Monday, 30 April 2018

Monthly Challenge: April


This month I set myself another writing based challenge. In preparation for NaNoWriMo this November, I decided to try my hand at writing 1,667 words a day. That is the required daily word target to hit the 50,000 word target in 30 days. I thought 1,667 words a day would be easy but it actually isn't. I managed it but not every day. So I didn't technically complete the challenge but if I had, I'd have completed NaNoWriMo in the month of April instead of November so I'm not sweating the fail too much. It was still good practice. On my best day, I wrote exactly 3,500 words! I was on a massive roll and getting that much written made me feel unbelievable. I was on such a high, I just wanted to get up and start dancing but just kept letting the words flow out of me instead.

Super pumped that I had this practice run through before NaNoWriMo; now I know what to expect. Can't wait for November. I'm hoping by then I'll be moving onto the second draft of my novel but we will see.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

My Top 5 Favourite TV Shows

I've been binge watching a lot on Netflix recently... ok, in reality I've only been binge watching one show over and over again; Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I've been watching it so much that people are starting to mistake it for my favourite TV show. Whilst it is one of my top five, it's actually lower down the list than most people might expect. Here's a list of my top 5 favourite tv shows.

Friends:

Well known around the world and loved by thousands of people, the American sitcom Friends needs no introduction. I was first introduced to Friends when I was a child. My older sister used to watch it every week. As I grew older and the show was no longer airing, I begun watching the re-runs. Now I am a self declared Friends nerd. There is rarely a Friends related trivia question I cannot correctly answer. I've watched the show religiously and it will always be my all time favourite tv show. 

Battlestar Galactica:

Here I am referring to the Battlestar Galactica remake, not the original series. At first I hated the show because of the slutty vixen named "Six" and she made me not want to watch the show at all. But my boyfriend at the time reassured me that the series was genuinely good and we begun watching his box set. Within the first 3 episodes I was hooked and we spent an entire weekend in front of the TV binge watching every episode to date. Once we were all caught up, we had to wait with high anticipation each week for new episodes. The wait was unbearable. I fell so in love with the show and the characters that I've watched the entire series through twice more. It has a very special place in my heart. 


Stargate SG1:

It was hard not to place Stargate SG1 higher up the list but in all honesty, it comes extremely close behind BSG. I was 15 when my boyfriend at the time introduced me to SG1. It didn't take me very long to get hooked into the storyline. Like BSG I binged watched SG1 with my boyfriend until we were caught up with the tv airings. Then it was a gruelling wait time each week for more episodes. It was in this show that a cheeky, quirky, mischievous female character was introduced and I immediately took a liking to her as I identified with her completely. I fell in love with her character and her name and at the age of sixteen vowed my first daughter would be named after this character. My mum scoffed and told me I'd never go through with it but 7 years later my daughter was born and I kept true to my word. My daughter Vala is named after the character I loved so much; Vala Mal Doran. I can't wait until Vala is old enough to watch the show so I can sit down and introduce her to the character that inspired her name. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine:

Unlike with the other three shows, I can't actually remember who introduced me to this show. It's the one I'm currently binging through for the fifth time in two months. (I know, I really need to get a life.) I think I was originally intrigued with the show as the main character; Jake Peralta is played by Andy Samberg who I knew from the band "Lonely Island". It didn't take me long to fall in love with the characters and the story lines. I've developed a love and connection with each character and it doesn't matter how low my mood gets, this show always manages to cheer me up. I love it!

Firefly:

Coming in last but not least in my top 5 is Firefly. Space pirates set in a western period? What's not to love?! My first introduction to the show was actually at university. During my media studies tutorial class, we got to watch the pilot episode. I was immediately hooked and wanting more. I went home and binged my way through the rest of the season. Like all other Brown Coats (the name given to fans of the show), I was extremely disappointed that Firefly was cancelled after one season. The show was so good! Of course the show was followed by the film Serenity which closed up all unfinished story lines but we were still left with a massive hole in our hearts. There are talks of the show returning but no one is quite sure how or when that will actually happen. One thing is for sure though, if it ever does return, I will be binge watching the hell out of it! I really do hope it comes back.

