Friday, 18 August 2017

From Goal to Habits: My Physical Health

A well built physique reflects your hard work; money cannot buy it, nor can you inherit it; you cannot steal it, nor can you borrow it; you cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows dedication; it shows discipline; it shows self-respect; it shows dignity. It shows patience, work ethic and passion. 

Physical health can often seem obvious. Eat less crap, move more. But if it was that easy, we'd all be doing it. 

The reality is that we live in a convenient world. Almost everything can be packaged and bought; you can pay someone to do almost any chore or any task. We are also time poor, trying to fit everything into an already crammed schedule. 

There simply isn't time for everything, and often exercise and a good diet fall by the wayside because of everything else that gets in the way. 

Eating is easy; not eating is not. Sitting on the sofa is easy; going to the gym is not. 

If given an option, I'd like to sit on the sofa and eat cake. 

The problem? The problem is that I already know how good my body is designed to feel. Joining The Circuit Factory in Dubai gave me a body that was strong, and gave me a diet which was designed to fuel that body. 

You can see how I was getting on at The Circuit Factory here. That progress completely ground to a halt when we moved back to the UK and then I got pregnant and completely piled on the pounds. 

I want to feel that good again. I want to feel healthy, I want to feel the difference when I eat food that isn't great for me, I want to crave fruit and vegetables again. 

This is about more than just dress sizes, I want to make the most of feeling good. I want to feel good so I can do more with my children, do more with my husband. 

So here are the habits I would like to form to improve my physical health: 

Reduce Alcohol to 1 Day per Week:

My alcohol consumption crept up during our return to the UK due to the stress of constantly moving from temporary accommodation to temporary accommodation and not having the space to fit in exercise. 

So while we have massively cut down the amount we were drinking, now that I'm not pregnant anymore, the alcohol has slowly crept back in again. 

It is so easy to have a glass of wine here, a gin and tonic there. But the reality is that I can feel the difference after even one glass of wine. It affects my sleep and I get REALLY grouchy when I don't sleep properly. 

So I'm going to work on reducing this down to once a week. I'm going to have to re-learn that meeting up with friends doesn't have to mean opening a bottle of pro secco. 

Reduce the Amount of Alcohol I am Consuming: 

This feels like a really important aspect of the reduction in the alcohol I am drinking. There is no point having one day a week to drink and then binge drinking! 

So I am going to restrict the amount I drink to 1/2 a bottle of wine or two gin and tonic (or similar), once per week. 

This feels like a sensible amount, where I can be social, but not feel like crap the next day. 

5 Portions of Fruit and Vegetables a Day:

I'm sure a lot of you are saying "Well, DUH". 

We all know that this is the recommendation (although I think it's been increased recently) made by a lot of people. 

The short version, fruit and vegetables are good,  eat lots of them. 

I don't eat enough and I definitely don't think I hit 5 portions a day. I need to be more conscious of the food I am eating and work out how to sneak in those portions during the day. 

I'm pretty good in the sense that I'll eat almost any fruit and vegetables, so it's not that I'm being picky, I'm just not reaching for the fruit bowl at the moment, chocolate is a more convenient option most of the time. 

Mister L is amazing with fruit and will eat grapes like they are going out of fashion. Miss S isn't as good and has gone off a lot of fruit lately. I need to be setting an example for them, so that they reach for the fruit first and the chocolate second. 

No sugar until midday:

I often reach for the chocolate immediately after breakfast. It's become a really bad habit and it's one I need to break. First of all we need to have less chocolate in the house, and then I need to really work hard on not going out to buy some, given we live really close to the shops! 

Miss S looks to be following in my footsteps and becoming a sugar fiend. I have also been allowing treats far too often, so that it's becoming an almost daily habit. 

That is really not something I want to encourage long term, as it's going to develop into a life long habit for all of my kids, if I'm not careful. 

