Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Monthly Challenge: February

We're at the end of another month and my word, this month has been pretty awful to myself and my family. At least we will be ending it on somewhat of a high because tomorrow is Jordan's 29th birthday! I say "somewhat of a high" because he is working until 7:30pm so there won't be much celebrating going on but it's still a positive and I'm taking it. It's also my older sisters birthday, though technically her real birthday is on the 29th which we obviously don't have this year, so she'll be celebrating on the 28th as well. But this post isn't about birthdays, it's about the challenge I set myself for the month and whether or not I managed to accomplish it...

...Well, the short answer is no, I didn't accomplish it. Not even close.

The more in depth answer is that my challenge for this month was to finish editing the first draft of my novel. Of the 192 pages I printed out that make up my manuscript, I edited 17 of them. Yep, I didn't even manage to complete 9% of this months challenge. Of course we know there were things that made working on my manuscript a little harder, like Vala having chickenpox and my father-in-law passing but honestly most of it was neglected due to my sheer laziness. Editing is not my forté and oh my stars, it is boring! I like my story but even I struggled to read page after page of it with an analytical perspective. I just kept writing "rewrite this" over parts I didn't like and crossing out lines I hated. Not exactly the most detailed editing but whatever, it's only the first draft.

I had set myself a deadline to have my manuscript edited by the end of the month, which is tomorrow, and I didn't even come close to achieving that. But I'm not going to totally blame myself. I did send out chapter chunks to alpha readers and asked them to provide feedback. I told them all that I wouldn't start work on the second draft until I received their comments and feedback. Out of all five alpha readers I gave my chapters to, not a single one of them, in the last two months, has responded with any feedback yet. And I think not having their feedback lead me to procrastinate more. I gave myself the mindset of 'I can't start draft two until I hear back from them so me rushing to edit my manuscript is a bit pointless.' So I just didn't edit it. In fact, the total number of pages I edited in this entire month, is one. I edited a single page. Then Flynn woke up and I packed it all away again and haven't touched it since. It was after that one page though that all the bad news hit in a single week so I do have multiple valid excuses for not working on it again. I now want to get the editing done by the end of March but won't be making it next months challenge. No, I've got something else in mind for next month.

So there we have it, another month over and another challenge that goes in the "Did not complete" pile. Overall, I've had more completed challenges than incomplete so not gonna dwell on it. Can't win them all.

Until next time,
Alli xo 

Monday, 25 February 2019

I try, I fail, I try again.

It's Monday again, which means it is the start of a new week and my word, I definitely needed a new week. Last week was a nightmare from day one of the term holidays. I only managed to leave the house once last week and that was for my "stress free weekend" that turned out to be not so stress free. Vala's chickenpox plus Jordan's shifts meant I was trapped in the house with both kids every single day last week and honestly cabin fever was definitely starting to set in.

The only day last week that I could have gone out was Thursday. I had planned to secretly go to the gym. When I say secretly, I mean, I told Jordan that I was just going for a walk to get some fresh air, when in reality I had my gym bag packed and hiding by the front door. I only kept that detail hidden from Jordan because I knew he would make a big deal out of me going to the gym. Not a bad big deal but the opposite; an overly supportive big deal. He'd try and hype me up and be overly encouraging and tell me he was proud of me etc and I didn't want that because I didn't want to turn me going to the gym into a big spectacle. I've not been going because I feel so much pressure to go and it overwhelms me. So I'd planned to go in secret. Anyway, I managed to leave the house but not the street because I got the call about Vala's grandad passing away before I'd even reached the end of the road. I immediately turned back and returned home and then I remained stuck in the house until today when I was able to take Vala to school. (Thank you chickenpox for healing in time for school to go back!)

Now you're probably wondering what the blog title is all about, given the nonsense I've sprouted so far but the title is in relation to my weight-loss journey. As you'd expect being trapped in a house with two kids all week, not a whole of exercise was done. I did manage to Zumba once during the week but it was stressful. Vala joined me and the whole 45 minute workout consisted of her jumping around, bumping into me, demanding I look at her instead of the instructors on the TV and narrowly avoiding getting a concussion from my toning sticks as I tried to follow the routine with her jumping around me. Not only that but Flynn has become quite a Denis the Menace lately and to stop him causing mischief while I worked out, I put him in his high chair. This resulted in him screaming at me for 45 minutes and actually freeing himself from the straps and standing up in the highchair! So after that stressful workout session, I vowed to never attempt to do it again with both kids around.

