Monday, 30 July 2018

Monthly Challenge: July

Hey everyone! I seriously don't think I need to tell you what my challenge for this month was do I? It was quite clearly participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. For camp I set myself the task of writing 30 pages of my novel within the 30 days of Camp NaNoWriMo. So how did I do? I'll let this image answer that...



That's right, I did it! I successfully wrote 30 pages within 30 days.... 28 days to be exact. I'll be honest though, it was very hard. Harder than I anticipated. I thought a page a day would be a sinch but i was very wrong. I fell behind schedule multiple times and would have to knuckle down to get back on track. At one point I managed to get 8 days ahead of schedule but then amazingly fell 4 days behind again. It was sheer determination to succeed that pushed me to get those last few pages written before the deadline and it felt great when I did.

I feel really proud of my accomplishment and I'm getting my certificate framed and put up above my desk to remind me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

Bring on NaNoWriMo in November!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Goodbye Nursery

Good evening everyone! I hope you are all having a fun and stress-free Saturday. I do apologise for my silence this week, I assure you it had nothing to do with Monday's post, though the issues discussed in that post did effect my week. No, life just got a teeny tiny bit hectic this week. I'm rushing to finish 30 pages for Camp NaNoWriMo, I've been helping my good friend CharcoalRav3n with his twitch streams but most importantly, Vala had her last ever day of nursery.



It's hard to believe the day arrived. She was so excited to give her teachers their presents and cards but she didn't understand the reasoning behind them. I got a little emotional seeing her favourite teacher acting like she wasn't expecting a present and was genuinely surprised. It made Vala so happy. I got more emotional at pick up time when Vala had a photo and cuddle with both her teachers before we left. One of her teachers was filling in for another who had been away on maternity leave. She is leaving to another school now so we won't see her again. Vala didn't understand that.

The first day of holidays and Vala got up and asked if it was time to get ready for school (nursery) and I had to explain to her that she won't be going to nursery again. She has left nursery forever and in September she will be starting school. Her classroom is right next to the nursery classroom so she'll still see her friends who aren't moving up in September and her favourite teacher, so it's not so bad for her. But everyday she still asks if she's got school and every day I have to explain the situation to her.

She loved nursery so much and it was amazing for her. When she first started she barely spoke English. She just babbled jibberish a lot with a few English words of phrases here and there. She wasn't toilet trained and she could only count to 10. Now she not only has full conversations with us, she argues with us too! Her personality has developed immensely; as has her attitude. She is fully toilet trained, can recognise some words like her name, daddy, mummy, Flynn and friends. She is able to write her own name fairly well and counts well into the thirties.

Nursery definitely did wonders for Vala's personal growth, development and social skills. She has grown so much and Jordan and I are so proud of her. We can't wait to see what full time school has in store for her. Neither can she.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 23 July 2018

How I turned something very positive into something negative

Well it's Monday again, everyone's favourite day of the week. Amazingly, I've managed to get a blog post out on time. Go me! Not really, because this post was actually written at 1:30am on Sunday morning as I needed to get these thoughts out of my head in order to sleep. I've recently received some very happy news; well I've actually received two bits of good news, however it's the more recent piece that my messed up brain has managed to turn completely negative.

The first bit of news I got was that my older sister is pregnant with her second child. Yay another
nephew or niece for me not to meet any time soon! I am very happy for my sister though, genuinely. However, the second piece of news I got came yesterday when my younger sister messaged me to tell me that her boyfriend of I don't even know how many years, had asked her to marry him. Of course she ecstatically said yes and began sharing the exciting news with everyone.
Now you might be wondering why I would possibly turn this news negative? And well I'm not going to take full credit for this. See my half-brother (who lives in the UK as well) messaged me only hours after my little sister did to let me know that he'd heard the news. He then tried to talk me into doing a joint trip back to Australia for the wedding.

