PCOS and secondary infertility.

Hi all, hope we are all good? Finally, the dreaded January has passed and we can begin to feel like the year has truly started. Hopefully we are all following our resolutions we made just a short time ago. Hands up if you haven’t stepped inside the gym yet.. guilty.

I’ve decided to write a post which has been on the tip of my tongue for some time. Due to the nature of it, I refrained and held myself back but after some deep thinking, I’ve decided that my story could help others and even give some light to an otherwise dark and uncertain time.

We welcomed our first daughter in 2017 and knew very soon after that we would like a bigger family. We had always wanted a big family and the love we felt for our daughter and the wholeness which she brought to us, only made us more certain of our family choices. Soon after our Wedding day in September 2018, a year after the birth of our first, we began to try for our second child. We wanted to have two siblings close in age, close as friends.

A companion for life as it were and the thought of a big family was always appealing for me, despite the choas and mess. At the end of the day, it’s how you make your family feel, and they you that matters. No matter how terrible a day, how reckless your child has behaved, the tantrums, a dispute at work.. you name it, nothing will bring a smile like snuggling up together for story time before bed.

What I didn’t know at this time as I was full of hope and excitement was the long wait that lay ahead of us, the anxiety, the challenges and the upset that months of failed symptom spotting and pregnancy tests allowed me to feel. In a way it was an emptiness, wanting something so good to happen so bad and never getting the results you wanted. Through one month to the next, I was symptom spotting and hoping, however i was always met with Aunt Flow around the 28th of the month.

We remained positive through the months, tried to use ovulation testing, working out the best times in my cycle to conceive and I taken to trying several vitamins and health foods just in case I was missing something. I mean, it had to be me, right? I began a barre class for exercise, healthy body, health mind etc and tried to slow down my daily routine but I can’t say that ever happened.

After seven months of failed attempts and a small fortune spent on wasted pregnancy tests, ovulation sticks and pre pregnancy vitamins, I decided to talk to my GP who had noted this wasn’t usually normal with couples trying so often as we had and in good health. I was worried there could be something going on internally that was preventing a pregnancy or at least making my situation more difficult. The GP arranged for further tests and blood samples and issued a referral to the fertility clinic. X

After some time we had an appointment at the fertility clinic where I had an ovary scan and a talk with a consultant. It was noted that my right ovary was polysitic – who knew? With the noted, I was recommended to attend my GP for bloods two full months in a row to check my cycles for progesterone levels. This is when the ovulation can be tracked or if no ovulation has occurred. I was free to go and left with the burden of a polysitic ovary over my head. News that I hadn’t expected to hear, nor prepare for. For some time, this sat hevay on my heart.

Blood test after blood test, endless and exhausting attempts to conceive, we were left drained and not very hopeful of my situation. The constant bloods were draining enough, not getting the results we wanted only added to our stress. Could it be that my ovary was the issue and if so, how could we resolve that? Had two consecutive months of blood results shown anovulation, I was to be introduced to hormones to induce an ovulation and force my body to ovulate. A risky matter but an option i would choose due to circumstances.

Clomid. I’m sure any of you with fertility issues out there or friends and family going through tough times may have heard of clomid. A drug I was reluctant to try for various reasons, a few being the risk of cancer, birth defects. Doesn’t sound too appealing, huh? but willing to give my all in the hope of a second pregnancy, a bigger family.

Four cycles and sets of bloods later (a few set backs) I had got the news that my progesterone levels were fine which indicates ovulation. Great, i was then given the nod to just keep trying to fall pregnant naturally. I had stopped breastfeeding completley in December 2019 as my Daughter is now 2.5 years and I felt that perhaps weaning her off her comfort feeds completely could help us with our journey.

For now, we are starting a new year and hopefully what will be a new chapter will lie ahead. I’m more aware of my own body and needs more than ever and as I care more for myself, relax a little and enjoy time with my Daughter, I can only hope that come time, we will get the news that we have been hoping for. Maybe one day, that little pee stick with warm our hearts more than anyone could know.

