Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Monthly Challenge: May

It's hard to believe that we're almost at the end of May already. The days are seriously flying passed way too quickly and it's actually starting to scare me a little. I feel like if I blink, my daughter will be in high school and Flynn will be in junior school. However, as we are facing the end of another month, it is time for my monthly challenge reveal.

This month is sort of on line with my Slimming World diet/lifestyle change. I challenged myself to try expanding my cooking skills. Over the years I've chosen the quickest, easiest and most convenient meals to make and I wanted to try something new. I have succeeded this month. I've experimented with Slimming World recipes and made a bolognese from scratch (goodbye Dolmio), I've made creamy chicken and bacon pasta with spinach from scratch, as well as creamy basil and chilli linguine my personal favourite; oven-baked meatballs! I had never made meatballs from scratch before and I'd never cooked with aubergines or courgettes. I felt so proud seeing how well it turned out and even prouder at how great it tasted. Plus, it stretched to two nights dinner for us which was an added bonus.

So yeah, I'm still trying new recipes and expanding my cooking skills but I'm definitely calling this month a huge win! Next months challenge is already set and I cannot wait to start it on Saturday!

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 27 May 2019

Flynn's first swim!

Bank holiday Monday is here again and I hope you are all enjoying it. We certainly have as we took Flynn swimming for the first time.

He absolutely LOVED the pool. There was hesitation from him at all. He was raring to get in the water and once in, he tried to throw himself out of my arms and into the water. He laughed and splashed excitedly and had no issue with being dunked under the water. He enjoyed paddling around and sitting on the edge of the pool and dropping in. He even saw a little girl standing on the edge and jumping in which he then tried to copy but instead of jumping in, he just walked off the edge. I thought he'd maybe last 20-30 minutes in the water before he was ready to get out but 80 minutes later, we had to drag both kids out the water.

Not only was it Flynn's first swim but it was the first time we'd all gone swimming together as a family. I'd been with Vala before but every time we'd tried to go as a family (before Flynn was born), something would always come up and we'd have to cancel. We tried many times but today was the first time we've successfully all gone together and it was wonderful. I came home feeling absolutely starving and Jordan is so tuckered out that he's asleep in his chair beside me as I write this. It's been a really great experience for us all and I hope we can all go swimming together again soon.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Friday, 24 May 2019

Second weigh-in

Happy Friday everyone! I hope the weather where you are is just as glorious and sunny as it is here. Just a quick post from me today to update you on my second Slimming World week.

Today is weigh-in, obviously, and I honestly went in feeling less than optimistic. I sorta experimented this week by changing a few things up to see how my body would respond and if I'd still lose weight. I wasn't having big cooked lunches for a start because I've never been a big lunch person and spending 20-30 minutes cooking it isn't my idea of fun. Anyway, apart from having smaller lunches like a chicken sandwich (being bad with the bread, I know) or missing lunch altogether (only happened twice), I also hadn't made any fruit smoothies this week and I'd not had any spinach. Last week I had spinach in everything and had a fruit smoothie (also containing spinach) with every lunch. I also didn't have any Hydraslim either.  After all those changes, I weighed myself yesterday and I was exactly the same weight as last Friday's weigh-in. That didn't upset me because it was good to know that I hadn't put on weight at all. I did want to try and get a small loss in, even if it was just 0.1kg or whatever. So, at school drop off time, when my mum friend who got me onto Slimming World, said she was taking her son to the park, I jumped on the chance to join her. However, through a twist of fate, the park next to the school was closed and we ended up having to walk 1.6km (1 mile) to the next one. It ended up being a 3km (2 mile) round trip and after that I still had to walk to Tesco and do a few other things. I ended up walking 9.37km (5.8 miles) in total yesterday. I also did cook up a lunch for myself which the kids also had for dinner. It was a simple Creamy Basil and Chilli Linguine dish. I didn't like the smell of it, but it did taste quite nice.

Anyway, enough of that, you're probably wondering what my weigh-in actually showed today. Well, much to my disbelief, I weighed in at 0.6kg (1.3lbs) less than I did at the same time last Friday! I don't know if it was all the walking or the fact I ate properly yesterday or if the scales had just been wrong yesterday but I'm now officially 1.6kg (3.5lbs) lighter than when I started and I feel very good about that. I'll probably keep experimenting with things a bit to figure out what works best for me and what my limitations are etc but so far, two weeks into Slimming World and I'm still feeling incredibly positive and not at all wanting to quit. Such a big difference from every other diet/lifestyle change I've tried in the past. Positivity all around today! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go enjoy the sunshine!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Restructuring my novel.

