. You’ll still be going to Boots for nappies but leaving with toothpaste and finding your keys in the fridge well after the birth

The sonographer isn’t always correct

From my 20 week scan with my first, we eagerly awaited the birth of ‘Chloe’  and I built up a collection of pretty little frilly dresses and dinky pink shoes.

Some went back to the shop once Callum arrived into the world at 42 weeks, and some my sister dressed him in anyway for a giggle and photos which we will get blown up for his 18th

Obviously technology has progressed over the last 18 years, and they were bang on the money with my other two. But I’d hold out on decorating the nursery pink or blue until little one arrives, and have a back up name of the opposite gender.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just leave the sex as a surprise, but there is no bigger surprise than expecting a girl but giving birth to a beautiful baby boy.

It’s not just 9 months,

The first 20 weeks are the longest, although probably not as long as the last two weeks, or the two weeks after your due date

And if you have pregnant friends or know anyone who is due round the same times as you, they’ll give birth before you. Guaranteed

My hubby made the mistake of telling me one of his work mates had just gone on paternity leave as he walked through the door one night. My eyes widened as he realised he shouldn’t his error. I was due before his wife. I was due before pretty much anyone I knew who dropped before me

Everything makes you cry

News articles, songs, films, pregnancy books, adverts, Call the Midwife, the price of prams, everything. Especially the price of prams

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum when you get ‘the rage’. I’m not a jealous partner. And that’s not because I’m all confident in myself, I’m not. I just don’t seem to feel jealousy as an emotion.

Except whilst with child.

My hubby went to an open day at a gym with his friend. I was fine with it as first, why wouldn’t I be? Till I started to envisage hot girls in gym gear, with a tiny little waist whist mine was that of a baby hippo, and the texts went from ‘are you having a good day’?, to ‘SO ARE THERE ANY WOMEN THERE’. Yeah I felt a slight niggle of jealousy that day

The ‘glow’

Spots, dry skin, bloodshot eyes from sickness – absolute radiance

Food aversions

I remember smuggly discussing diet with my midwife right at the start of my last pregnancy. I had just lost around 50lbs so obviously wanted to gain as least weight as possible,  so sat and confidently told her how disciplined I now was and would 100% be sticking to a healthy nutritious diet of fruit and veg

I could literally only stomach bread, chicken and mash for around the first 5 months as I found myself unintentionally on some king of beige coloured food diet as anything with any colour made me want to barf.

I gained around 60lbs and only just under 9lb of that was baby, lets attribute about 20lbs to fluid, placenta, boobs and uterus, and you do the maths.

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Fail

Heightened sense of smell

We’re talking that of  a blood hound. It drives you crazy and it makes you nauseous.

I wasn’t living with my now hubby till about 7 months into the pregnancy, and he knew to remove all the plug-ins before going to his. My new sofa got doused in olbas oil (hubs idea) making the smell even more unbareable than that of leather which was knocking me sick in the first place, and all plastic bags went in the bin. Yes, plastic bags have a smell

I got the bus home from work during my first pregnancy and some fool got on with a pizza. I suffered for 30 minutes with the overpowering meat feasty smell wafting around in front of me.  Ran (or wobbled quickly) home down the never ending street (I lived at number 208), opened the front door and thank god there was a downstairs toilet as I just made it in time

Luckily, it doesn’t last the whole nine months, I’d say 8.

I’m gonna be a good blogger and make this more balanced. The best, most special things about pregnancy, which you think about for years and years after giving birth, probably forever, is the tiny little flutters you feel at around 16 weeks, which turn into little patters then tight squeezed wiggles and kicks which wake you up in the night and keep you awake for hours as you lie and watch growing bump knockout some rather impressive shapes.

It’s without a doubt, the best, most precious feeling in the world.

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So maybe like almost everything else in your life, the best, most wonderful, most amazing things come from the hardest, darkest and most difficult of times.

 

anxiety, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting

Man Down

Things have been a little bit hectic since my last blog. My hubby has been poorly and a trip to his doctors Thursday morning led to an overnight stay in hospital, and an emergency op that night. I had to stay at home with the kids so I had a really anxious day waiting for news. He went straight to the hospital from the doctors with a very low phone battery and no charger. Meaning contact was going to be very brief. Until a nurse realised the situation Friday morning and kindly gave him a charger.

So I spent two days last week at home on my own with the kids. Feeling very worried and stressed. I didn’t really eat anything for those two days. Being anxious I had no appetite at all.

But he’s recovering really well and feeling much better now, but will be off work for a few weeks unfortunately, due to the nature of his job.

We obviously missed a PT session, and I couldn’t go my Thursday Clubbercise double. However, I did make it Friday night. I needed that hour and as it was a later class. the kids were ready for bed when I left so it was no problem for Andrew. I was able to go Sunday morning, too. I’m not sure how much the class did for me physically as my head wasn’t really with it and I don’t feel I put my all into the routines, but it definitely helped relieved some of the anxiety.

