Tuesday, 31 January 2012

On Losing My Footing & The Climb Ahead

This time last year I was single & working (fairly) hard. I was the manager of a cafe, & felt more or less on top of life, except that I had nobody to share it with & tended to eat a lot of cake instead. These were things I was working on, though strangely my weight wasn't much of a knock on my confidence - I had some very pretty dresses, & was very 'out there' in said pretty dresses. I'd joined match.com & had had some dates. It was all pretty fun but I definitely remember hungering for more than carrot cake. In a very cliched way I wanted to love & to be loved. It was all I could really think about & I imagined it would be a long & arduous journey to hunt down a man of worth.

It was around this time that I decided to enrol on a climbing course. Though I was mainly motivated by the fact that it was always something I had wanted to try but never got round to, I have to admit that I had half-jokingly expressed the idea that I might date a man who was courageous & bold - ie a mountaineer. In hindsight someone had clearly been spiking the chocolate cake, but who was I to know?

I went to the classes with my good friend, & then boss, L, & enjoyed it thoroughly on the climbing front, though our instructor was disappointingly skinny & boyish, not at all heroic. Never mind.

I never got to finish the course, though a few weeks later I met (via match) a man who I would soon fall for, who would love me & who I could love without any fear. Though he wasn't a mountaineer, he was, & is, everything I had wished for, not in the particular form I had imagined, but in every form I have needed. If it was a crap novel he would be 'the one'.

Fast forward to today. I live with 'the one' & what is more we have a precious baby girl. Not long after we met, we 'fell pregnant'. I'm not sure how you 'fall' pregnant but that's what happened. I fell in love & then I fell pregnant. Next I sort of fell off the face of the earth. After all that falling I'm now attempting to do a bit of climbing, back into the world & to become the woman I was a year ago. After finding love so easily I had no idea that all that stuff I previously had & finding my footing in the crevasse between family life & adult life would actually hardest things to achieve.

Its all about finding strength & balance, being agile & enduring the particularly tough bits as well as having good mental control.

I suppose the point is that it is easy to think 'What is life, if you have nobody to share it with?' but we should also bear in mind the thought 'What is love, if you have nothing to share?'

Friday, 20 January 2012

Groovy Mums

As you know, I take part in KateOnThinIce's Groovy Mums blog hop.

I haven't been too great recently & therefore not much of great meaning has appeared on my blog & I feel sad that I haven't been feeling up to getting groovy. This week is better & so I'll be telling you how I've been getting on with the challenges in just a second!

Firstly though, I just want to say that if you are a mum who has been considering Kate's challenge, or even if you haven't seen the blog hop before but think it might be for you then I would wholly encourage you to go & check it out, maybe try for a week or so. Follow Kate & the girls on Twitter if you fancy a bit of banter (search #groovymums). Everyone who takes part in this blog hop is exceptional. I've never met a nicer group of ladies (though technically I haven't met any of them, I'm sure there's a little irony in there) who are so giving & supporting. Without wishing to sound gushy, the support that these perfect strangers have offered me in the past month has helped immeasurably. There's a whole lotta love & wisdom going on there & though I am guilty of sometimes falling behind with the reading, whenever I do read what these ladies have to say I am never disappointed, in fact I am always filled with emotion by them.

Anyway, vomitousness over. This weeks challenges:

1. Body – How are you sleeping? How can you ensure you get better quality sleep?

I am sleeping terribly. I have had a week of anxiety & bedtime (as well as daytime) tears. I am slightly on the up now but I feel horrendous that most night I can't get to sleep until the wee hours & wake up so late. This isn't fair on my girls & I'm doing what I can, but mostly the anxiety & depression is winning. I hope this changes as I get more support. I bought some chamomile tea this week, but am yet to imbibe, I have also being trying (& mostly failing) to cut down on caffeine. Hopefully now that things are on the up & I should soon be getting some anti-depressants my stresses shan't be so prevalent.