Happy hump day everyone! We've got another bank holiday fast approaching but also half term as well! We've got Jordan off all of half term and it's going to be great having the extra pair of hands to help with the housework and taking care of the kids. We've got plenty of housework to do, including a full declutter, spring clean and even some redecorating, however, I was hoping to try and fit in some time to give my novel some much needed TLC.

To be honest, I've actually been thinking quite a bit about my novel lately and even been considering
restructuring it. The thing is, I want to do both a little bit of restructuring but also a lot. I like the basic story line that I have at the moment but there are so many places that I feel need to be expanded upon and expanding upon them would change the whole overall feel for the novel. If I go forth and work on expanding these parts with the ideas in my head, than I'm looking at more of an action-adventure fantasy novel. The more I adapt the novel, the more young adult it becomes rather than the pre-teen audience I had in mind when I first started. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I've also recently delved back into World of Warcraft, which usually gives me a lot of inspiration and ideas and when levelling my female Dark Iron Dwarf Hunter; 'Xárynn', I suddenly got inspired to make her a character in my novel. I suddenly saw her as a long lost dwarven princess and fresh ideas started bouncing around my head. There is no room in my story, as it is, for another major character though; I already have quite a few big characters. However, last month I did start drafting a concept for the sequel novel and I'm now wondering if there is some way of incorporating Xárynn into that story. Playing Dead by Daylight last night also saw me playing with a person by the name of 'Surion' and I immediately fell in love with the name and instantly pictured a character with that name in my head. It came to me so easily. Again, I want to include Surion in my story but I'm not sure where.

I have a feeling that I won't just be restructuring my current novel. The sequel is so far away from having a concrete concept that I can literally change everything about it. I do like the current idea I have for it but I can honestly change anything I want about it, to fit the two characters I have conjured up in my head in the last 48 hours. I'm sad that recently I haven't had the passion or the drive to actually work on my novel but I'm really hoping that with Jordan off next week, I'll be able to take some time to myself and go out somewhere and really focus on what I want to do with my stories and what direction I am going to go in next. I'm hoping to spark some passion in me once again and hopefully not have it snuffed out again. I'll keep you posted about any new development in the novel development though.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Feeling controlled.

Hello again everyone! I know it's Tuesday, not Monday and that this post is coming to you late. I am sorry about that but yesterday was a bit of an up and down day for me due to a phone appointment I had in the morning.

I will make no secret of the fact that I am on Universal Credit and receive monthly benefits. I have been on it since Vala's father and I separated, making me a single mum. When Jordan and I moved in together, he was added to my claim but now we get significantly less because he is in full time employment. We've no issue getting less each month and honestly, we'd rather not be on it at all. However, Jordan's income covers all the bills and half the groceries but doesn't leave anything for the kids or savings or the full month worth of food. That's why we're still claiming. The little I get goes towards anything the kids need, family activities, savings and the other 2 weeks of groceries. Getting off Universal Credit is just one of the many reasons Jordan is looking for a better paying job.

Now you're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up and that is because whilst I'm on Universal Credit, the DWP likes to think it can control my life and yesterday I received a phone appointment from a work coach. The rules used to be that I wasn't expected to seek work until my child was 5. It's changed now to 3. The work coach was informing me that once Flynn turns 3, I'll be expected to seek employment or they'll stop my benefits. She then told me that once Flynn turns 2, they'll be wanting me to put Flynn in child care and working voluntary jobs and earning a little....basically jazzing up the way of saying "we expect you to be employment when Flynn is 2 not 3." This has upset me greatly because I have had the next few years of my life planned out, as you all well know from my "5 Year Plan" blog post several months back. That 5 year plan included us trying for baby number 3 next year, which has also not been a secret to this blog.

My goal for the next few years was to return to study doing an Open University course whilst being a stay-at-home mum, expanding the family and raising the kids. The Open University course will take 6 years (part time) which would see me finishing roughly around the same time that baby number 3 would be starting nursery. After completing the course, I was considering getting qualifications to be a Teaching Assistant and then seeking work as a TA once baby number 3 starts full time school. Of course that plan might be altered if there's a baby 4 as well in that time but at the moment, I'm not expecting the chance to have more than 3 kids (even though I've had my heart set on 4 kids since my little sister was born).

