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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Valuing the simple things


Sometimes in the rush of daily life I forget.

I forget to stop.

I forget to breath.

I forget to open my eyes and to see, to really see the wonderful things around me.

When I remember, when I stop, when I take that deep breath that floods through my body finding all the muscles tight with ‘life’ and I open my eyes and really see …I’m always surprised.

I’m surprised at how much my body has been aching to relax and slow down. I am surprised at how much air I can fill in my lungs and I’m surprised how such simple things can change my mood, the way I feel and how I view myself and the world around me.

I love the moment the wind catches my face cycling fast down hill

I love pushing myself to cycle the incline home, reaching the top and looking back over the city at night lit by thousands of little lights.

I love the feel of little arms around my shoulder squeezing after the softest but sloppiest kiss goodnight from my girls.

I adore the colours of autumn (see Ode to Autumn to find out how much!)

Right now, this very moment. My babies are sound asleep in bed, I am snuggled in a nice warm bed, I have Breaking Dawn part 1 on my bedroom TV (and tickets to see part two in my purse), I have a warm whiskey and ginger next to me and after writing my post I’m going to snuggle down with a book (and maybe another whiskey…well it is Friday).

There are lots of things I am worried about right now such as our finances, my relationship and people I know (and technically don’t know on Twitter) But right here in this moment…I am at peace.

It’s a wonderful feeling and I am going to enjoy it a bit longer and remember it and the next one and the next time I am flying down hill on my bike … I’m going to savour that too.

What moments do you love and want to savour? **Cheer**

Living with a hoarder and 2 princesses.


This used to be the title of my blog.

I changed it for many reasons.

The title was more about what I needed to write about than what I was about or the sum of who I was. When I started this blog, over a year ago, I had no idea who I was so I used the three most significant beings in my life and how I saw them at the time, as my blog title…does that make sense?

Really this title is something I need to write a post about, something I have put off for a very long time. I put it off because I did not really know how to explain it to anyone, I put it off because it is such a raw subject for me that just touching on it causes me to shrink away from it…to hide from it. I am not entirely sure that I can fully explore what it’s like living with a hoarder, especially a hoarder who is in total denial. I also suspect that he has OCD although this is a new realisation and I’m still trying to learn more about it all. I have tried not to make this post sound like I am whinging about my other half. He does have some good qualities, otherwise I would not still be here.

He is a brilliant father for one and our children adore him

He still makes me laugh…sometimes despite myself

and he works really hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table…as do I.

That said It’s really not easy living with someone who likes to keep stuff. Often I feel like I have 3 children. I know, I know men can be very much like children I hear it all the time from struggling mums.

But I feel this is slightly different.

I regularly hear “It’s mine”

“that belongs to me, I’m keeping it. You can’t get rid of that broken computer I can still use it” (this is the pc sat under my kitchen/dining table for the last 6-8 months)

” It’s ok I can fix it up and it will save us money. I’ll put it  in the shed (We have 3) We can sell that, don’t throw that away” (about…anything)

The Hoarder: “Emma where is that magazine? I have not read it & there was stuff in it I wanted to keep”

Cycling Mummy: “That was from last September”

The Hoarder “but it was mine.”

This is often the same conversation I have with my 5yo over a toy the 2yo took…He is in his late 30’s!

If I move anything or throw them away it causes a huge argument…even if the items I throw away belong to me or the girls.

Last year our dryer started playing up, so The Hoarder headed to the auction to get a new one cheaply. It didn’t work (Durr!) He got a man out to fix it, he found a broken part and gave it to The Hoarder to get a new one…but The Hoarder could not throw away the part the man had given him…I had to do it for him. That broken dryer is still sat in one of the sheds to this day and my dryer has to be kick started by hand to get it to spin!

We have piles of unopened letter near our front door ( I just counted them and there are 76 approx) There are two carrier bags in our bedroom from the months before and a bag in one of the sheds from years ago…they all belong to him. Speaking of sheds we have 3 sheds that are full…one of which is on my patio (wine drinking area) that I managed to get to use for 1 summer.

 

He hates putting things away. If there is a space then he needs to fill it with something…anything. I love clear empty work tops in the kitchen…he likes to see his stuff .