2. Mind – Our children have reward charts and get stickers when they do well? Could you play with this idea and create your own chart or adapt a child’s one

Well, the girls do not have reward charts as it stands, but this has got me thinking that it could be a good idea for eldest (3yo) as she is getting to the stage where she needs a little more structure in her tasks for the day. As for me, my iPhone is my best friend. I have finally worked out how to create a to-do list on my reminders app & am slowly but surely getting there with what i must do, particularly on the better days.

3. Spirit – Is the spirit willing? You can respond to this one in whatever way you see fit.

My spirit sometimes ups & vanishes, but when it's here it's a bit wobbly. As I say, I have good days & bad days. I am looking forward to the weekend, as we are going out & leaving the girls with my parents. Hopefully the, er, spirits (of the alcoholic kind) will return & I shall be merry & dancing!

4. Blog – Have you attended a blogger event? Have you met any bloggers in the flesh? 

Though I haven't met any bloggers in the flesh yet I have booked my ticket for BlogCamp UK! Exciting! The Man, who has his own little blog here was also going to come with me, but he couldn't get a ticket, so I shall be going it alone! Nervous, but very excited for this! Is anyone else reading going??! Kate is also speaking at Brit Mums, I would love to go, but money is the issue with that one, but you never know, if I could blag something...

5. It is the creator of Winnie the Pooh’s birthday this week. So, as a bit of fun, why not work out which Winnie the Pooh character you are most like and why?

Well, A.A. Milne is one of my favourites. Winnie the Pooh books (the proper ones, none of this Disney shite) are my book of choice for reading to the girls & I try my hardest to persuade her that's what we should read! I'd say that a lot of days I feel as Eeyore does, lonely & lethargic but secretly knowing that I have these wonderful creatures who would do anything for me, though I've never lost my tail, or in fact had a tail to lose! Sometimes I feel tiny & worrisome like Piglet, though I think I would most like to be Kanga. A pouch for littlest would be helpful too!

6. The Big Question – How is your sex life? Oh, I know we are not supposed to talk about religion, sex and politics but you know me, I like breaking the rules. So how are things in the bedroom (or your venue of choice)?

Well, I've approached this issue with caution. Caution tells me to be frugal with my words.
Flinging caution to the wind, I would have to be entirely honest & say that sex seven weeks after giving birth is non-existent. For the moment anyway. In fact it has been pretty non-existent for months now & though this is most unlike me, I didn't really mind. Now that I am a little more back to normal let's just say that, looking back, it seems there has been a direct correlation between my low moods & the low amount of bedroom action (which affects which is anyone's guess, however the only way to find this out is to experiment). I plan on being ecstatic in the near future.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17. But Why's The Rum Gone?

Because I discovered a delicious new way in which to imbibe that scrumptious stuff!

It's hot buttered rum day in America (or so teitter tells me). Not knowing what buttered rum was but sensing I could be onto a life-changing discovery here I decided to investigate. Basically, stick a tbsp of butter, a tbsp of sugar, a generous helping of festive spices & of course a good slosh of rum into a mug, top up with hot water & you have miracle-drink! Perfection!

Monday, 16 January 2012

16. A Winter Warmer

Today, simply one of my favourite meals ever. Plain, simple, oxtail stew with dumplings.

When I was a child  I spent a lot of my time with my Grandfather. He was a butcher & so knew all there was to know about how to make the most of meat. On winter afternoons I would come home from school, being careful to avoid the ice on the flag-stone path. It would absolutely make my day if I was greeted by a warm & utterly delicious smell filling the kitchen, & I wasn't often disappointed. We would make the dumplings together & I'd be thrilled to see them triple in size, as though by magic! What makes a good stew even better is the fact that the smell is so pleasing that you can practically taste it hours before it is cooked. When it is finally served it is always so hot that you have to wait a good ten minutes to become edible & so this anticipation makes it even more satisfying when it is warming you from the inside out.

