Persephone: Parent

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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

I’ve finished another book! My first paper book since I finished a re-read of Clash of Kings somewhere during the past three years. I’m really impressed that I seem to actually be keeping up with reading. And enjoying reading again! My last few books have been easy reading. A few Hester Browne novels and the 3 100 books (which, by the way, is now really confusing me when trying to watch season 3), but I decided that I needed to up my game, I needed to jump back in to Westeros and I needed to read my Christmas present! And it took me less than a month, I think.

Not that I know how long it used to take me to read a book, but Knight of the Seven Kingdoms looks really big what with my copy being hardback and all. I have to admit, it took a while to get in to. Possibly because I’m not used to reading something like Knight or because it wasn’t quite the Westeros that I am used to, or simply because it was a new book. Just because I’ve read and enjoyed others set in the same universe does not mean I should get suckered straight in to something new. So, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms contains 3 of the Dunk and Egg short stories. The first is the set up and it was the hardest for me to get in to. It was probably the one I liked the least. Maybe it’s just my simple brain, but I spent half of it recognising names but realising that the Baratheon mentioned is none of the Baratheons that I know. Then I wanted to Wiki/google to figure out who each was connected to ancestrally. I’m always rubbish at remembering who’s liege lord is who, who is sworn to who, etc. I reckon I only know so much as I do about the ASOIAF novels because I’ve extensively read about them online. In retrospect, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms probably was not as “complicated” as ASOIAF, but I didn’t have as much background and I don’t think that was what I really wanted to read. Not right now.

I think that’s why the middle short story was my favourite, The Sworn Sword. It was simpler. It did talk about the Blackfyre rebellion and the allegiances during the war (which obviously aren’t a huge point in ASOIAF, so new to me), but on a very small scale as the story revolved around an incredibly small village almost and it’s immediate vicinity. I also loved it when we met the Red Widow and, yeah, just fell in love with her I think. The illustrations helped with that, too. I got an Arya/Ygritte vibe from her and loved the chemistry with Dunk. On to the third and final, The Mystery Knight, and, again, there were a few too many names and cover stories for my little brain to keep up with, but I did love the Bloodraven action. I was also glad that Egg was in the 3rd one less as I just have not warmed to him at all. Maybe part of my problem is visualisation – I watched Game of Thrones season 1 before reading all of the novels so I could see all of the main characters. Despite the illustrations, Dunk and Egg requires me to use my imagination. Maybe it’s the hours I spend alone with a baby who simply wants to chew everything she can pick up, or discussing Octonauts with my toddler who is Kwazzi (I’m Peso, btw), but I seem to be lacking in imagination.

I would also say that Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is not the novel to introduce someone in to the world of Westeros, in my opinion only. Because of all of the characters that are thrown at the reader. Then again, maybe I’m remembering Game of Thrones wrong!

On to my next book, another paper book as during my book decluttering I found an easy novel that simply screamed Read me! So whilst I have boxed up a huge pile of all the random novels I think sound quirky and buy from charity shops but still have not read yet, I kept one. Just one.

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Graduating Maternity Leave

I am about to take Robin to her first settling hour at nursery and I am so freaking excited! I love the baby staff. She’s going to love it. She smiles at all the toddler/preschool staff when we collect Elvis and she’s always squirming on me, itching to get down and go play. She loves other adults. She is so incredibly sociable, smiley and loving. In a way that Elvis never was at that age.

Let’s go play!

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Operation: Yummy Mummy – A Gain!

Oh, dear. I knew it was going to happen. I completely blame Valentines day and chocolates. And profiteroles. And wine. And the Danish pastry I bought Monday. And the chocolates it took me a whole week to finish!

Never mind, though, learn from the mistakes, move on and do better.

