Couldn't They See Me?

We went to Jo Jingles this afternoon. It was the first time in 2 weeks as we had half term and the week before I didn't make it in time and rather than turning up late I missed it altogether.
I wasn't completely enthusiastic about going today. I'm tired, have a migraine and just generally feel a bit down. But when I mentioned Jo Jingles to Harry his face lit up and I knew I had to go for him.
It would be fine when we got there, I was sure.
We walked in, was greeted by the happy receptionist and walked towards the main room. I'm usually one of the first there but today there was already seven mums with their children, as well as the lady that runs the group.
I walked in, looked around and smiled, ready to say hello.
No one acknowledged me.
Fair enough.
I turned towards the lady that runs the group, who clearly knew I had just walked in; she was stood right next to the door.
I felt a lump in my throat immediately. I felt panicked and uneasy.
Why on earth is everyone ignoring me?
Instead of sitting myself on one of the red spots near the door, away from everyone else, I walked across the room to the corner, in between two other mums. There were two unoccupied red spots so I assumed I was welcome to take position there.
I wasn't asked to move but I almost felt that I was in the way, and that they didn't want me sat there.
I still looked around waiting for some kind of acknowledgement.
I'm fine that the other mums didn't. They don't really need to.
But the lady that runs the group...surely she should make us feel welcome?!

As other mums turned up I noticed that they were acknowledged, but other mums in the group and by the lady running it.
Now hold on!
Was I invisible? No!
Had I done something in the last session to offend? No!
So what on earth was going on?!

I sat there and just felt uncomfortable. I was aware of the fact that I had almost curled into a ball.
My shoulders were by my ears.
More than ever I didn't want to be here.
I didn't feel welcome at all.

I had already taken Harry's boots off which meant I couldn't just scoop him up and walk out. Pretending to go to the toilet but really walking out of the door and then running out of the main one and to my car.
How I held back tears I do not know.

The babies/toddlers were then encouraged to put the pompoms back in the bag, Harry ran around grabbing all of them and put them all away. I said "awwww he doesn't do this at home" and laughed.
The lady running it just blanked me.
I felt like an idiot.

As the group continued I felt more isolated. The mums all talked to each other and despite my trying I was just blanked, other than the one mum next to me who talked a little but was mainly acknowledging Harry who kept interacting with her.

I looked around and couldn't work out why on earth any of the mums felt it necessary to blank me. We are all around the same age, we all have children in common and are all there to have fun and feel silly at times.

When it came time to go I was relieved.
I was the first across the room and out of the door.
In fact as I was leaving the car park the other mums only just started leaving the children’s centre.

When I went with Charles last year the lady running it was polite. Always acknowledged you as you arrived, played with the children and said thank you and bye as you left.
Today, I experienced none of that.

It takes a lot for me to even attend this group so for this to happen just confirms my thoughts.
No one wants to be friends with me. No one likes me.
I look disgusting.

I'll be going back next week but just because Harry enjoys it so much although I am dreading it.
I'll make sure I'm the first there so I can get a spot on the end, near the door.
Maybe next week I'll be noticed, if not I'll just run.


If No One Else Saw It, Then It Didn't Happen

My weight is disgusting and an embarrassment right now. I can't blame having a baby and although I do play the breastfeeding + burning calories card a lot but let's be honest, although it might have some part to play in my feeling hungry all the time, it's certainly not the main reason.
Comfort eating. Binging. Gorging. Whatever you wish to call it. I do it. And I am losing control.
I try and stop myself, but if I'm having a tough time with the boys I find myself hiding in the kitchen eating something, anything, to make me feel better.
And does it? Yes. But only for the few minutes I'm doing it. And then I am left feeling fat and disgusting.

I feel heavy.
I feel big.
I feel dirty.
I feel ugly.
I feel embarrassed.
I feel humiliated.
I try to fight the urge but it takes over.
I have no control over it.

