Goodbye 2015

As is a custom on this day each year I wish you all a happy new year and wonder where the bloody hell 2015 went??  I am also picking up my keyboard, blowing the dust off and posting something on my blog, which hasn’t happened for some time!  I guess I just got fed up of always posting depressing reads and longed for the day I could post something positive that I wouldn’t have to take back a week later because my judgement of a situation maybe wasn’t quite the real deal.

But after an exhausting few months at work, various health scares and hospital visits for both myself and my friends and family I just didn’t feel like picking up the pen to fill you lovely people on yet another crappy moment of my life so I went quiet. But I did miss posting…and reading comments from my lovely readers lots.

Just a little round up of the festive season. 


Taking a glance back to my last New Years post, I actually have done lots of the things I said I would for which I’m very proud!  I have got a new job and even a promotion at that!  I finally moved house and, I (with help from my miracle worker/sleep consultant) even sorted out Charlottes sleep, meaning I had more me time and a happier daughter too!  I’m not sure I’ve yet learned what I should do with that time but that’s part of my goal for this year.

So on to 2016 and this time around my main goal is to say “no” more. 

My new mantra…

I am a people pleaser.  I am well aware of it and it’s a family trait. I like making other people happy, I like volunteering for things, and I like to keep busy.  I get a warm and schmushy feeling when I help out but I have begun to find that being this person all the time is actually detrimental to my health and wellbeing.  I book myself up to keep busy and help others and then moan because I don’t have enough time to keep on top of the day to day things that would help me live a calmer life. So, for once, I’m going to be selfish. Not in a’selfish bitch’ way but I’m going to come first for a while and look after me. (OK, let’s be honest, I’m always going to be second to Charlotte but that would be a major improvement!)

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing my blog and I’m hoping that I haven’t lost all my readers and I can pick up the pen and keep you posted.

Please let me know what your goals are for the year in the comments below and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.

Time for bed – part two.

Ten weeks ago I posted ‘Time for bed‘. I have just re-read it and cried. It was the post that made my friends text me to check I was ok. It was the post that made me realise just how badly Charlotte’s lack of sleep was affecting my whole life. It was the post (and the discussions afterward) that made me follow a few sleep consultants on Facebook.

It was also the post I shared with Jennie Harrison when one of her Facebook updates sounded like she had been in the room with me that evening whilst I was trying to get Charlotte to sleep. She said she could help me and after reading her website I already felt a little sense of relief…someone had been through this stuff as well. Is wasn’t just me. Others had issues with getting their child to sleep too. Jennie pointed me in the direction of her Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and it sounded like exactly what Charlotte and I needed.

I had no idea what to expect with our first module ‘Calm Mum, Calm Toddler’ but from then on it all started to slot into place. I was definitely not calm when dealing with bedtime then and, although it seemed impossible I started to get there. I took some time for myself – whether I thought I had any available or not. I started doing my yoga again. I started to look at how my life was organised (or wasn’t!) and I started to change little things. Only little things to me or anyone else but those little things had a massive impact on how I could then cope with bedtime and life in general.

The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme has helped Charlotte go from not sleeping until 10.30-11pm most nights with a battle every single night, to generally being asleep by 7.30pm having completed a mutually calm bedtime. She used to wake when I went to bed if not before, and want to stay up and she would usually wake again at least once through the night for water or similar. Now, using techniques Jennie has taught us she usually sleeps through. She used to scream if I even suggested sleeping in her own bed, she now tells me that she is going to sleep in her bed and I am going to sleep in mine. Sometimes she stays there, sometimes she doesn’t but it’s a work in progress and I know we will get there. Hopefully the new Frozen duvet cover will I give her a bit more of an incentive!

Throughout our time on the programme there has been no crying it out, no instructions on how you must do things but there has been an overwhelming amount of support available. We have had few late nights and a few nights that have gone awry but, because I know why it’s happened, I can keep calm and counteract that reason as soon as possible and get back on track. We have also worked on her nap transition (from one to none – eeek!) and how she copes with nursery. All of the above means I have a happier, more lovely daughter who is just gushing with affection and I feel the same way. I am still working full time and Charlotte is still at nursery full time but rather than me dreading picking her up because of the mood she’ll be in, we both enjoy our time together much more and there is so much less shouting.

I would say I’m an optimistic person but I think over time I’d lost some of my positivity. Something I used to pride myself on. Working with Jennie and having an amazing group of ladies in the Facebook group for the programme has given me that back. So many great things have happened since I started my eight week programme, it can’t all be a coincidence. Yes I think I deserved some good things to happen, but maybe I was the one who was blocking it, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

One of the things all the amazing mums in the group have said was that we wish we knew about Jennie sooner. We’d all been battling sleep deprivation for years not just months. Which is why I was so excited to hear that Jennie is just starting a new Blissful Baby Sleep programme. I think I know what I’ll be getting for any of my friends who are pregnant!!