What I'm trying to say, is that I really, really, love stew. & don't get me started on the dumplings.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

14 & 15.

Day 14 was perfection. I spent the day in that city I love with some people I love very much. It was bliss. So in honour of that here are those wonderful women! Strangely, I couldn't find a single picture of us all together, so I'll stick a couple on from varying times in the past!

Day 15 is lazy Sunday. We had roast dinner & have spent the day in the traditional Sunday way - putting our feet up & doing nowt. Grand!

Friday, 13 January 2012

12 & 13. Thursday & Friday Thoughts.

Yesterday wasn't such a good day, so I had a little time out & did some wandering about the streets of York. There really is no better place to be depressed. I'm so familiar with the city, with its seasons & hidden treasures. York is unassumingly beautiful, even the grandeur of the Minster is somehow unpretentious. Maybe I feel this way because we are so well-acquainted, buut whatever the reason, when I'm blue York can offer me solace & anonimity & this is why I love it so.

The Eye has returned to York & Eldest so wants to go on it, she was thrilled to see it all lit up yesterday evening. We will go on it soon & I am sure she will realise at the top that she wants to get off!

Today my thoughts have been cluttering up my brain, swimming around with no real direction or order so I wrote them down. It helped.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

11. Creature Comforts at Rosey Cottage

Today, we girlies have come to my Mum's house. The place I still call home, or at least one of my homes! Everything is so warm & familiar here, but the best part is that I don't have to be constantly thinking about what the kids are doing, what they need or what they want because there's always someone else about who will happily entertain them. Utterly relaxed! We do miss Daddy though.

The most exciting thing about Nanny's house, however, is her NEW CAT! Mum has called her Porsche (because she thinks it's funny, not because she's that kind of woman!) & she has the biggest tail I've ever seen in my life. She's a pretty Maincoon & a perfect playmate for Mum's other cat, Ping Pong. Yes, Ping Pong.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

10. Baby Girl & Her Pet Lip

A Woman's Right To Feed Her Child

So, I'm sat at home, dressed, showered, fed etc. generally ready to go out of the house yet I can't actually bring myself to leave. I feel overwhelmingly anxious & panicky & have done since this morning. All I need to do is go out & get some buttons yet it seems like an impossibility.

I haven't really left the house alone in quite some time, though I haven't expressly thought that I couldn't or didn't want to but I suppose that there must have been some part of me that ws stopping me because usually I'd be out of the house in a flash rather than sat around doing nothing.

I think that there are a lot of contributing factors. Firstly, I have very, very little money & spending any unnecessarily would be careless, so the thought of buses & maybe a coffee at a cafe if the baby becomes hungry is not really what I want to be spending my pennies on. Secondly, there is the thought of getting all the stuff together for the baby etc. is a bit daunting, though I have never found it to be so in the past. Thirdly, navigating a gigantic tank of a pram around shops which contain aisles that are smaller than said pram is just draining. There are all these things which I face every day I go out but then there was what happened this morning too.

I was on Twitter, as usual, & saw a news story about a woman from Scarborough who had been thrown out of a cafe for breastfeeding her four week old baby because of a complaint from another customer. This, frankly, outraged me & I soon got looking into women's right etc. & basically got on my high horse. I then decided to tune into BBC Radio York on which they were discussing this issue & I was astonished by the amount of people (mainly women too) who were against women breastfeeding in public, calling it things like "unsavoury" & saying that there is no need for women to "flaunt" their breasts in public in this day & age when it is "unnecessary" to feed a baby "that way". My view on public breastfeeding is that it is a woman's right to do so, plain & simple. Breasts have been sexualised in our society & that is wrong, or at least we should be equally aware of their real & fantastic purpose which is as a means to feed our children. They are essential for new life & if anyone should have a problem with a woman breastfeeding discretely then they seriously need to reconsider their mindset. But try as I might I couldn't quite shake the voices of these women, especially as there seemed to be quite a lot of them. I imagined myself sat in a cafe & I thought about how many of the other customers may disapprove of me feeding  my baby in the most natural &  healthy way possible & it upset me. A lot. It upset me so much that I am now feeling reluctant to go out unless it is absolutely necessary & I'm anxious about staying out too long in case the baby does need feeding.

