Blog

A sign of things to come? 

Hi all, how are we? 

Another week has literally flown by as have another set of ‘rest’ days where I’ve not managed to get many jobs ticked off my list and feel like my head is spinning.

It’s funny how we seem to move in periods of time and assure ourselves that those periods will change how we do things. For example I said to myself numerous times over the summer that once the boys were back at school I would write more (ha ha) and that I would be able to get back into running (rolling on the floor laughing) I have no idea how I am filling all this time other than working, mumming (is that a word) and sleeping which seems to be all I want to do currently.

I have so much to do and so much that I love to do as well as the stuff I absolutely have to do such as paying the mortgage, food shopping, raising tiny humans and making sure all the various school letters are replied to (how many each and every week?!) that my head is spinning and I’m not sure that will stop anytime soon.

I keep thinking, ‘Luce, you just need to be more organised’ like there is some magical switch I can push and all of a sudden I will be chilled, calm and meal planned to the max but for me that just doesn’t seem to work. I have watched Fantastic Beasts and where to find them at least three times in the last week and it’s not the special effects that I marvel at it’s the ability to wave a wand and clean a room, fix anything that’s broken and the ability to move from one place to another in seconds. If only I were a witch. Imagine how efficient I would be then! 

But I digress, it is of course all my own fault, I have my three jobs and I have to do them all to the best of my ability. I’m a writer and I love all the things that come with it I just have to fit writing and creativity around my most important job being a mum, the one that will mean the most in the future and will potentially make a difference to the world (prime ministers, sportsmen or the inventors of some crazy video game, who knows!) then of course is the one I go to most days of the week that pays my bills and keeps us topped up in Lego and me in Aldi almond milk chocolate. 

I’m not the only one either, so many parents are doing exactly the same as me each and every day without a total lack of  understanding how the clock works and how to double the number of hours in a day. So….. how do you do this? Any suggestions please let me know. I would love some input. Or a life coach who will also act as a mentor and personal trainer. That’s not too much to ask surely?! 

Happy new week lovely people xxx


Advertisements

Depression…. you b*****d

When I speak to people who read my blog (my mum and Auntie Bev…. hello!) they say how they like how honest I am about mental health. That I speak about my struggles openly and that others respect me for that.

Things have been good lately, life has been busy, tiring and there has been lots to organise and remember but I’ve been okay. That is the thing about depression and anxiety, you can be in control, on top of them, managing and smiling then all of a sudden the clouds come over and you start to doubt everything you are doing.

I’ve known it was coming this week and smiled through my working week thinking once I’m home it will be okay. The first day off was fine, the sun was shining and I went shopping for new work clothes with my mum. We had a nice lunch and talked about life and I enjoyed every minute. 

When I started trying on clothes in the shops I knew that it was inevitable I would have a wobble, I’ve gained weight, around three stone since 2014 when I went down to only nine stone which for someone of five foot seven was too small. I do now though feel bigger than I should be and am having all the feelings that go with it such as thoughts of being unattractive, disappointed with myself and in short an elephant in jeggings.

Yesterday was tough, it was pouring down with rain when I woke up and as Karl was on earlies I was on school run duties and Leo as he often does at the worst possible time decided to be the child who calls his mother an idiot and refuses to do anything. I got to school with tears in my eyes and felt like I could manage nothing more than sitting under a blanket and pretending the world outside didn’t exist.

The problem was that I had booked to go on a photography walk with the very lovely Karen at ‘Love your Camera’. Karen is becoming a friend and I really enjoy hers and other creatives company however I couldn’t deal with the thought of being sociable. There was a question mark over whether the walk would go ahead due to the weather and I emailed Karen and asked if it was okay for me not to go. All the other participants felt that they wanted to brave the rain so I somehow picked myself up and made myself go and of course had a fab time with some amazing people. Still knowing though that the bastard black cloud was hanging over my head.

Today was the start of four days off with Karl and two days off with the boys after their first week back at school and Nates first week at junior school. It started with swimming lessons which involved Leo refusing to get in and then once he had faking sickness so he could get out. 

We then went into town and had breakfast rolls at Champs, one of our favourite bakeries and cafes. The food was yummy but the boys were hard work with Leo managing to spray Ribena all over his face and Nate wiping his greasy bacon fingers over my bright and cheery floral kimono I had worn to lift my mood.

