Archive for the ‘me time’ Category

Only one more year to the big three-oh!

In me time on September 30, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Today is my 29th birthday. The kids woke me up with a lovely birthday hug, and Hubby Dearest planned a surprise dinner out for us at a lovely local restaurant which has just opened. What a lovely treat!

I just wish there were more years until I hit the dreaded thirty… Does this mean I can start lying about my age now?


Facing my fears…

In me time on July 5, 2007 at 12:10 am

Today we went shopping for my little man’s birthday presents. Since much of Meadowhall is still closed due to the recent floods, it was rather busy and I had to park in the multi storey. You may be wondering why this is such a big deal for me? Well, unfortunately I suffer from vertigo. Such an irrational fear, I’m sure you’ll agree! But each ramp we climbed to find the empty spaces my heart beat faster, my palms became more sweaty… By the time we found a space on the roof, I almost felt sick!

I wasn’t always so afraid of heights though. In my youth, I was always the one wanting to go on the highest roller coaster, climb trees, fly in planes… Vertigo seemed to suddenly creep up on me, and I didn’t realise it until one Christmas when my little man wanted me to take him up a fairground slide (the type which goes round and round a small tower). When we reached the top, I almost collapsed with fear. I felt dizzy and strangely frightened, while my son happily climbed up and slid all the way down alone. He asked me then, as my little Angel did today: “Why are you so scared, mummy?”

So I tried to do a brave thing, and walked to the edge of the car park to take the photograph of the city you see above. Just to show my daughter that there really is nothing to be afraid of!

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The Five Questions Meme

In me time on July 2, 2007 at 4:40 pm

Over at Rocks in my Dryer, Shannon has posted her “5 question” meme, which I thought would be fun to answer here. So, here are my questions and answers, some of which were a little tricky to answer (especially with the kids arguing in the background!) but here goes:

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Um, I’d hate to have to eat only one food forever! That would be so boring, not to mention unhealthy! But if I have to choose, it would be “Lift”: it’s a Tunisian dish made with meat, lots of spinach, garlic, tomatoes and chickpeas. Can I still have some French bread to go with that..?

What’s the most nerve-racking “close call” you’ve ever had?

This would probably have to be an incident which happened some years ago when my little man was still a toddler. We’d just moved into a new flat after some troubles, and were both exhausted. Since I didn’t have a cot or proper bed for my little man to sleep in, I tucked him up in my double bed and went to watch some TV in the lounge. I was so so tired that I fell asleep right there.

When I woke up a few hours later, I went to check on my son. But he wasn’t there. I called his name over and over, and when he didn’t answer I began to panic: it was a new place for both of us, and I was worried that he’d done himself a mischief. Then I noticed the front door was slightly ajar. I ran out onto the landing and started screaming for him, running around the block like a madwoman thinking someone had kidnapped my son. Eventually, I went back inside to call the police when I noticed a lump in the bed covers. Upon checking it out, I realised my little man was just huddled beneath, and he’d been there all along! I felt like such a fool!

Name five features your ultimate dream house would have.

The dream house we’d build when we win the lottery? Oh yes, I’ve already thought this one through! We’d have:

  1. A bedroom for each member of our family, plus two guest rooms, each with their own en-suite bathroom.
  2. A huge library with a domed glass roof and shelves ceiling to floor.
  3. A basement “cinema”
  4. A wonderful huge garden including a labyrinth and secret “wild” area.
  5. Staff to cook, clean and do the gardening

Perhaps too much to hope for, but I can dream…

Who has been the most influential non-relative in your life?

It’s hard to define just one, so I’ll have to make three: my English teacher at school, who I will always remember fondly; my tutor at college, who taught me to think for myself academically, and my good friend “C”, who despite being my senior has taught me much about life and loyalty. If I could pick the most influential family member, it would have to be Dad!

What one non-physical feature would you most like to change about yourself?

Sometimes it would nice to be more selfish! I’m often told that I’m too apologetic, and always put others before myself, no matter what my feelings may be.

If you want to answer this meme yourself, head on over to Shannon’s post and leave your link in her comments. Thanks for reading my answers!