I should point out at this stage that my brother is a nearly 40 year old man, with no partner, children or any real financial responsibility that would take away the money he earns from his full time job. It seems he often forgets that I don't work full time and that I have two young children to provide for and it's not as easy for me to just get and go. I'm not about to leave my children behind but to take my family with me would cost us a small limb on the black market.
Anyway, I tried to brush the suggestion off with the excuse that the wedding (with an unset date) will probably be during term time and that I wouldn't be able to take Vala out of school for a lengthy trip to Australia. He then made the suggestion that I ask my sister to choose a date during UK term holidays. Again, I tried to brush his comments off but it wasn't long until the reality sunk in.

Every time something major happens in a family members life, whether its my life, my
sisters life, or my parents life etc, I am always expected to come home to celebrate. When Vala was born, it was demanded of me, by so many people, that I be on the first flight home with my precious bundle of joy once she'd had all her jabs. And the guilt and judgement I got when that didn't happen absolutely crushed me. When my older sister got married, my half-brother did the same thing and tried to convince me to fly back with him. But I was a newly single mother without a job, trying desperately to keep a roof over my daughters head. It broke my heart that I couldn't be there for my sisters wedding since she made the effort to be at mine.

But of course now it's my little sisters turn to get married and my half-brothers comments will just be the start. Everyone will soon, once again, jump back on the bandwagon and start pressuring me to come home for a visit. It's not like I don't want to come home for a visit; of course I do! I haven't seen my family in almost 7 years and it kills me inside. I miss them all so much! However, I can't afford nearly £2000 airfares plus the costs of passports and insurance, visas, spending money and goodness knows what else I might need. I'm a stay at home mother with only Jordan working full time to bring in the money. How do they expect us to just produce £2,000-£4,000 at the snap of their fingers?

So anyway, I've spent the entire night stressing out about how to deal with oncoming guilt trip various family members will lay on me and I've told my mum that I will try my hardest to get out to them August next year when Vala isn't in school. A promise that knowing me, I will struggle to keep. But then I thought, what if I do actually get to Australia next year? How can I let my family; people I won't have seen in almost 8 years, see me in my current state? I'm at least 30kg heavier than when they last saw me. That's when the depression really kicked in. That's when I got overwhelmed and stressed and it's why I sit here at 1:40am writing all this out in the hopes I might be able to sleep afterwards. I keep thinking, how can I save up that much money in less than a year? And how can I lose at least 30kg in the same amount of time?

This is truly wonderful news for my little sister and I genuinely cried tears of happiness when she told me. But a single suggestion from my half-brother turned my brain into over-negativity mode. I don't know what I'm going to do and honestly, I'm freaking out about it. I can't take any more of the pressure and guilt. It's been going on for too long now.

Anyway, I guess I should try and get some sleep now. Happy Monday everyone!

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Monthly Flynn Update: 7 Months

Hey everyone! I know this post is coming a day late (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) but that is only because the sickness bug that Flynn had, made its way to me. Yesterday I spent most of the day either unconscious or vomiting violently. It wasn't nice at all and because I was so unwell, I almost missed taking my monthly photo of Flynn. I got one just before his bed time though thankfully. I can't believe he is 7 months to be honest. With how fast time is going, his birthday is only around the corner. 

How's Flynn Doing?

Flynn's physical development appears to have slowed down in this passed month. In fact he has even lost some weight. He now weighs 7.5kg (16lbs 08oz). We're putting his weight loss down to his increase in activity as well as the fact he had a tummy bug this week which saw him throw up quite a lot. Flynn is definitely a right little character though with such a cheeky and adventurous personality. He's getting better at sitting up unaided. We know he can do but his constant desire to be on the move results in him falling over in one direction or another. He still has ZERO teeth! Something I can hardly believe. 

He started sleeping in his own room with Vala and is completely unphased that I'm not sleeping beside him anymore. He still wakes multiple times in the night for a feed though but we thinks that's more a habit that he'll quickly grow out of.  He rolls around to get to where he wants to go but tries really hard to crawl. He gets into crawling position with very little effort at all now. He loves attention and is a very smiley little man. He is doing ok with weaning, he tends to take the spoon from me and then most of the food just ends up on his face but progress is progress. He loves to talk and play games with us. I can already tell he is going to a right handful once he is off and walking but I look forward to the challenge.

How's Mum Doing?