I'm upset because I feel like my plans/goals are being pulled from my grasp. The DWP doesn't want me being a stay-at-home mum and raising my kids like my mum did. They want me to palm my 2 year old boy off to a child care worker while I work. If I don't do what they want, they sanction us and take away the little extra money we currently need to get us by each month with a bit of savings. Of course, once I start studying, our Universal Credit claim will be terminated, which is fine but again, I can't go into study until Jordan is earning more to offset the difference. I can get student finance but it's substantially less than what we currently get on Universal Credit. My plan is to try and start the uni course next January but that can only happen if Jordan gets a better paying job before then. If I start uni, I get my life back without anyone forcing me to put my son into care and me into work. I hate that I'm feeling controlled again. This is my plan and I won't have some random people telling me that I have to put my son into care and go get a job rather than studying and raising my own damn kids!

Sorry, as you can tell, the phone call really got to me. Jordan is going to work me with and a few other people to create a Personal Progression Plan for himself so he can improve his chances of getting a better paying job and therefore allowing me to follow my own PPP of returning to study and raising our family before starting a career. His support means the world to me and honestly, I don't know what I'd do without him. After Vala's father and I separated, I had no life and no future. He had controlled me for so long, I thought there was nothing more to look forward to in life. Now I have a future that I'm working towards and I won't let anyone tell me I have to do things their way rather than my own way! Things may get a bit rocky for a while as the work coach wants to call me every 3 months to make sure I'm doing what she tells me to do but hopefully come January, I'll be starting a English Literature and Creative Writing Bachelors degree from Open University. Fingers crossed! We're so desperate to kick Universal Credit in the backside for good.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Friday, 17 May 2019

First weigh-in.

Happy Friday everyone! Although, in this household, today is more like FriYay! Today was already going to be a good day because Jordan is off work and any day that Jordan is off work, is a good day. However, today has started off even better because this morning I had my first Slimming World weigh-in and I have so bloody thrilled with the results!

Now, before I tell you how much I've lost during week one, you need to remember that whilst I entered my starting weight last Friday, I didn't technically start following the Slimming World plan until this Monday, meaning, I've only been "dieting" for 5 days. In that time, I have lost exactly 1kg! A whole kilogram despite eating more food than I usually do. 1kg is 2.2lbs for anyone who doesn't use kilograms. I am so so SO thrilled with that result and because it's such a positive result, I thought I'd share with you what I've actually been eating this week...

Breakfast: Bran flakes with banana and skimmed lactose free milk with an Actimel yogurt drink
Lunch: Creamy Tricolour fusilli pasta with bacon, spinach and mixed peppers.
Dinner: Same as lunch (ate leftovers)
Snacks: 2 slices of toast. Mango. Water and Pepsi Max to drink.

Total Syns: 17/20

Breakfast: Bran flakes with banana and skimmed lactose free milk.
Lunch: Scrambled eggs with bacon and cheese.
Dinner: Satay vegetable stir-fry with white rice. 
Snacks: Strawberries. Water and Pepsi Max to drink.

Total Syns: 11/20

Breakfast: Bran flakes with banana and skimmed lactose free milk.
Lunch: Chicken sandwich with a strawberry, mango, banana and spinach smoothie.
Dinner: Creamy chicken and bacon pasta with spinach.
Snacks: Water and Pepsi Max.

Total Syns: 10/20

Breakfast: Bran flakes with banana and skimmed lactose free milk.
Lunch: Scrambled egg and bacon toastie.
Dinner: Oven-baked meatballs with aubergine, courgettes and spaghetti. 
Snacks: Alpen light cereal bar. 1 slice of toast. 1 banana. Water and Pepsi max

Total Syns: 19.5/20

Breakfast: Bran flakes with banana and skimmed lactose free milk
Lunch: Scrambled eggs and bacon toastie with a strawberry, mango, banana and spinach smoothie.
Dinner: Oven-baked meatballs with aubergine, courgettes and spaghetti (Thursday's left overs).
Snacks: Water and Pepsi Max