My dyskaryosis treatment

In health, me time on June 29, 2007 at 3:51 pm

A while back, a routine smear showed that I had abnormal cells: a pre-cancerous condition called dyskaryosis. I panicked at first, as I’m sure many women do when their smear results show abnormalities. After all, we don’t often discuss our private female parts!

I was more than relieved to learn that dyskaryosis is not cancer, merely a condition which could become cancerous if left untreated for a number of years. Ten to fifteen years, as the doctors explained, though of course I wasn’t taking any chances! I was referred to the hospital for a colposcopy (a detailed examination of the cervix) in order to find the most appropriate course of treatment. For me, this meant removing the affected cells using a treatment called diathermic loop: where heat is passed through a loop-type instrument to cut away the bad parts and cauterise the skin to prevent bleeding and infection.

It may sound painful, but believe me it wasn’t! I had my treatment yesterday, and I wonder now why I’d got so worked up about the treatment in the first place! After the initial consultation and explanations, the treatment itself only lasted a matter of minutes and I barely felt a thing. Just a little aching and light headedness. I still ache a little now, and was told to expect some bleeding for the next few weeks until all is healed. No tampons, bubble bath or sex for a whole month, but this is a small price to pay for peace of mind, I’m sure!

For the next few years, I’ll need smears more regularly than usual, just to make sure the problem doesn’t return. And if it does, early detection will ensure it is most easily treated!

Most instances of cervical cancer occur because women have “slipped through the net” and haven’t been screened as regularly as they could be. So, if it’s been a long time since your last smear, please do yourself a favor and have one done. I know they’re not pleasant and most uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I’m sure you’d prefer to know you are healthy, or discover a small problem which can be easily treated, than leave it too long and discover the worst!

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My Blogging Story!

In Blogging, me time on June 21, 2007 at 11:25 pm

Chili over at Don’t Try This At Home, has passed out an invitation to all bloggers to write their own blogging story. And lately, blogging is something I love to talk about at every opportunity, so I just couldn’t resist writing my own! The story is based on a series of questions about how you began blogging, your motivations and readership. Once you’ve read this, why not hop on over to read Chili’s post and see what others have to say too? I’ve found some really great reads from her Mr. Linky…

Anyway, here is my own blogging story:

How did you start blogging?

I “discovered” blogging a little over three years ago, when researching material for a creative writing project. It was Blogger’s caption: “Push button publishing” which inspired me to read more. Then I realised that I could actually write for the web, that anyone could (and perhaps would) read what I wrote. And comment on it. And link back to me! In effect, discovering Blogger was like opening a can of worms: I immediately became addicted, started my account, and created my first blog: The Urban Kunoichi.

After a little while, I realised there was much more to blogging than a Blogspot could (then) currently offer, and so I migrated over to WordPress, and bought my own domain. Now, of course, Blogger is a much better blog hosting company, which is why my two new blogs are hosted over here. More about that later…

Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?

To answer this, I’d have to say that I hoped to be a blog with a reasonable following, but in no way expected that I would be. In fact it took quite a long time to get a regular readership, and even now, my oldest blog doesn’t have too many subscribers, though it does receive quite a few hits from search engines.

In regard to my two newer blogs: Glamumous! and Blogger Buster, then the answer is “yes”: I did set up these blogs to attract a readership. These days I know a little more about blogging, web design, SEO and such, so I’ve implemented some tactics such as joining blogging communities, posting daily, and giving a lot of link love to other blogs I admire.

I want to write posts that people want to read! This is especially true of my Blogger Buster blog, which is all about blogging, and my way of sharing the knowledge in this subject with others who might need it. I love to help others out, and blogging is my favorite hobby!

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My goals for my old blog were simply to write on subjects I enjoyed writing about, and to have my posts read. I think I achieved this to the extent I was willing to push it at the time.

With Glamumous, my plans were somewhat different: this blog is more personal: it’s about being a wife and mother, keeping house and family and staying sane. As well as attracting a readership, I wanted to have an outlet for my feelings at a time when I was feeling somewhat confused about what I wanted from life. Although I’ll never talk in my blog about those issues which concerned me as I started to write, I do honestly feel that writing Glamumous has helped me feel better about myself and change the things that needed it.