This is utterly disgusting that I should be made to feel this way & ridiculous on my part for thinking that these people's opinions should matter, but currently, due to all the other factors causing my anxiety, I am not strong enough to walk out proud & be the kind of woman I would like to be.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

On Judgement & Actually Losing My Mind

Today has been a bad day. A very bad day.

I feel okay now. I don't understand it, really. I've been flat for days & I suppose I knew it was coming but also hoping it might not. I just didn't know it'd be so bad. I'm making it sound melodramatic & dicky & I haven't any right to be a melodramatic dick. It was just all shit, & mostly I feel as though I deserve to feel this way, but whether that's true or not I don't want to.

As I say, I've felt numb & fairly irritable for a few days which is usually a sign that things are going to come to a head. It started, I think, from something so pointless & stupid that I feel petty even writing it. The Man's friend text him asking him what we were up to tomorrow. We hadn't anything planned so I thought it'd be nice to have people over. A little while later the Man said to me "He's just suggested he come over, but his OH wants to come too so he thought that we could go to the local while you keep the kids entertained."

To be honest, I think it was just badly phrased but I was pretty damn offended by the assumption that I'd be happy to sit at home with the kids (like every other day) with someone who, admittedly is lovely & I'd like to get to know better, but at the moment I hardly know. In fact I don't think it was even that part, it was just the assumption. So I expressed my mild offence taken at this suggestion & voiced my need for a pint, but there wasn't any real reason for me to object. That was that & later the Man went to work & I got on. I realised that I was still thinking about this a few hours later & so I decided to have a shower.

So I'm in the shower & I'm thinking about the assumption more & more & I'm pretty angry by this point, but I can't really understand why.

"He needs his man time" I tell myself, & I agree.

"Just because you haven't been able to go for a pint yet there's no reason to feel annoyed at him" I say, & I agree.

"He'd do the same for you" I convince myself. I know, but I think I'd ask rather than assume. Wouldn't I? I don't know.

"It's not him that's the problem here is it?" No, I don't think it is.

"Why haven't you been out?" I don't know. I'm breast feeding, my friends haven't been free, I'm reluctant to leave the baby...

"Really?" I don't know.

By this point, though I've tried to rationalise the situation I am still pretty pissed off - in fact probably more pissed off because logic isn't helping my case - but none of the anger or upset I'm feeling has any reason or direction. Am I angry at myself? Am I jealous that I can't just go out at the drop of a hat? I'm sobbing, I'm bawling, & why? I have no idea but I can't stop it. I feel as though I am imploding & there is nothing I can do about it. Usually the four walls of the shower cubicle shut the rest of the world out for me & I can relax but today they have me trapped & now I'm crouching on the floor gagging because I'm sobbing so hard. What the fuck is wrong with me? I think I am actually losing my mind. This is pathetic. I am pathetic.

"Just look at what you have" Yes, exactly. Everything I don't deserve.