So there you have it, my top 5 favourite TV shows. Some other notable shows that I love but didn't quite make my top 5 list include; Daredevil, Lucifer, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The Big Bang Theory. I'd love to hear what shows you like to binge or have a special place in your heart. Leave me comment below and share your fondest TV memories.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Made a breakthrough

This month has been bit of a quiet one blog post wise and that's mainly because there's been a lot going on that's had a roller coaster effect of my mood. Family health woes, my mental heath issues, Vala been away for two weeks etc. It's all had an impact. I feel like there is a lot baring down on me and it's been hard to identify everything and deal with it.

I have been talking more with Jordan lately
about my mood and my depression, trying to identify key triggers and figure out ways to avoid them. Throughout the discussion, we made a breakthrough. I realised that I haven't been feeling myself since being with my ex-husband.
Before I came to the UK, I had a life. A real life. I had a great paying job that I was good at. I was studying at uni. I had friends, a boyfriend and would go out every single weekend with them. I could see my family whenever I wanted and I never needed company all the time. I could happily walk 20 mins to the local cafe, order myself a coffee and a slice of cake and sit there for hours doing uni course work on my laptop. I didn't need anyone to come with me. I was independent.

My ex husband took my life and independence away from me. I thought when I first moved here that I'd make a new life, new friends, start a career etc but the opposite happened. Thanks to his emotional abuse, I became too afraid to go anywhere on my own. I was too afraid to let anyone into my home. I wasn't allowed to get a job or study and I definitely wasn't allowed to befriend anyone that he didn't approve of (which was no one). Then we split up and it was just me and Vala all on our own. I had a single friend that I'd made after the split and he lived 2 hours away so we could only hang out so often. Eventually, obviously, I met Jordan, we started dating and moved in together before getting engaged and having Flynn BUT I still don't feel like the same person who left Australia.

Jordan was making arrangements with his
mates to go out somewhere and do something and I suddenly became very depressed, defensive and jealous. I was upset that Jordan could just go out whenever he wanted and hang out with his mates and I couldn't. I don't want to go out with his mates but I do want to go out with mine. Only issue there is, I only have three friends and they all live at least an hour + away. To hang out with them takes much planning, plenty of notice and must be something big enough to warrant them travelling all the way out here. It's not like they're gonna drive one to two hours just to go to the pub for a couple of pints with me.

So I'm missing key things that every person needs to be happy. I don't feel I have a life outside of my kids. My family is all overseas, my friends live too far away to hang out often, I'm not currently studying and my only "career prospects" is to get this novel professionally published and call myself an author. I'm not sure how exactly we're going to fix these issues but identifying them is a good start. We've learned that Jordan going out with mates is a sore spot for me, though I'm never going to stop him going out with them. We just need to find a way to make it not suck for me when he's out having fun and I'm stuck at home with the two kids.

It's definitely going to take a while due to baby steps but hopefully I won't have to be in the UK another six years before I finally have a life like the one I gave up and left behind back in Australia. We'll see though.

Until next time,
Alli xo

NaNoWriMo 2018

NaNoWriMo is the abbreviated name for National Novel Writing Month. It is held every November and this year will mark my first ever participation. I am so excited about it that I cannot wait for November already.

But what is NaNoWriMo exactly? Well...

"On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by 11:59pm on November 30."
As many of you are aware, I have been working on my first ever novel for over a year now and
making slow progress. Well I'm setting myself the challenge to have my first draft completely finished by the end of NaNoWriMo. Normally you're supposed to start a new novel and write the full 50,000 words in the month but as this is my first year and I'm dedicated to getting this novel finished, I'll be focusing solely on completing my first draft. To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to reach 1,667 words every single day. My novel is currently approx 24,000 words so I can have the required daily word count to reach my 50k total by the end of November.

I'm so excited to participate and even bought myself a pretty expensive coffee travel mug to keep me going. I say expensive, it was $15 for the travel mug but then another $25 for the shipping alone! £40 for a single travel mug is ridiculous but it's great quality, NaNoWriMo branded and has humorous imagery on the back. It cost a lot but I can't wait to sit it down beside me, full of coffee as I get stuck into completing my novel. This is going to be awesome!

