28.4.14

The Temporary Friend

I've mentioned many times before about my bad luck when it comes to friendships. For a while I didn't learn my lesson, and learn from previous experiences.
I have a habit of letting people straight in, letting them get really close and giving my all, and then realising that they were the wrong person to do that with. They would treat me horribly, try and control me, bully me, have me almost worship them, take me for granted and just drain all of my energy.
That person then walks away, head held high, completely unaffected. I, on the other hand, am left broken again. Picking myself up, putting myself back together, going over what went wrong. Blaming myself, bullying myself just as those others did, picking out my bad points.

Last year I made a lot of changes in my life. Changes to do with how I was treated by friends and family. I started to really think about what I should and shouldn't have to deal with, who or what was important, and how or if it would affect my future, my husbands future or my boys future.
I had to make sacrifices and in cutting out some people from your life you do lose others, but rather than being offended by that or taking it personally, I took it in a positive way because it was clear that the "follower" was not worth my time, effort or energy either.
My main motto of last year was "You Don't Deserve This" and my mum would regularly remind me of those words.
I would go to her if I was having issues with anyone and she would say "You don't deserve this" or "you don't deserve that" and it wasn't until January this year, when I looked back on 2013, that I realised that those words really summed up my year.
It was about me looking at what I deserved, how I deserved to be treated, and how I deserve my life to be.

For me it's not as simple as walking away from friendships and relationships. I never get over the hurt. I constantly replay things that have been said or done over and over, trying to make sense of it, trying to find an answer as to why it happen. And trying to convince myself that it wasn't my fault, although I constantly feel it was because that's what bullies do, they control your way of thinking and can somehow turn you against yourself.
You believe you are this rubbish person, a rubbish friend. You stick up for yourself and for once in however many years choose to think about yourself, putting your own safety and mental health, and enjoyment, first but to that one bully you are the most awful person because you are not completely forgetting about yourself. You should be putting them first.
I had one moment when I felt like this, to the point that for almost 2 weeks I would cry almost everyday, I felt trapped, I would shake, I was scared of one person. Scared of how they made me feel.
I bully myself, as much as I am convincing myself that I am not the one with the problem or issue this person has managed to poison my mind into believing that actually yes, I am awful.

Finding the courage to walk away from any friendships or relationships is hard, especially when you know that you will never be completely rid of them for whatever reason. They will always be there in the background.
And even though they are not directly in your life, you know they are there. You can almost feel them watching you, knowing what they are saying about you, thinking about you and you always feel on edge.
You panic about going to certain places, speaking to certain people and you realise that although you've let that person go, you have cut them out of your life, they will always be there. You let them in and there is no way to rid yourself of them completely.

It's hard to live like that. To never be free.
My trust in others is at an all time low, but at the same time, I still let people in. I have a constant battle in my head. One part telling me that I can trust these new people and to let my guard down and tell them everything, one part tells me that this person cannot be trusted, do not let them in at all, and another part that trusts only so much and questions everyone.
They all battle for power and I end up making massive mistakes. And hurt myself again. And the doubt sets in.
And it makes me feel drained and down. And angry. At myself and at others. But mostly angry at myself.
I feel guilty that I have friends in my life that I adore, they make me happy, they make me laugh, they make me feel like me, but deep down, and more often than not, that side of me that questions everyone will win the battle and will try to convince me that these people don't like me. They pity me. They find me annoying, immature, irritating, and all the others words you can find in a thesaurus to describe annoying.
These people can't be trusted, they are friends with the people I have let go and it's all a big plan to make me say things, to stir up trouble for me and the others who have let me down before.

Although now writing this has triggered that side of me that questions people, and doubts everyone, I can also say that I feel guilty for having those thoughts.
I feel guilty because if, yes IF, anyone genuinely likes me (even if you say you like me and you are my friend I don't believe it) then it's really awful of me as a friend to then doubt them and to not trust me. Because if it was the other way round, and the people I really like and consider a friend said to me that they think I actually don't like them I would be upset. And angry, and really quite offended.
Yet there's part of me that makes me feel that way about others. That they really pity me. 
I always feel like there is something in the way of the friendships I so desperately crave. Somethings that can be fixed or amended, but some also that can't.

