Author Archives: Leopardprintandgin

How to Breathe for Dummies

I’m not really sure where to begin with this so I’m just going to start typing and see where that takes me.

Not knowing where to begin seems to be a huge theme in my life at the moment.  I am surrounded by half finished tasks, half tackled piles of paperwork and half completed lists.

I’m normally a list lover.  That satisfaction you get when crossing through the items one-by-one.  However, my lack of motivation recently has meant that even picking up a pen and paper to start a list (I’m old school!) has sometimes seemed like a gargantuan feat.  When I have managed it, my lists have started to include items I would never usually feel the need to include.  The other day, when my son was a bit poorly, my list went something like this:

1. Get dressed     –     TICK

2. Get A dressed (if feeling a bit better)     –     NOPE

3. Take medicine     –     TICK

4. Wash up breakfast items     –     TICK

5. Put a load of washing on     –     TICK

6. Write birthday cards     –     TICK

7. Lists for party     –     NOPE

Something has gone seriously astray when I need to start my list with getting myself and my son dressed!  What’s next?

1. Breathe in

2. Breathe out

3. Repeat ad infinitum

I talked in my last post about my growing sense of ennui and it is starting to seriously concern me.  I’m losing touch with pretty much everyone outside of my immediate family.  Friends text and I take so long to reply it’s embarrassing and, quite frankly, rude.  I’m only on Twitter sporadically now as I frequently feel I have little of any value to say but I do miss the ‘chatter’ and many on there have been really supportive.  I’m sure I’ll be back soon.

My husband said to me yesterday that I am “constantly fed up lately” and he’s right.  I’m really trying hard to motivate myself and ‘snap out of it’ (HATE that phrase but it’s been said to me so often recently it seemed apt!) but it’s feels like climbing Everest some days and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps the new medication (unconnected) I’m taking is having an adverse effect on my mood.  It’s possible I suppose but unlikely.  Perhaps the various ailments I seem to have on an almost constantly rotating basis have just worn me down.  Maybe but in the grand scheme of things I really have no right to complain about my health.

Ultimately, something has to change or all of the things I want to accomplish are going to remain unaccomplished.

Anyone had any experience of feeling like this?  How did you cope with it?

Thanks for reading

Ladyofessex

xxx

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A pity party for one, Rod Tidwell and the lurking black dog…..

*assumes Indiana Jones guise, arms self with machete, hacks away at overgrown weeds, sweeps away cobwebs, blows away thick layer of dust, screams as a spider lands nearby*

Ooh! Hello blog, long time no see!

My writing mojo went AWOL at the end of last year and, despite threats to reappear a couple of times, it never did!

However, today I had a Jerry Maguire moment.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to bore you all with my ‘Mission Statement’ for life – I’m going to bore you all with my plans to change my outlook on things instead!

This morning, I felt a bit down.  This is, unfortunately, not a particularly rare occurrence at the moment but I think the dreaded PMT is creeping in and making things that bit worse.  I decided to have a hot bath to make myself feel better but who knows what Lush are putting in their bubble bars these days (essence of Coldplay?) because after about 5 minutes I was sobbing away and despairing about life, the universe and everything. (RIP Douglas.)

My poor husband got a telephone call at work, which made absolutely no sense whatsoever as, not only was there nothing he could do from a distance, he also couldn’t really discuss anything.  So my Mum (aren’t Mums great?) got the brunt of it.

I sobbed.  I wailed.  I scrubbed away at my eyes until they were red, raw and as puffy as marshmallows.  Let’s be brutally honest here – I was having my own little pity party, complete with bubbles!

My mum managed to calm me down (See? Mums are aces!) and I dried myself off to get on with a few bits and pieces.  But I still felt aggrieved.  I still felt angry.  I needed a rant and I needed it there and then!

So, I said my piece on Twitter:

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I received a lot of good advice on Twitter, @GriffithsPhoto and @Helenw71 both said that A would follow the example set by his parents and that by teaching him to be the best he can be and to “be an individual who contributes to society rather than takes from it” (thanks Helen!) was the best grounding for him for his future life.

What really hit home was @kateab‘s advice that we should never compare ourself with others as we invariably don’t really know the full picture.  I am guilty of this.  Also, to reach your full potential you should focus on yourself, nobody else.

