Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

So, how is it Christmas Eve already? Where has this year gone? When you have a child, time sure flies. I’ve always loved this time of year but this year is going to be something special. We’re all prepped and ready to celebrate our first Christmas as a family. I’m so excited to see how she reacts to her gifts. Don’t get me wrong, we’re fully aware that she has no clue about the significance of tomorrow but she gets so excited about new things, how can we not be excited?

There will be plenty of love and laughter in this house tomorrow and that fills me with such a feeling that I’m sure I’ll burst! We’ll document the whole day so that we can share it with her when she’s older and share it with the family during the day.

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions but I’ve enjoyed every single moment. I look forward to what next year shall bring too. I’ll be setting up my bullet journal for next year and hopefully more creative work will come out of it. I’ve got big plans for the blog but it’ll be hard work preparing for it all. I’ll also be continuing work as a supply teacher which I’ve enjoyed more than I imagined I would.

So, thanks 2017! You’ve been great. Here’s hoping 2018 will kick your arse!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all. Stay safe and enjoy it all.

Peace and love

Monsterful Mama and family!

 

Family

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Setting Some November Goals

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November Goals. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

Guess who’s back?!? YAY! It’s good to be back. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to those who have stuck around.

It has been a long, hard two months being back at work full time, but now I am finally free. I’ll be working part time doing supply teaching so I’ll have so much more time to spend with my family and to blog. For me, giving up my secure job was a tough choice to make but one that needed to be made. When you start a family, your priorities shift greatly. Compromise is no longer an option when it comes to those you love the most. So I have many things planned in the coming months when it comes to spending time with my little family. We’ve recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary so we made sure to make it a special one that included our beautiful little girl. Zosia’s first Christmas is fast approaching and we want to make it one to remember, even if she wont! We’re planning more days out and about and I plan on attending more mum and baby groups in my local area.

Blog wise, I have so many posts to catch up on but to start lets think about setting November’s blogging goals.

  1. Catch up on brands posts and correspondences (sorry if you are a brand that’s reached out and I haven’t got back to you, you were always in my thoughts I promise!)
  2. Catch up on Bullet Journal things and blogging about it
  3. Write an update post for Zosia
  4. Christmas ideas for baby and you
  5. Baby Led Weaning – our experiences so far (possibly some recipe ideas too)

That’s only five points but it is a lot of work. I am looking forward to getting on with some things now as I have been chomping at the bit. Along side these blogging goals I would like to work on a few personal goals too.

  1. Cook food from scratch so that Zosia can eat what we eat.
  2. Start doing Yoga regularly again, either at home or part of a group.
  3. Get organised for Christmas – including hand making gifts and decorations.

So,  that’s it for me, what have you got planned for November? Are you as excited for Christmas as we are?

Much love,

Monsterful Mama

An Apology

So, let’s start off with a small apology.  Since returning to work earlier this month, the blog has taken a massive hit.  Being a mum and working full time is as difficult as you’d imagine.  Despite not having the full range of teacher duties (marking, planning, data and assessment etc.) I still find that I have very little time left, and the little time I do have is spent with Baby and Daddy. The house is getting untidy, it is driving me mad but Daddy is also a full time worker so as you can imagine, it’s a struggle.  Of course it is about prioritising and unfortunately, a tidy house is not high up on the list.  That’s not to say that I live in a pig sty, this is purely my inability to deal with my interpretation of untidiness. We’ve barely got time for each other but our relationship is as strong as ever so we’ll manage as we always do.  We will soon be celebrating our first wedding anniversary, so that is something to look forward to.

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Anyway, like I said, sorry for not being so active at the moment.  I am hoping to be able to pick up the pace again after the October half term as I’ll be looking for a new job or, fingers crossed, already in a new part time job.  Life will always find a way over the bumps.  Perseverance is key.

Now, what should you look forward to between now and Christmas? Well, I have a few sponsored posts coming up, my first ever bloggers event, plenty of autumn, winter, Halloween and Christmas themed posts as well as a couple more in my ‘Mummy Rants’ series. I will also be looking at writing about our first year of marriage. I am planning on doing another spotlight post featuring my sister.  She is an awesome freelance illustrator.  I’ll also be doing a few other posts based around mindfulness, bullet journals etc. So keep an eye out for the next few months.

Again, thanks for sticking with me during this slight down time.  I will be back with a vengeance soon enough.  It means a lot to me that you’re all still here.

 

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

 

 

 

Why I refuse to love my body as it is now.

“Your mum’s so fat, N.A.S.A mistook her for a planet!”

Today I saw myself in a full mirror for the first time since I gave birth and I did not like what I saw. In fact I was repulsed. What on earth has happened to my body? We we all know that after having a baby, your body can take time to adjust to the stresses of motherhood. Not all of us are able to bounce back in the first few weeks. Some of us even had a bit of a belly before we fell pregnant. Yet my body seems to have changed beyond recognition.