I’ll keep you all posted, and for anyone out there suffering with a similar situation, or secondary infertility as I have, don’t feel afraid to seek advice of a GP, to talk to friends or family. Sharing is caring and we all want the best for one another.

Keren x

Slipknot at the Hydro

On a cold January evening, I will forever be grateful of my choice to get seated tickets to see slipknot live in Glasgow. Hard-core metal fans rejoice, clothing and ale flying all around the place, moshing and death pits, you bet my petite frame was sitting her ass down. You see, that’s deal breaker for going to see Slipknot with my Husband was that we would be seated and rightly so.

Back in July, my Husband purchased tickets to see slipknot in Glasgow on there latest world tour. We couldn’t decide whether to go or not, but as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, we took a leap of faith and got the tickets. Who wouldn’t want to see one of the best drummers in the world? Heavy metal fan or not, I think a rock band this well known is a must see. I mean, back in the days of primary school, slipknot were what the cool kids were listening to and we all had those baggy jeans with the chains to look the part. If anything, this will be a bit of nostalgia from the days of childhood innocence.

Saturday morning, we drop Eleanor at Grandma’s for a sleepover as sadly, I don’t think slipknot is suited for a toddler, no matter whether she would love it or not. I get my hair braided at I Candy salon as when I’m out, I like my hair out of my face and able to last all day long, usually I opt for braids as they work for me. Then, a wee trip to the sun beds for a quick four minute top up on my oh so pale complexion. I used to frequent the sun beds but it got a bit time consuming, so I need to get back into it for Summer. Child free, what a better time to begin?

After I’ve got myself fixed up, we hit the road, the first time we’ve taken the new car such a far distance but it was great. Spotify on, McDonald’s breakfast, extra leg room. A little slice of heaven if you ever are to compare a car journey to heaven, that is. I however, enjoy the long trips in the car with my Husband. Sometimes, even being together in our own silence is soothing for the soul.

Now, first stop when we get to Glasgow is a quick bite for lunch as we are due to meet friends for dinner at 5pm, nothing too heavy or over exciting. Besides, I’ve got shopping to do so I can’t be bloated when trying on the whole of urban outfitters. I mean, really? Yes, a trip to Glasgow is never complete without a trip to Urban O’s. My favourite shop if you will and it always makes me feel happy as I buzz around handing Euan umpteen hangers to hold while I rake around some more.

It’s nice to get carried away a bit, even if I leave empty handed. The experience of trying on what I want, taking as long as I want and just being myself without Eleanor having a tantrum, getting bored or trying to drag me out the changing room while one leg in, one leg out is nice. Don’t get me wrong, I think about her every minute that I am not with her, but it’s nice to have some freedom.

Browsing around urban outfitters as always and we are suddenly in the presence of a lot of staff watching us as I shop around. Tried on a few bits, handed them back then went for another look around.. Just in case, this time only to be watched by staff members on radios as we went about our business. Feeling uncomfortable and not very satisfied we left the store and when leaving the staff radioed to say “he’s just left” regarding Euan. Nothing like the feeling of being watched to make you feel uneasy and safe to say we won’t be back wuth our business. Not as successful as I was hoping for, however onward and upward for some sale hunting to Topshop and some other stores around us.

Shopping done, we messaged our friends who had said they were at a local music store and slipknot were going to be there. We hummed and heyed over this, then though, fuck let’s go. Power walked the half mile, met our friends (last in line of about 200) and waited in the freezing cold over an hour. As we approached the store entry ready to meet the guys, we get in only to find.. It’s not slipknot.

What the hell? We froze for over an hour, missed out on food or a wee dram for this? Who was it?? The support group, behemoth. Who?? Now, what’s more is we had to go up and meet these guys, get photos and autographs of a band we didn’t even know, while trying to play it cool. Fuming. I mean, we waited an hour for this, well, I know what I’m doing with these autographs, straight to ebay.

