Time out


Hello? Is there anyone there?

Erm…im still here.

Sometimes life becomes so full & busy that 1 or 2 things need to give. My blog had to be one of those.

Since I was last here I have qualified as a counsellor,  been planning a wedding, started work as a self employed counsellor and working as a childrens & young persons therapist. I am also still working in advice & guidance for young people whilst being a mum, housekeeper general slave and not to mention a runner & cyclist.

There is so much to tell you and I hope to fill in the blank spaces of the last 6 months as we go along.

My return to my blog has been a lingering thought…rather a need for self expression and creativity.  The final push was from collegues at work who encouraged me in my need to talk about cycling more and the progress into a lifestyle of healthy clean eating and exercise.
Since blogging last I have lost 2 1/2 stone in weight. Something I would love to share with everyone.

So this is just a quick 1 to check back in with you all.

Im back x

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No bread bacon wrap


image

I dont normally post photo’s of food in social media. I have never been keen on seeing photo’s of other peoples dinner…even more so since I started my diet. (yes that kebab may look yummy to you but to ithers it looks like slop on a plate …yes im jelous!) Anyway, my diet consists of reducing the amount of bread I was eating (up to 6 slices a day was never gonnna be healthy) I have used pinterest as my inspiration & found the lettuce wraps …I gave fallen in love with these babies. Grab a lettuce leaf I love iceburg, but also tastes great with a baby gem for an open S/W. Smother with hommus and chicken peices then roll it up! So today I fancied a bacon butty. Usually this means thick bread, loads of butter, brown sauce and hot grilled bacon…Mmmm But im on a diet. How can I have a bacon butty with less calories & fat? Here’s how: Lettuce leaf as above Spreadable low fat/ light cheese Bacon medalions (fat cut off) Then roll it all up.

I have a new fave & according to my fitness pal there are 217 Calories in 2 of these wraps…compared to 503 in 1 of my usual bacon butties.

You could replace the spreadable cheese with light mayo…or anything else to add a bit of moisture & more taste which would reduce the calories further.

I think I should add that on this diet & doibg Jillian Michaels 30day shred I have lost 1 stobe (14lb) Im,about to start the 30 day shred again with heavier weights & the more advanced moves…heres to another 1 stone loss.

The loudness of our thoughts in the night time


Ah sleep where for art thou?

Sleep is amazing isnt it? It’s wonderful. It does so many wonderful things and I feel sometimes that we take it for granted. I experience sleep in 3 different ways. As an individual, as a mother and as a counsellor. The way I experience sleep in each of these roles is actually quite different which until now I had not really thought about.

When I switched on my lap top tonight at 11pm, I was going to rant about something completely different, but started thinking about clients I had counselled and their struggle with sleep so I thought I would explore this a little here and share some of the things I use or have used to help me sleep.

Sleep is so important for good mental and physical health.There were classes held at university while I was doing my degree in Psychology on it and even workshops in the student union on sleep techniques, apparently spending most of the night in the pub then snoring through lectures is not healthy…who knew?

In my life before children I unquestionably took sleep for granted, despite loving it.  I prided myself on being a night owl. My parents despaired at me for as long as I can remember about not sleeping and listening to music or late night radio talk shows until 2 or 3 am. Then, if I could, I would sleep most of the day. I had relaxation cd’s and read sleep books, but nothing helped…I am a night owl. When I met The Hoarder my mother told him that he was perfect for me…he managed a nightclub at the time and I used to sit in his office and write my university assignments, we went home around 4am and slept the next day. A match made in heaven.

I thought I could handle sleepless nights with new babies, after all I’m up all night anyway, right? Wow that was a crashing bump I came down with. No longer able to sleep when I want, lie-ins were a thing of the past, I was getting up at 7am after being up 3-4 times in the night to feed, change nappies or puked on bed-clothes, to cuddle over tired kids or to sit on their bedroom floor and watch in helpless horror as my eldest screams and thrash about in one of her night terrors! Despite this I still struggle to sleep and it is hard getting motivated on a morning with the girls. Especially after Smaller Beautiful was born as she is also a night owl and will only sleep in mummies bed on mummies chest, if she decides to sleep at all.

No sleep is like torture, I saw my personality change from young carefree, optimistic and energetic  to reserved, weepy pessimistic and some days so low I just sat and stared out of the window longing to be free but not being able to make my brain move out of the fog it was in or my body to move towards  anything but the sofa (and the biscuit tin)

As a mother I can see when my children are tired, they change into different people too. I hate it when people say to me..”oh she is tired” just because they may be crying. Crying does absolutely happen when my girls are tired (It’s usually me though!) but there is more, it’s a look in their eyes like a far away look, like they are sinking inwardly. Then they get the grumps “No!” Smaller Beautiful loves the words no and not at the moment, so its harder to tell when she has the grumps, usually I spot her too late and she has a full-blown tantrum, hitting or going so rigid in my arms I worry I am going to drop her! Big princess on the other hand is calmer and so if she starts with that look and the grumps then tears are sure to follow and so is bed or a sleeping beauty nap.

