An October review…….

October is one of those months where I tend to have a bit of a review. My birthday is this month and I think as it approaches every year it makes me evaluate where I am, where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved over the last year.

When I thought about it quickly I thought that this year hasn’t been one full of great things and huge achievements but then I thought again. This year I have focussed more on me than I have for a long time. I have had the at times uncomfortable realisations of who I am, what I’m about and what I need to let go of. I have dare I say it become more happy. I have allowed myself to be who I am in ways that I would have feared to in the past. Worries about being mocked or treated differently I haven’t allowed to plague my thoughts like I used to and I am for the first time in a long time  in a position where I can say that the people I have around me understand and embrace me for me no matter what. Not you Mum, you’ve been doing that for almost thirty five years now!

No matter what is a big statement. No matter what is in good times or bad, when I have had successes or failures. When I’ve made good decisions or hideously awful ones. There really is a huge amount of truth in the saying ‘find your tribe’ and when you do you need to hold on to those people with all you have.

I have talked about my mental health more this year and I feel with more authority. I am on a journey that evolves on a daily basis and it’s a journey that I am at peace with as opposed to fighting against. I have made the decision to come off my antidepressants and to take more control in other ways over my mental health. I have started small practices to help me on a daily basis that are becoming habits. I write down how I feel, I meditate, I read more and I am more realistic with myself.

I have put on about two stone and I’m currently wearing a size eighteen. This is a big thing for me to tell you but after all the peanut m&m’s and those yummy Ikea biscuits I am hardly surprised but for once in my life I am being kind to myself. I have realised that limiting myself is a way I used to self harm in the past and denying myself nice things as some strange way of punishing myself did nothing other than make me miserable. I have cut down on alcohol and started running again (slowly and with a very interesting style but still) I have realised that I am meant to have big boobs and they need to be comfortable so I’ve started buying my bras at Victoria’s secrets because they don’t only make sexy, tiny underwear but they make the most comfortable bras I have ever worn. They are expensive and I only buy them in the sale because that’s what I can afford to do but it feels good to be looking after myself and taking pride in doing so.

I see the beauty in having no plans, in living simply and taking each day as it comes. I love to see friends and walk around taking pictures even if it is somewhere we have taken a million pictures of before. I have realised I like yoga and just because I am not as bendy as most people doesn’t mean I can’t do a downward facing dog as well as the next person.

We have made a small house into a big house and have taken pride in doing so. It’s been a massive lesson for us as a family and a couple but it has bought us closer together and bought pure joy. I look forward to getting the garden finished and starting my flower garden and the thought of cutting flowers I have grown myself next year to display in my home brings a huge grin to my face.

I have realised that there are so many things in this life that are so much more important that I ever thought. Sitting with my parents over a cup of tea talking about the birds, seeing my boys play with their friends, listening to the boys read, eating cake with Karl, taking my mum out and treating her like she deserves to be treated and laughing with my friends. These things are priceless, these moments to be made memories that I can cherish forever.

I want to continue to write and talk about mental health. I want to help people, to give blood (once and counting) to explore more creative pursuits, to spend more time with the people I love and to see them go from strength to strength. I hope that when  I write this post next year it will be another year of little things that have added up to massive things when I will be meeting another year older as a welcome friend full of excitement and promise.

Thanks as always for reading, for listening, for being here and being you. You have no idea how much each and every one of you that has taken the time to email, comment on my social media, hit the like button and talk to me about my blog and writing have helped me this year. You are amazing and I hope you never forget it.

Lucy xxx

Advertisements

My bullet journal for 2018

Earlier this week I put a post on Instagram about how I had started a bullet journal for next year and whether people would find it useful for me to write a post about how I had put it together, how it helps with mindfulness and my mental health.

So, here you go! Last year I saw many a YouTube video on setting up a bullet journal and thought it was a fab idea. I loved the idea of a mood tracker, sleep tracker, keeping up with social media followers and many other tables and graphs that I could colour in. The reality was I made the whole thing far too complicated and when I fell behind with the various trackers I had created it made me feel stressed, anxious and like a failure.

This is if course an overreaction but when you are someone suffering with anxiety and depression you really don’t need anymore pressures that could potentially make you feel even more shitty about yourself so I gave up. But as the year has gone on I’ve thought more and more about how much I like to doodle and how a much more simplified version would actually be a very good thing.

I bought a cheap as chips notepad from Home Bargains which had lined pages and dots along the top and bottom for ease of lines.

