Searching for baby day care as I prepare to ‘let go’.

The time has come for me to let go of that ever precious newborn stage and begin to shop around local nurseries to utilise when my maternity leave comes to an end. This is not something that I carry lightly as obviously, I wish for my baby to be in the best hands possible. If I didn’t have to return to work and could spend my time dedicated solemnly for her, I would.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of being a stay at home Mum, I have to go out to work to earn money and continue to lead a comfortable lifestyle and offer the best that I can for my baby.

Besides, as much as I would love to stay in my baby bubble forever, in order for Eleanor to grow and become independent and strong I need to get over myself and get back to it. To regain a healthy work/life balance.

Plus, I think I need to regain some sanity soon as spending my days alone and chatting to my baby has let this young mind get a little hazy and lost. Even more so than previously. I swear mum brain is a thing, a really bad thing.

My memory is not the same as it once were and I struggle to out sentences together some days. Wether this is a lack of a social life outside of those four walls or sleep deprivation, I don’t know. Regardless, I must return to work and live my life again. Come four months time, my spell of nine months maternity leave will be over and reality has to kick start. Staring with returning to work and having Eleanor into a care routine.

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I’m well aware that Eleanor needs to start living her life and interact with other babies of her age to learn from them. I can’t offer her everything that she needs on my own and I feel that interaction with other babies and children can only benefit her development and personal growth. I can imagine she will come on leaps and bounds from the day she steps into her first nursery session.

With starting back to work in the pending months, I thought it best to get stuck in early and begin the search for a local nursery that will cater to our needs. I wanted some place close to home and close to my Mum’s all the same, a care centre that provided healthy and home made meals, introduced plenty of play and interactive activities with support from staff around the clock.

I hope to be return to work for three days per week. My Mother will care for Eleanor some of those days and the other days, she will be on the care of a private nursery. I’d happily have my Mother watch her each day I work but I deem it unfair for my Mum as she too works and I would hate for her to struggle with Eleanor on a bad day then have to get ready to go to work in the evening for a twelve hour shift. That isn’t fair.

With that thought, I decided to look local and check out a nursery in Cove Bay. Close by and handy for my Mum should she do the pick up run for whatever reason. I went to view the nursery and meet with staff to get a better idea of the daily running of the centre and the care that the children receive. I must say, I left really pleased with what I seen and the information I received.

There are several rooms for the children, three outdoor play areas all of which were spacious and there were staff around wherever you looked. The manager met with myself and gave the walk around tour with the appropriate information and answered any questions I had. There is a kitchen on site where both a vegetarian and meat option of meals were cooked and snacks were home baked goods with limited salt, sugar and fat content.

I was really pleased with the whole home made food consensus and with Eleanor going to raised as a vegetarian, this too was perfect as it would suit her dietary requirements and I could be at ease knowing she was getting a healthy meal provided. I can’t stress just how important healthy eating is to me and I want my baby to be well catered for with a wide variety of healthy and nutritional foods.

I actually caught feeding time during my visit and it was good to see that the staff were at large and sat with the children, helping to feed when necessary. I also discovered that if Eleanor is still taking her milk, I can provide the nursery with breast milk for her and they would store a supply to give her as she wanted. It was really nice to see how the staff cared for the children and that the meal times were well organised and ran smoothly.

The nursery also has an online journal that is updated daily and gives parents the opportunity to check on what their child has been up to each day and of any news that is new to the nursery. There are day trips out to the local community and local parks and the children are encouraged to go out and play together.

Getting out is something which I too find very important and part of a healthy and active lifestyle. I’d hate to return to work and think that my baby was couped up inside all day, I do not feel that would provide a full release of energy and I imagine come time, Eleanor will be full of plenty of energy!

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I felt really content with the nursery and the whole running of it. I liked that healthy food was provided with plenty to choose from, there were staff at hand and the children can play outdoors and get on trips. It makes the day a bit more exciting and offers a little fun for Eleanor. The opportunity to meet and play with other babies will be real great for her and help with learning life lessons and her personal development,  such as sharing and kindness.

I have opted to register Eleanor for this Cove Bay nursery for the days in which she is not at the care of my Mum. I looked online for reviews and input from Mum’s for many nurseries, Clive included and this certainly came out near enough the top of my searches. I’m unsure where I will return back to work, the days of work I will be offered and what days my Mother can care for Eleanor but I’m happy and feeling a little more settled now that I have found a nursery for her to register with and attend for some sessions each month.

