Monday, 31 December 2018

2018's Resolutions

It's the last day of 2018! Can you believe it? Because I definitely can't. This year has flown by so quickly. My little girl is in full time school now and she's started losing teeth. My baby is a year old and growing and developing every single day. It crazy how much a single year can change your life and the lives of those around you. 2018 has held some wonderful memories for me but it has also been extremely hard with my constant battle with Postnatal Depression; something I hope to be rid of next year. But as I sit and reflect on the year that has been, I look back at the three New Years Resolutions I made at the start of the year and look at which I actually accomplished. Spoiler alert: one. I managed to accomplish one out of three resolutions. Here's what happened...

Blog more.

Well I think it's safe to say that this is the resolution that I managed to accomplish. This year, I have blogged over 200 posts. 209 to be exact. That is 160 posts more than last year and 208 posts more than 2016. It definitely hasn't been easy though. I missed plenty of days and then spammed out rubbish content to try and make up for it. When there wasn't much to blog about, I blogged about boring stuff just to give you something to read. This entire time though, I've had the urge to quit blogging. Just because my brain keeps telling me that my life is boring and who really cares about what goes on in my families day to day life? I wish our lives were a little more exciting and captivating to write about but we are who we are. I'm not entirely sure what kept me blogging but whatever it was, I am glad that I've kept going and plan to continue well into next year. So for those of you who have been with me throughout the year, thank you for taking the time to read my nonsense. 

Learn to Drive.

Yeah I straight up failed this. Didn't even try to be perfectly honest. However, it wasn't my crippling anxiety in cars that stopped me from learning. Nope, it was actually money and stress that stopped me. See, in order for me to get my drivers license without too much headache, I need to get myself a British Passport. To get a British Passport I need to present my birth certificate. To get my birth certificate, I have to get certain documents certified by a member of law enforcement, send them off to Australia with money and the required paperwork and then eventually my birth certificate will be sent to me and I can apply for a passport, have an interview to get it and one I have that, then I can apply for my learners permit. Yes, I could technically use my Australian passport to get a British drivers license however, they'd need to see my right of abode certificate inside it which unfortunately, my darling daughter decided to write her name over in pen. So it wouldn't be accepted. So from the get go, just getting my learners permit brings so much hassle and stress and my broken mind didn't want to deal with it. Add to the fact our financial situation has been up and down this year, even if I did learn to drive, we couldn't currently afford a second car anyway. Jordan needs the car for work so I'd be no better off than I am now except for the fact I'd have another valid form of ID. So I didn't bother even trying to learn to drive. I still want to learn but it became clear quite early on the 2018 wasn't the right year to even try. 

Get back into shape.

Yeah I really messed this one up. Which is extremely upsetting given all the plans I set for myself. I even wrote an entire blog post with my intentions. You can read it here. I didn't keep to any of these and now not only am I heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight, but I'm also nearly as heavy as I was at the heaviest point of my pregnancy. I am so ashamed of how much weight I gained over this year. Especially since I lost heaps in the first couple of months after Flynn's birth. I was so close to being less than triple digits but my PND got the better of me and I kept emotional/stress eating. I became too anxious to go back to the gym and started having full on melt downs and panic attacks at the sheer thought of going. I couldn't use any of my Acti-Labs products because I was breastfeeding. I started Zumbaing again but gave up after a week because my mood dropped again and I definitely didn't even attempt to start running. All I've done this year is eat junk, sleep when Flynn sleeps and cry over how unproductive and useless I've been. It's been a horrible year for my emotional, mental and physical health. Things have gotten way out of hand now though and once again, I plan on "getting back into shape" being part of my 2019 resolutions. Words can't express how ashamed I am of myself but I am putting plans into place to try and help me kick the PND to the curb and live a happier and healthier life. I've got the best intentions but only time will tell what 2019 will hold for me.

So there we have it. One out of three new years resolutions accomplished. I have to say though, that's one more than I accomplished last year so I guess I can't be too hard on myself. Here is to the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. May the the New Year bring all of you much happiness, love and fulfilment. Happy New Year everyone and thank you again for taking the time to read this blog and following me on my journey through life.

Until next year,
Alli xo

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Friday, 28 December 2018

Monthly Challenge: December

It's Friday night! Yes...night! Bit of a late blog post coming in for you but we've been on the road most of the day picking Vala up from her dads. The 6 hour round trip has ended up taking 8 hours instead and we're not exactly sure how. Even as I write thos, we're still about an hour and twenty minutes from home. I didn't want to wait much longer to post my last monthly challenge for the year though.