I see and hear women complain that it’s hard to get the man in her life to help in the house and I also have friends whose partners are so helpful that I often wonder how I can get one. Getting The Hoarder to help in the house is a chore in itself. I can often get him to eventually do the washing up and if forced will put clothes in the washing machine and switch it on. He refuses to put washing up away, or clothes away, even his own. He also has to be forced to put the shopping away. I have often come home from work at 11pm to find the tins and packets on the work bench (which is on top of the cupboards where they live) He claims he didn’t see them there (yes he put them there).

There are elements of OCD to his hoarding and  I’m convinced there is a link, despite a lot of my internet search claiming there is no such link between hoarding and OCD…Rubbish! I am continuing this research so that I can learn as much as possible.

He can never drive home in the same way that he went.
This caused havoc when I first moved to this city as it took me ages to figure out where anything was. Every time we went to a friend’s house we went several different ways, we always go home a different way. I could never figure out where I was or got two routes mixed up…so annoying.

Recently we went to a retail warehouse so we could buy washing powder etc in bulk. There are two entrances…he could not drive out the same way he went in as this would not form a circle and would not be right. If this is not OCD then I do not know what is!

I have brought this up with him and he denies having OCD or hoarding tendencies, but did say he has to complete the circle or it wont feel right…like that feeling something is wrong.

Needless to say he drives me to distraction!

If I get rid of any broken toys or unused toys to make way for more around xmas & birthdays I have to hide them at the bottom of the bin or get someone else to take them to a charity shop…if I don’t…he raids them, taking out toys he has to keep for the girls. His step mother watched the girls at her house over night last weekend. When she came home she brought back a small toy house and toy van complete with dolls that I had tried to sell on a carboot sale back in the summer. I don’t remember her taking it…but here is this toy now back in my house and I am convinced he asked her to take it to her house rather than get rid of it…It’s going in the bin now. the same Step mother had a clear out of her cellar recently…guess where most of the tools, bits of wood and odd and ends ended up? This is despite me asking her not to let The Hoarder know about them or ask him to come and get them…especially the huge metal filing cabinate…Why would we need this?

***bangs head on table in frustration***

His family says it is a family trait and they are all like that…but I cant see it in their houses…I see items being used or utilised creatively…I don’t  see piles of stuff in their house or areas like my patio being used to home a  third shed. Despite this they still talk amongst themselves about my house and the amount of stuff we have. They still buy the girls hundreds of toys and clothes they don’t need and they still buy us other people’s junk from car boot sales that we don’t want and need…but because The hoarder likes his stuff, he will accept it. No matter how much stuff I try to get rid off…I will never get rid of enough to keep up with him. Yet the state of this house will always be my fault and my problem according to them…never his!

I asked him to take a bag if my old clothes to a charity shop, they were in really good condition, but I’m never gonna be a size 10-12 again, so I was honest and ruthless with my wardrobe…he went through each item pulling out ones he thought I should keep and made me explain why I was getting rid of it.

These are just some examples of his Hoarding and OCD behaviours. It is exhausting just trying to fight against him to stop us drowning in his stuff. I have read posts from other blogs and articles on Hoarding and OCD and they all talk about how it isn’t the persons fault, that it is an illness and they simply can’t help it. As a counsellor I would treat a client with total respect, I would not judge them. We would explore their behaviour together in a safe environment so we could reach an end the individual was content with. Living with someone who has OCD or who hoards is very different from counselling them. I am too involved to help him, and as a helper I find this the most frustrating thing of all. That I might actually be part of the problem. That said, until he admits to having these behaviours there really is nothing I can do.  That sense of hopelessness is also exhausting. Knowing I have to get up tomorrow and fight through more arguments over materialistic shite!

My mother will tell me to just bag it all up and throw it all out. It’s easy for an outsider to judge our lives to be as simple as throwing something away. It is not her who has to face the backlash of throwing things away. Just putting “junk” in the shed while he is in bed or at work causes huge blow outs. I also have to think of the kids, because at the end of the day it will be me that blows my lid the most as a result of all this frustration on a daily basis and it will be me who walks out with my girls never to look back at this hell hole house again.