I long to have that feeling in my heart where I can truly believe that yes, someone may actually like me. They may actually want to be my friend, they may actually want to spend time with me and they don't pity me. They may be trustworthy and may want so desperately to have me in their lives.
But my heart feels full of doubt.

I don't want to be people's second thought anymore, the forgotten one or the one who will "do". The spare part. The temporary friend, until the next victim comes along, or indeed the perfect person. The perfect person you were being groomed to be. 
And you are left broken. Picking up the pieces, trying to remain strong but really you feel heavy, and like something so delicate which has been smashed into so many pieces, which you know will never go back where they should go. 
And you are back to the stage where you need to fix yourself again. You have to build yourself up again. And after a while you have the doubts again. The "what is the point?" thoughts.
"What is the point in me putting all this effort into building myself up to be knocked down again. To be someone else's temporary friend".

Always the temporary friend.
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27.4.14

Happy Sunday | Week Nine



Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

A Skype Session

On Easter Sunday I woke with an awful migraine, but my day was made slightly better by a Whatsapp message from my brother asking if I wanted to chat on Skype later. He bought me a Webcam for my birthday 2 years ago so we can Skype but we haven't used it much. Harry was having a nap and my husband was doing some work on the boat so myself and Charles had a lovely catch up with my brother for 20 minutes. It really makes me feel so happy just talking to him on Whatsapp so to be able to actually speak to him and see him is even better. I couldn't stop smiling after.

Mum-Me Time

On bank holiday Monday I headed to Norwich with my mum for a day of shopping, a meal out and then a trip to the theatre. Before I had children we would go shopping a lot, especially to Norwich when I was actually pregnant, and we would have lots of trips to the theatre, something we don't do so much now because I don't have enough money now with not working. It was a really special treat and after having a tough time recently I really felt like I desperately needed some time away.


A Haircut

I get really anxious when it comes to visiting the hairdressers. I try to put it off but then comes the moment when my hair is almost screaming at me to get it sorted.
With a weekend away planned meeting up with friends I wanted to look at least a little bit decent. Although I hate having it cut and can't wait for it to end the results are always good and I leave feeling a lot better.
This time it was a bigger cut than I planned and I ended up getting a lot of it cut off. I'm so pleased with the results. My hairdresser was spot on with the image I showed her of how I wanted it.

Friends

This week has involved a lot of catching up and "getting to know you" trips with friends.
On Wednesday Harry and I went to the zoo with a friend I've made on the school run, and her 2 year old daughter. It was lovely to see Harry with another child as he has very little interaction with children other than his brother.We went at 12.30 and left at 2.45 to get the older children from school.
The following day my friend who I went to school with, then became proper friends with because she had a baby just after I had Charles and is now Harry's Godmother, came round and we had a lovely catch up. She now has a 1 year old daughter who Harry loves and kept wanting to give cuddles to.
And this weekend, I am spending time with some other friends.
It's been lovely having company this week and makes me feel kind of wanted. Which is nice.
And this...which made me laugh.

Anniversary

It was our 9th wedding anniversary this week. We couldn't get a babysitter so instead my husband made us a 3 course meal of prawn cocktail, steak and peppercorn sauce, and pavlova, with a bottle of pink sparkley stuff. We watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I *might* have fallen asleep on the sofa 5 minutes before the end.
My husband went to the supermarket to get some bits for dinner and came home with some beautiful flowers for me. I love supermarket flowers and I really love this bouquet. It really brightens the lounge up.


