Sunday, 27 October 2013

The calm before the storm...


Apparently there is a huge storm coming this weekend to the UK. It's all over the news to brace ourselves for this 'super storm'. I love storms and they are never dramatic enough in England for my liking. And quite honestly I will kind of be disappointed if it doesn't live up to the hype. I'm itching to board up the windows or something, like they do in movies but I suspect people will look at me strangely.

I have conditions though.

I want it to be bad but not so bad that anyone gets hurt or anything important gets destroyed. Like our house. 

That's how it works right? We can put our requests into the weather gods like that? 


So it's half term...

The clocks went back last night...

We're going away to Tim's parents for a couple of days...

I can't wait for Halloween...

And a huge mother of a storm is coming this way...

Basically I'm a kid on Christmas morning right now because I find all these things way too exciting.


I'll update you soon provided we have electricity and the movie 'The day after tomorrow' hasn't become a reality.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The day my Gallbadder stopped speaking to me...


So I mentioned a while ago that my gallbladder stopped speaking to me after what appeared to be a tummy bug.

Or maybe it started shouting at me. Shouting that it's not happy and needs a goddamn rest.

I had a scan and thankfully there are no stones which means no surgery. But the wall is inflamed and the doctor thinks that maybe there was a small stone at some point that dissolved itself and did some damage. Nice work Gally sorting that all on your own! That's his nickname now. And I have no idea why my gallbladder is a 'he' but there you are...

The result is that I'm now intolerant to fat. The doctor says this may get better in time or it might just be the way I am now. Wait whaaaaaaaat?

So for the last few months I have been on a low fat high fibre diet without red meat.

Those of you who know me know I have always been allergic to diets of any kind. I love food and couldn't imagine ever restricting myself. Most of our food is home cooked so I've always felt relatively healthy. But I drank full fat milk and used lots of butter. We ate a lot of red meat. Cheese and crisps were my weakness and it turns out my portion sizes were that of about 4 people. Oops.

The first month of this new way of eat was hard. I daydreamed about face planting melted cheese and romancing a large bowl of chips with a big juicy steak. I was hungry a lot.

But it got easier and as long as I don't cheat I kind of feel amazing for the first time in a long time.

Maybe my gallbladder has been shouting for a while and I wasn't listening...

I'm listening now buddy and actually its been kind of fun thinking up new recipes that I can eat. I may share some with you from time to time. I would also welcome any recipes you might have.

*****

Recipe for the above Couscous Salad

Couscous - just soak it in hot water for ten minutes
1 Tomato chopped
Low fat feta cheese (which seems to agree with ol' Gally)
Spinach leaves
Sliced onion
Basil

Dressing:
Salt
Pepper
Squeeze of half a lemon
Olive oil

Although every time I make this it's different depending on what I have in the fridge. I love it though because its quick and easy to make. And more importantly it's really tasty and filling.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday: October Loving

Well nearly wordless anyway...

Little things I'm loving at the moment...

The October rain...

New yellow umbrellas...

Little friends who aren't quite ready to quite the summer party...



These two...


The changing of the leaves...



Finding beauty in the remnants of summer...
These red berries...


The apples weighing down the tree...
The many apples under the tree...
And this little one eating all the apples...

And lastly the darker evenings...
So I can wrap up in a blanket and feel cosy in front of the TV.

Happy Wednesday

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fear of failure...

Brace yourselves, I'm about to get vulnerable.

When I was 10 years old I auditioned for the school play. It was an all singing play and I thought I could sing pretty good. But when it was my turn I could feel the other children watching me. I got nervous, my voice shook and I didn't sing the way I knew I could. Then I asked if I could audition with someone else. With added courage of someone stood next to me I sang properly along with them. The teacher said 'Wow Sian why didn't you sing like that before'. I got the second lead and I was quietly pleased.

During the weeks leading up to the play I went on holiday and while I was away my understudy (the girl who sang with me in the audition) stood in for me during rehearsals. The first week I was back, the lead singer walked straight up to me and told me my understudy had done really well while I was away and that she should take my place.

Was I hurt and angry?

I was hurt and accepting. You're probably right I thought, she will be better than me. Everyone will be thinking that it should be her instead of me.

I went to the teacher and told her I no longer wanted the role that she should have it. The teacher tried to change my mind but I was adamant. There was fear in there too. It was easier to opt out and let someone else step forward in front of everyone. You know the old...

What if I'm not good enough?

This memory haunts me a little. I really wish I had owned the lead I earned. I wish I had been brave and stood on that stage and sang. I could tell you countless stories of me doing this exact thing in different situations as I grew up. Where I step aside and amicably agree that I am probably less than everybody else...

I know that I am afraid of looking stupid.

I know that I often let other people take the lead.

