Monday, 29 April 2019

Monthly Challenge: April

Good morning ladies and gents. Monday is here again and I hope you're finding ways to keep the Mondayitis at bay. We have reached the end of yet another month which means it is time for me to reveal my monthly challenge! I don't think it really needs much announcing though as we all know this month's challenge was Camp NaNoWriMo. I did blog about it at least once, maybe even twice.

I set myself and incredibly low and easy to achieve word count goal; 2,500 words. A feat that I accomplished with ease by day three. Honestly, if I'd been kid and distraction free, I'd have got that done on day one. It was easy and what I wrote is the very definition of rough. I had planned to go back to the piece once Vala was away for the school holidays and work on it some more. I wanted to add dialogue, more description and add scenes that I'd either skipped or simply summarised. However, motivation left me and once I got the rough outline of the piece written up and Camp "won", I couldn't be bothered to go back and work on it more. My word count never increased after day three and on the 20th, I was able to validate my work and get my "win" plus my certificate. I printed it out and put it in the frame above my desk that had last years Camp NaNoWriMo winners certificate but I honestly don't feel any emotional attachment to it. Last years certificate felt more deserved as I wrote 30 pages within 27 days. 2,500 words was a cake walk and given the fact it only took three days (technically 2 as I didn't write at all on the second day), I just didn't feel like I really gave Camp any real effort this year.

I think I've got too much going on in my head and stuff to sort out with life, to actually concentrate on my fictional world right now. I've still not completed editing my first draft yet. It's not that I don't want to finish it but I've just had no passion or desire to actually work on it. It's on the back burner and I'm not sure how long I'm going to leave it there for. What Camp NaNoWriMo showed me, is that I've lost my creative flare right now. I've lost my passion to write. I'm not sure how or why I lost it but I do plan on slowly working on it and trying to get my mojo back... eventually.

Either way, this months challenge was completed very easily and very quickly. Next month I think I may have to set myself a harder challenge.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Friday, 26 April 2019

Gaming Ventures: 26/04/19

TGIF! Hope you've all had a wonderful week and have an awesome weekend planned. My week has been very up and down and I've been attempting to find more of a balance with gaming. I've played a few games in the last week and a bit and here's what I've been up to...

World of Warcraft.

In the world of WoW, I finally managed to pick up the Xala'tath quest chain on a second character and I took her all the way to receive the "gift" from N'zoth. In my last gaming ventures post, I mentioned that it was my Demon Hunter 'Lunablade' that I was wanting to run through the quest line so that I could keep the gift on her character and cleanse it from my main. It took way longer than I anticipated but I finally got there. Lunablade has the gift and Netiri had it cleansed. I then tried to take my Pandaren Monk 'Berridew' through the quest line but unfortunately she was too under geared to defeat the last "boss" before N'Zoth so I was unable to complete the quest chain with her. It might be possible to finish if I got her item level up but honestly, I don't care enough about receiving the gift on every max character to make it worth gearing them all up. I've got it on one character and had it cleansed on another so at least this way, I'll be able to see what affect my actions will have later on in both scenarios.

I did also start to level my Kul Tiran Warrior 'Gwendolyn', but didn't actually managed to increase her level before calling it a day. The latest raid has also gone live in "Looking For Raid" or "LFR" for short and I have been kind of tempted to give it a go. I've not done any raiding this expansion with the exception of the very first wing of the first raid of the expansion. That was last year though, so in reality, I've not raided this year and whilst I haven't missed raiding at all, part of me still feels like I should complete each raid wing at least once on my main for completion reasons. Raiding isn't something I can do quickly, it takes close to an hour to complete and I've not had the motivation to raid just yet but maybe I'll give it a try this Sunday when Jordan's off work. We'll see. 

Dead By Daylight.