Well besides from recovering from the nasty stomach bug Flynn gave me, I am doing alright. Honestly though, I have no idea how I've been doing this month. Time has flown by so quickly that it feels like such a huge blur. I think I've been so busy and occupied by various things that it's helped keep my mood up more than normal. I can't recall having nearly as many break downs. I did have a major one which resulted in a screaming match with Jordan though. We were getting ready to switch furniture around from room to room and we both had different ideas of how to go about it and I couldn't handle it. But definitely keeping busy and being productive has really helped me deal with my postnatal depression this month. I've painted the kids room, got the rooms mostly rearranged, went on a family trip to Wheelgate Pleasure Park and to my nieces 1st birthday. I've worked hard on my novel and have nearly completed my Camp NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 30 pages in 30 days. A feat I'm quite proud of. 

Physically, I have been alright. Feeling rather unfit and wanting to go back to the gym but finding the time at the moment has proved quite hard. Every day the Jordan has had off work, we've had other things booked and by the time he gets home from work, im too knackered go. It does mean I've not gone for two whole months and we're still paying for it so I really do need to get my arse into gear and head back. The stomach bug has left my body feeling worse for wear, especially my back muscles which are severely bruised from so much violent vomiting. With Vala off school next month though, I do aim to try and get to the gym once she's goes to her dads for a week, leaving Jordan to watch Flynn on his days off. That's my aim for next month, to get back to the gym. I wanna try and go 6 times in the month. I doubt I will but it's the goal im setting myself. I did also get my results back from my diabetes test and thankfully, I don't have type two diabetes yay!

As I said last month, it feels like I only just wrote Flynn's 6 month update so I don't want else I can really add. Our family is happy and despite each having the stomach bug at one point or another, we're all healthy as well. Jordan and I have a feeling that this month might be a big one for Flynn. He is behind Vala in terms of teeth (she had 4 by this age), sitting up unaided and lifting arms to be picked up. However he is further ahead in terms of crawling. I feel within the next month he will be crawling with at least one tooth poking through. If I'm right, it's definitely going to be a big month for Flynn and we cannot wait to see how what he does next!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Sickness bug strikes again

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Wish I could say it was a happy day for us but unfortunately it seems as though a sickness bug going around has definitely reached our family.

Vala came home from school on Monday
after being sick but was absolutely fine so I didnt think anything was actually wrong. It didn't seem as though she had the stomach bug going around.  Still, we kept her off school per the rules and a little over 48 hours after her vomiting episode, Flynn suddenly woke up from a nap and started being sick. So far he's been sick 4 times and has now finally fallen back to sleep in Jordan's arms. 

It seems like things might be winding down for the night but my stomach is feeling a teeny bit uneasy right now so we'll see.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

An idea has sparked

Hey everyone,

I apologise for the lack of a post yesterday, we've been very busy painting the kids bedroom and moving furniture around. We're just about to assemble Vala's new bed but I wanted to take a quick break and write a little post to make up for missing yesterday.



So, as you are all well aware by now, i am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and it is going really well! I've written 21 pages in 17 days and only have 9 more pages to go to reach my goal for the month. Then I got thinking? What should i do between Camp NaNoWriMo and actual NaNoWriMo in November? Then an idea sparked. Lore! I've made the decision to write out the back story and/or lore for a different character each week. Their history, their personality, preferences etc. Get it all written out and add depth to my characters which in turn, will hopefully have broaden my novel and help with its development.

So yeah, I'm pretty excited about doing that, even if it will be a challenge for some characters. Just wanted to share that idea with you but now I should probably get back to helping Jordan assemble Vala's new bed. Update post to come (hopefully tomorrow).

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Friday, 13 July 2018

Wheelgate School Excursion

Hi there everyone! Happy Friday to you all. As stated in my post on Tuesday, Vala had a school excursion on Wednesday, hence the lack of a post that day. I can now happily tell you that the excursion was to Wheelgate Pleasure Park in Mansfield, Nottingham. Jordan drove Flynn up and met up with Vala and I there and we turned the school excursion into an extremely fun family day out.