I knew when we got home I would have to embrace it, not everyday is going to be sunshine and happiness and if it’s a down day tomorrow will start afresh. I can’t let a bad day become a bad life. I can’t let myself get into the cycles I was in before where my lack of self esteem made me the saddest and most unrecognisable version of me I have ever been. 

I think being a woman (or a man) with MH issues you need to embrace the fact that you will always be more susceptible to bad times than others. Then add all the shit life can throw at you and it would be foolish to think you will be able to be on top of the world every moment and all sunshine and flowers. Well I suppose my life is more full of flowers than most but you know what I mean! 

Tonight I plan on eating a bar of my favourite chocolate and being okay with me. Okay with being a little bit off my game and embracing the fact that sometimes the clouds get a bit dark. It is just that though, they won’t be like that forever and soon the sun will shine again. Until then I have candles, blankets and the aforementioned chocolate (no you can’t have any!) 

If you are feeling crappy and low tonight know you are not alone. Millions of people all over the world are suffering with their mental health but none of them are you. You have the power over your mental health and only you can understand it and deal with it accordingly. Therapists, family and friends can help us get the skills and tools we need to deal with it but it’s us who has to pick up those tools and go forward. Pick up that axe and smash the fuck out of your anxiety and depression because although it’s a part of you it’s not who you are and never forget it. The people who love you won’t.

Sorry about all the swearing, it seems chocolate makes me aggressive! Get in touch if you need to. Lots of love, Lucy xxx

Parents versus children

As we come to the end of the summer holidays it is often a time for reflection and excitement for what is to come. In our case it’s excitement that the boys are going to be back at school! Do I feel guilty for saying this? Yes I do, massively but as I look around my shit tip of a house I realise just how much changes over that six weeks each year that the boys are off. 

We have got up to some amazing adventures over the last six weeks and although some times have been stressful as is often the case with two young boys we have had great fun.

We have also had limited time to ourselves and what with work, childcare and all the other normal jobs you need to do as a grown up it feels like we have become useless at it. I haven’t kept of top of tidying because the times I do get it done it then takes less than ten minutes for it to be in an even worse state than when I started. You almost get to that point where you think what is the point in trying. 

Of course when no one can find clean pants or the washing up pile is taller than me I need to reconsider slightly. I would dearly love to know how other mums manage to keep a tidy and organised house with two monsters running around like loons. I can honestly say that I think Karl and I have both drunk more over the last six weeks than we have all year! 

I know that we all know that what you see on social media isn’t real, people take pictures of the things that look good and the tidy corners of their home all the while there is a pile of clutter and toys all over the floor somewhere unseen. I do of course do this. There are only very limited points of my home I can ever take pictures of for this very reason but I honestly think that our home seems to be worse that most others. 

I’m not sure how to drum in into the boys that cleaning doesn’t just do itself. I’ve been given hints and tips before about how if you don’t touch their mess they will eventually get so annoyed of it they will clear it up without you asking. This is not the case with Nate and Leo who I genuinely believe would prefer to live in a rubbish dump and be covered in mud all the livelong day. 

They don’t want to get dressed, wash, brush their teeth or hair, they don’t care if their clothes match or have holes in and would rather walk around all day with jam or chocolate spread across their faces than god forbid wiping it. I get so tired of repeating the same requests over and over and trying to show them how much better it is to have lovely clean teeth only to find toothbrushes shoved down the back of the sofa. 

I’m not asking for the answers, I get that as a mother and wife I need to be able to handle these things and to try all possible options to get the message into the boys. This is the problem, it’s absolutely exhausting and the rewards are few. I have two beautiful, bright and healthy children and I will be grateful and love them everyday forever more but I also have grey hair, lines around my eyes, a permanent pursed lips face and a headache from not only the noise of banging and arguing (them) but also my own voice from telling them off.

At some point in every parents life I’m sure that you think that your child is behaving worse than anyone else’s and how awful it feels and the majority of the time this won’t actually be the case at all and you or they are just having a bad day. Well I think this at some point everyday, when old women tut at me as the boys rush past them in the High Street, when they run around the supermarket like a pair of overexcited donkeys and when we are somewhere where you should be quiet and they are shouting about poo bums and stinky pants. 

Still as of Tuesday I will be moaning about missing them and sitting in my superclean living room in the quiet missing their laughter and high jinxs. Right off for another glass of wine before I drive myself mad (well more than usual) with my misery and moaning! 

Disorganised from Whitstable?

So we have gone past the half way point in the summer holidays, we should be looking towards the new term being organised, keen, enthusiastic and of course prepared.