Dead by Daylight aka DbD is completely different from any other games I usually play. It's also pretty much the only game I play with Jordan nowadays. Which is actually why I've played it recently. I think Jordan and I played it at least four nights in row because I was desperately trying to get the character 'Nea' up to level 30. She was at level 16 when we started, I think. In the game, you can play as either Killer or Survivor in a 4 vs 1 environment. I always play survivor and admittedly, I'm not exactly the best at it. I die like 90% of the time. The game is: 4 survivors are trapped inside a creepy location (hospital, cornfields, temple, auto wrecking yard etc) and they must power up and turn on 5 generators to activate exit gates. They must do this whilst avoiding being detected by the killer who is searching the map for them. If they're caught by the killer, they're placed on a meat hook and must be rescued before their time runs out. You can go on the hook twice and survive but if you're put the hook for a third time, you are instantly sacrificed and fed to "The Entity" which is the whole reason the killer is hunting you; they want to please the Entity. The Killer is operated by another player which, in my opinion, makes the game a lot scarier because you can't predict how the killer is going to play. The more you play, the higher your survivor ranking goes up. The higher survivor ranking you have, the better the killers are, as you're paired against people whose killer ranking is roughly the same as your survivor ranking. Trouble is, your survivor rank goes up even if you don't actually survive. This is why I'm dying 90% of the time now. My rank has gone up but my skills within the game hasn't and I'm been paired against players way above my skill base. Despite dying so often and therefore failing the whole objective of the game, I still have enjoyed playing it. Mainly because I've been able to play it with Jordan and it's nice that we've finally been able to get some gaming time in together again. We have very different tastes in video games so it's rare we end up in a game we both enjoy. Dead by daylight is a very adrenaline pumping game and I last played it over the weekend. All this week, I've been more in the mood for a mellow type of game to de-stress.


Wanting a mellow(ish) game to play, I naturally turned to Subsistence and have been working on upgrading and expanding my base. Originally, I was done with my main base and was planning on building a series of much smaller bases, dotted around the map, as little hunting cabins but after some time away, I returned to my main base with fresh eyes and some fresh ideas. I had gathered quite a lot of resources from the last time I'd played and it didn't take me very long to add a whole second story to my base. I also completely changed an entire downstairs wall from wood to glass (pictured), which may sound easy, but in reality is a pain in the backside. It requires quite a lot of materials to create even a single glass panel and I needed six panels plus a door. I think it took me two real world days to gather everything I needed to convert the wall from wood to glass. It was worth it though because my base looks pretty cool now. I also did basic things like making my energy consuming devices more energy efficient and by adding more grow beds to grow more food. That's when the problems started though because crops require fertiliser to grow and that comes from ash from a fire, animal faeces or smelted potassium. Potassium ore is somewhat rare so I never have much of it and at the rate my crops are using up the fertiliser, I'm not able to gather enough ash and manure to keep up, meaning my crop growth it slow. Just when you think you've got this game figured out you do one thing that throws all your order into chaos and you've got to prioritise and problem solve and adapt your survival techniques if you do want to expand and upgrade. Jordan hates this game because it has no story or real point to it but I love it. I get to be creative and I can play the game any way I want, there's no right or wrong way to play. It's my go to game when I just want to zone out and de-stress. I can go several months without playing it and still enjoy it just as much when I finally return. I think it's a game I'll keep playing for a while to come.

So that has been my gaming ventures for roughly the last week and a half, two weeks. I've been getting better at balancing gaming though. It sounds like I've played a lot, which I have, but it's always been after the kids have gone to bed with the exception of yesterday when I played Subsistence during Flynn's nap time. The morning had been incredibly stressful and I definitely needed some chill time. It really helped and my mood was much better for the rest of the day. I don't have any set gaming plans for the immediate future, just gonna play what I feel, when I feel like it, so we'll see what happens in my gaming worlds next.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

We feel like kids.

Happy hump day everyone! My brain is finding it hard to comprehend that it's Wednesday already; guess that's what a bank holiday will do to you. As I stated in my last post, Jordan and I were on our way to Oxford to visit a friend. Whilst we had a great time there, we came away feeling sad, small and like children.

Our friends house was so magnificent and huge that it made us look at our own living situation as well as our financial situation and our general lifestyle. Our friend is single with no children and he just bought himself a brand new, just built, four bedroom, three-storey house in a still being developed housing estate, right next to a lake. The house set him back a cool £350k and he lives in it all alone. The house was gorgeous with a decent sized backyard and plenty of space. As we took a tour of the house, Jordan and I kept glancing at one another; we were both having the same thoughts. Our friends house was a million times better than the two bedroom, first floor shoebox flat we live in and are trying to raise a family in.

Our friend is the same age as us; his birthday is snack bang in the between mine and Jordan's birthdays and here he was with a huge house, a brand new car, a great job and decent money. We knew we shouldn't have compared ourselves to him but we couldn't help it and we weren't the only ones either. Jordan's old uni mate had come with us and even he felt small and immature in our friends new place. He too lives in a tiny shoebox apartment that he rents. I noticed he was having similar thoughts to Jordan and I when he made a slightly sarcastic joke about us all being "grown-ups" now. We all came away feeling happy for our friend and how well he is doing but at the same time, we felt so small, like we're still kids. It's really hard to put into words, exactly how Jordan and I feel but when we look at our friend now, we see him as a grown-up, the same way we viewed adults when we were kids. Even though we're all the same age, we don't feel we're on the same level anymore. Our friend seems to be more mature, responsible, financially stable etc whereas we still seem like irresponsible teens who haven't learned how to grow up yet. Again, it's really hard to put into words how we feel.

