Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Halloween 2018

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you are all having wonderful days and nights. Whether you're carving pumpkins, hosting a Halloween party or going out trick or treating, I hope you all stay safe and have lots and lots of fun!


This year is Flynn's first ever Halloween and I wanted it to be special. However my health has failed me today and as a result we have had a very quiet day at home. My still healing migraine has definitely appreciated the rest. But just because we didn't go trick or treating in the local shopping centre like we did last year (the stores give out sweets/candy to the kids), doesn't mean we've not celebrated Halloween. Later tonight Jordan and Vala will be carving pumpkins and on Sunday night we sPent the evening in costume at Jordan's parents. Jordan's mum gave Vala a bucket of sweets that is bigger than her head! She also got Flynn a bucket of the same size but instead of sweets, it was filled with jars of baby foods and snacks.

Since this is Flynn's first Halloween, I decided to carry on a tradition I did with Vala for her first Halloween; a photo shoot! Well, a photo shoot of sorts. I got the kids in their Halloween costumes, laid a white blanket down in front of a plain wall and just started snapping some pics. I later edited them to make them a bit brighter and bolder. Vala had fun posing for photos and I enjoyed carrying on a tradition I created with Vala 4 years ago.

So we've not had the biggest Halloween ever but we've done little things over the course of a week and I'm happy with that. Maybe next year we'll go all out and have a Halloween party!

Happy Halloween everyone and as always;
Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 29 October 2018

5 Fun Activities to do with your kids over Autumn Break

The Autumn term break has officially begun! At least for those of us here in the UK it has. Are you dreading a whole week with the kids at home complaining their bored? Well fear not because here are 5 fun activities you can do with your kids these holidays!

Pumpkin Carving

It goes without saying that over Halloween
one of the most traditional things to do is carve pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to make spooky looking jack-o-lanterns. The process can be quite tricky and messy but also a lot of fun. Vala helped carve her jack-o-lantern with Jordan last year and this year we're ready to do it all over again for Flynn's first Halloween. Standard jack-o-lantern stencils can be found on the internet very easily but why not push the boat out a little and try a slightly trickier image? Like this one of Peppa Pig that Jordan carved with Vala last year? Pumpkin carving is a great activity that will keep the kids occupied for a good couple of hours and they look amazing at night with a flickering candle burning brightly inside them. 

Baking

Weather outside not as nice as you'd hope? These holidays, the UK is being blasted with arctic winds that is seeing parts of the country be blanketed in snow. Other parts, like where we are, are just dealing with patches of rain. With the weather getting colder and wetter, there might be days where you can't or don't want to go out with your kids and need something fun to do. Why not try baking? Vala loves to bake and not only can it take up a good chunk of your afternoon, but you also get to enjoy all the yummy treats you made. Cupcakes and cookies are very simple to make and if you don't feel up to making them completely from scratch, boxes of cookie and cake mixes can be bought from the supermarket for a reasonable price. Whatever you choose to make, you'll have a lot of fun doing it and even more fun eating it later. 

Costume Fun

Halloween is a time for dressing up and eating sweets (candy) but who says you can only dress up on the one day? Get dressed up for the fun of it and have a theme day with your kids. Something as simple as eating lunch can be made more fun and exciting when you're all dressed up in your creepy costumes; like a little monsters tea party. Any game or activity can be jazzed up when in costume because when a child is in their costume, they enter the world of imagination and what might look like an ordinary blanket fort to you, could actually be a scary cave where a vampire lives to your child. This Autumn break, Vala's Halloween costume is being worn at least three times, with only one of those being on Halloween itself. Vala loves to dress up and delve into the world of imaginative role-play. So throw on a costume, let your imaginations run wild and have some fun!

Decoration Making

Are you hosting a Halloween party this year? Do you just love the spookiest night of the year and want to show off your excitement? Then spend an afternoon making Halloween decorations with your kids. I've already mentioned that pumpkin carving is great way to spend some time but there are plenty of other decorations to be made. Hang tissue paper ghosts from the ceilings, scatter fake spiderwebs around the house, put a glow inside an empty toilet roll with creepy eyes cut out and hide them in the bushes outside your house so it looks like creatures are watching you from the shadows. There are plenty of decorations you can make with your kids and you will have a lot of fun doing it. But if making decorations from scratch isn't your thing, at this time of year decorations can be bought from many supermarkets and you and your kids can have fun spending the afternoon choosing your decorations and spookifying your house. 

Educational Worksheets

Just because the kids are off school doesn't
mean they have to stop learning. Keep their minds active and entertained with these fun worksheets from education.com! Sign up is free and there are hundreds of fun and educational worksheets to download and print off for your kids to enjoy. Vala has had a lot of fun with these worksheets, especially this Autumn leaves maze which made her focused her mind to find her way through the maze. This maze was even more fun after a walk through the neighbourhood looking at the Autumn leaves. Be sure to check out more maths activities at education.com! There are worksheets for reading, writing, maths, problem solving, memory; even creativity. Vala spent over hour colouring in one of their fun holiday themed colouring in sheets. So head over to their website education.com and check out what fun, educational worksheets your kids can get stuck into to keep their minds sharp during the holidays.

Whatever you and your kids choose to do over the Autumn break, I wish you all a happy, fun and safe Halloween!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Disclosure: This post features a guest post for education.com. I only endorse products/people/companies that I believe in and use personally. 
This was not a paid promotion. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Monthly Challenge: October

Happy (late) Saturday everyone! Little bit of a late post coming in but I have a fun reason for it. Today I feel like a successfully completed this months challenge. But what was this months challenge you ask?

