The Happiness Habit with Adbra

Anxiety and overthinking have long been a part of my life, they existed long before any eating disorders took hold and for 15 or so years were controlled largely by a carefully balanced cocktail of medications (with a dash of therapy here and there).
Since the end of the last year I made the decision to come off the majority of medications, knowing we were going to be starting the IVF and being in a much better place generally, I didn’t just want to find pregnancy safe medications, I wanted to use the coping mechanisms I’ve learnt over the years and try to come off as much as possible.
It’s worked, mostly. There was the two weeks where I slept little more than an hour a night (good practice for what is ahead right?), andI am still on an anti-depressant, but everything else is gone and I am surviving.

It’s not always plain sailing though, and recently there have been a few things triggering cycles of overthinking. Thankfully an email arrived from a wonderful company called Adbra at exactly the right time and I’m getting myself right back on track again.

Month of mindfulness jar from Adbra

Adbra are a small company that was founded by Adel and Libby after they faced their own mental health challenges. They decided to use their experiences and research to create toolkits that could help others take control of their mental wellbeing.

As soon as I read this I kind of fell in love with Adel and Libby, they are my kind of people!
They got in touch to introduce their “happiness habits jars” and very kindly sent one out to me, which literally could not have arrived at a better time. There are 7 jars in the range and the one that I was sent was the “mindfulness” themed jar which I have been using religiously ever since.

This little jar has got me back on track so many times, and for £12.50 it’s an absolute bargain. I always used to be so sceptical of this kind of thing, but eventually a couple of years ago decided to stop being stubborn and give it a go and I’ve not looked back!

These jars make a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, or as a self-care investment for yourself. I’m definitely going to look at getting the “self kindness” jar for once baby is here as I think it’s going to be very easy to forget that I need to be a priority too.

What tools do you find help the most when it comes to mental health? I’m a very visually orientated person so this kind of thing is almost certainly guaranteed to be a success over say, a podcast.

Seeing Stars

Another set of photos that I have had sat on my laptop for the longest time. Every day I sit down at my desk and think “right, today I’ll write a blog post” and then something needs doing, netflix calls my name or the cat demands attention and I completely forget.

Quite the contrast to just a few short years ago when I lived my whole life online. Having a blog was such a positive thing for me for so long. Documenting my journey through my anorexia relapses, giving me space to let off steam and share my thoughts on everything and anything…and as I’ve said before, I miss it. I miss it a lot and I do vow to come back to it.

And then along comes life, getting all busy and in the way. Between appointments, work and wanting to curl up on the sofa with Bob and Pablo…my laptop and my social media channels don’t quite hold the same appeal. That and life being so damn boring outside of work. I’m hoping we can have some adventures this summer, that my fashion inspiration will return and, once the golf courses re-open I will find myself with a few hours a week Bob free to dedicate to getting my online life back on track. We’ve got some big things on the agenda that I definitely want to share!

Until then, I hope people still enjoy my sporadic postings. This is one of my current favourite outfits- a New Look dress I picked up just after Christmas, Zara chunky heeled boots that I don’t wear nearly enough, and a random experiment with a hair crimping/waver thing that I didn’t even remember buying.

What’s new (pussycat?)

It’s been a while since I sat down (well, actually I’m kind of sprawled) to write a blog post just for the sake of writing one. I think the last time was early September and so much has changed since then, it’s insane. I’m still trying to reconcile it all in my mind, but for the most part life is grand and that’s probably why I’m finding myself emerging from my funk and wanting to do a little update.

That’s not the sole reason for this post though, the other reason is this rather magnificent jumper I purchased from ASOS Marketplace…isn’t it a beauty? I’m actually obsessed with it. The cats remind me of Pablo, and the attention to details just make me smile so much. Cats everywhere! Including on the collar. It couldn’t be more perfect for me.
Would it be too extreme to start a collection of vintage cat sweaters? I wonder if Bob would still want to marry me if I did start one…

The wedding is very much back on my mind, after a little while of not feeling very motivated to plan anything due to the ongoing uncertainty and threat of Covid-19. With the hope of a vaccine I feel a little more positive things can go ahead as planned so we’ve started working out what needs doing now and what we really can leave until the last minute. I’m allowing myself to get excited again, although I am so impatient as well, I just want to be a wife now please!

The other excitement going on right now is that shortly after my last update post we found that I had reached the required weight for the PGD/IVF referral to go ahead. Things have moved incredibly quickly and I now have a fridge full of injections ready to go. Nothing is set in stone just yet but we are likely to start this very soon. I won’t be sharing an awful lot of the process, at least not until there is a baby in my arms (however long that may take) but I just thought I’d let anyone interested know that this is where we’re at.

It’s been a turbulent year so us (and everyone else!) with some crushing blows along the way, made much worse for the global pandemic. But with that there has been some amazing highs and personal accomplishments. I honestly can’t believe we’re at this stage, and this is my life now.

Once upon a time I had written off the chance of finding love, getting married and starting a family. Now I’m well on the way to ticking off all three. I’m not brave enough (or stupid enough) to say I’m fully recovered, and some days are still an uphill battle, but I can hand on heart say I am the most “normal”, happy and healthy that I have ever been and I am just so grateful to have made it this far and for the opportunities I have been given. Hopefully one day I won’t even need to write this kind of paragraph as it will be all but a distant memory.

Well done if you’ve made it to the end of this post, I don’t blame you if you’ve skipped to the end and marvelled in the wonder of the sweater instead.

TLDR: awesome jumper, happy life, grateful rambling.

Until next time…

The next steps*

Planner c/o Mâl Paper

To say there’s a lot going on right now would be a bit of an understatement; between working full time, planning a wedding and preparing to start the process of starting a family (more on that in a bit) it’s taken the timely arrival of this daily goal setter planner from Mâl Paper to help keep me on track.

