time flies when you're being a mum

How the Keto diet is helping me

10 Apr, 2018

We’ve been away, lucky buggers, to France for a skiing holiday. The only problem, and I know I’m ungrateful, is I just don’t like skiing very much. A couple of years ago I learnt to ski (and documented it here) and got to the point where I can get down a hill in one piece. But it ain’t totally natural! Or fun for that matter.

I had a lesson on this trip to boost my confidence and while I got on fine, I just don’t like steep hills. So after the 3 hours we were up the mountain my legs were exhausted from bracing at all times! I know I just need more practise and young Hannah would be horrified by my lack of get up and go, but this holiday didn’t seem to be the one it was going to happen on.

Mike has been lovely about it and let me loaf around while the kids get on great in ski school and he goes off on his own exploring.

Loafing around

But loaf is the operative word here and, in between working on my blog, I’ve been left wondering about my relationship with bread and all those other yummy things you find here in France. Because without the skiing, I think I’ve put on about 7 unwanted lbs…

Halton Castle - a visit to this privately owned Castle in NorthumberlandAt home I have learnt to seriously steer clear of pretty much all carby goods. Since giving up drinking 6 months ago, carbs have become my nemesis. A little toast for breakfast and I’ll be craving sugar for the rest of the day. It starts with a 10am sugar crash, which leaves me feeling weird and jittery. It’s all I can think about and I’ve been known to secretly eat 3 kitkat chunkies in one go. I’m ashamed to say it but, much like my drinking became a problem with no off switch, so too has my sugar eating. Rather than full filling my dream of losing weight when I stopped drinking, I put a stone on in the first couple of months!!

So, much as it sounds drastic, for me I know sugar has to go in all it’s carby glory if I’m going to avoid my visions of being hauled out of my house by crane. And this week in France has helped proved that. (more…)

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How I've been learning to face them and move on...

20 Mar, 2018

On Sunday I sat down to write. I wanted to document a funny week and it’s turned into a 2-parter. This one is all about facing your fears and how I do it/hope to do it.

Mike is away in Tanzania. He’s been facing his own fear of heights as he climbed Kilimanjaro (read his story here) for Team Kenya (who are changing lives through empowering and educating women). Thankfully he’s done it and is safely back down. He gets home on tomorrow morning. Yey!

It’s also my Birthday today! It doesn’t feel much like it…It was just Reuben and me, and after the initial flurry of present opening (I didn’t open a single one!) it was back to business as usual!

facing your fear

Reuben decided today was the day to address the issue of not being allowed to play on the switch on the way to school, and he discussed it for quite some time coming to the conclusion I’m a horrible person. So fun.

(If you’d like to do me a Birthday Favour please fill in this! < More info at the bottom.) (more…)

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Life plans, hopes and happy routines

06 Mar, 2018

I used to listen to podcasts every day but when I stopped blogging, this stopped too. I’d forgotten how great they really are! I loved the conversation and all the weird and wonderful things you could learn.

Thankfully my husband, Mike, made me listen to this James Altucher podcast last month. Since then I’ve been avidly listening to the rest of his shows and finding them really motivating. Each one seems to inspire me to write.

find your conversation

I tend to listen to podcasts whilst out walking the dog (hence the massive coat and headphones) or when I’m driving

Two weeks ago it was Sara Blakely (owner of Spanx) who rocked my tiny mind with her ‘I’m an awesome dork’ attitude. It got me to open up and write 8 things that have happened. I’m still cringing from that post but “embarrass yourself and fail often” were key features that stuck out from the Sara interview. (more…)

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In my experience anyway...

28 Feb, 2018

A week ago today I had a Laparoscopy, so I thought I’d share how it went and what’s been happening since…

For those of you who don’t know, the reason I needed a laparoscopy in the first place was because my mirena coil had ‘gone for a wander’. When it was put in,  the wall of my womb was slightly ruptured and that was enough for the coil to slowly, but surely, worm its way out of my womb and wander around my pelvic cavity. It was discovered during an Xray (read more about the ‘finding the coil saga’ here).

Laparoscopy to remove merina coil

To get the blighter out, I needed a laparoscopy, which is keyhole surgery where they enter via the belly button and stick a camera down there. They then fill you with gas so they can see properly and make one or two small incisions to the side of the belly button in order to remove said coil. I only needed one incision and it looks like this… (more…)

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over the last 2 years

19 Feb, 2018

I started out to write 10 fun things that have happened but as you’ll discover this is quite a lengthy post so I’ve settled on

8 things (not necessarily fun) that have happened over the last 2 years

…they are as follows:

  1. We moved house
  2. Reuben started school
  3. We got MORE animals
  4. I got fatter, then thinner, then fatter, then thinner, then… you get the picture
  5. I quit drinking and got a bit happier (and fatter, then thinner…)
  6. I decided I wanted to have another baby but found I couldn’t (yet)
  7. I got a bit down and I got scared of the internet
  8. I auditioned to be a housewife and didn’t get the part

Feel free to skip to the bits you’re interested in!