Blogger Buster can be seen as an offshoot of Glamumous: after a few of my Custom Blogger posts attracted some attention, I began to realise that writing a blog about blogging would be a great way to attract a readership, and a way to help others by sharing information about the tips and tricks which have helped me. Blogger Buster is a very new blog, and only time will tell if I am successful at achieving my goals!

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

The answer above may well answer most of that question! But there is one more thing I may as well add. A few weeks ago, I discovered Dooce (you know, the blogger who became infamous when she was sacked for blogging about her colleagues?), and something I read in her “about” section really caught my attention: her blog generates enough from advertising to support her and her family! They don’t have to go out to work, and can still pay all the bills, keep a beautiful house, maintain a car and probably go on holiday too!

I know it’s about as likely that I’ll ever be able to do that as winning the lottery! Yet it gave me hope that if my blogs become popular, my ads may pay off a little bit so I might be able to afford the odd weekend away, or a pair of shoes I don’t actually need!

In the meantime, I know I’ll need to put in a lot of hard work!

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?

Put lots of link love out there; read other people’s blog’s regularly and comment on them; write for your readers if you want them to come back. And if you ever plan on having a custom domain for your blog, do it early on! Otherwise you’ll have to try and let all your readers/blog rings/directories/etc know your new blog address, and it can be a real drag!

Do you make money with your blog?

At the moment, I make pocket change from the Google ads on my oldest blog (just about enough to cover the hosting fees!), but as yet I haven’t made anything from Glamumous and Blogger Buster. I would like to though, and have already put the ads in place because I wouldn’t want them to “suddenly” appear!

I do try to make the ads relevant to my readers though! On Glamumous, you’ll find more affiliate links, since the Google ones didn’t match up to my expectations (probably because it’s still so new!), and I’m still working on those at Blogger Buster. After all the hard work and effort I put into my blogs, I don’t think it’s a sell out to include ads; if they even pay enough to cover their domain registrations and a Starbucks coffee every now and again, I’ll be a very happy bunny!

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Hmm, tricky question. My sister and Dad know about my blog and sometimes read it. Hubby Dearest knows I run websites (as he explains it), but doesn’t really know much about blogs or blogging. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in reading it, probably because he doesn’t spend a fraction of the time online that I do! One thing I ensure each time I post is that no-one (including myself) would ever be offended or troubled by what I write, either now or at any time in the future.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any friends or family who blog (though I am still trying to remedy this!). I would like people I know to be more interested in blogs, especially mine of course, but it seems that “blogging” isn’t yet a growing trend in my social circles.

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

  1. Write about the things you enjoy writing about, be it your family, your favorite hobby or your latest business venture! If you enjoy your subject, you are much more likely to stick at it, write better posts and attract a readership through your passionate writing!
  2. Don’t expect to be a success straight away! For a blog to become popular, it needs lots of hard work, time and effort before a readership will arrive! Don’t be put off if it takes months or even longer for your blog to attract subscribers! It took me a long time and many mistakes to realise this.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blogging story. If you want to join in with the carnival and write your own, head over to Chili’s blog to read more about it, and submit your post to her Mr. Linky!

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To my Little Angel on your first day of nursery

In kids, me time on June 19, 2007 at 12:31 pm

To my Little Angel,

This morning you were so excited: it’s your first day of nursery school, and you just couldn’t wait to go and play with the yellow teapot and paint Daddy a picture of a pussycat! Since we went for a brief visit last week, you haven’t stopped talking about “nursery school” to anyone who would listen: even strangers we pass in the street! You’re 28 months old now and are so grown up. A little girl, and not my little baby anymore, though you always will be in my heart.