I don't drink any fizzy drinks like lemonade or cola. They can be in the house and I would never think to drink them. The reason that I don't drink them, we never had them in the house when we were growing up. My mum just didn't buy them. 

Even though I have the sweetest tooth on the planet, I never reach for a sugary drink. So I want there to always be good food at hand in our house, and less of the sugary stuff. 

Hopefully that will encourage all of us to develop good, long term, eating habits. 

Avoid Gluten:

Gluten is something that I have never particularly gotten on well with. I find when I'm eating gluten it increases my cravings for sweets and carbs by 1000%. 

It also causes an upset stomach and flares my eczema. 

The problem is that gluten is so convenient. Toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch. These things are easy to pick up at any shop when you are in a rush and are easy to pack to take with you. 

So it's going to take more preparation and more foresight to help me bring along food that is gluten free. 

Saying that, we have recently discovered the M&S balanced for you lunches which are often rice based rather than pasta based, which has been a lifesaver for picnics. They are totally delicious too! 

Go to Crossfit 3x per Week (and no more):

I joined Crossfit Leamington about 12 weeks ago, and it has been exactly what I was looking for. The workouts are HARD and the team spirit is infectious. 

I'm not very self-motivated and I really need a lot of encouragement and support to take up, and continue with an exercise programme. 

Crossfit has given me that support and even though my diet is pretty appalling, my body is already changing shape. 

However, I began to get a little obsessed and tried to get to Crossfit 4-5 times a week. That is simply too much for me to factor into our lives at the moment, and it was causing unnecessary stress because it left so little time for all the other things that need to be taken care of. 

So I'm going to do three sessions per week, and no more. That should enable me to increase my fitness while having enough time to keep the entire family on a even keel. 

So those are my physical fitness goals. It's really interesting how they are almost all food based goals. It's easy to see from here where my weaknesses are! 

I'm going to try to update on my progress monthly, to see how I am getting on, and to reinforce my goals in my own mind. 

See you in September for the first monthly review! 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

From Goal to Habits: My Mental Health

Have courage and be kind

I'm starting with my mental health on purpose. I feel like, having struggled a little over the past few years, that your mental health is the key to overall well-being. 

Your mindset can completely alter the way you face the day. 

When I returned to work (after a four year break) I had a complete confidence crisis. A few things didn't go well, and my confidence crashed. 

The funny thing about confidence is that once you lose it, everything seems to go wrong. You have to re-discover that confidence in order to re-set the balance and make positive changes. 

The things that happen to you; the words spoken to you; even the music you listened to during the day can have a drastic effect on your mood, and the way you respond to the world around you. 

This has been the hardest section to break down into habits, because those habits are going to be the hardest to form and maintain. 

I've decided to be a little tough on myself though, and demand more than I think I'm capable of. Improving my health will mean being less lazy, not falling back on crutches, and being disciplined in an already full life. 

So, here are the habits I want to set for myself over the next few months:

To be in bed by 8pm on two nights per week (aiming for Sunday and one other night;

I'm really bad at just faffing about on the computer, or watching some mindless drivel on TV and not actually getting off my backside and trudging up the stairs for bed. 

Mostly this is because I'm tired and cannot be bothered to move. So, going to bed early ought to help me not feel quite so tired, and hopefully mean I spend less time faffing about when I could be doing things which make a difference to my health. 

To wash and blow-dry my hair once per week (Friday?)

I'm putting suggested days in here, because I know if it's not sent into a calendar type arrangement, things will just slide! 

Recently I've been really busy, and after I've been to CrossFit, I've just been washing my hair and leaving it to dry by itself... causing a wavy/frizzy do which doesn't really suit my layered hairstyle. 

So, firstly I'm growing out my layers, so that on the days when my hair can't be blow-dried, it doesn't look quite so odd (and I can get away with not having my hair cut for four months at a time!). 

Secondly, I feel so much more me when me hair is blow dried. I have a lot of very thick hair, so it takes me a fair amount of time, but  it really does make me feel much more pulled together. So I'm going to make the effort to look after my hair a little more often. 