As a counsellor I am slightly obsessed with sleep. As humans, when we worry, have things on our mind or unwell…sleep is the first thing that is effected. I see that same look in some clients eyes, the far away look…the brain fog, that comes with lack of restful sleep.

There are two types of bad sleep in my mind. Sleeping too much and sleeping too little. Often they also go hand in hand. If you sleep too much at some point you are going to be sleeping too little because you’re not feeling tired, this also affects the body clock and feeling sleepy at night…you don’t.

Too little sleep will eventually lead to HAVING to sleep and sleeping too long as your body recoups. This will also mess up your sleeping patterns as sleeping too long means you are not tired at bed time since you got up at lunch time so you start on the vicious cycle of sleeping too little again.

Sleep is so important for our mood. Anxiety and low mood, depression and stress can be made so much worse through lack of sleep. Everything feels hopeless and you feel alone …there is no one to talk to at 3am.

How do you switch it all off at bedtime? The thoughts that you don’t want anyway, are now keeping you awake, the things you have avoided during the day are now dancing around your head …there are no distractions, its dark and its quite…just the loudness of our own thoughts in the night time!

I talk about mindful meditation with folk who will listen. Often they look at me like I’m nuts and I can see their point! Allowing yourself to not be asleep, allowing yourself to focus on each part of your body and allowing it to sleep or not sleep, accepting that a negative thought has popped into your head and then letting it drift away without following it on the merry path it wants to take you down. Sometimes I imagine I am laying near a stream and I put the thought in the water and watch it float away (you can see why they think I’m nuts)

Other times I read until I can no longer see the words on the page

A warm bath before bed and a warm drink

Essential oils in a burner before bed or as drops on the pillow. Ylang Ylang is quite a good one for bed time.

Try to keep a paper and pen next to your bed to write down the things that pop into your head. You can’t do anything about the shopping, appointments, finances etc right now so wright it down and deal with it in the morning when you can do something about them.

Sometimes I even imagine the morning alarm going off and forcing myself to get out of a warm cosy bed to go to work…usually works lovely.

or I return to an old faithful. The radio.

What I don’t do is reach for a drink..Alcohol is sometimes thought of as a good way to get to sleep. Actually this is crap. You don’t reach the wonderful restful R.E.M (not the band!) stage of sleep either at all or if you do it’s not for very long. This is the really deep deep stage of sleep that your body needs to get through the next day. Whilst all sleep is good, it’s this that is essential to remain fully functioning. So no more booze at bed time to help you sleep.

I don’t put the TV on. The shiny flashing images and noise just wakes your brain up more and aids in keeping you awake longer…switch it off.

Don’t force yourself to stay in bed if you really don’t feel tired. Let yourself get up, get a drink, wander around the house or sit in your children’s bedroom and watch them sleep, fill your head with wonderful memories of sleeping babies and take those thoughts back to your bed with you.

Finally, don’t give yourself a hard time. The more you verbally attack yourself for not sleeping the less likely you will sleep, worrying about not being able to sleep on a night is the same thing. Acknowledge you have had a bad night, then go to bed.

These things wont work for everyone, I’m simply sharing the ones I have tried. I may up date this later with a bit more psychology of sleep, but it’s currently half 12 and I am a little sleepy.
Goodnight, sleep tight & if you dont… Be gentle on yourself x

What have you tried? Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Faceless bundle


Im on my way home from work and im in great spirits. Not only is my late shift on a Sunday over, but im on holiday now for a week and I, the hoarder and the princesses are heading to centre parc in the morning…its also snowing!
You can tell im in great spirits by how quickly I make it to the bus stop…before the bus.

That was until, as I approach the stop I can see a large bundle in the doorway of the bank.

Its a dark mass of clothing …I hope its clothing.

Its not, its person shaped, but has no face. On a pile of bags and other minimalistic belongings, hooded army jacket zipped up and their face burried in their arms tucked under each other so as to protect any extrimities from the weather.
As I walk past I wonder what to do. Leaving them there like that in the snow is excrutiating!

Do I disturb them & offer them money to get something warm to drink & eat despite not having much money (more than them) the council tell us not too, we have soup kitchens nearby. At least enquire if there is anything he needs?

Fear stops me doing anything. I continue walking to the bus stop. As I do that bundle moves…a shiver? Or sobbing?

I would love to know his story. The story of how he got there to that door way in the snow.
He could tell me over coffee, maybe I could help? Offer counselling, advice & guidance the stuff I do every day for those who know where to go for it.