This gorgeous planner is just what I need to keep my life on track. It’s designed to help you be more mindful and set goals to get you through even the most stressful days. It features sections for monthly, weekly and daily planning and is littered with inspirational quotes, plenty of space for writing down ideas and it made from the most beautiful quality paper. This has really helped me keep on track when it comes to to-do lists to help me reach my goals, as well as making sure I take time to focus on what has gone well each day and ensures I take time out for me.

The planner costs £21.95 and you can get 15% off your order at the moment with the code BRSPECIAL15

And how is all that planning going? Well…

Wedding wise, we’re making good progress. We have a venue, photographer, bridesmaids, bridesmaid dresses, hair and makeup, wedding rings and a few other bits and pieces under our belts. I’ve got some dress shopping appointments in the next two weeks and with 387 days to go, I’m feeling quite on top of things.
We’re in the process of finalising the guest list and sorting out the invites too- that’s our next big job, and whilst it might seem that we are way ahead at the moment, things are going to get crazy over the next few months and I just know time is going to fly.

And on to that whole starting a family thing…

Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, which I won’t go in to, Bob ended up being referred to a genetics specialist to get some tests done. The outcome from that is that he has tested positive for the BRAC2 genetic mutation that leads to an increased risk of certain cancers.
From his point of view, he’s ok. He’ll be screened from a much younger age and will get all sorts of fancy monitoring to ensure anything nasty is caught early.
His/our bigger concern at this point in time is what this means for our future children.
After meeting with a genetics consultant we’ve been offered something called PGD, a type of IVF that will eliminate the risk of passing the mutation on to our future child. After lengthy discussions we decided that this was the route we wanted to go down. Knowing that there is a 50% percent chance of passing this on- with a hugely increased risk for our future children of developing certain types of cancers (the statistics if we had a girl who had this mutation were scary) meant that we personally can’t justify not giving this a go. Obviously this is a very personal decision and not everyone will feel the same, but as we have been offered this opportunity we have decided to take it. And soon.

Right now the only barrier to us starting this treatment is my weight. It turns out that as well as there being a maximum BMI for any IVF/PGD referrals, there is also a minimum, which currently I am just about 2kg under. Knowing I am the only barrier between us and starting this journey (and we are both so ready for this) has been a real kick in the stomach for me as I’ve been dragging my feet and letting my eating disorder get in the way of making those final steps in weight restoration.
It’s also given me a massive kick up the backside and with any luck we’ll be getting that referral and starting this process in the very near future.

It’s exciting but scary times for the both of us right now. Being a Mum means the world to me, and being in a position now where that dream is slowly becoming a reality is a real “pinch me” moment. At one point I was being told I’d never get better, never live a normal life, and yet here I am- more happy and more content and healthier than I ever thought possible. It’s not going to be an easy road, for either of us but it’s one we’re excited to start down.
We’ve talked about it a lot and would like to share our journey, to some extent on the blog if people would be interested (well, even if you aren’t as it would be good for us to document the venture anyway).

So, for now you’ll find me with my head in my planner, setting myself goals and reminding myself why I’m doing this on the days when I’m feeling too full of food, bloated and defeated. I’m doing this for me, for Bob (who I credit for fully for showing me what it means to live and be loved), and for all of the friends and family who never gave up on me.

Until next time! And get buying those planners!

Life Lately- a new kind of normal?

Dress: Pull and Bear | Shoes: Primark

I’m giving up on making promises of regular blog posts, whilst I still enjoy having and updating this space on the internet I have come to realise I don’t need it as much as I used to. Back when I started it, when I was in the deepest, darkest days of my life, through the rollercoaster few years right up until I met Bob this place was my link to the world, my place where I could be heard and connect with people. It got me through some really tough times and presented me with some amazing opportunities. I’m sad in some ways that I no longer have the time and headspace to keep up with daily, or even weekly posts, yet happy to be letting go, to finally be in that place where “real life” is enough. I’m not giving up completely, there is always going to be the regular features as well as hopefully some wedding related posts, and looking forward, hopefully some family ones too. Even if that wasn’t the case I think I’d be stepping back now anyway, the blogging world has changed beyond recognition and I no longer feel I have a place in the centre of it (and I’m 100% ok with that).

Life lately has been chaotic and confusing for everyone and I’m definitely feeling it more now than ever. During the peak of Covid-19 I was so frantically busy and exhausted from work that I didn’t really register how much life had changed for me- and actually, it didn’t really change that much. I worked 9-5, shopped for essentials when I had to, so whilst I did have lockdown to contend with and the isolation from friends and loved ones I did at least have routine.

As restrictions ease I find it’s hitting me more now. Work has slowed right down. We can go about our daily business with a little more freedom. I’ve been on a socially distanced picnic with friends, I can see my family, I’ve had my nails done with hair to follow and Bob and I are planning a camping trip in a couple of weeks. With all of this has come a greater feeling of unease. Is this the right thing? Should I be going out/away. Do I really need to leave the house? I’m making the most of the freedom but it isn’t half causing some conflict!

Conflict aside, I’m happy. Ridiculously happy in a way I thought I never could be. I’m the healthiest mentally and physically that I have been in my entire adult life. I’m planning my wedding to my absolute soul mate (432 days to go!) and I have a job I enjoy, a roof over my head and an all round happy and contended and comfortable life- for which I am eternally grateful.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is other than to share some photos of a pretty dress, our somewhat more up together garden (like many, lockdown has given us a drive to take pride in our garden!) and explain, largely to myself why I find myself blogging less and less. I still want to do it, but on my terms with no pressure. I already feel more at ease with it all having written this post, so despite being a disjointed tangle of words it has served some kind of purpose.