The nursery offers morning and afternoon sessions as well as full days, I think that to begin with, I may opt to have her attend for around three afternoon sessions per month. This will give a better idea of how it will all pan out before committing to any set plans and full days or weeks of care.

I will get to know how she is coming on with her sessions and if they are worthy for her development. If I were to think that her development was being hindered, I’d have to then rethink my plans and look to find a new replacement nursery.  However, I think that this could be a great day care centre for her and I felt really happy with my insight of the building and staff.

I’m thinking of it more as a taster right now, before devulgung in and going for full days right from the get go. I’d like to break her in easy, if not just for Eleanor, but for myself. I imagine waving her off to her day care will be a very upsetting experience. My baby will be growing up, drifting a little further from me to allow herself room to grow and mature into her own person.

Before attending her first session, parents are encouraged to meet with the staff and create a personalised profile for their child. This means that the staff will try to cater to your child’s needs and each child is seen as an individual with their own choices, strengths and weaknesses. The nursery work on the strengths and weaknesses of your child and allow them dedicated time to do the things which they favour. Your child isn’t seen as just a number, they are allowed to be their own person and encouraged to be the best version of themselves.

I think it is something quite powerful yet saddening when you send your first born off to nursery care. I know I will feel an element of guilt that I can’t be there with her each day forever and I will definitely see tears but it will be a proud moment all the same and I can’t wait to watch her grow into the most perfect little human.

I know that I still have time to cherish and treasure with Eleanor for now as she is only just five and a half months or twenty two weeks if you’d rather. I’m due to be back to work for mid May but will stretch it out to June if possible through use to annual leave. I’m desperate to hold onto the time that I have with her. I don’t want to let go. This is the first time and only time I will ever have with her to myself for such a long period and I’m not ready to wave goodbye just yet.

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Waving goodbye to baby will be tough and finding routine again – another new routine will take time. My return to work will be such an emotional rollercoaster. I will be once again, stepping into the unknown and I won’t have my daily companion by my side, she will be in day care or with her Grandmother and I don’t know how I will cope being at work and not at home raising her by myself.

It’s a daunting feeling that will hang above my head until the end of my leave period but I am certain that I have found the right day care for her and knowing she will be well cared for puts me at ease (a little). I’ll have to stop myself from calling my Mum or the nursery every few hours to check up on her,i just know it. With time, I’ll adapt as she will and it will get easier.

Until then, I’ll just hold her close for as long as I can. Unwilling to say goodbye to the newborn stage and those first months, those first moments that are, oh so precious.

Has anyone recently went back to work after having a baby? Any coping mechanisms for this new Mum who is afraid to let go? I feel guilty and fear to be leaving her,  I don’t know how I can work to get over this fear and just embrace this whole new and ever changing lifestyle that I have taken on?

This family life. My family life. My family.

Keren x

 

Diving into the realms of a vegetarian diet.

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I’ve never been a big meat eater or a fan of meat. Growing up my family were not vegetarian and we were taught to eat what was given to us, whatever that may be. My Mum was big on home made, hearty meals. Mince and tatties, stews, stovies. All the classics.

However into adult life, and especially post partum my diet has changed substantially and I no longer opt to eat meat through choices and opinions of my own.

In recent years, I’ve come to not really enjoy cooked meals, meat included. I much prefer to snack through the day and eat foods such as pancakes, Cereals, fruits and nuts for meal times, skipping out key nutrients that my body requires.

Now that I have my Daughter and we are beginning the weaning process, I can’t stress to myself enough how important it is that she can see myself and Euan eating a healthy varied diet and take on good habits.

With this notion in place and keen to change my own dietary habits, I have decided to live life as a vegetarian. This will be of no difficulty to myself (and I’m not bragging by the way) I just mean that I would often opt for the vegetarian option when out for a meal or have something other than what Euan has at home when he eats a meat based meal. I love fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, breads and a variety of beans and lentils.

With the variety that is out there, I don’t think I’ll struggle to find foods to eat and have been living a vegetarian diet most days as it is, without the title of vegetarian over my head.

I really went off meat when pregnant, it was the icing on the cake to give the push to become a vegetarian. The smells, textures and tastes. I remember the nausea that came with the smells and I couldn’t bring myself to chew through certain foods. I realise I can’t live my life eating merely fruit, Yogurt and Bran flakes so through a vegetarian diet, I hope to gain nutrition and strength that my body lacks.

I am keen to make this dietary change a fun experience. To begin to cook more often, especially from recipe books. To pick a recipe, gather the ingredients and cook with Euan on a weekend. I’m quite excited to get stuck in and embrace the culinary experience.