This month I set myself the challenge to finish the first draft of my novel. It didn't seem like a hard challenge considering I started the month in my final chapter. However this month ended up being more chaotic and stressful than I anticipated and whilst I did manage to get more written, I still haven't finished the first draft sadly. I am so close to finishing the last chapter though. This months challenge didn't include me writing the prologue or epilogue though as I'm planning on waiting until the third draft to start working on them. That way I will have a polished story and won't need to keeping changing bits in the prologue or epilogue to fit the main story. 

I'm not calling this challenge a fail just yet though because there is still 3 more days left in month and I am so close to finishing. With a bit of determination I believe I can get the first draft finished by the end of the month. We'll see though. I'm so close.

Until next time, 
Alli xo
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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Day 2018

Ho Ho Ho it's not Christmas anymore. It is however Boxing Day today and I hope you're all having lovely days, however you're spending it. I also hope you all had great Christmas' and spent it surrounded by the ones you love. I can't wait for Vala to come home though because our Christmas was pretty... meh.

There was definitely a lot of magic and excitement missing from our Christmas yesterday. Flynn is too young to understand the concept of Santa so that form of magic and excitement was lost on him and therefore, us. For me personally, it was just a normal day but with presents. It didn't feel special at all. We didnt have Christmas lunch at Jordan's parents like previous years, instead I cooked a roast at home. It was average in my opinion. It was a slightly larger than normal roast chicken dinner. We ate it at the dinner table which wasn't exactly clean and had zero festive decorations on it, surrounded by dirty dishes. There was seriously no festive cheer to be had at our table sadly. Sitting beside Vala's empty chair didn't exactly help much either. I think the only things that kept to tradition were opening stockings on our bed in the morning and the post-Christmas dinner food coma.

With how the day went down, we didn't even get around to opening Flynn's presents under the tree until just after 8pm! He didn't even really care about unwrapping the presents either. He only cared when the toy was out of the wrapping paper. Today we're going to head up to Jordan's parents after Jordan finishes work so I'm hoping for a little but of festive cheer when we get up there. They'll have already eaten Christmas dinner without us but saod they'll save us some. But there is a mountain of presents for all of us and we'll open them as a family so maybe, for a brief moment, it'll feel like Christmas. I doubt it though.

All I know is that next year, I'm going all out at Christmas time. The house will be fully decorated, we'll have a much nicer looking Christmas tree with new decorations and regardless of where we eat Christmas dinner, my dinner table will be laid out perfectly and festively decorated. Just like my mum's table every year. Vala will be home next Christmas as well and Flynn will be old enough to at least get excited about opening presents. So I've got a very good feeling about next Christmas. It's going to be much better than this years that's for sure.

Enjoy the rest of your Boxing Day and as always...

Until next time,
Alli xo.
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Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve 2018

Christmas is nearly here! Hopefully the anticipation of Saint Nic's visit tonight is getting through this Monday. If you haven't already, today's the day to finish getting your presents wrapped, stocking your fridge full of tasty treats for Christmas dinner and, if you're brave enough, getting some last minute shopping done.

I really want to be excited about Christmas but truth be told, I'm not right now. I got all the presents wrapped last night and put them under the Christmas tree. Since Vala is away and Flynn is too young to understand the concept of Santa, I figured there was no reason to hide them again for the sake of one day. The lack of excitement though is due to the fact Vala isn't with us for Christmas this year. As bad as it sounds, I've not missed her since we dropped her off at her grandparents but that's because I know she's happy and having fun. However, Christmas has always been about family for me. As a teen, I always refused to get into the Christmas spirit because I felt thr holiday had become so commercial. I only cared on Christmas Day itself when all my family were together. Family is the most important thing and it's the only thing I've ever cared about, especially at Christmas.

Now that I have a family of my own, I feel bad for the way I shunned Christmas as a teen. I understand now that things like, putting up the tree, decorating the house, going Christmas shopping etc were all, in their own way, family traditions and that us doing those activities meant a lot to my mum. Because now that I am a mum myself and have carried over the tradition of putting our Christmas tree up on December 1st, I understand how special and important something as little as decorating the tree together really is. For my mum, Christmas was more than just one day. It was most of December really. All those little things were ways to bring our family back together again and I do miss that. I've tried to carry over some of the traditions my mum started but it's hard when every other year, we'll be a family member short.

