Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Monthly Challenge: January

There's no guessing what my monthly challenge was this month was there? It was obviously the 31 day self-care challenge. Should've been a simple enough challenge right? Well I'll admit there were days where I'd forget to check my self care list until late in the day or didn't want to do the task on the list so swapped the day with something I could do or wanted to do at the time.  The collage doesn't include every single task but it certainly includes many of the highlights. I've been giving you weekly updates of how the self-care challenge has gone but there's still 3 days unaccounted for.

Day 29:

Meditate: Simple enough task and I didn't even need to get out of my chair for it. I put some headphones in with relaxing music playing and let my mind drift and my clear as my breathing slowed and deepened. Before I knew it, a whole hour had passed.

Day 30: 

Get a massage: This one I haven't completed yet as Jordan is currently at work. I thought about getting a professional massage but after looking up prices, I decided it'd be more intimate and special for me, you have Jordan do it. Plus he's said he'd be more than happy to so now I've just got to wait until he gets home to be pampered. 

Day 31:

Watch your favourite movie. Obviously I haven't completed this task yet as it is tomorrows but I have no doubt that I'll be able to get it done. The only trouble is, I don't really have a favourite movie. I have a bunch that I really like but no stand out favourite. I think I'll just pick one that I can watch over and over again because I like it so much. Probably one of the pitch perfect films if I'm honest. Love those!

So there we have it! The final three days on my 31 day self-care challenge. I think it's safe to say that I completed this challenge. Bring on February now.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Australia Day 2019

Hey everyone, today's post was meant to come out on Saturday but I never got around to it. I figured I would postpone Friday's post til Saturday so I could cover Australia Day which is on January 26th.

Honestly, there isn't as much to talk about as I would have hoped. After seven Australia Day's spent in the UK, I've started to feel like there isn't any point in me celebrating Australia Day anymore. No one in the UK even knows what it is or when it is and so it just feels like I'm being a sad little person who's trying to act Australian for the day. I had vegemite on toast of breakfast, wrapped an Australian flag around me and dressed the kids in Aussie themed tops that my sent over. It felt like I was just trying to hard to make the day relevant. It's hard to celebrate it properly because it's winter over here. Australia Day back home usually consists of family and friends getting drunk around a BBQ and listening to Triple J's hottest 100 countdown. We dress up with Aussie flags wrapped around us or green and gold face paint and decorate our houses with Aussie themed decor. It's a fun day for almost everyone. I can't do most of that here because, 1) it's not summer so we can't go outdoors for a BBQ and 2) it's not a national holiday over here so I can't just throw a party during the week because most people will be at work. I've tried to find my own way to celebrate it but honestly, this year I just felt a bit tragic. I said to myself that next year I'll either celebrate Australia Day properly, or I won't celebrate it at all. I guess we won't know until next year though.

But anyway, that was our Australia Day. Dressing up and eating vegemite on toast. Flynn tried vegemite for the first time and he seemed to enjoy it. He ate the entire slice of toast at least. The Aussie gene is strong in him.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 28 January 2019

Self-care challenge: Week 4

January is almost over! Can you believe it? Because I can't. This month has flown by and if it weren't for Vala being in school, honestly, I'd probably have forgotten what day of the week it was. I think that is overly apparent by the fact I missed Friday's blog post. Don't worry I plan to make that up tomorrow but for now, it's time to check out how I got on with week 4 of the self-care challenge.

Day 22: 

Be Creative! I didn't expect to be as creative as I ended up being, if I'm honest. I decided my best bet at being creative would probably come from working on my novel's universe. And wow, work on it I did. An idea for an entirely new series popped into my head and after writing the idea out, I thought up of a way to combine that series with my current series. That then snowballed into a total 7 different series', each taking place on a different planet within my universe. Each series would have totally new characters and be a completely fresh story. However, once each of the 7 series has 3 books within them, I plan on an eighth series that combines all seven worlds in one MASSIVE story that will be split between 3 novels. After writing out all my ideas I realised that if I produced one novel a year, I'd be 52/53 by the time the final novel in the eighth series came out. So I need to knuckle down and work a lot harder to achieve that. Looking at getting a designated writing desk to work at so I can stay focused and keep everything in one place. I felt so good after my creative spike that night. 

Day 23:

Go to bed an hour early. I guess I did complete this. One of mine and Jordan's problems is that we don't have a set bed time and we end up staying up WAY too late. For the last week we've been going to bed mostly around 2am. However, this night in particular I went to bed at 12:30am. Still later than I probably should have gone to bed but a little over an hour earlier than I have been going to bed recently. 