This week I’m starting afresh. Next week Robin starts nursery and I need to do my clothes shopping for work. In my dreams, I’d be at my perfect size, but I haven’t consistently tried to get there. It does upset me a bit, but I just never stuck with it so it was never going to happen. I don’t really want to go out and buy an entire work wardobe next week if I am still able to lose weight but it is the best opportunity to do some good shopping alone without a tight window to get home to the kids. And, yeah, I am gutted that I was 0.3 away from my initial goal, now 0.9kg.  It’s just the eating that gets me because I’ve still been doing aerobics on the Xbox 3 times a week. I’m going to incorporate jogging into my routine when I’m back at work. Who knows when I’m back at work, walking 25 minutes there, jogging 20-30 minutes home and then doing the nursery run, being far more active in my job than I am being a mum and then hopefully filling my afternoon with family fun will increase my metabolism and prevent my snacking.

Maybe it’ll all start dropping off me. I can hope!

I’ve been super busy this weekend though. Hubby and I sold at our first ever Little Pickles market. I was worried we wouldn’t even sell the table fee, but we did. We came back with most of the clothes we took, but did get rid of loads of the bulky baby things. When we got home I tidied away everything we brought back, all in boxes and now there’s room for me to start sorting the back “junk” room. We made money too! I was worried we’d sell nothing and not even the cost of the table price, but we did! Definitely going to do another one and most of the stuff is already boxed and sorted! 😄

I don’t think I’ve done anything else super productive on the yummy operation this week. Everything was a bit on hold whilst I sorted the Little Pickles Market stuff and I think I even did rubbishly with playdates! Oh, dear. My house is feeling nicer with all the stuff to sell tidied away and I can’t wait to start on the junk room. Even just to tidy it slightly. I need it at least child friendly so the kids can play out in the garden. Oh, yeah, we finally got Robin her first pair of shoes so we can go outside. She hates them! Haha.

So, yeah, I had a slow, lower mood kind of week, but I’m going to get back up. I’m not giving up.

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More Food Habits!

After last week’s post about some rather bad habits I have with food, typing it down seemed to do some good that I haven’t made the same mistakes so far this week. The hardest was limiting my calories more on a weekend as I’m not as active. Or I need to increase my activity, I guess. I did quite well last weekend until we had Valentines day and I had too many chocolates and profiteroles and wine and Baileys. I mean there’s having a day off and there’s eating 2 days worth of calories in 1! I highly doubt I’ll lose any weight this week, but I will also blame the hormones! I have noticed a few new things though.

  • My breakfast and lunch seem to make up about 800 calories, on a good day my evening meal makes about 800. If I want to be able to have indulgent snacks and/alcohol, I have to limit the dinner.
  • I always snack on food at lunch when waiting for Robin to eat her lunch. I either need to stop (I have little willpower) or make the lunch the night before so I don’t have those foods out on the table*
  • Decide on a maximum number of valentines chocolates I can have each day because, no, it is not healthier to just eat them all in 1 go! I got some Lindt chocolate balls and have decided I can have three a day.
  • Garlic bread is not my friend.
  • Neither are poppadoms, bhajis, pakoras, somasas, etc.
  • Just because Elvis leaves his milk at dinner, I don’t have to add Baileys to it rather than throw it away!
  • I also don’t have to eat last night’s dinner left overs. I hate throwing things out, but I also don’t need to eat the left over pasta. Or the abandoned fish finger. Or the crusts that both children make me cut off their sandwiches!

I think a big key thing is to continue limiting snacking, but also alter extras I make with dinner. I think I fail when I allow myself nibbbles at lunch or my chocolate allowance during the day and then cook garlic breads with dinner. The indulgences need to be left until after dinner as a proper treat for the day.

I also really need to figure out how to approach next weekend as I’m off out on a date for our wedding anniversary and the dinner will be huge! Gulp!

*This will not really be a problem once I’m back at work. But I’d like to sort out bad habits before my days become more active.

