Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Strength of Friendship

The last couple of days have been good for my mental health.  Despite feeling really low recently, I kept pushing through and reached out to a couple of good friends who turned out help me more than I could have imagined.  They say laughter is the best medicine and I laughed so much last night that the strength which had threatened to disappear forever has slowly started to resurface.  

My friends decided to treat me to a meal at one of my favourite restaurants and (under the influence of only one alcoholic beverage) I was able to talk about everything without crying.  My friends, one of whom I don't see nearly as much as I'd like sat with me and listened without judgement.  They shared with me their own stories and advised me from the heart.  Although some of the advice was hard to hear I was more than willing to listen.  

We spoke about all the taboo subjects, religion, sex, death, and mental health, all the things that are usually kept away from the dinner table and at the end of the conversation we sang, we laughed, we sang some more then we prayed.

I'm still not where I want to be, I still have unanswered questions and emotional scaring but I'm on the way and I know that if I ask for help, help will come find me at my place of need.

Sunday, 24 June 2018


As much as I've wanted to blog I have found it increasingly difficult to write recently, mainly because I've felt like I can't tell my story without sharing someone else's.  Unless you live a completely solitary life on an island surrounded by trees every aspect of our lives have at least a hint of someone else's story.

The journey I've taken so far in my life has been a challenging one, one in which I have at times chosen paths that not only brought with them greater obstacles but at times have been littered with pain and heartache.  This however is a reminder to me of how resilient I am.  It is often in times of great weakness, hurt or challenge that you are reminded of your true strength.

But what happen's when that strength is no longer enough?
For me the journey goes one of two ways.  

I continue to pretend that everything is ok, continue to be the best mother I can to my beautiful children, continue to be the best teacher I can to my pupils and continue to be the best friend I can to those who still value my friendship, until eventually everything really is ok or...

an alternative which I never hope becomes a reality, I can pretend until pretending becomes too difficult and I lose my passion for everything and everyone I love, I lose the strong women that is buried somewhere deep within and eventually I completely lose who I am. 

All I want is for a happiness that lasts for more than just a moment.  People say you make your own happiness and trust me I try, I'm usually the first person to try and turn a negative into a positive and live my best life.  I guess this is my way of saying that I'm tired, that my strength is waning and I can no longer be positive on my own.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Taking Flyte

With the new year just beginning it's the time where people reflect and attempt to make changes to their diet and lifestyle.  I'm  a no resolution kind of girl, that being said I'm always open to ideas when it comes to making changes that positively effect my health.

The princess and I are self confessed caffeine junkies.  I personally can't operate without my large morning cup of coffee accompanied by a few squeezes of caramel syrup.

When the opportunity arose for us to try flyte, which is a clean energy drink from 100% natural sources that is powered by green coffee caffeine, we thought, why not?

When the drinks arrived I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the packaging.  Although a little dusty looking the packaging looked like it would suit the alcopop or cider isle, which suits me just fine, sort of clean with an edge.

I took a sip of the red berries which was odd but refreshing and decided the teen could have that one.  I went with the citrus lemon, which also had a slightly odd taste, it took me a couple of sips to get used to it then I found it quite refreshing.  The teen drank hers to get a little buzz to keep her going while she completed some school work, she said it gave her the energy she needed to work through the night. 

I drank mine for a general energy boost.  I must say although I was sceptical, it did give me that extra little boost in the morning without the need for my usual coffee.

So overall the verdict was unanimous.  Flyte is definity a drink that gives you an extra boost without the caffeine crash and the refreshing flavours are an additional plus point.  Whilst I'm not ready to give up my morning coffee just yet, I'm very willing to carry Flyte to the gym for a post workout boost.

This is a review post, the opinions are my own.  I was given the Flyte drinks for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas 2017

I always get sentimental and a little emotional around Christmas time, after all Christmas is the time you should spend with family and those closest to you.  With all my family spread out this year I didn't have much hopes for a fun filled day.  Granted things could have been much worse, and for some I know they were.

Despite only expecting a couple of guest this Christmas I still got up at the crack of dawn for the usual opening of the gifts and popping my lovingly marinated meat into the oven.

This year as well as the usual gifts I had set up a little treasure hunt for the teen to find her Christmas money which insured our day started with some giggles as the teen struggled to work out what I thought were the simplest of clues.

The children honoured me with a post ready onsie selfie and then it was all hands on deck to finish preparations and get ready (and by all hands what I really mean is my hands worked on everything whilst the teen and the young king got themselves dressed).

Can't access my SD card at the moment so took a picture from the LCD screen

We had a flying visit from my boyfriend, his sister and the kids which meant we got to exchange gifts and the younger ones had a few minutes of play which was lovely as always.

Once they had left I had a couple of hours or so to relax and gather my thoughts until my dad, who was due to arrive at 4, came over to enjoy Christmas dinner with us.  I must say that as Christmas meals go this one went almost exactly to plan (we'll forget the fact I didn't cook the sprouts and lightly burnt the Yorkshires).  My roast chicken was moist and succulent and my honey roast lamb was melt in your mouth delicious and went perfectly with my macaroni cheese, rice and roast potatoes.  Thankfully although my father and I have not always seen eye to eye and barely see or speak to one another, this time of year is always one that makes you stop and acknowledge the importance of putting grudges aside and loving regardless of the mess.  We ate our meal, shared some stories and talked about current affairs as we usually do.  After thanking me for the meal we said our goodbyes and I gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done.