I wanted you to pose for a photo as we went in the nursery gates, yet all you wanted to do was get inside and play. I was quite nervous for you: after all, this was the first time I’d ever left you in someone else’s’ care, except for the odd occasion when Daddy and I have been out in the evening when your Auntie would stay and read stories for you and your brother until you both fell asleep! Daddy was even more nervous than me: his little princess was venturing out into the world for the first time. No wonder he spoiled you with a new bag, clothes, lunchboxes and a huge basket of fruit to share with your friends!

When we went inside, you immediately ran over to the little play kitchen to look for the teapot you remembered from the last session. At first you ignored me when I asked for a kiss to say goodbye. Until you realised that the teapot was nowhere to be seen and needed me to find it for you! Straight away you began to make friends, handing out the plastic cups and spoons for the tea party you must have been planning all week. It was so good to watch you interact with the other children: how generous and friendly you were; all smiles and excitement, though perhaps a little shy to talk much at first.

When it came time for me to say goodbye, you didn’t want to wave or even acknowledge that I was leaving. “It’s probably a good thing” the teachers said as I made my exit with tears in my eyes. Though I didn’t want you to be upset, I really wanted to feel that you’d miss me. Since the day you were born, I’ve always been your playmate; your comfort giver, the one you go to sleep with each night. And though I know you’re growing up now, I don’t ever want that feeling of being needed to go away.

I came to collect you a few minutes before the session ended, so you wouldn’t feel left out if you saw other mummies leaving with their children first. When I entered the classroom, you didn’t notice me straight away, and I stood and watched for a few moments as you finished your doodling, concentrating so hard on where the lines went as though it meant so much to you! When you finally noticed I was there, you dropped your pen and ran right over to give me a great big lovely hug that moved me so much with your affection, especially as you sobbed slightly, having seemed to miss me so much!

“She cried a little bit when she realised you were gone,” explained the teacher. “But not much! She’s played really well with all the other children.” Exactly what I’d expected, if I’m honest. My little Angel is such a caring and affectionate little love that I can’t imagine her being aggressive, or even rude.
I’m so glad that you had a good time at nursery school. On the way home, you told me all about the games you played, the “painting-drawing”, the “dress up” and “kickey ball” in the yard.

“Do you want to go again next week?” I asked, as she sat in the back seat, eyes drooping with utter tiredness.

“Um,” she replied smiling. “I go to nursery school again!”

Dreading my dyskaryosis treatment…

In health, me time on June 11, 2007 at 11:30 am

After a smear test recently, I discovered that I have severe dyskaryosis of trhe cervix. I have to admit that I cried when I first read the letter from the hospital. I’d expected my smear test results to come back all clear, believing I was too young to have cancer or anything like that. And being rather uneducated in the field of “women troubles”, I feared the worst.

Thankfully, my GP, the staff at the hospital, my father and the internet all managed to convince me that it isn’t cancer: it’s actually an abnormality of my cervix which could one day become cancer if not treated. Meaning ten to fifteen years from now. Thank God!

Yet I am still anxious. I need to go for treatment, which involved having the abnormal cells scraped off using a process called diathermy. I know it’s nothing particularly serious: I’ll be in and out of the out-patients’ department in less than an hour; after effects will include only period pains and bleeding for a couple of weeks. However, I hate the thoughts of having to spread my legs again in front of a room of strangers (as I did during my colposcopy a couple of weeks back); I’m worried that the poroblem may not go away; I’m worried about being ill when the kids need me to be super mommy.

But at the end of the day, I’m so happy that the problem isn’t cancer or any other serious abnormality. My problem can be treated quickly and easily; I shouldn’t worry about it, I’ll be fine. I know I will, deep down.

I just wish this anxiety would go away…

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It makes motherhood worthwhile!

In kids, me time on May 30, 2007 at 6:03 pm

I should have known it was going to be one of those days today as soon as I woke up and realised I’d overslept. But, like any other day, I was cheerful in the hopeful anticipation of a nice, pleasant day. Little did I know what fate had in store for me…

Within an hour of waking, Little Angel had almost wrecked the place. It started with her somehow getting hold of my favorite Dior nail varnish and attempting to paint the carpet. The kids swore it must have been a ghost-no-one would ever give her my most expensive cosmetics to play with.