Total Syns: 5/20

So that has been everything that I have eaten and drank this week and after all of that, I have come away a whole kilogram lighter than I was this time last week. I still floored by that. Honestly, I was thinking I'd be lucky to lose at least half a kilogram, not a whole kilo! I haven't been doing any serious exercise either. All I've done is walk to the supermarket every single morning after dropping Vala off at school. Other than that, I haven't really done anything else to encourage weight-loss. I've done house work and still found time to play some video games. We did take the kids to the park after dinner on Wednesday night as well so that was two walks in one day but yeah, Food Optimising is the bomb! I haven't felt hungry or snacky all week. I have had major chocolate cravings and usually after dinner my usual sugar/sweets craving kicks in but that's where the Pepsi Max has come in. It's considered syn free and it satisfies my sweet craving. I still crave chocolate but I've been a chocoholic my entire life so I can't see that craving dying off any time soon. What's important though, is that despite craving chocolate, I've not had any yet. Tomorrow however, is Eurovision night and usually, following tradition, we get a butt-load of sweets, chocolates, crisps and alcohol and have a picnic on the living room floor with the duvet as we live-tweet the show. It's our tradition and I didn't want to give that up so I've found a work around. Tomorrow, we'll have a tonne of cut up fruit and I'm going to melt a little bit of chocolate to dip into. Also gin with light tonic is like 3 Syns so if I'm really desperate to have a drink, which to be honest, I'm not, I can always have one or two of them without using up all my daily syns. I've checked and the chocolate will be 12 syns so I will have allowance for a drink or two should I want it. I probably will skip the alcohol this year though. 

Anyway, that has been week one of my Slimming World journey. I am feeling so positive about this journey and I am so happy with my result from today's weigh-in. I have also enjoyed trying out these new Slimming World recipes and seriously, last night, I was SO proud of my oven-baked meatballs with aubergines and courgettes. Mainly because I have never made meatballs from scratch and never cooked with aubergines and courgettes and the dinner tasted incredible. Jordan loved it too and we're both looking forward to having the leftovers for dinner tonight. Seriously guys, I am feeling so good right now!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Summer is coming.

Happy hump day everyone! It is absolutely gorgeous weather we're having here in the UK, perfect spring weather. However, I'm hearing the temperatures are supposed to be going up over the next few weeks which means Summer is coming!

I love the British summer time! It's honestly my favourite time of year. It reminds me so much of home. In Australia, summer temperatures can get into the 40's (Celsius) which is ridiculously hot. I was never the biggest fan of Aussie summers. I preferred to stay indoors and keep cool and only come outside to use our family swimming pool or once the cool change was starting to come in. I have many fond memories of having barbecues for dinner every night and eating out on the back patio as the cool change came in in. I used to stay outside with my dad after dinner, drinking a cold beer, listening to cicada's buzzing, until the sun had gone in. I was always happy in those moments. British summer is more like the Australian spring with temperatures hitting around the mid 20's, sometimes even high 20's. It's the perfect temperature in my opinion. Not too hot that I can't stand being outside but also not too chilly that we can't stay outside for hours on end. In Australia, I loved every season for different reasons. In England, I only really like spring and summer because of the warmer weather. Don't get me wrong, I prefer colder weather but autumn and winter here is just very grey, wet and depressing. Despite loving spring and summer here, I have a massive problem with them. I get homesick.

The weather being so sunny, warm and perfect just makes want to get outside, paddle my feet in the pool, sit out drinking coldies and have barbecues nearly every night with my family. Of course, I can't do any of that. Our current place only has a front yard, not a back yard, and the yard is on a slope. We have no where to keep a barbecue or to place it while using it, therefore we don't own one. We can't have tables and chairs outside because of the angle of the lawn and we can't have a paddling pool for the kids, for the same reason. Plus, the lack of privacy and the high probability of someone stealing our stuff overnight. It makes me sad that everything that I loved about spring/summer as a child/teen/young adult, I can't give to my kids and I can't enjoy myself. I find myself desperate to go to Jordan's parents more often during this time of year because we can sit outside at theirs and they have a barbecue that we can use. Of course, we can't just keep inviting ourselves up to have barbecues because they have jobs and lives of their own, so we only really get to have maybe one or two barbecues with them per year. I call it my Aussie gene; the reason I crave barbecues and lazing around outdoors in the warmth but honestly, it's just me being homesick. I admit I get more depressed than I actually should during summer and that is purely because I miss home so much during the warmer weather. Despite that though, I try and enjoy the warmer seasons and get out as often as possible with the family. I can't give them the wonderful childhood I had just yet but that doesn't mean we can't find other ways to enjoy summer.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Monday, 13 May 2019

Slimming World - Day One!

