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30.5.15

Caturday #1

We've had our first week with Walter now. Well, it will be a week tomorrow but you know, tomorrow isn't Saturday and if I'm calling this series Caturday then it kind of needs to go up today.

Anyway.
It's strange. I know to most people he is "just a cat" and treating them like a baby is ridiculous. But, he's 9 weeks old. He is a baby. And now, I am his mummy. I'm the one who feeds him, gives him his milk (albeit from a carton, not from my teats), keeps him safe and warm and gives him comfort.

There was a horrible moment when I was expecting him home last Sunday. I had already imagined him in our home and as part of our family, but my husband hadn't sent me a photo as we'd planned and then didn't reply to a text where I asked 'Is he lovely?' so I assumed the worst. I thought that in the time between me saying yes to us having him and that Sunday he had become ill.
Seeing my husband take out the strapped in car seat as he pulled up made my eyes fill up.
I didn't expect him to be so tiny. And with our other cat being so beautiful I kind of didn't expect him to match up to her. But my goodness, my heart kind of exploded at how cute and pretty he is. He has the most beautiful markings. Like a little tiger.

I think two biggest factors with his arrival are:
1. Jasmine, our other cat. She is coping better than we thought she would. She isn't happy and is a little stressed, however on Tuesday they came face to face, well two metres apart, and didn't hiss or groan. This happened twice so it was definitely progress compared to Sunday and Monday when it was a case of who can hiss and groan the loudest.

2. The boys. I can't blame them, they are excited and haven't really seen a kitten before. I am desperate for them to have a pet they can interact with as Jasmine isn't that forthcoming with them, and our rabbit isn't really that tame, so I want Walter to be the type of cat they can play with and cuddle up to.
The boys have been a little hyper and over-excited which is getting in the way of my plan to ease Walter in slowly and quietly. But then again, maybe it's best he is aware of how loud and screamy they can be?

It's funny to have this little creature who is so dependant on me. I had to remind myself that he isn't aware that his food is waiting for him downstairs and have had to take his food and milk to him. I think this is good though because he then see's that my role is as his mummy and he is able to trust me.

I was so nervous that I was jumping into something that we wouldn't be able to handle and that would mix up our dynamics and create more stress in the home. The truth is though, it feels right and he fits in perfectly.

I think within the next month he and Jasmine will either be on a level where they simply tolerate each other, or they will be friends.

I just feel sad now that I'll be missing a week of him as I go away to Stansted on Tuesday and then the Isle of Man on Wednesday. I'm expecting to come back to a fully grown cat who will probably have been taught, by my husband, how to play fight.


29.5.15

Five Things | Saying Yes

I've always been a bit of a wimp, and quite boring really. I turn down nights out thinking I should stay at home with my family. I don't really think of me and what would be good for me. And as you may know, this year I decided to prioritise myself and do things to improve myself, and to give myself more experiences.
Saying yes has become a big thing for me, even if I really want to just scream "NO!!"

From going out, spending time with friends and actually having a social life, going on holiday to Somerset where I drove, going on the back of my brothers motorbike and next week flying on my own and meeting my brother at the Isle of Man and having a break with him for 5 days, it's made me feel a bit better about myself. I bit stronger. And positively disconnected from my family and that family life, igniting this independence which is making me a better person.

The words below describe perfectly how I feel about saying yes, and about my life and decisions at the moment. I love them all.



28.5.15

Frugi SS15 Collection | Review

Since becoming a member of the 'Frugi Family' I really have fallen for the brand and the clothes they create.
Every new collection is just as good, if not better, than the one before and I'm pretty sure Frugi will never disappoint me when it comes to their designs.

As I've said in my other Frugi posts, the thing I like the most about the designs is that they are different to the other outfits available on the high street...and primarily in the supermarkets.
Frugi don't bombard us with character tshirts, or ridiculous slogans.
Their designs are fun, bright and well suited to their target wearer.

Something I noticed this time too, which I hadn't been aware of before simply because I'd just never thought about it, is that the boys t-shirts are more than suitable for girls too.

We were lucky to once again get the chance to pick an item from the new collection to review. I really like letting my boys choose which clothes they want so after going through the t-shirts with Harry we eventually (he gets his indecisiveness from me) chose the beach applique top in the bottle design.
I didn't know the tshirt had been posted through the door (in the parcel, obviously) until I heard an excited high pitched voice shouting "MUMMY! MY NEW TOP! MY NEW TOP! I LOVE IT LOOOOOOK!!"
The colour is really lovely. Despite Harry having blue eyes and that being the colour that suits him the most when it comes to clothes, this shade of green is really sweet. It's not too garish but also isn't too dull. Green is a colour I tend to not consider with Harry so much but this one really compliments his skin tone, hair colour and eye colour.
We love the applique design, and the detail on the waves and the boat in the bottle, as well as the embroidered anchor coming out of the cork.