I realised who I was behaving like.  I was behaving like Rod Tidwell.  (I’m going to assume here that you’ve all seen Jerry Maguire because, come on, who hasn’t? It’s on nearly every other week. Even my parents have seen it and they’ve only seen about three films! Seriously, if you haven’t seen it – watch it!)  I was effectively sitting around, bemoaning my bad luck, my hardships, comparing my life with what I perceive of other people’s lives and not doing a damn thing about changing any of it!  I was reminded of Jerry’s speech to Rod in the changing room (where Cuba Gooding Jnr is, incidentally, naked – good scene!)

“This is a negotiation.  We want more from them, so let’s show them more from us.  Let’s show them your pure joy of the game, let’s bury the attitude a little…..”

“I’m telling you to be the best version of you, to get back to the guy who first started playing this game.  Way back when you were a kid.  It wasn’t just about the money was it?”

And also, later on in the film when Jerry gives Rod some home truths about his attitude.

“I’ll tell you why you don’t have your millions.  You play for the money.  You play with your head, not your heart.  When you get on the field, it’s all about what you didn’t get.  Who’s to blame.  Who’s got the contract you didn’t get.  That is not what inspires people!  Play the game from your heart, then I’ll show you the kwan.  And that’s the truth!”

This is what I want to teach A.  Focus on yourself, concentrate on your achievements, nobody else’s.  If you’re passionate about something, pursue it.  Put your heart and soul into it.  And, ultimately, if you want something to happen, get off your bum and work as hard as you possibly can to make it happen!  Don’t expect things delivered to you on a plate, because it just doesn’t happen that way.

In a way, I’m glad this morning happened as it’s made me realise two very important things:

1) I need to alter my focus and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.  I will be concentrating hard on me and my family from now on.

2) The black dog that has been lurking around the corner for a little while is now sitting quietly in the corner of the room, inching ever closer.  This tweet…..

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…..read back later on in the day is alarming.  I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression in the past and I can recognise the warning signs.  My growing sense of ennui is definitely one of them.  I’m reluctant to take medication due to other health reasons at present but I’m certainly not going to ignore it.

I might have a wobble (I almost certainly will) but I know that I have an amazing husband, wonderful parents and some fantastic friends, both in the real world and in the world of social media and I’m sure they’ll all give me lots of support.

Thank you for reading, I’m sorry it’s so long & rambling but it’s been cathartic!

Ladyofessex
X

2012…..a fresh perspective

Hello again!

I took a bit of a break from blogging (& most social networking in general actually) as I’m an advocate of the saying “If you haven’t got anything good to say, don’t say anything”!

That’s not to say that everything has been doom and gloom but there have been a few matters that were making me frustrated and, subsequently, a misery guts! I’ll update properly on those that I don’t mind making public in due course.

For now though, I want to take the opportunity of a New Year, with all his contemplative period of reflection, combined with an increased amount of free time, to re-assess what I want out of life and how I’m going to go about achieving it.

Despite intending to join in with The Five F’s Life Circle last year and again missing the start of it this year I am DEFINITELY going to be catching up with it. You can hold me to that!

There are lots of other things I want to work on too but more on those another time! It’s good to be back!

You can call me one of THOSE mothers…..

This post has proved to be a little more tricky to write than I was expecting, mostly due to my conflicting feelings about the matter, which I am still struggling with to some degree.

It was Little Man’s first parents’ evening on Tuesday and, due to an existing and unmoveable commitment on the same night, we were unable to attend.  I was really disappointed to miss out on this and obviously keen to find out how he’s been getting on at preschool so I emailed to ask if we could arrange to come in and speak to them at another time.  They duly rang my husband to make an appointment, which was great, but at the same time mentioned that the preschool manager wanted to be in on the meeting too as ‘there have been some issues regarding LM’s behaviour that we want to discuss’.  GULP.

Up until now, I haven’t really said too much on Twitter/Facebook or even to other friends about what the precise issues are as I was ashamed.  Yes, ashamed.  It feels so terrible to say that about my own son, but it’s true.  I was ashamed of his behaviour and, as a firm believer in nurture over nature, I was also ashamed of myself.  I felt like an abject failure.

You see, Little Man has been being rough with the other children there, including hitting them.  I am mortified.  Where have I gone so horribly wrong as to result in him not knowing that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable?

