Things I have learned about myself

Advice, Personal Experience

I was never going to write this post. I didn’t really believe in looking back that far but then I got a notification. Facebook shared a post from over ten years ago. It was a brief message to the world sharing how much pain I was in.

Dana:

It flashed up and I allowed my self a small smile at the pain that you can only feel when someone you love stops loving you. It was such a long time ago but I had decided to share it so publicly.

I don’t remember writing it but I am sure I wrote it hoping that the one it was aimed at would also feel pain or regret or at least guilt. At the end of the day it was my choice to emigrate to the other side of the world. It was also my choice to return back to the UK. To London where I had lived as a student and rebuild my life. Because except for my friends I really had nothing in London.

No home, no job and no family. London can be a very lonely place.

I allowed myself self reflection and thought about how much I had grown and all the things that would not be as they are now if that question had never been asked. The outcome would have been the same but maybe it would have been another six months of a bad feeling. 6 months of knowing it was over but refusing to let it go without a fight.

I had to ask.

Because I already knew.

“You don’t love me any more do you?”

I wanted to take them back the minute I said them. I wanted to fill my mouth and cram them back in. Each painful word piling on top of the other.But it was too late and they were true.

It was over.

It didn’t end as quickly as that, it dragged out and it doesn’t need repeating. There was no hate just hurt. No mean words but lots of sadness and confusion.

After Thailand, Seychelles and France I flew home.

I returned to London with a few hundred pounds and overstuffed suitcases. Just two pieces of luggage .

That was my life.

There were trials and tribulations and Becky and Charlotte looked after me. Offering me a roof over my head, helping me find work and a place to live.

I sorted myself out, my life out. It took time and a lot of dark moments. There were also a lot of wonderful moments too. Lots of laughter and possibilities.

I found myself again.

And then I found Gavin.

I needed time to heal so I waited before I put myself out there for love and trust.

So what I have learned about myself is that I am stronger than I ever thought. That building yourself up takes time and effort.

I am happy and lucky.

But most of all social media remembers everything. So if you don’t want people to know then keep it to yourself or Facebook will haunt you forever.

D

Instagram filters need to go

Advice

I am sorry but I have said it. I am not a fan.

It was all supposed to be for fun but now Instagram is filled, absolutely choc a block with pictures of people with eyelash filters and animal filters. They look like Disney characters.

It’s an illusion that people are buying into and quite frankly I detest it.

You look fake.

You are fake it’s not even your best self it’s basically an avatar that you have created and it need to stop we need to embrace ourselves.

img_4602

These filters have a lot to do with self confidence and literally hiding behind a mask. I looked so terrible in this photo I cant tell you.

Because it isn’t you!

I play with my niece and she loves them but she already looks like a Disney princess.  Perfect hair and big eyes she is gorgeous! She likes it because it’s a bit of technical magic that she can see. But when we skype she focus on how she looks with all the filters.

For us its a bit of fun.

But adults are going a wee bit too crazy over it. Thinking that’s how they look and that they look nice.

We are entering an era where you can hide behind a filter to make you look perfect.

My friend George doesn’t buy into bullshit of any sort. If i comment that i dont like a photo she always challenges me why? Its your face and you actually look like that. She is non plussed with any hype ( unless it involves Jason Donovan). Thats doesn’t mean George doesn’t want to look her best she always does she just doesn’t see a unflattering photo when the rest of us does.

If thats the way you look you should just get on with it or fix it.

Filters wouldn’t bother her though. Not like they do me.

I wouldn’t mind filters if they were just silly but people using them in every photo or as profile pictures grates on me.

I don’t normally rant on anything on my blog but this does wind me up.

Life update organising and focus: taking a deep breath

Advice

It’s Christmas in two months

So work is full on as you can imagine. It’s our busiest time of year and we are making plans plans plans!

So I thought I would update you on what we have planned.