We're not trying to compare ourselves to our friend, nor are we bitter or resentful that he has things we don't; we're just...sad. He is in a position in life now that we want to be at but yet it feels so out of reach. We want to be able to give our kids a wonderful childhood with stability and structure but we don't have that. We have no idea how many times we'll end up moving house in the future or whether or not our financial situation will get better etc. I've said it before and I'll say it again now, we feel like we're in limbo. We're trying so hard to reach the level of life our friend is now at but we're progressing so slowly, it feels like we're not getting anywhere at all. I want to feel like I am a grown up, not a reckless, irresponsible teen but one house warming was all it took to remind me that I'm not even close. Hopefully one day we'll get there. Hopefully.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter 2019

Happy Easter Monday everyone! Just a short post today as I am currently sitting in the back seat of our car, on route to Oxford to visit a friend with Jordan and one of his old uni mates. This is only the second time I'm seeing this friend and admittedly, I'm a bit anxious as I'm about 15kg heavier than when he last saw me. So yeah, feeling a tad self-conscious today.

Our Easter was relatively stress free. The biggest stress was the egg hunt in the morning. Vala had already collected some of the eggs before she woke Jordan and I up. We got Flynn up to help her gather the eggs but he didn't want to relinquish any that he got his hands on. Any time we put an egg in his basket, he cracked it. Eventually we just gave up and let him eat an egg in the middle of the room. Vala was a little over excited as well and her volume was at max. Other than that, the morning was rather enjoyable.

We had a very restful day after that before heading out to a local park in the evening, once all the crowds had gone. It was so nice, we had most of the park to ourselves and the kids had a lot of fun playing and Jordan and I enjoyed the fresh air and warm weather. We treated the kids to McDonalds for dinner as well which made them both happy. Happy kids meant Jordan and I were happy parents. Now, the kids are both at Jordan's parents while we're visiting our friend and they are going to be spoiled rotten. I think it safe to say we have had a lovely easter this year. I hope you have all had a great Easter as well.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Friday, 19 April 2019

A Batman Adventure

Happy Friday everyone! A happy Good Friday to you all as well. Easter is fast approaching but that also means the end of the holidays are also fast approaching as well. The kids and I have been trying to get some quality fun times in during the break and yesterday we crammed a lot of fun into the day as we had a Batman adventure of sorts.

We started the day off meeting Vala's best friend outside our local supermarket. She was joined by her little brother who is 12 days younger than Flynn and their mother, whom I've befriended from school. Together the six of us took two buses to our destination which was Wollaton Park, the home of Wollaton Hall which just happens to be Bruce Wayne's manor in the Dark Knight Rises film. Before we ventured into Batman's home however, the girls had a lot of fun playing on a big playground while Flynn slept peacefully in his pram. He fell asleep on the second bus journey and didn't wake up again until it was time for us to have our picnic lunch. It was my friend who suggested we have a picnic lunch but I quickly realised she didn't mean a picnic, picnic. She had simply packed sandwiches and some crisps in the kids lunch boxes and that was their lunch. Whereas I'd taken the term "picnic" literally and bought an assortment of food, drinks, plates etc. We sat on a make shift picnic rug (a towel) and I laid out the plates for everyone and all the food I'd bought. It really did end up being way too much food and honestly, I felt a little silly about it. Next to their packed lunch boxes, it really looked like I'd gone way overboard with our lunch. I did think we'd both be bringing picnic finger foods for us all to share though. For me, the lunch was a little awkward for that reason but I still enjoyed eating all the fresh fruit that I'd bought with me. After lunch Vala and her friend played together on the lawns outside Batman's house and Flynn and his bestie played together briefly before wandering off in different directions on their own adventures.