G'day all! Monday is upon us once more and I for one, am not feeling the sting of the Mondayitis bug today. For today is a big day for me; the first official day of my Slimming World journey!

Now, full disclosure, I was supposed to start my Slimming World diet on Friday when I signed up and entered my starting weight, however due to weekend commitments, I have waited until today to start. We had a birthday on Saturday and a family day out (including lunch out) on Sunday and for someone who was just starting out with Slimming World and still learning what I should and shouldn't eat, trying to be good when surrounded by a heap of "high-syn" foods, just seemed a little too hard to start with. So Jordan supported me when I said I wanted to wait until today to start, so I could still enjoy our weekend plans without worrying about messing up the diet already. So, whilst today is technically day 4 according to my Slimming World profile, for me, it's officially day one.

Unfortunately, I can't say it started off the best today but I am on track now. This morning was such a massive rush before school as Vala has class photos today and she needed showering and her uniform fresh out the dryer ironing etc, that I didn't get chance to eat breakfast when I should've. Instead, I had a healthy syn-free breakfast at 9:45am after returning from a walk to Tesco to pick up ingredients for a hopefully yummy and super filling lunch. For breakfast I had a small bowl of Bran Flakes with a chopped up banana and semi-skimmed lactose free milk. I did unfortunately also have an Actimel yogurt drink which is 4 syns by itself but I have one every morning so I wasn't about to cut it out. For lunch I've got a Slimming World recipe for a creamy pasta sauce. The sauce is 1 syn per serving and today I will be mixing it with tricolour fusilli pasta, bacon, spinach and mixed peppers. Sounds like a big meal but one serving of it, will literally only use 1 syn of my daily allowance. I am already understanding why so many people rave about Slimming World; nothing is off-limits. I could not believe that pasta was classed as a "free food" and that I can eat as much of it as I want! There are so many recipes that help you make healthier meals and I've already made a syn-free spaghetti bolognese that was so filling, I couldn't even finish a single bowl.

Honestly, I'm feeling quite excited and optimistic to embark on this journey and I have so much more support around me now. A mum friend from school (whom is the reason I even considered SW) has given me nothing but encouragement and support. She lent me her Slimming World recipe books and has been engaging with me on my weight-loss goals. She herself, lost over 3 stone when on Slimming World and a friend of hers has just lost her 8th stone since starting. I'm aiming to lose at least 8 stone (minimum) and if they can do it, than so can I. Jordan's mum has also been extra supportive when I spoke to her about it yesterday. She asked if I was still going to the gym and when I said no because I've been too scared to go, she said I was welcome to come up and use her gym equipment (treadmill and stationary bike) any time she's off work. She said that she'd close the doors so I had privacy and take Flynn down the other end of the house and play with him whilst I worked out. I think it'll be a while before I feel comfortable enough to do that but I seriously appreciate her offer. On the exercise front, I've vowed to take stairs from now on instead of a lift (except for when I've got the pram), dance every day and take the long way to school on the school runs, rather than much shorter direct route. Since I'm also several days behind, due to the weekend, I'm also intending on doing Zumba a couple times this week to work off the weekend calories. I want to weigh-in with a loss this Friday and I'm prepared to work for that. So fingers crossed good things come from this week. Wish me luck!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Friday, 10 May 2019

My Weight-Loss Partners: Slimming World & Acti-Labs

It's Friday again! Already, I should say. Thanks to the May Day bank holiday, my sense of time has been a bit outta whack. It feels like Thursday to me. Today however, has already been a big one for me; for I just signed up to Slimming World.

