Thursday, 27 February 2014

Heavenly Havana...

I can't believe that is now been almost three months since we were packing out suitcases, excitedly looking forward to our Cuba trip. The whole place was amazing and we came away with some very special memories of people and experiences.

I did a general post of the beaches and local areas back in December here, but I always though our day trip to Cuba's capital city Havana deserved it's own individual post. I think the pictures should do the talking...












Tuesday, 25 February 2014

10 Things to Smile about - Feb 2014

February has been a month of wonderful highs and devastating lows. Following my miscarriage and subsequent ERPC earlier in the month we've spent the last few weeks quietly with family and close friends. I'm starting to feel more like myself and I realise that it's important to remember the past, but to be excited for the future. This month, more than any other it's important to join in with Emmy Mom's 10 Things to Smile About...

  • We're moving! - Boxes are packed, vans are booked and deposits are paid. This time next week we will be in our new home. We're going to have so much more space so we'll finally be able to have family come and stay with us - I can't wait! 
  • Spring is snapping at the heels of Winter - Despite lots of flooding near where we live, we had a gorgeous Sunday a few weeks ago. We donned our wellington boots and took a stroll along the River Itchen and managed to spot these first Spring flowers.

  • As part of my medical treatment this month I had two scans. They have shown that I have a congenital abnormality of some degree to my uterus, but the doctors were able to say that this did not cause my miscarriage. My GP is already arranging a 3D scan to be able to investigate this further so that we can be fully prepared for when we try again. I know plenty of people have reason to complain about the NHS, but all this is free and the staff have been brilliant to us both.
  • We've had two weekend trips to Wales, to watch rugby in the Millenium Stadium. While we've been there we've taken the chance to have lunch in our favourite pub - The Captain's Wife in Sully

  • Hairdressing pretend play with my niece before they flew to Australia for a long holiday.

  • For Sion's birthday I took him to the 2 Michelin Starred restaurant The Hand & Flowers for a beautiful meal. Unfortunately we didn't get to see Tom Kerridge, the chef owner, but we did get to relax in the bar and imagine having our own conservatory like this one;

  • Sion had to meet me at the hospital for my first scan so I asked his sister to sit with me while I waited. She ended up staying through the whole scan and was a massive support to us both. She contacted work for me and fielded calls and texts so we could just spend time together. She has become one of my best friends and I was so grateful to have her. Hopefully she will be able to come with me for a more positive scan in the future.
  • While our Valentine's Day meal didn't go to plan (lost booking, wrong table, mains brought out while we were still eating our starters, overcharged bill...) it was lovely to have the weekend off together.
  • We've taken the opportunity that's been given to us and booked our dream holiday - to the Maldives in June. My boss has agreed to cover my workload and we got a fantastic price. We can't wait!
  • I've once again started a healthy eating plan. I want to get my body in a good a condition as possible so am eating lots of raw vegetables, nuts and seeds. I have a protein shake for my breakfast and a carb reduced evening meal. I'm also re-instating my swimming membership and after one week while I haven't lost weight, I've got more energy and have lost the bloating that I had been carrying for the last few months.

Let me know what your biggest reason to be cheerful was in February and feel free to join Emmy's  link up

Monday, 24 February 2014

Countdown to M-Day

The last weekend before we move from our one-bedroom flat to our three-bedroom house...traditionally a weekend for packing everything but essentials, checking that the moving van has been hired/booked, picking up one or two cushions to finish the home furnishings off - but no, not in this household!!

Instead, we drove to Cardiff on Friday afternoon to watch Wales smash France in the Six Nations tournament. I have never seen Sion grinning so much, he even said he would support England during Saturday's match (along with every other Welsh supporter!!)

 


We drove back on Saturday night and spent most of Sunday washing, food shopping and visiting friends. When we realised we had the evening clear did we do more packing? Nope, we went to Nandos and then the cinema to watch Cuban Fury!! This means that there is still a little to do before we pick up our keys on Saturday...just off the top of my head;

Book a hire van
Buy a sofa bed
Buy a washing machine
Arrange a pick up time for the sofa beds & washing machine
Re-direct our mail
Change our details with the utilities company
Change our council tax details
Do the dreaded Ikea run
Buy curtain poles
Fix six dining chairs into my car and still be able to drive it
Recycling Centre run
Charity Shop run
Pack everything!