Participation in NaNoWriMo is completely free and everyone is welcome to join. If you enjoy writing, have always wanted to write a novel or want to challenge yourself then head to www.nanowrimo.org to sign up.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 23 April 2018

Sad news

Hey everyone, I just want to apologise for the lack of blog posts this month. I won't go into too much detail but this is the result of some sad news we've received this month. Someone close to our family recently had a minor stroke and was rushed to hospital. A CT scan was done which revealed something abnormal on the brain so a MRI scan was carried out. It was confirmed there was a mass sitting on part of the brain. Blood tests were then carried out as doctors believed the mass on the brain was secondary to cancer. The blood tests confirmed the doctors suspicions, cancer.

We are unsure what kind of cancer yet and the extent of it within the body as a scan won't be carried out until this coming Thursday. We're all trying to keep positive and hope that they've caught it early and it will be treatable but we are all pretty scared still. I won't say who this happening to but I will say that it isn't Jordan, myself or either child.

The news has shocked us all and it's been bit of a roller coaster month. I want to try and get back to getting posts out on time and working more on my novel but if there is an absence of posts, please bare with me, I will get them as and when I can. Until then, please except my apologies for any and all absences. I will however, be working on a few posts today to come out this week.



Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monthly Flynn Update: 4 Months

Hey there everyone, sorry for the delay in my monthly Flynn update; we've recieved some bad news about someone close to us (I'll cover in another post) and it's taken some time to wrap my head around it. As a result things like my novel and this blog have been a tad neglected this month. But on Friday, Flynn turned 4 months and we can't believe how fast he's growing.

How's Flynn Doing?

At 4 months old, Flynn is weighing approximately 7kg (15lbs 04oz). This came as bit of a shock to me as up until now, he's been gaining 2lbs every month but this time he has gained just under 1lbs (he was 14lbs 05oz at 3 months). He appears to be feeding more and I'm still producing plenty of milk so the lower gain goes to show just how active he's becoming. 

Flynn's eyes are greenish brown and we can't work out what colour they're changing too or if they'll stay green and brown like Vala's eyes. His current favourite things to do include standing and sitting up. He has extremely strong legs that let him stand for long stints when just holding onto our fingers. He laughs now and it's almost impossible to get his hands out of his mouth. He loves to chew on his hand and suck his thumb, index and middle fingers. He sleeps on his right side (never his left) and if you try and roll him onto his back, he'll just immediately roll back onto his side. He still hates bath time but his feelings about tummy time seem to steadily be improving. He's a nosy little man who just always wants to be up so he can see everyone and everything. He is a world class dribbler and smiler. He loves to talk to us and loves his own reflection.  He didn't appear to enjoy the warm weather we've recently had as he became a bit more cranky than normal. But he has a really cheeky little personality developing and he makes everyone smile when they see him. He's such a lovely little man and we love him so much. 

How's Mum Doing?

As you'd probably expect by now, I've been up and down and it appears it's for several reasons (which I'll cover in another post). With my mood yo-yoing, so is my diet and weight. Even when cautious of what I eat, my weight still appears to go up, which in turn brings my mood back down. I have periods of high moods though and during those times, I tend to get something productive done, like working on my novel. I do feel good when I get something productive done .

Physically, I'm fine, though my body feels tired a lot of the time. Lethargy leaves me wasting most of the day/evening on the sofa binge watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The show really perks my mood up but binging it obviously has negative effects on my activity. Since moving Flynn from the carry cot on his pram to a pushchair, I've startes enjoying walking more again. The pushchair is easier to set up so going for walks with Flynn doesn't feel like such a massive chore anymore which is great!

Jordan and I are making plans to start hitting the gym every weekend while his mum watches the kids. We took advantage of Toys R Us/Babies R Us closing down and bought a breast pump. The plan is to express enough for Nonna to be able to feed Flynn while Jordan and I are working out together. Feels weird to be relinquishing full feeding responsibilities but it could be good for all of us, Flynn especially as it'll help him bond more with his dad and Nonna. This month has been a roller coaster month with a lot of changes and it's made us excited to see what next month holds for Flynn.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Vala is going to school!

So yesterday we received the awesome news that Vala has been offered a place at her first preference school. We are all over the moon. She's currently already at the school in the nursery and we live 1 minute away from the school so we knew there was no chance of her not getting offered a place but yet, I was still quite anxious.

I waited up until midnight on Sunday night so that I could log into the citizen portal at 12.01am to view her placement offer. When I saw the offer, I threw my arms up in excitement and then started crying happy tears. Jordan asked why I was crying and I laughed at myself and said it was because my baby is all grown up and starting school in September.


