CHANGING MY PERSPECTIVE | CHANGING MY PERSPECTIVE

Changing My Perspective

It’s been such an interesting time for us recently and to say that I’m changing my perspective almost seems like an understatement.  Things have changed dramatically since I reached a turning point nearly 9 weeks ago.  April 2nd I was feeling horrendously low.  I was in so much pain walking, and just not wanting to leave the house.  It was getting worse.  Have you ever treated your body so badly that you literally get that feeling, ‘I’m going to die if I don’t change something soon’.  I had got to a point where I didn’t see a way out.  I didn’t feel like anything was ever going to change.  That we’d got to the point that I was going to be one of those people who just live in their bed and their husbands bring them food, and they start to become the bed as they are so huge and then magazines come and write articles about them.  I wanted to die.

Looking at all the things around me that I have going for me, my amazing husband, our beautiful children, I’m talented in a lot of areas, maybe a jack of all trades and a master of none, but there are many things that I could turn my hand to and do well.  There’s something horrendously wrong when my eating habits, weight issues, anxiety and depression are bringing me to the point of suicide.  I told James how I was feeling and said ‘we HAVE to go to church tomorrow’.  I was desperate.  Something needed to change, and I didn’t know where else to turn.

I’ve grown up in a christian family, I’ve always known Jesus, but over the previous 6 months I had got myself to a point where I was so low I was shutting out everyone and everything.  Cancelling everything in my diary, not wanting to see people because I was so aware of how much weight I’d put on.  I could barely walk at times due to my weight and declining health.  I was being tested for everything under the sun, cameras down throats, cameras needing to go in my tummy, ultrasounds, smears, blood tests, my body was telling me that something was wrong and the doctors were trying to figure out what it was.  Every test turned up nothing.  Constant vomiting, blood appearing in lots of places that it shouldn’t meant that they kept testing me but they weren’t finding anything.  Anxiety was not doing so well at this point either.  I just didn’t want to be around people, I felt a fraud around the children, I was avoiding the older ones as I felt they could see through me.  It was just an awful time, and it was getting worse.

James heard my cry and agreed we’d go to church the next day.  We went somewhere new, I didn’t want to see anyone that knew me, I’d closed them out.  I also didn’t want everyone gossiping about how much weight I’d put on.  So, we decided to try a new church in Manchester.  There was a visiting preacher that week who was a comedian.  He was really funny, but he also chatted about how he tended to be really introverted with his thoughts and get so caught up in his thinking he’d destroy an idea before it even had a chance, he was describing how I felt.  He talked about how he would tell himself ‘I need to be changing my perspective‘.  To have listened to this guy chat about life and be so funny, to then hear how down he could get if he left his mind to it’s own devices.  I just really related and felt a freedom for how I had been feeling and that I wasn’t so abnormal.

I realised that something needed to change dramatically but I didn’t know how to do it.  I just pretty much cried through most of his preach and most of the singing.  They did an alter call at the end if anyone wanted to become a christian.  This wasn’t me.  I knew Jesus, I’d grown up loving Him.  Then they asked if anyone felt distant from God.  I knew, I knew I had to put my hand up.  Some people came over and brought me a little pack, with a Bible in and invited us to chat to them at the end in the coffee area.  I chatted to a lovely lady who I think didn’t know how to deal with me.  Seeing a lady with four children telling her they’d got to the point of suicide the night before.  She could sense my desperation, and see how tragic it was with all these beautiful faces around me.  This lovely lady, her name was Janet, just prayed for me.  I cried some more and we went home.

Something changed in me that day.  That week, I attended a meeting in someone’s home that I’d never met before.  They invited us all as a family as we couldn’t get a babysitter.  I also took myself off to my Mum’s one of the days that week.  This was just absolutely unheard of and James didn’t know what was going on.  I can’t say that everything is magically better, but bit by bit, step by step I’m getting stronger all the time.  I attended a party this week to celebrate my Mum’s friends sixtieth (which I blogged about here) with people who’ve known me for years, this is something I doubted I would be able to do again, unless I somehow miraculously lost all my weight.  But because I’d been changing my perspective I just didn’t care anymore what people thought of me.  I realised that people can think whatever they like, they always will anyway.  I can’t let it stop me living my life.  This had definitely been a huge part of the anxiety for me.