We got up early and I left Flynn with Jordan while Vala and I went to school and travelled to Wheelgate on a school bus with all her teachers and friends. Not long after we got there, Jordan arrived with Flynn and we spent most of the morning with two of Vala's closest friends; Lacey and Sky. They went on a massive playground, having a blast on a huge slide before heading to one of those inflatable bounce mounds that sit in the ground. Vala had never been on one before so it took her some time to get her footing. I joined her on there for a little bounce and I instantly felt like a little kid again. Jordan then took Flynn on there and sat with him on his lap. Flynn wasn't too keen on it.

Next we headed out of the hot sun and into "The Land of the Pharaohs" which was actually a huge indoor soft playground. Vala ran in with Jordan close behind (I didn't have socks on which meant I couldn't go in) and I didn't see them for over five whole minutes. Eventually they reappeared atop a large slide and zoomed back down into view before running out of sight again. Vala's friend Sky joined them and every so often we'd see a glimpse of the girls and Jordan off in the distance.

After a quick lunch break, it was time to head to the water park! This was by far the highlight of the
day for me. I actually stripped off and into my bathing suit and hopped into the water with Vala. Given my self-esteem issues, walking around in my bathers was a big deal for me. Jordan stayed with Flynn beside the water but didn't venture in as he didn't bring his bathing suit. He did dip Flynn's feet in at one point and Flynn did not enjoy it one bit. The water park had water spraying everywhere and a giant bucket that would fill up and tip once full, pouring gallons of water over our heads. I loved being drenched by the bucket. The water park also had 4 moderately big waterslides and one little waterslide for younger kids. To my absolute surprise, Vala actually went on two of the big waterslides and loved them. This was the first time she'd ever been on waterslides before and I was so proud of how brave she was. I went on a couple myself and my inner child came out once again. I had genuine fun.

It wasn't long before the school had to leave but thanks to Jordan driving up, Vala and I were not required to catch the bus back home with them. Instead, we stay in the water park for well over an hour after the others had left. We had so much fun that we completely forgot to reapply sun screen and as a result, I got very sun burnt and Vala and Jordan got a little burnt. Thankfully Flynn was kept shaded all day and came out burn free.

Close to home time, we made one last stop a pond that had bumper boats in it. Since I'd just spent over two hours in the water at the water park with Vala, I suggested that Jordan go and have some fun with her. He took Vala out in the bumper boats and before too long, they were spinning around in circles thanks to Vala's steering. It was almost as entertaining to watch as it was to be on the actual boat. Vala came out saying the boat ride was "amazing". A quick stop at the gift shop on the way out finally our day out was at an end. Vala and I had so much fun and whilst Jordan did sit on the sidelines for quite a while, watching over a sleeping Flynn, he did still enjoy the day as well.

We've decided we'll definitely be visiting Wheelgate again at some point. It's the perfect place for our family. Plenty of activities aimed for younger children but made for adults as well. The Land of the Pharaohs indoor soft play ground may be meant for kids but they've made it big enough for adults to play on as well since smaller kids need to be accompanied by an adult. It gives Jordan and I to act like kids again ourselves and play with Vala on her level and I love that. I can't wait until Flynn is older and tall enough to play there as well.

Can't wait until our next family trip out. Who knows where it'll be to?

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Day In My Life

It's Tuesday and I know what you're thinking, this isn't one of your usual blogging days and you'd be correct, it isn't. However tomorrow I am out all day as Vala has a school excursion. Jordan and Flynn will be meeting us there and joining on the excursion so it's turned into a proper family day out.....with school. Either way, because of my absence tomorrow I figured I could either do a blog post today or on Thursday instead. So here we are. I didn't really know what to write about today so figured I'd give a general run down of a typical day in my life.

Mornings.

- Be woken at 5am by Flynn wanting his morning feed. After feeding we both fall back to sleep.
- Wake up again later at an unspecified time. Essentially when Flynn wakes up properly.
- Laze around in bed until Vala wakes up and comes in demanding breakfast.
- Sleepily drag my lazy backside out of bed and make Vala's breakfast, forgetting to make my own.
- Sit on the bed and make faces at Flynn before changing his nappy and feeding him. 
- Make myself a coffee, still neglect breakfast, wash my face and apply a clay mask.
- Give Vala a shower and wash my clay mask off.
- Between 11:30am and 12pm on weekdays, I get myself and Flynn dressed for the school run.