Some of the traditions I've tried to carry on include: putting the tree up on December 1st, having a family photo in front of the tree on Christmas Day and getting dressed up in nice clothes for Christmas lunch. But because Vala won't be here tomorrow, we took a photo in front of the tree earlier in the month. And whilst I still plan on getting dressed up for lunch tomorrow, it just doesn't feel as special knowing I'll sit down at the table next to Vala's empty chair. This'll be Flynn's first proper Christmas though as last year he was only 5 days old and slept throughout the day. He'll have his first ever roast dinner tomorrow but I'm not cooking a turkey as I've no idea how to. So instead we'll be having a roast chicken with all the trimmings. Tonight, I'll leave out milk and biscuits for Santa and I'll write a note for the kids from Santa to leave beside the empty milk glass. I'll put Flynn to bed in his new Christmas pyjamas and I'll watch Die Hard with Jordan as part of our own personal Christmas tradition. We watch it every Christmas Eve.

I'm sure tomorrow will still be a nice day but I can't get excited about it. It just won't be the same without Vala and the fun and magic of Christmas Eve is just lost without her. I'm more excited about next Christmas when Flynn is old enough to understand and Vala will be with us, making a family whole again!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have wonderful days tomorrow and spend it surrounded by the ones you love.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Sunday, 23 December 2018

Friday, 21 December 2018

Flynn Monthly Update: 1 Year!

It still feels weird to say these words but as of yesterday, my beautiful baby boy was promoted to a darling one year old toddler. Can you believe it? A toddler! My little man is a toddler now. I still can't believe it. I'm in a stubborn state of denial. The last 12 months went by so fast and I'm finding it hard to accept my baby being one already. So here is the last monthly update that I will post for Flynn. Enjoy. 

How's Flynn Doing?

Here he is... our 1 year old toddler! He is now weighing 8.8kg (19lbs 06oz) and approximately 73cm-73.5cm tall. So he hasn't grown much in the last few months. He is the happiest baby who is always quick to give you a smile....unless you're Jordan's mum whom he still cries at for whatever reason. He can stand on his own but doesn't have the confidence to. If we stand him up and let go, he'll stay standing for about 2 seconds and then very slowly and carefully lower himself down. He can walk while holding our hands but again, rarely likes to do it. He's quite lazy like his dad. He prefers to crawl still. He has ended his first year with 6 teeth in total (half the amount his sister had at 12 months thankfully) but is showing signs of a 7th getting ready to poke through. He loves to eat and loves cows milk! Not to mention he absolutely loves and adores Vala, giving her cuddles, kisses, steals her food and plays with her. He's always so happy to see her. He mostly sleeps through the night now and has had his last ever breastfeed this morning. I thought last nights would be the last as he has weaned himself off breastfeeds but we did enjoy one last feed before breakfast today. 

He LOVES wheels! If there is a toy in this house with wheels on it, he will flip it upside down and continuously spin the wheels. Still only a few words (Mum, Mumma, Dada, Dad, Nana). He waves now when he wants to and tries to say "hiya". He now plays peek a boo properly as well. He used to just look away from us and then turn back smiling when playing but now he'll hold something over his face and drop it to play. He also really likes being upside down and will often throw himself backwards when on my lap so he can see the world upside down. Oh and he also has figured out how to climb onto the sofa so you know....cannot leave him unattended for even 30 seconds anymore. And lastly, he's gone from hating being bathed to loving showers. He's fine in baths but he truly loves having a shower and trying to grab the jets of water; laughing as he tries. There is rarely anything that robs him of his beautiful smile. He is a very happy boy.

How's Mum Doing?

I am definitely ready for the new year to begin now. Now that Flynn is no longer being breastfed, I can focus more on myself than I could before. I can start taking the easy to swallow multivitamins again which aren't safe to take while breastfeeding. I can FINALLY start treating a fungal infection I got on my big toe shortly into my pregnancy. And on top of both those already good points, I can also start using Acti-Labs diet and inch loss products again. I couldn't use their inch loss wraps or dieting aids like Hydraslim for example. I am so looking forward to using all these products again and starting my weight loss journey all over again in the new year. I've had some Acti products arrive today but I figured I might as well wait until after Christmas to start dieting and using them. 