I’ve never been a good cook and meals are kind of just slap up and quick plate fulls that you can’t really call a meal. I didn’t have a child to protect and tend to before now and so diet was not something I took good care of,  I mean, if I could get away with eating porridge oats and pancakes three times a day, I would!

Now, it is changed days and I find it so important to show Eleanor good habits and have her set for life and nourish her body through healthy eating. Of course a meat based diet is just as healthy as a vegetarian diet if followed with a good range of other foods, and I’m not against people eating meat but I just feel it is not right for me and I don’t want to raise my Daughter as a meat eater.

Getting busy in the kitchen is an inexpensive yet fun way to pass the time, especially with having Eleanor at home. The opportunity to go out and do as we please does not come so easily anymore so we need to find good habits and hobbies that we can have at home. I think cooking weekends are a great way to get back into the kitchen, learn to love food again and all the whole, teach Eleanor about food, balance and living a healthy lifestyle.

If anyone has good vegetarian recipe books or recipes, please add a comment at the end of the post. I’m keen to hear from you on this and take on board any ideas and help available. I want to make this a fun experience and have a good range of recipes and foods to try. Build up a bit of a portfolio on the kitchen o suppose. I know that not everything I make and try will be a success, there will be downfalls, disasters and foods that I hate but it’s all part of the fun. Of you would like my journey to be documented, let me know. I’m happy to share with you all.

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I am hoping to raise Eleanor as a vegetarian too, Euan is on board with this and keen to try living the same lifestyle of I can incorporate filling and nutritional meals without the need for meat. I think it makes sense to be in this together as a family and discover a whole new healthy lifestyle as a family and give our daughter, Eleanor the best start on life that we can offer.

If she later in life wishes to dabble into foods and try meat, I’m happy for her to try and to find her own feet, discover new tastes that she too can love. At this stage of her life though, I’m keen to take control and offer her as much nutrition and variety as I can without the addition of meat. With there being so much available at the markets in this day and age, I don’t feel that meat will make or break a diet. There are so many other alternatives that you can draw balance and key vitamins from to supplement the lack of meat.

I encourage the use of daily vitamins and have through my whole life. Currently I take omega 3, vitamin D and a multi vitamin. As I’m breastfeeding right now, Eleanor too gets the benefit of the vitamins but when she is not having her breast milk, I’d be keen to supply her with vitamin supplements suitable for her age. If anyone can recommend a good vitamin for children under two, please, fire away. I’m. Happy to take some ideas and advice.

So far we have made vegetarian pizzas from flat breads and added our own sauce and toppings. Sunday evenings cooking experience was Halloumi fajitas which I will be keen to make again and again. Fajitas can never get boring either, there’s a variety of sauces and vegetables that you can throw in the mix to keep them fun and new. Like I said, fire away any recipes you have that are vegetarian friendly. I’d love to hear from you all. I’m. Happy to try most things and have a strong love of fruit and veggies. If I make meals that look presentable enough, I’d be happy to share the results on my blog and give a wee review.

Remember, keep it simple, I’m new to this gig.

Keren x

We set the date!

Well, I must say that the year has been kind to us. The most special year I have had yet, the year we began the family adventure, the year we got engaged, the year life as we knew it changed forever. I have taken only the good from 2017 and will carry it with me for the rest of my life. It’s not every year you have your first child or get engaged!

To keep the trend going and end the year with a bang, we decided to take the plunge, set the date and book our wedding ceremony. We done this is all of two days may I add, with a baby in tow. Productivity at its finest.

With having the perfect date in mind, we already had a good idea of when we would wed, we just didn’t have the year in place. The fourth of September was our date of choice, already a special day for us as it is both our anniversary and the date of which we took Eleanor to have her birth registered. We thought to extend the day with another happy memory and add to it the day that we are to become husband and wife.

Euan called the office on Friday morning to check that the date was available for the coming year, 2018. They had the date free and we had the choice of time slot to attend. With it being a Tuesday, a funny day to marry.. we know, we went with an early afternoon slot. As the local registrar is a central location we wanted a time that it wouldn’t be rush hour so to speak and guests would have easy access to the venue.

Our ceremony will be small with only family in attendance. Euans parents and their partners, Euan’s grandparents and my parents. My side of the family will be outnumbered however, we decided that we didn’t want siblings or extended family at the ceremony. Small and sweet. Our witnesses will be our birth Mother’s.