Well, this month was all about NaNoWriMo Preparation. NaNoWriMo starts next Thursday and whilst I'm not going into it expecting to hit 50,000 words by November 30th, I still wanted to go into as prepared as I could be, to get as close to 50k words as possible. So I've been trying to write more of my novel and plan out my method for tackling NaNoWriMo next month but nothing of what I did made me feel like I'd completed this months challenge; until today.


For you see, today I did something I haven't done since I've lived in the UK. That's more than 7 years. Today, I put myself out of my comfort zone and attended my first ever NaNoWriMo writers meet up with fellow writers and NaNo participants in my area. And I did it all on my own. No Jordan there by my side to give me support, no; I travelled to the meeting point on my own and walked in the doors of the cafè totally solo. That in itself was a HUGE accomplishment for me!

I changed a lot as a result of my first marriage and none of it for the better. My ex was very controlling and would scare me out of going out anywhere or meeting anyone new. He twisted the world around me and convinced me the UK wasn't as safe as Australia and drilled into me that he knew better because he grew up here. And naively, I listened. For years I've been scared to go anywhere alone; always fearful for my safety. So when the invite to attend the NaNoWriMo writers meet up came my way, I knew I had to attend to regain something that was taken from me the moment I met my ex; my independence.


I was terrified and seriously anxious but I refused to accept that after everything my ex put me through, that he'd turned me, me; a outgoing, independent extrovert, into a scared little introvert with social anxiety. I had to go to prove to myself that deep down I am still me! And I'm so glad I did. Not only because it was a big step in the right direction for my mental and emotional health but because I got to talk with other writers, share our passions and get some cool stuff to prepare me for NaNoWriMo. I feel so ready and excited for November 1st now. I just want it to hurry up! And that is why I'm going this months challenge a success. YAY ME!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Friday, 26 October 2018

Halloween Day

It's Friday! More like Friyay! Am I right?
Have I used that one before? Hello? Is this thing on? Anyway, it is Friday and I've definitely got that Friday feeling. Not just because tomorrow is the weekend but because next week is the autumn school break meaning no school runs for a whole week woohoo. It does me I have to keep a 4 year old entertained all week but on Monday I have a fun post coming with a few holiday activities to try, so keep an eye open for that!

Back onto subject, yes today is the last school day for a week and as a result, the kids won't be in school for Halloween. So the school has moved Halloween to today instead. All the kids got to dress up in costume and will be doing fun Halloween activities. Vala is dressed as a vampire queen and whilst Flynn doesn't attend school yet, I couldn't resist dressing him up in his (son of) Harry Potter costume. The teachers absolutely loved the kids costumes and even took a photo of Vala and Flynn together. Vala's loving being dressed up so I know the real Halloween next week is going to be a lot of fun in our household.

Happy Friday!
Until next time,
Alli xo

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Wedding Planning: It begins

I never thought I'd be planning two weddings for myself in my lifetime. I'd always hoped that when I got married, it'd be for life. How naive was I? In order for it to be for life, first you need to marry the right person. I got that bit wrong the first time. Thankfully though, I quickly learned from my mistake and after nearly a full year of engagement, it looks like I'm about start planning a wedding with the right person. And I already have mixed feelings.

And don't worry, my mixed feelings aren't about the marriage; no; they are about the wedding. For you see, one part of me doesn't want a big wedding with lots of people there or any real fuss made because I have done it all before and Jordan and I already feel like a married couple, so why have an expensive wedding? Then there is other part of me. The one that still doesn't want a big flashy wedding but wants a wedding done right. So no getting an extended family member to take our wedding photos, no store bought flowers hastily put together on the wedding day, no dj hired last minute because previous plans fell through. No, I want it done right. That means an expensive wedding photographer who takes high quality photos. It means florist arranged bouquets. It means music chosen and booked months in advanced. It's having a dress bought and fitted in an actual bridal boutique rather than bought off ebay for £50 and not fitting correctly. I may want a small wedding but its still going to be costly. The wedding photographer I've got my eye on cost nearly £2,000 for the package I'm interested in. I am terrible at saving money, especially when I use most my money to try and clear off my credit card debt. I'm not sure how we'll be able to afford our small but magical wedding. I think Jordan will definitely need a better paying job and I need to stick to the budget I've drawn up for myself from next year.

I'm trying to prioritise what's most important to focus on what to buy/book first. Definitely dresses for myself and Vala, suits for Jordan and Flynn and the wedding photographer are my top three. The place to have the ceremony comes in forth with food/flowers and entertainment all squeezing in fifth. Jordan's parents once suggested we had the reception at their house and depending on the size of the guest list, that still might be possible.

I am really nervous about doing this whole wedding planning thing again but I want to marry Jordan more than anything right now and I want it done right. I feel very unprepared for it and even though May 16th 2020 is still a long way off yet, with how fast time is going lately, I know it'll be here before we know it. I've started making notes about what I want and like but I'm too afraid to buy or book anything yet because then we're committed to our date. No more changing the wedding date a hundred times. We'd have an actual deadline and I find that unsettling. Maybe I'm not mentally ready to go through the stress of planning a wedding again just yet but damn it, I'm ready to marry Jordan!

Just one detail at a time.