I have been beating myself up about this for the past week, worrying about how we can tackle this, worrying about whether I’m at danger of raising a future bully and, truth be told, worrying about the judgements that were doubtless being made on me and my parenting skills by not only the preschool staff but also the other parents.

Now you’re probably thinking, ‘how shallow’, and you would be right.  Unfortunately though, I am the kind of person who does care about how they’re perceived by others.  I know I really shouldn’t, and that’s what I’m struggling with now.

The worst aspect of motherhood so far, for me anyway, has been the judgement.  Mothers judge other mothers far too freely.  It starts straight away with the notorious breastfeeding vs formula feeding issue, which I am absolutely not going to get into now.  It continues with any number of other matters, (dummies, controlled crying, baby-led weaning etc) all of which there are strong, conflicting opinions on.  I have no problem with anybody holding a differing opinion to me on any matter, life would be incredibly boring if we all agreed.  What I DO have a problem with however is when someone, who invariably doesn’t even know me, decides that they can make a judgment on what kind of parent I am purely based on a momentary observation or enquiry into one of my choices.

I’ll hold my hands up here, I’ve done it in the past.  Haven’t we all?  I’ve seen the children creating mayhem in the shops or throwing a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant and thought, ‘Well, they clearly can’t control their children!’ but I really should have known better.  What we see, and what we think we know about someone is usually merely only the tip of the iceberg.  There could be all kinds of reasons for what we’re seeing or why somebody has chosen that particular option in raising their children.  And that’s just it, it is a choice.  Unless it’s illegal or endangering their children or others; their children, their choice.  Also, as I have come to realise, there is always more to something than meets the eye.  Those children misbehaving in the restaurant?  Maybe they’re just having a bad day and are usually really good.  Maybe some well-meaning grandparent overloaded them with sugar just before they came out.  The fact is, we don’t know and we shouldn’t judge.

But people WILL judge, I know this.  So, as hard as it for me to do this, I am being brave and saying this:

Go ahead, judge me.

Decide that I am a shoddy parent because my son is having some behavioural issues at present.

Blank me when you pass me outside preschool.

Don’t invite my son to your child’s birthday party.

I DON’T CARE.

You will never know how upset I was at hearing about the times he’d been in trouble and you will never know how I’ve stayed awake at night agonising over how best to tackle it and put it right.

My priority now, and all I currently care about, is my son and ensuring that we do all we can to help him over this and to ensure that he gets the support, insight and understanding to deal with whatever frustrations and issues are causing him to behave like this.

I’m going to finish now as this is making me start crying all over again but my last comment is this:

If you are so quick to judge and exclude a 3 year old boy and his parents then are you really any better than a playground bully?  I genuinely hope that your children never do anything you might consider to be less than desirable so that you won’t have to experience the same feelings I have.

Thank you for reading,

ladyofessex

x

The A-Z of Me…..

Thank you to Emma from Mummy Musings for tagging me in this meme. I have taken an absolute AGE to get around to doing it so apologies!

This meme originated from Lauren of The Real Housewife of Suffolk County.

So here is the A-Z of me! (Sorry it’s so long!)

ANORAK……….Do you have a sad side?
Oh yes, absolutely! I don’t even hide it that well. Some of my taste in music is questionable to say the least (I don’t care what you say, there are times when only Steps will do) and I am completely anal annoying about reading all the books in a series (think DI Tom Thorne or Kay Scarpetta) IN THE CORRECT ORDER. Anything else is just wrong people, WRONG!

BODY……….What physical attribute would you most like to change?
Easy – my weight. I know, I know…..yawn yawn. But I really do need to shift it.

CELEBRITY……….Which one would you most like to date and why?
This is a tough one as it seems to change frequently depending on what kind of mood I’m in. Robert Downey Jnr has always been my ultimate lust magnet but, if you’re asking about actually dating, I’m not sure I could cope with that level of unpredictability on a regular basis. (I already have a 3yo whose mood swings are legendary, thank you very much!) I’ll just have to go for two people I’ve been perving over watching on MTV lately. The first one is divine Adam Levine (see what I did there?) but the second one will probably shock you. I’m going to go for Stephen Manderson (Professor Green) *ducks*. What can I say? I’m clearly going through a ‘tattooed and musical’ phase.