I find myself going back to the same thing.  
If no one else saw it, then it didn't happen
The boys of course don't count, they don't see what I'm doing as a negative thing. To them I guess I'm just eating.
But I'm not.
I'm not even hungry when I do it.
Or as soon as those hunger feelings kick in I fill my face, not waiting for dinnertime, for lunchtime, for a proper meal.
Even if it's only half an hour until lunch time or dinner time, I'll still do it. And then will eat whichever meal is planned or made.
I'm constantly thinking about food. When is the next meal and what will it be?
If we're going out for the day my first thought is "what will we do for food?"
Rather than throwing leftovers out I will eat them instead. In my head, it's better than wasting the food in the bin and wasting the money that we used to buy the food.

I can "Go Large" because I'm breastfeeding, or because I hadn't had breakfast, which I skip most days.

I look at myself in the mirror and can clearly see what food is doing to my body, my confidence and my appearance as a whole.
I am unapproachable.
I look at the other mum's at Jo Jingles. I am, or at least feel like, the biggest there.
I try to make an effort with how I dress, but you can only do so much when it's this body you are covering up.

My boys think I'm beautiful, which is so lovely, but I don't want them to see me like this and think I look pretty. I want to look better for them. I want to feel beautiful and to deserve their thoughts.

I have no willpower. And no money to spend on expensive diet groups like Slimming World and Weight Watchers.

My relationship with food is unhealthy and needs to change.
I just don't know how to do it.


I Heart....Ellie Goulding

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that I have a slight obsession/addiction to Ellie Goulding at the moment. In fact it's been a while that I've liked her and listened to her first album but recently my obsession has been a lot more intense.
I want to write how her music makes me feel. But I can never find the words.
It hits me right in my heart, deep in my stomach and in my head. Buries itself in there, really deep.
I find myself in another world, taken along with the music, the words, her emotions.

Ellie's newest album has......again I can't find the words.
It's become a kind of therapy. A release. A comfort. A lift.
It's there no matter what and I know if I am happy I can switch the album on and it's there with me.
If I'm sad, I can switch it on and it's there with me.
It really helps with my anxiety and any low times I have.
The only problem is that every.single.time I hear the album it makes me cry. Every. Single. Time!
I just want to be in the middle of nowhere, so I can turn the music up loud, stand in the middle of a field and sing, sob, sing and sob some more.
The boys also love it and Charles can sing a long to a lot of the words. (which makes me very proud, he clearly has good taste!)

I was bullied in middle school because I liked, ok LOVED Hanson and also the Spice Girls. Since then I've been extremely sensitive when it comes to people being negative towards music I like. Especially Ellie Goulding because it means so much to me. So much.

I just found myself on the sofa singing one of her songs in my head and so I had to YouTube it so I could hear her voice.
I realised 3 minutes and 54 seconds later, that I had been laying with my eyes closed, almost hypnotised and in a trance due to her voice and the power of the song I was listening to.

To me she is amazing. I very rarely like this style of music, and I very rarely like female solo artists but she is completely different to everyone else.

I sometimes wonder if she realises how her music makes people feel. Or if it means anything to her that it can affect someone so much.

The last song here is Charles' favourite.


{Alphabet Adventure} Ambulance to Zoom

On Sunday we had a 3 hour car journey, then a lot of waiting around and standing around whilst we watched my husband drive an Aston Martin as part of an Experience Day Christmas present he received.
Although we were looking forward to watching him drive I knew the boys would be irritable and bored. I decided to do another Alphabet Adventure with Charles. Although I only planned to do it at the race track he decided he wanted to start straight away in the car so within 20 minutes we already had 10 letters!
This time, with no signs to give him clues like we had at the zoo, I was interested to see how he would do this.
I was impressed that he was naming particular things we saw as we drove and asked which letter they began with.
"Bridge, what's bridge?"
"Grass, what's grass?"
He was also given the task to take photos again. I'm really impressed with the photos he takes and have no worries giving him my DSLR. I love seeing peoples faces as this 3 year old boy walks around with a camera around his neck, most of the time taking photos of said people!