Joining Slimming World was a huge decision for me because it requires me to pay a monthly membership fee and on top of that, when you first join, you're required to pay for the first three months up front. I've joined online rather than a local group and that has a fee of £5 a week or £20 a month. Signing up though, you get a choice of a bronze, silver or gold package which vary in cost. Bronze is £60 (3 months membership) but I decided to go with gold which was £80 but also comes with two very helpful books "Food Optimising" and "Body Magic" as well as 7 issues of the Slimming World magazine. The reason I chose to pay the extra and get the two books is because a mum from school, whom I have befriended, joined Slimming World after her son (who is 12 days younger than Flynn) was born and she got the books from her local group. This week she has not only shared stories with me but she has also given me tonnes of recipes and even lent me her two books for me to read through. I feel the books are pretty valuable to have on this journey and whilst I could've just photocopied the books she gave me and saved myself £20, I thought having my own proper physical copies would be better than having over 100 loose sheets laying about. So, long story short, as of this morning, I have joined Slimming World. I am still setting everything up and trying to make sense of everything but I am nervous excited about this new journey. I've put in my current weight and my goal weight and I'm really hoping that this is it for me. That this is the last weight-loss journey I ever embark on because I stick to it and finally succeed. I've got a lot of support around me now and so many people have succeeded with Slimming World; I want to believe I can too.

Now you're probably wondering why I mentioned weight loss partners in my title and that is because I'm still planning on incorporating my Acti-Labs products into my weight-loss journey. I still intend on using their Lipo wraps which are amazing, as well as getting some more Hydraslim in to help me on my journey. I've not been using my Acti products lately, simply because I've not been living the right lifestyle for them. Lipo wraps are great for helping you slim down and lose inches, whilst firming your skin and improving its elasticity. BUT, they need to be coupled with a heavy lifestyle. Sure, I can use the wrap, lose some inches but if I keep eating crap, the fat that I melted away will just be replaced with new fat cells. Also, the more water you consume, the better the Lipo wraps results will be and I've not been drinking nearly enough water. I figured, there's no point using the product if I'm not going to help myself along with it. Lipo wraps aren't a fatness cure, they're meant to be paired with a healthy lifestyle and until I can confidently say I'm living a healthier life, I don't want to waste these amazing products. Especially not with Lipo wraps being so popular that they sell out within a matter of days of coming into stock.  Hydraslim does wonders for your body as well including: reducing bloating, boosts your bodies metabolism, reduces water retention, speeds up digestion and helps boost your energy levels. It's a pretty nifty product to have, you simply dilute 10ml in 500mls water and sip it throughout the day. I've just ordered more of it. I do love Acti-Labs products and hopefully, when I'm feeling a little bit more confident in myself, I'll even branch out and start buying things from their make-up range as well.

So from here on out, my plan is to stick to Slimming Worlds "Food Optimising and Body Magic" plan whilst coupling it with a daily dose of Hydraslim and doing a Lipo wrap maybe once or twice a week. I've got so much support around me and I'm actually feeling quietly optimistic about this new journey. I wasn't hesitant in the past to join Slimming World because of the monthly fee but everything I've read, heard and learned, has made me more eager to give it a shot. Keep your fingers crossed for me ladies and gents, I have no idea what kind of ride I've got myself in for.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Life needs to change.

Hey everyone! Apologies that this post is coming to you quite late today but honestly, up until now, I wasn't sure what to blog about. I'm intending this to be a short piece but we all know how much I tend to ramble on so I'm just going to cut to the chase; I need life to change. 

Most people are afraid of change; and with good reason, change can be scary. I thought for a while, that I was one of those people but in reality, I'm the opposite. I need change. Right now, life is pretty stagnant. We're not moving forward but we're also not moving backwards, we're just sitting dead in the water right now. I've spent the last week trying to figure out what is right for me in terms of losing weight and it doesn't matter what options I look at, my brain is convinced I'll fail no matter what I try so why bother. I even have a mum at school, loaning me her Slimming World recipe books because she said they've been great for her and she lost all the baby weight plus a bit more after her son (who is 12 days younger than Flynn) was born. However, I just can't change my habits and I've spent all of today trying to figure out why it's so hard for me to break these habits and I honestly think it's because nothing in my life is changing at the moment. Wedding plans have been put on hold again, Jordan's slacked off on looking for a new job and we can't move to a bigger place until he has a new job that brings in more income. There isn't really a way for me to improve our financial/living situations at the moment, we've looked; so I'm pretty much just sitting here, waiting for things to change around me, feeling I have little to no control over them. I'll be honest, it sucks.