The kids and I relaxed back in the sofa and started on the Christmas TV shows.  My (ex) mother in law, whom I love dearly, was running way behind schedule and a couple of hours after my dad left, she joined us for the rest of the evening.  After dishing her a plate we all ate dessert together then indulged the young king in some Christmas board games.

Our evening was full of silliness and laughter and as they say laughter is the best medicine.  I imagine if their is an afterlife that Darrell was happily smiling down on his family last night and even though we were one princess short of a full kingdom we are doing our best to retain that bond that he made possible.

So in reflection, what I thought would be a miserable Christmas turned out to be a lovely one.

I hope that you all had a good Christmas.  What was your most memorable part of the day?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Big Bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese

I can't even begin to tell you how difficult the last couple of weeks have been for us as a family.  With the 2nd anniversary of the death of the princesses dad fast approaching, I thought that would be the toughest day of our month, unfortunately for us the universe had other plans.

I'm totally one of those people who isn't afraid to share things with the world, even if those things are painful however I do tend to keep certain things to myself to protect the feelings of others.  In this circumstance I'm willing to share because the taboo subject of mental health, especially in the black community, is a subject that I believe needs to be shared.

This month my princess suffered a mental breakdown, she hadn't properly grieved her father and soldiered on as he'd always encouraged her to do.  Unfortunately this soldier mentality has lead to delayed PTSD.  She is still in hospital at the moment but is now back to her self, making jokes, listening to music and of course practising lines for one play or another!

That being said something as major as this can take it's toll on all members of the family so looking after mine and little mans diet has been of significant importance.  We took part in a healthy red meat challenge with The Meat Advisory Panel (an independent group of health and nutrition experts).  Being that I've only recently started eating meat again  I thought I'd hit the challenge with a family favourite: spaghetti bolognese.  

One of the main reasons I went back to eating red meat is because of the health benefits associated with it.  I have long suffered with anaemia which means that sources high in iron are extremely important.  Red meat provides a range of important nutrients that are often low in toddlers and children - including iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium and potassium.

I used a lean minced beef to make the bolognese and although little man was not keen to try it at first (he's a super fussy eater) he was soon enjoying it and not a drop of bolognese was left in the bowl afterwards.  Therefore my mission was accomplished.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Milk Ocean children's clothing - A Review Post

I've often found it much easier shopping for the teen that the little prince, namely because of the wide range of girls clothes available on the high street in comparison to boys.  That being said times are changing and the way we shop is changing with the times.  Spaces like Instagram are making it increasingly easier to find clothes in a style that appeals to you and online shopping means that you can be sitting slouched on the sofa with a cup of tea in your pyjamas (as I am now) and ordering the latest fashions from around the globe.

One of my resent finds for little man is a brand called 'Milk Ocean' who have just launched an etsy store featuring their first line of knitwear.

We were sent a super soft white hoodie made from 95% organic cotton a 5% elastane.  The hoodie features water-based eco-friendly ink tattoo prints which gives it that little edge to make little man feel like 'the man'.

Since receiving the jumper little man has not wanted to take it off.  He's only just started getting into fashion and will now tell you if his clothes look 'cool' or not, although he still does seek the approval of his big sister, this hoodie has definitely made it onto his cool list.

I too love the jumper, my only criticism would be that it comes up at just the right fit so if you're like me and like your children's clothes to have a bit of growing room I suggest going for the next size up.  Milk Ocean currently stock sizes from 1-5 (although little man is wearing age 6).  Helga, the store owner, has assured me they will in time be looking to expand the age range as the brand grows.

We haven't yet washed the hoodie so that will be our next test let's see how it does!

We were gifted the hoodie in exchange for this article, all opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Monday, 21 August 2017

My little fish - Epaderm Junior review

My quest to help my little man learn to swim began when he was just a few months old with mother and baby swim classes, although I started with the best of intentions these classes didn't go to plan.  For one reason or another we were unfortunate enough to have them cancelled or moved to days when we couldn't attend.  A few months ago we decided to start again with an intensive swim week, then followed these up with weekly swimming lessons at a local private school pool.

Daniel has gone from being afraid to put his head in the water to being a little fish and swimming both on his front and his back.  I'm one very proud mother.

The one negative to all this is the effect the chlorine has had on his skin.  For some with eczema chlorine can have a positive influence as recent research has shown mild bleach can reduce bacteria on eczematous skin, for Daniel the chlorine has had a drying effect therefore causing him irritation.

So what did we do to counteract this?  
Applying Epaderm Junior, which is the newest addition to the Epaderm family and is specially developed by dermatologists, washing the chlorine off his skin after swimming then re-applying his cream.  Thanks to this process and continued use of the cream and ointment after a couple of weeks his skin was no longer dry and symptoms of irritation had stopped.

We were used to using a thicker prescribed ointment from the doctor, which for the most part worked well so I was sceptical about the light Epaderm cream, his skin however loves it.  

Although we were exclusively using Epaderm for 4 weeks we now alternate between the doctor prescribed hydromol ointment and Epaderm because we've found that Daniel's skin requires a variety of different moisturisers at different times.

As for the swimming, we're off to our local pool today to enjoy some summer holiday swimming fun.