I can't stop my tears & I am crying out loudly now. With each heave of my arched back & each sob I try to compose myself but I still can't. My head hurts now, but apart from that there is just blankness & numbness. I feel as though I'm a record that's got stuck. This is supposed to be the part where the sobbing stops & I calm down & then everything looks a bit brighter but it's not happening, just stuck, sob after sob after sob. I don't know what else I can do but scream & so in frustration I hit the tiled wall of the shower with my fist & it hurts a lot. But it feels like a release. I am not stupid & I do not do it again because I know if I start I won't stop. I've only ever felt like this once before, briefly, when I was about 18 or 19 & now I am becoming scared.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I am actually losing my mind. I step out of the shower & continue to sob loudly until Eldest comes into the room. She asks what I'm laughing at. I face the mirror & tell her it's nothing & she goes again. I try plucking my eyebrows as a distraction but I am repulsed by my own hideous, tear-strewn reflection & so I go to get dressed, still crying like a baby. Eldest comes in & she is beautiful in her vile top & pretty skirt - a combination she chose herself - & now she has realised that I'm crying, not laughing. She asks whether I am ill, or just sad. I tell her it's okay & she then says that I'm not to worry because she will cheer me up. She is bouncing on the bed with her arms wide open, smiling at me. I sit next to her & sit her on my knee & tell her how wonderful she is. She knows. I don't deserve such an amazing daughter, but I am thankful every day that I have her.

I know that I need to write, because it's a good therapy. I know that my laptop will get very wet in the process. I think about what I will say & I know that none of it makes any sense whatsoever. Then I start to imagine what a nut-job I must sound. I imagine the Man, whom I do not deserve one little bit, down the pub or wherever, with his friends who might have stumbled upon my post. I imagine what they would think. Or at least, what I think they would think.

"Proper looper mate, I'd stay well clear if I were you. You could do better."

I think that maybe they wouldn't say that. After all, I don't know them & the lesson of the day is not to assume, right? I know it's just me putting my own feelings about myself into someone elses mouth, but if I think it, then others are bound to, right? Just in case they did think that perhaps I shouldn't write about this. It is pretty mental after all. I cry for no reason & then I feel good about hurting myself. Maybe I should just call someone who can come & hold me, because that's all I really want. It's the second best therapy. Then no one else will have to know. But who? I am stood thinking about who might come all this way just to hug me because I'm too scared to write & then it hits me - when I'm well, I spend all my time insisting that people should open up; that the best therapy is talking; that others should not judge & though it is the reality that they do judge we should have no shame whatsoever in admitting how we feel & how this illness affects us yet still I am terrified of being judged. Terrified.

I am a massive hypocrite.

There is a long list of shit stuff that I believe I am. I am not prepared to add 'Hypocrite' to that. There isn't the room.

So, I sit & I write.

Fuck every single one of you that judges me, the joke is on you, because aside from when I'm being a proper looper, I am the most normal person I know. It takes knowing madness to enjoy sanity.

Day 7 of 366: Here Kitty, Kitty!

Today, Kitty got stuck up a rather large tree.

Have a lovely weekend folks!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Day 6 of 366: One Small Step for Woman

Today is exactly 6 weeks since I gave birth to our little baby girl. Today is also the day I decided to start running again. Before my pregnancy I took up running mainly because I was getting a bit on the porky side & being single I had nothing better to do. To my utter surprise, it worked for me - at least in that it made me feel great & I soon got to the point where I loved to go & would do extra laps with ease. Then I got tonsilitis & was laid up in bed for a few days. During these few days I also decided to take a pregnancy test, which came out positive.

I was ill & pregnant & that was my fitness ruined. Apart from one experimental run whilst pregnant (it was horrible, all I could feel was the weight of the baby) I haven't done any exercise since & have been absolutely dying to get back to it, not particularly for my figure, but more for my mental health & my skin (as you'll see!)

Today I ran 1.6 miles in 22 minutes. The Man, (who is a Fitness Manager - whatever that means...he works in a gym!) says that is good considering, though I think he's just being nice, but whatever the case I feel like I need to collapse, but in a good way. Another step on the road to being a Groovy Mum!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Day 5 of 366: Cupcakes a la Pod

We like to bake. We love to bake! However...finding a spare half an hour when you have a 3 year old child who spends most of her time on the naughty step & a six week old baby who spends most of her time eating, crying or soiling herself can be a little bit tricky.

So, if you are in a similar predicament to me, then you may appreciate my step by step guide to cupcakes.