1. We moved! Again.

Some of you may recall that we moved from the coast to the countryside – well, we lived in that house for a year and then my husband got itchy feet. A couple of miles up the road, his dream house was up for sale; a 300 year old house on the hill.

It’s a bit of a draughty do-er up-er but, man, the house is beautiful and the views are spectacular…

It’s taken a year to get planning permission and a further year to find someone to do the work within a reasonable budget buuuut within the next few months we’re hoping for the work to get started.

Fuuuuuuuck! The idea of making the house finally ‘ours’ and ‘just the way we want it’ and, arghhhh, ‘perfect’ scares the crap out of me. What if we pick the wrong fabric for the living room curtains?!

Times that by 100 because that’s how many decisions we need to make and you get the picture.

However, I have a glimmer of hope that when we finally move out of this limboland we’ve been inhabiting for the past 2 years, I’ll spring into action and everything will fall into place.

Isn’t it just the fear of what may go wrong that stops all the best ideas?

2. Reuben started school

When I finished blogging, Reuben was in his last term at pre-school. He’s now halfway through year 1! So much has changed it’s unreal. It seems a long time since we went Castle Hunting. In fact it was half his life ago. Waaaa!

3. We got more animals

Right, I’m probably not the first to want loads of animals, or any if I’m honest. So, the fact we got a labrador puppy in the last few years (who’s now a great hunking dog!) and inherited another cat, is a bit of a surprise to me.

But I do love them and I’d go so far as to say that looking after them has saved me on some of my darker days.

4. I got fatter and thinner and fatter and thinner…

It’s fair to say I’ve struggled with my weight for ages. I lost 20lbs, which I blogged about here.  I kept it off for 6 months, but it slowly (then quickly!) started to creep back on until the point where I had put on all 20 lbs plus another stone!!

I’ve done all the diets over the last few years and had some success with Slimming World. While I loved having LOADS of carbs, it was torturous and I felt deprived all the time. I went back to low-carbing and, despite drinking far too much, got back to a much happier weight for me.

Then I quit drinking and, as is common (on average a person who quits drinking will put on 30lbs*!), I put on a stone by replacing the booze with sugar. I’ve since lost about 10lbs, which ironically puts me back to where I was before I lost the original 20lbs! Oh, how we LOL.

The difference this time is I’m not so bothered. I have clothes I can wear that I feel good in, I’m exercising to improve my mental health rather than to punish myself and I’m back to low-carbing as that’s the diet that makes the most sense to me**. I feel in control and it reduces my mood swings and cravings. Win win.

* From The Diet Cure by Julia Ross, Introduction chapter.

** Books I’d recommend on low-carb lifestyle include: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes and The Diet Cure by Julia Ross  (they even have scientific evidence to back up their theories), and clinical psychologist, author, youtuber, Jordon B. Peterson promotes this way of eating, particularly to improve anxiety, in this podcast.

5. I quit drinking

As I just mentioned, I have quit drinking. I did a sort of coming out piece on Facebook 2 weeks ago, which really helped. Something about putting yourself out there with the potential for embarrassment and/or criticism felt petrifying and then liberating! The fact no one criticised me also helped. Phew.

But I have to say, while I love not drinking, it certainly hasn’t been the answer to all my “problems”. People say “do you feel better for it?” and the honest answer is sort of!

I thought quitting would relieve my anxiety and help me lose weight. In reality, I felt more anxious and I started to have more panic attacks. I think this was partly because I couldn’t turn to the thing that was numbing my feelings but also I felt I was isolating myself from my friends.

I’ve already talked about the fact I put on a stone…so that didn’t work out so well either!

If you read any book about quitting, they will say that stopping drinking is just the beginning. You also have to square up to the reason you were drinking in the first place.

I think that depends entirely on who you are – My husband, who was an even bigger drinker than me, quit 2 months after I did, and he doesn’t think about it at all. It just is was it is. He has also lost 20lbs, has loads of motivation and energy and is in the best shape of his life. Of course he is!

I, however, am a big, annoying thinker. Which is why housewifery does not suit me (see point 8). Too much time to think and wallow. I need to be with people, or at the very least communicating with them. *Waves* Hello you!

So, did quitting drinking solve all my problems? Not immediately because I felt my anxiety more deeply as there was no off switch and put on a stone! But now I can honestly say I feel happier, more stable and more able to tackle the things I need to do in life in order to make me happy.