To follow, we have booked a small room that can host up to twenty guests at the Carmelite in Aberdeen. We have a room from 5pm and will be greeted with some arrival drinks and finger foods for our wedding party before further guests arrive for the evening meal which will be a sit down three course job with drinks to follow for those who feel like having a few. We are aware it is a school night and people may want to leave promptly after the meal, we don’t expect a wild night by any accord. I don’t think I’d hack that to be honest.

Something I previously hadn’t planned on having however with the extended guests, we decided it would be best to host a meal where we can make special memories with our nearest and dearest. We have chosen specific finger foods and a set menu that will cater for everyone with a few minor adjustments to me carried out.

The room will be filled with just twenty of our guests with three children included. Though quite small, we will have just one rounded table for eating with guests and have decided to decorate the room with different chairs and a variety of colours and fabrics.

The room will have a quirky setting with lot’s of florals for the added bohemian vibes. I’m a big fan of anything floral and have even ordered myself a flower crown for the day rather than the classic veil.

I’m not giving too much away though, there are a lot of ideas out there and I’m still mulling over decor and styles without getting over the top or stepping into a territory of expense.

My dress is all set, it’s not a wedding dress by no accord and it is certainly not designer not expensive, but it’s a dress that was gifted to me several years ago that I have been desperate to wear, it just was never suited to a day trip to the shops or visiting my Mother. It’s a special dress that I have kept in my wardrobe with the tags still on waiting patient for the perfect occasion.

Come closer to the time, I’ll share a sneak preview with you all. Don’t worry. I’d love to share all with you bunch but I have to keep some level of suspense.

We did stick to our guns and keep it as a small affair as we have no need for a big day, all we wanted was a simple yet elegant day to cherish for years to come. I can’t believe when I marry I will be holding my baby girls hand the whole way through! What a privilege, I am certainly one lucky lady and a very proud Mother.

We have found wedding bands and sized ourselves up, with a click of a button we can have them ordered to suit. I have the fancy diamond band as an engagement ring, with a wedding band I have went as basic as you can go I want nothing more than a slim yet timeless platinum band to mark my commitment.

The invites are set to go and the venues are booked, now we just need to pull it all together and we are well on our way to celebrating our big day. There’s a lot of work going on with us behind the scenes and much planning to do – much more than I expected. The notebook is out, the ideas are in and I’m never off of etsy as I try to source ideas and material for the day.

Keep your eyes peeled for further posts and wedding updates, I’m sure there will be plenty and lots of big reveals on the way. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to plan for the big day and scour the net for some mini moon ideas. I’m thinking a City break for the three of us.

Lots of love,

Keren x

A Holly, jolly, Christmas.

Our first Christmas as a family of three has been and gone so I thought that I’d write a small blog dedicated to the big day. A special day for us as a new family and a day I’m sure will hold special memories for years to come.

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As previously mentioned, we spent the day at home alone as a family. Family visits and meals were done and dusted before the day so that we could spend it alone and have some us time for a change. Life really does get so busy and you get caught up, forget to take time out for yourself and your family, especially at busy times like this but this year, we didn’t want for that to happen. This year was about us and our baby girl.

Now, we had the choice of options for where to spend the day but rather than run around like crazy and spend the whole day chasing tail, we decided to just have a quiet day indoors and enjoy the company of one another in the comfort of home. Take the day at our own pace.

On Christmas morning, we all excitedly woke. As tired as we were, Christmas is a big day and we wanted to make the most of the time we had. The eve was a rough night for a little Eleanor my poor tootie, she spent most of the night keeping Mum up with constant feeding. Although tired, we didn’t let it ruin the day. We pushed on and had a lovely time.

Once up and ready, we dressed and got Eleanor all sorted, in a little Mrs Claus outfit may I add! Too cute, I know. We played some music and sat around the tree as we exchanged and opened gifts. I made sure to allow Eleanor to touch and see each gift so she would have some knowledge of the moment. We all received lovely gifts and Eleanor was totally spoiled not just by Santa, but from the grandparents and family. It was so exciting opening her gifts and packing away all of her new goodies. It’s definitely clothes galore around here.

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Presents aside, it was onto breakfast. Bacon rolls, a traditional Christmas breakfast with my family which we have carried on to our own. This is as followed by a walk around with our dog Fern before coming back home to relax before I began the dinner.

We played with Eleanor and watched some Netflix, listened to music.. Christmas classics of course. For the dinner, I made a tomato and pepper soup to start with, now.. this turned out to be more of a salsa and really not much of a soup. A few mouthfuls in, we laughed and decided to call it quits with the dodgy soup and wait for the main event. I mean, the bread was tasty at least. Not all terrible and we didn’t go hungry.