A: Ambulance
B: Bridge, Bushes, Birds
C: Car, Colours, Church
D: Doors
E: Electric
F: Fuel, Fence, Field
G: Grass
H: House, Helmet, Hay bales
I: Ice, Instructor, Instructions
J: Jonathan
K: Kitkat
L: Lights
M: Mummy
N: Numbers
O: Oasis
P: Pylon, Pit, Pigs
Q: Queue
R: Road,
S: Screens, Sink
T: Taps, Tree, Track, Tractor, Trailor, Tower
U: Up/Upstairs
V: Van, Volt
W: Windmill, Wind Turbine, Windows, Wood
X: 'X' sign
Y: Yellow
Z: Zoom



An Hour On The Seafront

I really wanted to do lots of things whilst Charles was on half term. We spend so much time in the week clock watching and then rushing to preschool, clock watching, and then rushing to preschool that it was nice to be able to do whatever we wanted.
Friday started with a trip to the zoo, Saturday we went out with my mum, Sunday we went on a family day out and on Monday we went for a short trip to the beach.
Harry went in his pushchair and Charles chose his bike as his mode of transport.
We went to the South beach, parked up and Charles was free to ride up and down the promenade.
We stopped for donuts rolled in chocolate sugar (mmmm) Then sat on a bench outside my wedding venue and looked out to sea as we ate the donuts. It was just lovely.
We then headed back to the car and went home. Harry fell asleep in the car so Charles helped me with dinner.
It was a wonderful day and ended with lots of smiles and happy faces.



My Week That Was {8}

This week has been half term. It started great and has ended with grumpy boys but all in all I've enjoyed spending the quality time with Charles and am proud of getting out of the house so much and doing things with him.
How was yours?

Monday: Charles had no preschool today due to half term and whereas normally I would be lazy and stay in I made a promise that we would go out. At 12 I took him to a doctors appointment and then we went to the supermarket to get vegetables for our roast dinner. Harry came with us to the doctors appointment and had clearly been watching very closely as when we got home he copied almost everything that the doctor had done. (checking Charles' ears and taking his temperature)
After an hour and a half-2 hours of asking them to put toys away and to get sorted the boys were finally ready to go out. We went to the seafront, taking Charles' bike so he could ride along the promenade. We stopped for doughnuts with chocolate sugar (yumfest in a bag!) and sat outside the hotel I got married in and looked out at sea.
We then went home, Harry napped and Charles helped me with dinner (he LOVES preparing vegetables, especially sprouts)
The boys went to bed at 8 tonight and after Eastenders we started to watch Horrible Bosses, which was hilarious but I was so tired I went to bed 45 minutes in)

Tuesday: Taking advantage of our zoo passes we headed there after lunch. We completed an Alphabet Adventure Challenge which was really fun.

Wednesday: We went to London to review a restaurant. We got home at around 6. Harry went straight to bed as he fell asleep in the car and Charles had some cereal then went to bed.
We sat up and watched half of the Brits before turning it off because we were fed up of saying 'WHO?!'

Thursday: Despite plans to go out and buy Charles a balloon or to head to the zoo we decided to stay in. I had a bad night with the boys so was rather tired and just exhausted after a busy few days.

Friday: My friend came over with her daughter for the day. We always have a laugh whenever we get together and end up spending 6 hours together and it only feeling like 2.
Charles loved playing with his friend although so far has been restless all evening.

Saturday: Plans to go to the zoo were changed because I couldn't be bothered in all honesty and the boys were in 'one of those moods'.
I ended up having an early-ish night because the boys have been getting me up a lot this week (I'm not complaining about that, Charles has only just become dry at night so I keep getting up to check on him, and Harry keeps needing his feeds)

Sunday: I was up three times in the night, but all were for Charles. Harry slept through!! This is the second time in 2 weeks that he has slept through, if only Charles had too then I would be feeling a lot more fresh this morning.
We are off to watch my husband drive an Aston Martin today as part of an Experience Day gift he was given at Christmas. Goodness knows what time we will be home.




{Alphabet Adventure} From Africa to Zoo

I was recently inspired by Capture by Lucy and a fantastic idea she had whilst out for a walk with her family. Rather than a walk in the countryside they took part in an Alphabet Adventure.
I loved this idea and with us due to go to the zoo I thought it would be great to make the trip a little more exciting by doing an Alphabet Adventure too.
Obviously in places we had to use our imaginations [Q and X] but we had lots of fun. Charles helped me find the letters on signs and already knew that C was for..... and G was for....and he also helped to take the photos.