Afternoons.

- At 12pm I get Vala dressed and ready for school along with finding everything she needs for school.
- Take the pram downstairs and get it all set up. Come back up to get Flynn & put him in the pram. 
- Walk to school with Vala and Flynn and stand around for ten minutes outside with the other mums.
- Drop Vala off at school and then make one of two choices: Go home or go to Tesco.
- If we go to Tesco, I shop, pick up lunch and return home.
- If I go home, Flynn gets fed and put down for a nap then I might do one or all of the following; have a shower, work on my novel, watch a stream, play a video game or do house work. 
- Two and a half hours after school drop off I reassemble the pram, put Flynn in it and head to school.
- I'll stand outside for ten minutes with the other mums waiting to allowed inside.
- Sometimes after school pick up, if I've not already been to Tesco, I will walk down with Vala and Flynn and pick up stuff for dinner. 
- Once home with Vala I prepare her afternoon tea, change Flynn's nappy and feed him again. 
- While Flynn sleeps and Vala plays, I'll usually be on my pc doing something. 
- Sometimes I will start cooking dinner just before 6pm other nights, Jordan cooks or we order in.

Evenings.

- Stating the obvious, we eat dinner! At some point. No actual set dinner time due to Jordan's work.
- Around 7:30pm Flynn is normally changed, fed and put to bed for the night.
- Around 8pm Vala is ready for bed and either Jordan or I will put her to bed and read a story. 
- After both kids going to bed it's free time for myself and Jordan to do whatever. Usually we'll play games on our computers. Sometimes we'll watch tv together or play a game together. Very rarely, we'll do housework after the kids have gone to bed. 
- Usually Jordan will fall asleep in his computer chair and I'll have to wake him and put him to bed.
- Flynn will wake around 11pm for his evening feed.
- Sometime around midnight I'll climb into my bed myself and then lay awake in the darkness for hours.

So yeah, that's a typical day in my life. I wouldn't say I live a particularly interesting life, it is what it is. Depending on what day of the week it is, we may have other things on. On Tuesdays for example, Vala has swimming lessons. If Jordan has a weekday off, he'll do the school runs and we'll usually go out for a family walk in the evenings. Sometimes I squeeze a gym session in there somewhere but admittedly, I've not gone in a month (bad me). This is just a bulk standard, nothing special going on kinda day for me. Get up, get what needs to be done, done and do whatever it takes to prevent myself from curling up in a ball and crying (thanks PND). 

This may be my typical day now, but that is all about to change when Vala starts school in September. Excited to see how much that shakes things up for me!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 9 July 2018

Who This Was All For.

It seems I may have had an epiphany! Yesterday I was talking to a few friends about the novel I am working on and the more they asked me about it and the more I talked about it, I started to realise something. The real reason I've not given up on it.

When I first started writing this fantasy novel, it was just to reignite a lost passion within me. However soon I started to believe there might be some potential in my story that I could one day get it published and hopefully make a financial contribution to my family from it. However, the hope of getting it published hindered me greatly. I couldn't stop editing each sentence after writing it. I needed it to be perfect. Publisher perfect. Progress slowed and the doubt started sinking back in.

But after talking to these friends (and a bit of motivation from good old Hugh Jackman singing "From Now On") I realised who this was all for. My daughter. Vala. I wanted to be a role model to her and since starting, that motivation has shifted slightly. It's more than just showing Vala (and now Flynn) to follow their dreams and passions. In my novel is a bunch of subtle messages that I want to get across to not just my own children, but other children/teens/young adults as well. Messages such as; Women are strong, capable, independent, powerful, brave and more. That being different is good and not to be ashamed of who you are. And also that love is love, no matter what race, gender or sexual preference.