Day 24: 

Drop a bath bomb in your bath. I was well prepared for this task. Back during my day out with my bestie, I bought four bath bombs to use throughout the month. I still had two left over. One called Goddess and one called Dragon's Egg. Both were from Lush. I was in bit of a foul mood that day so decided I needed to bring out my inner Goddess to calm the Dragon Mum I'd become. The bath bomb did smell great and was pretty but I've had bath bombs from Lush that have had a lot more wow factor before, so I couldn't understand why this bath bomb had cost me £2 more. It was still a pleasant bath though. I relaxed while listening to the WoW Dev Q&A stream. It was nice. 

Day 25:

Try some yoga. I bought a yoga mat a couple of weeks back and finally got around to using it for it's intended purpose and oh my god, I am so inflexible. I seriously struggled with it and only managed to pull off a few positions such as; Downward Dog, Cobra, Stretching cat etc. Sorry if I've given them the wrong names. After about 10 minutes of yoga, I resorted to using my kettle bell and doing three reps of planking before stopping for lunch. 

Day 26:

Do something you enjoy. Well, I definitely did this one! Jordan and I ended up staying awake until 2:30am playing video games. Specifically a game called "Viscera's Cleanup Detail". It's literally a game where you clean up grizzly massacre scenes but everything has rag doll physics. It's so easy to knock over your bucket of water, spilling more blood everywhere and essentially making more work for yourself. A single map took us 4.5 hours to complete. There's not a lot I can say about the game that will make it sound particularly fun to play but it actually is a pretty fun and addictive game. Especially when playing it with a group of friends. 

Day 27: 

On a walk, take 3 photos that inspire you. I kinda cheated for this one. In my collage, two of the photos are from my trip to IKEA yesterday and the other is from my day out with my bestie a couple of weeks back. But in all three photos, I'd been out walking and I'd took these photos because they inspire me. One is of the fantasy/sci-fi book section in Waterstones. That inspires me because I dream to one day find my novel amongst those shelves. The other two are from IKEA yesterday. One is of my dream kitchen (something to work towards) and the other is an extension of my current desk which I plan on buying either next month or in March. It will become my designated writing desk and hopefully it will motivate me to work harder.

Day 28:

Clean up your work space. This is today's challenge and I haven't completed it yet. I do plan to though. It won't take me more than 5 minutes to tidy up my desk but I haven't had chance to get around to it just yet. I will probably tidy it after finishing this post to be honest. 

So there we have it, week four complete! Won't lie, this was a hard week again because I literally did keep forgetting to check what my daily task was until sometime in the early evenings. I feel like I have lost interest in this challenge but there is only three more days to go and I'm determined to see this challenge through. You'll find out my last three days at the end of the month in my monthly challenge post. 

Until next time,
Alli xo 


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Growing Ideas

January and February is referred to as the 'What's Next?' months that come after NaNoWriMo and for that reason, this month I started editing the first draft of my novel. I thought editing would be a lot easier and faster to do than it actually is. It is an extremely slow and mentally painful experience. It took me over 30 minutes to edit a total of TWO pages, so it has been quite the eye opening experience for me. However, it hasn't just been my eyes that editing has opened. It's opened my mind and imagination as well.

I've already had ideas for the next two novels in my head for quite a while now but a couple nights, completely out of the blue, a brand new eye idea came to. An idea that doesn't feature in my current world or evolve around my current characters. However, it does exist within the same universe. The more I thought about this new idea the more it grew and evolved. It opened the door to even more ideas as well. By the end of the night, I had a very rough idea for several novels and an idea of how to tie them all together. I mapped out seven different novel series, each with three novels (to start) within them, followed by an eighth series that combines all seven series together for one massive story that I split between three novels. The ideas were buzzing and my excitement was growing. However the next morning I realised that I'd set myself the task of writing 24 novels....
... It has taken me over two years just to write the first draft of one novel! IF - And this is a strong if - if, I managed to up my game and produce/publish one novel a year, it would still take me 24 years to reach the end of the eighth series. I would be 52/53 years old by then. I started to worry that maybe my idea was a little too ambitious and a bit beyond me but if I want to become a proper author, than 24 books by the time I'm in my 50's is actually a pretty damn good achievement! So I'm going to go for it!

Soon, i'll be sitting down and mapping out a strict writing schedule. I'll give myself a set amount of time to write each draft and a about a month(ish) to edit all the drafts. I hope to have the third (and hopefully final draft) written up and awaiting editing just before each November, where I'll start work on the first draft for the next novel during NaNoWriMo. The schedule is going to take a lot of messing with to make it work but now I've just got to discipline and motivate myself to work harder and get these ideas out into the world. It's nerve-wracking but exciting!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 21 January 2019

Self- Care Challenge: Week 3

Can you believe we're moving into week four of January already? Because I seriously can't. It's like I blink and half the month was gone. I think Jordan being off work for most of the month has confused me quite a bit. Reality is going to hit hard when he returns to full time hours next month. Still, with him home, it's been easier for me to focus on me and so week three's daily self-care tasks were considerably easier to keep to. And I managed to capture all of them as you can see in this collage. But what were week three's tasks?