DEBUT……….Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging?
This is actually my second blog as my first one wasn’t anonymous which I decided I didn’t like. On my previous blog my first post was this:

So, I’ve finally taken the plunge and started my own blog.
Why now?
Maybe it’s the fact that March, with its bright, sunny mornings, really does bring to mind the possibility of a fresh start, a chance to make things better, the hope that something begun now will flourish and grow.
Maybe it’s because my frustration at merely thinking about doing things has peaked and this was the first thing I felt I could tackle to feel better about accomplishing something.
Or maybe it’s because I was supposed to be working from home this morning and this was a pleasant distraction!
I can’t promise I’ll find the time to make a blog entry every day as my life is rather jam-packed at the moment what with my 19 month old son, my self-employment as a trainee accountant, studying for my AAT qualification, trying to move house and my overwhelming addictions to both the television and Twitter, sometimes in tandem! I even have to try and find time to give my very patient husband some attention!
I’m also a bit of a Luddite so it will take a while until my blog is pretty and full of interesting things to click! Please be patient with me…..
What I can promise to deliver is an honest account of my experiences as I try and find my way to making the most of every aspect of my life!

And this was my first post on this blog.
As you can see, neither post was particularly ‘ground-breaking’ but I was trying to introduce my madness myself to you gradually.
I started blogging as a direct result of being on Twitter. I enjoyed reading other blogs, had set up a GReader to keep up with them all and suddenly thought, ‘actually that’s a good idea, why don’t I join in?’

ERROR……….What’s been your biggest regret?
As Edith Piaf famously sang, ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ but that was clearly a load of old BS as far as I’m concerned. Who hasn’t said at one time or another, ‘I wish I’d done X instead of Y’ or even ‘If only I’d bought B instead of C’? We all have things we regret but hopefully they’re not large things.
The main thing I regret is that I didn’t give myself the chance to pursue my dream of going to Drama School. Long story short: started A-Levels, got a bit bored of studying and had some ill health, met a boy (now my husband), decided to take a year off and restart the following year, restarted, had lost impetus, quit them for good, started working. Now, as it happens, I’ve managed OK without them and am currently debating the merits of progressing onto the ACCA qualification now I’ve completed the AAT or even doing an Open University degree at some point in the future. However, I’ll always wonder what might have been if I’d done my A-Levels and gone on to Drama School or University.
Having said all that, I actually wouldn’t change a thing about my life now (apart from the usual things that everyone wants, more money, more family time etc) and I do think it would have been hard to maintain a long distance relationship had I ventured away from home to study further so maybe it was for the best?

Non, je ne regrette rien – No, I don’t feel sorry about anything
Car ma vie, car mes joies – Because my life, my joys
Aujourd’hui, ça commence avec toi – Today, they begin with you

And that’s about as soppy as I will ever get!

FUNNY……….who’s making you laugh?
My son and husband both make me laugh on a daily basis (not always intentionally) but I’m also a big fan of going to live comedy. I’ve seen Jimmy Carr several times live as well as Jack Dee but I’d love to go and see Tim Minchin live. He is GENIUS. Watch this clip and you’ll (hopefully) understand why.

GRAND……….If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on?
Gadgets! Xbox360 with Kinect, an iPad and a bigger TV.

HOLIDAY……….What’s your favourite destination?
New York, New York baby! Will always remind me of my honeymoon and who could ever get bored there?

IRRITATE……….What’s your most annoying habit?
My lack of ability to make a definitive decision quickly and the fact that I will change my mind (and my mood) frequently over the course of a day.

JOKER……….What’s your favourite joke (the one that makes you laugh every time you hear it)?
Why are there so many ‘Ds’ in Edward Woodward?
Because otherwise he’d be Ewar Woowar!
I’m giggling again now…..

KENNEL……….Do you have any pets?
None. I would love a dog but we’re not at home enough during the day for it to be fair.

LOVE……….Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner?

Married for almost 4.5 years, together for 15.5 years. He took his time…..

MEAL……….What’s your ultimate starter, main and dessert?

I can’t possibly choose (told you I was indecisive!) but some of my favourites are:
Starter: Garlic butter king prawns / Chicken Liver Parfait
Main: A rib-eye steak, cooked medium rare with onion strings & chunky chips / Slow-cooked spice-rubbed shoulder of lamb with warm potato & fennel salad
Dessert: Not a huge dessert fan so I’m going to cheat and choose cheese & oatcakes!