  • Hen do catch up with my girls
  • Halloween feast for two
  • Getting the house sorted
  • Digging up my dahlia bulbs!
  • Frank is starting puppy school
  • Yorkshire birthday treat
  • Christmas in the Alps!!
  • Honeymoon planning in Japan
  • Saving for a new kitchen

Madrid catch up

Some of the girls are meeting up at Glorias for a big Italian feast and we can’t wait. Everyone got on so well it will be great to see everyone again!

Halloween feast for two

We love Halloween.

We have carved our pumpkins and have bought the treats for the neighbourhood kids! I will be preparing a Mexican feast for just the two of us. I am going to light all the candles and we will watch an old school horror movie I can’t wait!

The sitting room is dressed

Frank has his outfit!

Getting the house and garden sorted

My house is a tip. Every room is messy and I just need to gut it. We still have boxes of wedding stuff everywhere that need to be sold on or put in the loft.

I also need to tidy the garden in time for the bad weather. The garden really needs some tic and I need to dig up my bulbs for next year!

Frank is off to school

Our puppy was fully house trained and now he has decided to pee and poop where ever he likes, sometimes he will go outside and poop then come inside and pee!

We don’t know what’s up with him and we think he is bored. We don’t want him to be stressed so we are sending him to puppy school once a week. They will train him and hopefully get him used to more people.

We want frank to be happy.

Yorkshire Birthday treat

I grew up in Yorkshire. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. Most of my favourite memories are set there. Walking the dales, having ice creams in Richmond. Horse riding, long walks in the snow.

Just the beauty of Yorkshire!

So not sure what the plans are yet but I can’t wait!

My first ever Christmas away!

Now don’t get me wrong I have had Christmas in New Zealand and France but always with my immediate family. I even convinced them to come to Scotland once!

As I work for a retail company Christmas holidays are not allowed but as Christmas falls midweek and because we just got married I am allowed to go. Yay!

Plus my best friend and her husband are coming too.

I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Snowboarding on Christmas Day is going to be amazing!

Honey moon planning

Japan has been on my bucket list forever and when we got engaged we both agreed it was the perfect place!

We have already started planning and have a meeting set up with Sam and Jon who recently went.

Half the fun is in the planning!

Plus we will try and snowboard there too!!

We are going to book our flights and pay for the bullet train soon. Then we can plan everything else as we plan to travel around a lot.

Saving for a new kitchen

Omg I am so excited. Our house is pretty perfect. We love it. It is not the biggest house but is big enough for us and the fur babies.

Yes I said plural. I miss Manhattan terribly and I can never replace the place she held in my heat the ten years we were together. But I miss cats.

And I know two that need a new home so watch this space.

But top priority for the house is the kitchen pretty much everything needs to be replaced. Oven sink cupboards you name it! I would like to switch the kitchen dining room and bathroom around to create a much better layout.

But it takes money and planning!

So we need to save first!!

Decorating for Halloween a house filled with pumpkins!

Advice, interior design

I love Halloween.

I always have, the dressing up the food the colour palette! How often do orange and purple get pride of place on the shop shelves or even in your home.

Plastic mass production is getting me down a little so rather than go mad on fresh decorations I thought I would just use what I had and this year cook my pumpkins!

Do throw anything away

Well even though I am Mary Kondoing my home I still love a lot of stuff. The gin and books are always on my mantle piece.

As is the severed finger

Gav proposed to me with that finger so I will always have it pride of place!

I did buy the candles.

But knowing me I will just light the unscented ones and have them for years too! Plus when I do eventually use them up I will keep the containers.

The books I have had for years and the top one was a wedding gift and it’s a book of Japanese poems and it is beautiful.

The journey to the Centre of the earth was an event we went to with scala in London. We dressed up and the event was one of the best we have ever been to.

Reuse recycle

I am trying not to buy more crap. I do understand that tonnes of pumpkins get chucked out every year but at least they are biodegradable.