Physically, I am majorly unfit and putting weight on. I've been more aware of my bad eating habits over the last month and trying to alter them. Been craving more vegetables, especially peppers/capsicums for whatever reason. I hope to do a massive overhaul of my eating habits in early January. Flynn's first birthday though, made me realise just how much the postnatal depression has effected my life. The reason why the year has gone so fast and why it all feels like a big blur to me is because I spent a lot of it hiding away from my family, being tired, crying and sleeping any chance I got. I've lived a hermit life and shut myself away from so much. It was only yesterday as I watched Flynn open presents with Jordan and Vala's help that I realised I'd missed a lot of precious little moments and I feel so guilty about it. I don't want to miss out on the next 12 months of Flynn's life and this is why I'm more determined than ever to get back into a healthy lifestyle. I plan to keep up with the multivitamins to help fight off the insomnia and fatigue. I plan on eating better to lose the weight so I can do more things with the kids and of course I'll also be adding in more exercise. Next year is the year of change and self-improvement for both myself and Jordan. I've got a good feeling about next year.

These last 12 months have been an incredible time for our family. Watching Flynn grow up into this cheeky, mischievous, playful, happy toddler is one of the best gifts we could ever wish for. I only wish I hadn't wasted so much time hating myself and focusing more on my family. 

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Christmas without Vala

Happy Hump Day everyone. The weekend is almost here and also, so is Christmas! Less than 1 week to go now, I hope you've all got your Christmas shopping done. These next few days are big ones in our household, not only is tomorrow Flynn's first birthday and Friday is Vala's last day of school for the year but also on Saturday, we're taking Vala to her grandparents to spend Christmas with them.

I will admit, it is extremely hard for me to even think about spending Christmas without Vala but her absence is for the right reason. This year, Vala's grandfather (on her dads side) was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive brain cancer. It is so rare and so aggressive that he was told it was incurable and he sadly was given approximately 18 months to live. The news hit all of us really hard. Even Jordan, who is in no way related to the family but whom has been considered family and has come to know Vala's grandfather well. Over the last six months, Vala's grandfather has undergone chemo and radiation therapy to shrink the tumour on his brain and prolong his life as long as possible but he's also undergone a couple craniotomy's and suffered multiple seizures. The family believe that this Christmas will be his last Christmas and so they've decided to do a big family lunch together.

Vala's dad is the eldest of ten children (a combination of two families from previous marriages) and many of his siblings also have kids of their own so the family has grown quite large over the years. As a
result, they've booked out their family chapel to host Christmas day in. They wanted all the family to be present as it will be the last Christmas they will all spend together. Naturally, I didn't want Vala to miss out on that and agreed she could spend Christmas with her grandparents. Jordan, Flynn and myself are also invited to spend Christmas with them and attend the family lunch but as this is a very emotional and important Christmas for their family, Jordan and I didn't feel it was right for us to be there as well. This day is for their family and even though they still consider me family and include Jordan and Flynn as family as well, it still doesn't feel right to be there on the day itself. So on Saturday we will drop Vala off at their house, celebrate Flynn's birthday with them and then Jordan, Flynn and I will return home without Vala. We won't see her again until the 28th. Obviously we'll video call her but it's important for her and her grandfather that she gets this quality time with her dad's family. After Christmas Day, she'll be moving on to stay with her dad until we pick her up so she'll get 3 days with her grandparents and 3 days with her dad before we collect her.

It's a really horrible feeling for me though, knowing that Christmas is coming and we'll be celebrating it minus one family member. Christmas has always been about family for me, it's the only thing I've ever cared about and so knowing that we won't be a whole family this Christmas, breaks my heart. I'm not looking forward to sitting down for Christmas lunch with an empty seat at our table. Even the thought now makes me tear up. But I know she's gone for the right reasons. Still, it sucks for us. Gonna treasure our time with her for the rest of the week now.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 17 December 2018

Flynn's Birthday Celebrations Commence

Happy Monday everyone. As always, I hope you all had wonderful weekends. We definitely had a nice weekend in our household because yesterday saw the start of Flynn's birthday celebrations.