I have a pot of pens and pencils that I dig out for doodling when I can so felt that I could use those so didn’t need to buy anymore stationary than that. I mostly used Berol felt tips, some thin nibbed black gel pens, pencils and a ruler. I decided to incorporate my favourite parts of the bullet journal I had done last year without all the stress so started with a simple drawing on the front page. This could be anything but I chose to make it displaying the year and my name.

For anyone who knows me or follows my Instagram you will know I love stars so these seemed to be perfect for the front page. I wanted inspirational quotes to play a huge part in this years journal as they do in everyday life but decided that the front page was good as it was. I then went on to a simple Index, I left four pages for this so I can have room to Index the whole book. This is really important for how I’m doing the journal as it will make finding what I’m looking for so much easier throughout the year.

I love lettering so really enjoy this but was amazed by how many lettering tutorials there are on Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram so even if you are someone who isn’t too keen on lettering you can find a font that looks good and that you can master simply. I then added pages for goals and aims, blog ideas and hopes and dreams for the year. I can fill these in as I go and reflect back on them at the end of 2018. As you can see I’ve not quite finished the colouring in but it gives you an idea and is really simple. I’m not tracking anything, giving myself dates to get stuff done by but simply jotting down things as they come into my head.

In the templates I have seen many others use the pages after this for all the various trackers, favourite quotes, meal plans and all manner of other bits and pieces but again I found this hard as I wasn’t sure how many pages to leave before I started my actual diary and if I wanted to add others in it would look odd after so I’ve kept it simple again and just gone straight into the year.

For every new month I’ve used a double page spread for the month with a drawing and a notes section but this could be adapted in anyway which suits you best. That’s the thing, it needs to suit you and help you not confuse you and leave you feeling daft for not doing it in the way everyone else is. Again these aren’t all finished but these give you an idea and I have to say it’s so relaxing doing that monthly page that I am really looking forward to doing all the others.

Again the beauty of this is that you can do it however you want so January is a bit different but as I went on I found what works for me best and what I enjoyed most drawing. Then I went really controversial and used a double page spread for the month so a line for each day of the month, it’s much quicker to do, will still give me the space I need but didn’t need so much effort put into it that I ended up giving up after the 76,000th shout of ‘Mummy!’ From the boys. I managed to get the whole year marked up in less that a day and with opportunities to add on as I wanted which felt like a real achievement.

At the end of every month I put a gratitude page and a reflections page for the month and there is plenty of space to add favourite quotes, doodles and stick things in should I want to.

Then after the year I started to add on the additional pages I wanted to, no trackers as I have neither the time or the pressure of them but a page for meal ideas, a page for house ideas and I’m sure there will be others to come as the year goes on. Here I can doodle my favourite quotes and stick in pictures. All of these can be found easily by the Index and I have loads of room to add on as many pages as I want up to the end of the notebook because I’ve kept the journal so simple.

There are so many different ways for doing these bullet journals and none are right or wrong. I’ve kept it simple, functional and easy to maintain so I can make the most of the mindfulness and organisation while not pressuring myself to keep up with trackers and charts. I can write down as little or as much as I want or I can simply use it as a diary to keep up with all the things going on in my life.

I hear you say that I could just go and buy a diary but as I said the thought that I have created something totally bespoke to me and suitable for my needs is a great feeling. It also gives me somewhere to be creative and something to share with others (I’ve already had some questions about where I got the idea from) now I don’t have masses of free time and run around like a mad woman (oh the irony) most of the time but one of my biggest moans of the last year was feeling unorganised. This will assist and can always be with me only being in a small notepad.

There are lots of journals and planners already made up for this purpose and some that are fantastically aimed at those with MH issues to all degrees however because I love to draw this option suited me better. So many people have acknowledged that next year they want to live life more simply and this is one of those ways for me, doing something I want to do but in my own way in a simple manner.

I would love to hear what you think, to see if you’ve been inspired to do anything similar and how you are going into 2018. Feel free to get in touch!

Thank you for reading this year, for being there, for taking on board me and all the crap I go on about and for supporting Tired From Whitstable, both here, in the newspaper and across my social media. I am blown away and can honestly say you make a crazy woman very happy!

Happy new year you lovely people xx

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


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. 

Mum on the run, take two……

Last year sometime I wrote a post about my running, this was when I could actually go out and easily run ten miles if I wanted to.

I write this today after having one of the worst experiences in some months this morning having decided that due to being ill kicking my running into touch it was time to get back on the hamster wheel. 