I know that i'm afraid to fail so instead i'm kind of standing still.

I know I'm afraid it's too late to do things I dream about.

I tell people all the time that I'm forgetful, useless with numbers, terrible at organising, clumsy, etc etc etc Seriously I'm all look at me, here are all my faults just in case you think I'm not aware of them, I am.

Unsurprisingly they often start to agree with me.

What the hell is the matter with me? I wouldn't talk to my worst enemy like this. But I can't stop. I have invested a lot of time and energy into this behaviour. It's deeply ingrained.

I have noticed that as the boys have got older especially now they are at school i'm starting to do the same with them. Not in the things I say to them but to myself and to my friends. I point out the things they struggle with because:

a, so I don't sound smug going on about how amazing I think they are

and

b, so they know i'm aware of it and therefore won't think badly of me for it.

I don't focus enough on their kindness, how well they have slept since they were 6 months old, how well they eat, Isaac's drawing and imaginative play, his incredible knowledge of Dinosaurs, Lucas' strength and physical skill or how much they love each other and play like best Friends. The only place I do that is here on this blog and it fuels me like no other. That should tell me something...

At the end of Isaac's first school year just before this summer the teacher told us Isaac was behind in reading, writing and maths. They had only just noticed and didn't think there was enough time for him to reach his expected levels in the remaining weeks. I was a little bit devastated. One of the other mums laughed and said 'ooh and you were a teacher too.'

Was I hurt and angry?

I was hurt and accepting. She is right I thought it's all my fault. Sound familiar..?

Poor Isaac. I went in to panic teacher mode, making up activities for him every evening including flash cards. He moaned that he was tired but did it anyway. He made his levels in the end except in maths. But at what cost? Me forcing him, pushing him and placing my own fear about his progress on to him when that is the very thing I vowed not to do last time I had this freak out and the time before that. Clearly its an ongoing issue...

But what if he struggles like I did with numbers and other children make fun of him?
What if struggles like that are part of life and make us stronger more compassionate people?

What if i'm not good enough?
What if I am? 

I know this is my issue not Isaac's. He is coming along beautifully in this little life of his.

But I still want to support his learning in the right way.

So while we were in Switzerland I gave Isaac a diary for him to draw and write about each day. This way he practices writing but in a fun way. I let him draw freely and write the words his way without interruption. Then I wrote what he had written correctly underneath to help but more so we could read what he was trying to say at that moment. It was so much fun and we love looking back at it. The best best thing about the diary is his drawings. They were awesome.




Then the other week I noticed Isaac suddenly lost the number 8. He just can't keep in his head what it is called. I ask him all the time and he can never tell me its an 8. He mixes up 6 and 9 too. But 8 is totally gone. I worried about this, did it mean something? And then remembered that this is stupid, he is 5 years old and I need to chill the heck out.

So I decided to do it a little more creatively, more our style so to speak...

I may have spent ages spray painting rocks gold instead of doing much needed house work...

But the boys loved it. Quickly following the instructions and racing to find the items...

Isaac screamed in excitement when he found the Gold rocks in the garden. 
He thought they were real...
I love that.

This is much better than flash cards and crazy pressure any day.

So after all this I confidently asked Isaac 'what number is this?' pointing to a number eight he had just drawn...
'I can't remember' he said completely serious.

I mean I had to laugh.

Oh my goodness...


Anyway my point is this...

I really need to stand up straight, walk onto that figurative stage and sing my song. 

But much more important than that. I want to support my kids to be braver than I was, to walk on their own stage and show everyone who they really are. 


Because they really are fantastic...

And I made them so I can't be that bad either.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Dudley Zoo

A pathetic attempt at being wordless if I'm honest...


I LOVE safari parks and zoos because I can get up close to animals, take their photos and whisper how much I love them through the bars. I DON'T LOVE the small spaces and how bored/sad they sometimes look. Dudley Zoo has it's good and bad parts but every time we go they are improving, renovating and increasing the space which is something. I used to teach the two children who's parents run the zoo. Their back garden is literally this zoo. No wonder they were such great kids!

Anyhoo here's my favourite bits...

The castle on top of the hill. You know me and castles...


The tiger which I think is actually my favourite animal. Every time I see one I'm in totally in love...
Hello my baby....
Super friendly penguins...

The fact that everything a meerkat does is both cute and hilarious at the same time...
Oh don't look at me like that, you know exactly what I'm talking about...


This Mama watching her baby play...
Its the same love isn't it? 
Also two minutes later she had the same I need a frigging rest look us Mamas get too...
Yes yes you know the one...
Ostriches who dance like no one is watching... 
Lemurs and monkeys everywhere...
Speaking of Monkeys...
How much my own little monkeys love the Zoo...
Happy Wednesday!