6. I decided I wanted another baby.

This has been a biggy for me for ages. I knew there was a little person missing from our family but I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel ready to be pregnant and give birth and look after a newborn again.

The trigger was my sister-in-law getting pregnant. Even before they told us, my other hawk-eyed sister-in-law spotted the signs (she literally misses nothing!) and got me thinking about pregnancy and babies. And I realised I was ready.

Get ready for some TMI.

This was May 2017 so nearly a year ago. I wanted to lose a few pounds (of course, story of my life) then I would get my coil taken out. However…when I went to get my coil out…

it wasn’t there!

An ultrasound and some other dildo-like contraption later, and it still wasn’t there. The assumption: it must have fallen out so start baby making!

My doctor wasn’t happy about it though, so a couple of months later she contacted me and asked me to go for an X-Ray ‘just in case’. I didn’t think we would find anything, the womb is a closed area so where else could the coil be?

I went anyway and imagine my surprise when the radiographer said “I can see it – do you want to come and have a look?”

Yes, I want a bloody look.

And sure enough, somewhere near my tailbone, sideways on, was my effing coil.

To cut a long story short, the coil passed through my womb and is now snugly wrapped in fatty tissues that, bless them, are trying to dissolve this foreign, plastic object.

I have to have key-hole surgery this week to remove said coil, and then maybe we’ll see about that baby…!

7. I got a bit down and I got scared of the internet

You may have picked up from what I’ve written that I’ve been feeling a bit weird, not quite myself and anxious.

I say I got a bit down but really the feeling was more, nothing.

Most of the time everything is normal, I’m laughing and having fun. But other times there is an underlying feeling of nothingness. 

I can’t put my finger on what is wrong per-say but I can’t particularly find joy in anything either. I don’t want to go out – sure I would pick my kids up and engage in lively conversation – but I wouldn’t really be all there. I would be going through the proverbial motions.

I’ve also started to have panic attacks and even had an entire day of sheer panic. The only way to describe it was that I felt in imminent danger. Think: end of the world, apocalypse, what’s the point in going on living or in fact in anything, I’m going to die.

I thought I was going entirely mad and I needed to be sectioned.

The next day it subsided with an underlying feeling of danger but I was able to function. Then the feeling left. Not completely, and I still have moments of immediately thinking the worst, for example, if Reuben doesn’t answer me straight away, but it’s not quite so dark and sinister.

I have barely used social media for 2 years, so coming back to it over the last few weeks has brought back those anxious feelings. Voices in the pit of my stomach (it’s probably my coil!) that tell me I can’t match up or even catch up – it’s changed so much, and do I really have anything of any value to offer?

Maybe not, but I’ve got to try. Which brings me nicely to…

8. I auditioned to be a housewife

When I stopped blogging (failed at blogging is how I saw it) and got scared of the world, I auditioned to be a housewife. I feel like I gave it my best shot, but I’ve just had to send myself a rejection letter.

 

Dear Hannah,

Lol! You suck at being a housewife!!! 

This is one role that isn’t for you.

And, holding off on doing all the things that truly ring your bell because you ‘need to do the house up’ or you ‘might get pregnant’, ain’t gunna wash.

Please stop being a dick and go do something else.

Kind regards,

Hannah

p.s. sorry if that sounded harsh, you are good at other stuff and I felt this was the best angle to help you move on…

 

I know for a fact that many people would kill to be in my position and not have to work. The guilt I feel for being in such a privileged position and not having the decency to enjoy it makes me feel even worse.

But this is my life. My one and only life… The very same life that, if you trust my anxiety, could be over in a flash.

So, I’ve finally realised (thanks to this BRILLIANT interview with Sara Blakely of Spanx fame) that I’ve failed at being a housewife. So what?! It doesn’t mean I don’t love my family or I’m a failure as a mother/wife/woman/human. It just means I tried something that didn’t work.

And trying deserves a high five.

To quote Sara “I’m in the wrong movie” at the moment and it’s time to accept that this isn’t for me, to stop being scared and move on.

To what? Dunno! I’ve a few ideas but when the right idea comes I’ll be ready to pounce…!

 

Endnote

In my mind this post was a nice, light-hearted piece about what we’ve been up to. Funny what happens when you actually put finger to keyboard, isn’t it?

I have to remind myself that I started blogging again with the intention to speak the truth. And today this is the truth, which is probably why it’s taken me a week to actually sit down and write it.

Tomorrow I might be laughing at fart jokes (in fact, that’s what I intend to do next for a bit of light relief) but for now, this me.

*Waves again* Hello you! Thank you for reading – that deserves another high five xxx

 

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