The other thing I particularly like about Frugi tops is that they can either be worn casual, as a day to day outfit, or paired with smart trousers, spiky hair and a cheeky face, it makes a great top for a family meal out.

Some of my other favourites from the SS15 collection are below. Despite not having a girl I am always so drawn to Frugi's dresses and playsuits for girls. I think I need to take advantage of my friends daughters and start treating them to some pretty outfits.
You can see there is a clear nautical/beach theme to the new collection, and all of the outfits compliment each other perfectly.
To see what other members of the Frugi family chose and loved from the new collection all you have to do is follow the trail. I'm sending you on to beautiful Jennie who blogs at Edspire.


27.5.15

Live One Hour More

I love Pinterest. My obsession on there is quotes, and song lyrics. Nice verses, poems, and those meme style posts.
There are a few quotes that I see come round again and again, and that really stick in my head. One of them being "Wake up an hour earlier to live one hour more" and I just loved it from the moment I read it.
This was last year, and I constantly said to myself "I will do that" and it was a case of putting it off until next week, and then next week, and next week again, until I simply didn't bother.

With my current "mid-life-crisis" it seems the perfect opportunity to stop making excuses and to just got for it.
Imagine all the things you can do with an extra hour.
An early morning soak in the bath, getting to do your make up and hair in peace, being productive and getting the ironing out of the way, putting on a load of washing that will as a result be on the washing line by the time you would usually be getting up. Reading a book, catching up with a tv programme. Or simply sitting in the garden with a hot cup of coffee listening to the birds and hearing the milk float go past.

June is a crazy busy month and I know I cannot dedicate the time to this at any point so, in July I am doing it.
Last year we used to walk to Charles' school in the morning. We would even end up being early. This year, we are rushing out of the door at the last minute almost everyday, and it is at the point where I wonder how on earth we were ever out of the door at 8am last year?!
However, I used to love doing that walk. I had a guaranteed exercise planned everyday, could mix up my route to gain miles, and generally felt pretty good. And I want that feeling back.

So from July the 6th I will set my alarm an hour and 10 minutes earlier than usual (10 minutes to convince myself this will be worth it and to get out of bed!) everyday for a week and will see how I can make that extra hour beneficial to me.
And I want to document that process too.

If the first week goes well I will extend it to a second week too.

Do you fancy joining in? I'd love to see how other people fill that extra hour, and how we feel about it after a week or two of the experience. And also for the encouragement and support. It's only an hour after all, but still.
You in?


It's Not Always Plain Sailing

Last weekend after a trip to the zoo with friends, the boys and I headed to the boat to meet up with my husband, his sister and her husband...oh and their dog, Mr Scruff.
This was our first overnight stay on the boat this year, which was a long time coming! And as we finally had a new mast, and the sails had been put on, we made the most of the weekend.

We took along a bucket barbecue I bought from Waitrose last Summer that we hadn't got round to using, and bought some burgers, sausages and salady bits. My brother in law became head of the barbecue and, unlike disposable barbecues, our food was ready in no time.

There are certain times on the boat when everything feels just as it should. There is a nice atmosphere, you feel relaxed, everyone is comfortable with each other. I think the fact that sleeping on a yacht is so similar to camping in that you have to respect the people around you and to watch how much noise you are making, the lights coming from your boat and so on, so it can be a slight struggle to feel relaxed, especially when you have children.
But with no many people around anyway, it was a really lovely evening.

The following day, with everything packed in the cars. We all jumped on board and went for a sail.
All was going well until we found ourselves in the middle of a dingy race. No biggie, we thought, we would just up the power and motor on through. Then we realised we weren't going anywhere. We had power, but no speed.
We were able to get our job (smaller front sail) open and to lightly sail to a safe area, drop our mud weight so the men could see what the deal was.
Our propeller had slipped out of where it was supposed to be and there was no way we could get it back in.
So, we had to be brave and get the sails back up and try to sail the longish way back to our mooring.
It was going well. I was in the cabin with the boys and the dog. And then I heard "I've lost the steering. I've lost the steering".
I looked out of the porthole and saw the sail had been dropped quite quickly.
Due to the propeller coming loose, it had jammed our rudder, only giving us half of the steering we should have.
We were stuck. And we had gone just a metre past the ideal bank to moor up at so we could arrange getting help.

A couple stopped in their yacht to tow us to the bank but their engine wasn't big enough and we were left in the middle of the Broad, eventually drifting into the reeds.
We called the boat shed for help and we were rescued...although as the boats were being tied together the battery on the rescue boat went! We gave them ours so in theory, we rescued the rescue boat!

It was certainly an experience. And we were all amazed at how calm we were. Despite it being mid afternoon and we hadn't had lunch, and had no food on board.

This year has definitely been completely different to last year, where everything seemed to go really well, which was frustrating as we couldn't sail at first then!
And now we can sail, it isn't going as well as we hoped. But, we won't let it put us off. And this weekend we will hopefully enjoy ourselves watching the Three Rivers Boat race and won't require rescuing of any kind!