So why am I none of these things? In fact I think I’m so far from prepared people should laugh and throw eggs at me. I can’t even tell you exactly which day my children go back to school. I can’t remember when the library books are due back, when I have arranged play dates for the boys or most of the time which day it is. 

This week being a classic example I sold some bits from the garden that the boys had grown out of and then forgot completely so when people knocked on the door they were met with my blank and confused face. I have been ill this week and spent lots of it in bed so I could blame that but really I think I’ve just thrown the towel in.

I started a bullet journal earlier in the year and found it an amazing tool to keep on top of everything and had such good intentions to make it last all year but then cue the summer holidays, the foot coming off the gas slightly and I’ve thrown caution to the wind writing dates on random scraps of paper and thinking ‘I don’t need my diary, I will remember’. 

This thank goodness doesn’t stretch as far as work as I still remember where the office is and haven’t forgotten to turn up at all. Nor have I forgotten my newspaper commitments and even got last weeks column in a day early. So how then am I managing to be the least organised I’ve ever been elsewhere?! 

I scowl at the mothers who have all the new school shoes bought and bags ready to be filled with books, I berate myself when I hear others talking about their fully packed schedules when I know we have stuff on but can’t remember when or I’m panicking that we only have an onion and a pepperoni in the fridge for dinner. 

The boys though seem happy and are, I think enjoying the slightly different pace of life we are having at home this summer. This morning we chatted in bed until ten (when I say chatted, they talked over the top of each other and I listened hugging my mug of tea.) 

We do spend so much time rushing here and there and I wonder if something internally has told me it’s enough and that we need to get back to basics a bit. I’m not going to beat myself up about it and hope that my organisational brain will kick in again the week before they go back to school. Otherwise there will be letters home about mishmashed uniform, onion sandwiches and the fact that school has actually started back. 

For today though the boys are still in their pyjamas watching a film while playing with their Lego, I’m showered and dressed but wearing no make up whatsoever with hair that looks a bit like a bowl cut from the 60’s and we are going to eat spag Bol for tea because I wasn’t organised enough to sort the bits for a roast and we will enjoy each other’s company.

I will never be Superwoman and I’m more than okay with that! 

Time the simple way; a collaboration with Jord Watches……

Hi all, how are we?

My most recent post was about my realising that I prefer to live life simply. I was blown away with the comments, emails and messages I received from so many others feeling exactly the same way as me. So you can imagine I’ve been thinking more and more about this subject.

I’ve not really done any collaborations before so when the lovely people at Jord Watches asked if I would be interested in collaborating with them being honest I really wasn’t sure. I questioned whether the people who read my blog would think I was selling out, being too commercial or whether in fact there is a place in my life for a new watch.

I currently wear a fitness tracker watch, it calculates my steps, distance covered, hours of sleep, active minutes per day, tells me my heart rate, vibrates and shows text messages on the screen from my phone as well as phone calls so I’m always aware of everything going on if I’m wearing it.

When I looked at the Jord website and saw the selection of simple, wooden watches in many gorgeous designs I knew I wanted one. It’s been so long since I’ve worn a conventional watch and the simplicity of the designs all made in wood really caught my eye.

Jord watches tired from Whitstable
If I’m embracing a more simple life surely it would be okay to not monitor every step I take, analyse my sleeping patterns or be constantly available via my watch?

As a busy working woman and also a mum I have to be organised, I have to plan dinners, food shops, social events (mostly for the boys!) childcare, house work, bill paying, blog writing, column writing, various appointments and of course the odd half hour to watch Eastenders (guilty pleasure alert!)

Just because I have to be on top of these things doesn’t mean that we can’t live simply, I take my time and consider everything we do, will it be stressful? Will it make us tired and grumpy? Are we asking too much of ourselves or the boys? If the answer is yes I have got much better at prioritising accordingly and realising that tiny moments are what are important not how many days out we go on or social events we attend.

When my watch arrived it came in a gorgeous wooden box with a sliding lid along with some wood treatment oil and all of this sat in a cardboard tray to keep everything together. Inside were instructions, two kinds of cleaning cloths one for wood and one for the watch face and the watch itself around a little pillow to keep it in shape.

Jord watches tired from Whitstable
The first thing that struck me was how light my new watch was. It sounds silly but I hadn’t anticipated the difference in weight between a wooden watch and a conventional one. It looked lovely on my wrist, elegant and simple. Just what you would want when embracing a simpler lifestyle.