I made the wrong decision walking past. But now here I am, typing on my phone as I walk down my street to my nice warm house, my family to prepare for a great family holiday and sleep safe & warm in my bed.

I wonder where my faceless bundle will be by the morning…will he stay? Nudged awake by the staff opening the bank or be moved on?

What about tomorrow?

Happy New Cycling


Hello….did you miss me?

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and gained all that you needed from your Yule celebrations. I have had a wonderful Christmas. The highlight being able to spend some very valuable time with my children and The Hoarder even had a day off work that did not involve his phone ringing every 5 minutes. It was wonderful to have his undivided attention for a short time and I know the girls appreciated it too. I have some very exciting events coming up this year. We are going to centre parc again (see last years visit here!) I have tickets to see Bon Jovi and Biffy Clyro from my clever clever boyfriend as well as a trip to Blue Reef Aquarium to review on here in the very near future!

Happy new year by the way. Have you made any New Year resolutions? I have the usual. Loose weight, do more with my Beautiful Princesses. However, encompassing all of these is one resolution. That is to cycle 90% of my commute. By saying 90% I am attempting to be realistic and allow for snow days and days when The Hoarder has to give me a lift due to his work commitments. As well as this I intend to take the girls out on the bikes more often. Big Princess is getting really good on her bike and Smaller Princess is very comfy in the bike buggy so there is no reason why we cant all go out.

So this is my plan for 2013…to cycle more and therefore do more with my children.

I rode my first commute of 2013 to and from work tonight. Oh my goodness I have missed it so much. I loved every second of  the ride there and the ride back. I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow night.

I am free

A Christmas Meme


I had been wondering what to write this year for Christmas and had toyed with the idea of starting a Meme when the beautiful Jaime over at The Oliver’s MadHouse tagged me in this meme that has been making the rounds. As a blogger I love nothing more than answering questions about myself and my family as well as reading about the traditions and events that my blogging friends have. So if you would like to have a go at this Meme I am more than happy to tag you so do let me know and Merry Christmas and Yule. 

What is your favourite thing about Xmas?

Oh my goodness where do I start with this one. Christmas starts when we put the decorations up, this is a big moment as in other homes. In previous years I have had to beg The Hoarder to let me put them up at the start of December and this year he let me. Last year Smaller Princess was only 15 months old and was still not sleeping. Everything felt like a chore. I was not even bothered that we could not put the tree up until after the 15th December. So I think this is one of my favorite moments of Christmas. We also celebrate Yule on the 21st of December. This is the Winter Solstice; the longest night of the year. We light a fire in our fire pit in the back garden and drink mulled wine or hot chocolate whilst burning the Yule log and toasting marshmallows. I have tried to convince The Hoarder that we should give a gift to each other but he is having non of it as he prefers to celebrate the giving of gifts on Christmas morning. Our pagan celebrations are fairly new traditions that we are forming as we do not come from pagan families rather we have identified this path together and that is something very valuable to me.

 

Whats your favourite make up look for the season?

I only wear make up when I go out really. As this is not very often I tend to stick with old faithfulls. Smoky eyes, but with natural shades, a dark lip shade such as black cherry or even something with a bit of sparkle in it and some natural blush. I may even opt for a little glitter over the festive period

 

Real or Fake tree?

We have a fake tree that has served us well for the last 6 years, although we also have a small real fern tree potted outside that also has lights on it. In Paganism the tree, especially the evergreen, is very important and celebrated over the Yule festivities. This is a symbol of life through the dark winter months along with others such as the holly and the ivy and ponsetta’s etc. 

 

Giving or receiving presents?

I love getting just the right gift for someone, something that really says “I have thought about you”, 

I love the look on peoples faces when I get it spot on. Sometimes and especially this year when money is tight this is a real struggle, but also a reminder that it is the thought that counts and simple does not mean there is less thought into the gift, if anything there is more!

Simple means that in difficult times…you have been thought of. So as much as I love choosing and giving just the right gift…I also value being thought of.

 

What is your favourite Xmas film?

The christmas film that I really associate with christmas time has to be Santa Clause the movie! This is my childhood christmas film and really makes me feel as though it is christmas. I love having this film on christmas day whilst opening or playing with our new toys. I must admit to loving It’s a wonderf life as well…this is a night in on my own and christmas lights on with some Mulled Wine.

What’s your favourite Xmas food?

I love it all! Food brings people together. Isn’t that what this time of year is all about? A celebration of love and being with people…being with family? That said, I would not have my Christmas dinner  without Turkey and all the trimmings, but I will give my share of the sprouts to Leyla over at thisdayilove

Ok that’s all there is too it. 

Now I tag these beautiful folk!

Anna @ digfortea.

Jo @ slummysinglemummy

Helen @ mummytothemax

Sammy @ mummytoamonsterxo

 

Blessed be )0(

It’s Christmas time in the city


“I must be insane”.