My pumpkins are ending up in my belly so I am busy looking forward to searching for recipes this weekend!

The dried flowers are from my wedding bouquet as is the Harry Potter wand and the Brockmans gin bottle.

I am not a goth by any means but I do love skulls, zombies and magic!

That’s what Halloween and Christmas are to me. They are magical!

I lit all the bottom white candles and had a really cosy evening with just me and Frank. Gavin was a way with friends.

I think our fireplace looks autumnal but also fairy elegant. The fairy lights and white candles were also from the wedding so they are also getting reused.

Everything else we have had for years!

Getting the sitting room ready for Halloween was so much fun but also it needed it. Our fireplace had become a dumping ground so I needed a good deep clean!

I thoroughly enjoyed styling it up. I still need to get my ravens from the attic and it will be perfect.

Halloween Plans

We will get treats in for the neighbourhood kids. The rule is if you have a pumpkin lit then they will knock on your door. We love it and have been doing it for 5 years now. The parents appreciate it as not every house does it so it’s a nice safe place!

Frank already has his costume! I know we are terrible but we don’t actually care and he doesn’t mind.

Do you do anything for Halloween?

Our wedding day set up!

Advice, Cricut, Flowers, Planning, Wedding, Wedding Budget

We got up at 7.30 and we were both mentally exhausted from the week. Planning a wedding where you have to bring in absolutely everything is so hard. Our wedding day set up was a labour of love, blood sweat and tears. Except on the Tuesday when we legally tied the knot we didn’t really have any time for ourselves. I stayed up each night making bits and bobs. Gav was on the computer sorting out music and checking off lists.

It was more than a full time job.

The night before I was cutting out the name cards on my Cricut, it made it easier but I still had to cut out 140 name cards 6 to a sheet. I ran out of the house at 8.30 to get to the shops when they opened and picked up a few more bits or the toilet boxes. ( I will explain in a later blog)

Then my brother arrived at 10.30 with the van he had to hire because we had so much stuff. The cake was a bit of an after thought so we precariously sat it on top and it fared well.

The last thing we packed was my wedding dress and though all the mad packing we almost left It behind. We had paid for our cleaner to clean for us so we came home to a nice clean house. She was already there when we left and promised to bring anything if we forgot it.

I hadn’t packed the top table tablecloth but we just got on with it!

Dysfunctional planner strikes again

Chris drove to the venue with me Gav and Frank on board plus the majority of the props and bits we needed for the day. When we arrived we unloaded the van. This bit was a bit disorganised and people came to me asking what they wanted to do. We piled it all on the grass and tried to get started from there.

I had dreams of clipboards and lists but none of that happened!

My brother in law set to work hanging our Mexican wedding flags which looked truely beautiful! We still have some left which I am excited to keep for a party! And also he and my dad hung some streamers behind us so the top table had a pretty back drop.

I changed the seating arrangement at the last minute so we had one kind top table and then six lines of 2 which worked out beautifully.

Give me a job

My sister took charge of the tables. She said she was going to set up one and we can work from there. The theme for the seating was snowboarding. The tables were supposed to be slopes

  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink ( no blood and bandages at my wedding)
  • Black ( the one I forgot)

I left the top tables table clothes at home still not found! Great. So I just used the ends of the longer ones to make our top table. It didn’t bother me!

I had so many good people come up to me and say give me a job! We dressed the first table then the second then the third.

Charlotte and my mum were busy making the table flowers. We used a lot of gin bottles to use instead of vases and they looked so pretty!! I asked Charlotte for bright happy flowers with lots of colour, Dahlias, sweet Williams and daisies but what she did was so incredible they were perfect. I will do a whole blog on how amazing she was later!

I didn’t want a matchy matchy wedding. Lots of colour lots textures and silly things.

Napkins and table cloths

I bought the Table cloth fabric of eBay and dyed all the napkins myself. I didn’t want black napkins so I used a yellow dye to brighten things up. I had 120 guests and made sure I had a spare 30 napkins. I was so proud of them they looked great. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and everyone who was there helped me achieve it.