Day 15:

Bake Goodies and share them with loved ones. For this task, I was seriously tempted to just pick up a packet mix for chocolate chips cookies for a couple quid and call it a day; but I decided I wanted to do this task properly. So instead I coughed up over £10 to bake strawberries and cream truffle cupcakes. The cupcake is a simple vanilla sponge with pink colouring in it. The frosting was vanilla with more pink colouring but pushed inside the cupcakes for a Lindor Strawberries and Cream truffle. A strawberry on top was to complete the look. Trouble was, I ran out of icing with 8 cupcakes left and I also used the wrong piping nozzle so the cupcakes didn't look nearly as nice as I'd imagined them in my head. They tasted nice but nothing to brag about. Afterwards I kinda regretted not saving my money and simply baking the choc-chip cookies instead. Vala loved the bright pink cupcakes though so I'll call that a win. 

Day 16:

Burn your favourite scented candle. To be honest, I don't have a favourite scented candle. In fact, we didn't even have any scented candles in the house. So I went out a bought a cheap one. I've grown really fond of Lavender recently and as soon as I smelled a Lavender scented candle, I knew that was the one I wanted to take home. The candle smells nice enough but I definitely feel it had a stronger scent before it was lit. I can only smell the Lavender when I'm sitting right next to the candle. It doesn't fill the room with the mellow scent. I feel like a Yankee candle would but from what I've seen, they only do a Lavender and Lemon scented candle and I really wasn't a fan of it. It's made me more interested in finding a scented candle that fills the room and smells amazing though. 

Day 17:

Do something kind. This one I didn't even have to really try and look for and I did it from the comfort of my own bed. I was scrolling through Facebook before I'd even gotten up for the day and saw a story about 11 cats that had been dumped in alley to die in sealed boxes. I saw the video of how taped up the boxes were and instantly felt so sad for the beautiful cats inside. I saw that the animal rescue team who had saved the cats and were caring for them, had an Amazon wishlist full of things to help them take care of not only these 11 cats but lots of other cats too. So I jumped straight on and despite being low on funds now, I still bought them three scratching beds. I  knew it wasn't much it was something. They needed things to help care for the cats and it took me all of 5 minutes to do something to help them. So I counted this as my something kind for the day. I did other kind things for my family but since this act was for strangers and I don't expect any recognition or thanks, I figured this one was more note-worthy. 

Day 18:

Take a bubble bath. Ordinarily, I'm more of a shower girl but once in a blue moon I do enjoy a hot bath. That being said, I hadn't enjoyed a bubble bath in a long time. Usually my baths will include a bath bomb from Lush but I was to have a bubble bath and to my luck, I'd been given a bottle of Cranberry and Orange bubble bath for Christmas. I wrote a review about it after my long soak. It was nice but it confused my body. The lower half which was submerged in the water was very relaxed and mellow but my brain was very alert and energised after sitting there smelling the strong citrus scent. Bubbles are all well and good but honestly, I think I'll just stick to Lush bath bombs in the future. 

Day 19:

Drink more water. This task wasn't that difficult. I'm notoriously bad for drinking enough water. 6-8 glasses a day? Ha! I'm lucky if I have 2 a day. So naturally anything more than 500mls would be considered me drinking more water. That being said, I know 2L's a day is excellent for weight loss so that's what I drank. 2L of water. Regretted it later that night after waking THREE times to pee. 1am, 3am and 6am. I have bad enough sleep without making it worse by drinking large amounts of water. The following day I resorted back to my usual 500mls just so I could have a good nights sleep. I think I'll gradually increase my daily water intake though. After all, it is important. 

Day 20:

Cook your favourite meal and eat it. Again, another easy task. My favourite meal is Japanese Teriyaki Chicken with mixed peppers and white rice. I especially love the Teriyaki sauce from the company 'Street Kitchen'. It is heavenly. The meal takes a little longer to prepare than what I'd normally cook but it is so worth it. It is so delicious that in my excitement to eat it, I accidentally forgot to photograph it before I ate it. So I improvised and took a photo of the sauce packet over my empty bowl. Oh, and the meal is only roughly 421 calories so not only does it taste amazing, it's very diet friendly.