Eventually, we packed the boys back into their prams and made the trek up the lawn (which is a big hill). Once at the top, the kids enjoyed some ice-cream before we finally venture into Batman's home. It's pretty much a mini museum inside with each room showcasing different things from old Victorian fashion and paintings, to taxidermy animals mounted upon a wall and finally a room with a few left over fossils from a previous dinosaur exhibit that we went to with my dad when he last visited. Honestly, by this point though, I was knackered and ready to head back home but the kids were having an absolute ball looking for Batman amongst all the exhibits. Finally though, the boys started getting tired and we head back down the hill to the park where we had started our day at. The girls played again while we waited for the first of our two buses to arrive to take us home. On the bus home I felt myself starting to nod off but managed to hold it together until we arrived back at the super market where we'd met up in the morning. My feet were in so much pain, I'd definitely worn the wrong shoes for the amount of walking we did. When we made these plans, originally we were just meant to be having a picnic while the girls played in the park, there was no mention of trekking up to Batman's house, let alone going inside it. Thankfully for me, Jordan had finished work and came to pick us up from the shop so we didn't have to walk home. I passed out within 20 minutes of being back home and slept right through until dinner time. I was very grateful that Jordan let me rest and cooked dinner for us. My entire body absolutely ached though. My muscles had been put through quite a workout, pushing the heavy pram full carrying Flynn, a full picnic basket and the changing bag all day. I was out of commission for the rest of the evening but it was worth it. The kids had such a great day and despite a little bit of awkwardness and me ending up in a lot of pain, I still really enjoyed the day as well.

Today though, has definitely been a rest day for us. The weather is gorgeous outside but I woke up so stiff from yesterday's adventure that for now, we're just relaxing at home. We might go out for a walk later once Jordan is home but we'll see.

We're all looking forward to Easter this weekend and on behalf of my family, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter as well.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Holiday Fun.

It's not quite Wednesday anymore and I am sorry about how late this post is coming to you. I have been out all day with Jordan and the kids though and got home just after 9pm. For some reason, I kept thinking today was Thursday as well so my mind didn't even think about today's blog post until right this minute.

Today was a gorgeous day though, 15°c with a gentle breeze. We spent half of it indoors and half of it out. Took the kids into town and in our local Intu centre, they had a "sticker room". All it was, was a room that they'd painted white and added complete white furniture to. The staff then gave the kids stickers and told them to stick them literally anywhere they wanted. The room was full of so many bright and colourful stickers already but Vala had a lot of fun adding hers to the room as well. Flynn on the other hand, was more entertained by pulling stickers off things, which then Vala stuck back down. It was pretty fun and what was even better; it was free! Our local Intu does fun little activities like this every holidays and they're always free and open to everyone, which I think is great. There is always something new and fun to do.

After the sticker room, Jordan and Vala got milkshakes while I got a delicious Boost smoothie. We did a little bit of shopping out in the sun as well as picking up picnic supplies for a fun picnic play date Vala, Flynn and I are having tomorrow with Vala's best friend, her little brother and her mum. With everything sorted for tomorrow and after a busy day, we were all starting to feel hungry and decided with it being so nice out, that'd we'd stay out and get dinner. Went to a very busy family restaurant and oh my word, the food was delicious! Flynn polished his plate and Vala ate most of hers. It was a really nice way to end the day. So a good day today and hopefully a great day tomorrow. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain on our picnic.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 15 April 2019

Vala's Home!

It's Monday again! ...I think. Honestly, I'm losing track of time but the calendar on my computer says it's Monday so here's my Monday post. Vala is home!

My beautiful little lady was supposed to come home on Friday after Jordan and I did the gruelling 6 hour round trip to pick her up, however, her Nanna asked if she could have her one extra day so that she could join in the annual family Easter egg hunt. Naturally, I said of course, even though it meant Vala would miss her first stage two swimming lesson. So that meant Vala didn't come home until 8:30pm on Saturday night after her Nanna and uncle did the 6 hour round trip to bring her home. Now I must admit something to you all; I was dreading Vala coming home because she stresses me out. I do miss her when she is gone and I love her to pieces but ever since the postnatal depression hit, I've found it incredibly hard to be around her. She wants constant attention, acknowledgement and praise. I'll tell her to go draw (for example) while I'm getting something done and she will draw a single thing, be that a person or a tree or a love heart etc, and then she'll bring it to me for my praise. That means, I'm getting interrupted every 30-60 seconds by her wanting me to look at what she's done or is currently doing. I'm the type of person who needs to be left to get on with a task and being interrupted every few seconds is a quick way to turn me into a dragon. Even as I write this very post, at this moment, Vala has interrupted me four times already. I love her but seriously, she makes it difficult to get even the shortest of tasks, finished. That is why I was dreading her coming home. I've been feeling more positive within myself (despite being ill) and I've been more productive. I've not been dragon mummy and I'm glad about that. I was worried that she'd come back and instantly dragon mummy would come out and we'd all end up miserable again.