Epsom Salt Baths twice a week

I LOVE a good bubble bath.

These days I much prefer baths over showers, as they feel a little more relaxing, even if I'm only actually in the bath for 7 minutes (I timed it this morning) before one of the kids needs my assistance. 

I'm not sure how effective Epsom Salts are at "Detoxing", but as you are supposed to stay in them for 20 minutes or so, that should give me long enough to actually relax. 

I may even make more use of my essential oils that I have been neglecting of late!

Guided Meditation three times per week

The older I get, the more I'm drawn to the idea of meditation and yoga and the whole mind/body balance concept. 

I'm really not great at shutting out errant thoughts though, so the idea of me taking up meditation by myself and spending some time NOT thinking about all the things I have to do, doesn't sound likely to succeed. 

So I'm going to use a guided meditation app. I'm going with the Insight Timer app which was recommended by Nicola Avery from Planning with Kids. 

Hopefully this can tie in with the epsom salt baths, so I can kill two birds with one stone. After all, a hot relaxing bath seems to be the perfect time to do some guided meditation! 

To use my iPhone for only an hour a day, and to put it away for the night at 8pm

This is going to be the toughest one for me. 

I'm the worst person for randomly searching for things on the internet (like holiday ideas for 2020) and scrolling through Facebook. 

I regularly delete apps in an attempt to stop using them, but eventually they find their way back on there. 

I definitely hide behind my phone when I'm tired and grumpy. I know that using my phone too much makes the kids feel like I'm not paying enough attention to them (which I'm not!) and they are much better behaved when my phone is nowhere to be seen. 

Take an evening walk with the kids whenever things are stressful

I've seen it written in so many places that the best thing to do with kids is to get outside. 

I know myself that being able to get out of the house and just walk has a really positive effect on both my mood and the kids. 

I have the best conversations with the kids when we are in the car, or when we are walking. I actually prefer to head out on walks with no playgrounds in sight as for some reason it brings out the good moods and engaging conversation in the entire family. 

So on those days when we've been in the house too long, I'm going to get out of the house after dinner, for a short evening stroll (weather permitting). 

Gratitude Diary

When you are in a bit of a funk, or just plain got out of bed on the wrong side, it's so easy to forget how lucky you are. 

Yes, I do know there are starving kids in Africa and women being trafficked as sex slaves, but when you are having a bad day, it can be hard to remind yourself of how good you have it. 

Plus, I love a good wallow in self pity, even though it does me no good whatsoever! 

So I'm going to try to write down 5 things that I am grateful for each evening. 

I might not do this every day, but if I can do it 3-4 times a week I think it will make a real difference. 

Use the computer once per week

This is another one which will be hard to give up. 

Much as I love my iPhone, I hate writing emails without a keyboard and sometimes you just need a bigger screen. 

This is also going to be difficult over the next few months as we re-mortgage the house and prepare for the next round of home improvements, but I'm sticking it on here anyway. 

It might take a while to get to this place, but as long as I can see the intention, and have to reflect on whether I've achieved it, it will remind me that this is a goal that I haven't yet completed. 

Keep every other weekend free for our family

This is massively easier said than done, given both the kids now have much better social lives than we do! 

For me, it's important that we have some time and space to do things as a family, and to keep on top of the house and family life. We all need space to breathe, and there isn't much room to do everything during the week. 

So I'm going to aim to keep some weekends free. So if we travel one weekend, the weekends on either side should keep us at home, with no weekend guests, so we can concentrate on homework and kids birthday parties and leisurely walks and time in each others company. 

Phew, that looks like A LOT of habits to form. Funnily, I feel better for having written it out! 

What habits do you need to form, and what is putting you off doing it? 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

My Goal for 2017

I would encourage you to set really high goals. Set goals that, when you set them, you think they're impossible. But then every day you can work towards them, and anything is possible, so keep working hard and follow your dreams.
Katie Ledecky

Following on from my last post, it is time for me to set a goal, a New Year's Resolution if you will. 