After the wait is was approaching 5pm, we had planned to re group and meet friends at 530pm for dinner but we still had to get the bags to the hotel, check in and freshen up. At this stage, we would be lucky to head out at 6pm for a bite to eat. At the hotel, in a mad rush I quickly done a outfit change, freshen up and was good to go, patient awaiting news of a table for dinner from our pals.

Surprise, bread meats bread where we had arranged to meet was out the door and there was no chance of a table, the next place was just the same. Euan and I decided just to book in at a local restaurant near by the hotel and we would meet with friends down by there hotel for a drink afterwards as they were having tea further from us and we were all tired, hungry and fed up table hunting. We went to a place called Mango Tropical for quesadilla’s and a wine, not bad but I don’t think I’d return as it wasn’t what I was expecting and there was no atmosphere.

So a day of disaster, we had to recover from this before the night was set to end. A streaming nose from the cold and an unsatisfying meal, led to only one thing. A big glass of Violet gin with friends at the hotel roof bar before heading to the SSE for Slipknot – let’s just say we skipped the support group.. Behemoth! Bah! Near 9pm when they band was set to play, we scrambled across the hill to the arena for a quick search and ticket scan before once again headed our separate ways.

As Euan and I were seated and headed for our seats we waved goodbye to friends knowing we probably wouldn’t see them again that night. In a crowd of thousands, mosh pits and rings of death.. It wasn’t looking likely and after the day we had, I didn’t expect much for the evening following the gig either. My eyes were beginning to ache with the tiredness and I was in shut down mode. Sitting through the gig of hevay metal, loud noises and head banging, I was honesty so close to being asleep.

That has to be an achievement? Who has ever had a claim to fame by sleeping at a hevay metal concert without being under the influence? I’m that guy…gal. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the gig, I was more along for the ride and as a support for Euan. I mean, it was too to see a heavy metal band play and one of the worlds most famous at that but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t get into it as much as I had hoped and wasn’t thrilled by the display either yet, it’s an item off the bucket list, my Husband was happy, friends happy and that makes me happy. It’s nice to see those around you having fun and enjoying themselves, that brings happiness to me.

After the event, we had planned to head to a local hot spot for live music. Jintys at Ashton Lane, we always mean to head to Ashton Lane and never get the opportunity or time to go, this evening was no different. At 11pm, tired and barely holding it together was we tried to navigate the streets back to the city centre, we called it quits and decided that tonight wouldn’t be the night we went to the infamous Ashton Lane. Unfortunately, the days driving walking and socialising was just too much for this Mum and I wasn’t going to be hanging around in the cold much longer.

I had a hot shower and bed on my mind, that’s where we headed. Back at the hotel after a half hour walk, we checked in on the couple we were with but had separated from at the gig, and got ourselves organised for the morning and ready for bed. A cider for Euan (one for the road), a cup of tea, a cola and a pack of crisps for night snack and it was lights out. My gosh, I needed that sleep.

We work around 7.45AM and immediately got ourselves showered, dressed and ready for breakfast. We had planned to meet up with our friends again and had a reservation at Bill’s for breakfast before the drive home together. I absolutely had the stacked pancakes with syrup and fruit, a latte on the side and munched up what I could of it, enjoying every minute. I love breakfast and I enjoy spending it with those I love at a nice restaurant, it just sets the day off to a nice start and the atmosphere is different to a busy lunch or dinner hour.

Fed, watered and green tea ready for the journey back, we hopped into the car and enjoyed the drive with each others company. Before we knew it we were back to Aberdeen and at my Mums to collect Eleanor, who believe it or not, didn’t want to leave her Grandparents house. I think she gets away with what she wants there and definitely gets chocolate treats that she wouldn’t have at home, so it was disappointing to her when it was time to get back home with her boring old Mum and Dad. The cheek of it!

I must say, after a busy weekend it was great to have Eleanor back in true tantrum form and get back to the house to do the unpacking, tidying and sorting for the weeks activities. A Sunday is my favourite day and when you squeeze in a breakfast out, all the better. Following the drive and getting settled, we had the most lovely lazy day together, binged on some Netflix and made a big feast of pasta for dinner. Perfect.