1. Preparation is key. Firstly get all your ingredients together, place them on a tea towel so as to disguise your mingin' work tops from anyone who may be watching you, for whatever reason.

2. Check that baby is sleeping soundly. Yes? Good.

3. Find child & place in apron (may be trickier than it seems).

4. Make child smile & banish from sucking thumb until finished. Crop out mop in background.

5. Remove gross child-germs from child's hands.

6. Now, at last, baking. Cream together butter & sugar using electric mixer, unless your child, like mine, is scared of electric mixers, hoovers, hand dryers etc.

7. Beat in egg & vanilla essence. ("Awwww I wanted to crack the egg, Mummyyyy...")

8. After ensuing egg-related sulk, gradually stir in the flour.

9. Scoop into cases, taking extra care to avoid child saliva & other bodily fluids contaminating mixture.

10. Bugger, too late.

11. Place on tray & bake in oven for 10 minutes.

12. Meanwhile, give in to child's nagging & allow her to take embarrassing & blurry pictures. Edit these so no one can see your terrible skin.

13. Check buns, realise you are crap at timing & return to oven for a further five minutes.

14. Remove from oven. Perfect buns every time. If not, blame child.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 4 of 366: Love & Junk.

Four days in (well, I started a day late, so technically three) & I'm enjoying actually having something to think about! Posting a picture every day has got me pondering about what is important to me & what I have surrounding me. Currently, I haven't really left my dining room to take a photo. Since having a jolly good post-Christmas tidy it has become my little safe haven & I like it! I have my laptop & my radio & Eldest has her toys & plenty of space to make mess. I may have mentioned before that I don't really watch TV & so when I lived alone I didn't have one. The man, of course has a gigantic one ("Whheeeyyy!") as men do, which now dominates the living room & so it makes me happy to have my own tranquil room & to be surrounded by things I love.

I wouldn't say I'm shallow or materialistic but I love stuff. Junk, mainly (pretty junk), as well as meaningful objects & I do tend to get quite attached to & sentimental about all my shit. As I was taking a look around I realised that amongst all my stuff-I-love I don't actually have any photographs, except for the four that I keep on the notice board. I have a hard-drive full of photos, of course I do, but I have no framed family shots, nothing like that. Besides the fact that we're just not that kind of family - I don't think we've ever had a photo of us all together, & not through lack of love - I can't see much point in displaying photos of people who are so deeply rooted in my heart & mind & I find no creativity in bland, mass-produced frames bearing posed, fake-smile pictures propped up on mantelpieces & the such. I much prefer my tatty, pin-punctured snaps which sit as comfortably on the notice board as they do in my soul.

Photos, are still important to me & I love nothing more than to look through ancient photos of relatives & remark at the crazy hairstyles & fashion; to see who gave so  & so their nose; to be amazed at how much is passed on from generation to generation & inevitably I will look at the stuff that surrounds these people & say "Oh gosh, do you remember that sofa? I bounced on it so much it eventually gave in!" or "You used to love that Teddy, Eldest has it now." & that is why, for me, stuff is important & integral to who I am. Memories are held in the stuff I surround myself with & the possessions of my loved ones & I hope that this will be the same for my children. Every time I look at an ink picture done by my Mum, or a pencil topper made by my Great Aunt & the various other things which I have 'acquired' from them over the years it reminds me of the wonderful innate creativity the women of my family possess. When I visit my Grandfather I see the (horrid) antique porcelain figures sat on his mantelpiece & I am a four year old child again, peering as closely as possible at all the tiny details on the women's dresses & feeling the spiky, delicate ruffles of the men's tunics. This, for me, is precious.