Jordan is an only child (with the exception of a younger step-sister we very rarely ever see), so we don't really have much family around to do a big family party for Flynn, like we did for Vala's first birthday. That fact saddened me quite a bit as I didn't want Flynn's first birthday to seem any less important as Vala's was. So he's having a week full of mini celebrations. Yesterday our close friends Ian and Nat came up to visit us for a mini family birthday party. I personally consider Ian and Nat to be family so for me, it was a family do. We also got to ask Ian and Nat to be best man and a bridesmaid at our wedding so there were two benefits to the gathering. It was a particularly flashy day, we just sat around with a large assortment of food including a fruit platter I was very proud of. Flynn tried his first ever cupcake and at first it took him a little while to realise it was food. He played with the icing, squishing it between his fingers and exploring the texture. However, once he tasted it, there was no stopping him. He shovelled handful after handful of frosting into his mouth. He seemed to enjoy it. The day ended with Ian, Nat, Jordan and myself playing a very adults only card game called "Bad People" while Flynn had his afternoon nap. It was a lot of fun. The day was really nice and it was great catching up with Ian and Nat again. Flynn was centre of attention for most of the afternoon and honestly, I thought yesterday was a great start to his birthday week.

We've not got much planned for the next two days due to other commitments but Thursday is his actual birthday and Jordan's not working so you know we're going to spoil him rotten. First off, he'll get to open all of his gifts before we take Vala to school and then we're planning on taking him up to Jordan's parents once we've dropped Vala at school. We won't be there long as Jordan's mum has a busy day but Flynn will get showered in love, attention, affection and even more presents. Then we're going to take him to an indoor play centre, similar to Vala's birthday party but this time, he gets free run of the baby soft play area, without being taken away and kept confined to the party area. I'm going to see if his friend Ryan is available to join us and the two (who are 12 days apart in age) can play together for a couple of hours. The rest of the afternoon is left open for him to obviously nap and stuff but then in the evening, its a special dinner followed by birthday cake. I'm going to be making him a birthday cake on Wednesday and whilst I have no idea what I'm actually going to make yet, I'm excited to do it.

Saturday will  be the final day of Flynn's birthday celebrations and hopefully it'll end on a big note. Saturday is the day we're taking Vala down to her grandparents as she is spending Christmas with them rather than us. I asked her Nanna (who also considers Flynn to be her grandson) if she didn't mind us doing a little family gathering at her place for Flynn's birthday. She was all for it and even offered to make him a birthday cake. All of the cousins will come and say hello and wish Flynn a happy birthday and again, he'll be showered with love, attention and maybe even more presents. It'll be close to the first birthday Vala had but not quite as big. Either way, I'm looking forward to it and I am really grateful to my ex-mother-in-law for allowing us to have a small party for Flynn at her house.

So that is our week of birthday celebrations wrapped up in a nutshell. I think it's going to be a fun week and I can't wait to see how happy Flynn is opening his presents on Thursday. I can't believe my beautiful baby boy is a year old already. Time has gone so fast, it's crazy!

Until next time,

Alli xo

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Friday, 14 December 2018

Winter Wonderland

Happy Friday everyone! I've got thst Friday feeling for sure and I don't think it's just because of the weekend to come. I think I'm also on a high from our trips to the Winter Wonderland in town this week. That's right, I said "trips". We've been a couple of times to enjoy some family fun and get in the festive spirit.

Last weekend we started off in our local shopping plaza where a giant ball pit has been set up for people of all ages to enjoy a free 20 minute session in with a complimentary photo of you in the ball pit to take home should you want one. The kids had an absolutely ball (pun intended). But not only did they enjoy it but Jordan and I enjoyed it too. We felt like big kids again and suddenly the worries of the world were lifted off us as we submerged ourselves in over 70,000 little white plastic balls.

After the ball pit, we had a mad dash to make our family session to meet the jolly fat man himself; Santa Claus. Vala was very excited to meet Santa and to show him the glitter tattoo she'd got the day previously at her friends birthday party. He seemed very impressed by it which made Vala even happier. This was also Flynn's first time meeting Santa and whilst he didn't cry or scream, he certainly was unsure and sulked a little bit; especially when we sat him on his knee for a photo. Nothing that sucking on his thumb for comfort couldn't fix. Photos and presents gifted to the kids and it was time to goodbye and head to the Winter Wonderland itself which is full of amazing food stalls, rides which Vala enjoyed going on and an assortment of bars, one of which Jordan and I enjoyed visiting last night.