Day 21:

Watch your favourite comedy movie. This is today's task and I haven't completed it yet. But I do plan to. I just think movie watching is better left for rainy weekends or evening. So once the kids are tucked up in bed tonight, I'm going to settle down with a hot mug of Lemsip (because I'm full of cold) and enjoy the delights of Jim Carey in my favourite comedy; 'Yes Man'. Not only is 'Yes Man' my favourite comedy but it's also one of my all time favourite films. Every single time I've watched it, I've ended up feeling a lot more positive about myself and my life and more determined to put myself out there and try new things. I find it's really good for my soul. Plus it is pretty funny. I'm really looking forward to watching it for roughly the 300th time tonight haha. 

So that was week three. A lot easier than week two in my opinion but just as enjoyable. Onto week four tomorrow. I wonder what the week has in store for me.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Product Review: Avon Cranberry and Orange Bubble Bath.

When I think of bubble baths, I think of warm, relaxing, romantic, soothing experiences. I think of soft, floral fragrances designed to de-tense your body and help you wind down. In my opinion, Avon's Christmas bubble bath doesn't exactly tick those boxes.

The fragrance is very fruity and sweet but I wouldn't call it relaxing. It has quite a strong scent to it with a little bit of a bite. It smells incredible and definitely gave me a festive feeling but usually citrus fragrances are used to help energise, invigorate and wake you up. Orange is the type of scent you'd expect to find in a shower gel or facial scrub, not in a bubble bath. Whilst the smell is very exciting and welcome, it certainly left me feeling confused after the water had drained away. I felt alert and focus but yet relaxed and mellow at the same time. It was unusual.

Would I recommend this product? Sure - if you're the kind of person who prefers to have your baths in the morning rather than the evening and are after a fragrance that'll wake you up, then this bubble bath is definitely for you. Equally, if you love all things Christmas, I would definitely give this product I try. However, if you like your evening baths to be soothing and relaxing, then maybe stick with your traditional floral fragrances.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Friday, 18 January 2019

Cancel everything!

Well, this is a post I didn't want to be writing but here goes. Yesterday evening I dropped a post about Jordan and I starting to plan our wedding. Less than an hour after posting that, he sat me down for some "real talk". He made a point of telling me that he doesn't think we can afford to get married just yet and that maybe we should wait. So now, with little say in the matter, our May 2020 wedding is postponed until further notice.

However, saying that, Jordan keeps telling he thinks we'll still be able to get married next May but it depends on how well we can sync up our finances. In other words, don't plan or book anything yet until I think we can afford to. He said that maybe in a few months time, we'll have successfully managed to combine our budgets (because we currently have separate budgets due to separate incomes and separate bills etc) and we'll be able to budget for the wedding properly and then we can start booking things and still have the May 2020 wedding. I have to keep reminding him that that's not how planning a wedding works. You can't just pick a date and then book things when it suits you. You have to book at least a year in advance for things like venues and photographer etc. The longer you wait, the less likely the date you want will be available at the place you want to get married and with the people you were wanting to hire. A concept he still didn't appear to grasp.

After our heated argument, leaving me feeling justifiably hurt at the thought of postponing the wedding, Jordan told me to ignore everything he'd said and for me to continue planning the wedding the way I intended to. I told him no. I have already planned one wedding with a man who dragged his heels through the mud at every single decision and I wound up almost calling off the wedding, ending up with a wedding that I absolutely hated and in a toxic marriage. I am not about to plan another wedding with a man who has dug his feet into the mud just 2 days after I started making plans. I want to get married next May but I'm not putting myself or our relationship through that stress if Jordan's just going to be anchor slowing everything down. We either work as a team or this doesn't happen at all.

So yeah, sadly, until further notice, the wedding plans are off and we may not be getting married next year. I hope that things change in the next couple of weeks but we'll see.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Wedding Plans

It's safe to say that we're definitely half way through January now. It's also safe to say that Jordan and I are still very hesitant to actually plan our wedding. It's the usual problem of neither of us wanting to take the lead and not really knowing where to start.

Honestly, I was hoping we'd have made some more set decisions by now and could start looking at purchasing things and booking things from next month. However, the closest we've got to planning anything is picking up this wedding planner for a few quid at our local B&M Bargains store. It then sat gathering dust for about 2 weeks before i finally took it out of it's packaging two nights ago. So far we've filled in a few generic pages and worked out that we're looking at a budget of around roughly £5,000. A number we're not enthusiastic about considering where also hoping to move house this year as well as plan the wedding. I'm already looking at ways of cutting costs.