I appreciate that I'm a little late in the day for New Year's Resolutions, but better late than never, and I guess the phases in people's lives don't adhere strictly to the modern calendar.

Not everyone will be ready for a Resolution on the 1st of January. It may come later than that, much later in my case. 

I wasn't ready then, I was too busy waddling through the last few months of pregnancy, and getting ready to attend one of my best friend's weddings. I didn't have the head space for a Resolution. 

I have the head space now. 

I regularly read the Planning with Kids blog, which is amazing and great reading. If you like reading blogs, this is likely to be another to add to your list. Nicole Avery has decided to have a single goal. 

Once she had that single goal, she set out the habits she wanted to form to achieve that goal. You can read more about her decision here.

So I've decided to follow Nicole's lead and have a single goal for 2017. 

My Goal for 2017

It took me a little while to put my finger on my goal for 2017. There were lots of ideas for my personal development whirring around in my head, but none of them seemed like an appropriate goal, which I could then break down into habits that I wanted to work on. 

Eventually I wrote them all down... with an actual pencil (I couldn't find a pen - we were on holiday) and paper. Once I had them all written down in front of me, a theme gradually emerged and, after a lot of deliberation, the goal kind of wrote itself. 

So my goal for 2017 is to improve my mental and physical health

I realised that a lot of the times when I get frustrated, or I'm not the person I want to be, the better side of myself, it's because my general health is slipping. Either I'm not getting enough sleep; I'm not getting enough exercise; I'm not taking the time to do something which is just for me. 

I read somewhere that it's important that everyone takes time to themselves to refill their tank, because you can't pour from an empty cup. I'm not sure I'm saying that right, but I'm sure you get the gist. 

My kids demand a lot of time and attention, as they should, they are my people! Unfortunately, so does the never empty washing basket. (I can't be the only one who feels like the washing basket magically refills itself ALL THE TIME).

So I need to look at the time I have, and make sure I am utilising it as best I can, so that I have enough time for self-care, so that I have the patience and the energy to take care of everything else. 

I think I'm going to break it down into two parts, my physical health, and my mental health. I feel like it's really easy to focus on the physical health, because it's usually obvious and something difficult to ignore. Mental health tends to get shoved to the back of the to-do list, and I think it's something I really need to work on. 

I'm really looking forward to working towards my goal for the rest of the year, and I'm hoping to do monthly updates on my progress. I'm excited to see whether a focus on this area of my life can really reap rewards in other areas too. 

What are your goals for the year and how do you intend to fulfil them? 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Returning... and burn out

Burnout is what happens when we ignore the soul whispering against an unhealthy job or relationship.
Dr Dina Glouberman

I cannot believe it's been two whole years since I typed a single word on this blog. 

Time has literally flown by, and I have no idea how we got to here! 

Although it's easy to lose two years when you do the following:

  • Buy a house
  • Rip out the kitchen (on the 3rd day after moving in)
  • Spend three months prepping the kitchen (aka bomb shelter) for the new units;
  • Interview for and get a brand new job
  • Settle Miss S and Mister L into nursery
  • Go back to work and juggle the logistics of working and children
  • Gain two stone
  • Get pregnant
  • Gain five more stones
  • Settle Miss S into her school
  • Give birth to Little S
  • Have a slow recovery from said birth. 
Hmmmm... I get the feeling Gary and I don't exactly take things easy. 

I say this given we are about to embark on the second phase of doing up our house which entails do the bathroom, fixing our leaking roof (which is a much bigger issue than we initially thought!), re-do the garden, redecorate and carpet the hall, stairs and landing (which is huge in a four storey house). 

Looking at that list above makes me dizzy, and I'm the one who lived it. 

There's one thing I think is definitely missing from that list above. Self care.

In the whirlwind of everything that has happened over the last couple of years, both Gary and I have had little to no time for self care... and it shows. 