Until next time,

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A Stressful Situation

Happy Hump Day! The week is flying by and before we know it, the autumn school break will be here! At least for those of us who are in the UK. But never fear, a week with my daughter off school is not the stressful situation I am referencing in my title; no, my stressful situation is actually multiple things all piled into one and it's....stressful.

Currently I am trying to plan multiple things on an extremely limited budget. By limited, I mean I don't get paid next month and that's when the expense starts. After Halloween which we're still working out plans for (since it's Flynn's first Halloween), we have Flynn's first bonfire night, then my birthday, then Vala's birthday and expensive birthday party, then mine and Jordan's anniversary, Flynn's birthday and finally christmas. Planning two birthday parties is hard enough but doing it with limited funds is worse. I've had to save most of this months pay to one side just to pay for Vala's party. It's made this month just as tight and stressful as next month.

That's not even starting on Flynn's party. Jordan and I can't seem to settle on a guest list at the moment and without a guest list, I don't know how big a venue we're going to need. I've tried researching local places but I cant budget for something that I have no plans for. I feel like im the only one planning anything and also the only one paying which naturally isn't right. Both parents should equally plan the party and spread the costs between them. Vala's dad hasn't expressed any intention to pay for half the party because he's paying just to attend in the way of trains and taxis.

I'm losing sleep at night and feeling overwhelmed all day. I feel like its all on me and if I don't give my kids the best birthdays, then I'll have let them both down. It's really hard right now.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The One Minute Rule Conclusion

A week ago I set myself and Jordan a little mini challenge to live by the one minute rule for at least a week. The one minute rule is where you complete any job that only takes a minute to do, immediately. No leaving dishes in the sink overnight or only making your bed once a week; these jobs only take one minute to do so we tried to do them straight away. How did we do?

Monday:

Day one was definitely the easiest but also the most tiring of the entire week. I was so motivated and excited about changing my lazy habits that I even ended up doing a lot of tasks that took far longer than just one minute. I completely and utterly exhausted myself and even though I felt accomplished at the end of the day, I still felt a bit overwhelmed as it seemed there were still countless one minute tasks for me to complete. I was just too tired to keep going so called it a night. I went to bed with my body exhausted and my brain a buzz, trying to figure out how I could keep this up all week. Was there any way of making it less tiring throughout the day? 

Tuesday:

So after the completion of the first couple of one minute jobs in the morning, I very quickly realised that the one minute rule was more appropriate for those people who already have neat and tidy houses and just need a little something to live by to help them keep on top of their chores. My house is always a bombsite. Clothes, clothes, toys and have I mentioned clothes? All over the place, all of the time. I'll wash one load of washing and another magically appears on the floor. I tried my best on day two but I was still recovering from the day before and my enthusiasm had already started to drop. 

Wednesday:

By the third day I realised I was starting to fall into a repetitive pattern and I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. It helped that I was keeping on top of the breakfast and lunch dishes as well as keeping the living room floor clean of crumbs so Flynn could crawl around on it without any worries. But I stopped doing the extra things. Those things that technically take longer than a minute but need doing and I was convincing myself that they'd only take a minute to do. I'd put in so much effort on the first day but was very quickly losing all interest in this "challenge" Jordan on the other hand was still keeping to it the best he could. When he'd get home from work he'd find the odd job to do that would only take a minute and get it done. Unfortunately though, the dinner dishes only got completed on day one. They began piling up and suddenly a one minute job, looked more like a ten minute job. 

Thursday:

I thought it was good that I was keeping a list of all the one minute jobs I was completing throughout the day but as the week went on, I realised my list was getting shorter and shorter with each passing day. That somehow made my motivation drop. You'd think it would've been the kick in the backside I needed but it had the opposite effect. My depressed mind managed to turn it negative and started trying to convince myself that I was failing my challenge. I had to start reminding myself that if my house was immaculate, there wouldn't be many jobs on my list beside making my bed in the morning and doing my dishes throughout the day. If my house was immaculate, cleaning the whole house would take me half a day at most and living by the one minute rule would be so second nature I wouldn't even notice. I wanted to get to that point in my life but sadly motivation was sinking fast.

Friday:

Ahh that Friday feeling. That feeling that makes you not want to do anything. Similar with that Sunday feeling except you know you do actually still have to get up and get stuff done. Motivation was pretty much in the toilet but I still forced myself to get the basic things done. The floor got hoovered, the highchair was never left out, some dishes got done etc etc. I guess some of those tasks had began to feel like they were part of my regular routine so they were easily taken care of. I didn't give it much thought at the time but in hindsight, I am actually really glad how routine those tasks had become. Now I just need to keep that up and add more tasks to that list. 

Saturday:

There is nothing like an unexpected visitor to help you get your arse back in motion and regain some lost motivation. My best friend had told me the night before that he wasn't going to be able to come visit over the weekend, then suddenly messaged me just after noon on Saturday to say he'd be over in a little over two hours. I wasn't even dressed at the time. Suddenly I wanted to get as many one minute jobs done and get this place into a guest appropriate standard.I managed to get quite a bit done in the space of two hours and it left me feeling pretty shattered at the end of it. It was all stuff that I should've taken care of earlier in the week but as motivation fell, so did my productivity. Jordan had still been keeping to it, even if I was starting to slack off. 