MEETING slipknot, I mean.. Behemoth..

Not a(llotment) of time.

Good evening, I’m actually just headed to bed with a blocked nose and bit of a headache, nice huh? I was scrolling through old posts and thought I hadn’t given an update of the allotment plot we purchased back in September. You all know, I like a little bed time natter, so while I wind down and prepare for sleep, I’ll share a little update about the allotment.

As it transpires, an allotment plot which requires a whole lot of work and digging, a toddler who doesn’t like to be at the allotment for prolonged periods and a working week is actually very difficult to work around. Finding the free time to head to the plot with Eleanor for any length of time Is tricky.

There a few good weather days where you can just crack on and often we have clubs and socialising on weekends which take us late into the afternoon, by that point its dark, Eleanor is cranky and in honesty, we could all use a nap. The last thing on my mind is digging up weeds and sorting through black garden bags.

Although we wanted an allotment and had thought through the pros of our own land space, we didn’t really seek out the cons. I mean, I didn’t actually think there would be any cons.. Growing your own produce, having your own plot of land to take charge of,the outdoors. Turns out, there are cons.

The elements are against us with it being Winter, it’s been difficult to get out to the plot without having to battle wind and rain storms. Though this wouldn’t bother myself or Euan, when you add a toddler that hates the wind to the equation, you can bet we won’t be headed out to dig any time soon.

Eleanor gets bored easily and while I’m happy digging away, you can’t take your eyes off Eleanor for a minute or she will be off to the other plots and working her way back to the car. The lazy lump doesn’t like to get her hands dirty yet and certainly doesn’t like waiting around for Mum and Dad. Puzzles, forest walks and pushing dolls in a pram are much more exciting. Come on.

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that she doesn’t yet love the plot as I had hoped but I’m sure once we get planting and have produce growing, she will begin to see the wonders of gardening and sustainability. I can’t wait to see it all through her eyes, the excitement of picking berries and veggies, the happiness of growing something of her own. Until then, I’ll just have to fit in a half hour here and there as and when.

I do hope when the spring comes we can just get stuck in. Wellies on, gloves on and a little picnic packed in the car. Ready to roll and have the day working on our little plot, planting and sowing seeds so that we can begin to grow fresh produce. We have the vision of how we want our plot to be. Right now, we are churning up the soil, removing what seems to be a world of weeds and doing a general tidy up before introducing planters.

The weeds have been crazy, the times we have spent at the allotment have been focused on digging and raking out weeds as there are so much of them, deep rooted to the ground that it takes up the most of our time. We could potentially get some planters down now and begin to sow seeds for spring vegetables, but I’d like to have it looking proper first and foremost.

I have a garden bench to bring to the patch, a wee spot for picnic breaks or just chilling out on a Summers day as a family and would like to get a couple of windmills and plant pots for my girl. First, the weeds. Weeds before seeds – damn, I should have used that as my title. If I ever start a gardening blog, I’ll use weeds before seeds as my domain.

I’ll share a few photographs of the work done so far, please don’t be alarmed,the muddy mess is intentional, there is lots of work to do and not a lot of time to offer thus far. However, from the first visit to our patch up until now, several months on I can say that I am happy with the progress made and just excited to get going with planting some fruit, vegetables and flowers for our family to benefit from.

Lemon loaf cake

What to do on a drizzly and cold Thursday morning with a toddler? This I wondered to myself a while, before it came to me, let’s bake a cake.

I am keen to get into the kitchen and bake more, more so for the benefit of my Daughter and to teach her valuable life skills and give her a little variety and fun to her day. As a family we love the outdoors, walking with our dog and getting fresh air while expelling energy build up. However, the outdoors isn’t always a good idea on a cold and rainy day with a child who has a nose streaming faster than a hot water tap.

Let’s face it, it can be hard to please little ones and play time pushing dollies in prams too small for our aching backs isn’t always fun, nor is listening to baby shark for an hour straight while being forced to dance. Dare you sneak off, they catch you and drag you back to the dancing. God forbid. So, there we have it, let’s bake a cake. Valuable time together all the while educational.