 Above: Dad & I. I look just like Eldest here. Shame we were at the hunt (not something I approve of)
Below Left: My oldest friend & I at my 6th? Birthday. Below Middle: Eldest & my hand, conkering. Below Right: Mum & I, before the races. Swish.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Grooving Mums & World Domination

As you may know by now, I try to take part in the #groovingmums blog-hop on a weekly basis. Since November I have been flagging a bit, but I have the pretty solid excuse of having given birth & then with the festive season straight after all has been a little bit hectic & I have been having a bit of a break from blogging in general.

Now, with a fresh new year, the schedule is cleared & I'm embracing normality & hoping to build a positive routine, as much for the children as for myself. 

Back to the Grooving Mums bit. Kate over at Kate on Thin Ice hosts this fabulous blog-hop & you can read all about this here. You may even want to get involved. I've found the ladies to be an amazing source of support & inspiration, particularly on the gloomy days. Each week Kate sets us some optional challenges. This week these are:-

1. Did you over-indulge over the festive season? What can you do to prepare for the life-changing journey ahead in terms of improving your health? 

2. What do you need to change your mind about? Have you written yourself off in some way? How can you shift negative thinking patterns?

3. This week, Christians celebrate the Epiphany. Here is one dictionary definition for the word epiphany "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." What does this mean to you?

4. Are you aware of all the blogging networks you can get involved with? Is it worth you checking them out and promoting your efforts to sparkle to a wider audience?

Firstly, I did over-indulge this festive season. It was briliant! I have no regrets. I'm not particularly concerned about my figure as I am blessed (so far in my life) with a pretty good metabolism (smug), though I always notice that it does affect my skin. I get terrible oily & spotty skin when I partake in too much sugar. I've had many a night out whereby I wake the next morning not only to a stonking hangover but also to a face full of yuck (not in a rude way or anything. Or at least not always! Ahem...) & Christmas has certainly left my skin a little bit angry, so I shall be getting some yummy vegetables down me in order to appease it. As well as this I shall be taking up running again, so long as my Doctor okays it, again not so much for my figure but for my skin & more importantly my mind. I always feel so much more stable when I take regular exercise.

Secondly, if there is one thing I am bloody good at it is negative thinking - damn you irony! - but I am on the road to changing that. I think that I have got better in the past month or so but I'm hoping for a good round of CBT to combat any negatve thinking patterns that might crop up in future.

Thirdly, 'Epiphany' to me is not particularly something spiritual. I am an atheist with a love for logic & so epiphany in my mind is those spectacular moments of crystal clarity, whereby everything swirling around in the massive fog of my brain settle in a pattern that makes perfect sense & everything finally feels calm. This is usually, for me, relating to my emotions. The human mind is so complex, I find it is often so difficult to understand even your own thoughts & so when everything is alligned, for me that is a very precious experience.

Finally, with regards to my blog, I am generally useless at organising promotion. I tend to have about one day a month where I feel a frenzied urge to branch out & to discover new ways to find forums & networks. This is fine for me & so for now I am quite happy with all you lovely readers who have given me such lovely comments & offered your support, (& for that I thank you very much.) & to let my blog grow organically. In summary, I am a little too lazy to consider world domination just yet!

Here's hoping for a Grooving 2012! & maybe a tiny bit of world domination - or maybe not!

Day 3 of 366: Simple Things

Today was a day of immense achievement

Quite simply, Eldest Daughter & I accomplished my childhood ambition of making an EPIC train track.
Simple things.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Damn Sentimental Me.

Happy New Year one & all! Has 2012 been off to a good start for you this year? Or perhaps you are nonplussed - do you celebrate an alternative New Year? I'd love to hear.

For me, I don't find that I become overly reflective with the passing of a year but I always note how much has changed. This year, like many others has been a jam-packed one for me. It seems that I'm destined to live my life in the fast lane, as it were. So much happens from year to year I can hardly keep up.

I saw in 2011 in the company of some wonderful friends. I was single & surrounded by couples. I was pretty drunk & had a lot of fun dancing like an idiot on the 'slippy floor' of my favourite friend's dining room.