Sunday:

Having my friend over made it both easier and harder to keep up with my little challenge. Even if it was technically the last day of it. One part of me wanted to keep doing my one minute tasks and working on the house but the other half of me was in host mode and I felt rude doing housework on a Sunday when we had a house guest. My friend is a naturally tidy person and enjoys cleaning so I knew he would more than happily help me tackle some jobs but I still felt too rude to do anything. I still did my basic jobs and felt good about doing them. Having my friend come visit though does reaffirm that this clean, tidy lifestyle is the one I want and I really do need to stop being so lazy and to take better care of myself so that I'm not so tired all the time. 

In conclusion:

I think I went into this mini challenge with the wrong attitude to be honest. I went in full of excitement and enthusiasm but in reality, I was just doing general household chores. When I stopped being excited about it, it lost all intrigue for me and it ended up being a reminder of just how lazy I actually am. I feel like I should've gone in not excited but dedicated to improving mine and my families way of life. I do know without a question of a doubt though that I do someday want to get to a point where my house is always at a guest standard of tidiness/cleanliness and when I'm at that stage, living by the one minute rule will be the easiest thing in the world. It'll probably stop being so tiring too. The challenge has ended now but I have managed to keep up with a few of the chores. I do make my bed every morning now; Vala's too. I wash the kids breakfasts dishes in the morning as well as lunch dishes. Vala's lunch is always 90% packed before I go to bed and the floor of the most used room in the house gets hoovered at least once a day. Jordan has managed to keep up with a few little one minute jobs too. He no longer leaves rubbish laying around on his desk but instead throws it out straight away. He also takes the rubbish bag down to the wheelie bin outside the moment it gets full. Living by the one minute rule has helped us improve but we still have a long way to go. It's not easy to keep the house perfect with two kids turning it back into tornado valley but with improved attitudes and routines, we should at the very least be able to keep on top of it. I would strongly recommend trying the one minute rule for at least one week in your household and seeing just how much you and your family can get done with little effort at all. 

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 22 October 2018

Flynn Monthly Update: 10 Months

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you are all rested from the weekend. Our beautiful baby boy hit 10 months on Saturday, just one day after having his 9 month review. Our cheeky little man has definitely surprised us this month.

How's Flynn Doing?

As stated above, Flynn had his 9 month
review on Friday and he passed everything with flying colours. The only concern was his weight as he is still only 7.7kg (16lbs 15oz). He seems to be fluctuating around this weight. He is sitting just below the 9th percentile line for weight and we need to take him back in 3 months to check his weight again. He eats like a trooper but is a very, VERY active baby; plus has probably inherited Jordan's high metabolism, the lucky bugger. He is 72.5cm tall and loves to pull himself up onto everything. He started trying to climb onto the furniture but hasn't been successful yet. It's only a matter of time though. He loves to cruise along the furniture and will probably be standing unaided soon. 

He FINALLY has teeth! 4 to be exact. He had 3 on Saturday but overnight, tooth number 4 pushed it's way out and he woke Sunday morning with one extra tooth than he fell asleep with which was mind blowing for me. Teeth 5 and 6 are not far behind either it seems. Poor boy is getting them all at once but amazingly he seems to be coping with it really well. No teething rash, temperature, crankiness etc. We almost wouldn't know he was teething. His vocabulary has grown to include Mum-Mum and Mumma on top of Dada and Dad. He can claps hands and loves to play games. He is a lot better at bath time now thankfully. He is extremely cheeky and will try to make a fast getaway if you tell him to stop doing something. He keeps us on our toes and currently robs us of sleep. We wouldn't have it any other way though. 

How's Mum Doing?

Honestly? I'm tired AF! It seems insomnia has returned and regardless or how tired I am, I struggle to fall asleep at night. I've been having to return to bed during Flynn's morning naps just to catch up on what I didn't get the night before. I do feel it's counterproductive. That perhaps my lack of sleep at night is due to the morning nap I have but I physically cannot get through the day without catching up on lost sleep. My body can't operate and lack of sleep makes my mood worse. The health visitor said it herself, the best thing I can do to help myself combat PND is to get as much sleep as my body demands. So I nap when Flynn does. I'm still exhausted come bed time but just can't drift off. 

Physically, I'm ok. Just overweight and unfit. I've been starting to think about weight loss and dieting again. Been thinking about it a lot in fact. But I'm so tired all the time that I'm struggling to make it through the day without adding intense fitness to the daily routine. I just don't have the energy. Less than 2 months left of breastfeeding though and I have vowed to focus heavily on weight loss once Flynn is no longer being breastfed. I can use a lot of slimming Acti-Labs products like their inch loss body wraps once I've stopped breastfeeding so it seems like the opportune time to hit my weight hard and work my arse off to fit into a wedding dress in 2020. Until then, I'm going to let my body rest, recover and keep me warm over winter. 

This past month has gone so fast that it's honestly one big massive blur to me. Granted I've pretty much been a walking zombie for most of it though so it's no surprise I can't remember much of it. Jordan and I are so proud of Flynn's development and over the moon that he passed all the tests in his 9 month review. We're probably not as concerned about his weight as we should be but he eats plenty, has bundles of energy and is a very happy, healthy baby so we're not going to worry until we're told to. 

We love our little man so much and he is growing so damn fast! Can't wait to see what's in store for him this month!

Until next time, 
Alli xo

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bad breakdowns; Good results?

It has been no secret that I have been struggling with Postnatal Depression for several months now. It is a constant daily struggle, though some days are easier than others. Then I have those days, or sometimes even weeks, where things get really bad and I end up having really bad breakdowns. Like, my body goes into shut down mode and I lock myself away, wrapped in my duvet in a little ball.