I still remember Vala when she was Flynn's size, it's so hard to believe she's about to be starting school. I am one proud mumma right now!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Monthly Fitness Update: April

Well last month really didn't go as well as I'd hoped health and fitness wise. I hit a new low and my depression made me give up on everything. This became apparent in the lateness of my blog posts as well as the poor, negative quality of the posts that did eventually come out. As a result of my mood, I ate more crap and exercised a lot less. So I am sad to report that I put on quite a bit of weight and feel incredibly ashamed and guilty.

Current Weight: 104.6kg
Loss Since Last Month: +2kg
Loss Since Start Weight: 5kg

It goes without saying that I am extremely disappointed with my weight gain. I vowed at the beginning of last month that I wouldn't allow myself to put weight on. I swore that I'd work hard to make sure I continued to lose. But that all went to poop the worse my depression got. Stress levels kept increasing and I began to feel trapped within myself. Everything kept piling on and I couldn't cope with anything. Mothers Day was the only day last month where I felt genuine happiness. My mood also resulted in Jordan and I fighting more which naturally made my mood worse. I ate more junk and exercised less. I didn't want to leave the house at all and whenever I did, I usually looked like a gremlin. I admit, I was emotional eating. Stuffing my face to deal with my feelings and despite being aware of what I was doing, I didn't care. I just kept going. Some days I'd eat nothing but chocolate and drink soft drink. Sounds bad, which it is, but in reality I wasn't eating more chocolate, I just wasn't eating anything else. If I hadn't even the chocolate, I'd have not eaten at all that day. So now here I am, a lot bigger than I was last month and I hate myself for it. I'm hoping that with Vala being away for two weeks I can push myself get more quality rest and in turn that'll make me feel better about going outside and exercising and eating better.

Physically, there is nothing stopping me from exercising. It's all mental. I am tired all the time and do currently have a really bad cold but those factors don't effect my physical health; just my physiological health. I want to try and get back to the gym this year but not 100% sure that I will. I may not have Vala to look after for half the month but I still have Flynn and Jordan's still working so unsure how many chances I'll actually get to go. I do want to go back but we'll have to wait and see how I feel if/when the time comes. 

I'm hoping the two weeks without Vala will help me focus more on myself and in turn, get me out of this rut. I still have Flynn to look after but with regular naps and little demand from someone so small, I should still have plenty of time to work on me. 

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Easter 2018

Totally late to the party but HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! I do apologise for the lateness of this post but things got a little chaotic over the Easter weekend and I'm also full of cold and really run down. Hope everyone had wonderful Easter's ours was fairly stress-free for the most part, although admittedly I am a little disappointed with the weekend.

Good Friday


Good Friday meant Vala broke up for school the day before and Jordan had the day off so we all had
a fairly chilled and relaxing day. In the evening however we attended a surprise party for Jordan's step-grandparents. It was their golden anniversary and their son, Jordan's step-dad, had organised a surprise party for them at a local pub. They were genuinely surprised and everyone had a great evening. Everyone except me. On the tables were blown up balloons and instructions on how to make balloon animals with them. At first I had a go just to make Vala an animal and then a second go to compete with Jordan to see who made better balloon animals. Unfortunately I made good balloon animals and I kept having kids asking me to make them balloon animals. I was full of cold, feeling unwell and just wanted to sit and relax but instead I became Bo-Bo the clown, entertainer of kids who were little brats. I spent most of the night wanting to go home. But everyone else had a good time and that's what matters.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday came and went so quickly and I feel rubbish by how little we actually celebrated it. I had been extremely unwell on Saturday and so wanted a quiet, stress-free day at home and to get plenty of rest in bed. The Easter Bunny still stopped by the night before though and left plenty of eggs and bunny footprints around the house as a well as a letter to Vala and Flynn. Vala woke us just before 9am (decent sleep-in for her) and despite my sleepless night thanks to my blocked sinuses, I still got up and watched Vala race around finding all the eggs the Easter Bunny had left. It didn't take her very long to find them all and then she immediately began eating them before breakfast. That was the extend of our Easter celebrations sadly. I still felt incredibly run down and unwell so returned to bed. Jordan stayed up with Vala and she spent the rest of the day playing, drawing and watching TV. In the evening, Jordan took both kids to visit his Nonna and I stayed at home to get some more rest. I feel bad that I spent the day in bed rather than with my family. And I feel even worse that it was Flynn's first Easter and I didn't do anything significant to celebrate it. I know he can't eat chocolate yet but I still could've tried to do something special for him. I was just too tired and unwell though to even think of doing anything. My brain was thinking of one thing and one thing only; sleep! Again, the others seemed to have enjoyable days and Vala was really happy so that's all that matters. As long as she had a good day, the day was a success in my opinion. 