Below, I’m going to share the recipe I favour when making lemon loaf, I hope you get to try this and taste test, the best lemon loaf around. Recipe is by BBC good food, a favourite site of mine when it comes to recipes. Hope you enjoy.

lemon drizzle cake

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking paper. Finely zest the lemons.
  2. Put 200g of the sugar, the butter, eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and beat until pale, thick and creamy.
  3. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55–60 minutes, or until well-risen, firm and golden-brown. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
  4. Using an oven cloth to protect your hands, turn the cake out gently onto a wire rack, leave to cool before icing
  5. Squeeze one of the lemons and mix 3 tablespoons of the juice with the remaining 100g sugar. Slowly and gradually, spoon the lemon sugar over the cake, stopping every now and then to allow it to penetrate the sponge.
  6. Leave to set for at least an hour before serving or until the cake has cooled and the icing has crystalised. Serve in slices.

48 hours in Berlin.

Alright, the title sounds more dramatic than it needs to be, but I had to ctach your attention in some way or another, right?

Back in December, my sister, Mother and I headed to Berlin for the Christmas markets. A short, frustrating but sweet stay, that I will hold on to the memories of forever. This was the first time I had travelled with family and definitely not the first time I argued with them.

Three women on a trip together, what could you expect? There was no fighting for a spot over the mirror believe it or not, but there was some minor meltdowns over language barriers, poor navigation and getting on the wrong transport. Have any of you British, non German speaking people actually managed to navigate your way around Berlin and the underground system with ease?? When it got to it, we made the wrong tram stops, got lost down residential streets and found ourself bickering and hangry down at the underground.

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, right? Maybe so, but getting lost in Berlin and having to fork out for a small fortune on transport fees and strange taxis, merry doesn’t really come to mind.

Anyway, now that I’ve got to it, minus about 13 lost hours, we had approximately 35 hours in Berlin, minus some time for sleep. We stayed at the comfort hotel which believe it or not, was comfortable but didn’t serve dinner on a Monday when we arrived – we didn’t know this and after a busy day of travel, walked and mulled wines, we went to bed hungry. Otherwise, it was a fine enough hotel for a bath and bed but I’d not stay there again as the location was around 40 minutes from the Alexanderplatz which was the heart of the city.

When we arrived on Monday we dived into five guys, not the most cultural of a first meal but hungry, tired and annoyed at ourselves for not knowing German, we had given up a little and needed to refuel. Hotdog and twenty euro down, we embarked on our exploring. Am I selling this to you? Please bear with me as I talk you through my short time in the city as I have so much to sell, I promise.

First we had come across the main square, Alexanderplatz which was where one of the most popular markets had set up for the festive period. A carousel, ferris wheel and stalls galore it was a little slice of Christmas heaven. Christmas music played, the bustle was very real and the smell of bratwurst hit you hard, so much so, you didn’t need to buy a bratwurst to taste it.

We didn’t first explore the market as we wanted to do so in the evening, a quick blast around we decided to keep walking and work out way to the Bradenberg gate. You know, the famous one, right? We first stumbled across a rather magnificent TV tower and right across the road, the cathedral which we payed to enter and had an explore of.

The Catherdral was beautiful from the outside in, so royal, so pristine and just the right amount of eerie. It was breathtaking, we explored each room, lit a candle In respect and while Mum quivered at the thought of heights, my sister and I climbed out to the top of the Catherdral roof and headed out to take in the view of the City. Hundreds of steps and shaking legs later we made it and I can only wish my Mum would have pushed aside her fears to take it all in with us.

Wow, theres not any other feeling quite like the one where you feel you are literally on top of the world. If you are lucky enough to take a trip to Berlin, please visit the Catherdral to see the wonders for yourself. We also visited the crypt by mistake but I found this quite unsettling and we promptly left and headed for the exit, out to inhale the open winter air of Berlin.