Jordan and I just want a small, simple, laid back wedding but at the same time, we don't want to half-arse it. I had a budget, hack-job wedding when I married Vala's dad and I hated every single aspect of that day. I want a small, simple wedding that doesn't cost an arm and a leg but I also don't want a wedding like my first one. I want to enjoy the day and look back at it with fondness instead of regret. I want to do it properly. But properly means more money. It's a hard line to walk unfortunately.

Hopefully in the coming months we'll have made some more plans and actually booked some things. But with both of us dragging our feet through the mud, I'm not holding my breath. We'll see.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Pursuing the new me.

Happy Tuesday everyone, just sliding in with a post today because this was supposed to come out last Friday but I was busy and stressed and completely forgot. I just wanted to touch base and touch on what's been going on as I pursue the "new me".

First thing I've found is that it's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I knew it was going to be hard but every single day has been an internal struggle with myself. Because Jordan is off work for most of this month, I've been focusing so much of my attention on myself and the internal battle is guilt. The guilt keeps festering and the demon thoughts in my brain that caused my PND keep telling me that I'm being incredibly selfish spending all this time, money and energy on me rather than my family. The constant battle has made me more snappy with my family which in turn makes me feel even worse. I don't want to snap at them and be as irritable as I have been but I am fighting a huge battle that they cannot see or even begin to comprehend and it's easy for me to get frustrated.

Despite my battles with guilt, I have managed to do some things for myself, like having a day out with my bestie where we got lunch, goodies and quite a few drinks and I've spent money on things to improve my mood like a lavender scented candle and just today I bought stuff to make Strawberries and Cream truffle cupcakes. I'm looking forward to doing some baking by myself and not having to worry about Vala try to take control over everything.

Besides little things like that, I've also finished the first draft of my novel and am now working on editing it. I've also put myself out there and applied for a position of a collaboration writer. A lovely woman is creating an artbook and wants 12 writers to create stories for the characters she draws for the book. Character development and lore is my jam so I threw my hat into the ring. Unfortunately, so did 50+ other people, most of whom have more writing experience and better qualifications so I'm not holding onto much hope of being one of the 12 lucky candidates. But I still applied. I still put my name down and if I do get chosen then this is a huge opportunity for me and a great place to start building a professional portfolio for a career as a freelance writer. I could be a stay at home mum AND still earn a proper wage by writing. It could be so great. But I've got to work towards that. And that's what I'm now starting to do. I plan on reading more books and writing book reviews and hopefully getting a few odd jobs writing reviews for other people and building up from there. I would love to some day be able to say I have a career in the writing/literary field. I'd love it even more if I could say I was my own boss .

So whilst I'm trying to kick my PND to the curb and struggling to lose weight, I've also got my sights set on creating a path that will lead me towards a future career. It's a lot to take on and it definitely isnt easy right now but I feel optimistic and I don't want to give up on myself. We'll see what the future holds though.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 14 January 2019

Self-care challenge week 2

Week 2 of my self-care challenge has been a lot more hazy than last week. I found myself forgetting to even check my daily self care task and then panicking at night and cheating a little. By cheating, I mean I've been switching tasks around. I'd get to around dinner time and realise that I had forgotten to check my task and see that it was something I physically couldn't do at the time it was and I would switch it with a task at a later date that I could do. So I have still been completing a task a day and trying to photograph them. However three tasks couldn't be photographed for reasons I'll explain.

Day 8: 

Donate some old clothes. I decided it was time to let go of some very old clothes that I had been saving in the hopes I would one day fit back into them. Some of the clothes I donated were more than 10 years old and hadnt been worn since I moved to the UK so it was definitely time to let them go. It felt weird but good. Like I was finally letting go of my past self. 

Day 9:

Buy yourself some flowers. I am very happy with the flowers i chose. Bright, colourful tulips in a new farmhouse style vase. They've really brightened the house up and look so beautiful. 

Day 10:

Do a 10 minute breathing exercise. This is one of the tasks I didn't take a photo of as it would've distracted myself from the breathing exercise itself. I focused all my attention on my breathing and skipped the photographic evidence. 

Day 11: 

Turn phone off 3 hours before bed. Again, another task I couldn't take a photo of because I use my phone to take the photos. I also wasn't sure what time I would be going to bed but as it turns out, I did successfully turn my phone off 3 hours before bed. I did have to turn it back on at bedtime though because it it's my alarm clock in the morning. 

Day 12: 

Go for a 30 minute walk. I did technically take a photo on the walk but I didn't include it in the above collage as the photo was of Flynn sleeping in the pram. I went for a walk with both kids and my best friend and in total, we were out for about an hour. 