25.5.15

Meet Walter

My mother in law phoned me this week just as I was getting ready to go to Charles' school for a share afternoon. I didn't have time to answer it, and knew she would leave a message. I thought she would be ringing to see if I was ok because I hadn't replied to a text she sent the day before.
My signal was all over the place so the voicemail kept cracking. I picked up a few words and heard her say something about a kitten so listened again.
It was quite weird really, when I heard her say that there were 2 kittens, from the farm we got our cat Jasmine from 10 years ago, and that they were looking for a home. She was going to have the girl and didn't know if we would be interested in the boy.
My immediate thought was 'no' but there was something in my head, and that clicked in my heart, that was saying "why not?!".
Jasmine has been by herself since her brother, Harry, was hit by a car in 2009. She has been a house cat since 2011 and I do worry about her. I worry about whether or not she feels lonely or if she wants some company.
It is a bit of a gamble, as she could hate him. I remembered back to when we got her though. Harry hated her. She would go stumbling over to him and he would hiss, look annoyed, and walk off. Yet when we weren't looking he would clean her and soon enough she had him well and truly under the paw.
In fact she had become so dependent on him that it was worrying when he died because she would not clean herself.  

I kept thinking about those times with them and how actually, although our house isn't big, she would be able to avoid the kitten if she really wanted to. But secretly, she loves attention and the fact that she would be getting that will probably be quite lovely for her.

Well, to cut a long story short. My husband said no. I begged. He carried on the no thing. I text his mum saying that the answer was no. I went through to him again. Begged some more. He said no. I cried. He said yes.

I text his mum immediately saying "WAIT! HE SAID YES".
And then within no time they were on the phone to each other arranging the pick up date.

It just felt really quite special.
My mother in law had the sister of our cat Harry and it felt a little like we had to do that again. And if she was having this girl kitten leaving her brother behind that we should give him a home.

I straight away started thinking about names. Top of my list was Woody. Because of Toy Story and the Tom Hanks link of course. But also because it is my nickname for the boys and my husband too. And so for a while it was Woody. And then.....well then the name Walter became the one.
It was one of the names I had on my baby names list...but that my husband said no to.
So, it seemed perfect to use it for the kitten.
Also, for the facts that:
1. Our cat Jasmine was named after Princess Jasmine in Alladin (I wasn't allowed Belle, Ariel or Aurora) and obviously Walter was Walt Disney's name.
2. Tom Hanks played Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks.
3. Tom Hanks played Walter Fielding in Money Pit.
4. It is a traditional name in my husbands family and used to be the name given to first born sons. I didn't know this until after I told my mother in law our name choice.
5. It is a FANTASTIC name. Simple.

And now he is here.

He is super tiny, super cute with the most adorable meow. He's already made us laugh by hissing and getting very angry at his own shadow.
It's going to be tough with Jasmine and it's something we will have to work on. And teaching the boys to be gentle.
But already, we're a little (a lot) in love.

24.5.15

This Week in 5 | 24.05.15

Last year I started a little project called 'Happy Sunday'. Every Sunday I wrote about things that had made me happy that week.
This year I wanted to try something different and just basically want to look back at 5 things in the week that meant something to me, that happened, that I want to remember.


I had to run into town this week to collect a sleeping bag for my upcoming Isle of Man trip, and also to buy some essential flowers to go in my hair (ok, not essential but shhh). We walked past a charity shop and I loved this dress, although thought it would not be in my size but went in anyway.
Firstly, why do charity shops smell SO BAD?! It almost put me off buying the dress. However, the correct size AND £4.50 had me SOLD!
I was a touch disappointed to get it home and discover the previous owner was obviously too short for the dress so has cut the hem...badly. However, my mum can sort that out thankfully and it doesn't make the dress look horrid on me.


On Monday night I had a rare treat in the form of a trip to the pub with a friend of mine.
Despite going to school together, and reuniting as friends when we both became mums in 2009. We haven't really spent a lot of time together just the two of us, without the children....other than in 2011 when I was pregnant with Harry and we had a mini spa thing.
Anyway. This year I wanted to fix that, as did she. So we had a wine night in round hers, and then she mentioned us going out to the pub for a drink and recently I've just popped to hers for a coffee on a Tuesday once I've dropped Harry at preschool.
It was SO lovely and we had a really fab time. And WILL happen again.


On Thursday Harry goes to preschool all day so with a new Dunelm opening on Wednesday my friend Christine suggested we go along.
Well, 2 hours later we emerged. It's so exciting to have a shop like Dunelm in our town as a lot of other businesses like that are either quite a way out of town and the traffic can be a nightmare, or have closed down.
We were supposed to stop for a coffee in Dunelms cafe. However, we couldn't resist the urge of toasted tea bread. It was delicious, and cheap. Again, this WILL happen again.