Jennie has a Sleep Deprived Mums Club which I have signed up to, so I don’t feel too bereft after finishing the programme. Here you can get access to so many of the amazing resources I have had. She is also hosting a FREE sleep class next week so sign up now! You won’t regret it.

The weekly round up

Lordy Lordy this week has thrown me some curve balls!! I apologise for the lack of posting this week, I managed to start three posts and not complete any of them – high fives all round for finishing ability!

As you know – mainly because I’ve been whinging about it for the past three months – this week was my first full time week at work and Charlotte’s first full time week at nursery and I was dreading it. My zen/calmness that Jennie had helped me so much with went out the window and my brain just stopped working! On Wednesday I started to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope, I hadn’t even done the extra day yet! I posted in mummy forums asking how the hell anyone else coped, I started looking at cleaning ladies even though I know for a fact my budget won’t stretch to that and I started to trawl every job sites the off chance I’d be able to pick up a better job that paid more money immediately so I didn’t have to finish the week!

Melodramatic? Me? Never?

Turns out, despite Charlotte waking at 4.30am on Friday morning and declaring she was hungry and wouldn’t go back to sleep until she’d eaten two rounds of toast…Friday wasn’t all that bad. It was even, dare I say it…fun? Just the fact that it was casual Friday made a difference, the fact it was quiet enough so I could actually get work done was good and I also decided to instigate dressing up for Red Nose Day next week so there was even some laughing and smiling going on round the team. Something seriously frowned upon for the rest of the week.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all sunshine and light. I heard some sad news on Tuesday about my sister in law to be’s grandma, we had mega meltdowns after nursery on at least three occasions. We had Charlotte’s dad randomly offering to pick her up from nursery on Thursday and take her out to dinner and entirely messing up bedtime. I thought I’d be able to get my food shopping done so popped home to grab some bags and my vouchers and they turned up! Queue meltdown and lots of “Mummy don’t go’s” and I’m dragging myself out the door leaving my ex with Charlotte in my house shouting instructions about food in the freezer. Not ideal but that was how desperate we were for milk and bread and I also didn’t want to be in the same room as him for any longer than absolutely necessary. I came back an hour later and she was asleep on the sofa and he was watching Top Gear. Had she eaten, no. Had she had a bath or at the very least been charged into her pjs, no. Fuming was an understatement. I had, so far, had three nights of her sleeping through from 7.30pm ish to 7am and I knew, just knew, that she’d now wake up being hungry at a horrible time of the morning. And voila 4.30am it was. And just to top off the week, I managed to have an epic fall on Saturday and sprain my ankle, so now hobbling like an old lady and moving at the same speed as an arthritic snail. No alcohol or skyscraper heels involved either!!

But, as its end of year review time and you should always start and end with good points (the shit sandwich, I think it’s called) a few other good things that happened in my week:
Charlotte recited her bedtime routine to me. We’ve been working on getting the routine cracked in The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and the fact that she’s aware there is a routine makes me feel like I am actually doing my job properly and the programme is working (although I knew that bit before now)
I ate vaguely healthily all last week – I even took food in for lunch rather than wasting money on the crap food at the canteen. 100 frugal points to me!
I currently have three people who want to take me out on a date. Only problem is I have no time to take them up on their offers!
An old friend got in touch this week and it has been really great caching up, weird but good.
I have now seen my BFF in a variety of wedding dresses and am getting more and more excited!!! Eeek!!!
Two more weeks until my brother gets married and I finally get my sister-in-law!! Double Eeek!! (Although let’s not mention how snug the bridesmaid dress is at the moment!)

Hope you all have a good week!!

The power of the mind.

IMG_0329.JPGThe sleep programme is now three weeks in and I’m amazed how much difference it has already made. The even better thing is that I don’t feel like I’m actually doing loads different so far. I’m not tied to a strict routine, I have not been told what to do. I know this – dare I say it – Gina Ford approach wouldn’t and doesn’t work for me and Charlotte and I’m so glad I’ve found Jennie who approaches toddlers sleep issues by trying to work out the cause and dealing with that, rather than actually trying to implement any ‘one size fits all’ sleep techniques.

I am also realising that I am open to using alternative remedies and the power of the mind. How my mind is affecting my mood, how my mind is affecting Charlotte’s mood, how Charlotte’s mind is affecting her own sleep and how other people’s moods and minds are affecting both of us.