So, whilst Andrew recovers, there will be no gym for at least 4 weeks. I know I could go alone, but he’s my training partner and it doesn’t feel the same without him. And with him being off work we need to cut back on spending for a bit. Obviously I’m still going to be going to Clubbercise. I don’t just go to burn calories, I go for fun and I need that. It’s my sanity (and social life).

This last week has really got me thinking about the importance of being in good health. I was worried sick when Andrew told me he would be put under a general anesthetic during surgery. Obviously any medical procedure carries a risk, but luckily he had the fact he is well within the healthy BMI range, physically fit, and a non smoker or drinker on his side. Had he been overweight, unfit, a heavy drinker and smoker, he would have been at major risk of complications during surgery and be looking at a much longer recovery period

With all this in mind, my ‘diet’ this week has became even stricter. I feel my focus is less about the outside and more about the inside. I’m far more concerned about my health than my appearance now. I don’t want to be at risk of any kind of illness or conditions now or in the future. I want to be in the best physical health I can be for my children, and my husband.

I’m now making extra effort to make every single meal from scratch. No cereal for breakfast, no bread, no convenience cold pasta meals picked up for lunch time from the supermarket. I’ve spent so many hours in the kitchen this week, making and preparing meals.

An average day now consists of eggs, scrambled or poached, wholewheat pasta, chicken (even to snack on), protein shakes if I’m struggling for protein or after exercise, fresh fish, brown rice, veg, lots of veg.

pasta

chicken

 

salmon

But NO shop bought ‘healthy’ snacks. You know the kind. The ‘low fat’ crisps, biscuits, cakes. No justifying a bar of chocolate with ‘I’ve done 4 hours exercise this week’.

I made chocolate protein brownies today. They didn’t turn much like brownies. I think I may have followed the recipe wrong and they turned out slightly too gooey to turn into anything other than a splodge. But a chocolate splodge. A really tasty chocolate splodge.

mix

splodge

So after my many failed attempts of a diet, I know I have got this now. My aim isn’t to ‘look good for summer’. It’s to be healthy all year round and for the rest of my life

image

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, special needs, wellbeing

So I clearly can’t blog daily. But I’ve had a really hectic weekend. My hubby spent all day yesterday in hospital after feeling ill most of this week. He’s had a virus, but by saturday morning it was getting worse so he thought it best to go get checked out.

Obviously having two young children, I had to stay at home with them. There was no phone signal at the hospital, or wifi so I couldn’t get in touch with Andrew to find out what was happening and he couldn’t contact me, so I had an anxious few hours. I did the one thing that’s really not a good idea and googled his symptoms, then started to fear meningitis.

Oh and the central heating decided it wasn’t gonna work, so I had that to stress about too.

But thankfully he’s feeling much better today, but it feels a bit like we haven’t really had a weekend as he’s spent most of thisafternoon in bed. And I had a lonely saturday night infront of the tv with no one to talk to :o(

I hardly ate with stressing out yesterday, which i know isn’t good, but I have today.

We’re also having a diffucult time with my oldest daughter since returning to school. For anyone reading this who hasn’t read my blogs about her, she was diagnosed with autism last year. The diagnosis wasn’t a shock, we expected it. But she can be quite a handul, and her younger sister copies her behaviours so it’s often like having two children on the spectrum.

Jessica lives her life at a million miles and hour and want’s everything done instantly. She’s ready for school each morning an hour and a half before transport even arrives to collect her. And Christmas morning, she asked at 7.30am if Christmas was finished yet, and if it’s Valentines day next? Not sure why a 7-year-old would even be interested in Valentines day, but it’s Jess and she loves occassions.

She did seem to calm down and stop the demanding and shouting, and running around the house over the holidays, but she’s back to being her hyperactive self since going back to school. So it can get a bit mentally exhausting. If it wasn’t for having things in my life now which I enjoy and keeps me sane, I hate to think how I’d be feeling tonight.

I’ve done the usual 4 Clubbercise classes this week, my last one being thismorning, and it’s great to be back. I have found them more tiring than I usually do, particularly the first one on thursday, but I’ll get my energy levels back up again in no time (hopefully)

I’ve ate nothing I shouldn’t have this weekend, absolutely nothing, which I’m really pleased about. It’s so easy to justify something fattening just because it’s the weekend.

So this weekend has threw things at me which I may have resolved in the past with overeating. I didn’t sleep too well last night worrying about Andrew, but I was still up and ready for Clubbercise at 9.30 thismorning. I knew if I didn’t go, I’d only lounge about, and then regret not going, and feel crap.

So here’s hoping for a better week.

asd, autism, general, health, mental health, parenting, special needs

Today I hate autism and this is why

I like to keep my blogs light-hearted, positive and happy, as that’s pretty much how I feel most of the time. But I would be lying if I implied all the time, and that life with an autistic child is all rosy and I cope just beautifully. The truth is, it isn’t and I don’t.