Heading back to the Winter Wonderland last night, Jordan and I spent an hour inside the Ice Bar, which as the name should explain, is a bar made entire of ice. The room was kept at sub zero temperatures snd we had to wear special jackets and gloves to keep ourselves warm. Jordan sadly suffers from Raynaud's Syndrome in his hands and feet so he felt the cold more than the rest of us and since my jacket was so long and could cover my hands completely, I gave him my gloves for extra warmth. We enjoyed looking at all the ice sculptures in the bar and I enjoy a couple alcoholic beverages. First I had a Gordan's Pink Gin and Lemonade whilst Jordan didn't enjoy a hot mulled cider. Then we moved onto shots of Bailey's, which the shot glasses are made entirely out of ice, which was awesome. Jordan didn't like the Bailey's either so I had his shot as well. An hour and a lot of photos later, we emerged into the 1°c night air that felt considerably warm after spending so long in a sub zero environment. We warmed ourselves with food and then head back to collect the kids from Jordan's parents.

I'm still on a high from last night though. It seriously was a lot of fun and I love the Winter Wonderland. I get so excited every year when it returns and it definitely does bring the festive feeling to all of us.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

I tired "Self-Care" for 1 day.

It goes without saying that I take very poor care of myself. In fact, I spend more time caring for everyone else and putting them first that I often straight up neglect myself. With the kids birthdays and Christmas all hitting at once, I've spent even less time caring about myself. So it's no real wonder why I am still struggling with Postnatal Depression and putting a lot of weight back on. Jordan too, has many days where he neglects himself and he definitely doesn't take proper care of himself and so we decided that starting from January 1st next year, we're going to make it one of our new years resolutions to take better care of ourselves. Trouble is, I've spent so long neglecting myself that I'm not even sure how to "self-care" so I stole some ideas off the internet and tried to spend a whole day practising the art of self-care.

Technically, I started the night before because I went to bed at a reasonable hour, remembered to brush my teeth before bed and wrote in my journal before getting a pretty decent nights sleep for once. Somehow, I still woke completely exhausted and nearly gave up on practising self-care but pushed myself through it with the help from my hot, sweet friend known as coffee.
After the school run was out the way and Flynn was down for a nap, I actually set aside time for myself. I did a face mask and then put on just a hint of make-up. I actually did my hair and by that I mean I did more than brush it for 5-10 seconds; I actually straightened and styled it. I choose to wear clothes that made me feel good about myself rather than walking around the house half naked because what's the point in wearing pants around the house? All these may seem like silly, basic things that you all do every single day but usually I don't. I always skip breakfast but that morning, I didn't. I never spend more than 10 seconds on my hair and I'm usually only fully dressed when I'm out the house and even then, it's usually whatever I've just pulled up off my bedroom floor. As soon as I get home, my slip on shoes are kicked off, my trousers and bra come off and I spend the rest of the day walking around half dressed with my hair tied back.

So my day of self-care seemed to be off to a reasonably good start, however, the afternoon is where things kinda fell apart. Ok, by fell apart I mean I basically "forgot" I was supposed to be doing a day of self-care and returned to old habits. I skipped lunch and after Vala was collected from school, my hair got tied back off my face and I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening writing out Christmas cards to as many school friends as Vala could think of. I wrote out 49 Christmas cards and only 9 of those were to our family and friends. The other 40 were for kids at school. I was completely knackered by the time I was done and the kids had been showered and put to bed. I couldn't be bothered to even attempt doing anything for myself besides sleeping. So that's what I did. For once, I went to bed before 11pm and I guess getting over 7 hours of sleep kinda counts as self-care so maybe I did finish the day off right.

What all this proved to me is, that I really don't know how to take care of myself. I give and give and give every ounce of me until there is nothing left and then I fall apart. I don't know how to allot "me time" into my life. I'm an empty cup. I have however found a bunch of "30 day self-care" challenges and I think I'm going to pick one and get Jordan to pick one and then on January 1st we'll both start our challenges and slowly ease our way into a proper self-care routine. I know self-care should not be as hard as it is for right now. We really need to work on taking better care of ourselves!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 10 December 2018

3 Year Anniversary

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had lovely weekends. I know I did for yesterday was mine and Jordan's 3 year anniversary! It feels very weird to say we've been together because on one hand it feel like that time has flown by but on the other hand it honestly feels like "is that all?" I definitely feel like I have known Jordan a lot longer than I have and that we've been together for at least double the amount of years.