So my activity was down last week but then my calorie intake also went up. I had tried to stay good at the beginning but as soon as I got the call from Vala's dad, I immediately turned to food for comfort. I knew I was comfort eating but I didn't care. I'm still in the denial stage about my father-in-law's passing and I've been finding it difficult to grieve. I know denial is one of the stages of grief but I haven't been able to move on from it yet. I couldn't leave the house, Jordan was at work every day, both kids were being handfuls, Flynn especially so, and I didn't know how else to cope. So I dove head first into World of Warcraft to give my brain something to focus on when I didn't have to be focused on the kids and I tucked into a lot of chocolate and comfort foods to try and numb the pain. I don't regret doing it but I do know it wasn't necessarily the best way to handle the situation. As a result of the extensive comfort eating and lack of exercise, I chose not to weigh myself on my usual weigh in day, as I knew I would definitely have gained and I didn't need more negativity to end the week on.

But as I said, this week is a new week and whilst I'm not at all over the news of my father-in-laws passing (which is evident from me breaking down in tears in the middle of Vala's classroom as I told her teacher Vala would be absent one day for the funeral), I am ready to try and get back on my weight-loss path. I had hoped to go to the gym this morning before Jordan left for work but it does seem like the universe doesn't want me to go. Literally seconds after I made the decision to go the gym last night, I slipped on some clear cat vomit that was in the doorway of our kitchen and I badly buckled my bad knee. I don't usually cry when I hurt myself but the pain was so bad, tears were coming despite me trying to hold them back. I was seriously, walking out of the kitchen to ask Jordan if he wouldn't mind taking me to the gym and the universe thought 'we can't have that now can we' and suddenly I was injured. I said if it didn't hurt to walk come morning, I'd still go. So the universe tried again and this time kept Flynn up and crying, talking, playing, crying some more, until a little after 4am this morning. When my alarm went off at 7:30am my head hurt so bad. My body ached all over, my eyes burned and I generally felt quite sick. So long story short, I didn't end up going to the gym today. I did try and nap once I put Flynn down for his morning nap but my body is all sorts of messed up today. I'm extremely tired, emotional and just generally feeling run down. But I'm tracking my calorie intake again now and hopefully tomorrow I will strong enough to attempt a Zumba workout.

So yeah, who'd have thought a single week could throw all my efforts into chaos? I tried being healthy, more active and losing weight and last week I definitely failed; but I'm here to try again. Here's hoping the next few weeks are a little kinder to me. Fingers crossed.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Friday, 22 February 2019

With a heavy heart...

Good afternoon everyone. It is Friday the 22nd of February and it is with a heavy heart that I announce that yesterday heaven gained another angel.

My (ex-)father-in-law and Vala's biological grandfather lost his battle with an extremely rare, aggressive and incurable brain cancer. We knew the end was coming but it still hasn't made the pain any easier to cope with. There was no post this Wednesday as I was contacted by Vala's dad, informing me that his dad had been seen by the nurses and that the family had been called to come and say their goodbyes. With Vala's chickenpox, we couldn't travel down to say our goodbyes but instead relayed our love via a video call. Then at 1:15pm yesterday, as I was walking down my street on my way to the gym, I got the call. Tim had passed away 10 minutes earlier. I immediately turned back around and started crying the moment I got into the house.

Tim welcomed me into his family from the moment he met me and even though my marriage with his son didn't last, his love for me did. Even after the divorce, Tim still loved and treated me like one of his daughters. Not only that, he welcomed Jordan into the family and considered Flynn to be his grandson despite there being no relation at all. With my family on the other side of the world, I saw Tim as an adoptive father and the news of his passing has hit me hard. Jordan and I tried our best to explain the news to Vala but mercifully, she is still too young to fully understand that situation. She was upset to learn that she would never get to see her beloved grandad ever again though and told me that her dad would go live with Nanna to take care of her and her uncles now that grandad wasn't there. She has her grandads heart that's for sure.