Between feeds we watched shows and chilled. There were plenty of snuggles and interactive conversation. The main course, a traditional Christmas dinner was quite the success and we ate it all really, Fern got the left overs which I’m sure she woofed down (she’s meant to be on a diet.. Shh). I intended to cook a turkey however, on Christmas eve I discovered it required forty eight hours to defrost, not just a mere twenty four which I had initially thought and planned for. Oops. You can probably tell that I don’t cook often, especially meat.

Last minute on Christmas eve, we had to make a run to Tesco to pick up some form of meat for the dinner. A pork and sage pre cooked joint. Phew. Thank you Tesco for saving the day. I’m still annoyed at myself with the Turkey though. I thought I was all set, could have been a disaster, I dread to think if I hadn’t checked the instructions and poisoned us all! My God.

In the evening, we hadn’t much room for dessert so rather we smacked on chocolates and watched Elf all cosied up on the couch with a blanket. Just the three of us with Fern at our feet and the snack bowl in our laps. I recall falling asleep for most of the movie, this is not unusual for me though, I’d had a sneaky glass of red, I was never going to survive after that. It was a lovely end to a great day together, watching a fun filled classic and reminiscing on the events of the past year. Boy, 2017 has been good to us. A year to remember for sure, I’ll post a blog to reflect on the year. The ups and the downs but for now, I just wanted to share an update about our first Christmas day as a wee team with our baby girl.

I couldn’t have wished for a better it, though quiet, we were content with the company we had and we got the day to relax which is what we wanted more than anything. Some down time after the whole rush from the weeks leading up to Christmas, time to refresh as far as that gets with a baby and to put our feet up. It sure is nice to stop and take a break from it all, especially as a family unit. Sitting back together and taking it all in is truly how it feels to be happy. To share a life with someone that you love and enjoy quality time.

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For me, that is what Christmas is all about, the quality time to spend and share with family and loved ones. It was a day that I won’t ever forget and will forever hold a special place in my heart, even when things get a bit hectic, I can look back at this festive period and remember how relaxed and content that we were. Years from now when my baby is running around as High as a kite on Christmas day, I can peacefully look back and remember this first Christmas with her. At home as a new family finding our feet, snuggled up and embracing everything that life has to offer. I really love my family more than anything, I’d have never expected to experience such a love or even have my own family at this stage in my life. I am so proud and grateful for all that life has passed my way. What’s meant for you won’t pass you by.

Merry Christmas to you all, I truly wish that everyone had a great Christmas break and spent the day just as they wished to do so. Not to mention eat way too much spoils…guilty.

Next up, Hogmanay. Onto new beginnings, 2017 has been fantastic, here’s to the New Year and what that may bring our way.

Love Keren x

The most wonderful time. My top Five Christmas favourites.

Now that we have entered the festive period and December is in full swing, I thought I’d share with you all my top five favourite things about Winter and the Christmas run up.

The count down to Christmas is in full swing, my excitement is growing it only seems right to talk about it. By the way, it’s totally acceptable to get the Christmas playlist on the go now, right?

To pick just five favourites from the season seems unfair, but if I don’t draw the line somewhere, I’d end up going on forever. I really love Christmas time and the whole sense of togetherness it brings. It’s just so special and has the ability to make people feel special. Family is everything and a little kindness never goes a miss.

A white Christmas – First on the list, obviously. Who doesn’t love a waking up to a fresh white Christmas morning with droplets of snow falling? There’s something magical about watching the snow fall, even more so on one of the most important days of the calendar year. It’s just so dreamy. I love it. I love walking the dog on a snowy Christmas morning with family and embracing the freshness in the air. I think that snow, definitely makes Christmas day feel like Christmas day. A winter wonderland truly is wonderful.

I won’t lie though, after the Christmas period has ended, I’m happy to be rid of snow and the bitter cold that it too brings with it but for now, I’ll lap up all the snow days I can get.

With being off on maternity leave, fortunately, I have no place to go and can embrace a lie in from time to time if Eleanor allows it and we can spend the days watching the snow fall from the comfort of the window.

 

Kindness – All too often we are consumed by materialistic lifestyles and can get way too caught up within ourselves that we forget about others. I like that Christmas brings a level of compassion, care, love and support for those around us that we hold dear. Christmas is a time to give, a time to share and a time to bring kindness to all, no matter who we are. It’s so magical how the time of year can bring people together in such a special way. This year,

I feel even more excited for family and making the most of family time as now I have a family of my own, everything really is that extra bit special and I will be making the effort of going the extra mile to make this year a Christmas to remember.