The only thing I have any control over, is my weight loss and dieting etc. But of course, I can't break out of those habits. Nothing around is changing, therefore I'm not changing. I'm finding it harder to change when literally everything else is staying exactly the same. I've had this problem before I moved to the UK. I was in a place in my life where not only had I stopped progressing in life but in some aspects like my relationship and education, I'd actually started moving backwards. I started becoming quite depressed, much like I am now. I needed change, I needed to keep moving forward to the next goal. I know what I want from life and I don't think I'll be happy until I've reached those goals. So, if I'm not moving towards those goals at a reasonable rate, everything starts to get very bleak for me. It's because of the lack of change that I'm struggling to get my head in the right place to lose weight. My brain demon; Lilith, keeps reinforcing that it doesn't matter what I do, nothing will change. I need to get out of my own head but it just feels impossible at the moment. I'm honestly worried that I won't be able to actually lose weight until something drastically changes within our family life; like Jordan getting a new job and/or us moving home etc. I can't change while everything else is staying the same, that's basically it, in a nutshell. How I'm going to get passed this, I don't know. What I do know, is that I have to find a way to progress whilst being anchored in one place.

I seriously hope some good change comes along soon. 

Until next time, 
Alli xo 

Monday, 6 May 2019

Stage 2 Swimming

It's May Day bank holiday and that means Vala has been treated to a three-day weekend. Not sure she'll overly happy about that as she really enjoys school. Touching on Friday's post very briefly, it wasn't the most positive of topics and as promised, today's post will be a much happier one because Vala recently started stage two swimming lessons!

After nearly nine long months in stage one, Vala finally hit 100% a little over a month ago and we changed her swimming lessons from stage one on Tuesdays to stage two on Saturdays. She had a two week break whilst she was away visiting family and started back at swimming on April 20th. I think the new time, with the new teacher, after two weeks off caused her to regress a little bit as she didn't appear quite as confident as she had done in her final stage one lesson. Stage two however, is quite a big step up from stage one; more than we thought it would be. Vala had only just achieved her 5 meters front crawl badge, which was what finally help her hit 100%, and now suddenly she was being instructed on how to do proper freestyle. It was considerably harder compared to the previous stage and watching Vala, I couldn't help but feel this might be another, near year long stage for her. However, at the end of week two she was sitting at 18% which is a pretty good start. Yesterday, was her third lesson and she now sits at 27%. I'm amazed at how much she has progressed (on paper) in a single lesson. I have a feeling though that she'll breeze through the lower percentages quite quickly but then sit at around 70%-80% for quite some time. In stage one, she sat in the 90th percentile for over two months.

Regardless of how fast she progresses, Jordan and I are both really proud of how far she's come along. Even with her doing harder swim styles now, like synchronised backstroke yesterday, she still gives it her all and pushes herself. She now confidently puts her face under the water as well; something she never did in stage one. She's coming on in leaps and bounds and she absolutely loves her swimming. I can't wait to see how she progresses over the coming months.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Friday, 3 May 2019

Lilith and Butcher

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you've all got some fun weekend plans lined up. Vala's got a friends birthday party tomorrow. I'm going to be having lunch with my best friend while she's there and then on Sunday, we're having a family day as Jordan's off work. I'm definitely in a TGIF mood but I'm afraid today's post isn't going to be a particularly happy one. For you see, there is something about my mental health that, up until recently, I kept only to myself.

I thought it was high time to introduce you to the demons inside my head and the roles they play in my mood. Up until now, I've just referred to them as the voices in my head or my demons but a while ago, I gave them names and identities. I'd hoped that by doing so, it would make them easier to control and deal with and to some extent it has, just not as much as I'd have hoped.

So first up is Lilith. Aptly named after a demon, Lilith is a giant, black Great Dane who comes and sits on me whenever I try to be productive. She has a more sultry version of my own voice and taunts me endlessly. She's the demon who says things like "what's the point in trying, you're only going to fail", "Give up trying to lose weight, you're always going to be fat" and "You're a useless, worthless, incompetent, terrible mother." She brings my mood down and crushes my motivation and hope. Any time I try to be productive and just end up sitting on my arse playing video games, it's because inside of me, there is a giant black dog sitting on my chest, whispering cruel taunts in my mind and playing video games is my way of trying to drown her out. In the end though, she wins because by playing the games to drown her out, I wasn't being productive like I wanted to be. She's a real b***h.