Tim was a giant of a man with a heart bigger than he was tall. Everyone was welcome and treated as family and he shared love and compassion towards all he met. He fought his brain cancer with courage and never let it take the smile from his face nor rob him of his sense of humour. A true lion heart until the end. We will miss him so much. A huge gap has been left in our lives that can never be filled. The only thing that brings me any comfort now is knowing he is at peace and no longer suffering as he did right at the end. At least his last moments were spent peacefully, surrounded by all his family who stood by him to remind him that he will always be loved; now and in the next life.

It is with a heavy heart that we mourn his passing. This pain may take some time to recover from so please forgive any more delays with blog posts over the coming weeks.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 18 February 2019

The chickenpox have arrived!

It's Monday again! And it is far from a happy day in our household. Poor Vala Bug has the chickenpox. She went to bed Friday night absolutely fine but woke up on Saturday with a few spots spread out across her body. She was still well in herself and even said she liked her "chicks spots" as she called them. That attitude didn't last long.

Come Sunday, Vala was covered in spots. Some had already popped and were showing signs of crusting, some were completely full of clear fluid and quite big and then there were plenty of small pinkish/red spots just appearing. They're not itching yet but Vala has been quite lethargic and feeling very sorry for herself. Plenty tears have been shed and it's heartbreaking for us to see her this way. It's only a matter of time before Flynn starts breaking out in spots as well. But it's not only Flynn we have to keep an eye on now; Jordan doesn't know if he's had chickenpox before either. His mum doesn't even remember if he's had them. So we might have three sickies in the house with me nursing their spots with Calemine lotion soon.

I'm glad I had chickenpox as a kid now. At least I don't have to worry about myself.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Friday, 15 February 2019

Valentines Day 2019

It's Friday! And I definitely have that Friday feeling. I also had it yesterday and you can imagine the disappointment I felt when I realised it was only Thursday. But yesterday was also Valentines Day. Now most of you probably know that I don't celebrate Valentines Day at all but yesterday Jordan and I did do a little something.

He was working all day so I spent the day doing usual stuff but just after the school pick up, my best friend came over to introduce us to his dog. His dog is very skittish and not very good with new people so there was a lot of barking from the dog and a lot of crying from Flynn. We'd finally managed to get him calm and a bit relaxed when Jordan came home and set the dog off again. Apparently he is more unsure around males than females. The barking lasted longer and Flynn cried more hysterically. The whole ordeal was quite stressful for me, despite me keeping a calm face about it. I breathed a sigh of relief when we said our goodbyes for the night and I finally got to enjoy some couple time with Jordan. I really needed it after the tense afternoon.

Jordan cooked me my favourite meal for dinner; Japanese Teriyaki chicken with rice. Well, I should say that he tried to cook me my favourite meal. He forgot to turn the heat down during the simmer time and as a result he overcooked the chicken and burnt the sauce. So I ended up with a bowl of plain white rice and chewy, burnt teriyaki chicken. The chicken still tasted ok but without the sauce to coat the rice, I couldn't finish the meal. I loved that he tried though and really appreciated the gesture. I think the fact he messed it up has made it more memorable for me. Like, remember that time you tried to cook me a special Valentines dinner and burnt it? I'll definitely look back on it with fondness. After dinner though, we enjoyed my favourite dessert; cheesecake (sorry diet) and snuggled up on the sofa and watched a film that I've seen many times but Jordan had never seen. 'The Terminal' starring Tom Hanks. I love that movie and was really happy watching it again, cuddled up to the man I love. Jordan thoroughly enjoyed the movie too and it took us right to the end of the evening. Literally, the movie finished at 12:59am. We started quite late.

So the day was exhausting and quite stressful but the evening was really nice; burnt chicken and everything. The only good thing about the stress of the day was it stopped me dwelling on the fact it was the 20th anniversary of my nan's passing. I had my cry about that early in the morning but then my mind was occupied right up until bedtime and I'm quite relieved about that. I'm grateful for Jordan cooking us dinner and trying to make it special for me. I think every year we'll try and do something special for dinner and that'll be our way of celebrating Valentines Day. We don't need to buy into the commercialisation of the day to show our love to one another. Everyday is Valentines Day when you're with the person you love. Cheesy, I know but that's truly how I feel.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Am I a gaming addict?