I love to give gifts and spoil people a little but it can get out of hand to keep buying gifts and my pockets aren’t full so come Christmas, I find it so satisfying to treat the ones I love with a little something I have picked out especially, knowing that they will really love it. I like to make others feel special and give good treats. I put a lot of thought into the gifts that I give, I always have.

As a young girl, I’d sit in my bedroom and play Christmas music, watch the classic movies and wrap my gifts I had got for my family. I’d stick a sign on my bedroom door to warn mum and dad not to enter and get to work. I was a terrible at wrapping, this is something that has not changed but I always done it with a sense of pride.

Now that I can take on the roll of Santa too, I feel even more excited. Eleanor is still too young to understand but that doesn’t mean Santa won’t be paying her a little visit on her first Christmas. It just makes everything so much more exciting. Christmas really is for the children and I can’t wait to watch her excitement as she grows to understand over the years.

 

Christmas decorations – I am a self confessed magpie. I love glitter, sparkles and anything that shines. I have an eye for all things pretty and the festive period certainly meets my inner diva needs and fills my wee heart right up with cheer.

Christmas lights are all around, the streets are lit up, coffee shops have the festive cups out to play. Trees decorated on every corner, wreaths hang pretty on front doors – only a matter of days before I hang mine! Squeal!

There are stockings to hang, santa sacks to fill and so many festive candles, so many festive scents. It’s heaven. It’s busy. It’s love.

Christmas decor is great, I can’t get enough of little bits and bibs to hang and grace the tree with. From a young age,  I’ve always taken great pleasure from viewing the Christmas lights and the decorations that surround us all. To this day, it still excites me to dig out the decoration bag and get going with it.

This year, we are taking the day off on the first Saturday of the month and spending the day putting up our decorations around the home while having some festive hot drinks and watching good old classic Christmas movies. Eleanor is so little this Christmas that she won’t understand what is going on but I’m keen to entertain Christmas early and teach her all about it from a young age so that for years to come it remains a special occasion that holds many memories.

 

Festive drinks – Mulled wine, hot chocolate, you say? Em, hello?! What is a festive period without plenty of hot mulled wine and hot chocolate? It’s a festive essential and with it being so bitterly cold, the hot drinks really help to warm us up. I especially favour a good cup of hot chocolate. Or candy juice as I like to call it. I’ve been having one frequently for the past few weeks and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Next weekend, we are going to hit up the local Christmas Market and I will be hoping to catch a good cup of hot chocolate as long as a glass of mulled wine to keep me cosy.

What’s the festive period if you can’t enjoy a good treat?! It is really a time for indulging and spoiling yourself.

 

Christmas movies – Old or new. Any Christmas film is acceptable in my eyes, so long as it comes after the first of December. It’s okay to binge watch elf on repeat if it is December. I’m excited to spend the weekends indoors, cosied up with blanket forts, candy juice and snacks to make for good TV viewing.

There is something about Christmas movies that really get you in the spirit and make the whole festive season quite special. It’s been a ritual since I was young to watch all the movies based in Christmas. A wonderful life, home alone, elf.. Yep, I’ll be watching them all this year and for years to come. A movie day with plenty of snacks is a great way to spend time with family and remain warm at the same time.

Top tip, ensure plenty of snacks are around. Once the movies begin, you won’t want to move.

 

Christmas Dinner – Last, but certainly not least, the best part of Christmas is family and the Christmas Dinner.  I can’t wait to spend time with my little family just the three of us and have our first family Christmas at home. I plan to out together the a Christmas dinner (my very first) and have the whole day with my family to myself. Yes, I’m greedy for not sharing them with anyone else.

In all seriousness though, what is better than having Christmas day watching old movies, being warm indoors and enjoying a feast full of delicious goodies with your loved ones? I loved waking on Christmas morning as a child and sneaking down stairs with my brother, checking to see that Santa had been and watching Arthur Christmas on the tele.

Pigs n blankets? Duck fat roasted potatoes? Honey glazed veggies?! Yes please! Fill my plate up and delight my tummy.

Now, I’m no master chef and I don’t claim to be, as I will be making the dinner this year round the pressure is on. Luckily though, I’m only hosting for the two of us, if all fails, I’ll be sure to have plenty of snacks to pick from and there will be a selection of wine.. for good measure.

It will be rather strange not being with my own family on Christmas but I wanted this year to be with my own family, the three of us and to make our own Christmas ritual and routines. To make our own memories that we can share for the future.