After Vicky laid out the table Becky went through and straightend the edges. Sorting out the napkins ( Vicky folded them beautifully ina loopy way) and we had to repeat it 120 times. I didn’t want too many flowers on the table because of the food going in the middle of the table.

More Cricut crafts

I bought wooden discs and made slope markers from all our favourite places, Val Disere, Chamonix , Le Duce Alps it was so hard finding photos of the markers that I had to make a few from scratch but they came out so well! We tied them the bottles.

I was going to make a seating chart but in the end I just let people find their names. It was an open venue so after the ceremony people could go in and out while they waited so it wasn’t a big deal. Also because a quarter of the wedding helped set up they found where they were sitting.

The name cards were all cut out on my Cricut. I drew a silly mountainscape and cut out that shape on the card. Charlotte being a super star made badges for everyone. We had 3 themes for our badges, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Snowboarding. We attached the badges at the top with foam squares.

Whilst we were dressing the tables my brother and his wife where folding and hand writing our peoples names!

I told you it was a team effort!

Gavs mum was in the chiller van organising the food and booze. Rosco (papa smurf) was setting up the signs helping gav with the beer. I don’t want to miss anyone out. But there was a lot of hands on deck.

Hayley arrived later with another car full of bits! We had flags of all the countries where our family’s live to semi cover the bales of hay. Charlotte used the excess bottles and flowers and put them at the end of the hay bales.

My dad cooked dinner for everyone! All the men gathered round the fire and had to test the booze while the rest of us soldiered on. I stopped when I realised I was tired and wanted to enjoy myself. It was about 8pm at this point!

So it was all sorted with just a few tweaks to do the next day! We enjoyed the evening, had a few cheeky drinks and went to bed early!

That was the set up. A massive thank you to everyone involved you have no idea how great full we both are.

It was a mission but it was worth it.

It looked perfect!

I almost made my own wedding dress!

Advice, Wedding

Can you believe that two years ago I sat down and considered making my own wedding dress. I thought it would a, save me money and b, be an amazing achievement.

I can sew. I trained in theatre design and part of that was making costumes. I had a pretty in pink moment were I turned a 60s wedding dress into a Victorian wedding dress Mrs Havershem style. So I know I could do it.

Not that I have picked up my sewing machine to sew anything trickier than curtains.

But I considered it,

I started looking at material and trainings and I was even contemplating embroidery and bead work.

Because I know I can do it but would I.

I decided I didn’t want the pressure and although I was probably being ambitious with the whole idea I know that I probably wouldnt finish it.

So I googled how to buy a wedding dress.

The thing about wedding is normally you only plan one once!! So it’s not like you have any information or really know how to do things. Which is why it is so easy to miss something off.

But I didn’t go wedding dress shopping.

I bought one from the high street and I honestly wouldn’t have wanted anything else. It was perfect. Especially when Becky lent me her veil which just made it look even better!

I love my dress it didn’t need to be fitted or taken in.

I was a bit of a coward about wedding dress shopping but I was happy to cut costs where I could. £1000 on a dress still sounds like a waste of money to me. I am glad we spent that money on the guests instead.

I am also glad I didn’t try and make it. I didn’t want the stress even though I know my friend George would have helped me out in an instant as she is an amazing designer/seamstress and makes clothes for a living.

But cutting costs doesn’t mean taking advantage of people it means making the best of a situation!

Did you make your own wedding dress

Regrets about the wedding

Advice, Wedding

It was a pretty perfect day to be honest! I don’t have many regrets at all.

The weather and food was perfect and the music was awesome from start to finish!

Our friends and family all seemed happy and had a wonderful time. All the effort that was put in was well worth it. It looked amazing!

A few things….

A few silly things that had no baring on the day but I wish I could change.