NOW……….If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with?
As it’s nearly Christmas I’m going to say Lapland with my husband and son, visiting Father Christmas and the elves!

OFF DUTY……….What do you do in your spare time?
TV, Twitter, Books, Magazines, Internet.

PROUD MOMENTS……….What are you most proud of?
Probably a predictable answer but I’d have to say my son. He’s ace and never ceases to amaze me at how quickly he’s learning and progressing.

QUEASY……….What turns your stomach?
I can stomach most things and can happily watch surgical procedures with blood, guts etc but show me a David Busst style injury and I feel physically sick. This link doesn’t include pictures as I still can’t look at it, do not Google them if you are at all squeamish about this sort of thing like I am. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

RELAX……….How do you relax?
I’m actually not very good at relaxing. I always feel that there is something I should be doing or worrying about instead. The only time I will truly switch off is if I have a particularly absorbing book. I’m hoping that The Moiderer’s relaxation track that she has kindly let me download will help with this though.

SONG……….What’s your favourite song of all time?
I don’t really have a favourite song of all time as, to me, music can be so evocative of a particular time, memory or emotion that I will often choose a track to suit (or change if necessary!) my current mood. Five tracks that do stick out for me though are:
Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
Jamiroquai – Return of the Space Cowboy
Massive Attack – Teardrop (Current Children in Need cover is a TRAVESTY)
R.E.M. – Losing My Religion
Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

TIME……….If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose?
1999-2002. I had a fantastic job which involved great money, lots of socialising and some great opportunities, none of which I made the most of.

UNKNOWN……….Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?
No, it’s secret for a reason!

VOCAL……….Who is your favourite artist?
Another tricky one for me but I’ll say Alanis Morissette.

WORK……….What is your dream job, and are you doing it now?
My dream job used to be acting, and to a certain extent this is still the case. However, I would also love to do something creative and crafty. I’m a self-employed accountant instead! Some people say that this can involve craftiness and creativeness at times but obviously I have no idea what they could be referring to *cough cough*.

X-RAY……….Any broken bones?
Only a very minor greenstick fracture to my right arm as a child. I can’t even remember how I did it but I suspect foul play on the part of my older brothers.

YIKES……….What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
Ever sent an email to the wrong person? An email moaning about the person you accidentally sent it to? I’ll say no more…..

ZOO……….If you were an animal, which one would you be?
Either a leopard or a zebra. Hey, I like animal print!

And now I have to tag some other victims bloggers to take part in this meme. I’ll tag:

Rox at PaisleyRox

J at Cooktease

Kate at Katie and the Kids

Heather at Something Blue

and finally, Rob at Planet of the Ape – get that blog up and running!

Silent Sunday – 20.11.11

Silent Sunday is inspired by the lovely Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy

A Mammoth Christmas!

My Little Man is often tired on a Friday afternoon after a full week at preschool and, with the weather becoming colder, damper and generally more unpleasant, it is a good excuse to crack out the snuggly blankets and the DVDs.

Last year was the first time he really understood Christmas and, as he clearly remembers what a big deal it was, he’s already getting excited about the impending celebrations.

We’ve decided to take him to see Father Christmas this year (last year we thought he might have found it all a bit odd/scary) as well as a few other Christmassy activities.  Some things we are doing indoors, like making a ‘cut & stick’ list for Santa and colouring some special pictures for decorating the house.  However, sometimes he’s too tired even for that and all he really wants to do is relax with a spot of TV.

There’s nothing I love more than a film with a Christmas theme (Elf, quite simply, ROCKS) so finding an animated film with this theme that also has all his favourite Ice Age characters in it is fantastic!

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas is released on DVD exclusively in Asda from 21st November and there are some special in-store activities taking place this week.

For my local readers the Asda in Thurrock will be hosting an activity day on Monday 21st November from 9am – 4pm and for my readers further North the Asda in Rotherham will be hosting their activities on Tuesday 22nd November from 10am – 4pm.

The activities taking place are:

  • A meet and greet with Ice Age characters Sid and Scrat
  • Free goodies
  • The making of an ice sculpture in store
  • Free face painting

And here’s a teaser of the forthcoming Ice Age 4: Continental Drift.  I spoil you, I really do!  Enjoy…..