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22.4.14

A Night Away on the Broads

The Easter holidays were very exciting indeed, and busier than I thought they would be with lots of trips to the boat to sort "stuff" and have a play.
My husband booked Saturday off work and on Good Friday we headed to the boat, met with our sailing instructor and planned to have a sailing lesson to follow the one we had had on the Tuesday. Unfortunately it was too windy for us as beginners so we didn't get to put the sails up but thanks to an engine we are able to explore the Broads in any weather. My husband and the instructor looked at the mast, the ropes and the sails to check everything over whilst the boys and I sat inside watching other boats motor and sail past.
Once we had dropped off our instructor and waved goodbye my husband had many trips to the car to get all of the stuff we needed for a couple of nights on the boat. We were all really excited to sleep on her and find fun places to moor up and also strangely excited to have the challenge of what to eat with limited cooking space.
With boxes full of Pot Noodles, 'just add water' pastas, pies, beans, 'just add water' porridge (soooo yummy) and a fridge with homemade lasagne we filled the drawers and made ourselves at home.

We sailed around, practised using the motor and mooring up, Harry slept and Charles was the best Captain there ever was.
We found the spot we wanted to moor up for the night. A nice space with no one else around until a big group joined later on but were a little way up the bank so didn't disturb us too much.
We cooked the lasagne and some garlic bread in our little oven, had a beer (just my husband and me of course) and listened to music, including some 1930's songs to fit in with the history of the boat.
We listened out for any birds we could hear and both myself and my husband got really excited when we heard a Bittern. It was quite an amazing sound and must have been quite close as we heard it quite clearly and quite a few times, even in the morning.
Then came bed time. We put the boys in their onesies, they played a lot in their big bed at the front and eventually we all fell asleep.

Then it went a big wrong.
12.30 I was woken by a 2 year old white as a sheet (a white sheet of course) and freezing cold. His juice had spilt in his sleeping bag and he was soaking wet. So off went his onesie and on went trousers, t shirt and a jumper because I hadn't packed a spare pair of pjs as I didn't think we would need any.
With his sleeping bag wet I pulled mine from my berth and joined him and Charles at the front. We snuggled down and he started to cough, I knew what was coming next.
He was sick. All over himself, all over my top, and my sleeping bag. We managed to get him into the toilet where he continued and as I tried to clear up the mess, trying not to panic at the small space, and now severe lack of bedding and clothing.
I got him changed...again and just put a jumper on myself. I managed to make my sleeping bag more of a duvet, moving the messy bit to the bottom and on the top (you're welcome for the detail) and Harry chose to sleep in my berth towards the back of the cabin. Thankfully we have 2 big wool rug blankets which I was able to put over him and he was really warm.
We all then woke up at 8am.

We enjoyed a cup of tea, a lovely warm porridge and a beautiful view of the Broads. We had another explore around, again using the motor, and decided that due to my sleeping bag situation we would have to return home. If it was just down to Harry's wet onesie we would have just popped to the nearby Asda to pick him up another but we had no choice.
We stayed moored up on the boat for the afternoon. Enjoyed lunch on the boat of sandwiches, and a tuna pasta salad. My husband and Charles stood on the deck and admired the other sailors going past, all in different boats, all of different ages.

Although we were all disappointed to be leaving early we've certainly learnt a few things for next time. We also know that if we can sleep on the boat when it's as chilly as it was, then the Summer will not be a problem at all.
The trip certainly had it's ups and downs but I'm learning to draw a line under the negatives and just carry forward the positives. Those are the memories I want to keep.
Quality time with my family. Seeing my husbands passion continue, and watching Charles sit next to his daddy equally as proud of our beautiful boat.

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20.4.14

Happy Sunday | Week Eight



Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

A Kind Heart...again.

I know I said 'A Kind Heart' in Week Four but once again this sweet little boy has been so kind.
Charles' kindness and sensitivity amazes me sometimes. He really cares about people and has the biggest kindest heart of any child I know.
I mentioned last week in my Love The Little Things post that we have made some really wonderful friends through sailing already and sadly they are selling their boat and moving abroad.  The boys have really taken to them and Charles wanted to draw them a picture of their boat and write them a letter too. The reason he drew the picture was because he "doesn't want them to forget Queenie or me".

Daisies

There are so many daisies on the grass around where we moor our boat. Charles again was super adorable as he skipped and hopped around the grass trying not to stand on any....which is tricky because there really are SO many.
The boys are both super sweet because they will always pick me a daisy or three. I adore daisies anyway but it makes me so pleased that they want to do that for me.