“I’ve always been a big girl.”

Having Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has played a huge (pun not intended) part but so has my love of food. Sweets, crisps, ice-cream, fast-food and takeaways, all of which I enjoy regularly, have ultimately been the biggest contributors to my ever expanding waist line. Before I was pregnant I began a journey to size ten with Slimming World (other weight loss programmes are available). It was going so well. I was motivated by the fact I was getting married, losing on average three pounds a week. I lost two and a half stone and I was so chuffed! I felt good in my clothes having dropped three dress sizes. I was exercising and was happy to be doing so. I made a friend at ‘fat club’, we became gym buddies and now I consider her to be a bestie! Everything was going so well.

First Trimester

When I fell pregnant I decided to continue on with SW as a means to keep me on track but during the first trimester I struggled with nausea. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick, the smell of food alone was enough to set me off. I continued to lose weight in my first trimester which isn’t a bad thing just so long as its not too much. I continued to be happy with my progress. My bump hadn’t sprouted just yet so I felt good about my body.

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Including Zosia in the Wedding.  Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama

Second Trimester

With the second trimester came the cravings. I was in Japan when the first one hit. I was desperate for carbs! I ate so much pasta in Japan I began to wonder if I should have gone to Italy instead. Garlic bread, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs; despite the heat and humidity of Japan in August, I wanted them all and an endless supply too. This was not so good for my waistline. I dreaded going back to the scales. Yet when I finally stood upon the scales of doom I had actually lost another three pounds. It turns out, growing a tiny person inside you is a lot of effort. That combined with endless walking and being a tourist also helped to counteract the calorie intake.

In my second trimester, I felt good despite being under a lot of pressure from work at the beginning. My appetite was back (with a vengeance) but I was seemingly able to maintain a healthy weight loss but it didn’t last long. The next week I went up a few pounds. I continued to go up at least one pound every week but I kept going. A little weight gain was to be expected. After all, I was growing a baby in my belly! The weeks went by, the weight went up and the eating habits I had spent so long working on went out the window. I craved sugar so much. I was extremely tired every day, working whilst being pregnant is hard work, especially as a teacher. Being on your feet all day every day takes it out of you at the best of times but as my belly grew so did my desire for a quick fix. Snacking on chocolate and high calorie foods kept me going through the day. Big lunches from the local café and even bigger dinners when I got home. My appetite was getting ridiculous. I was sure I would be the size of a blue whale before I reached forty weeks.

Third Trimester

By the time I got to the third trimester my healthy eating had gone completely to pot. I didn’t want to eat healthy food when I could stuff my face with calorific foods. I was so tired, every day I fell asleep on the settee even when company was round. I began to teach from the comfort of my desk chair. Getting up was hard work, navigating a tightly packed class was becoming hazardous. All I wanted to so was eat and sleep. When you imagine being pregnant, you imagine the glorious glow, the neat and tidy bump and the joy of growing a tiny human. You don’t consider the physical strain that it puts on your body. The back ache, the hip ache, the exhaustion, the hunger, the jabs in the ribs and… down there, the stretch marks! Oh the stretch marks! Being plus size before baby meant that I had stretch marks already but on my belly, they were minimal. Towards the end of the third trimester, my belly was the size of a house and the stretch marks were creeping up my stomach. It didn’t matter how much Palmer’s moisturisers I covered myself in or how many times a day I applied it, my belly was huge and the skin couldn’t cope.

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The Final Bumpie. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

After the Zosia was born, I felt pleasantly surprised at how quickly my belly went down but now as I think back, I’m sure that it wasn’t that quick at all. I’m not sure it even went back. The first two weeks of her life were stressful. In and out of hospital, living off Costa and Subway is not healthy. My body didn’t bounce back, I was just too distracted to notice that I didn’t have a huge bump any more! As the weeks went on, we went back to eating as we did when I was pregnant. I tried to go back to SW. It lasted all of three weeks before I gave in to sleep deprivation and ate my weight in ‘crap’ foods.

“It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS

You read a lot about how women must embrace their tiger stripes. It shows how fierce we are as mothers, that we’ll do anything to protect our children. It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS. I refuse to embrace them because it is not just the ones from being pregnant, they’ve just added to it. I will accept them however, as they helped me carry my beautiful baby. They are a part of me, I get that but no! I will not embrace them. I will not wear them like a badge of honour. I didn’t before I was pregnant and I won’t now. They are a reminder at how big my belly got. I only wish people would stop telling me that it’s a beautiful reminder. NO! I won’t embrace the saggy, empty boobs. I will accept them as they supplied food to my baby, they did a rubbish job of it but still. The fact they are slightly bigger does not help either. They don’t look like my boobs any more. My belly doesn’t look like my belly any more. It is loose and extra wobbly! My weight has continued to go up and up. I have no motivation to do anything about it despite hating my body every time I see it. How on earth my husband manages to call me beautiful every time I complain is beyond me. He tries to encourage me to do something about it but I just snap because I’m a stubborn moo and I don’t like being told what to do.