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And So The End Begins

This week marks the last week of what I’ve considered for however long as normal because it’s all coming to an end. My maternity leave ended a month ago and I’m still not back at work for almost 4 weeks but it’s all starting to end. Next week we’ll be in a period of transition for a few months.

I’m excited about the future about what will become the new normal but I am also sad about this week.

Tuesday was our last Tuesday where it was just the two of us, just Robin and I all day long. Where she could nap truly whenever she wanted as there was no nursery run. We could take meals slower, potter around playing in the bedrooms, do extra shopping. That’s all gone now. The one day a week where she could call the shots. And on our last Tuesday I spent it napping due to an awful migraine. Next Tuesday, Robin and I get to play at nursery for an hour for her first settling in session! Never again will she truly be able to call the shots. I mean, she has some freedom on weekends with regards to her naps, but if we want to go out as a family, her routine is the one sacrificed. Poor, second child, all she ever got was one day a week.

Oh, the sadness!

Wednesday is the day that I’ve been taking Robin for swimming lessons before lunch and then the nursery run. Next week Robin will have her second nursery settling session so I need to make sure she naps in the morning. Her lesson is during her nap time, which sometimes I can work around by taking her shopping right before and she’ll fall asleep for maybe 20 minutes. Most of the time, I just don’t let her nap and she waits until after the nursery run at 2 or 3pm. She might have been okay next week, swimming and then napping after an hour at nursery, but I don’t want to risk it. Next Wednesday, she gets to go into her nursery room for an hour whilst I fill in paperwork in the office. So she’ll be alone! She’s been in a creche loads for the therapy course I was doing so I’m not worried about leaving her. She also smiles and seems to really like the look of all of the staff when we pick Elvis up so I’m not fussed, but I’d prefer her to not be overtired! As of next week, and for the transition period maybe longer, both children will have their lessons on a Friday, his right after hers. As in, immediately after. Nanny will have to do more than just babysit one of them. Again, I’m quite sad about it as I’m so used to doing each swimming lesson with them on their own. Now, each of them are going to intrude on the other’s time. I won’t be able to get Robin dressed after her lesson. I won’t be able to get Elvis ready for his lesson. Since he was just 10 weeks old, I’ve taken him swimming, just the two of us for most of that time.

Oh, the sadness!

Thursday is the day where, well, we quite often don’t do much and next week Robin will have her third and final settling in session, where I take her and leave the building for an hour! Now, if I’d thought about it properly, I would have done it in the morning whilst Elvis is in nursery and scored myself an hour child-free, instead, I might take Elvis out for a drink and snack, maybe cake and hot chocolate – just the two of us. Sometimes on a Thursday, a friend visits with her toddler, we lunch and then collect Elvis, maybe go to a park. If not, I get cleaning done during Robin’s nap. I don’t know how I’m going to see my Thursday friend in all honesty. With my work hours, her school run, my nursery run. We’ll figure out something, but I can’t quite see how it’ll work out. We might be able to snatch an hour once a week. We could move to a Friday (along with half the rest of the bloody world), but with swimming in the morning, it might still only be an hour, maybe two. With some friends, I quite like to be limited to only an hour here and there, but not with Thursday Friend. I’m not even fussed about the cleaning, that’s built in to my new routine, but Thursday Friend, well, we might get more time during school holidays. Oh, dear, her toddler and Robin are really cute together – they talk and kind of actually play with each other. They might not see each other as much!

Oh, even more sadness!

I’m typing this just as we finished our last ever normal Thursday nursery run. Although for the next two weeks, Mondays will be normal, the other days won’t be. Tomorrow is the last Friday as normal before they both have to go on a Friday, inevitably making my Fridays far busier than currently. Oh, dear, all of this change and I am feeling a bit down about it. But I am also excited. Robin loved the creche she went to, she loves the staff we see at nursery and she is far more of a sociable baby than Elvis ever was or is now. I’ve loved seeing how Elvis developed at nursery, doing things that it would never have occurred to me to do (paint with blocks, cars, animals; use clean food containers to make a shop, paint and cook in general actually, try writing over thicker, highlighter pens), see what he picked as things he liked to play with, hear who he considers friends and who upset who today (haha!) and I am excited about Robin getting to experience all of that. With her big brother just downstairs.