Well yesterday actually turned out a lot better than I had imagined. Today isn't going the best currently but yesterday was great. Jordan was at work so it was just Vala, Flynn and myself and we had a lovely day together. We ate a good, filling breakfast together then went for a long leisurely stroll to the supermarket. After shopping we even stopped twice on the walk home to let Vala play and we took some photos and a few selfies. I wasn't stressed or angry and I was loving the time with my little Bug and Monster. When we came home Vala and I started colouring together and we ended up doing that for hours whilst watching a few films. Flynn was napping at that point so it was a really nice bonding time between Vala and I. I love the artworks we created together. When Jordan got home, he spent some time with both kids whilst I made dinner and as a cherry on top of the great day, Vala actually ate all of her dinner without any fuss! That's a rare occurrence in this household. Both her and Flynn made a mess at dinner though so ended up in the bath together. Even that is usually a stressful time for me but both kids were superstars and even I got to enjoy their bath time. It was really nice yesterday and once the kids were both dry, dressed in their pj's and tucked up in bed, I started to feel like I'd actually been a good mum. I even said to Jordan and wrote in my evening journal that I wish every day could've been like yesterday. As I said, today hasn't started off the best but there is still plenty of time to turn that around. It's only been bad because I've had a few things to get done today, like this blog post, and Vala has been interrupting me and nagging me for things all morning. Flynn hasn't helped either. He seems to be acting up for attention and deliberately doing things he knows he shouldn't do, like playing with the rubbish bin and trying to pull the rubbish out of it for example.

I have managed to get the housework I needed to do, done and this post is the last thing on my to do list. After this, I'm going to play with my kiddywinks again and hopefully turn this day around. We've got a fun week ahead of us and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Friday, 12 April 2019

Gaming Ventures: 12/04/19

Happy Friday everyone! The end of the working week is here! Jordan has today off but is unfortunately working all weekend - boo! So, today he and I are working on the house. More cleaning to come, with the kids room being our priority today. There is so much clutter we need to sort through and get rid of. It's going to be a full day of cleaning today but I am hoping to get a little bit of gaming in tonight after Flynn's bedtime.

I returned to gaming last night and delved straight back into World of Warcraft. I didn't start levelling my Kul Tiran; Gwendolyn, although it was tempting to. No, instead I jumped back onto my main; Netiri and completed the recently released Xala'tath questline to awaken the old god N'Zoth. I must admit, it wasn't exactly the most interesting of story lines. It was just a case of go here, kill a couple enemies, get an item and move onto the next location, kill a couple enemies, get and item and so on. Eventually though, I managed to collect everything I needed and was instructed to meet Xala'tath, who during the questline had left the knife we found her in and taken on a mortal form, outside the new mini-raid that hasn't been unlocked yet. Entering the new raid called the Crucible of Storms, took us down to what I can only assume is the area of the final boss. Instead of a boss fight though, Knifu (as Xala'tath is called by many as a variation on Waifu) and I were greeted by N'Zoth. Xala'tath had fulfilled her bargain with him by bringing us to him. She quickly departed leaving us at the mercy of the Old God. After a normal amount of Old God rambling, N'Zoth presented us with a "gift". We're not sure what this gift entails just yet, I'm assuming we'll find out with time, but it has left this, weird yet kinda cool eye, on my characters head. Now I have two choices; I can either be cleansed of this gift and the eye will be removed, or, I can choose to keep the eye and find out what the gift is later on down the line. This is where I am torn. I give all my characters personalities and characteristics and normally, my main character Netiri would do anything to serve her king. So I honestly feel that Netiri would have the gift cleansed. The only problem is, I want to know what the gift is and I can only know by keeping it. My plan is to try and take a character through, like my Demon Hunter; Lunablade, who is more likely to keep the gift rather than cleanse it. I haven't done that yet but I'll try and make that the next thing on my WoW to do list. Once Lunablade has the gift, Netiri can cleanse it.

After the Xala'tath/N'Zoth quest line had ended, I found myself in the Darkmoon Faire. Didn't do a whole lot there, just rode the new rollercoaster twice and spent some gold getting a new water mount. Wish I could say my first night back into gaming was more exciting than that but I just wanted to keep it casual and relaxed. Easing my way back into it, if you will. Probably will jump back into World of Warcraft tonight but also tempted to play some Subsistence as well, so we'll see what happens later.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Thursday, 11 April 2019

My gaming detox

Hello everyone! My apologies on this post coming a day late but I been recovering from a pretty bad head cold all week. I'm still not 100% but I'm feeling a lot better than I was a few days ago. Thanks to being out of action this week, I don't feel I have much to talk about so I thought I'd touch on my gaming detox.