This year I was in the company of a wonderful friend, my other half & some of his lovely friends. I obviously am very un-single now, & furthermore, we have a gorgeous new addition to our family. We were all pretty sober & spent the evening eating crisps & chocolate in our living room.

I'm not one for resolutions - as I've mentioned in previous posts I'm bloody useless at keeping them - but I think that the beginning of a year offers the chance to plan ahead. This year I am looking forward to spending time with the children: watching them grow; enjoying our time (in between tellings-off & naughty-step placement) & most of all just being Mummy.

An important journey that I embarked upon last year & shall be continuing on this year is one regarding my mental health. I've been suffering from anxiety & the subsequent depression which has been ruling my life for the past year or so. It was only about half way through that I realised that it was a real problem. I thought for years that this feeling was just me being a fuck-up, not being able to be like other people. I just thought it was how I was, it never occurred to me that there may be help - a solution.

Since opening up, I've found that actually & quite sadly this is a common problem. A lot of people suffer & what is more, many suffer in silence. Like me, they think that is something they are just doing wrong or believe that there is shame to admit they feel so. When I decided it was time to start talking, as the depression was starting to rule my life, I initially did so to my partner & then explored some unofficial internet support groups, mainly on the website I sell crafts on. It took me a while to be able to open up to close friends & though I blog fairly openly about it I still haven't expressly told any of my wider circle of peers what I'm dealing with. This is mainly because it is not relevant, but is also due in part to fear of being judged. That is going to change. If relevant, then I shan't have any concerns about mentioning it in future, but the part I have struggled with the most is the scariest part of depression, which has only reared its head this year - at some extreme low points I have wondered what, exactly, is the point of pathetic me being here. That is to say I have felt suicidal. It sounds melodramatic & wholly ridiculous but it is damn scary. Thankfully, it is not something that I've felt since the birth of my second little girl & it is not something I ever want to feel again.

I was surprised to find that some too of my close friends have been struggling with such issues too, some for years. Like me, they hadn't really opened up but eventually I think we all just reached breaking point. We have always been close but much more so recently & though I would wish for no one to feel what I have been feeling, I have taken immense comfort in having somebody understanding to talk to & being able to support others when they're having a bad day & often when I feel I have been there for someone it makes me feel as though my life is not completely pointless. I love my friends, of course I always have, but this year all of them have been there for me when I really needed it & I couldn't have made it through without them. I am very lucky (& now I'm shedding a bit of a tear. Damn, sentimental me!).

With this in mind I have been wondering lately why there is no obvious support group for people tackling mental illness. I know that this is partly due to the stigma attached to all things brain-related & though there are some amazing people trying to wrestle this stereotype into submission it is still something that people feel uncomfortable with voicing & hearing. I feel that there needs to be something out there, with a big neon sign saying "Feeling mental? Come join the club - it's normal!".

People should have the right to voice their own feelings (should they choose to) without feeling labelled or diminished. They should also have the right to access support easily even out of 'office hours'.

So this year, in light of all I've said, I want to help myself & others. In fact I think that by helping others I probably would help myself too. All the bullshit around mental illness needs to be labelled as exactly that & I want to play a part in that.

Watch this space.

If you have any ideas, input, opinions, thoughts then please, please, get in touch. I would love to hear from anyone who has suggestions or experience in this field & details of how I can play a part in this, big or small.

You can email me at chloe.skinner@hotmail.co.uk
or find me on Twitter at @PeaGreenGwin
or even on Facebook by searching for Our Pea Green Pod

Wishing you all the best for 2012, I look forward to whatever this journey brings.


This year, I'd like to take part in the 366 day challenge, whereby you post a photo every day.

Don't ask me how I'm going to manage this, I'm flaky at the best of times, but it definitely sounds fun!

Today is just wanted to share with you some sumptuous roses which are sat on my desk. They were brought to me by a lovely, lovely lady. This is what makes friends so special - she is the best!