Today I hate autism and the reason I hate it is because I took Jessica to a pop concert yesterday, and spent most of it completely choked up inside. It’s not often we’re around other kids. We rarely go to softplay, the cinema is virtually empty whenever we go, I doubt there are parents desperately trying to entertain their kids before 10am on a sunday morning, and Jessicas party invites are few and far between. Being in a class of only 9 children, and some of those children unable to deal with sensory issues a party brings, it’s not often she brings home any invitations.

It’s when I’m in a situation where I see other children, I’m overcome with sadness. Jessicas differences become more apparent, well more apparent to me. And it hurts

The reasons I hate autism are

1)  Four years in and I’m tired of having to explain Jessicas condition to people. Not friends, I’ll answer any questions they have at all, but strangers. Whether it’s some grump complaining about her behaviour (I got evil looks off a man trying to eat his lunch in a cafe last week when I was there with the girls, which I chose to ignore), or someone being friendly and talking to her. She won’t answer any questions she is asked, I answer for her. Then I feel the need to explain she has autism and doesn’t conversate well. It hurts so bad even hearing myself say that.

2) The whole ‘label’ or ‘autism doesn’t exist’ comments I’ve had thrown at me. It’s not a label, it’s and explanation, and trust me, it exists.

3) Apologies. People ‘apologising’ when I do explain Jessica has autism. But to be fair, I’m not exactly sure how anyone should act. I mean what else can you say to that little conversation stopper.

4) The assumption that people with autism don’t show empathy, or sympathy. Jessica knows when someone is hurt, and will tell me and her teachers in school. She may not run over and ask if they are alright, but she will alert someone. That’s empathy and genuine concern. She also gives the most amazing loving cuddles you could wish for.

5) Stupid damaging articles such as this one http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11553012/Smartphones-making-children-borderline-autistic-warns-expert.html Talk about demonising autism and the very thought of having a child on the spectrum. Oh the actual horror!!

6) Attitudes and reactions towards my choice to stop vaccinating my children. I chose to refuse Jessicas MMR booster, and Emily hasn’t had a single vaccination since she was 16 weeks. I’m not for one second insisting the MMR is the cause of Jessicas autism, but I’m not saying it wasn’t either. I’ve spent a lot of time reading into this and concluded that I would be silly to allow Jessica to have a booster. How would I even live with myself if I had to then watch her regress? I’m not a neglectful parent, I’m a cautious one.

7) The feeling of isolation I experience every single day. Over the years I’ve lost all confidence and even refused to leave the house sometimes. I’ve missed opportunities to make friends at parent and toddler groups, and turned down meeting up with friends and nights out. How could I possibly have enjoyed myself when I’m experiencing such sadness at home?!

8) The assumption that I’m coping fine. Jessica is on the whole very well-behaved, so I must have an easy and quiet life, right? Wrong, I’m up at a time most parents only get up at at Christmas every single day. Jessica lives at a million miles an hour. She wants her breakfast the second she is awake, then her clothes on instantly, then her shoes. Meal times – she wants pizza, but she wants it now, she doesn’t have the patience to wait for it took cook, so I find myself repeating ‘wait, good waiting’. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically.

9) Milestones taking so much longer to achieve. I hate seeing other children become more responsible and mature than Jessica and I find myself wondering if she will ever even achieve some milestones. I feel consumed with guilt that I dread seeing Emily overtake Jessicas developement. What kind of a parent dreads seeing their youngest  child reach milestones??

10) I’m constantly ‘on alert’. I follow Jessica meticulously around a park, I avoid softplays as I’m constantly scanning the damn thing looking for Jessica, which gives me a headache. I’m terrified she may wonder off so I can not take my eyes of her for a single second. I go to bed at night aware I will up in a few hours, a few hours less than I want to be. I’m constantly waiting for the next meltdown. Not that she has meltdowns like you would expect, she’s just very anxious and crys over the littlest thing, then will apologise for crying and I tell her she has nothing to apologise for. The anxiety is becoming more apparent, I have to speak to her really gently sometimes and offer constant reassurance.

11) Not knowing Jessicas future. I heard the other morning that only 15% of adults with autism end up in employment. I’m guessing that is down to capacity to work rather than job opportunities. I am praying she is in that 15% I want her to live alone and independently. I want her to fall in love, and have children, and live a happy life. I want everything that my other two children will have.

12) The belief that autism is a ‘gift’. Really?! Jessica is a gift, all children are a gift. But I’d like to return the autism, please. It’s somewhat hindering my beautiful child’s development and distorting her understanding of the world

13) I hate myself for having all these feelings, but I am only human and I’m entitled to my own thoughts and the ability to voice them. But they don’t come guilt free. I love my daughter unconditionally, but today, and every so often, I hate autism