Compliments

I am a really insecure person. Any one who has read previous posts will know that I don't believe that anyone likes me, or could like me. Especially people who I look up to or would like to be friends with.
This week, in real life, I had two really wonderful compliments that made my week, and made me cry happy tears.
These compliments were from two men who we've met through sailing. Both are in their 50's/60's and admire each of them, so it meant a lot for them to tell me these nice things.
I know this sounds really weird, getting compliments from older men but it wasn't at all.
One told me how kind I am, and made compliments about my nature. Which really meant a lot.
The other, our sailing instructor, told me I had brought "a ray of sunshine in this old mans life".
These comments really hit me straight in my heart. They made me smile and made me feel really good about myself. These men will never know how much those kind words made me feel, and how well appreciate they were.

The Sunset

This photo is unedited, I wanted to show off how completely beautiful the view was over the Broads last week. So so beautiful. A couple of days before this we were stood in the exact same spot and watched as the mist rolled in over the fields. It was really quite eerie and scary as it surrounded us, but beautiful all the same.
I cannot wait to see more views like this, maybe even better, over the next 6-7 months.

 A Description

Charles and I will regularly play a game of "what do you love about me?" On Thursday this week we had a new game of "describe me in 3 words". I chose for him:
Cheeky
Handsome
Funny.
For me he chose:
Happy
You love me
You love eyebrows.
Ok, so he didn't totally get what he was supposed to do but it works....other than the eyebrows thing. Random.
But the first word he used meant a lot. It meant I have clearly started to turn a corner. For a while I was a shouty mummy, a lot. I'm still a shouty mummy at times, as a few of us are I'm sure, but certainly not as much as I was. The fact that he see's me as being happy means I am showing him more of the happy side of me. I worry that he has maybe seen me cry too much recently, or picks up on my anxiousness too much, but for him to immediately think of me as being happy means I'm doing something right.

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16.4.14

One Month On

A month ago I started taking anti-depressants. It wasn't a choice I made easily and despite really not wanting to take them and feeling like a failure to have got to the point of needing them I am now in a position where I feel ok. 
Of course, I would rather not need them at all. But, I do. And that's that.

The first two weeks were fab in some ways and tough in others.
I had a really positive time, felt happy and for a moment did think maybe I didn't need the tablets after all. The toughness came in forms of hot flushes. Awful hot flushes, which are quite embarrassing when you are on the school run surrounded by mums who are chilly and wrapped up warm and you are stood there with no coat on sweating.

Yesterday I took my last tablet from the months pack and had an awful time as per other months trying to get an appointment with my doctor. I was expecting a phone call from him, phoned to check he would be ringing me in the morning as previously planned, and was spoken to in the most awful way by the receptionist and told I may have to wait until next week, despite saying I needed to speak to him THAT DAY to get a new prescription as I had completely run out and needed to talk about which dose I would be taking next.
I became so upset I had to hang up the phone so she didn't have the satisfaction of hearing me cry.
15 minutes later my doctor phoned and right now I am standing with 2 months worth of tablets in an increased dose.

Although the first 2 weeks were really good the second 2 weeks were tough and I went back to my "usual ways". Crying for no reason, and just feeling generally down.
With my increased dose we are hoping that within 2 weeks from now I should see an improvement and feel better.

I think I've changed a lot psychologically since taking the tablets. It's not that they have made me this way but more changing my thoughts. I take the tablets around lunch time, I am a nightmare at remembering to take tablets so have set an alarm on my phone, but I find I get reminders when it's time to take them.
Be it happy reminders, something making me smile and me thinking "ooo this is a happy moment" and then linking happiness to my tablets, or feeling a bit down and feeling like I need a pick up and linking that to my tablets.
I am recognising happy feelings a lot more. Things that make me feel good and make me feel nice. Things that make me smile. Things I don't want to forget.

