#Veganuary – the end is not the end 

I can’t believe January is over already. It’s usually a month that stretches far into the future and never seems to end. I think because I had focus and started new things it didn’t feel like that this year. 

I’m starting to become obsessed with my weight and body shape again, and it’s really hard to take my mind from that and onto the important stuff. Like eating for nutrition, and eating things that actually make my body feel good. I’ve lost weight in January, but not loads. That wasn’t my main aim. In fact it wasn’t one of my aims at all. 

Eating vegan food has been pretty life changing for me. I never really cooked before. When I had to I really didn’t enjoy it. Now I’m cooking all kinds of different meals from scratch, using ingredients I have never ever used. And what’s really stunned me is that I absolutely love it. I enjoy my time in the kitchen before dinner every night, even if Astrid hates me cooking and has to be nearby eating breadsticks or I won’t get away with it. 

I’ve made pasta sauces and curries and sweet potato fries and casseroles. I’ve loved eating without feeling any guilt, and I really love knowing exactly what is in my food. I know what’s there because I put it there. 

I tried to make a pros and cons to vegan eating list the other day and I just couldn’t. There are so many pros, and the only con I can think of is that lots of restaurants and cafes make it very difficult to eat out. I rarely eat out so it’s no biggie, and I think it’s something that is slowly changing anyway. There’s also the people who insist on commenting, but as most of their comments are either dumb (like “mmm, bacon” as if that’s going to upset me) or are from people concerned about my calcium or iron intake, I can handle it. With the amount of spinach I’ve been eating I’ve got no worries! 

I barely ate any dairy or eggs anyway. I’d been veggie for years and years and years with just the odd hiccup, and I didn’t like dairy and eggs. They just taste slimy to me. I only had them as ingredients in things, like cakes and biscuits, and I’ve discovered that I can find alternatives easily for all of those things. 

With so little left to actually give up, I wasn’t expecting to feel major benefits. So I’ve been surprised to find there are so many. It has had an impact on literallly everything. 

My skin has been dry and flaky whilst also spotty for a while, and I was regularly getting great big horrible boils. Gross. My skin is clearing up rapidly, and while it’s still not brilliant it is getting there. My stomach doesn’t bloat and feel uncomfortable after eating anymore. I have totally over eaten a few times in January, but it hasn’t been as uncomfortable and horrible as it used to be. Once I’d got past the excess wind (soz -tmi!) of the first few days my digestive system seems to be working so much better. I’m not reaching for the peppermint tea to relieve tummy ache every evening. My energy levels have increased greatly. I still get very little sleep thanks to a combination of babies waking up and my own insomnia, but I’m coping with it so much better now. I think I’m less moody, although you’d have to ask Trevor to be totally sure on that one. I definitely feel less moody, and less anxious too. My mental health has definely improved and that was the biggest surprise. I guess there’s some doubt that it’s definitely eating well that has changed it, as it could also be because I quit my medication over Christmas. A friend told me today that she’d been quite concerned about me last year, and that I seem to be in a better place now. That’s good to hear. I’m glad I seem better on the outside too. 

There’s no way I’m going back. 

In fact, I think I’m going to take this further. I think my sugar addiction (I reckon most of us are addicted) is holding me back. Instead of feeling pretty good, I could be feeling amazing! I don’t think I’m ready to quit it all together, but I do plan to be more ‘sugar-aware’. When I eat sugary stuff I don’t notice when I’ve had enough and end up binging. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve had the odd bar of vegan chocolate recently, and I’ve been making myself eat it slowly and stop when I’m satisfied. I’ve found that I can leave a half eaten bar in a kitchen cupboard for days and days now. Previously I couldn’t know it was there and not eat it. 

I’m really proud of myself for completing Veganuary, and for sticking with it too. I’ve saved animals, contributed less to global warming, spent far less on food every week, learnt to cook, provided my family with healthier meals than before, lost some weight, improved my health, made big steps in improving my mental health, encouraged a friend to change her ways, and learnt to like myself a bit more. That’s not small stuff. 

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Taking a little break

My New Years resolutions list is long and complicated, and there is quite a bit of work to put in. I’m terrible for becoming distracted by the internet, so to make it easier for myself I’m going to be taking a little break from blogging and tweeting. 

For my real life people, my private Facebook and instagram will still be used (mainly because I like looking at old pictures on Timehop – I feel like I’m leaving little gifts for future me!) but I might turn the notifications off. 

I’m thinking of this being like a ‘dry january’ but actually I’m not setting a date to return. I might just stay away for a week or this could last a bit longer. Whatever feels good. 

Happy 2017! 