On March 13th I created a new character in World of Warcraft but declared that I wouldn't play with them or level them for a while. After playing heavily after my (ex-)father-in-law passed away, I decided to take roughly a month off gaming. All games, not just World of Warcraft; and I've kept to my word. I created my Kul Tiran Warrior; Gwendolyn, on the 13th and then logged off. Now here we are on April 11th and honestly, I haven't felt the urge to log back on. Admittedly, not having the desire to log back on and game has upset me a little more than I thought. I've been a gamer since I was a teenager and it's always been a part of who I am. Heck, this blog is even called Gamer Mum Chronicles.

When I started this blog it was meant to be a place where I could blog about stuff that mattered to me. Like an online journal. I wanted to be able to talk openly about my family life, geek out about my gaming ventures and share various journeys I was on like with my weight-loss and writing. I quickly gave up on my blog though, after my ex-husband found it and saw the posts I'd written during the aftermath of our separation about my sessions with a domestic abuse councillor and the victims of domestic abuse programme I was put on. I removed every post and created a new blog which didn't last very long either. Eventually, I decided to return to this blog and when I did, I decided to revamp it, with the intention of trying to make something of it. A friend of mine has a highly successful family blog and I tried to follow in her footsteps but it really wasn't for me. That leaves us with where we are now. A crappy, hardly loved blog, that I post to four times a week just for the sake of it. I ramble nonsense and tend to ramble off topic, like I have with this post.

I guess what I'm getting out of today's ramblings is that, my gaming detox has opened my eyes to a few things. Firstly, not missing it has left me feeling like a part of me has died because, as I said, it's been a part of who I am since I was a teenager. Secondly, the time off gaming has made me more aware of other things, like this blog that hasn't received proper TLC for quite some time. So, I've come up with a way that might make me a little happier on both fronts. First, I'm going to establish a balanced gaming schedule. I want to be able to balance gaming, parenting, general life stuff, writing etc properly and so going forward, I hope to set aside dedicated gaming hours. Second, when I do game, I'm going to roughly document what I do in game and then I'll write up a blog post about. I know many won't care about my gaming ramblings but in my head, I thought it would be kind of cool to add some depth to levelling a character or building a new base etc. It won't just be a post saying "I levelled Gwendolyn from 20 to 30 this week", it'll be more detailed and I'll try and make a story out of it. It's time I put the Gamer back into Gamer Mum Chronicles and I want to add a little bit of my creative writing flare with it. I want to slowly improve the content I post here and I'm going to start with the gaming side of it.

My gaming detox will either end tonight or tomorrow night. Unsure which just yet. Saturday will mark a whole month off but Vala returns Saturday evening so i would like to get a little bit of gaming time in before she returns. Not sure if I'll dive straight back into World of Warcraft or if I'll play something else first like Subsistence or Dead By Daylight with Jordan. Whatever I play, I'm sure it'll be fun.

I look forward to returning to gaming again and the new gaming related content I hope to bring to this blog once a week.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 8 April 2019

Baby 3 is gonna help me.

It's Monday again! However it's a much calmer Monday in our house because Vala is staying at her Nanna's all week because it's officially term break! We dropped her off on Saturday and she'll come home again on Friday. I feel bad that I'm actually happy she's away but the house is a lot calmer and quieter and I don't have to stress about the school run or what to do with a bored 5 year old for 2 weeks straight.

But that's not what this post is about today. I'm sorry if my title has been a little misleading but im thankfully not pregnant at this time; we're not expecting baby number 3. But I am thinking about baby number 3 because they're gonna help me get healthy again.

When Jordan and I agreed to postpone wedding planning again, I was pretty bummed for the simple fact that I'd lost my motivation to lose weight. I had a set date, a set goal to work towards and when plans changed, my motivation evaporated. Our plans had originally been to get married in July next year and then to start trying for baby number 3 soon after. But now without the wedding, I questioned when would we expand our family. We wanted to be married before we had our next child but now we don't know when we'll get married. It could be years from now. So I said to Jordan that next June, we're going to start trying for baby number 3 and that I'm going to use that date as motivation to lose as much weight as I can and to push myself to get physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. At the end of the day, I'm the type of person who needs a concrete goal to work towards.

Now you could be sitting there, reading this, thinking that my two kids should be enough motivation for me to lose weight and you're right, they should be. But, as I've stated too many times to count, my brain is broken. It finds ways to break my will down. I wanted to lose weight to be able to keep up with my kids and play with them. My broken brain found a way to twist that. It convinced me that I don't have to be skinny to play with my kids. Sure, I can't take Flynn down the slide with me like Jordan can, and sure, I can't run around kicking a football with Vala, like Jordan can but I can still play with my kids. I can push Flynn on the swings instead and I can be a terrible goalie that lets 90% of Vala's shots into the net. And just like that, I couldn't use my desire to play with my kids as motivation because my brain just found loopholes and I made excuses.