I have a MASSIVE amount of weight to lose.  So much weight that a brand want to work with me, and if we collaborate together they want to get my story into the press.  I’ve decided not to shy away from this.  I don’t know if it will happen, I don’t know what people will think when they read the article.  I know there will be negative comments, but I’ve determined not to let this be something that stops me encouraging other people that it’s never too late to change, to make a difference.  Changing my perspective has saved my life.  Looking outside of myself, and for me personally, looking to Jesus when I’m feeling low is getting me through.  The difference in who I am now is gigantic.  My husband can’t believe the difference.  It’s been two months and I’m living a completely different lifestyle.

Is everything magically better?  Is it heck.  I still have about two people’s worth of weight to lose, my home is still messy, it will take me time to sort it all out while doing all the other things that I need to do in a day, looking after two toddlers, preparing meals for my family, cleaning up after preparing the meals, getting back on top of my blog as I have deadlines and contracts to live up to (more about that to come soon).  I read the Marie Kondo book ‘The Life-changing magic of tidying‘ last week and we’re working our way through the decluttering stage.  I’ll write more about that sometime in the near future also.  Nothing happens overnight, but I’m changing my perspective and slowly I’m getting there.  I’m feeling excited for the future and I hope that this general blurt about where I’m up to at the moment can encourage somebody else.

There are so many people in this world with real, life-altering problems, and I don’t want to be someone who destroys their own life with their negative mind when I am so blessed to have my health, and my family.  When you’re feeling down choose to look above your circumstances.  Focus on other things.  You’ll soon realise how insignificant the thoughts that captivated you are and start to live for the things that make you feel free.

WHAT CAN VEGANS EAT {HANDMADE BURGER COMPANY REVIEW} | WHAT CAN VEGANS EAT

What Can Vegans Eat {Handmade Burger Company Review}

Last month the lovely Lucy from Hello Beautiful Bear invited me to come and review the Handmade Burger Company’s vegan menu.  I know while making the transition to cruelty-free it’s often the question in my mind if we try and go out to a restaurant for food ‘what can vegans eat?’  I am never one to want to be fussy and usually always order similar meals from wherever I go.  I know that sounds so boring, but I’m usually such a plain eater.  Having made the change to go vegan has made a MASSIVE difference to my palette with experimenting on so many different levels both cooking and eating out.  So now that we’re spending more time in Manchester as a family, and there is always the potential for a Sunday afternoon treat, I’m going to be posing the question at many different restaurants ‘what can vegans eat?’

What Can Vegans Eat?

The answer at the Handmade Burger Company is quite a lot actually.  They have multiple vegan options on the menu, and also, if you ask there are a lot of extras that they can also make vegan for you.  All of the desserts are now able to be made vegan as they just replace with dairy free ice-cream, so please just ask and they can make any of the sundaes vegan for you.

Lucy and I opted to try the newest additions to the vegan menu:  I had the Thai Vegetable burger and Lucy had the Veg Mex.  There are so many options of sides that you can have too.  Lucy enjoyed munching on some gherkins, my husband James would’ve joined her in this quest as he loves gherkins and would always pinch them from the children back in our Happy Meal buying days.  I was so excited that they had sweet potato fries, which seem to be my newest obsession and I make them at LEAST once a week for the family.  Lucy enjoyed some Piri Piri fries which also looked delicious, I should’ve tried one really, I don’t know why I didn’t, but Lucy didn’t have any left by the end so that speaks for itself.  We also had some vegetable skewers to share but I was just too full.  They kindly packaged up the leftovers for Lucy to take back for her husband Mike in a lovely little box.  Being a Mum of four I always really appreciate places that package up leftovers well.  It makes a big difference when you’ve paid for something that the children weren’t really ready to eat, and then they can enjoy it when they’re hungry because the restaurant supplied a lovely take out box.

I also enjoyed a really yummy vegan strawberry milkshake.  I would never have thought to order a milkshake with my meal, and definitely wouldn’t have expected it to be included in the ‘what can vegans eat’ category.  It was perfect though, it really kept the balance right as my thai burger was quite spicy.

I was blessed that Lucy had invited me so there was no cost involved but if we had paid it would’ve been under £20 each which seems completely reasonable to me.  If I were to go again, I wouldn’t have as many sides and would maybe try one of the yummy sundaes and that would’ve come under £20 a head too.  I’m not really one to eat dessert but they looked so delicious it would definitely tempt me.  James and I would probably get one to share.

Anyway, I’ve rattled on long enough.  I made a little vlog for you to see for yourself what it was like……  ENJOY!