I think we are both pretty close to burn out... if not already there. Gary masks it better than I do, I'm the grumpy, negative one who stresses about everything, even things that aren't relevant (which holidays we'll take in three years, for example). 

I am exhausted. 

Recovering from a third pregnancy has been slower and more frustrating than ever. My hormones have still not settled down six months after giving birth, and I am seriously struggling to shift the baby weight. 

We've just returned from a short holiday, and that holiday made me realise that things had to change. That I could not continue on the path I was on, because it was causing misery for everyone, especially the kids. 

The only person who can bring in the necessary changes is me. 

I need to treat self care as another essential component of my life. On a parr with food shopping and getting the kids to school and nursery. 

We are finally beginning to feel settled, it really has taken the full two years. We now have friends, a support network, access to the right exercise/gym for each of us. Life finally has a rhythm and enough space for us to work in that self care. 

It's funny, I was feeling so stressed out and so burnt out and close to exhaustion that I wondered whether I had hit post-natal depression.... until I read back through this blog. 

My posts after we had repatriated... well quite frankly they scared the hell out of me. I have no memory of things being SO BAD. I cannot remember that feeling, I can't touch it. 

Reading those blog posts made me feel incredibly sad for the little me who was sitting in stressful misery two years ago. It also made me realise that while things have been a little tough lately, I'm definitely not in as bad a place mentally as I was then. 

Reading those posts made me want to write again. Not for an audience, not as a profession, but for me. So that I remember everything, both the highs and the lows. I want to be able to feel how I felt, when I read back through these pages. To chart our life as a family, and my progress and development. 

I want to be a better me, but I can already see that 2017 me is in a much better place than the 2015 me. I've already been through tougher times and that makes me excited about the possibilities going forward. 

So I'm back, hopefully writing something worth you reading! 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Taking a Little Time Out

I have been trying my hardest not to write this post. 

But, I have admitted defeat. 

Moving continents with two toddlers has been considerably more difficult than I had ever anticipated, and I expected it to be pretty tough. Buying a house has taken more time than expected and there have been a lot of bumps in the already bumpy road. 

I'm struggling with settling into the UK, getting into a routine and getting settled, because we still aren't. I know when we finally complete on our new house, then things will get easier. 

Trying to maintain the blog has become too much to add on top of everything else we need to adjust to. It's particularly difficult because our Macbook Air is on it's last legs and freezes up every twenty minutes. 

I've run out of time to  catch up and keep everything spinning. So I've decided to take a little time out until we are settled into our new home and I have my beloved iMac back up and running. 

I'll still be running my weekly linky #wineandboobs and so I would really appreciate your support with that. I'll also still be following on social media, but for now my new content will have to wait. 

I've got so much to write about, but not the time to do it at the moment. But I will be back! 

See you all soon and thank you for the support so far. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Repatriating - The Stress

I've been stressed before. 

I've taken exams, lots of them, often unprepared. 

I've moved town, country and continent, twice over. 

I've moved countries when eight months pregnant. 

I've been pregnant and given birth, twice. 

I've even planned a wedding on a different continent from where we were living.

None of the above comes close to repatriating to the UK with two toddlers. 

I have never felt stress like it, and even now, as we have been in the UK nearly two months, it isn't subsiding. 

I had no idea that stress could feel like this, or that it could have such a physical effect on your body. I don't remember pregnancy having such an overwhelming effect, and I had pretty bad pregnancies (hyper emesis for almost the entire nine months).

At the moment I feel so lost. I knew it was going to be hard, I knew it was going to be a big adjustment.

Knowing it and feeling it? They are two completely different things. 

I'm doing everything possible to make the transition as quick and easy as possible, but even that takes time. Rome was not build in a day, and neither is a new home. 

So, for those of you about to repatriate, here are some of the things you might need to be watching out for: 

Anger - Searing, burning anger:

I have never been the most patient person, but having two toddlers has taught me a huge amount about it. 