I wouldn’t put myself down as a particularly spiritual person…I don’t practice any religion and not sure I believe in a higher being deciding all our moves for us but I do believe in energy and positive thoughts and how much having those can affect your mood and mindset. Despite the huge list of crap that has rained down on me and my family over the past 10 years I have generally been optimistic that things will get better. I’m not sure I believe the old adage ‘things can only get better’ because I have seen evidence that, unless you put in the effort, things just get worse and worse. My ex was (still is) a lifelong pessimist and is still wallowing in a dark depression because he is not willing to put the effort in that’s needed to get better. This was the main reason we split and is still a cause of massive frustration to me as it means he is not playing the role of a dad to the full extent and because he doesn’t or can’t we a need or reason to want to move onwards and upwards, he is stalling signing divorce papers.

Jennie is teaching us techniques to deal with the daily stresses and negativity that both me and Charlotte face on a daily basis so, not only will we both come out of this with a lot better sleep but I honestly believe our relationship with each other will be better and we will have more tools to fight the crap times together. We still have homework, house moves, potential new men on the scene who potentially might have children themselves, school, teenager-hood, boyfriends (or girlfriends), and break ups to go through so we need all the help we can get!!

Hope you all have a great week. This week is my first week back to full time so any good energy you can send my way would be very helpful!!

Beautiful sleep.

Despite my grumblings over the dreaded Valentines Day I actually had a great week last week. I even got my M&S meal deal! (Well no one said you had to eat it with a boy did they?)

This week I have had a burst of energy and motivation. I have sorted out a meal plan and shopped for all the ingredients so no excuses. I have cleared another bit of my flat. I have started up my yoga again and found a great 30 day challenge on YouTube which is 30 minutes a day – just about do-able. I have done oodles of ironing. I have been on a successful date. I have found a job I want to apply for and actually have a chance of getting. I have had a catch up with two friends which were well and truly overdue and I even got to spend a childfree afternoon with my BFF wandering around Cheltenham. I even managed to have a successful clothes shopping trip whilst spending only £3 of my own money (thank goodness for vouchers!)

I think I have The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and Jennie Harrison to thank for some of this as I officially started the programme last week. The title of the first module was ‘Calm mum, Calm toddler’ and our daily homework was to take 20 minutes to do something for ourselves. Now that is the kind of homework I like!!br/>
I failed miserably for the first two nights as Charlotte was determined to make it as difficult as possible to get her to sleep but day three was miraculous… After listening to the MP3 and watching the video Jennie sent us explaining why it was so important that we, ourselves, are calm whilst putting our little ones to bed I took a few deep breaths before launching into bedtime. I calmly got her ready, keeping my voice low and breathing steady and, although still in my bed, she was fast asleep by 7.30pm. I was amazed! She stayed asleep until 7.30am.

I had an ENTIRE evening to myself and an ENTIRE night of sleep!

The next night was 8pm-8am. Since then we have had a couple of ups and downs but we have seven more weeks to work on this so not expecting instantaneous miracles. Myself and the other mums on the programme also get to celebrate and commiserate with one another as we have our own private Facebook group. Having that support, as well as Jennie’s, has been really great so far and hearing everyone else’s stories also makes you realise that you are most definitely not alone in the sleep struggle.

This week is back to full time work and a new module to work on but two full nights sleep has made the mountain seem much easier to climb. Here’s to less eye-bags and more motivation!!!

If you want to hear more about my daily dramas or see the little valentines present I made myself, please come and like my Facebook page and follow me on twitter!<

Seven days of heaven

I’ve had some time off work this past week and it has been amazing!

IMG_2446.PNG Some of it has been lazy, some of it has been productive but it has mostly been calm and has definitely restored a feeling of Wellbeing that has been severely lacking for some time.

Charlotte went off to sleep easily a few times despite officially starting our sleep programme tomorrow, but this gave me the opportunity to have an evening or two to myself and my mum kindly looked after her one evening so I could go on a date (yes, number 13 and I am yet to make a decision as to whether there will be any more). Granted she had a mega tantrum on my way out so I definitely wasn’t looking my best and felt somewhat rattled leaving the house but I actually went out!

I even used one of my evenings to do the most almighty stack of ironing whilst watching Les Miserables. Rock and Roll I know, but I have been meaning to do both for a very long time. I think I must be one of the only people who finds ironing a bit therapeutic and after belting out ‘On My Own’ with poor Epinine and having a little blub as she died in Marius’s arms (sorry, spoiler!) I felt more and more restored.

I managed to read a book. I can’t remember the last time I actually finished one! I went shopping with my mum – usually a very stressful scenario – but this time all went smoothly with no tantrums from either party. I finally organised all those craft bits that three year olds seem to accumulate into separate boxes and realised I own the worlds supply of wax crayons and sticker books. I have seen friends I haven’t seen in ages and I’ve even had a great weekend seeing friends and spending quality time with Charlotte.

Only problem is…I have to go back tomorrow…