time flies when you're being a mum

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

 

31 comments.

08 Feb, 2016

Well hello there! Welcome to my blog if you’re new here and if you’re a regular, welcome back! Today I thought I would reblog my Easy Pancake Recipe, which I first published here on the blog back in 2013 when Reuben was a mere year old.

It’s been one of my most popular blogs, consistently bringing in traffic every month, so I’ve updated it to include a quick video tutorial, which proves how easy this pancake recipe really is!

Have a wonderful Pancake Day and scroll down to see the rest of the post, with the recipe and photos!

Easy Pancake Recipe

Have I got a super mega easy pancake recipe for you today – I’ve been meaning to share this for literally months. It’s been my go-to recipe for something Reubs will definitely eat, THAT IS HEALTHY, ever since Claire Manby suggested this recipe on the Mum’s Days Facebook Page back in June. I’ve altered the original recipe as I felt like I was eating a porridge patty but the result is an even easier recipe! So, if you like pancakes (who doesn’t?) and you want an easy pancake recipe (there are only 4 ingredients!), stick around… (more…)

29 comments.

2015 - the year we saw all the castles in Northumberland and here they are!

11 Jan, 2016

A year ago today I started a challenge; The castle challenge, where I aimed to see all the castles in Northumberland with Reuben and anyone else who cared to join us.

The Castle Challenge - the year we saw all 40 of the Northumberland Castles

Over the year, Reuben and I, and our motley crew of friends, family and people we didn’t know, visited over 40 castles. We saw all 20 of the “true” castles, which, according to my book/castle bible, Castle of Northumberland, “are the great medieval fortresses of the Norman Barons and their descendants.” We also saw another 20 of the castles, such as Aydon, which were fortified houses, manor houses, and follies.

Oh my, the fun we have had! (more…)

19 comments.

Looking good has never been so cosy!

10 Dec, 2015

I’m into my 3rd week and my 20 hour ski challenge and I’m loving it! The only barrier now is my own fear. With my lovely instructor at the Silksworth Sports Complex, Lesley, on her way to Austria as we speak, I’m braving it alone. But more to come on that later in the week. I have something equally as important to talk about today…Winter Fashion and my ski gear from Protest, which you will have a chance to win! Scroll to the bottom of the post for all the information.

Winter fashion - Protest Winter Haul and competition

Olivia Hoodie

Festive Fitness Facebook Party

Before I get into my latest Protest Haul and Competition, I’d like to invite you to the next Festive Fitness Facebook party over on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page. It will be on 16th December at 8pm and I have more goodies to give away there too. Protest and I are making it our mission to keep you warm this winter!

Click on the ‘going’ button of the event page, which you can find here, for your chance to win one of five lovely scarves!

(more…)

7 comments.

07 Jan, 2015

The problem I find with my resolutions is they tend to be a bit wishy-washy and, therefore, I struggle to achieve them, or at the very least feel like I’ve achieved them! So, this year I’ve changed a few things around…and this year I am challenging us to visit each of the Northumberland Castles!

Northumberland Castles - 2015 Castles Challenge. Reuben crawling for the first time at alnwick castle

Reuben crawled for the first time at Alnwick Castle!

My non-specific Resolution: I want to spend better quality time with Reuben and make some new friends.

On a Tuesday and Friday I have Reuben and I feel like I don’t make the best use of this time. Unless I have booked in a session at the creche (after which we’ll go for a swim) or we’ve got books due back at the library, I’ll often decide that morning what we are going to do with the day. This often results in poor choices and feeling like I’ve not made best use of our time! This year I want to shake it up and so I’ve set us a challenge that will ensure we will do something with our day that is fun, educational and gets us out the house!

The challenge: To visit every castle in Northumberland

I stopped doing any form of History before the GCSE years, so I know little about little when it comes to this fair land of ours. The day of Gabby’s Nativity, driving home from Alnwick the scenic route, Mike informed me that there are more castles in Northumberland than any other county. I had no idea. But I had a lightbulb moment. I’d been reading a number of books, namely “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” (as recommended by Helen in my 2014 Reading List – I loved it and sobbed when it ended but I did have the flu) and Mother’s Meeting, and had been mulling over how to do my own sort of pilgrimage to meet new people and pepper our lives with more experiences and community.