A: Africa Alive, Antelope, Aardvark
B: Barbary Sheep, Bats, Bridge
C: Cheetah, Cat, Chimpanzee
D: Drums, Deer, Duck
E: Enclosure, Encounters
F: Feathers, Fox, Flamingo
G: Goat, Gineaufowl, Gate
H: Horn
I: Island
J: Jumping
K: Kingdom [of the Lions}
L: Lions
M: Map, Meerkats, Monkeys
N: New
O: Otters, Ostrich, Owl
P: Picnic, Parrot, Park
Q: Quiet
R: Rhino
S: Snake, Stork, Stamp
T: Train, Tail, Turtle
U: Umbrellas
V: Vulture
W: Water, Welcome, White Stork, White Rhino, Woodland Walk
X: eXcited, eXhausted
Y: Yellow
Z: Zebra, Zoo

We really enjoyed our Alphabet Adventure and I think this will be something we will do again on other days out. 

Vapiano, London {Review}

Following my review of another restaurant recently we were invited to review Italian restaurant, Vapiano, in London during half term week. My husband was able to take a day off work and although we decided we wouldn't stay overnight we thought it would be fun to go to London just for lunch.

We went armed with only a set of reins and the baby carrier, no pushchair, and looking on a map beforehand it looked like we may have had quite a bit of walking to do.
We arrived at London Liverpool Street and jumped straight on the tube to Oxford Circus, the nearest tube to the restaurant. We came out onto the street and my husband said "where to next?" I hadn't got a clue as I forgot to check the map, but I didn't need to after all. Looking over the road we saw "Great Portland Street", now our only issue was how far down it we had to walk...which turned out to be not very far at all. And within no time we were stood outside Vapiano reading the menu on the window.

Before we went I had looked online at reviews on TripAdvisor, just to see the general feedback really.
On the whole the reviews were positive with the odd moan so I was able to take these on board and go with an open mind.
When I read that it was a 'buffet style restaurant' I must admit that it didn't fill me with much confidence. I thought it would be almost like a scrum to get food, and although I had read that you're own chef will make your pizza or pasta, I thought this would mean only two chefs actually working and a lot of queueing and a lot of having to walk around people to get to where you want to go. Like a carvery I guess.

I couldn't have been more wrong.
Walking in I was instantly struck by a really calm, relaxing atmosphere. The restaurant only had around 8 customers in at this point as it was on 11:45 so the lunch time rush hadn't yet hit.
We were greeted by a host at the hosting station who handed us a card which would be used whenever we ordered food or drinks. I'll explain more about that later.
We were also asked if we had been before, at this point I was handed over to Dagmara, the manageress, who would be looking after us and showing me how the concept works.
The staff were all friendly, and well presented.
On first impressions I was really impressed and hoped it would remain this great.

There is a variety of seating. High tables with stools and sofa type seats, lower tables at the front and around the sides there are 'normal' sofa style seats with stools. I didn't get any photos of these but you can see them on the Vapiano website.
Charles wanted to sit on the higher sofas which I thought would be a problem because we needed a high chair for Harry. I was happy when Dagmara said it wasn't a problem and informed me that they had high chairs in two heights to accommodate the different seating options. The only downside to these highchairs is that they don't have straps to keep your child contained so we were constantly having to make Harry sit down.
Seats are in the centre of the room with additional seats to the front and to the right hand side. Food stations are to the back and the left. There is a bar at the front ride hand side, next to the hosting station.
Whilst the boys sat and coloured in the sheets of paper they had been given I was shown around.