Even now instead of ticking off at least one of these items, I'm concentrating on winning a camera on E-bay - I realise this is just a delaying tactic but I really don't know what to tackle first!!

Why are there no companies that will do all this for you - kind of like the moving house version of a wedding planner? Feel free anyone to take this idea into Dragon's Den - I want 10% of your profits though!!!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Weekly Journal - Crossroads

Today I'm joining in with Danielle at "Sometimes Sweet" and her first Journal prompt of "Crossroads". Each week the prompt word is given on a Monday, for you to link up with on a Thursday.

My whole body was fizzing with the anticipation of this meeting, nervous energy making me skittish and unable to focus on anything other than the man I knew was in the meeting room chatting with my bosses. He was a development coach, brought in to help improve morale and output from Managers. He had been regularly coming to our offices for the last six months and so far I was the only one who had not started an "Improvement" program.

I was not longer able to ignore the fact that my work had started to suffer and go down hill. I was making silly mistakes, forgetting to complete tasks and constantly saying "yes" to even more workload. My team were on the whole supportive, but there was a lot I was shielding them from, fearful that if I told them what a mess I was making they would no longer respect or like me. I was letting people down more and more often, making them doubt my integrity but I couldn't see a way out without making people's lives even more stressful and difficult.

The door to the meeting room opened and I was asked in. As he invited me to sit down I noticed a box of tissues had been placed on a side table, "That's not a good sign" I thought to myself.

He briefly introduced himself and what his role was before saying to me "Tell me how things are going for you?". That well constructed, well thought out question opened the floodgates. Almost unaware of myself I started to cry, unable to even get words out he just let me take the time I needed until I managed to barely whisper "Not so good".

Over the next hour we didn't even discuss my work in detail, instead we focused on my background, family life, childhood, personality, likes and dislikes. I truly felt that he was listening and allowing me space to talk about everything. We spoke about me losing both my parents, the fact that I was single with few close friends, the fact that I felt isolated and under pressure. We even spoke about whether it would be such a failure to leave my job, if it was my choice rather than decided for me.

As the hour came to a close, he very gently broached the subject of more personal counselling away from the workplace. He could see that it wasn't my job that was stressing and upsetting me, but my stress and upset affecting my work. He helped me see that this was an opportunity to move forward. He told me to take some time to think things over and to get in touch when I was ready.

Within a week I requested a meeting with my Directors and resigned from my position. This was just as the recession hit and I had no savings or job to go to, but I knew that I had to take control. I agreed to a course of life coaching sessions to learn that it was ok to say no.

Six weeks on from this I had a new job in a more structured role and had met the man I was to fall in love with. I probably would have met Sion anyway, but if I hadn't made the choice to change my life direction I would have been the sullen girl on the side line of the party, rather than the girl with the big smile who caught his eye.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

You've got to remember where you've been to know where you're going...

I'm looking forward to the future, and feeling grateful for the past
- Mike Rowe

Over 120 posts...whaaatt?!! Almost 11,000 views...no way!!! Nearly one full year of blogging...where did THAT time go?!!

I'm not too sure that my writing style has changed in this time, or that my blog has changed it's focus or direction...it's still a mixing pot of my mind. Looking on the surface you probably wouldn't think that my life has particularly changed either...same home, same job, same partner; but still I've changed. I feel more settled, more sure of what I want in life, what I deserve and what I'm capable of.

Last night as I sat surrounded by half packed boxes, Sion doing his armchair commentary on the football that was being televised, I read through some of my posts. I re-read the first one that got over 100 views, the one with the most comments, the one that made me laugh as I wrote it and the one that made me cry. There were lots that I just really enjoyed writing about, trips out, funny moments and stories that flowed through my fingertips.

I wanted to give them a special place in my blog and I wanted to share them again...