While I was cleaning up the mess, she then decided to climb up and pull the shampoo from the shelves where I’d thought it would be safe. Then she proceeded to throw toilet paper across the landing. And so on, and so forth.

Until it gets to the point where I really honestly think for a moment that I’m going to lose it completely, and she comes back in from the garden with a wilting daisy in her hand. “Sorry mummy, luv ooh!”

Sweetness personified. It’s moments like this that make being a mum worthwhile!

Little green fingers

In house and home, kids, me time on May 27, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Exactly one year ago, we moved to this “new house” and were blessed with a front door on the ground floor, lovely neighbours and most of all, a huge garden space for the kids!

For over ten years, we’d been living in a first floor flat. Sure it was roomy and in a nice part of town, but with the kids it was hardly desirable. Especially when Hubby dearest and I married and my step-children began to stay each weekend. When little Angel came along, it was almost unbearable. There was nowhere safe for the children to play; no green space to admire, and certainly no area to sit out in the sun in the summertime.

I’m so glad to be here!

Last summer was something of a frenzy and we barely had time to relax and enjoy our new home. Between decorating, clearing the jungle in the back garden and our two-month trip to Tunisia, there was barely any time to cultivate a garden. This year, we’ve had more time to enjoy the outdoor space: we had the garden turfed, created a space for plants and installed a fence to keep prying eyes away from our precious ones. We even bought a sand pit and playhouse for the kids. And for the first time in my life I’ve been able to grow things from seeds. I feel so proud of what we’ve achieved!

What I love most is the change I’ve seen in the children: they all seem so much happier, even on rainy days like today. And they’re developing a wonderful interest in plants and the environment; especially my little man, who today insisted we go to the garden centre so he could buy a plant with his pocket money!

I thought he would have chosen a Venus fly trap, which he could feed with the ever increasing number of huge spiders that plague our lounge. Luckily, the garden centre didn’t have any in stock. I say “lucky” because I can’t stand that he picks them up and lets them run all over him! It’s not that I’m scared of spiders: I just have a strange fear of them crawling on my feet…

Anyway, he settles on a seedling cucumber plant, and little Angel insisted she got in on the action by nursing a cherry tomato plant back to the car. It was so sweet watching them water their little seedlings, and give them pride of place on the kitchen windowsill “because mummy, it’s too wet for them to be outside just now!”

In this last year, I’ve seen my little seedlings blossom and flourish. I love to watch them grow…

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Do it yourself day!

In house and home, me time on May 25, 2007 at 12:16 am

I’m feeling rather proud of myself tonight; albeit exhausted, with hands that ache so much I’m barely able to type!

Whenever Hubby Dearest goes abroad without me, I set myself a plan of household tasks to do before his return. Often it’s something simple, like painting the windowsills and hanging new curtains (my initial plan for this week). Other times, I get some mammoth task in my head that I simply have to do. Like today, for example…

Quite unexpectedly, our new kitchen table arrived. We hadn’t even got rid of the old one to make room for it. Darned delivery men, they should have called to let me know. And unloading great ugly boxes into my freshly cleaned kitchen was like waving a red flag to a bull!

So, I dismantled the old table and chairs, fixed up the new ones, stepped back and admired the view. But then I remembered the other box lurking in the shed: the cabinet for the lounge that Hubby dearest has been planning to build for nigh on six months, “as soon as I can find someone to take the fish tank off our hands” (which is another great ugly unwanted piece of furniture, taking up space in the house).

Of course, I checked the instructions first. And you know what I found? A great big picture of a woman symbol (the kind you’d find on a lavatory door to discern the ladies’ from the gents’) WITH A LINE THROUGH IT! As though it were trying to say that a woman should not try to assemble this alone! Beneath was a picture of two women symbols and an “okay” tick. But really! Do the manufacturers seriously think that women can’t assemble flat-pack alone?

I was planning to scan that manual to show the world that chauvinistic imagery, but unfortunately little angel spilled juice all over it. All that work, and kids/cooking/cleaning/washing/bath time/story/etc done too.

Hope hubby feels sufficiently guilty when he arrives back to see my efforts!

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