Day 13: 

Do something with your bestie. Me and my bestie ended up having a great day! We went to Waterstones book store and bought books and relaxed reading in the store. We went to Lush and Primark and bought goodies. We got noodles for lunch and in the evening drank quite a few cocktails. It was a great day. So relaxing. Best day this month.

Day 14:

Take yourself out to eat. This was today's task and I didn't just take myself out. I took Jordan out with me and we had a nice lunch at a local Costa Cafè. I wasn't a fan of my hot chocolate but I still bought myself lunch so that's today's challenge ticked off.

Bring on week three, hopefully I'm less forgetful this week and completely the daily tasks a bit easier. 

Until next time, 
Alli xo

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Weight loss journey commences....again.

I think I have said these words a hundred times already in the past but once again I am starting my weight loss journey. And by start, I mean I technically started a week ago but that's just semantics. The week has not gone as smoothly as I had hoped with quite a few set backs resulting in me starting the new year dragging my feet through the mud rather than hitting the ground running like I'd hoped. I feel as though I'm properly starting my journey now.

Day one was January 2nd and I woke up feeling great. I was nervous about the huge journey ahead but determined to see it through this time. I ate healthily and went for a walk with the kids, so I felt like I started off on the right foot. I thought it would be a great challenge for myself to try and go for a walk every single day this year and that it'd be fun to photograph myself on each walk so that at the end of the year I could do a collage of all 365 walks. But my body had other ideas. For you see, I woke up on the 3rd with incredible pain in my right knee. I've had problems with this knee for years but normally they don't stop me doing anything. Well I couldn't even walk around the house. I hobbled painfully. There was no way I could go out for my daily walk and I was really disheartened by that. To top it off, my head was feeling really weird and I couldn't concentrate. I wrote last Friday's blog post on the 3rd because I had forgotten what day it actually was. I didn't know why I felt so weird but hoped it was just my body adapting to my new lifestyle.

It wasn't. I woke up on the 4th with a high fever, a body aching so much that the pain caused me to throw up when I sat up and the inability to stay conscious for more than 15 minutes at a time. I was completely wiped out. I was in tears the pain was so bad and I just wanted it to stop. I was glad that I got my blog post written the day before because I couldn't do anything. I felt utterly defeated. Day three of my new healthy lifestyle and I was sick in bed with some sort of virus. The 5th rolled around and I woke up feeling about 75% better. I was determined to make up for the day before and as a result went for a walk to the shop with the family. I regretted the decision pretty quickly. I did not have the energy for it and barely made it home. I was feeling rough for the rest of the day. But when I woke on the 6th I felt 95% better and, not learning from the day before, decided to go for a walk around the local lake with Jordan and the kids. Yeah I quickly regretted that too. I came home and napped and then felt like death when I woke up later. The rest of the night was a write off again.

However since then, I've started to be on the up. On the 7th, I started a 7-Day Shred using my Acti-Labs kit and I've not pushed myself. We've been for walks and I've felt mostly ok after. Today I woke up feeling really bleh so went back to bed once Vala was at school since Jordan is off work. I've woken up feeling pretty great actually. Annoyed that the nap lost me precious productivity hours but I feel energised and healthy right now. Determined to get on with this journey. I have turned my sickness into a positive though. Being ill completely squashed my appetite, meaning I didn't want to eat a thing. Not eating meant I couldn't have put weight on. In fact, I weighed myself yesterday and in the space of six days, I have lost 1.8kg which is a great start. Also having a smaller appetite has made it a lot easier for me to adapt to my 7-Day shred. So I'm feeling pretty positive that I can lose quite a bit of weight over the next few weeks and months. Just got to stay determined and motivated. I just keep thinking about my wedding next year as my motivation to not give up....even if last week made me feel like the universe was against me.

So here I go. Starting my weight loss journey again. Strap in folks, we're in for a mad rollercoaster ride!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Self care challenge - week 1

Happy Tuesday everyone! This post is technically coming to you a day late but I figured it made more sense to post it today to allow myself to complete yesterday's self care task. I've decided to try and capture myself completing the daily tasks however some are trickier to capture than others. I have created a terrible collage below of my first seven tasks. So here are the first seven days of my "31 Day Self- Care Challenge."

Day One: 

Go for a 15 minute walk. Completed this task very easily on new years day with Vala and my best friend Adam as company. 

Day Two:

Spend time reading a new book. Whilst technically not a new book, The Great Zoo of China is one I've not got around to finishing. And by finishing, I mean I'm barely 100 pages into the book. So It seemed like the right choice to sit back and get stuck into. 

Day Three: 

Give yourself a facial. Easy enough task to do. I have multiple face clays at home. So I had a detoxifying charcoal facial while nursing a bad knee. 