I wish we hadn’t stressed as much as we did. There were a few arguments over seating plans and other silly stuff which actually didn’t matter at all.

I wish I had gathered my danettes together to give them their boxes before hair and makeup began. I bought them all hair slides and we had to open the box to give them the hair slides to put in their hair! It wasn’t important just I wish I had thought it through.

Ghosting

I wish I had had a pint. There was a lot of booze and Ghost Ship is one of my favourite ales. Gavin wished we had made a sign to tell everyone it was Ghostship. I would have loved a picture with me and a pint!

We had amazing sunny weather but when it set it was pretty cold. Luckily we had the fire pit and we bought some blankets ,then guests took to them back to their tents so they all got used!

Oh that’s a regret I wish I had bought warmer pjs! I was so cold in the tent even though we had layers of blankets! But we didn’t care. The day was wonderful and I can’t wait to share the rest with you.

The cake

Our cake was gorgeous and tasted well the best! But it was a bit neglected in styling and if I had gone back I would have asked Charlotte to dress it up with a few flowers. It wasn’t that important but as we spent a few pennies on it it would have been nice to decorate it a bit more. The taste was the best so that all that matters!

So not many changes!

That’s pretty much it. No one wore white or denim that I saw!! Ha ha but I was worried. The day ran pretty smoothly. The ceremony was my favourite bit, as it should be.

It was honestly the best day of my life.

Legally tying the knot

Advice, curly hair, Wedding

So on Tuesday the 10th we legally tied the knot.

Oh my

We are now husband and wife. Everything is exactly the same I just get to call him my husband and I love doing it! He is my husband. I revel in this. Gavin has been a big part of my heart and life for so long that it is so wonderful to call him my husband.

So the legal bit.

This was supposed to be just the 4 of us but it did turn into immediate family plus a few friends. I didn’t mind but Gavin wanted to keep it small but then he added a few friends and it grew.

We had a perfect day.

Preparation

Kelly from lipstick and curls came over and did my hair and make up. I loved my dress and shoes but as I am still struggling to walk in such high heels I did have to pop a a pair of Primark pumps on my feet.

I felt wonderful my hair was up twisted and plaited exactly what I wanted and Kelly just worked her magic and created something even more beautiful. I even managed to pop a few home grown Dahlias in my hair.

I made this button hole for Gavin using the same flowers!

My sister stayed over so I wouldnt be alone as Gav being traditional would not stay the night.

So we got up, ate breakfast, walked frank and got ready.

Then we headed down to London on the train and the overground.

Little did I know Gavin was on the same train just a few carriages down trying to avoid me!

My family met in the the Vineyard where I met the very fabulous Ania who treated me and my family like a friend. She was wonderful and we can’t wait to see the photos.

Then we headed to the town hall.

The legal bit

Now we didn’t want any fuss because the legal side of our wedding wasn’t the bit we were interested in however we didn’t really have a first moment.

There was no really first look and we had to wait all together before we went in.

The registrars at Islington we’re warm, welcoming and personable. They ran a very lovely ceremony and we didn’t feel rushed at all.

I had forgotten to pay the rest of the payment so Gavin had to pop down and pay it but it wasn’t awkward they were really sweet about it.

And we got married.

The ceremony was actually lovely and I laughed and cried at the same time. My hands were in Gavs because I was shaking a bit!

It doesn’t really feel real and I have waited a long time to be his wife.

These are a few of my favourite photos from outside but we will get some more from our photographer later on.

Photos

So Ania led us of to the Islington back streets where all the cool coffee shops and boutiques and restaurants loiter.

It managed to be quintessentially British old fashioned and modern at the same time. So it was pretty perfect.

Also the weather was gorgeous. On the Monday we had torrential rain but on the Tuesday is was heavenly. While we were talking a few photos our family’s had headed off to the pub for a drink and then we joined them for a yummy meal at the Drapers Arms!

All in all it was a perfect day!