I had a very bad week last week and it put a real strain on my relationship with Jordan. My desire to
push him away shoved a wedge between us but we've managed to get through it and have come out stronger for it. I've felt a little better the last couple of days and it seems I've found some clarity from my breakdown. I managed to identify worries that trigger my downfall and I've started planning my life better to work around the issues causing me to lose sleep at night. Issues like our financial situation, for example. I made a budget for next year as my "income" is a set amount and unlikely to change, therefore easy to budget around. I now have a plan to help me save, clear my debt and still have money to live off throughout the month. It is such a great feeling to see how much I could save and how quickly I could clear my credit card. It's seriously motivating and I'm excited about having proper financial control in the future.

Having my budget laid out has also provided clarity to what I'll be able to afford for the wedding because we've finally set a wedding date! Jordan and I plan to wed on the 16th of May 2020, so we've got plenty of time to plan. Knowing the date of our wedding and seeing my finances has also given me a more realistic time frame to lose weight as well. I've started planning out what I want to achieve and how I want to achieve it. Once Flynn is a year old, I will no longer breastfeed. That will allow me to finally start using the Acti-Labs slimming wraps again. I'll be wrapping myself every night to try and get the inches down. Not only that, but I plan to Zumba in my living room 4-5 times a week. I plan to eat cleaner, consume more water and protein and yes, I plan on introducing diet shakes back into my life. Once I feel more confident in myself, I do also plan on returning to the gym and hopefully even hitting the pool once a week. I will have 17 months to lose as much weight as I can for our big day. I gotta say, finally having our wedding date set is a big motivation boost. I have considered starting now to try and maximise my weight loss by the wedding but the next couple of months are the most stressful and expensive time of year. Finances will be extremely tight as I have Halloween, Vala's and Flynn's birthdays, my birthday and Christmas all requiring a lot of money. I will slowly introduced changes to my diet and lifestyle over the next couple of months but ultimately, I just want to try and enjoy the rest of this year, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery but with things like my budget and trying to live by
"The One Minute Rule", as mentioned in my previous post, I feel like I am starting to finally regain some control over my life and my sanity. I love to organise and getting everything planned out and organised is making me feel great. I honestly think my journaling is starting to pay off as over the last week, a lot of these epiphanies on how to improve, have been hitting me at bed time as I'm putting pen to paper. I feel so positive right now and I do hope that my days suffering with PND are soon to be behind me. I don't think I'll be out of the woods by the end of the year but hopefully once all the changes happen in the new year, (the dieting, exercising, budgeting etc) that will be when I start to truly recover from this emotional and mental hell I've been going through. I wish this positive feeling would last forever but sadly I know it's only a matter of time before something triggers another break down. For once though, I'm not worried about having another break down because it's in those low moments that my mind seems to be at it's clearest and I understand what I need to do to help myself.

Next year is my year of change and I cannot wait.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

The One Minute Rule (Day 2)

So I know today is not a normal post day but after spending a single day doing the One Minute Rule "challenge" that I have set myself, I came to a swift realisation and felt a short update post was in order.

Okay, so... the one minute rule is really good in terms of motivating me to get mundane little tasks done and seeing the list of things I've done pile up was very satisfying and helped my mood stay positive throughout the day. However, I've come to the realisation that the one minute rule is better used when your house is already clean and organised and you're simply using the rule to stay on top of the housework and prevent it piling up and overwhelming you. It is not exactly the easiest when your house is a bomb site, like mine always is. I spent the day doing "one minute tasks" and whilst doing that simple task, I realised there was another simple task that would only take a minute to do, and another, and another. It got to the point where I was physically exhausted and shaking because I'd spent more time doing housework than I had actually eating anything. I sat down at 8:30pm, desperate to wind down but the electric clothes airer was still out. It takes less than a minute to put it away. So I got back up and put it away. I sat back down and saw Flynn's toys still needed to be put away. So I got back up and tidied them away. I sat back down and then saw something else that would only take a minute to do and another thing and yet another thing. I started to feel overwhelmed and "stuck".

I want to do this challenge I set myself but at some point, I need to stop and say no more for today. I know the task I'm looking at will only take me a minute but there's like ten other tasks that will also take me "just a minute". I managed to accomplish so much yesterday and I felt so proud of my efforts but equally I felt like a failure because I stopped following the one minute rule when it got later in the evening and I felt tired, weak and shaky. So yeah, it left me with mixed feelings yesterday and I know I will probably end up feeling the same way tonight.

Eventually, our house will be at a perfect standard and the one minute rule will help us keep it that way but right now, it's more overwhelming and tiring than I was expecting. I'm interested to see how we're doing come day 7.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 15 October 2018

The One Minute Rule

It's Monday again! Hopefully your Monday has started out better than mine. I had a child over sleep and move at a glacial pace this morning, our older cat urinated of a pile of clothes fresh out of the dryer and we got soaked on the walk to school this morning. Oh and Flynn is teething. So yeah, not the best start to a Monday and now that Flynn is napping, I'm kinda tempted to go back to bed until he wakes up, just so I can try and start this day again.


However, before going for a nap myself, I wanted to pump out this quick blog post because for the next week, I'm going to be trying "The One Minute Rule". The one minute rule is where you complete tasks that only take a minute as soon they need doing. For example, making your bed in the morning, washing up your bowl after breakfast, taking the full rubbish bag down to the bin etc. I read about it last night and because I'm wanting to get into a better habit of completing mundane household tasks and staying on top of the housework, I've decided to give it a try.