This post has been so hard to write. It’s actually the 3rd time I have tried in the last year. I always wanted to explain why I call him The Hoarder and  to talk about what it is like living with one.

I am sorry if it is a little self-indulgent rant, but this is the first time I have shared this…to anyone, in so much detail.

It’s theirs…all theirs and there is nothing I can do about it.

More Craftiness


I said in my last post crafting post I’m a crafty lady, that I have quite a few projects to show you. I thought I would share a quick one with you tonight while I am busy drafting a post to add here on Friday.

I love wearing things in my hair, especially if they match what I am wearing. I think it really sets off an outfit. A few years ago The Hoarder bought me a hair band, wow I hear you exclaim can this post get any duller…seriously I loved the hair band he bought, it was one of those scarf ones, the fabric covers your head and ties underneath your hair. I still have it and regularly wear it, so much so that I really could do with another one. I looked everywhere for a similar head scarf, but it would seem they are no longer the fashion or are only available in animal print!

A few months ago I was looking at my lovely head scarf and thought, Ya know this would be quite easy to make.

And it was:

Here is how you start

This picture is slightly misleading. There are 5 bits of fabric here. The two thin strips you see are pinned to another strip of identical length and width. pretty side facing each other, we will turn the out after sewing the edges together.  These strips are sewn in the same way as the head band shown on I’m a crafty Lady. One end of these strip will be left open so we can easily turn it the right way out and we  are going to sew them to the large piece of fabric. You can see in the photo’s that I have hemmed the edges of this to make it look a bit more tidy.

 

 

 

So next we will fan the edges of the large piece of fabric. Once you have done this you will need to pin it or press it to keep it in place. It took me a few attempts to get this as it is quite fiddly. You will then need to insert the fanned edge into one of the strips for the tie. (Do sew your hems and the strips before hand, and turn the strips the right way out)

Fan the edge of the large fabric

 

 

 

 

Dont forget to press the seems and hems. I also like to press the strips so that it looks very flat, almost like it is once bit of fabric. Once sewn…which is a bit tricky with a crap sewing machine like mine ( nod to Santa for a better one) It should look something like this

 

Looks very little house on the prairie right now, but promise it looks great on x

 

 

Here I am wearing my new head scarf.

 

Great for painting in, bad hair days and now I can make one to match my outfits. I’m loving the hippy look at the moment so this just adds to my wardrobe.

 

Since making this I have also worn it under my cycling helmet. It was a very rainy day and I was cycling to work. This was great for keeping my hair dry under my helmet and so I waltzed into work looking great, whilst everyone looked like drowned rats.

 

** I was obviously wearing waterproof trousers and jacket, I had also popped into the toilets outside our office to get changed into my work gear…but my hair was dryer than it otherwise would have been!**

 

Have you made something like this? have you ever looked at something you have bought and though…I could make this! Let me know and add your link in the comments below so I can go see your creations.

 

 

Being a Mummy has made me a wuss!


Before kids I could pretty much handle all spooky, scary and ghoolie goings on. I adored horror films, thrillers and programmes like Criminal minds full of profiling criminals and nasty people.

I loved it all

From being a teenager and a bit of a goth (I kid you not, I promise to find the photo’s so we can all point and laugh) I loved ghost stories and things that went bump in the night.

Since having Big Princess I had to stop watching horror movies. I just could not handle them. I would (still do) lay awake monitoring the shadows around my bedroom ( I swear they move!) Worse still the baby monitor. Too many horrors involve ghostly goings on through a baby monitor…why did I not consider this when I was younger and knew I wanted a baby…they come with baby monitors.

One night when Big Princess was about 2 she started talking…this is nothing new as she regularly talks in her sleep and suffers quite badly with night terrors (another post material!). That night though she was quite animated and started shouting go away. So I crawled out of bed (after putting on my lamp so I wasn’t scared… Seriously). I found her sat up in her bed crying and still saying go away.

After hugging her to me she started saying “Man, Man Mummy go away Man!”

I almost fled the house there and then! My heart was pounding and I thought …what did I think?

Was there a man in my little girls bedroom? Was it someone out on the street shouting? Was there a man ..here…with us? OK logical Mummy, come on.