My new watch had it’s first outing to a family day out at Dover Castle. Ordinarily I would be interested to see using my fitness tracker watch how many steps I had taken and how many floors climbed running around after the boys and up and down hills and castle stairs but yesterday it didn’t matter. I would feel in my legs how far I had walked and moved and when I got tired I would know I had worked hard. I didn’t feel the need to check my active minutes, my heart rate or whether I had missed any notifications on my phone.

Jord watches tired from Whitstable
I simply checked the time, the time that was best for our packed lunch, when the next jousting tournament would begin, when the next tour of the wartime tunnels would start and to marvel at how time flies when I realised we had been running around for five hours! I had some compliments and one lady in particular commented how she had never seen a wooden watch and even tried it on!

Jord watches tired from Whitstable
I’m not saying for one minute that there isn’t a place for my fitness watch, that I can and will be able to switch off from the world at any time I like or that wearing this watch will suddenly make me live the simple life I crave everyday, however I can state as a fact that I checked my phone less, used less technology and felt stylish (I think the last time that happened was 2003 and I’d just had my hair dyed red!)

If it helps to enjoy the time I have and live even a little bit more simply then that for me is a winner and as you know for someone trying to combat and survive mental health issues that has got to be a good thing. Wellbeing is so very important and yesterday even with the boys appalling behaviour at many moments I felt like I had done a small amount towards a little bit of mindfulness.

Jord watches tired from Whitstable
If you follow me on Instagram you will know the things the boys got up to so I won’t repeat it all but just to emphasise the behaviour imagine this. A new exhibition of some of the outfits worn by the famous actors in the movie Dunkirk. Teenage girls giggling and taking selfies by the costume worn by Harry Styles from One Direction, others marvelling at the authenticity of the officers uniform worn by Kenneth Branagh and then an ear piercingly loud alarm sounds. We look around to find Nate lovingly fondling the fabric from Harry Styles costume. Not because he loves Harry Styles but because he loves to touch and fiddle with anything. Yes the expensive outfits were alarmed with all manner of loud alarms to prevent anyone taking anything. Cue us awkwardly shuffling out pretending our children were not the worst behaved ones there but inside bearrating ourselves for being such awful parents.


So the collaboration part, follow this link and enter your details to be in with a chance to win $100 off any watch over at the Jord website. Even those who don’t win will receive a $25 voucher. Good luck lovely people! 

To check out the Jord Website and have a look at the gorgeous watches please follow these links:

For my watch click here

For women’s watches click here

For men’s watches click here

and for the home page you can click here.

The competition will close on the 9th of September 2017. Good luck! 


> Luxury Wooden Watch
>
>

The simple life…….

Hey all, how are we? 

I’ve been thinking today about happiness, gratitude and how I use them in my life. I was thinking this while out on a ‘power walk’ on the Crab and Winkle Way which as most of you know is one of my favourite spots in Whitstable.

Thinking about the little things that keep you happy and grateful is an essential in life and it occurred to me just how much I long for the simple life. I keep seeing and reading things about living a simpler life, the best life you can and getting ‘off grid’ for a while.

My husband wouldn’t be able to be ‘off grid’ for long, he is a gadget man who loves technology but then it occurred to me that he is also at his happiest outside in the garden, doing jobs, enjoying the peace and making things. All of these things are relatively simple and usually involve minimal gadgets (other than his drone!) 

The boys too are usually happy when they are playing outside. I actually find that the more time they spend on tablets (we limit this as much as we can) the more grumpy and irritable they become. They get lots of built up aggression and you can tell that they have been having screen time. 

Earlier this week we visited the Elmley Nature Reserve and had a night of no television or tablets. Karl and I had our phones but mostly for pictures but neither of us used them that much. We walked, talked, played cards and the boys got lost in nature. There was a huge hill at the back of our fishermans hut and they were up and down it constantly, looking out over the fields and playing little games they had made up. 

Of course they did some arguing and some wrestling but they are my children and wouldn’t be if they didn’t! 

I loved the peace, the views and the feeling of being at one with nature. There were pretty butterflies, all manner of birds and rabbits running around which made it all seem quite magical.

So as I was power walking in my maroon shorts and running top which is way too tight because of all the chocolate I was thinking about how much I just want to spend my time simply being. Taking in beautiful views, walking and conversing with the people I love and enjoying where we live. 