I'm spending this weekend at Hayley's house. On Friday we got a Thai takeaway. I haven't really had Thai food before but OH MY GOODNESS! It was AMAZING. I would seriously consider moving here just for that takeaway. We watched Sex Tape on Friday night which was really good, despite Cameron Diaz who is really annoying.


The biggest thing this week has to be that we decided to get a kitten! I say we...it was mostly me. My husband only said yes once I cried. True story.
The boys and my husband are going to collect him today (Sunday) and my mother in law is collecting his sister too. I'm so excited, although nervous too as I don't know how Jasmine, our 10 year old cat, will take to him.
Harry and I went on a little shopping trip to grab some toys and a food bowl ready for his arrival. Poundland is definitely a good choice for cat toys! Pets at Home, great for bargain toys in the clearance section.

Linking up to:
The Ordinary Moments: Mummy Daddy Me
My Week That Was: Make, Do and Push

22.5.15

Five Things | Long Distance Friendships

Today I get to see my wonderful beautiful friend for the first time in SO long. I'm not really allowed to be all soppy about her, she'll slap me if I do, however if there is one positive thing for me to take away from blogging it would be her. Meeting her at Britmums in 2013 was the highlight of my year, and our friendship was totally unexpected.
Everyone needs a Hayley in their life...but not my one. You'll have to get your own.

I do think it is hard to maintain a long distance friendships. There has to be a real commitment and a real bond there to keep it going. I suppose it's like a long distance relationship really, or similar to one at least.

With a close friendship for almost two years now I think we're doing quite well. In fact for me this friendship has been a complete surprise as I certainly didn't expect to quite happily share a bed with someone when I've always hated sleepovers and sharing a room with someone else...yet I've shared a bed twice with Hayley now.


Whatsapp


Whatsapp is probably the best form of communication. Being able to send videos, photos, voice notes, messages, seeing when the other person is online or if they have read your message, makes it really easy to maintain regular communication. 
It doesn't have to involve super long chats and messages. Just a quick chat in the morning, or at any point throughout the day is enough to just keep that friendship fresh.
I think that Whatapp is also pretty much the virtual way of living a couple of doors away from someone. You are easily able to ask their opinion on things, or to rant or ask any kind of question. Or simply just to have a chat.

Skype


Because sometimes Whatsapp isn't enough and you miss seeing the other person and hearing their voice, and laughing at their mannerisms, eyerolls and their serious resting face.
I think you have to be pretty laid back when it comes to Skype calls and to treat it like your friend is actually sat there in your house. So leaving them to pop to the toilet is totally fine, or letting them watching you make lunch or make a coffee, answering the door to the postman, and even checking your emails and online shopping whilst you chat is totally fine.
It's also a great way to keep children interested in each other. Our children are all similar ages and get on well, yet have only met up twice in two years. However, being able to Skype and just see each other through the computer is a nice way for them to communicate, they are able to show off toys, share stories, pull faces at each other and just generally be pretty silly. It can be very noisy and very full on though.

Weekends and Mini Breaks


I remember when Hayley first mentioned a sleepover to me. I honestly thought it would never happen, and that she was a bit bonkers. However, it did happen and it was wonderful. I realised that the drive to her house is pretty simple (I don't even need to use a sat nav to get there now. Which is a win!!) despite taking 3 hours.
Last Summer we even managed to fit in a mini break as me and the boys visited Hayley and her family for a few days. It was a little stressful at times but it was lovely to visit some lovely places and to all spend quality time together. 
Although we last saw each other in October which seems like SO long ago we do regularly talk about making time to see each other and I think that as long as that thought is there, and that you both put in as much effort as you can to make it happen then it doesn't matter (too much) how long there is between seeing each other. 
Oh, and a big hug and kiss when you do see each other is essential.

Support and Expectations


The blogging community and blogging world can be competitive and there can be jealousy. One of you will get better opportunities than the other, one of you might have better ideas, more interaction, might be a bigger blogger than the other and one might just simply be more popular than the other as a person...or on social networks. 
I think from the get go the best thing about our friendship in particular was that we accepted what kind of blogger the other one is. We worked out boundaries, and also promised that if we were to share ideas that the other one would give their true, honest opinion. 
For example when it comes to Living Arrows photos I can send one over to Hayley and ask if it is awful. So far she hasn't said yes so I've been lucky. I have asked her opinion on a post and she will tell me if she thinks it is silly or a bit inappropriate. And I like that. 
I think it's nice to have a friend who understands blogging. They understand that creative side, the community, reviewing, and everything else that comes with it. And to have a friend who supports your blog, and doesn't get jealous or will celebrate and praise your achievements is a wonderful thing to have.
However, it's also nice to be able to be confident that if the blogging stopped for one of you or both of you, that your friendship would survive without that.