In addition to the downstairs seating and bar there is also an upstairs. Lots of seats and tables, as well as really plush sofas which would be great for relaxing with friends in the evening. There is also a bar upstairs for soft drinks, hot drinks and alcohol, as well as desserts.
The really special touch upstairs is the Basil and Rosemary garden. Pots of basil and rosemary are placed on every table, not only to look and smell nice, but for you to help yourself too if you want extra on your meals. This really impressed me, Charles loved the garden and commented on how 'oooo beautiful' the fragrance was in there.
Toilets are also upstairs, with baby change situated in the disabled toilets downstairs. The female toilets are big enough though if you needed to change a baby in there (with your own change mat of course).
I'm very fussy when it comes to toilets in restaurants. I think if the toilets are clean then you can almost guarantee that everywhere else will be just the same. These toilets were amazing. Beautifully decorated and SPOTLESS. We went a couple of times in the two hours that we were there and each time it was as if someone had been in a second before you and had cleaned. Charles was particularly taken by the spotlights in the cubicles and felt it required a dance (see photos below)

There are dedicated stations for each meal choice.
Salad [Antipasti and Insalate]
Desserts are at the bar which serves soft drinks, hot drinks and alcohol. You can also purchase soft drinks at each of the food stations.
The beauty of Vapiano and the food stations is that you see your food made, from scratch. Pizza bases are made in front of you. Your toppings go on, in front of you, and it is placed in the oven in front of you.
Due to the pizzas taking a while to cook (I can't recall how long I was told but it was possibly between 4-7 minutes) you are given a pager so you can return to your seat to wait. Once your pizza is ready your pager will beep and you go back up to collect it. I love this idea and it certainly saves shouts of "21!" from the chefs! This is also handy if you are seated upstairs for example as you wouldn't hear a chef shout but also if you wanted to move on to the pasta station or salad station and order there whilst you wait.
You can only order the food mae at each station. For example, you couldn't go up and order Spaghetti Bolognese and a pizza at the Pasta station. You would have to go to the pizza station first and then to the pasta station, or vice versa.

As I mentioned, the pizza is made from scratch, but so is everything. Pasta sauce, salad dressings, vegetables are prepared in a downstairs kitchen, desserts are all made by the same person so that they are all identical.
Even the pasta is made on site! This is made in a booth which is positioned inside the restaurant. Charles was fascinated by this and may have had a tantrum when I tried to get him away from there to sit and eat his food, although I don't blame him, it was really interesting to watch.
The bonus of the food being cooked right in front of you, other than it being so fresh, is that you have total control over the ingredients. More garlic? More chilli? Less garlic? Less chilli? Just let them know!

A pasta dish can take as little as 90 seconds to cook, or longer for something with more ingredients [especially using meat such as Carbonara or Bolognese].
There is a selection of pasta available. Penne, Spaghetti etc.
Each chef has two woks in front of them, they can cook two meals at the same time...impressive hey?!
I actually found it fascinating watching them cook each meal (ours and those in the queue in front of us)

Specials are available in Salads, Pasta and Pizza. These are changed every two months.
Desserts are changed every quarter and tend to match the season. They make a fantastic rice pudding which is topped with fruit (although this is also available without the topping too), the fruit topping will reflect the season. Currently it is apple and cinnamon but throughout the year it could also be, for example, cherry or rhubarb and strawberry.

Rather than a written bill and having to keep giving your table number every customer is given a plastic card. Each time you go to any station, or to the bar, your card is swiped on the till. At the end of your meal you simply visit the hosting station, which you walk past as you leave, hand over your card and your bill is then available. It's a really useful and easy system.

We went in at 11:46. I'd say that from 12:30 onwards it started to get busy. at 1:45 it calmed down but between those two times it was a real lunch time rush. Still people were getting their food quickly enough, although may have had to wait for 20 minutes but due to the quality of the food, it's completely worth waiting.
So my tip here would be to plan your visit. Get there at 12 or at 1:45/2.
Find a table before you go to order food. I saw this as a negative on some TripAdvisor reviews but in all honesty, I think it's just common sense to find a table before you order anyway.

Takeaway is available and the tubs are a generous size.

There are so many positive things to say about this restaurant that I fear this review could literally go on forever!

We ate Piatto Antipasto, which is my absolute favourite thing at the moment so there was a lot of pressure for them to get it right.
Well....amazing! I was rather disappointed that we decided to share the plate as I could have easily have eaten this all to myself.
This was then followed by Bolognese, which we all loved. You could taste how fresh each and every ingredient was. I find that sometimes a Bolognese can leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. The Bolognese at Vapiano was light, full of flavour and although you feel full after eating it you are not uncomfortable and can definitely fit in a very tasty dessert.
My husband then had Death by Chocolate. He said it was very rich but very delicious.
I had Crema Di Fragola. It was amazing, although Charles stole some of my strawberries.
The boys both ate a plain rice pudding. These are served in very cute jars.