For a while I did feel ashamed of myself for going on the tablets. I've tried so hard to not have to resort to them, to try and work things out myself, to understand my thoughts and reasoning but I realised I needed help. I needed someone or something to give me that support, to hold me up and help me along.
I've always said I'm not ashamed of having anxiety and depression. So why feel ashamed to need help?
I'm not responsible for suffering from anxiety and depression, but I am responsible when it comes to getting help and trying to make myself better.
I am responsible for my life and my quality of life.
I am responsible for my family and if me being on anti-depressants makes me happier in the long run and means life is better for all of us then it's silly to avoid taking them.

I am learning to accept that I'm not a failure for needing help.
I am learning to accept that although I didn't want to take tablets to feel happy or to feel good about myself, or to enjoy life, I need to take tablets to do that.
I am learning to accept that I have done all I can elsewhere, by changing certain things in my life, changing the people in my life and the people in it, by trying to do various forms of therapy, I have done all I can and just need that extra "thing" to guide me along.
I am learning to accept that this isn't going to be a short term thing. I'm not going to be off the tablets by the end of the year. I could be, but I may not be. I may be on them a year, two years or longer.
I am learning to accept that I am a bit fragile, and a bit broken, and that I can't just fix it all.
I am learning to accept that I am not weak. I am strong. I am strong because I asked for help, and I keep asking for help.
I am learning to accept that this is me. This is my life and taking anti-depressants is a big part of ME but isn't all I am. It doesn't define me.

I am not ashamed.



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14.4.14

Zizzi's New Spring Menu | Review

We are all big fans of Italian food, especially Charles and me. Charles definitely prefers eating out if he can choose between pasta or pizza rather than something with chips.
Unfortunately we don't have an Italian Restaurant in our town but just 45 minutes drive we are treated to one of our favourites, Zizzi's.
I first visited Zizzi almost 2 years ago. We were shopping for Harry's first shoes and wanted to pop somewhere for lunch that would be family-friendly and have something on the menu for all of us.

This weekend we were given the chance to go along and try out the new Spring Menu at Zizzi's in Norwich.. I had a look at the menu online for a sneaky peak. Does anyone else do this? I always plan my meals before heading out to a restaurant.
With so many meals to choose from it was hard. The classics are all still there but the new dishes were too tempting to resist, and as we were sat near the open plan style kitchen we had a sneaky look at the food going out to the other diners.
I love being able to watch chefs at work, as did the boys. It also helps me trust that we are having fresh meals cooked by people who clearly love what they are creating.
The Spiedini seemed to be the most popular choice. Available in two varieties pescatore for fish lovers and pollo for those preferring chicken, both versions see a combination of marinated fish or chicken with Mediterranean vegetables. They really did look delicious and every single plate and skewer went back empty.

Executive Chef Angelo Garofalo said: “With a focus on fresh ingredients, the spring menu is inspired by simple ingredients that really deliver on taste. We want to help diners celebrate spring with authentic Italian flavours combined with a contemporary Zizzi twist.”

To start we went for the large Zizzi Antipasti to share. I had this at our first visit as my lunch so it's always been a firm favourite of mine. And once again it didn't disappoint. The portion size is perfect to share and as it's it not too heavy so prepares you perfectly for your main.

Harry's meal was from the children's menu. To start he had some dough sticks, which he really enjoyed and kept him occupied whilst he was colouring too, followed by Spaghetti Bolognese which was quite a big portion (which I don't mind as it's better for them to have too much than not enough) and is full of vegetables. Harry is NOT a fan of vegetables yet didn't turn his nose up and only left about a quarter of the bowl, which we were extremely impressed about. The children's pasta meals are available with either Penne or Spaghetti.
Charles just wanted garlic bread, nothing else. I was reassured by the waitress that this would be substantial enough and she wasn't wrong! It came out on a wooden board, as does the antipasti and other pizzas and is something I really like about eating here, and was more than enough to curb his hunger.
Both boys had a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert.

My husband went for the Salmone Broccoli, which is new to the menu for the Spring. Although the salmon was a tiny bit overdone for his usual taste but husband still enjoyed it. Especially after adding some of the chilli oil which is on the table all the time.