My very first post... here

All those things I STILL wish I was brave enough to say to the faceless Facebook "friends"... here

A letter to my 18 year old self... here

The night I was a Pin Up... here

A Father's Day tribute to my wonderful Dad... here

How a sunset changed me... here

Life is like a theme park... here

Memories... here

A thank you for Sion... here

Of course the biggest enjoyment I get from blogging is reading and interacting with all the wonderful other bloggers out there. I regularly join in with various linkups and I can only imagine how much work goes into them...so Thank You ladies!!

The Oliver's Madhouse - Magic Moments
Cosmic Girlie - Silent Sunday
Crazy with Twins - Wednesday Words
Verily Victoria Vocalises - Post Comment Love




 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Dreaded Dentistry...

I'm sat at my desk feeling a little shell shocked after an overdue trip to my dentist. I have a pretty intense dislike for this particular profession after a traumatic wisdom tooth extraction when I was 22, not helped by a filling attempted without anaesthetic 2 years ago. Apparently I have strangely lying nerves which meant I needed roughly the same amount of tranquiliser that will fell a stampeding elephant. I cried, the nurse cried and I'm pretty sure the patient in the waiting room was probably crying too after hearing my shouts of pain.

I have managed to find a nice caring dentist who took me gently through a check up with enough soothing music and free samples of toothpaste to make me go back again on a fairly regular (annual) basis.

Today I was poked and prodded, buffed and polished to within a millimetre of my very sensitive gum line and sent away with a hefty bill of £125.00. This got me thinking...what could I have spent that money on if dentistry was free??

A new Pandora charm for my bracelet from here



A pair of ridiculously high heels from here



Or even a night in a hotel like this one

Instead though, I'll just head home to make my budget Swedish meatballs & mash while quietly cursing the dentist and his chair of torture!

Monday, 17 February 2014

I think maybe Spring has sprung...

After spending yesterday morning packing countless dusty books into boxes and me doing the usual klutz thing of dropping the box containing Sion's family Wedgewood pottery (E-bay is now my new obsession...hopefully I'll be able to replace some of the items) we thought it probably best to get out into the fresh air.

Imagine our surprise to step outside and find that not only was it pleasantly mild, but that the sun was actually shining in a beautiful blue sky. We piled on the thick socks and wellies and went in search of some puddles...this is what we found...






 
Sadly the pub pictured has now been closed for almost a month and we've heard that it's unlikely to re-open any time soon. Thankfully no homes have been flooded near us, but a number of businesses have been affected. Seeing the volume of water that remains and in some areas continues to rise makes you very grateful that our own home and places of work remain secure.
 
On the walk back to the car we came across this very photogenic little fellow who was happy to pose for everyone walking past. He was so still I did start to wonder if he was ok, but once he saw some friends, he paddles serenely away to join them.
 

And then, amongst all the sludge and puddles we saw these golden patches of Spring. Despite all the horrendous weather we've had in the last 3 months, Mother Nature still keeps to her schedule!



This week sees my start of clean eating. No processed foods, refined sugar or bread products at all and no alcohol during the week (let's be realistic!!). Breakfast this morning was a protein smoothie made with a banana, blueberries, protein powder, probiotic yogurt and almond milk. I may be having my lunch early!!

Joining in this week with;
 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Thank you Valentine of mine...

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  ~Jean Baptiste Massieu

In the tradition that was set last year when I got a thank you card in place of a Valentine card (it was a couple of days after the 14th & Sion didn't realise valentine cards would all be taken off the shelves!) I thought it only right that it's my turn this year to say "thank you"

Thank you for being brave enough to ask me to move in with you a year ago. I will always remember our tiny bat cave as the place we made many happy memories.

Thank you for knowing the way to my heart is a bag of haribo sweets and a lottery scratch card...every time you go to the shops and get me a surprise you choose exactly what I want.

Thank you for letting me get a throw (even though it's actually a blanket) despite your dislike of them. It doesn't just keep me warm it comforts me and I know you understand that.