New Years resolutions

Photo credit: Jen and Martin at Barefoot Images


Last year I tried to dance around this by saying they were not really resolutions. That probably isn’t the reason I couldn’t stick to a single one, but I do think that making them more concrete plans might help. This year, I’m calling them what they are, I’m writing them down, and I’m going to come back to them and reflect often. They’re big, most of them. Big things. Life changing things. I can’t do them all at once, but do them all I will. At least I hope I will. 

  1. Make peace with my body and change my relationship with food. I really need to stop eating my feelings. It doesn’t actually help with the feelings. I need to listen to my body and eat what makes me feel good (it’s not chocolate!). I need to stop looking in the mirror and hating what I see. I need to look at my body as the incredible thing that made two whole humans, and start treating it with the respect it deserves. 
  2. Self care is a biggy. It’s related to the first resolution, but by this I mean other things I (don’t) do that help me to feel more like me. Exercise, taking care of my hair, putting on make up when I feel like it and not feeling guilty about wasting make up on a face like mine, not weighing myself, being outdoors, enjoying myself at events instead of just trying to avoid cameras, making time for knitting and reading and other things that soothe me, being present with my kids and not miles away in social media land, taking a break from the Internet regularly, hanging out with friends, trying new things. That’s not the whole list but you get the point. 
  3. Tidying up. I’ve made a massive start on the house full of stuff that we live in. So much of our unwanted junk has been recycled or donated and it has felt so good. The reason I have battled so hard to keep our house clean and tidy but failed is because there’s just way too much stuff. Nothing has a home. All the storage is full and overflowing. It has to change. Christmas has undone much of my work, but as soon as Trev is back at work and the kids are back at school I’ll be diving in head first and getting it done. Starting with the Christmas decorations that are suffocating me! 
  4. I’m quitting shopping. Yes, I know that sounds a bit silly. How can I quit shopping? I don’t mean completely. What’s the point in decluttering when we bring in more than we take out? I can’t stop my family from buying things, but I can stop myself. No clothes. I don’t need them. I’m not getting any bigger (see 1) and I have clothes in the size I am now down to the size I was before babies. I’m not buying any more. I don’t need to pick up things like lip balm or make up. Tidying up has shown me that I have tons of the stuff, I just can’t ever find it because it’s not all stored in one place. I’ll buy food (the healthy kind) and essentials, and the occasional thing that really sparks joy (like the cat astronaught bedding I’ve got my eye on in the Asda sale). I’m just going to avoid shops. Wandering around shops is no longer a thing I do to fill time. There are lots of other places, parks and libraries and museums. 
  5. Save some money. Number 4 should help. I should be able to get to the end of the month and not be completely broke and have to turn down invitations or stay home because I don’t have the cash for bus fare.

It’s just 5 things but they aren’t small things, and each one will affect my life greatly. I’m finally starting to come out the other side of the medication withdrawal, and now I’m ready to do whatever it takes to live without it and be happy. I need more happy. 

Happy new year! 

Our week in pictures #7

It actually not a week, but I do want to get back to doing this weekly on a friday, so I need to cut a week a bit short to make up for the long ones. 

Thursday was New Year’s Eve. We planned a quiet day indoors, but we were all so desperate for fresh air (especially Seb!) that we ended up playing football in the rain on the local playing field. I didn’t actually play, as just the walk up there nearly finished me off. Iris and the girls had a great time though, and it was just what they needed before settling down for an afternoon/evening of play dough, movies, board games and biscuit making. I took a long nap with Iris even though I’d had a lie in too, and all of us lasted until midnight. Apart from iris, obviously. Although she did stay up until almost 11 and for a while I did think she might make it! 

New Year’s Day was rotten for me. I slept in, but still woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept in months. I haven’t, actually. I had Braxton Hicks and period like pains all day long, and just couldn’t get comfy anywhere. I ached all over and had a terrible headache. I couldn’t settle at bedtime either, and ended up running a bath at 2am only to leave it to go cold because Iris woke up and needed me. Instead I had a bath at 4am and finally got to sleep sometime soon after. 

Meanwhile, Trevor and the kids had a much nicer day. While I was around, I didn’t feel very present. I was a bit like a zombie. They took the dog to the field again for a football game, played battleships and Trevor’s ukelele, and cooked a huge turkey roast dinner. The kids messed around in the bath, and they all watched the first Star Wars film. I did a bit of crochet and zoned in and out, wondering if I was ill or if things were about to kick off. 

This morning I’ve woken up aching and exhausted so lovely Trevor has sent me back to bed. It’s officially the end of Christmas now, as the big kids go back to their mum today to get ready for their return to school. I’ve just got today and tomorrow to make the most of these naps and then Trevor will be back at work too. I’m dreading it!