Easter Monday

Easter Monday was spent most driving
around. We took Vala to her grandparents (on her dad's side) and they live nearly two and a half hours away. We had to stop every hour on our journey to take Flynn out his car seat and stretch his legs. This was advised by both my health visitor and midwife after he was born. The frequent stops meant the journey took us nearly 3 and a half hours instead. There was also quite a bit of congestion that slowed us down. Vala's dads side of the family is quite large (he's the eldest of 10 children) so his parents house does usually get quite busy on a normal day. But this was no ordinary day. No, not only was Vala going to be there, whom they'd not seen since her birthday last November, but Flynn was also going to be there and only Tim and Lisa (Vala's grandparents) had met him before. So we had everyone showing up, all at once to see Vala and meet Flynn for the first time. Even Vala's dad showed up despite telling me he wasn't going to be there. He didn't tell anyone he was coming so he came as a great surprise when he showed up unannounced. Flynn was completely overwhelmed and due to the hourly stops on our journey, hadn't slept properly so was quite cranky. He fell asleep on Nanna Lisa though and it melted my heart. I told everyone that until they're old enough to understand it, Vala and Flynn won't know they're half siblings and so Flynn would grow up calling them all aunts, uncles and grandparents just like his sister does. It was also revealed that they all still considered him a nephew/grandson before I even mentioned it. It meant a lot to me that they still considered him family despite the fact he has no blood relation to them at all. Means a lot that they still consider me family and also consider Jordan family now too. He feels a little uncomfortable about being considered family but he is Vala's step-father. He is family to her which means he is family to them. One of the many reasons why I love that family. Despite Vala's dad being there and making the odd snide remark towards me and calling me his wife numerous times, we had a really fun day. Even me, who was still ill, finally found some enjoyment. I also got my hair cut whilst I was there which was an added bonus. 

All in all, the Easter weekend went fairly well. I didn't get as much enjoyment out of the weekend and we didn't celebrate as much as I'd have liked but the important thing was that Vala had a great weekend. Flynn was too young to understand this year so I'll make a big fuss next year to celebrate his first proper Easter. We left Vala at her grandparents and she won't return home for another week and a half. I miss her like crazy but she is so happy staying with her family and they've all missed her too. She's having so much fun and I'm really happy knowing she is. 

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monthly Challenge: March

Hey everyone! I apologise, I know we're already several days into April but with Easter, school holidays and being sick (full of cold), I really fell behind on my posts. I'm behind by 4 posts so you'll get a double up on posts for the next couple of days to make up for what I missed.

But enough of that, last month I set myself
the challenge to start and finish at least one whole book. I used to love reading and could finish books within days depending on how it good it was. But since being the UK my libido for reading has declined dramatically. The last book I read from start to finish took me three years to complete. I've had the book "The Four Legendary Kingdoms" by Matthew Reilly sitting on my shelf for ages and always meant to get around to reading it. When I saw his announcement that the sequel to the book; "The Three Lost Cities" was being released in November, I thought it's about time I actually sat down and read it. So I set myself the challenge to start and finish the book within the month of March and depending how quickly I read it, start another book.

I didn't get around to starting a second book but I did however start and finish "The Four Legendary Kingdoms" within my time period. I thoroughly enjoyed the book as well. Matthew Reilly has been my favourite author since I was thirteen years old. I discovered him after a friend at school recommended him to me. Most of his books were in the school library and it really didn't take long for me to fall in love with his work. In a way, he has been my inspiration for my novel writing, despite the fact our writing styles and genres are completely different.

So yeah, March challenge was successfully completed and I really enjoyed completing it. It was probably my favourite monthly challenge of the three and honestly I might repeat the challenge again later in the year. I want to get back into reading and challenging myself appears to be a good way to do it.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Sunday, 1 April 2018