Day Four:

Spend time cuddling your pets. Honestly thought I wouldn't complete this task simply because I woke extremely sick this day. I was running a high fever, was in incredible pain and was unable to stay conscious for more than 15 minutes at a time. However by 9pm I felt strong enough to get out of bed and snuggle with our cat Midna on the sofa for a short time. 

Day Five:

Snuggle with a blanket, drink and book. Recovering from whatever virus I had, it was pretty easy to curl up in a new fluffy blanket Jordan got me, with my book and a bottle of water. I know a warm drink like hot chocolate probably would've been the more ideal choice, but my stomach could only handle water at the time. Healthier for me at least.

Day Six:

Spend quality time with loved ones. I was feeling more human so went for a long walk around the local lake with Jordan and the kids. It was cold but sunny which was quite refreshing. We all enjoyed the walk together.

Day Seven:

Compliment someone. I wasn't sure how I supposed to capture me complimenting someone but then late last night I realised I'd given a compliment to an artist on twitter earlier in the day and a screenshot is just as a good as a photo. This task was by far the easiest as, by nature, i'm very complimentary of other people. 

At the end of the fist week I can say these tasks have felt more like a chore than a way of helping me but that's mainly because I've felt obligated to complete them to avoid the disappointed of failing yet another challenge I set myself. With them being quite similar to one another as well, I don't feel that much better about myself mentally, if I'm honest. On to week two now!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Friday, 4 January 2019

My new self-care routine (part one)

Merry Friday everyone! Welcome to my second post of 2019! I hope the the first week of the year has been treating you all well; it definitely hasn't for me. I was so excited for all the changes I would be taking on this year that I honestly thought I was going to hit the ground running but I haven't. I have a few unexpected set backs that are making it really hard for me to stay positive and motivated.
After a 62 days cycle, my time of the month arrived and has completely drained. I've had no energy for the past 3 days. Also yesterday I woke up with severe pain in my right knee and was barely able to even walk around the house, let alone go outside for some proper exercise. Despite all the set backs, I've tried to establish a new self-care routine and actually keep to it.

First selfie of 2019
Everyday now, my alarm is set for 7:30am, which is the normal time we'd wake up for the school run. I'm wanting to set my body clock to wake up at that time no matter what day of the week it is. I'm hoping that by changing my sleep patterns, it'll make the morning school runs easier. I've also set myself an 11pm bed time. I don't fall asleep at 11pm but instead I go to bed then, write in my journal and read until approximately 11:30pm and then try to fall asleep by midnight. If everything works out the way I'm wanting it to, I'd be getting at least seven and half hours sleep each night. So far though, I've not succeeded at all. I toss and turn and lay awake for hours and the earliest I've managed to get up, despite my alarm was 8:30am when both kids woke up.

Along with the new sleep routine, I'm ensuring I eat a healthy breakfast every morning after giving the kids their breakfasts and I also take a multivitamin with me morning meal. I'm increasing my water intake as well, which is good for my health but counteractive of me having a good nights sleep as it causes me to wake at least once a night needing the toilet. I'm slowly moving myself to more st meal times and trying to gradually increase my daily exercise. I want to try and go for a walk every day but when incidents like my knee hurting yesterday happen, it makes that goal harder to obtain. I pushed through the pain and still managed to go out later in the afternoon but I came close to failing that simple task on day 3.

First walk of the year.
All the set backs I've had, have just played havoc with my postnatal depression. I'm trying to make this changes in order to improve myself and kick my PND to the curb but we're only 4 days into the year and I've already had so many curveballs thrown at me that my brain is having an absolute field day trying to convince me to give up. I feel so bad right now. My head is a scramble egg. I'm struggling to concentrate and I'm tired and I can't even remember what I've written so far. I'm seriously hoping that once my time of the month has ended, I'll start to feel a little better because I have felt so crap since it started. I hate that I can't even think straight right now. I honestly don't even know how I'm still going and not given up yet. 

One thing I do know, is that this isn't the blog post I was hoping to write today. I wanted to give you a proper structured and detailed plan of my new self-care routine but my head is such mush lately, that I can't even think what my plans were. I'll call this post "part one" of my self-care routine blog because once I'm of a more sound mind, I think I'll attempt to try and write it out again. I'm not sure when part two will be out, but I promise I will get it written as soon as I feel up to it. Sorry again for this all over the place post.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

New Years Resolutions 2019

Happy New Year everybody! 2019 is here and I hope you all had a tremendously fun New Years Eve and Day and that the year has started off with a positive bang. Now however, it's that time of the year where new years resolutions are one of the most talked about things and so today I am going to share ALL of mine with you. That's right, I have more than one resolution again this year. Last year I had three and only accomplished one of them. This year I have several and hopefully can accomplish at least two on the following list. So here we go, 2019's new years resolutions!