Happy Wednesday everyone. Starting the day off with a question I have been pondering for a little while now. Ordinarily, I'd answer with no, I'm not a gaming addict as I can easily go days at a time without playing anything and it doesn't really effect my day to day life. Recently however, I've found myself becoming much more absorbed in a sandbox world game called Subsistence.


The game is literally just about surviving in the wild. You have to gather resources, build a base, hunt to eat, avoid being eaten by the wildlife and as an added measure, avoid being killed by hunters that eventually move into the forest with you. I don't have the hunters turned on so that I can just focus on surviving and building my base. I play with my best friend Adam and occasionally Jordan when chooses to join us. I've gotten so into playing it lately though that I've been spending all of my free time in the world. My base is looking pretty awesome for a work in progress. I have found that I don't want to do anything else at the moment except play this game. I feel unburdened in the world and free to explore and create. I started getting so absorbed into the world that I even named my character and gave her a back story. I asked Jordan and Adam to name their characters too and also give them backstories so that I can write a short story about our world and why our characters are there.

My characters is August Evans. Born April 15th 1988, August is in the forest because she is a former agent of a top secret military organisation who went rogue. Her agency wants her dead and so she fled to the middle of nowhere to live off the grid so as not to be found. (Think female Jason Bourne). A few close friends know her location and send supplies via air drop to help her survive in the wild. She believes the hunters (when I eventually enable them) are other agents who have found her and are there to kill her. She must then kill them before they can reveal her location.

Jordan's character; Roger Roamer, has a less colourful back story. Roger woke up in the forest and has amnesia. Besides his name, he has no memory of who he is, how or why he got to the forest or even why people are trying to kill him.

Adam has named his character Stephan Karlsson. Stephan was out one night, extremely drunk, when a black Mercedes pulled up and abducted him. He was stripped of all his belongings and most of his clothes and dumped in the forest with nothing more than an axe and a glowstick. His body has been pumped with a serum to help him regenerate when seriously injured, however it does cause him to occasionally lose control of his body and fall limp on the ground in a stasis like mode. His brain has been programmed with the necessary skills to survive in the wild but all memories besides going out and getting drunk have been wiped.


The forest itself, where our three characters are residing, is a privately owned piece of land that was previously owned by the secret military organisation that August worked for. It was sold on to a private investor who died in a plane crash less than 24 hours after taking over the deed. The investor, along with the deed to the land was lost at sea. The land was left abandoned and entirely forgotten about by the military. All records of it had to be wiped as part of the sale. August knew of it's location and that her former bosses had forgotten about it so chose to live there for it was unlikely she'd be found. Roger and Stephan were dumped there by two different parties, both of whom knew of the lands history and secrecy. Neither party knows of August location. The three must now survive in the wild and fight the onslaught of hunters that come to claim there lives. August thinks the hunters are after her but as Roger and Stephan can't remember their former lives, it could really be them, the hunters are after.

And as I write this, I am fully aware that I have gone off the topic of am I a gaming addict? But this is kinda displaying my point. I've become so invested in a single game that I've created an entire world and a back story for it. I've neglected my actual novel, which still needs editing, because I'm so absorbed in this game. I've been staying up late every night playing it and instead of doing housework, I've played it during Flynn's nap times as well. I've just been having so much fun playing it. At first I thought I was clasping onto something that made me happy out of the fear I'd digress back into the deeper stages of depression (which I have been getting better with) but now I feel it's something more than. It's excited my passion for writing again and world building. I love world building. I've been playing the game so much because not only have I created a world for myself and my character but I get to live in that world for a bit. So yeah, I think I might be walking a dangerous line between being a gaming addict and being just an average casual gamer. I need to detox myself from the game but my word, I don't want to. I should probably get out the house more often I think.
Once I have finished the short story however, I do plan on sharing it here so be on the look out for that.

Until next time,
Alli xo


Monday, 11 February 2019

Light Night 2019

Last Friday was Light Night in Nottingham town centre and it was our third time attending the spectacle. Light Night is where art displays featuring lights are showcase throughout various locations in the town centre. Usually there's a decent walk between the displays but there also plenty of music and food stalls to keep you going. The first year we went was incredible. Lights everywhere, it was so beautiful. Last year was a major disappointment and this year... well we're not sure because we didn't actually look.