“SOD OFF!”

This post isn’t about me feeling sorry for myself, but rather a letter of complaint to all those who tell me to embrace my plus size/post baby body. SOD OFF! I’m fat. I’m over weight. I’m obese. The sooner I embrace that fact the better! My body is unhealthy and I have not treated it like a temple. Sure, my body is still in recovery from pregnancy and child birth but I wont be able to use that excuse forever. What I really need to do is accept that I am currently living an unhealthy lifestyle. The wrong food, the lack of exercise and society’s unhealthy obsession with promoting the acceptance of ‘plus size’ bodies is not helping any of us. Nor is the current obsession with unhealthily thin people. Size 4 (UK sizing) is not an acceptable size! I’m not shaming anyone here. If you are happy with your body then that’s great for you, it really is. I’m not here to lecture you about how unhealthy it is to be overweight or underweight, I’m sure enough people already feel its their business to tell you this. If we continue to promote obesity, then we are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I get that not all ‘fat’ people are unhealthy in lifestyle as they enjoy things like Yoga which is great for relieving the aches and pains that the extra weight puts on our bodies. It is not, however, okay to be obese (again, not shaming anyone here!). A healthy size 10, 12 maybe even a 14 (UK sizes) is where we should aim. We should not be dieting but seeking a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet, balanced meaning that its okay to have a bit of the naughty stuff now and then so long as you are good 95% of the time. We must include regular exercise. Walking, jogging, running, swimming, yoga, team sports, sex! Its all enough to get your heart racing and thus burn some extra calories. I frustrate myself here, I know all of this yet I struggle to motivate myself to do anything about it. I had my breakfast this morning but I ate far too much. There were two cereals that didn’t quite have enough for one bowl so I finished both boxes off. That is not healthy and I know it!

The closer I get to the next stone up, the more I fear my weight will spiral out of control and guess what, it’s all my own fault. So here I am, not asking for acceptance as a plus size gal, not asking to be fat shamed either (I do that to myself enough thanks) but really just having a moan, because I am fat and I hate myself for letting it get this bad and feeling like I can’t be bothered to make the necessary changes. I need to remember that I have a little girl to live for now. I don’t want to be out of breathe just carrying her up the stairs. I want to be around for a long time, I want to see her grand children if she chooses to have some so change must happen. It is not a case of if but when. It is not healthy for my body or my mind to stay this way.

To my dearest Zosia, if you ever read this I want you to know that this is not about me hating my journey to motherhood. I loved every second of being pregnant. I loved every painful moment of child birth (I’m mad I know but it brought you to me!) I have loved and will continue to love every moment being your mother. There are days where I don’t like the way I look, and that is okay. I hope that you have your fathers metabolism so that you never know what it feels like to hate your body. We will tell you every day, just how beautiful you are, inside and out.

To my husband, who tells me I am beautiful every single day, I am so grateful for your kind words, for putting up with the self-loathing that happens nearly every day. Thank you for loving me the way I am but I hope you understand that, yes I am attacking myself, but I do it because you wont. I love the fact that you think I am beautiful, please never stop telling me this. I just need to be real with myself. My weight is unhealthy and if I am going to be the best mother and wife that I can be, then it is about time I stop hating myself and bloody well get on and do something about it instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Change WILL come!

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Change Quote. Copyright Monsterful Mama

Thanks for listening.  If you have experienced anything like this please let me know that I am not alone by leaving a comment below.

Monsterful Mama

My Liebster Award

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THE RULES FOR THIS AWARD

Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.

Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate some blogs.

Give them some questions to answer.

Thanks to Vanessa Jones for my first nomination. https://nudesky.wixsite.com/vanessa

Answering Vanessa’s questions

  1. Describe how did you first get into blogging?

    I’ve always kept diaries and journals and even a few old on-line journal things so creating a blog was the next step I guess.  I also needed something to stop my mind from turning to mush whilst on maternity leave.

  2. What would be your ideal working environment?

    Either on my own in a well lit space (hate working in darkness) or at a huge table with like minded people, preferable with a bottomless mug of coffee.

  3. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

    I would like to get back to losing weight ideally.  Otherwise it’s to continue with my personal growth much the same as I have done so far this year.  To keep creating and being mindful, and enjoying motherhood.

  4. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?

    I always used to be a quitter, I never had the faith in myself so I would give up at the first sign of trouble.  Now I try my hardest to not let one bump in the road stop me.  As a mother you soon realise that there is no quitting, you cannot give up because your baby needs you 24/7.