But there’s still sadness at this chapter ending.

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CBT Session Five – “Sorry, Not Sorry” #PND

Session 4 left me trying really hard to think about how I was thinking. To notice a hot thought and recognise that the thought was starting off a cycle (going into the 5 areas), and to then interrogate that thought to see if it was true, if my reactions were valid. It is an amazing process. In theory.

It’s not so easy in the moment, but I guess that’s the point. It’s about noticing whenever you notice, hours after the fact if needs be and then interrogating the events. With time, you’ll get quicker at it. I have used it and it has helped. Unfortunately, I’m a talker so when I get a Hot Thought which causes me to fly off the handle with my husband, it doesn’t feel right to me to figure out what happened and simply say sorry. To me, I need to explain to him why it happened, what I was thinking and feeling. Well, that’s like doing the 5 areas just out loud. I guess it might be helpful for him to see where I’m coming from, but might not be super helpful to me moving forward as I need to be able to write down what happens.

This is why the daily mood/activity sheet is so helpful.

Session 5, however, held some answers to a problem that, I guess runs deep within me. And this blog.

Assertiveness.

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Operation Yummy Mummy: Only 0.3kg to go!!!

Whoop whoop! So last week, I had apparently lost no weight, but I didn’t let that get me down as I was happier within myself. But something stirred myself to do a mid-week weigh (I try to only weigh once a week to stop from becoming obsessive) and I had lost weight! With my 0.4kg drop today, I am now only 0.3kg from my first weight goal! I am so excited. I’ve never been good at losing weight so I am finding this a real accomplishment. During some of my decluttering acts, I have been looking through my old photos as I explained the other day and I seem to have pinpointed my weight gain. Besides pregnancies of course! In March 2012, I had a laparoscopy to check out why I wasn’t conceiving, just to see if there was an issue with my uterus. Somehow, that surgery really took it out of me, in ways that seem far worse than either of my c-sections. Well, maybe not my second. I really seemed to struggle after that one. After the laparoscopy, it really hit me and I ate a lot of junk food. We went on holiday in the May of 2012, we walked a gorge and in all of the pictures I have a tummy that despite me always seeing, wasn’t in any of the other photos I looked at the other day. I think I stopped being as active after the surgery and whilst I did stop being so active after my c-sections, there were a lot of other body changes going on at the same time so I went in to my first pregnancy carrying more weight than usual as I never attempted to try and shift it. I’m not sure that I ever realised it was fully there.

So, to have actively worked at losing weight and thinking that I can do it, that I can get further, it feels amazing to me. Okay, after the next 0.3kg, my next goal is 10kg away and gets me to that first pre pregnancy weight, which was bumped up by post-surgery laziness. Do you know what though, I can do it!

I know I can.

Not only have I done a once through of the photos and emptied one whole album, I have also fully decluttered the bathroom. I sorted out old medicines, bath washes that I have had for years and am never going to use, done an all around tidy and checked my sun creams for this year! I am finished with the first round of clothes sorting. I even found all of my pyjama tops which was good as I no longer need to wear nursing tops to bed. My clothes will need another sort through, but I need to wait and see what my body is like when I feel happy with the weight loss and once I’m back at work wearing normal clothes! Haha. I’ve also gone through all of my cookbooks and added over half to the pile. Maybe one day I’ll go back to trying to cook from scratch and actually cooking rather than just throwing meat and veg in a slow cooker with a random jar of sauce, but not today! I’m also going to start going through some of my books and deciding if I am ever actually going to read them. I think I might donate books I’ve read rather than keeping them because I like the book and/or the author. Apart from my GRRM, Harry Potter, etc sets. Those I’m keeping.