Now I know I said this was our third Light Year and we did actually go, but we never went and saw any of the displays. We got into town a lot later than we had planned and when arrived in Market Square, Vala's attention was immediately drawn to the towering observation wheel. She begged to go on it and after delegating some funds, we joined the queue. It was worth the wait though. Vala's reaction in the wheel filled both Jordan and I with immense joy. She was squealing with excitement telling us to look at everything. Flynn too seemed to enjoy it, taking in the sights and hitting the windows of the gondola. It was a very special family moment, even if it was a little bit daunting sitting at the top as high winds rocked us.

The plan after the observation wheel was to go see some displays but Vala desperately needed the toilet and kept complaining she was hungry. Jordan and I too were started to feel our tummies grumble. There were plenty of food stalls around us but we needed somewhere with a toilet. So we ended up in McDonald's. Jordan ordered food while I took Vala to the toilet. The plan then changed to eating food then seeing some displays. But during dinner, both kids started rubbing their eyes and yawning. It was after their bedtime by this point. We decided walking to see a few displays just wasn't fair on the tired kids so once we finished eating, we called it a night.

And that was our third Light Night. We ride a fancy ferris wheel and ate some McDonalds. Next year we'll set off earlier and make sure we see some displays. If only Light Night didn't come just one night a year.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Friday, 8 February 2019

Making friends as an adult

Making friends when you're an adult. How does that work exactly? We manage to make friends quite easily when we're children and teens but once we reach adulthood, it becomes harder for us to meet and befriend anyone new and I want to understand why that is. The reason I want to understand why is because I want to make some new friends and I don't have to confidence to do so.



Ok, I'm going to admit one of my guilty pleasures with you right now - I LOVE watching youtube videos of people announcing their pregnancies to their friends and families. They're just beautiful videos that leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. However, with every pregnancy announce video I watch, one thing always enters my mind; 'how do they have so many friends?' Part of me thinks maybe some "friends" are actually cousins or relatives of some sort but others are obviously close friends. Every video the couples seem to have countless friends with which to share the good news with and all of their friends are surprised and overly happy for the pair, which suggests to me that they're all close with one another. These videos make me think back to who I shared the news of my pregnancy with Flynn with. I told three friends and then posted the news on Facebook. Three people, that was it. The same three people who I would consider to be my only proper friends.

Two guys and a girl, that is who I am friends with. And to be honest, I'm only friends with the woman because she is the wife of my friend. Literally if it wasn't for Ian, I wouldn't even know Natalie so our friendship only exists because of her husband. My lack of female friends became painfully clear to me when it was time to pick my bridesmaids. I asked Adam, a male, and my best friend, to be my maid of honour and asked Natalie to be a bridesmaid. The trouble I've got is that Jordan has three groomsmen, with Ian as his best man. I'm short one bridesmaid and I don't have any other friends to ask. I considered asking my cousin Stef but we've not seen each other or really spoken in nearly two years. I then considered Jordan's step-sister but I've literally only met her about four times so I dismissed that idea quickly. Then my mind switched to a woman at school and thus began the thought process of 'how do I befriend her?'

We're already "acquaintances" I guess you could say. Vala and her daughter started nursery at the exact same time and are now in the same class together. She was also pregnant at the same time as me and her son is 12 days younger than Flynn meaning our two sons will also start nursery together and more than likely end up in the same reception class as each other. Because our sons are the same age, she and I have taken them to a couple baby groups. And by a couple, I literally mean two. We've been to two groups. I had hoped the second group we went to would become a weekly thing, especially when we got coffee first and talked for an hour before the group started. However the boys seemed a little too young for the group and we've not been back since. We haven't spent any time together outside of school since then either. With the exception of walking to the shops together after school. She lives passed the supermarket so when I need to go to the shops, I wait until after school so we can walk the 10 minutes to the shop together. All we talk about is our kids though. I want to invite her out for coffee one day, something for us rather than the boys but I'm really nervous to do it. I don't know anything about her life outside her family. I know she is also engaged and hoping to get married around the same time as Jordan and I and that she hopes to have a third child after she's married just like I do. I don't know what her interests are or what she does for fun etc. I don't even know how to ask her about that stuff without seeming nosy.