I am not disregarding the belief of an after life. Some pagans believe in Summerland I guess you could say it is a pagan version of heaven. I have my own ideas of course, and visits from loved ones are a comfort as long as they keep it to themselves. Big princess is named after The Hoarders Grandfather who had recently passed away at the time so I drew comfort that we had a visit, picked Big Princess up from her bed and tucked her up with me because I was scared to death so I could comfort her.

As I snuggled down with her she waved at my bedroom door and said “Bye Bye Man”…we slept with the light on.

This was not the last experience like this that I have had with Big Princess. Look out for another post I am going to write on talking to your child about death as it’s something I need to explore a conversation and experience we had two days ago!.

Since having Smaller Beautiful my fear and aversion of anything that scares me has grown. I hate watching the news, I despise crime programmes as they always include the hurt or disappearance of children …this scares me more than a visiting man. I really can not stand horrors.

I was sat here tonight watching TV after a late shift at work (1pm-9pm) when an advert popped up on the telly box. It was for a horror film that is due out at the cinema.

Unfortunately I looked up at the worse bit to see a face in the monitor turning to stare at the lead character. . . Damn it!

So that is me staying up even later watching “Neutral” (boring non scary) stuff on tv (X Factor) in an attempt to get rid of the image in my head so that I can go upstairs, turn off the light and go to sleep (never gonna happen!)

What bugs me is that the quality of horrors are getting better, the effects are brilliant…maybe too brilliant. They look so real, despite that tiny lovely little bit of my logical brain that tells me it’s made up and doesn’t really happen. Has this tiny bit of my brain gotten even smaller since having children (along with my memory)?

Why do I get so scared of something I used to adore? Is it a threat to my happy (cough) little bit of heaven that I have created?

It is my duty and responsibility to protect my innocent babies but these horrors are in my front room, albeit on the TV, but here where they play happily?

Perhaps it is my Fight or Flight response? Ready and alert to grab my children and run to save us from the nasty people.

Is it to protect myself? I have to look after my babies after all so keeping myself safe is a priority to keep them safe?

How wonderful our mummy minds are!

What has changed dramatically since you had children? Do you avoid anything?

I would love to hear what you think on this x

I’ve got to break free


Arrggghhh!

I am so angry at myself right now. Almost 2 weeks ago I was free. If I wanted to go anywhere I just jumped on my bike.
Kids? No problem. I simply hooked up our bike buggy & strapped them in.

Shopping
School run
Commute to work
Local park

ANYWHERE!

Now…well, now I am trapped because I stupidly fell over myself and badly sprained my ankle (see previous posts). I have to pick Big princess up from school today with Smaller beautiful…this means a 20min walk there & 20min walk back home. This would take 10min on my bike.

Im working tonight. This means bus there @ £2.20 which will take 40min. Worse the journey home at another £2.20 will be with with drunk smelly folk & I will have to wait in the cold for that pleasure at 10pm in the city centre…i’ll get home at 11pm.

On my bike it takes 20min from leaving work to walking in my front door…it doesn’t cost a penny & as the ride home is uphill…im lovely & warm.

I miss riding my bike. My ankle is still sore, im still walking with a limp.
I’m told it can take 4-6 weeks to heal fully. I know I cant get back to my running till then, but what about cycling?

I honestly cant wait that long! I’ll go insane.

After a google search I have found forums where cyclists have rested a week & got back on their bike. They also say if it hurts then stop before any further damage is done.

I think a test run is in order without the buggy & without the hills.

Any advice from fellow cyclists would be greatly recieved as I’m desperate to get my freedom back.

P.S I dont drive, never have. Probably never will…I just want my bike back.

New name new look blog


You may have noticed a slight change to my blog…I say a slight change I have actually refurbished the lot.

I started this blog over a year ago after being inspired by the amazing bloggers I met on Twitter. A year on and it was not meeting my needs anymore.

The first thing that had to go was the ridiculously long title! I still live with a hoarder and I still live with my beautiful princesses. What has changed is me.
They are no longer my only focus, in my journey of self discovery I have found an interest in running and recently a passion for cycling which is encouraged by the hoarder.