I’m not touching all of my Star Trek books yet though. If I do decide to get rid of them, I need to investigate if there’s somewhere I can maybe sell them on because there are a lot of them and I just don’t think they’d sell well in any of my local charity shops. Plus they’re up in the loft so not a top priority. Yet. I don’t think there’s much that I can do decluttering wise until I get rid of everything in the back room that is waiting for me to sell at the next Little Pickles market, the thought of which is quite exciting. I mean, two hours of trying to sell all of my baby stuff with nanny babysitting so it could be considered a date with hubby! We’ve already decided that any clothes left are going straight to charity. There’s also the excitement that I might then have a clear back room! And I might have more space in my bedroom (where the sit in walker currently lives). Then there’s the excitment that with space in the back room, I can start decluttering that room! And using it for space to help declutter the conservatory, the shed and eventually the loft. I feel a bit stuck until I clear out the back room so next Saturday could be the start of lots of change.

On my social side, I had a mum date last weekend which was fantastic and I have a few plans in the pipe works for other mum dates. I had made lots of plans to meet up for lots of playdates this week, but Elvis was off nursery 3 days out of the 4 so they all got cancelled. Being stuck at home with both kids was pretty awful for me. It’s the biggest trigger. I just feel down, tired, bored and I still can’t figure out which tool is the best to help me sort it. Luckily, I didn’t get too low and I think I quickly realised that it would be done by today and then back to normal. Theoretically it’s the last time that it could happen as well, I’ll be back to work in a month and then any illness from the kids means that I get to actually spend time with them at home. I might enjoy it!

And I booked Elvis’ birthday entertainment this week! I guess, despite the really low mood that I suffered with being trapped at home, I still had a good week and made it to the end of it.

Now, next Saturday will I be posting about how lovely and clear my house is and how I reached my first weight goal?

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What A Photo Holds

I try not to have too many regrets. I try not to have any actually. I live by the fact that whatever I did made me who I am. There are certain things that, with hindsight, I could have handled better or differently, but I can’t change that and don’t regret how I actually did it. That probably makes very little sense. I’ve recently been sorting through my photo albums. As part of my decluttering process, I’ve decided to cut down on the number of old school photo albums that I have (especially as I am now making a photo book each year). I’m cutting down by making a few scrapbooks (a friend bought me a lovely pink, friends orientated scrapbook about 4/5 years ago and I am going to make it!) and new photo frames for the walls. Then I decided to clear out and throw away any involving people that are no longer in my life.

About 3 years ago, just before I gave birth to Elvis, I cut a relatively good friend out of my life. In fact, according to TimeHop it was three years ago today. Her lifestyle and how she chose to live would always bring me down and I decided that I didn’t need that negativity in my life. So, I decided that I didn’t need those photos in my albums. Please note that I have an electronic copy of every single photo from my Mother’s Aunt down through to my own. Then there was the best friend who I lost/she left over a decade and a half ago. I don’t need those photos. If I’m decluttering and want fewer things, then what’s the point in keeping them? Perhaps I could put them in a box, but that would just be thrown out in a few years. Oh, then there were the photos of some people that I used to work with and barely ever speak with since I moved away. And the family members that we’re no longer in contact with. To be fair, when I finish compiling my scrap books and photo frames, even family and friends that I still love and cherish will be facing having their photos being thrown away.

Who looks in photo albums?

Through looking through these albums (probably fully starting in 2007), I nicely, positively reminisced about those that are no longer part of my life. The friend that I cut out of my life a year ago today, I enjoyed looking at our photos. I enjoyed thinking about what our friendship had once been and didn’t really think about the sadness that ended our friendship. However I still agreed with my decisions on all of those people that are now in the recycling bin.