I got up full of determination and dug out my favourite running leggings, I pulled them on promising myself I would be good today (I actually ate two desserts yesterday) and went to fetch a top when Karl made an awkward noise. I turned to see a very odd look on his face, ‘what’s up?’ I asked. ‘I’m not sure you should wear those Luce, pass me your phone’, odd I thought but did as requested. He took a picture of my back and showed it to me. To say I went redder than a tomato would be an understatement.

You could see everything. My running leggings were so stretched across my now very generous rear end that you could see my knickers, my skin and my tattoos on my lower back through the extremely stretched Lycra. I could almost hear them buckling under the strain of trying not to pop off my bum.

I was mortified, how had this happened? I was a size ten, I could fit into my clothes nicely and now when I open the wardrobe they practically hide desperate not to be the ones stretched over my ever expanding frame.

Okay so not running while I’ve been poorly will have without doubt added some pounds, but I think the extra cake, chocolate, ice cream, pizza, waffles, ferrero rocher, nuts and fudge may also have had something to do with it.

I won’t scare you all with the picture (suffice to say it was deleted quicker than you can say ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ but it was a wake up call.

Mental health issues as you all know play a huge part in my life at the moment and I’m keen to get the piece of mind back that I used to have when running. I will keep up my walking too as I like the slower pace but I think a couple of runs a week will help no end.

If anyone sees me in a shop please slap me if I’m in any of the bad food sections. I am of course aware that a little bit of what I fancy helps but I struggle to stop with a little! 

Wish me luck lovely people and if I run past you and you can see my pants, I’m ever so sorry xx

Drone flying, bike riding and giant crumpets….

Hi all, how are you? 

This week like all the others seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. After what seems like a miserable few weeks I’m happy to say that this week with the start of spring and hints of sunshine to come has been much brighter.

Karl has just bought a new drone which he has wanted for ages. This white thing that looks a bit like a giant fan has been ever present in our lives since he received it at the beginning of the week. So much so the constant ‘droning’ noise it makes is starting to seem quite normal now. As is the gale force wind it blows around as it hovers over my head. 

So far this week we have taken selfies of ourselves in the garden from a great height, filmed the internal layout of the house while blowing around every loose bit of paper laying around (loads as always!) and filmed the boys riding their bikes up and down my parents driveway which is very long using the drones special ‘follow’ feature. 

I have to say I am genuinely concerned that we will end up causing no end of issues for the poor cows when they return to the field shortly and their peace is disturbed by Karl’s drone on follow mode but I’m hoping some of the overexcitement will have worn off before then! 

The boys have been particularly keen on bike rides this week and Leo is practicing to be ready to have his stabilisers off. This is for two reasons, one that he is five and really should be riding his bike on his own by now and two he is so huge that we are worried the poor stabilisers will buckle under the weight. He ate a bigger roast dinner than me today and that is quite a feat (I love a roast!)

I tried this week to be clever when it came to breakfast, I feel like daily the boys conspire to make it as difficult as possible. They change their minds repeatedly, decide they don’t like what they ate the day before, refuse to eat certain things over others (usually once I’ve already made the first) and generally drive me potty. 

So I went to the new Aldi and stocked up on every kind of breakfast option available. Cereals by the dozen, fruits, yoghurts, breakfast biscuits, bread for toast, eggs, bacon, sausages, cold meats and giant crumpets. If I’m being totally honest they were more for Karl and I. We are both partial to a nice crumpet and they looked so yummy. Typically both Nate and Leo decided they wanted said crumpets and not only ate nothing else of the huge amount of stuff I had bought but I ended up having to go and buy more giant crumpets and at my last count this morning that’s 24 this week! Nate will only eat his half butter half chocolate spread which is extremely odd! 

I am so happy that spring is here and I’m looking forward to the next part of the year. This week has been full of light and it feels like the new season has bought a new sense of purpose. 

Alf the cat is doing well, thank you for all your lovely thoughts and comments. He is eating like a king and doing lots of resting. We believe thanks to our neighbours we have identified the offending cat who apparently has been making a menace of himself with cats in the road. I’m not really sure what to do about that yet but I am very thankful our Alf is okay and on the mend. 

So this week if anyone feels they are being followed I apologise for Karl and his drone and if anyone fancies breakfast I have enough food to feed the whole of Kent (not any giant crumpets though, they are Nate and Leo’s apparently!)

Have a fab week you lovely people and never forget that you are amazing and you can achieve great things. No one can define exactly what those things are so this week if you climb a mountain or simply manage to get your little darlings to brush their teeth without a twenty minute debate about the workings of gum disease you will have achieved something!