The prices for every dish are extremely reasonable (if not slightly surprising) due to the quality of the food and the service you recieve.

We would highly recommend Vapiano and would love to return if/when we visit London again in the future.

Travel and our meal were paid for in exchange for this review. All words and photos are honest and my own.


My Week That Was {7}

I feel like I've had yet another busy week, and with half term next week I'm sure I'm going to be busy everyday! I'm not complaining though. It's been wonderful this week and I'm really looking forward to the things we have planned for half term.

Monday: Charles woke up with what seemed like flu. He begged to go to school so we let him as we weren't too sure as to whether or not it was flu, just a cold or over-tiredness. My mum came over and I did some blogging, housework and sent some emails until I had to get Charles.
When he came home he fell asleep on the sofa. This never happens. He was swiftly woken up by Harry who decided to keep kissing him and then got on the sofa and under the blanket with him. Charles tried to get a sleepy cuddle but Harry wasn't interested. In the end Charles went to sleep in our room for an hour and a half. He woke up fine!
Harry napped for this time too so I had a sort out of a few things, including our overflowing medicine drawer! (Achievement!)

Tuesday: After breakfast I made the boys some pancakes, Charles went to preschool. My husband made us some savoury pancakes for dinner.

Wednesday: My mum came round in the morning to look after Harry whilst I took Charles to his first dentist appointment. He was so well behaved, the dentist gave him two stickers because he thought he deserved them. I took him to buy a magazine and some chocolate(!) as a well done present.
My therapy was cancelled whilst I was out which gave me the chance to wash my hair, dry it and straighten it. I collected Charles from preschool and my mum came round at 4:30 to babysit whilst I celebrated Valentines Day (early) with my husband.

Thursday: Easy day today, although my husband got a lie in and I got up at 7 with Charles. I realised an hour and a half later that we had run out of nappies, not good when Harry had filled his so I woke my husband up and went to the supermarket.
Preschool this afternoon for Charles and his last day for just over a week.

Friday: Charles' preschool had a training day so he had a day at home with me. We went to the zoo, we haven't been for AGES and I finally purchased an annual pass for us both. We had a really lovely day. Harry has always loved animals so had always enjoyed himself, even as a newborn, but today was even better as he was able to mimik the noises the animals made and spot them if I asked where they were.

Saturday: My husband had work in the afternoon. My mum came over at 11:30 and drove me and the boys to Southwold. We went for cake and coffee (which cost £20 for 4 cakes, 2 coffees, a hot chocolate and a small apple juice!) I bought some presents for my husbands birthday, and found a bargain skirt from Joules which was £10 down from £50!
I bought a pie from a lovely shop in the high street and whilst the boys and my mum played on a park I sat and ate that whilst watching them, tweeting and taking photos.
We then drove to Beccles and my mum bought Charles his first pair of Converse (I am extremely jealous!)
My husband cooked us steak and peppercorn sauce for dinner.

Sunday: Charles suggested breakfast out again, after a quick stop to grab some sandwiches for lunch we went to the cafe and had a lovely Full English Breakfast.
Once finished we had an amazing day at High Lodge at Thetford Forest. We visited here last year without the boys for our Segway Experience so it was lovely to take them and explore the sound trail with them.


Silent Sunday {5}

Silent Sunday


Back At The Zoo....Finally {Photos}



I've Got A Plan

I've got a plan, to make me happy, to make me feel like me again. To make me feel not so isolated and alone.
This year I will look into becoming a breastfeeding peer support.
This year I will join the WI.

And today.
Today I am buying a zoo season ticket for Charles and me.
The zoo was my place from September 2011 to September 2012. I felt at home there (in a non-jokey way) and felt safe there.
I felt happy.

I felt like my boys were safe. Safer than they would be if we went to the park.

I have butterflies. I feel so excited.
Not just due to going to the zoo and it being a lovely place.
Excited at Harry understanding a lot more than when he last went.

But excited at the happiness I am going to feel afterwards.

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