  
    
   

   
    

   

Hello, 2016

I’ve seen a lot of great blog posts about new year’s resolutions this past week or so, but this isn’t going to be one of those. I’m usually a sucker for resolutions, I even keep them sometimes. I quit smoking and biting my nails thanks to resolutions. I also started running and kept it up for quite a long time. I don’t think they’re a bad idea or that you’re just setting yourself up to fail. I just don’t want to do that this year.

I’ve got enough on my plate, frankly.

When you’re this pregnant and you could have a baby any day, things like the start of a new year pass you by to some extent. Everything is about this baby and when it’s going to get out of my body. Then once she’s out here in the world, everything will be about breastfeeding and getting some sleep and adjusting to having two children under two. I do not have time for resolutions.

So instead I’m going to write a to-do list, which may seem like exactly the same thing but I can assure you it is not. There is no pressure, from me or anybody else, to tick off everything on this list. Some are essential and some are just fun things I’d like to do. Or things I’ve been meaning to do but never got around to. Stuff like that. It’s no biggie if most of it is left undone.

Here goes.

  1. Get this baby out. Get her out, but in a much more positive way than the day I got Iris out. The plan is: go into labour, go to birth centre, have a birth in the pool without any huge drama, get discharged a few hours later and come home.
  2. Breastfeed. Probably won’t do much else for the first few weeks after the birth, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. That’s how you get the hang of it, and that’s how you grow chunky happy babies.
  3. Let shit go. Sorry for the swear word. I’m terrible for clinging onto the stuff that stresses me out but actually really doesn’t matter.
  4. Get Trevor to put up the rest of the wallpaper. Three pieces aren’t enough, mister.
  5. Spend my 31st birthday over in Bristol. Take the kids to the aquarium. Have dinner out somewhere nice.
  6. Generally spend a bit more time in Bristol actually.
  7. See my old buddies and my bestest buddies more. Much more. 2015 was a poor year for my friendships and I’d love to fix that this year.
  8. Keep this blogging thing up. I have no desire to blog to a schedule or make it really successful or make a living from it. I just want to keep it up and keep enjoying it. That’s it.
  9. Be outside. All the time. As much as possible. Every day if I can. Nothing makes me feel better and I know Iris is the same.
  10. Go camping! I’d love to go at Easter, but I’m not sure we can this year. Having a new tiny baby won’t stop us though. We went when Iris was just 9 weeks old! We’ll definitely go in August though. Definitely.
  11. Visit Castell Coch. It’s so pretty, and I’ve lived around the corner from it for 2 whole years. I’ve never been!
  12. Splash in the sea. Lots.
  13. Climb trees. As much as possible.
  14. Walk for miles.
  15. Go to Folly Farm. I hear it’s pretty good.
  16. Go back to Cattle Country.
  17. Go out. At night time. Without the babies. At least once. (I’m not very good at this.)
  18. Read books. Lots of them. I used to get through them thick and fast, several a week. I’ve barely read a thing since Iris came along! I miss getting lost in a good story.
  19. Run! This isn’t a resolution before you say it is. It has no health/weight loss/fitness/distance/speed goals attached. I just want to run. Running feels good. It’s outside, it’s my time, and it makes me feel happy. Run!
  20. I’ve always wanted to get into yoga. Maybe I’ll do that at last.
  21. Be a good mum. Have patience. Be gentle. Try not to yell.
  22. Cuddle.
  23. Take naps. Whenever possible.
  24. Make the most of my me-time, actually rest instead of being distracted by social media all the time!
  25. Don’t take Trevor for granted. He’s one of the best ones. Let him know.
  26. Take even more pictures than in 2015. Not sure this is even possible!
  27. Do not get any more pets. You have plenty.
  28. Embrace Wales! Make more friends, see more places. Take the train. Take the bus. Get out there!
  29. Go to a toddler day at Techniquest. Still haven’t got round to that.
  30. Find lots of new places to go. Make new favourite places.
  31. Finish the multiple courses I’m supposed to be doing but never actually do. Particularly the breastfeeding mother peer supporter one. That one means a lot.
  32. Get the kids together with my sister’s kids as much as possible. Cousins are supposed to be your first friends. Give them the opportunity to make that happen. A bridge and a border should not get in the way!
  33. Shop in charity shops. Give things to charity shops.
  34. Crochet! Maybe even knit a little bit. Make things. Encourage the kids to make things.

That’ll do. For now anyway. Perhaps I’ll come back and cross these things out, or write an update at some point. Perhaps not. We’ll see. No pressure.

2016 is going to be a good one, I can feel it.