Then of course, there are the moments where everything just becomes too much for me and Dragon Mummy comes out. Those days where I snap at everyone and everything. Where I shut myself in my room and cry my eyes out all day. That is because Butcher has made an appearance. I can function relatively ok when it's just Lilith but as soon as Butcher joins in, there is no hope for me. He is a stereotypical looking red cartoon devil. He usually sits on Lilith's back and he spreads lies based off my fears. He tells me things like "Jordan will stop loving you if you don't lose weight", "Jordan is going to find someone better, prettier and skinnier than you and you're going to die alone and unloved" and "Your kids are going to grow up to hate you because you're the worst mother in the world." Together, both Butcher and Lilith call me names and pick on my flaws, like my weight and my appearance. They mock me and bring me down and I hate them both. I'm glad that Butcher isn't always around but unfortunately Lilith is.

Some days though, I manage to get some stuff done and be productive whilst Lilith takes a nap. Even brain demons need their ugly sleep. However, when she wakes up she sits back on my chest (which leaves a genuine feeling of a heavy heart) and tells me that everything I accomplished during her nap, wasn't good enough and that I didn't do as much as I should've. She is exhausting. They both are.

But there you have it, the two demons that I had kept completely secret until about a week ago when I told both Jordan and my best friend about them. Figured, since they were out the bag now, it was time to share them with everyone else. I think since telling Jordan about them, he's been able to understand a little better about how I feel each day and why even the simplest of tasks can be so hard for me. You'd have a hard time cleaning the house if there was a Great Dane sitting on your chest as well. Anyway, I promise I will try and give you a more positive post next week, but this is something that I needed to get out there. Thanks for reading.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Weight loss journey 4 months in.

Pinch punch, it's the first of the month! May is upon us and it is hard to believe we are nearly half way through the year already. Time is moving way too quickly! I haven't even started birthday/Christmas shopping for the kids yet and I usually start that in March! I'm really falling behind this year which may make November and December a lot more stressful. For now though, let's focus on May and what it has in store for my family and I.

I thought I'd off with my weight-loss journey even though technically, I wasn't on it last month. I'm calling it an off month rather than a "I gave up and now I'm starting again" month. So that would make me 4 months into this "journey" now. I haven't weighed myself at all! I know I've not lost any weight and if anything, I've probably put weight on. I've not been eating well and I definitely haven't been more active than I needed to be. That hopefully is going to change this month though. I sat down with Jordan the other night and explained that it is too hard for me to stay focused, disciplined and motivated to eat well and be active when he is literally sitting on his arse in front of me, eating crap. He is a skinny little s**t and definitely does not need to lose weight, but I have asked him to join me on my journey to support me, motivate me and most importantly, to encourage me not to give up.

Breakfast and lunch, he can eat whatever the hell he wants; I don't care, we're rarely together for those meal times anyway. Dinner however, we're going to plan a weeks worth of healthy meals every Sunday night and stick to it. It's a lot easier for me to eat healthily if Jordan is having a healthy meal as well. Any naughty snacks of his can stay in his car, out of sight and mind for me. Sunday nights we'll also plan a weeks worth of exercise routines. On days he has off, we'll probably go for extended walks and days he is working we're going to try and fit at least 20 minute workouts into our evening. We'll do them together, whatever it is. Some days I might try and include a Zumba workout just for myself but most of the time, I'll be working out with Jordan. I've told him, it takes 21 days for something to become a habit so if we can keep up the healthy living and exercise for 3 weeks, I might be more likely to keep it going even without Jordan being on the journey too. I know it's important to have rest days and I figured those days would be the days Jordan has off work. Rather than working out, a nice gentle walk will still get me active whilst not over-exerting myself. Plus then I can rest the remainder of the day and know I still made a conscious effort.

Staying focused and committed to losing weight shouldn't be this hard but it is! It's hard to be active when all I see is my other half sitting on his back side playing video games. It's hard to eat healthy when he brings himself home naughty snacks that he shares with us all. The other week, he bought home a pack of donuts because he fancied them but then when he went to eat them, suddenly didn't feel like them. Over 2 days, I ended up eating 3 of the 5 donuts. He ate none. So him doing stuff like that, really doesn't help me. So he's promised to work on it and join me in my pursuit of losing weight. He is technically considered underweight so we're in agreement that he'll eat more calories whilst we're not together to ensure he doesn't lose any weight. In reality, he needs to be gaining weight, not losing it. Curse him and his super metabolism. Why can't I have that? This would be so much easier!

Anyway, fingers crossed that having Jordan as my weight-loss/fitness partner, will help keep me on track from this month onward.

Until next time,
Alli xo