The difference now, is that I have always said, it's important that I be in better health before my next pregnancy because my body does respond poorly to pregnancy. Hello tachycardia. So, I want to keep to that plan and I want to focus on getting healthy and losing weight before we start trying for baby number 3 mid next year. Only this time, I don't think I'm going to be overly vocal about my weight loss journey. In fact, I think I might only touch on it once a month so as not to put too much stress on myself about it. I tried dieting in the past and keeping it between me and partner at the time and I couldn't stay disciplined. Since starting this blog, I told myself that by making it public knowledge, I'm more likely to stick to my journey because I don't want to publicise my failure. We've seen first hand that, that didn't work for me either. If anything it made my failure even harder on my mental state. So from now on, I'm going to try and get myself into a healthy, thinner state in preparation for trying to conceive baby number 3 next year, but I'm not going to be so vocal about it. I'm going to do it my way, with what works for me, with no tips or advice from anyone unless I specifically ask for it. I know my body and I'm going to listen to it and do what works for me.

Anyway, this post has been way longer than I intended so I'll wrap it up for now. And with that....

...Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Friday, 5 April 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019

TGIF! Not only is it the last day of the work week for many but it's also the last day of term for Vala! Two whole weeks off after today, with half that time being spent with Vala at her Nanna's. No school run or a bored 5 year old to entertain all next week and I'm going to try and put that free time to good use.

Camp NaNoWriMo started on Monday and because I set myself a ridiculously easy goal of only 2,500 words, I have already completed it. I hit 2,505 words on Wednesday and haven't done anymore writing since. But I'm not done with it. The words I have written are extremely rough. I just wanted to get the idea I've had for my sequel novels epilogue out of my head and I've done that now. But in doing that, I didn't focus too much on the writing, just the plot. I've completely left out dialogue in important scenes, summarised a minor action scene and basically just explained what's going to happen. My plan, once Vala is away and I have free time during Flynn's nap times, is to work on this piece and expand on it. I don't plan on polishing it or making it perfect but I want to get it to a standard that's ready to help me kick off writing the sequels main piece in November.

I'm glad I got the idea written out, even if it's still in a raw form, because it's been in my head for a while now and I'd kept putting off actually writing it. Camp gave me the motivation I needed to work on it. So whilst camp is far from over and I've still got plenty to do, I'm happy to report I reached my goal and accomplished what I set out to do.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

First steps, next steps and suspended memberships

Happy hump day everyone. I thought I'd spend today's post just catching you up on some big stuff that has happened in the last week. Two moments I'm quite proud of and one that's eh but not the end of the world. So first we have...

... Flynn's first steps! That's right, at the end of last month at the age of 15 months and 7 days old, Flynn took his first unaided steps. He took me completely by surprise with it as well. He climbed off me while I was sitting on the sofa, leant his back against my leg and then just walked away. Only got about 4 steps away before he sat back down but it was enough to get Vala and I screaming with joy. Sadly Jordan was at work but I immediately sat on the floor, handed Vala my phone to record and propped Flynn up against the sofa facing me. After a little hesitation he took his second unaided steps towards me and Vala being the star helper she is, caught it all on camera for daddy. Since then Flynn has been practicing his walking more and more each day and is getting a lot more confident on his feet. We love seeing him up and walking but, he was trouble before he could walk, so now we really need eyes in the back of all our heads!

Next steps is what we're looking at with Vala. Last night she FINALLY completed stage one of swimming lessons and can now progress on to stage two. It has taken nearly nine months of weekly lessons but she's  finally got there and achieved her second badge last night. She got her 5 meters on her back badge about a month ago and we've been so close to the 5 meters on her front for weeks so it was an amazing feeling for both her as well as Jordan and I when the teacher approached Vala, held up two fingers and said "you can now move on to stage two." Vala squealed and slashed around and I did a little happy jig and nearly started crying. Jordan had the biggest grin on his face. We were all beaming with pride. Vala will be starting stage two swimming lessons when she returns from her stay at her Nanna's house for a week over the term break. We're all looking forward to her first lesson.

Lastly, I have suspended my gym membership. I had wanted so badly to build up the courage and confidence to return to the gym finally but also to start swimming as well. However, the months are flying by and even on the days where I have wanted to go, there have been other factors that have prevented me from going and it was costing us too much money. We were paying for me to not go to the gym or pool essentially. So I chose to suspend my membership for now. I still do wish to return and take up swimming but with Jordan's shift work, finding time hasn't been easy and I don't think I'll be able to start going regularly until we have a normal routine in regards to Jordan's work. After all, I need someone to watch the kids while I go and with both Jordan and his mum working shift work jobs, it's pretty hard to organise someone to take care of the kids. I chose to suspend the membership instead of cancel it because Jordan is looking for new work and in a couple months, things could be totally different, allowing me allocated time to go to the gym or pool and I don't want to get stuck with another costly joining fee. So whilst me suspending my membership isn't the best, its not the end of the world and it just means some things are on temporary hold until further notice.