Jordan and I have always had that bond though. It was actually one of the reasons we got together in the first place actually. The very first time we ever met face to face was just so comfortable. It seriously felt like we'd know each other half our lives. The slight awkwardness we felt was similar to when you start hanging out with your old best friend after not seeing them for a couple of years. Like, you guys have a history but you're unsure how much you've both changed in your time apart so you start with small talk until you realise the other person hasn't really changed and you pick the friendship up as if no time passed at all. It was that kind of feeling. We just had this instant connection and honestly something within me awoke. I like to believe it was my soul waking up and saying "oh there you are, I've been looking for you." Because the following day when Jordan got back on the train to return home, it felt like a part of me was ripped out. The further the train moved away, the greater the pain was. I had to hold back tears the entire walk home. I couldn't understand why I was heartbroken. I knew I liked Jordan and he liked me, that was the whole reason we decided to meet face to face but I didn't realise my feelings for him were so deep that his departure would actually break my heart! I knew in that moment that he was my soulmate because that pain I was feeling was my soul being torn out of me, trying to stay with his. He later told me he felt the same pain as the train pulled away. I messaged him as soon as I got home and said I didn't want to be without him and asked him to be my boyfriend. I felt like I was going to throw up while waiting for a text back but when the word "yes" flashed up on my screen, my heart started racing. That day was December 9th 2015. We've been together ever since....obviously.

But look how far we've come in 3 years. We've moved in together which required Vala and I to move half way across the country. We're engaged and starting to plan our wedding together. And we created an entire new life in the form of our son Flynn. That's a lot of stuff to happen in the space of 3 short years. I wouldn't change a damn thing though. My love for Jordan has only gotten stronger with each passing day. I've never had a relationship last longer than three and a half years. In fact, by the 3 year mark, my feelings have usually all but died and I spend the last few months trying to rekindle something but my heart shows no interest. So the fact that I love Jordan more than I did on day 1 goes to show just how different he is to all my other relationships. He definitely is the one for me. And we celebrated our love yesterday by spending time with the kids first and the by going out for a really nice meal together in the evening and then hitting a desserts bar afterwards. Vala and Flynn were watched by Jordan's mum for couple of hours while we were at dinner and Vala lost her first tooth while she was there. Jordan and I got to play tooth fairy in the last few minutes of our anniversary which was kinda fun.

So yeah, it has been 3 wonderful years with Jordan and I feel so blessed to have spent this time with such an incredible man. Sure, we have our up's and downs; especially lately where we've had a lot of downs but each down has only bought us closer together and made us stronger. Having a baby makes or breaks a relationship and having Flynn definitely put a strain on us with my PND but Jordan's love never wavered and he has supported me endlessly throughout it all. So even now, we're only getting stronger. I love him so much and I'm so happy I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Friday, 7 December 2018

Vala's Christmas Play

You know the festive season is definitely upon us when you're invited to see your child perform in their annual school Christmas play. Vala's class gets to put on two performances this year and I had the pleasure of attending both performances on Tuesday and yesterday.

This year the story was all about Christmas and I couldn't wait to see the performance as Vala had been singing all the songs from the show for the last month. She'd almost memorised every song and had a lot of enthusiasm. I didn't know what role she had in the play, only that she needed to wear a Christmas jumper. Tuesday rolled around and Jordan, Flynn and I made our way into the school assembly hall where we were immediately greeted by Vala sitting almost front and centre on the stage, with a Christmas present hanging around her neck. She was so excited to see us and kept calling out and waving. The performance started and a little boy dressed as a teddy bear took centre stage and commented on all the presents. "Here comes Vala's song" I thought as the music started and all the presents stood up. Then they exited the stage and a new group came on. That was it. Weeks of rehearsal to just sit on the stage and say nothing until other kids got to come on and sing all the songs Vala had been singing all month.

We could still see Vala sitting side of stage, singing her heart out but honestly I was really disappointed and a little angry. Every kid got a turn on stage to sing a song except for the 5 kids who were dressed as Christmas presents. One group of kids got to sing two songs on stage but the presents didn't get to sing one. I thought it was so unfair. These kids were essentially just props, like trees in the background of plays. I couldn't understand why Vala and the other 4 presents didn't get to sing a song on stage. Vala clearly knew all the words so it wasn't a case of these 5 just didn't know the words or anything. I wanted to say something to the teacher but didn't want to come across as one of those "stage parents" who demands their kid be the centre of attention or anything. I was just mad because it didn't seem fair that the kids dressed as presents got to be on stage for no more than a minute before being ushered off and remaining off stage for the rest of the play, missing out on actually performing like the rest of the kids. It would have bothered me even if Vala wasn't a Christmas present but it upset me a lot more because she was.