When I think about who I want my third bridesmaid to be, I keep thinking about this mum at school but we're not "friends" so to speak so she might find it a bit weird being asked to be my bridesmaid. So I do want to befriend her before asking her. If a friendship fails then I will fall back to my cousin whom I've not spoken to in ages. But I want to try and build a friendship first. So what are your tips for making friends as an adult? How do you make friends? What do you avoid saying or doing? My friends Adam and Ian are both people I had befriended online to happened to live somewhat near me, who shared my enjoyment for gaming. I honestly have no idea how to befriend someone in the real world. Help me! Leave a comment below with any advice you might have for a friendship novice.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Thursday, 7 February 2019

February.

I did it again - lost track of what day of the week we were on. Apologise for the late post, I woke up today thinking it was Wednesday. My blog title doesn't exactly explain what this post is about other than what month we're currently in. That is because this month is a very up and down month for me and I never really know how to feel throughout February.


On the positive side of things, February is the month my dad, mum, older sister and beloved fiancé were all born. That should make me happy right? Well, I can only celebrate with one of those four people; Jordan. Every year I send my family members Moonpig cards in an effort to show them that I haven't forgotten their birthday. But that's all I get to do. I can't afford to send thoughtful gifts and I can't spend the day with them. So I always feel a bit meh on their birthdays now. Jordan's is the only day I feel somewhat happy on and that's only if I manage to make the day special for him. Last year he was working most the day so Vala and I made him a cake and I planned a little gathering with out friends to celebrate. However, this was the same time that "The Beast from the East" hit the UK and our gathering had to be called off due to the trains all being cancelled because of snow. I felt like I had failed to make the day special for Jordan and it made me feel crap. I wanted him to feel special and important and to have a fun day and instead all he got was a cake after a long work day. He was more than happy with that and reminded me its the thought that counts but I still felt like he deserved more. I'm hoping to make up for it this year.

Onto the more negative side of this month, last year I wrote about what Valentines Day really means to me. You can find that post HERE. If you don't have time to read two blog posts of mine today, to sum up, Feb 14th is the day my nan passed away. I was very close to her and was the first of my siblings to wake up that morning, only minutes after my mum had received the news. I got the full brunt of my mothers grief as she cradled me in her arms like a baby and cried with me. It's a traumatic memory that I have never ever forgotten. It is etched into my brain and even as I write this, I am tearing up, reliving that morning in my head. For that reason, I have never been able to celebrate Valentines Day; and honestly, for a couple of years now, I've really wished I could. It's so silly, I'm not into the commercialisation of the day and I don't need one specific day to show Jordan how much I love him but for some reason I just feel like it would mean that little bit more if we did do something on Valentines Day. Like a dinner out would feel somewhat more romantic because of what day it was. I always try to find new ways to show Jordan how much he means to me and how much I love him and for the last couple of years, I've wanted to surprise him on Valentines Day. He knows how horrible the day usually is to me so in my head, pushing passed that pain to display a declaration of my love would be all the more meaningful. Jordan doesn't need that though. He know he is special and important to me and he knows how much I love him. I tell him every single day. But I can't shake this feeling - I want to do something for him, I just don't know what.

Anyway, between birthdays I miss, a birthday I try to make special and a day that haunts me forever, February is a really confusing month for me emotionally. I find myself in a total state of..... "sjbdfiyabpisbdjhsbguesb". That is a state of scrambled egg brain. I don't know how I feel. I don't know what to think. Half the time, I don't even know what to do. It's like February is a giant smog cloud and I just walk blindly through it until I emerge in March. I want to try and change this funk I get into every February but I'm not sure how to. It's something I need to work on.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 4 February 2019

Life Update

Happy Monday everyone! Hope the start of the week is treating you well. Surprisingly, today has been going really well for me. That doesn't usually happen on a Monday. I slept absolutely terribly last night, waking every couple of hours feeling extremely hot. The bad night left me feeling extremely exhausted this morning when it was time to get up for the school run. However, since then, the energy has spiked and I'm feeling quite positive and productive. I got a Zumba work out done, ate a healthy breakfast, had a brisk shower and now I'm enjoying a low calorie Acti-Labs shake for lunch while writing this blog. I thought now could be a good time to update you all, on all the major things going on in my life.

Weight-loss.