GIRLS’ FOOTBALL WEEK

It’s Girls’ Football Week

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Wembley by the FA to learn all about Girls’ Football Week.  Our two eldest were so excited and I’m gutted to report that on the actual day of the event I’d been up all night with sickness and was far too unwell to drive the 4 hour drive down to Wembley nevermind the journey back again.  One of those moments were you’re actually devastated as it felt like such a once in a lifetime moment and the girls would’ve remembered it forever.  However, bless them, without complaining off they went to school instead.

Determined to make sure that the girls still got to try football as this opportunity had shown me how much they were looking forward to it, I was straight on to the FA’s website to find somewhere local that the girls could play.  The first thing that I noticed, there are so many local football teams.  Being a Mum of predominantly girls, and not having the desire to watch football after moving out from a football crazed family home, I had become a bit delusional in my mind to just how much football infiltrates our society.  It is definitely our nations passtime and there are literally hundreds of opportunities within half an hours drive for anyone of all ages to get involved.

I managed to find an all female team for both of them to be involved in for their first attempt, both within 10 minutes drive.  At Isis’ age (10) it can be a bit more difficult as a lot of teams by this age can be well established.  They allow for mixed teams (where boys and girls play together), but at this age for a girl to play in a mixed team they tend to be a girl that can dribble the ball like she has glue stuck to the side of her boot.  I found it a little bit more difficult to find a suitable beginners team for Isis to join but by a little bit more difficult, I mean that involved maybe a couple more phone calls.  The community is great and tight knit.  The gentleman who runs the team that Shayla was trying out for knew of a contact for me to try for Isis.

On Thursday evening after school, Isis was excited to go and see what all the fuss was about.  Having kicked the ball around a bit at school, she was interested in football but wasn’t sure how much she would enjoy it unless she had a proper go.  This is why I am so thrilled about Girls’ Football Week it is so good to raise awareness and remind us that girls can play too.  We set off early so that we could go via Sports Direct to pick her up some supplies.  The basics for a first week would be comfortable clothing, trainers, shin pads and a bottle of water.  Having already expressed an interest we decided to kit Isis out properly.  A gamble I know as she may have hated it, but I sensed her excitement and went for it.  New football shorts, shirt, socks, astro boots, shin pads and a water bottle.  She was all kitted out.

We arrived at a local high school’s astro pitch and I introduced her to man in charge.  He had a girl in her late teens helping out, she ran the warm ups for the girls.  Having been a dance pupil of three disciplines for many years I was shocked how much of it transferred.  Before Isis started dancing she had two left feet.  The co-ordination involved in dance seemed to apply to all the football warm ups.  The way she was able to balance, follow instruction, fitness levels, it all seemed so similar.  If you have a girl who isn’t interested in dance at all but would want to play football, I can imagine that the skills learned from football would transfer if they ever wanted to dance in the future.  Being able to utilise your body and control a football is such a skill.  It requires power, balance and grace.  How are they not female qualities?  Women are so often overlooked when it comes to football (I hold my hand up and say I played into that belief myself), and yet there are currently more than 5,900 women’s and girls’ teams playing affiliated club football.

Isis had an amazing time.  She was thrilled, she made some friends, she slotted in like she’d been playing a while.  I was actually really shocked at how well she did, that sounds terrible doesn’t it?  but I knew that she would either love it or hate it.  She LOVED it.  We will be going every week, and as a family with four children that can no longer afford for everyone to do 3 disciplines of dance I am thrilled to find something that breeds so many of the same principles.  Team work, skill, balance, poise, athleticism, fresh air and exercise….what more could I want for such a small amount of finance, £2.50 a week.

Girls’ Football Week is a fabulous initiative that was started last year to raise awareness that girls can play too.  I’m so pleased that they did.  Had this not prompted me we may never have decided to give it a go…. and who knows?  Maybe Isis, Shayla-Rae or Eden could be the next Kelly Smith and get to play football for England one day.  If you want to find out more head to http://www.thefa.com/girlsfootballweek to support this initiative.  There are so many ways to get involved, head to http://www.thefa.com/play-football to find a local club for you.

This will definitely be an ongoing part of our lives for the foreseeable future.  The girls will just be training now until season starts, but Nanny and Grandad are already excited to come and watch their first game.  So, what are you waiting for?  Find out where your littles can play, or where you can, and if you try this week make sure to tag the FA in your photos by joining in the hashtag #WeCanPlay

Football is definitely not just for boys and I’m so grateful to Girls’ Football Week for opening up my eyes and expanding my girls opportunities.

*We were asked to write about Girls’ Football Week in exchange for a visit and tour of Wembley as guests of the FA, however, we were unable to attend and so posted this because we think it’s an amazing initiative and our girls will be football lovers for years to come.