My regret that I noticed whilst looking at all of these old photos dating back a decade-ish, is completely vain. I used to always think that I was fat. Always. I had a stomach. I had no boobs. I had a podgy little tummy. Well, according to some of these photos, when I was wearing the right thing, I did not have a stomach at all. And I regret never seeing my body clearly enough. Because now I definitely have a tummy (two babies later!), in fact I had the tummy in 2012, just before getting pregnant with Elvis and after my laparoscopy surgery. In some of these photos, I think I’m kinda, well, hot. I had a nice figure. Not amazing. But nice. Nicer than how I ever felt.

And I wish that it’d never brought me down. I would kill for that figure now (kill cookies by eating them because I still have little will power). I will never get back to that figure. I know that. But, hopefully, I will like myself, my size and my body much more than I ever did.

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Good Food Habits

I think I have quite a bad relationship with food. Well, good if you consider the fact that I love food and could eat all the time. I quite frequently eat until I’m past full. Since the New Year and my Operation: Yummy Mummy, I have slowly started changing my relationship with food. I put my food into my fitbit food diary so kind of calorie count – my aim is to restrict take aways, unhealthy snacks, not limit or alter my usual meals.

I’ve been doing better. But I still have bad days. As part of my PND/PNA therapy we learnt to use an activity diary to try and track when our moods drop to try and find a cause. Well, yesterday I felt low and I know it was because I ate badly. So I considered what I ate and when and have come up with the following changes:

  • Freeze flapjack so I don’t have a whole batch sitting in my fridge. I kept eating it in case it spoils!
  • Don’t cook extra for myself when cooking a quick meal for either child. Just because I know I’ll want some sweet potato fries. No, just no. Also applies, don’t eat their leftovers no matter how badly I want a fish finger!
  • When having leftovers for a meal, spoon it out of the tub onto a plate/bowl. Last night I ate all the pasta (except for whatever I kept randomly spooning onto Robin’s tray) as it was in the tuperware tub. I ate too much as it was leftovers and more than 1 portion. It’s too difficult to see in the tub.
  • Alter food input on weekends where I am nowhere near as active. Today, I’m trapped in the house with both kids. My activity levels are way down yet I’m still overeating. Or maybe eating my normal amounts but less active. Not good.

Realising these bad habits and finding solutions is one thing, actually sticking to them is another. I just ate multiple jelly babies and two pieces of flapjack as I was bored whilst both children slowly finished their meal 😯

Somehow I need to find some willpower and motivation, simply being just 0.7kg from my goal (potentially 2 weeks away) is not enough of a motivation apparently. But then, how am I supposed to not feel low when I’m stuck in the house with both children, Elvis being a bit ill and super tired and cranky. I didn’t even dare risk going to the shops today. How do I entertain myself on those types of days?

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CBT: Session Four – I Can Read Your Mind #PND

The fourth therapy session was the first one after a huge break over Christmas. During this gap, not only had Robin started sleeping through the night and dropping her morning feed (only two feeds a day left), but she had started going to bed really easily (quick feed and then done) so I’d started reintroducing things to my life and, unlike previous attempts, had begun to enjoy them. I guess it was part of the depression, the constant thought of “what’s the point?” What was the point in trying to do aerobics or go jogging at bedtime, she’d still be screaming? Why bother getting up early to do it, I’m too tired anyway? I don’t want to read a book, I want to veg out on the sofa and watch TV, get bored and eat junk food. Everything had seemed so hard, so hard to motivate myself to do and so hard to wrangle the family to allow me to. But that had started to change over the Christmas period, with a cinema outing and date with my mum, going out for drinks with a friend – no children in sight, taking the time to exercise, trying to get my diet in order and using calm, quiet times to read my book so that I finally got interested in it. I’d never seen that as part of the depression, but it was.

In the fourth session, we learnt about negative automatic thoughts (yep, I know them very well) and what type of thinking you do. I’m a black and white generaliser who can read minds and plays more on the negative than the positive.

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