My patience has grown and was (at the point when we began preparing for repatriation), the best it has ever been. Even dealing with toddler tantrums was becoming routine and not a cause for the angry bull in a china shop. 

Currently, I'm always about a inch away from raising my voice. My temper is at breaking point when I open my eyes in the morning and it is often still bubbling away when I'm trying to get to sleep. My toddlers and my husband are bearing the brunt of it. 

I'm shouting at minor things that my toddler's do, like they've committed some major crime. I routinely confiscate toys and say no to things that I should say yes to, even though my actions are definitely going to make things worse for everyone. 

I'm reactive, rather than proactive. I'm probably not behaving much older than a toddler myself. I know it, but that voice in my head that usually steps in if I start to lose my cool? Nowhere to be bloody found. 

This also coincides with difficult behaviour from both toddlers, which is, no doubt, due to the stress of moving. 

I'm applying Balance essential oil blend like it's going out of fashion, and diffusing Bergamot and Lavender at any chance I get, but even they are struggling to get my temper back under control. 

I have, on several occasions, barricaded myself into the bathroom with my iPod and spent a minute blasting music, while the toddlers bang on the door. Usually in the foetal position. 

Apathy - Like a Dead Sea Slug: 

This apathy usually surfaces when my anger has burnt itself out. 

More than anything, I want to be outside with the kids. First of all, it stops the usual whining. Secondly, it's the only way to meet people (and hopefully make new friends). 

But... I just can't be bothered. On several occasions I've put the kids in the car to go to a playgroup, and just driven. Driven around for forty minutes and then gone home. I just can't face having to face the real world, and as long as the kids are quiet in the car, I'm happy to drive around mindlessly. 

I often spend time sitting on the sofa watching CBeebies. Seriously, me watching it, never mind the toddlers. The effort involved in getting myself off the sofa and doing anything that really needs doing, is often too much. 

This does not help my mood, or my energy levels when it gets to the end of the day and I still have a major list of jobs to do. 

Loneliness - Lonely but Never Alone:

I think this is the one that is hitting me the hardest. I've lost my mummy community. 

I was unbelievably lucky in Dubai, I stumbled upon a group of wonderful, amazing people and we've supported each other through thick and thin. Our first babies were about five months old, and we were all in the new mummy stage, where we didn't have a clue what we were doing. 

We swapped tales; asked questions; played "who got the least sleep last night"... and in the process, true friendships were formed. Friendships that I am currently pining for. 

All I want to do, almost every minute of every day, is go and sit on Laura's sofa and talk about anything and everything. 

I want to spend hours talking about toddler eating habits; debating who will be the next to get pregnant; asking random questions about potty training (or lack thereof). In short, doing nothing more important than talking about the weather. 

It's not even because I want to talk about the important stuff like buying a house (which is crazy complicated) or settling Miss S into her new life (much as she doesn't want to). I just want to talk about nothing. 

I want to listen, to hear about everyone's crazy nights, or the silly things the kids have done. I want to sit amongst my friends and bask in the warmth of the laughter and the piss taking. I want the camaraderie and the light hearted banter. 

I want it so badly that it physically hurts. It cripples me at odd times of the day, when driving the car; when songs come on the radio; when I'm sat in the silence of another midnight wake up. 

In writing this, I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my friends here in the UK. They have been amazing. They have travelled from wherever they are, made the effort and been simple fabulous. I am more grateful to them than I can say, and they are getting me through these difficult weeks. 

The problem is that one or two people (who don't live round the corner) cannot fill the void left by five or six girls who were close by and available for playdates and mummy's nights out. I used to go out of the house twice a day, and the majority of that time it was to go and meet a mummy friend and their toddlers. 

Heartbroken - "Go Home Mummy":

I completely underestimated how hard this move would be for the toddlers, Miss S in particular. 

I thought that if I got her straight into nursery, and regularly attending playgroups, I could avoid there being too much pain adjusting to living in the UK. 

I was wrong. 