It immediately became clear that we should visit every fantastic historic site of this huge county and combine it with new friendship, motherhood, learning and just getting out! The idea is that once I have my itinerary for each month mapped out, I will publish which castles we’ll be visiting on this here blog and extend the invite to anyone who fancies joining us for a picnic and spot of history.

Now, there are 45 (or more – at one point there was over 100!!) castles in Northumberland, so by my reckoning that’s about 1 a week with a couple of weeks off for holidays/sickness/good behaviour!

Having had a look through the Castles there is such an eclectic mix of uses of these historic landmarks! From ruins and national destinations to homes, hotel and wedding venues, to holiday cottages or within a Haven Caravan Park. One is even an integral part of a working farm! Some will even require permission just to get near them, so it should be quite an interesting challenge.

Northumberland Castles - a mum and son challenge!

In alphabetical order, here are all the castles we’re going to visit:

  1. Alnwick Castle – visited on 16th October
  2. Aydon Castle – visited on 10th April
  3. Bamburgh Castle – visited on 29th October
  4. Belford Castle – no castle remains but the farmhouse is castelleated!
  5. Bellingham Castle – no castle remains (but a lovely village!)
  6. Bellister Castle – visited on 20th November
  7. Belsay Castle – visited on 1st April
  8. Berwick Castle – visited 20th July
  9. Blenkinsopp Castle – visited on 20th November
  10. Bothal Castle – visited on 9th October
  11. Bywell Castle – 4th December
  12. Callaly Castle – no castle remains
  13. Cartington Castle – visited on 6th February
  14. Chillingham Castle – visited on 5th June
  15. Chipchase Castle – 13th December
  16. Cocklepark Tower – couldn’t gain access
  17. Coupland Castle – not a castle!
  18. Cresswell Castle – 27th November
  19. Dally Castle – visited on 27th March
  20. Dilston Castle – 4th December
  21. Dunstanburgh Castle – visited on 14th November
  22. Edlingham Castle – visited on 23rd January
  23. Elsdon Castle – visited on 27th Feburary
  24. Etal Castle – visited on 19th July
  25. Featherstone Castle – visited on 11th September
  26. Ford Castle – visited on 19th July
  27. Halton Castle – visited on 21st June
  28. Haltwhistle Castle – see Blenkinsopp Castle
  29. Harbottle Castle – visited on 20th November
  30. Haughton Castle – 13th December
  31. Kielder Castle – visited on 25th September
  32. Langley Castle – visited on 10th July
  33. Lindisfarne Castle – visited on 29th October
  34. Mitford Castle – visited on 9th January
  35. Morpeth Castle – stayed in from 18th-20th December
  36. Norham Castle – visited on 19th July
  37. *Newcastle Castle Keep – visited on 21st March
  38. Ponteland Castle – visited on 8th May
  39. Preston Tower – visited on 6th November
  40. Prudhoe Castle – visited on 2nd April
  41. Rothley Castle – visited on 24th April
  42. Tarset Castle –  visited 27th March
  43. Thirlwall Castle – visited on 12th June
  44. Twizell Castle – visited on 18th July
  45. *Tynemouth Priory – visited on 17th April
  46. Wark Castle – visited 6th March
  47. Warkworth Castle – visited on 17th July
  48. Widdrington Castle – visited on 16th Jan and it’s not there anymore so we went to Druridge Bay instead!

I’m really looking forward to it! Tomorrow Reuben and I will be starting with Mitford Castle, a ruin near Morpeth. It’s just the two of us this time but hopefully soon there will be more joining us.

What do you think of my 2015 Castle Challenge? Would you like to join us? And, have I missed any Northumberland Castles?!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or availability (!) in the comments below!

* This post has been edited to include the starred Castles – not in Northumberland but integral castles to the area!

51 comments.

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