For dessert he went for the, again new to the menu, Chocolate and Toffee Nut Sundae. Again this was really popular with the other diners and we lost count of the amount of these that went out and came back empty. My husband's usual dessert choice is something chocolately, so I expected him to go for the Chocolate Tartufo. After seeing all the Sundaes go past to the other diners he couldn't resist. And in his own words "It was perfect. Really nice, really nice. I think desserts are Zizzi's strong point".

Chocolate & Toffee Nut Sundae: Chocolate and crema gelato, banana, whipped mascarpone cream, toffee sauce and caramelised peanuts.

Despite having so many tasty dishes to choose from I decided to go for the Rustica Bistecca Formaggi. Oh my, oh my. I thought I may miss the tomato base of the pizza but I didn't at all. The cheese base was perfect and the addition of the slow roasted tomatoes meant that the taste was still there. The steak was BEAUTIFUL. It was rare so if you don't like rare beef you might want to mention it. The only tiny problem I had was that Harry wanted to try the beef, which I let him as I thought he wouldn't like it. Big mistake, he then stole lots of it, which proves just how tasty it was.

rustica bistecca formaggi: Thinly sliced steak on a cheese base of gorgonzola, gruyère and pecorino. With slow roasted tomatoes, rocket, mozzarella and grana padano.

For dessert I stepped totally out of my comfort zone. Bananas are evil but I really liked the sound of the Chocolate and Banana Calzone. I was informed by the waitress that as the desserts (as with all the other meals) are made fresh you can control how much or how little goes into each dish. So, if you love bananas you can ask for extra, if you don't like them at all, you can ask to have it without. But, I was brave, and asked to have a small amount. 
The chocolate sauce is beautifully rich so for me blocked out the taste of the bananas to an extent (I find them really overpowering but it's just my taste). Although after eating half of the Calzone I had to pick out the rest of the bananas BUT again, this is just because I don't like them. To anyone who does like bananas, you MUST have this dessert.
The hot toffee sauce worked so well with the dough and the chocolate sauce. It was heaven.
This was probably a bit too heavy to have after a pizza but could either be shared (I would say it was big enough to be shared between 2 people) or would be ideal after a pasta dish.

Chocolate & Banana Calzone: Sweet, warm dough filled with banana, chocolate sauce and mascarpone cream. With crema gelato & hot toffee sauce.

One thing I did notice on the menu and was impressed by was the lighter options, such as the new Skinny Prawn and Broccoli Salad, which at under 250 calories balances simple, filling, flavour-packed ingredients with delicious taste. I think it's nice to know that those on a diet aren't restricted to what they can have and can still have the pleasure of eating out without feeling guilty after.

The service at Zizzi's Norwich couldn't be faulted at all. We felt really welcome, we didn't have to wait long for food, and the boys were made a fuss of too. (note: this wasn't purely because we were there to review, we have always had fantastic service when we've visited here).
There was a wonderful relaxed and warm atmosphere, and we left feeling like we'd had not only a fantastic meal but also quality time as a family which we needed after a crazy 3 days.


To add even more flavour to the menu, Zizzi has commissioned up and coming artist Charlie Davis, a recent illustration graduate from Falmouth University in Cornwall. Championed by Zizzi as one to watch in art and design, Charlie has taken inspiration for the new menu from Italian culture to pay homage to the restaurants’ roots. His Venetian themed artwork has used elements of the new dishes and transformed them into cartoon-like characters to create a visual story of the spring menu.

Jo Fawcett, Marketing Director of Zizzi said: “At Zizzi, we have always championed new talent in various industries. Cutting edge illustration and design is at the heart of our restaurants’ culture, that’s why we commissioned Charlie – we love his work and think it is the perfect way to showcase our new spring menu.”

“Bringing Italian culture to our restaurants is in our nature – we want our diners to see food as a celebration; the new artwork demonstrates this perfectly through the Venetian style gathering with the foodie characters, surrounded by delicious food and drink.” 
 We were given a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review.
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