Privacy


Hayley subtly set ground rules at the beginning of our friendship in that we should keep it private. I am super soppy and she knows perfectly well that I would talk about her every day and have conversations on Twitter etc. And I almost felt a little offended at first, as if she didn't want people to see or to know we were such good friends. However, now I can see why she wanted it to be like that.
Our friendship is a private and personal thing. No one needs to know what we talk about, how often we talk, how many hours we talk for, what we do when we met up. When we had our family break there last year we kept Instagramming to a minimum. We wanted to more concentrate on spending our time together, and enjoy that face to face communication and to not just take photos of each other to post on social media for people who probably weren't particularly interested to see.
The occasional photo, and update of "this is what I'm up to" is totally acceptable.

Now, today I'm off to have a mini stay at Hayley's house. Which I will probably share a couple of photos of...but I may not (depends on whether or not she gives me the wifi code).
But wifi code or no wifi code, I am looking forward to lazing around in pjs and contemplating the possibility of an afternoon nap (woohoo, no children!), watching Eurovision, and clinking our glasses to another year of friendship.


20.5.15

Two School Run Mums

There are these two mums on the school run. Every day they park their cars on the same road, and wait for the other to arrive. They walk in together, they walk back to their cars together. They stand and talk on the corner or next to their cars and are usually the last to say goodbye and drive off, whilst the rest of the parents are long gone.

They will meet for coffee, go for walks, they talk on messenger....despite only just leaving each other and despite the fact that they will see each other in 5 minutes.

They park their cars, in the same place as in the morning, and walk to school to pick up their sons. As they walk in and as they stand together they are pretty much in their own world. They talk about anything and everything, they laugh until their faces are red and their cheeks hurt, and they do the best they can to embarrass and shock the other one.
They joke around, they banter, and they are almost unaware of those around them. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that they are themselves, and they won't play their friendship down just because others might judge them, or think they are silly.
They collect their boys and then they walk back to their cars together. They stand and talk on the corner or next to their cars and are usually the last to say goodbye and drive off, whilst the rest of the parents are long gone.

They will continue to chat in the evenings thanks to Facebook messenger and texts, and will occasionally go for a girly cinema date.
They have this mutual appreciation for each other, and will sometimes give a reminder to the other that they are thankful for their presence in their life. They're not afraid to hug if required, and are completely honest with each other.

Last week one of the mums realised how much she relied on the other. She turned up and parked her car and the other was nowhere to be seen. Pushing it for time she walked in, constantly looking around hoping the other had parked elsewhere and was already inside.
As she walked to the door she inquired as to whether or not her friend was inside. She was told no, she wasn't.
And a panic set in.
She had only messaged this friend 15 minutes previous and was told that the friends son was ready really early this morning. So where were they?
She didn't show her panic. But inside her heart raced and she wondered what could have happened. She tried to be rational but those anxious thoughts were overwhelming.

Someone joked that she couldn't cope without her friend. A comment she was getting used to and would usually shrug off.
She made a jokey comment back, but then felt anger.

All throughout her school life friendships were pretty awkward. She didn't have that one close friend like everyone else did. Apart from in middle school, when her close friend was a boy and she was picked on daily for it.
She was feeling so lucky to, as an adult, have found this solid friendship that the fact someone felt the need to make jokes about it couldn't help but to ignite this anger inside.

Jokes were made about her finding another friend and although she had a comeback to it, and didn't let the commenter win, she couldn't help but to take to heart.
She knows she is a good friend, she knows how important this friendship is to the two of them, and she knows that "finding another friend" isn't something either really want to do...in a replacement sense at least.
She felt as though she was being questioned as a friend. As if, despite the way she and her friend acted and how clear their bond was to them, others couldn't see that it isn't just this friendship that is set on the playground and is in fact a real thing.

The truth was that she relied on her friend on the school run, and she wasn't aware of it so much until now.
Due to her anxiety she selfishly relies on having someone to walk in with, to take her mind off the thoughts going through her head. She relies on this person to almost keep her safe, or at least to make her feel safe.
Without her friend there she panicked for her safety. She had lost that person she needed and it wasn't a case of missing morning gossip, it was missing an important element to her everyday routine.
But not just that. Her anxiety set in in other ways. Something that has generally only ever been apparent with herself or her family, but now she realised that this friend is part of that.
Different scenarios were going through her head. A car accident, the result of the car accident, and all sorts of other possibilities.
Of course no one was aware of this, and she tried to not react or to show that inside she was a mass of worry but something must have shown on her face for someone to comment, in a snide way, that she clearly can't cope without her friend.
But so what if she can't?

We are always so quick to make comments and to see things how we want to see it, without stopping to think that maybe, just maybe, there might be a reason why someone needs their friend everyday. There might be a reason why someone might panic at their friend not being there. And a friendship might emotionally, and mentally I suppose, be more to people than what others see.
Why should she need to defend her reasons for being worried about where her friend was? When a break in their routine is rare there is no other way to react than to panic a little...or a lot.
There is always so much more to peoples lives and it's frightening how others are unable to consider or accept that.