I want not only my children to read this story and believe they can be who they want to be and do what they set their minds to, but I want others to know it too. After suffering self-esteem issues for years and having no confidence in myself and constantly doubting myself, I know that I don't want my kids or others to grow up feeling the same.

So at the end of all of this, it doesn't matter how successful this novel is, or if I make any money off it, as long as those underlying messages reach a few hearts, it'll be a success to me. I will set an example for my kids to pursue their dreams and passions and I will teach them that they can be anything. Shoot for the stars. Take chances. Walk with your heads held high. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique ways. Find your inner warrior and embrace them. I believe in you!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Transition Day

Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope your Wednesday's are treating you well. I am slowly dying today and it's only partially from the heat!

Today is transition day at school! Vala got to spend an hour and a half in her new classroom, getting to know her new teachers. Sounds all well and good doesn't it? Well it would've been but the school decided rather than the kids staying at school for the full day, instead they would send home for one and a half hours before requiring them back for their regular afternoon nursery session. That means I have to do the school a total of FOUR times today. Leaving the house at 9:25am, 10:55am, 12:30pm and 3pm.

I was already not looking forward to having to do the school run in 25 degree heat due to the fact I
have to assemble the pram every time I go out. Because we live on a first floor flat, I have to completely put the pram down to get it in the house and shut the front door. It takes about 2 minutes to fully disassemble and get inside and another two to set back up again with a bit of carrying parts up and down the stairs. So I thought the day was going to be frustrating because of that.
However, at 9:20am I realised that the pram wasn't in the house. Nope, it'd had accidentally been left in Jordan's car after swimming lessons last night and it has gone to work with him. He works 50 mins away by car so there was no chance of him bringing it back. So I had to carry Flynn to school. By the time I got home from the first run, my arms were dead. I tried to drink a glass of water and my arm started trembling. Turns out I'm a lot weaker than I thought!

So in the first hour and a half that Vala was at school, I turned the entire house upside down looking for my old baby sling that Flynn was a bit too big for now. 5 minutes before I was due to leave to pick Vala up the first time, I found it. It was the most rush job ever but it worked. Flynn wasn't as supported as  he was as a baby but it took his weight off my arms (but not my back) which made the walk to school and back a lot easier. My back was gonna take the brunt of it whether I used the sling or not but the biggest downside of the sling is how much warmer you get. I had beads of sweat dripping off my nose and onto Flynn's head because it was so much warmer wearing him against my chest like a koala. Even he started burning up, pressed up against me, wrapped in cloth.

I'll say it's all worth it though because Vala absolutely loved being in her new classroom, with her new teachers and she didn't want to leave. She also didn't want to go back at 12:30pm because she was confused about going to school twice in one day. She was very happy once we got there though and she ran off with her friends. I have absolutely no doubt that come September, she'll do amazingly in full time school. She loves it there so much and tries really hard. One of the teachers even took me aside and told me they were very impressed with how well Vala sat and practiced her writing and how serious she took it. She said it was very cute to see. She also told me that Vala enjoys playing "teacher" so who knows, maybe a future career path for her haha.

Anyway, I am going to go and put my feet up and rest before I have to go back to school for the fourth time today in an hour and a half time. Long day for all of us involved!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 2 July 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo


July is here! The weather is beautiful and I am spending it mostly indoors, sitting at my computer because Camp NaNoWriMo has officially begun!

But what is Camp NaNoWriMo you ask? Well, in previous posts you've probably read me mention that I will be participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in Novemeber. That is where you're set with the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It's hard but doable.
Camp NaNoWriMo is similar but different. Instead of having the 50k word goal for a novel set for you, you set your own writing goal about anything. Some people set themselves a goal to finish their dissertations. Some have the goal to write as many short stories a day, or to get their novel finished etc. I have set myself the goal to get 3 chapters of my novel written or at the very least 30 pages minimum.

It is now day 2 of camp and I am already 6 pages in. I decided if I aim for 1000 words a day, I will easily get my 30 pages done before July 31st and definitely get all three chapters written. I wrote a total of 2,055 words yesterday on day 1 and now I'm getting ready to sit down and try and pump out another 1,000 words today. Wish me luck!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 1 July 2018