When I was younger, a child in the 80s, I had a Polaroid camera that I simply adored. I LOVED taking photos, and having the images develop in my hands a few minutes later. I loved that there was space to write a caption underneath the photo. I loved feeling like a proper photographer, creating something that I could then stick into an album and admire again and again. I still love taking photos, but my camera of choice has been digital for many years now. Until last month, when my husband bought me an Instamax camera. All of a sudden, I’m able to hold a photo in my hands almost immediately again, and it’s made me realise how much I now need to make an effort to print out more of my photos. I think we’re all guilty of it- taking hundreds and thousands of photos each year, and then just saving them to the cloud and never looking at them again. That has to change! Now, I’m determined to fill my home with photos in as many forms as possible and this is the reason why printing services are now my latest obsession! With this in mind I’ve put together three ways to make memories last this Christmas and beyond. (more…)
Forty. Forty! I’m now officially forty. And I know that this is just a number, no reflection on me or how I look, how I feel, blah blah blah… but it does matter. It matters to me. I am forty! It feels like a huge milestone, a destination in a place I wasn’t ready for yet. The end of my thirties being the end of a road trip I was really starting to enjoy. And who’s to say that forty won’t be just as ok? It’s just that it sounds… old. I don’t want to be 40. I really don’t. But here we are. And after much deliberating, much denial and much refusal, I am having a party! Over a week late, but a party none the less. I figured that seeing as I can’t do anything about turning 40 (we all get there in the end, don’t we?) then I will damn well celebrate it instead. And in doing that, I realised there are a lot of things I can celebrate right now too. Maybe forty isn’t all that bad, when you read the list of all I’ve achieved and all I have to look forward to?
Ok, so I’m advertising this as more of a gathering with drinks rather than a party. And, of course, it’s bring the kids too- so it won’t be wild. I’m 40, after all. But this is just how I like it. Centre of attention is not my thing, so the kids will gladly take my place I’m sure! BUT there is the dress to consider! It goes without saying that I must have a new dress, and so score one point to being 40. New dresses.
I love a new dress. I can spend hours trawling the shops with pleasure, trying on, deliberating, taking photos. I love the process and I love the end result even more. But these days my schedule is crazy. I visit the chiropractor three times a week in the city, leaving little time to work in between, not to mention school runs, the gym and everything else. So online shopping has become my thing in recent months. I’d never really been a huge fan, unless I’d already tried something on and knew it fitted. But I guess another advantage of getting to forty is finally getting grip on my body and knowing what will suit me and what definitely won’t. And so online shopping has become my saviour, especially now that most of my favourite high street shops also have online shops too. Hoorah! This means that I can browse to my heart’s content at home, then nip quickly in store to buy whatever I’ve spent hours lusting after. Perfect. At the moment I’m torn between this gorgeous gold metallic dress from Urban Outfitters, this stunning gold Jacquard tulip dress from Closet London, this amazing gold metallic dress from &Other Stories, or do I go for the Ted Baker sale and grab the beautiful strapless fold midi dress in gold? There’s a gold theme, as you can tell!
I am in control of my own mind
Finally, at 40 I think I get it. I really am a strong woman. I really can do this life stuff. It’s taken this long to realise but I think that’s because you have to go through 40 years worth of stuff to know that you’re capable of getting through 40 year’s worth of stuff. If that makes sense. If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that I’m resilient. I’m determined. And I’m here. I discovered a technique through CBT counselling that I’ve since used independently and it really works for me. Knowing my triggers for stress and anxiety helps so much, and when I feel that old burning feeling start to gather in my chest I now know what to do. I press the re-set button. I actually visualise one of those big red buttons from the cartoons, and I press it. That doesn’t suppress my feelings, or make them any less valid- it just puts a lid on them for a moment. It allows me to stop and assess the situation, and decide whether or not it really is worth me being upset about it. It gives me a moment to choose a different direction to take. And it has saved my busy school mornings SO. MANY. TIMES. I feel really proud that I can do this now.
I am in control of my body
I haven’t really written too much about this, and maybe one day I’ll change that. But being 40 I have realised- finally!- that this is it. This is my body, and I cannot make it do things it really cannot do. But I can train it. I can help it to achieve the best, and perhaps reach goals that once seemed impossible. Since the chiropractor showed me my x-rays and gave me the news that my spine was in such a way that required ‘intensive care’ for three months, my attitude towards my body has changed drastically. Before, I was going to the gym and pushing myself but not really taking all that much care of it outside of that routine. I ate well mostly, but I never really understood the proper way to fuel my body or help it along the way. Now I do.
Now I’m working more closely with my trainer and I’m seeing results. From being 12kg heavier down my left side, to now only 4kg heavier- an amazing result! I’m also seeing my body fat percentage dropping, my muscle mass increasing and my overall appreciation for my body going through the roof! For someone who has battled with food, eating, and general body dislike for such a long time, this is a huge break through. If my body can get to 40 and still do amazing things, then I’ll take that thank you very much.
So it’s just a short list, and yes- ok!- the first one is very superficial compared to the fact that I now know my own body and mind… but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling that 40 isn’t going to be all that bad. AND by the end of the week I will have a beautiful golden dress to wear to my party, surrounded my family and friends- and what better way to celebrate than that?
Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve recently completed an extensive course of CBT for PTSD and anxiety. Those who know me have expressed their gladness that I finally felt able to access help and support after the traumatic birth of my son almost eight years ago; strangely though, it was something much more mundane that led me to take that first step towards recovery. I knew- of course I did- that I needed help, but it wasn’t until an everyday activity became more and more difficult for me that I was forced to accept it and take the plunge. It’s funny how our fears and anxieties manifest themselves. For me, it was driving. All of a sudden, being behind the wheel terrified me. I experienced my first ever panic attack last year, prompted by having to drive an unfamiliar car. Yikes. So being asked to test drive the new Vauxhall Crossland X for a week should have been serious meltdown material for me.
CBT has truly turned things around for me, and instead of taking my fears and anxieties and running away, I agreed to do it. I signed the documents, took delivery and drove through some barriers.
I don’t expect everyone to understand, but when you have a fear of driving, just being behind an unfamiliar wheel can be terrifying. The difference between now and last year is over 9 months of therapy, and a renewed passion to fight this for all it’s worth. Here are my thoughts on raising a family and driving through some barriers with the Vauxhall Crossland X.
Ok, so the first thing that I look for in a car, after I’ve assessed how scary it might be to drive it, is how it looks. Knowing very little about engines and specifics, this is a good place to start! Immediately we LOVED the vibrant orange! More than that though, the Crossland X is a really nice car to look at. It’s nicely rounded and not too big, nor too squat.
One thing that always amazes me as a parent is the array of quirks and talents that my children have. I never in a million years imagined a daughter playing defence in the local girl’s football team, or another showing such a flair for ballet and dance. Likewise, I have no idea where my son gets his artistic flair- it certainly isn’t from me! That boy will gladly spend hours with pens, pencils and crayons, drawing, colouring and creating- and his work is absolutely stunning! We were recently sent a few bits and pieces from the Bic kids range and I asked Luka to get busy testing them out for me.
As you can see, he wasted no time creating a few masterpieces! (more…)
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