Those school run mums who met thanks to the school run, who rely on each other, and need each other. Who are alike in so many ways, yet also have their differences. Who can be honest and soppy, yet also mean and like to banter.
Those school run mums who are now best friends and are so proud of that. Who don't care if people are offended by their innocent laughter. Who have private jokes and know each others secrets.
Those school run mums, one of which is clinging on tightly, wanting this to be the unbreakable friendship...despite what other people may think or try to do.

Do you believe in luck?

Do you have an item you consider lucky? A lucky stone, keyring, a horseshoe or a charm?
Maybe a routine or process you go through which brings you luck?
Do you avoid walking under scaffolding, ladders, and avoid walking over three drains?

I think when it comes to luck it's a personal thing. What works for one person won't work for another, and it's all to do on your experience and beliefs.
I think it can also be down to chance, and can be psychological, a coincidence.
The guys at Paddy Power have put together an infographic with some interesting facts based around luck and chance.
What do you believe?


18.5.15

Feeling Ashamed

I've never been ashamed of my "condition" before, or should that be "conditions"?
I've always been proud to be open about what I am going through, what I am feeling, the feelings I have, how I am coping, or not coping.
I've never struggled to use the words depression or anxiety. I've never before been ashamed of the paranoia I suffer from, or any of the mental health issues I suffer from.
Until recently.

Despite writing about it, and being open about my feelings I, for some reason, struggled to label those posts.

Reading these posts I think is clear to anyone that I'm not in the best place, and haven't been for the last month or so. And I felt open enough to write about it, because to me that was ok. But labelling it "Mental Health" so it shows up with all of those other posts, I didn't feel brave enough to do that.
Why?
I don't know why. 
I don't know why I all of a sudden felt so ashamed of myself and for the first time felt unable to add that label because I wanted people to think I was ok.
I didn't want people to click on that link in the sidebar and to be greeted with a recent post. I wanted them to see one from March and to think "wow, she must be doing ok".

Because I'm not.
I'm not ok. 
I'm more confused than ever about how people see me. And about how I see myself.
I'm more confused than ever about my role in life. And my role in everyone else's life.
I'm more confused than ever about who I can trust.

I'm confused over why I all of a sudden felt like I shouldn't be open about being depressed and suffering with anxiety.
I was always so proud about being open about it and talking about it. Sharing my experience are helping people to understand themselves and other.

For the first time in a while, my anxiety feels it is at it's highest. This is the time I should be able to write about it, to be able to talk about it and to not feel ashamed.
There have been moments recently where I've needed or wanted people to have an idea of what I'm going through, without eyerolling and thinking I'm just a needy over the top mum.

Getting a teaching assistant to pull Charles out of his classroom recently just as I dropped him off because I hadn't said bye and love you as I was sure something was going to happen to one of us that day.

Getting anxious about a share event at Charles' school this week because of not knowing the set up or which room we would be in, or whether or not the classes would be joined together. And not knowing if parents will be joining in or watching or having any role to play. Or knowing if our children are basically being used to prove something since the school has been put in special measures.

Going out recently and asking everyone I could where the best place was to go, the kind of people who are usually there, what drinks do they have, are there many seats, wanting to know a rough layout of the place.

Not being able to go for a walk in the evenings anymore because the beautiful scenery and sunsets are attracting photographers which makes what is usually a quiet route a tiny bit busier. Not very busy, but for someone with anxiety, it is too busy.

I don't want to feel ashamed and I don't want to feel that I have to hide this part of me. I don't want to feel like I can't talk about it or write about it.
It's not a choice to suffer with it, feel it, experience it, and to live with it.
It is a choice to be ashamed by it, and to let perception from others, if that is the case, make me feel that way.
It is a choice somewhat to let others get to me by their lack of understanding.

I can't feed my anxiety with shame and embarrassment as well as everything else. It turns into this bigger whirlwind. It will become unstoppable.

I need to grab hold tight, control what I can.
Throw out thoughts and feelings that don't matter, and think about myself and no else.
This is my battle. One that no one else can help me fight, but they can easily join the enemy and I can't allow that to happen.

This is my battle, one I need to fight alone. 
Unashamed.

Sunuva Beachwear Review

I think when we say we own a yacht people do automatically assume that it's glamorous, elegant, and posh I suppose.
In reality, it's basically like camping, except on a boat, when it comes to style and fashion.
Last year a big thing we learnt was that packing clothes for the week is a hard job. You have to prepare for all weathers, and even on a really hot sunny day you may need layers because on the open water it can be super windy and chilly.
Getting wet isn't a huge issue because it's not like our boat heels over to the point that water is rushing in, however, with ropes that tend to splash in the water and then are pulled inside the boat getting a little bit wet is unavoidable. 