I’m super excited for that precious family time and the whole of the run up to the big day. I’m trying to keep myself busy and get into the spirit of Christmas. With the snow fall having began, I’m ready to throw on the Christmas playlist and get dancing around the tree.

How are you spending Christmas day? Do you have any family traditions that you love and follow each year? What’s on your dinner menu?

Merry Christmas guys, Keren x

The weigh I am.

_20171012_173454.JPGNow that world mental health day has passed it only seems right to begin to share my own daily battles with my mind. Now, my general mood is not the issue. I generally have a positive mind set and enjoy each day as best as I can. Of course it isn’t all smiles and rainbows but I have it good and I am more than aware. What my persistent problem is, is the battle with body confidence and most of all –  my weight. A battle that I face daily and struggle to get on top of. Some days, it seems I never will.

I don’t know exactly when my weight became such a dramatic issue or when it began to consume my thoughts. It started off with daily weigh ins and cutting back on food,  which very soon increased to hopping on the scales almost every hour. I rapidly became. So obsessed with my weight and losing weight that I didn’t realise what I was doing to my body or mind.

I have always battled with body image and believed that I was too fat, too ugly, not good enough for anyone – the only person I wasn’t good enough for was myself.  I only wish that I realised this sooner.  It may have stopped negative thoughts from taking over my mind had I only just learnt to love myself as I was and appreciate all that I had.

My real battle began when I would look through photographs of a night out with my friends and for some reason, I was always the fat friend. The friend who didn’t quite add up. This started what was to become a complex and soon, I would hide away from any photographs. I didn’t want to look at any ugly pictures of myself any more. My friends were all so stylish and slim. I wanted this for myself. I wanted to be the skinny one. I decided to begin to do something about it. To try to contend with every other skinny girl. I began to lose weight.

I would start to walk a lot. Not one for the gym or anything crazy, I thought that I could get up off my lazy ass and walk. I took advantage of the fact that I had a dog. We began to walk miles a day. Getting faster and faster with each walk. Before and after a meal or what I deemed a proper meal,  I would walk with my dog desperate to burn calories and drop any  weight I may have just put on. I’d do light exercise in my bedroom morning and night. At the later stages, I’d walk and walk until at times I felt I was about to pass out and all I wanted to do was to lay. Making it home from a walk on those days was a challenge. I was exhausted.

_20171012_172725.JPGDuring the stage where my battle became almost too much there was many times I felt like I would pass out from exhaustion, so much so that I started to keep little snacks on my pocket. Usually nuts and Raisins, the odd biscuit. Anything for a little boost and to stop my bleary eyes from giving up on me.

I frequented the scales up to ten times a day. After every time I would eat, or after a period of skipping foods. I had to know what my weight was, I had to see the scales drop. It made me feel good. I felt as though I was achieving something and making progress. Little did I know that I was well on my way to achieving an eating disorder, something which may always haunt me.

At the worst time of my struggles I was 22 years old, 39kgs and had little energy. I battled with mood swings and was abnormally tired for a young woman in her prime. I had the body and temperament of a child. I was surviving on porridge oats, reduced fat milk and yogurt, fruit, cereal and biscuits. I would replace snacks with coffee and drank up to twelve cups of instant coffee per day. Two heaped scoops per cup. No sugar. I consumed this right up until I would go to bed. Amazingly, I could sleep like a dream.

With poor habits and bad diet I became very bloated and started to frequent the doctor. I wanted to get medication to take the bloating away. The bloating only made me eat less as I hated to see anything other than a flat stomach and this only became worse. I used a gluten intolerance as an excuse, if I claimed to be intolerant to foods, I’d not have to eat carbohydrates and wheat, I could cut this completely. The bloating was due to no intolerance and I knew fine well. My body was malnourished and the bloating was the knock on effect. As well as bloating, my legs would swell at the end of each day. Unable to keep up with my pace. A pace I even struggled to keep up with at times.

My period disappeared around two years ago, still yet to return. People began to make comments and pass judgement only this time, it wasn’t to call me fat it was to question wether I was eating enough. This made me feel embarrassed and fragile. I didn’t like that people were making comments and I wanted to hide away from this.

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When I fell pregnant at the end of 2016, I had no indication as I was not having a regular period. Will this return post pregnancy? I don’t yet know. I hope for it to return, as awful as they are, it’s a healthy part of a woman’s adult life and monthly cycle. It regulates the body and without it, I am all over the place with my ever changing moods. I am embarrassed to say that my eating habits have not yet changed greatly. My mindset is still suffering and I still weigh around the same as a thirteen year old. 44.5 kg – yes, I checked this morning. I am back to under my pre baby weight.