Clear Reduce Debt.

This was probably the first resolution that came to mind towards the end of last year as I have more debt than I care to admit. Well, I say a lot but at least it's just a single credit card debt that's not that massive instead of multiple debts all piling on top of one another. You can see however that I changed my resolution from clearing all my debt to just reducing it, that is because Jordan and I are supposed to be planning our wedding this year and you can hardly plan a wedding without incurring at least some debt. After all, wedding's be expensive. So whilst I would love to be debt free for the first time in years, I came to the very realistic conclusion that it's probably not possible to clear off all debt and plan a wedding at the same time. So my first resolution is to clear off as much debt as possible. 

Plan the wedding. 

Coming hot off the heels of my last resolution, planning our wedding is definitely a close second. So far Jordan and I have both been putting off planning the wedding and for different reasons. Jordan hates making decisions and therefore won't take lead with this wedding planning business and I'm digging my heels in the sand because I have planned one before and remember how horribly stressful it was. I'm not looking forward to going through all that headache and stress again and as a result, I'm not wanting to take lead with all the plans. We both want to get married but neither one of us wants to take control over organising the wedding. So that is why I've made it a resolution hoping it'll motivate us to actually make a start. It's going to be stressful and we're going to worry about money and stuff but it's one very important day in our lives and then we can move on to the next chapter so I'm determined to stop putting it off. 

Lose Weight.

Obvious new years resolutions that most people have really. It's a resolution I had last year but never saw through thanks to my postnatal depression. However, again because we're planning the wedding (or planning on planning it) I want to lose weight so that I look good on our wedding day. I want to get out of the triple digits and feel good about myself again so when I look back through wedding photos, I don't want to cry and burn them all. I know it's going to be hard work and admittedly I'm not the most motivated for the hard work right now but I'm sick and tired of feeling this way. It will be hard to start with but as long as I don't give up this time and actually push through, I should hopefully see some results. Hopefully.

Finish my novel. 

Given how long I've taken on my novel already, I think this one might be a little bit ambitious if I'm honest. It took me two years just to write the first draft so right now, I don't think writing the second and third drafts by October is overly realistic but it is still something I'd like to try and accomplish. I want to start planning the sequel novel in October so that I can start writing the first draft in November as part of NaNoWriMo 2019. In order to focus on the sequel, it would make sense to have the first novel finished. Maybe not published yet but at least have the third draft written and ready for final editing. Again, I do think this one is a bit ambitious but anything is possible right?

Establish a self-care routine.

I've put this resolution lower on the list however I do believe it's probably the most important one. As proven in a post from the end of last year, I don't know how to take care of myself properly. I am terrible at self care. And I want to change that. I need to change that. So does Jordan actually as we're both as bad as each other when it comes to self-care. That's why we've both made it our new years resolutions and we plan on working on it together and supporting and motivating each other. Last year I couldn't take multivitamin tablets that were easier to swallow because I had to take specific giant tablets that were safe for breastfeeding mothers. I couldn't swallow them and as a result, lacked a lot of vitamins that my body really needed. I couldn't use half my Acti weight loss products or treat a toenail infection all because I was breastfeeding. There was a lot that I couldn't do due to breastfeeding and I think those limitations helped fuel my postnatal depression. I'm hoping now that Flynn is no longer being breastfed and those limitations are gone, I'll be able to start taking better care of myself and eliminate this PND for good. I have started this year with a '31 Day Self-Care Challenge' and plan on doing weekly posts with updates about how I'm going with it. I've also written up a routine I want to try and keep to that'll encourage me to take better care of myself. There will be a separate blog post about my new self-care routine in the coming days, so keep an eye out for it. 

Those are my five main resolutions for this year however I do have other, much smaller and less important resolutions that I'm not overly fussed if I don't manage keep to. They include:

  • Reading more books
  • Cut back on soft drinks
  • Attempt my 2018 fitness goals
  • Learn to draw
  • Keep journaling and blogging
  • Go out more often (especially with Jordan).
So there we have it; my long list of new years resolutions for 2019. I know I'm asking a lot of myself this year and probably putting too much on my plate and setting myself up for failure but I'm going into this year with the same optimism as last year; if I have multiple resolutions, I'm bound to keep to at least one. Although this year I am hoping to accomplish at least two. I am looking forward to the year ahead though and I cannot wait to see what it has in store for our family. What are you new years resolutions? I'd love to hear them. Why not post a comment below and we can motivate each other to stick to our goals. Good luck with your resolutions and once again, happy new year!

Until next time,
Alli xo