It was a cold but beautiful day. The weather didn’t let us down and we were free to explore comfortably, we headed on to the Bradenberg gate which was quite the walk from the Catherdral. Stopped for a mulled wine break just by the gate where a massive Christmas tree had taken over the plaza. I’ll tell you, they don’t do Christmas trees like that back home, Aberdeen, take note!

The tree itself was worth the walking distance but to have the view of the Bradenberg behind the tree and Christmas in the air, it was quite magical and I felt a little fuzzy, something that had always been on my bucket list to visit was the gate and to see it in all of its true glory at Christmas with the two strongest women by my side was something very special.

After mooching around the gate and getting some photographs, we headed out past to the holocaust memorial which changed the tone indefinitely. Even after all these years, the holocaust is such a harrowing experience and always will be, it brings a lump to your throat, a tear to the eye and you can almost feel the fear of Europe during that period of history.

For me, the memorial was a must see no matter how hard hitting or the memories that it brought. The war is a part of history that nobody likes to reminisce but we must remember and we must remember those who had fallen. The memorial was just as you would expect, grey harsh and hard hitting but placed around a community estate, it wasn’t as I had expected. It was dark and powerful but the setting didn’t add up.

It was strange to see the memorial so close to a community where children played and families collected groceries. From previous images I had seen, it always looked so secluded. Here we were, in the midst of a busy road and housing estate at a haunting memorial, it was quite surreal.

Having spent some time taking in the memorial deep in thoughts, we went on a hunt for a coffee break and a phone charge station to refuel for the evening. I was beginning to get tired and my abilities for walking, shopping and talking were failing me so it was time for a stop. Half an hour later and we walked back to the Alexanderplatz with a little shopping along the way, only a little.

When we got back to the markets, it was all stations go. The lights were shining bright, the music even louder and the streets busier. We spent time barging our way through for Nutella crepes, stall hunting and more mulled wine. For some reason, the mulled wine tastes better fresh from a market stall rather than out of the bottle. The smell itself is like Christmas and if anything was going to get us feeling festive, this was the night.

Once we arrived at the hotel, as mentioned prior, there was no food to be served so we each had a bath and hit the hay for a good snooze, ready for an early wake up call so we could get up and out on the last day of our trip. Sadly, a third day would have been ideal, but we didn’t have the luxury and made do with the two days, packing in as much as we could.

When the morning come, we got ourselves going a little later than planned due to a cheeky lie in but nonetheless we were down for a hotel breakfast of bratwurst, bread and cereal at 9am and out the door by 945am. As we now knew where we had to catch the tram and a rough idea of bearings, this made life a little easier. We headed back to Alexanderplatz, first up was a coffee stop at dunkin donuts followed by a trip to sephora and topshop.

A little mooch around, we decided to walk to the Berlin Wall and outdoor gallery. On the way we dipped in shops and browsed around, taking in the sites and scenery. Again the weather was perfect for exploring, crisp and dry. Blissful really. There’s nothing I love more than a slow mull around with a coffee to start off the day.

When we worked our way to the wall, it was around an hour and a half walk, the wall itself was around a forty minute walk but we went the distance and caught some of the famous artwork, snapped pictures. It was busy for the duration of the gallery, people were taking photos no matter where you walked, you just had to hope you didn’t get caught in the background of any, pulling a funny face or picking your nose (I’m kidding).

When we hit the end of the wall, we began to walk back for a lunch stop as our feet were tired and tummies rumbling. We wanted a traditional meal and had come across a restaurant direct across from the wall that had curry wurst and schnitzel up for grabs. A done deal. We enjoyed lunch in a quiet spot, just what we needed to get ourselves back on track for the walk back to the market and the evening activities.

Following lunch, we walked back to Alexander platz where we went into a massive shopping centre which name I don’t recall. We spent the afternoon browsing, shopping and just enjoying the company of one another without having to worry about the time, or rushing home to family. It was care free and enjoyable, besides, shopping centres are our natural habitat.

When the dark had come, we went back to the market to get stocked up on mulled wines, I believe I had three and last minute gift grabbing. We spent time taking it all in, every stall, every passer by, every move. It was a lovely evening and just cold enough to see your breath.