If I am to eat out now, I have to weigh this up and big myself up for the event. It’s not as easy as going out for a nice meal. My head is forever counting calories and wondering if I go out what will this meal do to me, how will my stomach look afterwards and what can I cut during the day to ensure that I don’t over do it. This even happens if I am to buy a shop bought meal, (rare).

It’s a horrible way to think and feel, to have food consume your every day thoughts and run riot in your mind. This is sadly the daily battles that I face. The thoughts never go away. I calorie count relentlessly and have become very good at knowing how much calories is in any food or drink. I mean,I should be bloody good at it, I spent a lot of time on Google searching the calorie content of everything I was to eat. This is something that I still find myself doing.

If I want to snack I will tend to have just a bite from a biscuit before I’d put it back into the tin or into the bin, or open a pack of crisps only to find I can only eat a few, leave the rest to go stale. It took me the course of four days to eat a Yum Yum that my mum brought to me from the Baker. I was pregnant and had every excuse to indulge but I couldn’t.

Throughout pregnancy my diet consisted mainly of vitamins, fruit, Yogurt, Homous, vegetables and Bran flakes. I feel guilty that due to this and my poor diet my babies growth halted at week 36, she was born in the fifth percentile, smaller than average and this could have been my own fault through poor decisions. I allowed my mind to take over and risk the health of my unborn child.

The thing is, An eating disorder does not disappear even when a new life is taken into consideration if anything the inevitable increase of weight due to growing a life can make it worse. The mind works just as damn hard as ever to make sure that you give everything you out to your mouth a thought and riddles you with guilt if you dare step out of the comfort zone.

Pregnancy should be the perfect excuse to indulge and enjoy food, to nourish your body and the life inside. For me,  my pregnancy was a struggle, filled with worry and fear of foods. Even more so than usual. Everything I was to eat could lead to excessive weight gain and a body I’d never be able to recover to its true form. Not only was I thinking of the life inside of me I was thinking about myself.

We would frequent the cinema through my pregnancy and a cinema snack was always a scoop of ice cream however to work my way up to this to allow the calorie content from the ice cream, I’d often skip a meal. I was careless and selfish during my pregnancy due to my mind set and the thoughts that consumed me. It was foolish to allow my mind to take over and hold me captive, hold my body captive and to refuse my growing baby the full nutrients that she required.

I cannot eat hot meals, I feel myself get upset of I am to have a cooked dinner. I tend to stick to Bran flakes, fruit, Yogurt, Pancakes and biscuits as my daily diet. This rarely changes. Even with breastfeeding, I know I need to consume a lot to keep my milk from drying out.  I am trying.

I have increased my snacking habits and have went from reduced fat milk and Yogurt to full fat but I can’t yet bring myself to eat meat or proper meals. I can’t even bring myself to enjoy the foods I once loved. I don’t know if my mind set will ever change or if I can break away from the bad eating habits I have developed. It’s a unhealthy mindset and I know I am not consuming near enough for a grown adult woman. To be 44kg and 25 years old is of no good to anyone. I look at myself and do not like the reflection, I’m no woman. My body is in competition with a child’s and I have a gap between my thighs that makes my legs look knobbly and stupid. I have no womanly curves.

The desire to stay slim and have a flat stomach is strong yes, but my eating habits are so much more than just wanting to be slim. My mind challenges me daily and I am at a constant battle with myself.

_20171011_144221I want to do better and want to become a healthy and normal woman again, I know that I must fight to have my period return and to fight this for my daughter. I need my child to be able to adapt a good body image and to be comfortable in herself, if she watches me eat Cereal for every meal of the day cutting out key nutrients and a healthy balance I fear that she will adapt the same habits that could have killed me. I will continue to fight this battle and try to work myself back to a healthy diet and a healthy mind.

I am six weeks post partum and back to my pre baby weight. I am now 44.5kg, this can fluctuate up to 47kg. I know that I must work not just to gain weight but to become healthy. I want to step away from the cereal box and opt for a more varied and balanced diet. To begin to cook meals once again and to introduce nutrients into my diet. To learn how to enjoy food. I aim to benefit not just myself but my body and my child. It’s no easy task and it’s certainly not as easy as just “eating a burger” though unless having been faced with a similar position you couldn’t simply understand

Hear me when I say this is a struggle and that each and every day I do struggle. I am trying to work to increase and to get better, to exceed myself for a better life and for A better me. I must be the Mother that my children can look up to.