I did not realise that two year olds really do have friends. Whenever people use the term "friends" to refer to Miss S's playmates, I used to smile, amused. 

I used to think that as long as Miss S had someone to play with, it wouldn't matter too much who it was. 

Miss S asks for her friends at least three or four times a day. By name. She asks to go and see them, she asks why we can't go on an airplane to see them. 

She asks to go home. 

Every. Single. Time. I feel like my heart breaks a little more. I feel like bursting into tears and I need to bite my lip to keep them back. 

Explaining that we can't "go home" to Dubai because we don't live there anymore, is so much harder than I thought it would be. Mainly because I'd quite like to "go home" and see my friends too. 

Thankfully, most of our friends are coming back to the UK this summer, to escape the Dubai heat. And even more thankfully, we'll get to see most of them, maybe more than once. 

Although part of me wonders if this will only make the transition worse in the long run. Seeing friends, only for them to disappear again. It's something I'll have to chance though, because seeing the joy on Miss S's face when she sees a familiar face, is something I cannot wait to see. 

Weird - The One to Avoid:

I know this particular feeling comes from paranoia. 

For those that know me, this might be a bit of a shock, but I hate meeting new people. 

Not new people who are friends of friends, that's totally fine, the more the merrier. A room full of people I don't know... where I'm expected to mix and mingle and get in with the small talk, gulp. 

It's makes my palms sweat, which is really not a good start. 

At these playgroups, my kids are off playing, and I'm feeling like the really weird one that no one really wants to speak to. 

I'm hoping that it's more in my head, than what people are actually thinking, but you can never be sure. 

I know it takes time to make real friends, but I really really wish I didn't have to. I was happy with my quota of friends, I wasn't in any rush to add to the number. But as they are all (almost all) still in Dubai, I suppose I'll have to put myself out there and go on the hunt for mummy pals. 

Emotional - Like a Pregnant Person Gone Wrong:

I never actually cried during pregnancy.

I wasn't one of those women who well up at the adverts on the TV. In fact, I spent most of my pregnancy feeling like I was cold as ice, because nothing made me cry. 

Now, I could give the first trimester hormone rush a good run for it's money. 

I'm literally crying at the drop of a hat. Songs I haven't heard for ages make me cry - Lena Marlin "I'm sitting down here" I'm looking at you. 

Random busker in the street singing "Somehow here again" from Phantom had tears leaking from my eyes without my permission. Seeing old photographs of friends in Dubai makes me practically go into meltdown. 

It's not pretty, and I don't know how to stop it. I don't even have the excuse of actually being pregnant! How ironic. 

Sick - As a Dog: 

No, I am definitely not pregnant. I have three negative pregnancy tests to prove it. 

That's how seriously sick I feel. It's like the first trimester of pregnancy all over again. Which is something I never want to repeat, especially when NOT pregnant. 

I thought it was the stress of moving continents, but four weeks after being in one place, still sick. 

I thought it was the over consuming of the wine, but I've stopped drinking, still sick. 

I thought it was because I stuffed my face with gluten, cut it out, still sick. 

I thought it was because I'd managed to get pregnant, three negative pregnancy tests, still sick. 

Seriously, whatever my body and my mind are doing, which is causing me to feel like I'm heavily back into the morning sickness, it has to stop, and soon. 

I'm in a place now where I'm feeling a little more relaxed, and a little more settled. We are about to move into a rental house, while we wait for our new home purchase to work through, and we won't need to move again until we move into our actual, hopefully forever, home. 

I thought at this point, with all the major things overcome, that I'd feel better, but I don't. 

Seven weeks and counting, can we just give up with the nausea please? 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, because none of the above is positive. Repatriating IS hard work. It's a huge change, and it's made much, much harder with toddlers to carry through it. 

I'm writing it down, because it all felt alien to me, I didn't expect it. Not expecting it meant that I have found it harder to deal with it. So if this helps one person work through the repatriation process, my work here is done.