I've already technically failed this morning as there were a lot of one minute jobs I could've done, like making my bed, but since Vala decided to move so slowly this morning, I ended up having to rush the school run and a lot of one minute tasks are still waiting to be done. That being said, before I go for this small nap, I do plan on washing the kids breakfast bowls and putting the urine soaked "clean clothes" back into the washing machine. This blog post has taken me more than a minute to write but since it's not a very long post and there isn't much depth and detail to it, I figured I might as well get it written and posted now rather than after my nap. No use putting it off til later. Doing that is usually what causes me to miss a blog post day.

I'll admit, I might struggle to adapt to the one minute rule at first but I am kinda excited to see how I go.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Friday, 12 October 2018

Social Media Cleanse.

It's Friday! More like Friyay am I right? I for one am very excited for the weekend. Jordan is off all weekend, I can have a sleep in and we've got plans set to make the weekend as productive as possible. One thing that's going to make it even more productive is my decision to cut myself off from social media for a short while.


Honestly, I can't take the world at the
moment. Every time I open Facebook or Twitter, I'm immediately met with negative news stories about women being harassed, bullied, assaulted etc. It's a never ending reminder that the world is not a safe place for myself and my daughter. I'm so sick of being afraid. I'm so sick of seeing the news. I know this real life and this stuff happens, believe me I do. I've had my fair share of being sexually assaulted so the last thing I want and need is the constant reminder of those horrible experiences when I open up Facebook to see how my friends and family are doing back home.


I'm a feminist and all for equality for everyone but there comes a point when the war being men and women just becomes too much to handle. So until further notice, I've decided to avoid Facebook and Twitter. It is already a very difficult task. I've nearly opened up Facebook 4 times today. Goes to show how addicted I've become and how ingrained in my life has become.

Here's to a productive, social media free weekend! Happy Friday everyone!

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

World Mental Health Day

While scrolling through Twitter this afternoon I discovered that today is World Mental Health Day. I decided to post a tweet regarding the subject and instead and it ended up being a lengthy thread giving my followers a brief insight into what it's like for me suffering with Postnatal Depression. I thought I would share that thread with you all here:


Reading back through the thread, I realise just how much I missed out. I poured my heart and very being into the words I posted and yet it still only scratches the surface of what it's like to suffer with a mental health problem. I won't lie, some days are a lot easier than others but most days are a real struggle and leave me feeling exhausted and deflated. 



If you know someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety or any of the many mental health problems that affect millions of people every day, take the time to see if they're ok. Ask them is there anything they need help with. One of the nasty effects mental health problems can have, is that it can turn every day, mundane activities into "impossible tasks". Something as simple as going grocery shopping could be a terrifying experience for someone with anxiety and as a result, they might not eat due to no food in their house. The list of housework that seems to be getting longer by the minute might overwhelm a mother suffering from postnatal depression. She might neglect to take care of herself as she worries about getting on top of everything. If you've got the time, ask your friends or loved ones suffering with mental health issues, what "impossible tasks" they have and offer to help them with it. Go with your friend to the grocery store, help the mother get on top of the housework... just be there for those who need your love, care and support. You'd be surprised how much the caring and nurturing act of others can have on those suffering from mental health problems. 

Talk with your loved ones this World Mental Health Day and without judgement, ask what you can do to help them. 

Until next time,
Alli xo

Friday, 5 October 2018

7 Years.

Bit of a vague title but 7 years is exactly how long I have been in the UK for. On this very day back in 2011, my plane touched down at Manchester airport and I set foot on British ground, ready to start my new life. How young, stupid and naive I was back then. I'd given up my old life for a guy who promised me everything. I believed all my hopes and dreams would come true because we both wanted the same things. Yeah, let's see how that turned out.

My miserable marriage.

I was engaged within one month of being in the UK. Something that made me incredibly happy at the
time. The engagement was very rough though and should've set off a million red flags. We fought so much about every little detail with the wedding. I even threatened to call it off several times. I still have days now where I wonder why I didn't. The wedding day came and I had major doubts but I told myself it was just perfectly normal cold feet. Everything went wrong at the wedding and I didn't enjoy the day until I we able to get majorly drunk with my family. Looking back, I hated my wedding day. 

The wedding was merely the start of the downfall of my life. My husband was nice to me and loving while we tried to conceive but towards the end of my pregnancy, he started acting colder, ruder and never really listened to me, supported me, encouraged or even acted like he cared much. It all got worse after Vala's birth. He became neglectful, manipulative, controlling and emotionally abusive. He wouldn't let me get a job. He wouldn't let me have friends. He controlled all the money and would quiz me any time I asked for some. He belittled me and mocked me when I tried to do anything to improve my life. One day, he went too far and I knew I had to end the marriage for mine and Vala's sake. Only when free of him, did I realise how abusive he'd been and just how broken I was. 

He continued to make the next year of my life hell as he threatened to have Vala taken away from me me every time I tried to do something to improve our lives. He finally gave up several months into my relationship with Jordan when he realised someone else had my back and he couldn't break me the way he used to. Now here I am, with a new life, still waiting on a decree absolute to finally end my miserable marriage and forever close that chapter of my life. Tomorrow is my 6 year wedding anniversary but our marriage didn't even last 2.5 years. This divorce is a long time coming and I am so ready for it. I've wasted too many years being that horrible man's wife. 