We had a few more pints then headed home there was lots of wedding bits still to do organise but it was a lovely legal wedding.

The stress has eased and now I am just grateful

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, self care

I feel better now

I do

I have been having a few rants and stresses lately. I know when family get involved it can all get a bit much but it’s important to know that they are here for you.

Mine have been amazing

And when I say my family that also includes my friends and people that are in my life.

I have said before that me and Gavin are very different. He hates excluding people and always feels like the bigger the better. He also welcomes new friends into his life all the time. I never have to worry about being late because Gav will have made a friend at the bar or on the way in.

He is so welcoming and I am but not as much. I don’t go out of my way to make new friends because the friendships I have had for years are so precious to me. I don’t get to spend enough time with them so without being horrible I don’t need more friends.

I hold them close to my heart and I would do anything for them. And I know that they would do the same.

The stress has eased. It may have to do with the fact that we have got a lot done. The list has halved. Things have been ordered and arrived and there are just a few makes left to do.

Monday is a prep day

Tuesday is a family day

Wednesday is when I completed the seating plan

Thursday is organise the house day

Friday is set up day

Saturday is the day

It’s almost here and it’s too late to worry about things that are out of my control.

Dear Mother Nature please don’t rain!!

My friends and family are banding around to make this day magical for me and Gavin. I took out my mother in law and mum for a prethankyou so that they would know how much there roles in my life mean to me.

I am feeling really grateful that one, Gav decided to marry me and two, that my friends and family are here to support me and Gavin.

Because we need it.

We need them here with us. I am starting to get excited now!

Today I ate my feelings

Advice, Personal Experience

I know there is no point getting stressed getting worried about the never ending list won’t solve anything and nor will eating my feelings

I thought I would be better at this.

Dealing with the stress.

Being organised.

It turns out when it comes to wedding planning, I am definitely a dysfunctional planner. I feel like I have left everything to the last moment and now its all getting on top of me.

I am lucky that I don’t suffer with anxiety. I have dark moments and blue days but nothing like the crippling anxiety I know that so many people struggle with day to day.

Except at the moment it here.

A lead weight in my chest. A dark hole in my brain that wants to shut down rather than get active.

I may just be tired, physically.

I know there is no point in getting stressed. I am actually on top of things and I still have a few weeks to go. 3 infact. And I can accomplish a lot in those weeks. Especially as the last one I am not at work at all.

But today I was quiet all day and I got so many side glances at work I knew they thought something wasn’t quite right.

Compulsive eater: saga of eating my feelings

Today I ate my feelings in the shape of Krispy Kremes. The first was a treat. The second was pure indulgence and the third was me dissolving into myself. Filling that void with pure sugar and eating it so quickly no one, not even myself could stop me. I crammed that thing into my mouth and it didn’t change a thing. I don’t enjoy it and I didn’t regret it.

Whenever I am angry or sad I crave bad food, today was not different except I am not sad but numb.

Numb and stuck.

I went to the gym for an hour this morning and then I destroyed my calorie intake in 9 bites.

I have support.

Every time I even hint I am stressed I am inundated with friends and family offering support and physical help.

I know what I need to do.

But I am stuck inside my own head and it’s a very quiet grey haunted place. To quote Bono

Stuck in the middle and you can’t get out of it

I will go home tonight, cook dinner and achieve a few wedding bits.

I will get a lovely puppy greeting and cuddle. A kiss from my fiancé a discussion about food and drink. Watch a few episodes of My Kitchen Rules Australia and Great British Bake off. I will read a bit of my new book as I tuck myself away for an early night at 10pm.

Pull my socks up and get on with it but it’s there.

tomorrow I will probably be fine before the next bout of anxiety nibbles away at me.

I am only writing this out loud because if anyone else is in the same situation then they should know that even though people don’t speak about it much it happens a lot.

Like I said before I don’t normally suffer from it all. I am truly blessed in that my mental health is pretty, well healthy.