I thought to myself as I pushed a tired, screaming 2-year-old around the hustle and bustle of a city centre on a Saturday weeks before Christmas. Not only that I had a 5 year old in tow, who after getting a warm chocolate smeared waffle, decided she wanted to go home.

“Who’s idea was this?”

Oblivious shoppers stepped out in front of my push chair…very risky especially as I could quite happily have rammed them with said push chair after the 3rd or 4th time! Some even shoved passed my slow-moving buggy just to stop in front of me, those I could also have rammed with my push chair, quite happily.

The crazy frantic women who assault small children with their large quantities of baggage…sometimes even just their handbag as they rush from shop to shop. I lost count the times I heard “Mummy, that person just hit me on the head!” or “That man/lady just shoved passed me…isn’t that rude mummy?”

Yes it is! It is one thing to shove and jostle each other as you wander oblivious through city streets, but keep an eye out for little heads and feet around you. I can’t imagine how scary all those shoppers look to little people, at elbow hight who are knocked and hit simply because they are too small to be seen under all your Christmas treasures.

Fortunately there are those out there who restore my faith in human nature. I seem to find them around me when I need them most; like little angels bringing warmth and compassion to our cold, hard city shopping malls and high streets.

I don’t look for them, they just appear out of no where and then slip away again. . . This post is for you.

The lovely lady who chatted to my children in the street about Santa and school, who didn’t bat an eye lid at my chatterbox 5-year-old not pausing for breath.

The lady who tapped the two ladies in front of me on the shoulder and asked them to move after she had spotted me stuck there but unable to make myself heard over the loud Christmas songs and shoppers.

But most of all the man at the fruit and veg stall where I bought some chestnuts for the girls to try. He bought my children a small handful of cherries that Big Beautiful had her eye on , but I could not buy today. You made two little girls very happy in what had been a very stressful hour for us all.

As I look back on today, because of some very special strangers we met, I don’t feel harassed or in need of a glass of wine (well maybe a small one?)  Instead I remember the girls joy at seeing the City Christmas lights for the first time, the wonderful Christmas market and the warm waffles we all had with chocolate or Maple syrup, seeing the wonderful Fenwick’ Christmas window, looking for gifts for our family, dancing and singing to Christmas songs in the shops like no one was watching (I’m sure they were lol) and free cherries!

I have learnt a valuable lesson today:

Don’t venture into the City Centre on a Saturday with two small children, especially just before Christmas. I can only imagine it will get worse!

And if I really have to?

It might not be too bad x

How my child sees me (Meme)


I was tagged by the lovely Bike lights in the fruit bowl to take part in this Meme. I am not sure where is started, but what a good idea.

Both my Princesses love drawing and arts and crafts so it wasn’t to much of an effort to grab the colouring pencils and paper and set them to draw.

I was tagged in this Meme on Wednesday while Smaller Beautiful was at nursery so I asked Big Beautiful if she would draw a picture of mummy as though she had taken a photo, what did mummy look like?

You know when you ask your child a question…and then wish you hadn’t?

To get the best drawing possible we needed to explore mummies face and head

So far so good, this actually set the theme for this activity as we were both laughing so much it was hard for Big Beautiful to draw anything! But on with her drawing she went!

Laughing at mummy and what she was about to draw

So then it was time to get serious as she talked about what she was drawing. My long brown hair that still has red strands in it from last christmas’ hair do…seriously this is how long I leave my hair cuts! ( So far so good!)

Time to get serious

My child is so funny…good job really

So here is one of her many drawings of how she see’s me. The two sticks I’m holding are my crutches which I have not used in about a month, I can only imagine that she has remembered this as a worrying time for her and something she still thinks about. It’s the only time she has seen me as a normal human being, rather than Mummy who fixes things and makes things better. This was so interesting to see and led to a really good talk on how she was feeling about this. (once a counsellor always a counsellor!)

The circle is apparently my tummy…**Sighs**

You did ask

So I asked her to draw another one, what else would she draw? This is her drawing a 2nd picture. I really wish I had not asked. This is the picture she was drawing. Apparently I am asleep inside the rabbit hutch…calling Dr Freud!

Mummy asleep inside the rabbit hutch

So this is apparently how my daughter see’s me. I am long-haired (with old red streaks) a large round tummy **Sulks** and I sleep in a rabbit hutch. ????

Despite my increased motivation to loose weight and get The Hoarder to clean out the rabbit hutch more often I did enjoy this especially the fun afternoon it created for me and Big Beautiful. I have not laughed like that for a while.

The best bit was later on that evening when she brought me this and told me she loved me.

I love you Mummy

Now I have to tag other mummies in this Meme.

I tag:

Mama OWL

ClarelouAllen

Mummy Stuff