Vala.

As bad as it might sound, Vala's the only thing that doesn't make me regret my move to the UK. Sure, I have a wonderful life now but none of this would exist if it weren't for Vala. For the longest time, I did have mixed feelings about Vala though. Don't get me wrong, I have always loved her with all my heart, she's my absolute world - but back in my darkest moments, after her father had moved out and she was spending the weekends with him and I was completely alone, I felt trapped. Because she existed, I could never go home and the thoughts of being alone forever and never seeing my family again festered in the two days I spent either drunk or in bed, waiting for her to come home so I could have an ounce of happiness again. But like I said, if she didn't exist to keep me "trapped" in the UK, I'd have immediately returned to Australia and I would never have met the love of my life; my soul mate and I definitely wouldn't have my beautiful son either.

Vala has grown so much over the years and when I say I couldn't be more proud, I mean it. She has been my beacon in dark times, my lifeboat if you will. When I thought I had nothing left to live for and my mind went to a very dark place, she was the one thing that made me never give up. I fought through my depression to be the best mother for her that I could be. Seeing how much she's developed and the personality she's got, fills my heart with so much love and pride it hurts. Despite the difficult start to life she may have had with her parents splitting up and the aftermath of that, she's become the most loving, friendly and kind-hearted little girl. She is friends with everyone and is an amazing big sister to Flynn. She holds nothing back and loves so fully. She is the best thing to ever happen to me. Yes she came from a man I wish I didn't have to have anything to do with anymore, but because of her, I now have the life I was promised when I moved here. I now have the loving family I have always wanted. She was my destiny. I love her with all my heart and if I had a second chance at life, I'd go through the hell of being with her father again just to have her and my current life again. I wouldn't change a thing.

Jordan.

When I was first introduced to Jordan, I was in another relatively toxic relationship. I mean this guy kept telling me I needed to do more things for myself but then got angry at me and made me feel guilty for having a "me day" because I didn't text him to tell him I was having a me day. Stupid right? Anyway, I wasn't looking for a romantic partner but yet for some reason, I felt drawn towards Jordan. I was physically attracted to him and whenever he was around, I felt extremely happy. He made me laugh so much and I couldn't understand why at the time, but I just wanted some one on one time with him. As my toxic relationship started to fall apart and subsequently end, that desire to have one on one time with Jordan only got stronger. Then one day, I saw he was alone in a voice channel on our group discord server and I got so excited and nervous and I felt like I was going to throw up. I realised in that moment that I was starting to have genuine feelings for Jordan. Feelings I never had for my ex boyfriend. I got up the nerve and joined the voice channel and it just felt so natural. He was so easy to talk to and I just felt like I'd known him a lot longer than 2 months. Eventually I built up the confidence to tell him that I "liked" him and that I wanted more one on one time so invited him to come visit me. That first official meeting is almost indescribable. I never believed in soulmates until that day. It was like something inside me woke up and said "oh there you are, I've been searching for you." I felt this instant connection with him and he felt it too. We both felt as though we'd known each other for most of our lives. It was like we knew each other. We shared our first kiss and my heart raced so fast it melted. I didn't want that moment to end. But it had to sadly and saying goodbye to him the following day as he got back on the train to return to Nottingham actually hurt. I felt like something had been ripped out from inside me and the pain only grew stronger the further the train moved away. I walked home holding back tears; my heart breaking. I was so scared that I would never see him again. I knew in that moment that I needed him in my life and so I messaged him when I got home and asked him to be my boyfriend. He told me he couldn't promise me that he'd be able to commit to me and my heart shattered because it seemed like he was going to turn me down. I told him I didn't want promises, I just wanted him. He told me he felt the same way as me and from that point on, he was my boyfriend. We've been together ever since.

We've both grown so much in the time we've been together and so much has happened. We've only known each other for 3 years and been together for less than that but in that time, we've moved in together, gotten engaged and bought Flynn into the world. I said before that I didn't believe in soulmates before meeting Jordan but I do now. That voice inside me that said "oh there you are, I've been searching for you" was my soul, talking to his soul. They'd finally found their mate. We completed each other and we're still as in love now as we were almost 3 years ago. More so even. My love for Jordan only deepens with each passing day and he still makes my heart race and melt every day. His voice comforts me, his laugh warms me; his hugs sustain me. I could not imagine my life without Jordan and honestly, if I try, I start crying because the thought physically hurts my heart. I'd go through to hell and back for him. He makes me smile every single day; even when I don't want to. We make each other laugh until our faces and bellies hurt and we support each other through everything. He is the man I spent my whole life dreaming of. The perfect partner. The perfect father for my children. To think that our introduction was through sheer chance, lets me know that us being together was fate. I love Jordan with all my heart and I can't wait to some day be his wife. 

Flynn.

Through my perfect partner, came my perfect son. Flynn is kinda like the thread that has sewn our family together. Before him, it was me and Vala, mother and daughter... and Jordan, the step-dad. We were a family but something was missing. Then into the world comes Flynn and ties our family together. Flynn isn't Vala's "half brother", he's her brother. Jordan is Flynn's dad so through shared DNA, Jordan stopped being "step-dad" and became "daddy" to Vala. They may not be of the same blood but through Flynn, they are connected and honestly, Flynn's birth has completed our family. We are DSM Family (mine, Jordan's/Flynn's and Vala's surnames joined together). Flynn is such an amazing little boy and he has no idea just how much he means to all of us. Sure, I may be suffering with postnatal depression and be struggling more than I care to admit some days but Flynn can make none of that matter with a simple smile. Words cannot properly describe how much I love him and how much he completes my life. 