Feels like it's been a good week and a good start to the month. Camp NaNoWriMo started on Monday as well but I'll cover that in my next post.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 1 April 2019

Mother's Day 2019

Happy 1st of April everyone! I hope no one has been caught by the April Fools Bug going around today. I for one am mostly ignoring social media today and recovering from Mother's Day yesterday.

And recovery, I need - yesterday was not what I had hoped it would be. The plan for yesterday was that I'd be woken up to breakfast in bed (chocolate French toast and coffee) and presents from the kids. I would get a restful morning before we went out for lunch and then our traditional walk around the local lake before going to Jordan's parents for dinner. That was mostly all Jordan's idea.

In reality, I woke up to the kids screaming (happily) in their room, got up to go toilet and was immediately confronted by Vala telling me she was so excited to go see Jordan's mum. I brushed it aside and went back to bed after my toilet trip and had to force Jordan to actually get up. I waited while he got Vala to sign the card from her and Flynn and eventually they came in and gave me my gift. No breakfast though. Eventually, I got up and made myself some regular toast. This was around the same time that Vala had mentioned she wanted to go see Nonna for roughly the 6th time since I'd woken up. Jordan tried to explain to her that it was mummy's day and that they needed to make me feel special and he asked her if I was a good mummy. Vala answered "no". That sent my depression into a fast downward spiral. Apparently, she said I was a bad mummy because at the time I was annoyed that she kept talking about wanting to go to Nonna's already. Didn't matter, the damage was done. I spent the morning alone in my room crying. I didn't want to do anything as I felt I didn't deserve it anymore. I just wanted to stay away from my family.

Eventually though, I told myself to get over it and to go out for a light lunch with the family, followed by the walk as planned. Well, Vala decided she'd keep driving that knife in that she wanted to be with Nonna instead. Mentioning it another 5 times before we even got to lunch, another 3 times at lunch and then between the trip to the lake and our walk along it, I lost count how many more times she mentioned it. Even Jordan was starting to get mad. He was trying to make the day special for me and he could see Vala's words were upsetting me. And why wouldn't they? On a day where you're supposed to show your mother that you're thankful for all she does and make her feel loved, special and important, my daughter kept driving home that there was someone more important to her that she wanted to be with. I couldn't help but feel second best. Everything I do for her and it doesn't compare to Jordan's mum spoiling her. I just felt miserable. I had to force myself to still attend dinner at Jordan's parents.

I'm glad I went though, the dinner was amazing and I got a little tipsy as Jordan's step-dad kept topping my glass up with this rather delicious French beer. But what made it even better was that Vala finally stopped nagging. She had what she wanted, Nonna, and so she was happy. I got a lot of cuddles from her then and she started saying nice things to me (like that I'm her best friend and I give the best cuddles etc) and I finally felt like I was getting the family time I'd wanted all day. It was a really nice night, I'm just disappointed that the day wasn't as enjoyable.

After we got home I questioned why Vala's words and behaviour had upset me so much and I just kept returning to the Mother's Days we gave my mum when I was a kid. All 4 of us kids and dad, went out of our way to make the day special for mum. We'd wake her with breakfast in bed and presents, we'd then leave her alone in peace until she was ready to go out. Then my dad would stay home and my mum would take us kids out for lunch and a bit of shopping. We'd then come home to a roast dinner that dad had made. It was the same every year. It was our little family tradition I guess, but it's what mum wanted. She got to enjoy a day off and spend quality time with us kids and we'd make her feel important and special. Nothing else mattered but making mum happy. I guess, I just expected to carry those ideals over. I started the Mother's Day tradition of walking around the lake and we've done it every year that we've lived in Nottingham but I didn't feel special yesterday, hell, I barely felt loved. Vala just wanted Nonna and Flynn was in full "I want daddy" mode for most of the day. Neither kid really wanted to spend quality time with me and that's what upset me. Call it selfish but screw it, it was Mother's Day, the only day besides my birthday where im allowed to be selfish and expect to be made to feel special. We've learned from our mistakes though and next year, if we do plan to go to Jordan's parents for dinner again, we just won't tell Vala beforehand. Hopefully then we'll have a more pleasant day together. Here's hoping at least.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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