In our home we seem to be embracing simpler things, not focussing so much on smart storage solutions from modern shops but loving things with a history and that were made by hand. Things that will still be around and usable when we are old and the boys are able to appreciate them like the table Karl made using the base from my Grandads old Singer sewing machine table. 

Gone are the days where if we had a free weekend I would feel like we needed to fill it with all and sundry, we now take life at a much slower pace and I actually try to plan in time where we can choose what we do whether that be a walk in the woods, on the beach or some time with Nana chatting and drinking tea. I love seeing friends and family but they too have similar feelings to us so it’s nice that we can all enjoy our times together. 

I am so very happy when I am out walking, it opens my mind and allows me that space to think and be me. To go over what’s been going on and to plan for what’s coming up. To think about all the things I am grateful for and to process things that I’ve not been so good at in recent times and how I can improve next time.

This is a key element of moving forward for me after my CBT has come to an end. Originally I was massively scared and felt like I needed that session each week to be okay but the more I have thought about it the more I realise that I have the tools I need and I need to keep using them, building on the foundation the therapist and I built and making them habit. Walking in the fresh air is a huge part of this for me.

This morning I walked for half an hour, no time at all really when you weigh up what is important or not but the feeling afterwards was immense and is carrying on throughout the day. Of course not all days will life be so simple and some days or even weeks there won’t be time for a long walk but life is after all about balance. We make time for the doctor or dentist when we need to and being mindful is just as key to our health as these visits are.

How do you keep your life simple? What things would you like to improve on or to change? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. If you can take half an hour for yourself this week and do something you love, something that is good for your soul. Walk, run, sing to loud music, catch up with a friend, draw, knit, have a chocolate bar, bake a cake, build Lego with your children, buy some flowers, take some photos, cook a meal from scratch, light a scented candle, have a bath (you get my drift?!) I bet you will feel much better for it. 

Summer holidays, messy houses and history repeating itself……

Hello to you all, the summer holidays are finally here which means only one thing, childcare organised and planned to precision!

We don’t have loads of time off with the boys over the summer but we do have a week and a bit coming up and I absolutely can’t wait. We have lots of lovely things planned and I’ve no doubt I will be sharing lots of it with you here. We are off to the Elmley Nature Reserve for an overnight stay, Dreamland, we have Leo’s birthday, the boys have various sports camps and a big BBQ for family and friends. 

I can’t believe that Nate has now finished at Infant school. A couple of the Whitstable schools are Infant and Junior only so Nate will embark on a new adventure at a new school come September. He has grown into a kind, gentle and full of energy little boy and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I cried like a small child at his leavers service and apparently according to Karl I am the ultimate embarrassing parent but do you know what, at least he knows I am his number one fan and I will always be there to give a little woop woop from the audience! 

The more this year goes on the more I realise what is important. I spend so much of my time trying to have the perfect home and I have decided that I am just fighting a losing battle. I love my home, I love that the boys love playing here and that it’s totally unique. It won’t ever be a show home with no dust or the odd bit of Lego on the floor but it’s a home full of love and I couldn’t ask for more.

I am coming to the last week of my CBT, this is a huge thing. I’ve made huge progress and feel the most positive about moving forward with my mental health issues than I have in years however I am also a bit of a bag of nerves. I’ve been here before, I’ve had therapy and felt strong and then ultimately ended up back where I started only a little bit worse each time. 

So what’s different this time? Have I got the skills I need to move forward and not end up back on self destruct and feeling like I’m not worthy of walking this earth? Well I can never take my mental health for granted but I do feel this time like something has shifted from where I’ve been before. I’m quieter, more thoughtful and I think through each and every move in a totally different way than I did before.

Self love is something I’ve told you before that I’ve been distinctly lacking and while I still can’t say I’m crazy about myself I certainly have a new respect for who I am, what I’ve been through and what I’ve put others through. My journey is mine I am the only one with the ultimate power over how I deal with it and all the things life throws at me.

That’s quite a powerful position to be in and one which I hope I have finally got straight in my head. Life is so very tough and we as humans have habits of making it worse for ourselves. I hope that this time I have the strength to go forward and not need to in a couple of years time to have more intervention for another mental health crisis.

Being aware is taking a healthy approach to your mindfulness and wellbeing and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

If any of you are struggling or not sure where to turn you have options, people care and they can help you. Please don’t suffer in silence, don’t let yourself get so low that you don’t know where to turn.

Must dash, Nate and Leo are arguing over who gets the last fruit roll. Much love my friends xxx