There have been times when I have felt trapped in my life, when all I have wanted was to escape, to run away and feel free. I have found exactly this through cycling and going to the gym. I can’t get enough. I have been cycling to work now for the last month my 45 minute journey that cost £2.60 both ways is now free and lasts 18 minutes.

I am free

I will still be writing the same old stuff about my journey as a mummy, a pagan and a trainee counsellor, but I will also be writing about cycling as a family since I am dragging them along for the ride in a little yellow buggy attached to the back of my bike.

The hoarder will be riding his own!

Caught in the moment @ a festival


Oh my Goddess!
Have you ever been caught in a moment in a festival? This is not my first festival, nor my last. I will be rocking to my grave.

But …

This is the first in 2 years & the longest I have been away from The Beautifuls. 4 nights. 4nights with the hoarder. 4 nights of drink. 4 nights of uninterrupted alone time.

All I have wanted to do is jump him…where did that come from?

Is it the tent? The idea that I am as close to mother earth & my own personality here rather than mother, rather than my body being owned by my children?

I am free here. This is who I used to be.

Is it the music? The beat, the vibrations, the innuendo of Steal Panther, tenacious D or (oh my ) Biffy Clyro? Maybe even Reckless Love (I made it there in time to see him take his top off!)

Is it simply the alone time? Are we rediscovering each other? Remembering why we fell In love, remembering how nice it is to cuddle all night or drink all night & talk crap to each other.

Maybe its all of these. Maybe Download festival 2012 saved my relationship? Maybe this is the year I found myself again.

Maybe…

Maybe I should step away from the Jagamister truck?

(photo to follow…Im still @ the Jaga truck)

COUCH TO 5K IS ON!


I can believe a week has passed already, how did Friday get here so soon? I had so many plans for this week!

Get the washing done

Tidy the girls bedroom

Tidy my bedroom

Go for a run on my own

Go for a run with Big Beautiful

Go to the gym

Actually I did do some of those things. I got half the washing done, mainly because Big Beautiful and I are working on having dry nights. This means more wet nights and more washing which gets in the way of my normal washing schedule.

I also went out for a run with Big Beautiful which was great fun. We had talked about it on Monday and Tuesday as a way of spending some quality time together. She had started to get really clingy and crying on a morning saying she did not want to go to school. This was so sudden and so out of character I was sure something awful had happened to put her off school, I was worried about her all day. Fortunately we have some wonderful friends on Twitter and Facebook who offered all their advice and support (as usual). I spoke to her teachers who were just as perplexed.

So an early night was planned and some running time with Mummy.

In our local park there is a football pitch so Big beautiful decided we should run around the white lines on the grass. I thought this was a great idea until she started cheating. Rather than follow the lines she ran diagonally across shouting “Mummy your gonna loose”.

Loose I did, after lots of laughing and shouting cheat at each other we played properly and ran our circuit together before going into the park to play on the swings. Did I mention it was raining? We were soaked, but rather than being put off the rain seemed to make it better.

I have spoken to runner Friends recently who claim they love running in the rain as it cools them down and it’s often quieter. I must admit I am a convert after the fun we had on Wednesday in the rain.

I can’t wait to do it again.

It also seemed to do wonders for Big Beautiful who had an early night and went to school on Thursday and Friday without a single tear or clinginess.

I have not managed to go out on a run on my own, despite plenty of opportunity. I still feel embarrassed about running around our local area (not that I know anyone!) In my sports gear and my huge behind wobbling along.

Running with Big Beautiful has given me some confidence though and I also went to the gym on my own for the first time in 5 years today.  So I am getting there. I do intend to go out for my first run on Sunday. I am mad at myself as this will be exactly a week since I decided I would do the Big Fun Run in October. I mentioned in my first Couch to 5k post that I had been invited to do this by a few work mates. I figured why not and signed up, I think it is good motivation since I am doing the Couch to 5k from the NHS website anyway

So there can be no more excuses. Couch to 5k is on!

TIPS for going to the gym:

Remember to take spare knickers

Remember to take spare sock

Remember your shoes

Remember your change for the locker

Do not leave shampoo and locker key in shower room as you will look like an idiot wandering around in your towel looking for them.

Other than this I think my first Gym session went ok.