I think for us and "boat fashion" so far it has definitely been more comfort over style. We wear what is clean, even if it clashes in some way, and we layer up to keep warm. It definitely takes a lot of adjusting to and working out what is best to pack is a challenge, especially with our unpredictable weather.

This year we are hoping to join a sail club or two. We want to make the most of what there is to offer and to be a part of the sailing community. We also want to really explore the Broads and with the addition of our rowing boat we will be able to have better access to areas of the broad we struggled with last year, which means we will be able to visit a few more of those wonderful Norfolk pubs!
As a result I want to make sure we have items to take with us that are not only suitable for the activity, but also adaptable to the weather, comfortable and that make us look presentable.

Sunuva sent the boys over some clothes which fit our needs perfectly.

The linen shirts are such a beautiful fit. Smart yet casual enough to wear on a day to day basis and also for those more special occassions.
These linen shirts are available in a variety of colours, the boys having a different colour each so they are not too matchy (and yes, I did choose the shades of blue to match their eyes, don't judge me) and have a slim collar, buttons down the front, a handy pocket for a river bank daisy stash and adjustable sleeves.


The seersucker shorts are also really lovely and have that smart casual aspect to them. The fabric is really light weight, making them cool and perfect for a hot summers day.
We love the stripey design, even though Harry decided that he looks like a chef in his.
The boys both have completely different body shapes and the shorts suited both of them despite this. Thankfully they feature an adjustable waistband so you are able to pull them in a little tighter for smaller waists.
We also really like the length, and the fact that the shorts can be worn with either trainers or sandals.
They are comfortable and easy to move around it which is essential when sailing and getting on and off the bank.

We were also sent a cap each for the boys which are a touch too big but will be kept for a year or so when they will eventually fit. We love the detachable flap at the back of the cap, which will be ideal for when the sun it at it's strongest and is bouncing off the water.
Looking at the girls designs in hats I do wish there was more available for boys, especially in the canvas fisherman style.


17.5.15

Sponsored Post | World Baking Day: Coffee Cake

For World Baking Day our plan was to bake an Apple and Cinnamon cake for my mums birthday. It went slightly wrong, so looking at the ingredients we had in our cupboard and saving another trip to the Supermarket we went for a Coffee Cake.


Harry has Friday's off preschool, we call this our "Mummy-Harry Day" and I desperately want to fill those days with fun things to do before he starts school full time in September.
Baking is something I don't really tend to do that often with the boys, it's more something my husband does with them, but with World Baking Day upon us I decided to give it a go.

Although I thought I had adorable photos of him mixing and with flour on his face, I then realised there was Stork smeared on the filter of my camera...fun times!


Harry isn't really a fan of coffee, however I think when it comes to coffee cake you can really control the intensity of the flavour. We went for 2 tablespoons of instant coffee and this was perfect for him, who isn't a coffee fan, and for me who is a coffee addict. As it wasn't too strong it was acceptable to drink alongside a hot cup of black coffee.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g Stork margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee or add more if you like it strong

For The Icing

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 100g butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp hot water
Grease two equally sized cake tins. Add the sugar and the butter to a bowl and whisk until fluffy.
Whisk the eggs in a mug with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 tbsp of flour each time. Make sure you don't use all the flour. 
Add the rest of the flour to the mixture and fold it in gently.
Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water and fold it into the mixture. Divide into the sandwich tins and cook for 30 minutes.
Once the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool. 
Now make the icing by creaming the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve the coffee in boiling water, making sure you don't add too much water or the icing will be runny and add it to the butter and icing sugar. Mix until it is a nice thick consistancy and then add to the top of your cake layers, and then sandwich the cakes together.
Dust with a little cocoa powder and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.




Check out Stork's Website, Facebook and Twitter and share your bake using the hashtag #worldbakingday.

Post sponsored by Stork

15.5.15

Zizzi and the City

The only time my mum and I have visited Norwich is to either go shopping or to visit the theatre. Norwich is full of beautiful side streets with the most amazing buildings, a beautiful Cathedral and a variety of places to eat and drink.
It's one of those places we take for granted I think. We don't stop enough to look at the buildings, to appreciate the cobbled streets, and to walk away from the shops and instead look at what else there is to offer.

On Sunday we had a girly day together there. We were a bit naughty and didn't resist the urge to visit Debenhams and Primark, although coming away with a pair of earrings, a few essential lace vest tops (if you haven't seen them, get in there, have a look, and buy them. They are beautiful!) and bits for the boyswe forgave ourselves.

With the help of Google Maps we typed in Zizzi and walked from the main shopping centre to the restaurant. I felt a bit silly because although having visited Zizzi Norwich many times before, I didn't realise just how easy it was to walk there from the city without the aid of my husband.
Within 10 minutes we were stood outside, admiring the surrounding buildings and entrance to the Cathedral grounds.