Thank you for talking to me when you are stressed with work, the fact that you value my opinion and advice empowers me.

Thank you for introducing me to your family and friends, their support this last year has strengthened me.

Thank you for not minding that I am most relaxed when I am in my pjs and slippers rather than sexy lingerie and stilettos...the knowledge that you find me attractive when I am at my most natural reassures me.

Thank you for noticing that for the last week I have needed to hold my little cuddly lion before I can fall asleep, you understand that this represents all that we've been through and gives me an object to focus my emotions on.

Thank you for showing me how wonderful a father you will be.

Thank you for trusting me enough to share your emotions. It's hard to comfort the person you love but it would be harder to know they are suffering alone.

Thank you most of all for making me laugh every day, sometimes with a joke, sometimes with a tickle, sometimes with a body function that will always be funny! 

Thank you for making me a better person than I could ever be by myself. 

Thank you for choosing me

xxx



 
Wednesday Words

Monday, 10 February 2014

Floods, food and fun...

After the week we've had both Sion and myself were looking forward to this weekend.

On Friday we battled thorough flooded roads to get to the cinema to see the film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. This film was three hours long so comfy seats were a must but we both really enjoyed it. There were a LOT of sex and drug scenes, so probably not the sort of film you want to watch with your parents, but it was very thought provoking and very funny in places. You can watch the trailer here.

Image from collider.com

On Saturday it was Sion's big birthday treat. Back in June of last year I booked a table at Tom Kerridge's pub, The Hand and Flowers in Marlow. This was not your ordinary gastro pub, but more like a restaurant with a bar attached. The food was absolutely incredible. There was so much flavour in every mouthful want we were left feeling full but not uncomfortable. The great thing was that there was an extensive wine list for wines by the glass and lots of draught beers and ales to choose from at really reasonable prices, which made lunch affordable without taking out a bank loan. While there is a long waiting list for a table in the restaurant, they do hold 4 seats at the bar for walk in diners. If you live locally to Marlow you could always go along and try your luck. It was pretty quiet when we arrived at mid-day although it soon got busier.




After staying in Marlow to catch the Ireland v Wales rugby match (the less said about Wales the better...My Welsh boyfriend was not impressed!!), we headed back through flooded roads to spend the night with my brother and family.



With a morning spent on Sunday playing hairdressers with my niece (I'm not giving up my day job just yet) we headed home, stopping only to pick up our E-Bay bargain of 6 dining chairs for £35.00!

I'm now on the look out for a fridge freezer and washing machine before the move in 3 weeks, so while Sion watched Top Gear I scoured the internet for possibilities, glass of chilled wine in my hand - a perfect finish to a pretty perfect weekend!

Joining in this week with;

Friday, 7 February 2014

Happiness is flat packed furniture...

This past week has been a strange one. Our emotions have been up and down, we've giggled at things we shouldn't find funny, cried at things that seem inconsequential to anyone else; forgotten for a moment that we lost the baby only to be reminded a second later.
 
Each day though we've had brighter moments, handed to us by acts of kindness from family, friends and even strangers that introduce themselves for the first time.
 
Fish & Chip crisps found after a conversation waiting for my first scan. The multipack has been savoured, one bag at a time. We've sat together, sharing a snack, reliving our day, sharing our concerns, throwing away our worries with the empty packet.
 
The holiday that we now so desperately need, found at such a bargain price on the exact days we wanted, to a tropical island we never thought we could afford, after the agent promised us the perfect getaway.
 
The flat packed furniture for the new house that I went to order last night, thinking it would take weeks to arrive. I think the sales assistant sensed the importance of it. He searched in the warehouse and gave me furniture already reserved for someone else, taking it out to the car while I sheltered inside from the rain. It's now sitting in our hallway, ready to make our new house into a home. It reminded me that my very first post was about ordering a new wardrobe for my move into Sion's flat.
 
Not even a year has gone by and we've got used to living together, had a wonderful holiday, had the joy of falling pregnant and the devastation of a miscarriage. We're 3 weeks away from moving into our first family home The spare room will, I hope, become a nursery. There are people within this blogging community who I know are currently dealing with so much more pain and suffering than we have experienced and my heart goes out to them.
 
"Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again" - W. Clement Stone

 
Post Comment Love

Thursday, 6 February 2014

First day blues

Today is my first day back at work following my (our) miscarriage.

I've dodged the well intentioned "how are you feeling now?" enquiries from colleagues in the dark about the true reason for my absence. I've drank the endless cups of teas from concerned friends, who try to persuade me to take the rest of the week off. I've focused on the necessary month end reports to fill my mind for minutes at a time.

We went into town yesterday and booked the holiday that we thought we'd run out of time to take. For ten nights in June we'll be surrounded by palm trees and the blue lagoons of The Maldives. A point in the future to look excitedly towards. To call it a reward seems strange somehow, but we need this treat to give a different focus in our diaries. A different date to excitedly mark the weeks off for.

As the rain beats against my office window I need to remind myself that despite our horrendous last week, we have a lot to be thankful for. We are secure and healthy, with a wonderful support network to help us through this difficult time. I know we will get there.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Reason for my Absence...

This post is going to take a completely different route that the draft I had planned. It's likely to be too word-y, with no proper structure, but it's a post that will inevitably become the post that means the most to us.

Towards Christmas time Sion and I were shocked, excited and a little scared to find out that I was expecting a baby. We had planned the pregnancy although the process took a little less time than we were expecting! Although it was very early in the pregnancy we told our family over Christmas and started to tell close friends in January. As you can imagine everyone was as excited as we were and we tentatively started to plan our lives against welcoming this new baby in August.

Last week I started to get some niggling pain and some spotting that didn't seem to ease off and our midwife booked us in for an early scan at the local hospital. We spent the night before hoping and praying that our little bean could hold on but last Thursday our worst fears were confirmed as the sonographer gently and compassionately told us that I had had a delayed miscarriage. The words "bi-cornate uterus" was thrown about but then I was immediately after told there was no obvious cause for this it was just fate, a quirk of nature, one of those things. The lack of blame didn't lessen my feelings of failure, hurt and damned unfairness. We held each other, comforting and encouraging each other to verbalise the thoughts that were running around our heads.

I was booked in for an ERPC on Monday which although the op itself went smoothly the process was tiring, stressful, hurtful and emotional. We were told to arrive at the hospital for 12pm to be booked on and my op would be later that afternoon. In actual fact I wasn't operated on until 6.30pm. That whole time I had to lie on a bed with other patients around me, while Sion was told to wait in the waiting room. There was no compassion, no allowance made for him to be allowed to sit with me. I completely understand that there is other patient's privacy to think of, but surely pulling the curtains around my bed would have helped? There was even an hour before my operation that there were no other patients in my bay, after the op I was the only patient in the unit, yet still no-one went and got Sion to sit with me. It got to the point where I knew I would have to show that I was eating, drinking and wee-ing before they would let me go home, so I forced down 2 biscuits, a pint of water and went to the loo, where I topped up my measy dribble with water from the tap...I was that desperate to be held and see my partner. 

Now I am now recovering at home. Sion has been incredible through all of this. I see glimpses of the father I know he is destined to be and it comforts me.

We are looking to the future to get us though this rough time, we have our house move at the end of February and the brochures for a "Sod it" holiday are waiting for us to collect. We are going to grieve for our loss together. We will accept the words of apology, the hugs of empathy and the tears of solidarity. We will fix each other until we are strong enough to try again.

As the title of my blog says, now is the time I become an adult.

Update:

After chasing my GP for 3 months for a referral back to the hospital I have now had a further 3D scan of my weird uterus. I have definitely got a bi-cornate uterus, meaning it is heart shaped rather than shaped like an inverted triangle. The shape of it was most definitely the cause of my miscarriage. If future embryos implant in the same area, I am highly likely to miscarry again. It is a significant abnormality, but not significant enough for surgical intervention, for now we are on our own on this journey. This won't stop us from trying to be parents. It will however make me fearful each and every day of every other pregnancy I am blessed with.