  5. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?

    Well, I have to say my daughter and my relationship with her daddy. Those two are my world and to have maintained such an empowering relationship with my husband is definitely one of my biggest achievements. From a career point of view, sticking with university and becoming a teacher. Despite wanting to give up several times throughout training, I kept on going.

  6. Who takes the majority of your photos?

    Me, my degree is in photography but that doesn’t mean I am any good at taking photos!  I mostly use my phone too.

  7. How would you describe your personal style and is there a person who is a fashion inspiration to you?

    My personal style ranges from scummy mummy to Wednesday Addams. Black and baggy can hide a flabby tummy and large arse! I don’t keep up with fashion for many reasons.

  8. Which movie or book do you think is ridiculously overrated?

    Um, I’d have to say Star Wars (runs and takes cover). I know that’s not going to be a popular opinion amongst some of my followers but I managed to avoid the Star Wars series my whole life, until I met my husband who then subsequently made me

    watch the whole lot, in chronological order no less. Now, I wont go so far as to say they are terrible films, they’re watchable over a half term holiday kinda film but I just don’t get why they are so cult like!!

  9. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10 hour flight and why?

    Can I get away with saying my husband again? If not him then well, an empty seat please. I’m not big on small talk and I spend most of the flight with my nose pressed against the tiny window so I wouldn’t be much company myself.

  10. What are two things you think you should know how to do but don’t?

    Um, put up a shelf properly and apply CSS to my blog without asking my husband.

  11. What makes you say “What was I thinking?” when you look back on your life?

    HA! Most of my ex boyfriends! Or how much I wasted most of my 20’s being drunk and skint.

My Nominees

Now, I chose these bloggers specifically because they have something in common with me. Be it parenting, gaming, reading, geekiness or creativity.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CKxtJndQUGhXAx4nXCueQ

    Mommy Diaries, Space Writer, Graduate Space & Mechanical Engineer.

  2. http://whyamistillliving.com/

    Stephanie is a mum, a wife, and blogs about her battle with mental illness.

  3. http://www.klacole.com/about.html

    KLaCole is a 20 something book and travel blogger.

  4. https://sosisafe.com/

    Mel is mum to Sosi, sharing recipes and advice for children with allergies.

  5. http://www.thatssopresh.com/p/about-me_13.html

    Cherie is a Mumpreneur with a pretty blog!

  6. https://thisblendedhomeofmine.wordpress.com/

    Melissa runs her parenting blog for blended families.

  7. http://ipukekawaii.com/

    Imani is a super Kawaii artist.

  8. https://itsnotallcute.wordpress.com/

    Hayleigh is a mum, lover of books, crafts, Disney, music, all things considered as ‘geeky‘ and gin.

My questions for you:

  1. How did you come up with your blog name?

  2. What websites do you use most often?

  3. What are you most afraid of?

  4. What quirks do you have?

  5. Which Friends character do you relate to most?

  6. List 3 things you need more of.

  7. What Job do you think you’d be really good at and why?

  8. Who is your favourite blogger/vlogger?

  9. What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

  10. How do you add value to the world and those around you?

  11. Finish this sentence. I am the best version of me when …

Thanks for being apart of this! I look forward to reading your replies so don’t forget to tag me in them so I can read your answers!.

Monsterful Mama.

The Dangers of Personalised Bags for Kids.

It is a sad fact of life that kids go missing everyday.   Some are found the same day, just a kid that’s wandered off.   However some do end tragically.   I can’t imagine how I would deal with that as a mother or a teacher.   But did you know that the personalised bag and/or lunch boxes you’re buying your children could be putting them at risk?  I often see children at school with the latest brands of bags or even stationery but lately I’ve noticed an increase of children walking around with their names on their rucksacks, P.E bags or lunch boxes.   I mean, sure, there are some cute designs out there but are they worth the risk?

Stephen-Joseph-Quilted-Backpacks

 

So, why is this a problem I hear you ask?   Well, it’s simply down to what we teach the children at school.  Stranger Danger.   We teach them what to do when they are approached by a stranger but what happens when that stranger knows their name because it is emblazoned on their bags?   If a stranger can call a child by their name, it will likely confuse the child into thinking that they must know them somehow.   For all they know it could be a friend of a parent or grandparent and they’ve just forgotten who they are.   The child becomes unsure and doubts themselves.  They don’t want to seem rude or upset their parents.  Before you know it, they have been abducted.   Everything we teach them at school becomes undone.

 

This poses a huge problem, especially with the younger children who may not even make the connection between their bag and the stranger.  So, I ask you, nay, I beg you, do not send your children to school, or anywhere public for that matter, with their name on their bags.   It is so very dangerous.   Think twice before you buy that bag/lunch box etc. for the child in your life and help to keep them safe.

 

Thanks for listening,

Monsterful Mama