Zizzi Norwich is based in Tombaland, a lovely area of Norwich with various bars and restaurants. These restaurants are set within beautiful dated buildings, rather than new modern builds, and the inside of the restaurants reflects the traditional setting.
I am a bit of a snobby one when it comes to keeping buildings looking pretty and taking care of them and there is no doubt that the surrounding businesses in this area take that seriously too.
It's so clean, tidy, and small details like window boxes make you forget that you are a short walk from a busy city centre.
Zizzi Norwich is full of beautiful characteristics. There is the most beautiful tiled floor (which you can see in one of the photos from our review of the Spring menu last year), a tree with fairy lights around it, beautiful wooden pastel chairs, a mix of wooden and steel tables. 
I love being able to watch the chefs at work and to see that they are passionately cooking your food fresh as you wait (Check out Hayley's post from October last year, she took some fabulous photos of the chefs at work)
We ordered a glass of Prosecco each, to celebrate and clink to my mums birthday, and had a look at the menu. Usually when I visit restaurants I don't take too much notice at the new items, and I think Zizzi is the only place where I actually search out the new additions straight away.

I'd already decided that the Polpette Gigante, a giant beef & pork meatball in a rich chilli pomodoro sauce, topped with melted smoky scamorza cheese, grated Grana Padano, roast chilli & fresh oregano, was a must try.
I wanted my mum to try it too so we ordered that to share, along with a Zizzi Antipasti, Prosciutto, speck, coppa, finocchiona, bufala mozzarella, slow roasted tomatoes, olives & dough sticks, which in my opinion should ordered by every table in the restaurant as a starter....it should be the law!
Well, as usual the antipasti didn't disappoint and the slow roasted tomatoes were definitely the highlight of the platter. They were so delicious and full of flavour, I don't think I have ever had tomatoes that tasted so amazing.
The meatball....oh the meatball. I have never ever EVER tasted a meatball so delicious, so full of flavour, or that I didn't want to ever come to the end of eating EVER. You know what they say about the Ikea meatballs tasting so good? Forget that, you need to try the Polpette Gigante...Ikea meatballs who?!
I have to admit, after having the first taste of the Polpette Gigante I was a bit disappointed to have to share it with my mum (sorry mum, I bet you felt the same though!).
I can't resist Zizzi's pizzas and seeing a new one on the menu was an instant win for me. I ordered the Rustica (which in my opinion is how all pizzas should be) Pulled Pork Napoli, Pulled pork on a white base of Fior di Latte mozzarella, & smoky scamorza cheese, pepperoni, crispy prosciutto, sunblush tomatoes, thyme & smoked garlic oil.
I mentioned before that the thought of not having a tomato base would maybe put me off or make me not order a pizza because I would assume there was something missing. However, the sunblush tomatoes make up for the lack of tomatoes in the base. And I think that also, having that missing from the base, brings out the flavours in all the other toppings too.
My mum really likes creamy chicken dishes, and so ordered the Casareccia Pollo Piccante, Spicy piccante chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes & baby spinach. I must admit, it did look delicious and I wished I was in the mood for sharing so I could try some (due to a bad hangover I felt it would be the wrong decision to be trying a lot of different foods!).
The sauce looked beautiful, and had enough kick in the chicken to give the dish a lot of flavour. In fact, looking at the photo now makes me want to go back and try it!
I decided to resist the call from the Tiramisu and instead opted for the refreshing Lemon Sorbet. Oh it was beautiful and just melted on my tongue.
My mum opted for the Chocolate and Banana Calzone, sweet, warm dough filled with banana, chocolate sauce & mascarpone cream, with crema gelato & hot toffee sauce, which, in her words, messed with her mind. She wasn't sure of what to expect and when it arrived, and she cut it open she said she felt it looked like a meat pie. Which isn't a critisicm I hasten to add, but is true. As the melted chocolate oozes out amoungst the banana chunks it is easily mistaken for meat and gravy.
As someone who loves toffee and caramel, she couldn't have been any more excited by the small bowl of toffee sauce to drizzle over the calzone.

We finished our meal with a few glasses of water (me, and the offer of an Alka Seltzer from the manager...which I thought was super sweet!) and my mum went for a cappuccino. Look at how amazing the glasses are. When it comes to coffee I think it is still important for a restaurant to serve these in a "wow" way, rather than a standard heres-a-mug-of-coffee. If you want to steal the glasses, you know they've done something right (we didn't steal the glass).
As we finished our drinks and said thank you to the staff for a wonderful meal...which it was, delicious food, beautiful setting and amazing staff, Zizzi never fails to impress me and from my experience this seems to be something that is apparent throughout the company in all of their restaurants, we walked back to the car with full, but not too full, tummies and admired the sites of the city. Another thing we've never done is to look over the market from the steps behind it. It really does look so beautiful, and my photo doesn't do it any justice at all.


Thank you Zizzi for yet another fantastic meal. I hope to be back soon to try out the seasonal special Cocktails (hint hint husband!!)