At the end of the day though, Vala still seemed to have fun and she smiled, waved and sung along, completely unphased about being shunted to the side. So, I guess that's all the matters really. As long as she's happy, I guess I should be too, even if I still think it's unfair for those 5 kids who didn't really get to perform.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Life after NaNoWriMo

With December came the end of NaNoWriMo for 2018 and admittedly, I loved it. Sure I had it easier than some given the fact I wasn't writing a completely new story off the top of my head but it still had it's tricky moments. I re-wrote about 90% of my existing story and even surpassed where my writing stopped in the original first draft. Before NaNoWriMo, I was half way through chapter 10, at 11:59:59pm on November 30th, I had just started chapter 12 and ended NaNoWriMo with a total of 54,258 words. An accomplishment I am actually proud about. But now NaNoWriMo is over so what next?

Well, determined to try and stay as productive as I was during November, I've set myself the target to finish my first draft by Christmas. Chapter 12 is the last chapter in my novel with the exception of the prologue and epilogues that still need to be written also. As long as chapter 12 and the epilogue is written by Christmas though, I'll be happy. I then plan on printing out every single page and sitting down between boxing day and new years eve with a highlighter and red pen and reading through my entire novel and editing it. I also have alpha readers and I plan on sending each alpha reader 3 chapters of the novel to read through and provide constructive feedback for to go alongside my own notes and editing marks.

January is NaNoWriMo's revision month. I am not entirely sure what it entails yet but I do plan on starting my second draft sometime in January to go alongside revision month. I am hoping that the second and third drafts will be a little easier to write as I'm not having to think up new content but instead polishing and elaborating on what I've already written. I want to be really productive with it next year. What I really want is have the second draft finished by June 1st. Then, I will spend the entirety of June reading through and editing the draft just as I did with the first draft and I will also send out chapters to my beta readers. By July 1st, I would love to be starting my third draft.

Regardless of how far I get with my third draft, I am planning on putting the novel on hold from October 1st. I want to spend the month of October preparing myself for NaNoWriMo 2019 and will grab a new writers notebook and start planning out the sequel to this novel so I can start writing the first draft in November. Hopefully being on the third draft of my current novel will help ideas for the sequel flow relatively easy. I already have some ideas if I'm honest.

So yeah, NaNoWriMo has finished and not only am I already making plans to start editing but I'm already making plans for NaNoWriMo 2019! Goes to show how much I really enjoyed NaNoWriMo and how motivated and excited it got me to write, write, write!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 3 December 2018

Starting to look like Christmas

Happy Monday everyone! December is here! Where has the time gone?! This month has a lot in store for us, for not only does Flynn turn one this month, but also it's Christmas! And boy is it starting to look like Christmas in our home.

What started off as a tradition my parents started when I was a little girl, has been carried on to my kids through me. That tradition is to put our Christmas tree up on December 1st and decorate the house ready for the festive season. The tree and decorations then remain up until January 2nd. Saturday night, Jordan, myself Vala and for first time Flynn put our Christmas tree up and decorated three quarters of it. I say half of it because I learned from when Vala was a year old that Christmas tree decorations are fun to pull off the tree and attempt to eat. So the bottom quarter is bare with the exception of the pretty little lights. That way Flynn can't reach any of the baubles and pull them off.

Sadly though, we only have Christmas tree decorations at the moment and our house is feeling a little... unfestive? This year we're going to change that though. Jordan and I are looking at getting some more decorations to jazz up our living room, kitchen and hallway with. I'm tempted to find something festive to put in the kids room but unsure what yet. I've ordered Flynn's personalised stocking to go alongside Vala's. Over here in the UK it seems customary to hang stocking on the mantle around the fireplace but over in Australia, not many houses have fireplaces or mantles so I grew up with our Christmas stocking hanging off the end of our beds. I have always had Vala's stocking at the end of her bed but now that Flynn will have one too, a little part of me wants to hang them from the mantle. It feels like it would break a little bit of the tradition I grew up with but at the same time, I feel like I'm making a new family tradition. Vala isn't with us for Christmas this year anyway sadly so wherever we hang her stocking, she won't be opening it until December 28th anyway.

At this point, I'm not sure what I'm more excited about; Flynn's first birthday or Christmas. They're so close together. I still can't believe it's December already. The year has flown by. Are you looking forward to Christmas? When did you put your tree up? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Until next time,
Alli xo 
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Sunday, 2 December 2018