Seeing Vala and Flynn bond together is the most precious thing. They adore each other and my heart feels so full every time I watch them play together. I know it won't last and eventually they'll get to the point where they hate each other and have sibling rivalries like all normal siblings but for the moment, their bond is strong and love for one another undeniable. I know they'll have their squabbles as they grow up but I believe their bond will rekindle when they're adults. Much like the bond I had with my little sister before I moved to the UK. No matter what happens, I know deep down that Vala and Flynn will always have a friend in each other. I do hope to have at least one more child one day I know that Flynn will be an amazing older brother and that Vala will love the new addition just as much as she loves Flynn now. 

Honestly, watching Flynn grow and develop and his bond with his sister blossom, gives me the greatest joy in life right now. I may be struggling with PND but I am eternally grateful for the blessing that Flynn has been not only to my life but to our family as well. 

Last but not least...me.

So I have gone through all the major aspects of the last 7 years... My marriage, the birth of my two children and finding my soulmate - but how has all of that affected me? Well, I am a broken shell of a person. I am weak, damaged, scared, insecure, vulnerable and pretty much altogether useless. When I got onto the plane at Melbourne airport on October 4th 2011, I was the most confident, brave and independent person. I felt no fear and was full of excitement and dreams. My marriage ruined me more than I like to acknowledge. Even after 3.5 years of separation, the damage my ex-husband did still plagues me. I got so complacent with the life he enforced on me that now I don't how to change despite how miserable I am. He wouldn't allow us to have visitors over so I never saw the point in making the house presentable. I kept it as clean as it needed to be for Vala but that was it because what was the point? No one ever got to see the house. Now I'm too afraid to have people come over because I'm still in that broken mindset of what's the point? I do the bare minimum because that's what I've become used to. Somewhere along the way I got so beaten down and broken that I don't know how to be the person I once was. I'm not the person I should be. This person right now, isn't who I truly am. I'm normally a tidy person who keeps a clean house and looks presentable. Now my house can look like a tornado went through it before I bother to do anything about it. I only bother taking care of my appearance when I'm going out and on the days I have no need to go out, I usually don't even get dressed. I lack drive, enthusiasm, motivation, passion etc. I have a lot to work on.

I know the old saying that you can't take care of other if you don't take care of yourself but it is seriously hard for me to care about myself. Ever since Vala was born, I'm not number one priority. I feel selfish for doing anything for myself if it means putting my family out in any way. Even having a long bath makes me feel guilty because I'm leaving Jordan to take care of the kids and if it's his day off work, I feel like I'm taking away his time to rest and recover. I'm overweight and I hate that but I'm too scared to do most exercise, especially if it's in public. I want to change but at the same time, I am scared of change. As I said, I feel like I've been beaten down to the point of being complacent with how things are. Now I'm so scared that changing my life and who I am, will affect my family and maybe not for the better. I don't know exactly what I am afraid of, I just know that I am scared to change. I hate who I am as a person, right now. This is NOT me. I want to be confident, independent and brave again but I honestly don't know how to anymore.

In conclusion.

In closing this post that's ended up being way longer than I anticipated... the last 7 years has changed me more than I thought it would. It may not seem like a long time but to me it feels like an eternity. These 7 years have not only broken me and withered me down to a self-loathing husk but they've also given me exactly what I've always wanted. I came to the UK on the promise of a loving husband and a big happy family and whilst Jordan and I aren't married yet, I finally have that. I do believe that I was destined to end up here. I was destined to have Vala. Her father bought me to the UK, she kept me here and through fate alone, I found Jordan. We're a happy family. Jordan, Vala, Flynn and I are a very happy, loving family and that is all I ever wanted in life. I spent all my teenage years dreaming of what I've got right now and I feel truly, truly blessed. I love my family and whilst there are MANY things I'd change about myself, I wouldn't change a single thing that lead me to them. 

I'm sorry for the long post but all this stuff needed to come off my chest today and I feel better now that it has.

Until next time,
Alli xo.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Monthly Challenge: September

How is it October already? This year has flown by so fast! Bringing my monthly challenge post in late again but as they always say, better late than never, am I right?


So in September I set myself the challenge to flesh out my fantasy universe. I was trying to follow in the footsteps of J. R. R. Tolkien who created Middle Earth just for himself, completely fleshed out before his books ever were released. So I decided to create my world. I focused on creating a rough map of the land known as Thalmaren and I also did a very rough sketch of the royal capital city; Hysanthia. I 

I also started creating a very long list of names and surnames to give to the people who live in Hysanthia. My plan was to assign names and job titles to the citizens and then place them in various locations throughout the city so if I ever had need for a tailor or a blacksmith etc, I'd know exactly where to find them, who they were and what their very basic backstory was (relatives, employees etc). I didn't get as much of the world fleshed out as I would've liked but I'm glad I got some of it done at the very least. Plus, it was actually really fun for me. I love creating characters and worlds. It's probably one reason I became a writer. 

So overall, I'd say I got approximately 50% of this challenge done. I'm still going to call it a success though as my world is more fleshed out than it was a month ago and I'm happy about that.

Until next time,
Alli xo