So I covered this in a previous post, I have managed to lose 3.2kg (7lbs) in a single month. However, now I am trying to up things a little bit. Last month I wasn't very active besides going for more walks because Jordan was home and I had a walking companion besides Flynn. This month, I want to keep up with the walking but I am also reintroducing Zumba into my regime. I am quite unfit so I'm doing it gradually. For this month, I am aiming to complete a Zumba workout twice a week. Next month I plan on increasing that to 3 Zumba workouts a week. And then in April that number will increase to 4 times a week where I hope to maintain it for the rest of the year. I would however, like to attempt the Zumba 10 day challenge again in May. That's 3 consecutive days of Zumba, 1 day rest, 3 consecutive days, 1 day rest and then 2 final days to complete the challenge. It doesn't sound that hard but honestly, after the first rest day on day 4, I've not been able to push myself to start day 5. This May, I want to do it! Also May/June time is when I'm aiming to be back at the gym and/or swimming. My confidence is still low but if I manage to keep losing 3kg a month, I'll almost be out of the triple digits and hopefully that will give me more confidence to return to exercising in public. Still counting calories and trying to maintain around 1500-1600 calories a day. I did however have a bit of binge weekend this week but Saturday is my cheat day so I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Today is a new day and one Zumba session, a kettlebell session, an Acti-Labs lipo wrap and low calorie, clean eating should hopefully be making a dent into any unwanted gains I may have accumulated this weekend. My mind is focused on the wedding and as long as I have that to work towards, I feel positive that I won't quit. 

Wedding.

Speaking of the wedding, I know the last time I mentioned it, everything was on hold until further notice. Well, since then, Jordan and I have had more than enough talks, arguments and even a couple of pretty nasty fights about the wedding and I can now say that the wedding is back on. The fights were all about money. Jordan was worried we couldn't afford the wedding and no matter how many plans I presented him, he was remaining very pessimistic. However, one night during our biggest (wedding related) fight, he realised that he has been negative about everything lately and that he has been dragging his heels in the mud for no reason. The plans I had presented him were logical and he could see that we could afford a wedding. Suddenly he was very eager to discuss plans with me and even created an excel spreadsheet to track the budget and costs. (That's how I knew he was really serious about it). We decided to push the date back a couple of months from May 16th to July 18th to give Jordan that extra peace of mind that we have enough time to save up. Plus it gives me more time to lose weight, which is a bonus for me. We've made a short guest list and went and spoke to a florist about approximate costs for bouquets and on Wednesday we might be looking at a potential reception venue. Things seem a lot more positive and smoother now that Jordan is properly on board and not focusing solely on the negatives. I'm actually started to feel more excited about planning the wedding now, which is good. 

My novel.

Honestly, I should be a lot further on with this than I actually am. Editing is NOT my thing. I thought I'd be finished editing by now and working on the second draft but I have seriously only edited 11 pages. I keep procrastinating. I completely underestimated how boring, tedious and mind-numbing editing your work actually is. I want to get it done but every time I get my manuscript out, I get a rush of lethargy and a double dose of "I can't be bothered". I sit there and stare at it and find any other reason to not work on it. I have even chosen to developed my magic system within the novel further instead of editing. I have also started drafting my idea for the sequel novel and thinking back to the short story I got two pages into writing before that idea sprouted the idea for this novel. I keep thinking, maybe I should go back to that short story and finish it. Literally anything I can find to avoid editing, I will do. I am getting angry and annoyed at myself for not being further along and I want to force myself to sit down and work on it this month. I set myself a deadline to have the manuscript edited by the end of this month. I now have 24 days left to edit 181 pages. If I can edit 7.5 pages a day, I can pull that off - but last time I sat down to edit, it took me 30 minutes to edit two pages. Still, I hold onto hope that I can knuckle down and focus.

Other future plans.

Along with the wedding talks, Jordan and I even talked about other future matters. After we wed, we'll most likely look to having baby number 3 (a 2021 baby) and then we'll hopefully be in a position to buy our first home in a couple more years. I have opened a 'Help to Save' account which rewards me for saving. Each month I deposit up to £50 and after 2 years, they'll give me 50% of what I have saved. They do that again after 4 years. Hopefully in 4 years time, I'll have saved £3k in that account, hopefully a little more than £3k in my regular savings account and Jordan will have saved too, so we'll hopefully be in a good position to buy. That's the plan at least. Jordan is also looking for a new, better paying job as well so hopefully that will speed the whole saving for a house process up a little. That said though, sometime between baby number 3 being born and us buying a house, we are hoping to make a trip down to Australia, so that could set our savings back a little bit. The trip will be worth it though. Essentially we've got the next 4 years of our lives planned out. Our plans actually work well with the "5 Year Plans" post I wrote literally a year ago tomorrow. I actually can't believe I am writing this kind of post almost exactly a year after posting my future goals the first time. I did not plan this. The only difference between our plans for the next 4 years and the plans I set myself for the next five years, last year, is that I'm not sure if I will be back in education. Of course I want to be but I've said I won't look at starting an open university course until I know it won't have negative financial implications for my family. If I was to study now, we'd be £500 a month worse off. That's quite a lot and I can't in good conscience put my family through that. So yeah, I would like to be studying within the next four years but we'll have to see what the future holds.

So those are the major things going on in my life right now. Obviously the kids are a major part of my life as well but this post was more about what's going on in my life, rather than what's new with them. I've actually enjoyed writing this post today, even if it has taken me a couple of hours to actually get it all written down. I've enjoyed it because it's made me look at everything going on in a very optimistic light. I feel good and happy about where I stand right now and it's been a while since I felt this way. So thank you for reading this long post. I appreciate everyone of you who takes the time to read my blog. I don't feel I am the most interesting person but hopefully as time goes on, that might change.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Weight loss journey: 1 month in.

Happy Saturday everyone! I apologise for this post coming out a day late but I honestly thought today was Friday until I sat down to write this post. You'd think not taking Vala to school today would have twigged that it was the weekend. Either way, I thought yesterday was Thursday and today was Friday and so I am posting this a day late and for that I do apologise. There is an upside to me posting this today instead of yesterday though; for you see, it was exactly one month ago that I started on my weight loss journey...again, and I've already had some pretty pleasing results.

On Wednesday January 2nd, I weighed in at a very shameful 117.0kg. Jump forward to this morning and I weighed in at a better, though still shameful 113.8kg. That's a loss of 3.2kg (7lbs) in the space of a single month. I'm really happy with that result. Obviously, I wish I had lost more but that's just me being unrealistic and wanting to drop a lot of weight very quickly, which of course isn't healthy. But I am extremely happy with losing 3.2kg in such a short space of time, especially since I haven't really been doing any major exercise. I've used my kettle bell, weight ball and yoga mat a few times but I've not really pushed myself to exercise that much. Instead I've been doing the painstaking task of calorie counting. It's not that bad as a lot of the foods I eat have the portion kcal written on it so I can easily track what I'm consuming. The frustrating part is when I have to weigh every individual food item before it goes on my plate and then having to do the maths to work out the rough calorie content of the meal I am about to eat. I know calorie counting isn't ideal for long term dieting but since I bought myself a food journal a couple weeks back, I've found it has helped me control my portion sizes and has made me stop and think before eating.

I haven't deprived myself of anything since calorie counting either. I've enjoyed pizza, McDonalds and even ice-cream as well over the course of the month but I haven't exceeded my daily calorie limit yet. I allow myself between 1500-1800 calories throughout the week. One day I'll set myself a 1600 calorie limit and the next might be 1800 calories and then 1700 calories the next. Regardless of the limit I allow myself, I've been sitting comfortably between 1500-1600 almost every single day. Only twice have I exceeded 1600 calories (1616 and 1650 calories). I allow Saturday to be my "cheat day" and allow myself a calorie limit of 2200. According to a calorie calculator that I use to calculate how many calories I can consume to lose, maintain or gain weight, I'm allowed a little over 2200 in order to maintain my current weight. So Sunday to Friday I set my calorie limits to ensure I lose weight and then on Saturday's I allow myself a cheat day that won't see me undoing my weeks worth of dieting.

I'm still getting used to this diet but clearly it has been working for me so far. I do hope to start increasing my activity and exercise in the coming weeks but I'm building it up slowly rather than diving in head first as I have done in the past. Jordan and I have pushed our wedding date back to July 18th 2020 from May 16th 2020, which is giving me more time to get to a weight I am happy with before our big day. I'm hoping to be back at the gym or at least swimming by July this year. As long as the weight keeps dropping, my confidence should hopefully keep rising.

Until next time,
Alli xo