I didn’t buy much of anything but my mum picked up some baubles, and little gifts for taking home. Personally, I just enjoy seeing everything and taking it all in. One mulled cider for the road and we called it quits, heading back for the 9pm tram with tired eyes and aching legs. I was dreaming of a hot bubble bath the whole duration of the tram, and missing my baby back home of course. One more sleep, a flight and a megabus journey until I would be reunited with my own little family.

We got back and settled in for the night, ordered some deep dish pizza down at the hotel bar and an aperol spritz as they looked so delicious on the menu. I couldn’t have been more disgusted by the aperol spritz, I took one sip and looked at my Mum who shared the same expression. Eugh, what is this? This was our first ever aperol and I’ll never have a second, definitely didn’t live to the hype for me and I had to pass it to Mum who grudgingly polished off as much as she could for moneys worth. Wow, that was rough.

Anyway, fed and watered (kind of), we got ourselves up to the room to pack for morning and get ready. A big bubble bath for me followed by a poor attempt at eating a donut and falling into bed with the alarm ready to go at 4am..ouch. An early start, but a long day ahead of us, the home stretch was drawing on us. Sadly just a little too soon, a third day in Berlin would have been just right.

Closing in on our trip to Berlin, I’ll always remember this with happy memories, despite the travel system being particularly tough to navigate and getting lost no matter how hard we planned travel in advance, I’d definitely recommend a City break to Berlin. As you know, I was there for the Christmas markets as the sole reason to visit, however if I was to return with my Husband, I would hope to return in a Summer, to experience the wonderful City in a different season.

There’s things to see and do all around when you get to the heart of the City, you don’t have to walk far to stumble across a hidden gem. Perhaps it be a piece of street art that catches the eye, a little cafe on the corner or a world known monument, there truly is colour and life all around the city. Berlin was clean, it was just the right kind of busy and it eye opening.

If I choose to return, I’d like a little longer to explore and would suggest a break no shorter than four full days with a central hotel which is of walking distance to the monuments and museums as like I say, the transport system is very difficult to navigate, or at least we found it to be.

Another activity I would have liked to made time for was the Berlin zoo as I’ve heard good reviews of the zoo and that the animals are well cared for. As this would take near a full day to get around, we just sadly didn’t have the time. Berlin is also supposed to be the party capital of Europe with under ground clubs galore and fetish club delight. The party scene isn’t for me, but if you like to party, I’m sure you wouldn’t have to venture far at night to find a club fit for you. Regardless, our stay was short and sweet and we had seen the areas and sights that we had first intended to when booking our trip.

It was successful overall, the travel was smooth and the City was definitely full of delights, maybe it was the mulled wine on every corner, maybe it was the aurora of Christmas in the air. Whatever it was I fell a little bit in love with another part of Europe and can only hope to return.

Have you ever been to visit Berlin? How did you find it?

Hogmany 2019. The end of a decade.

With new beginnings and future plans ahead, I thought I might just share with you how my Husband and I have spent our very last New Year of the decade.

Usually ones to shy from the main stage of parties and too much alcohol consumption, we favour a take out at home and cuddles on the couch to late nights boozing, however on this occasion we met with friends for a meal then hit the pub. Not without a drama however.

On Hogmany we kissed Eleanor goodbye for the night and left her in the safe hands of Grandma as we had planned a dinner and some drinks with our favourite couple. We had drinks at home before heading out for our meal at 7.30 at Zizi, a local Italian chain, you may have heard of.

Having walked to town we sat at our table and got ourselves cosy for the meal ahead. The menu was full of goodness and I found it hard to choose a main with ease. We had calamari to share as a starter and for the main, I opted for a taglitelli with venison, Euan had the sea bass with lemon and fries. All washed down with a nice rose of course.

The dessert menu caught our eye and we shared a millionaire cheesecake, so good yet so bad it was a little bit of heaven. Having spent some time chatting it was near 10.30pm by the time we were leaving, the time our friend realised he had misplaced his bank card somewhere along the way.

Rather than forget about it and just carry on, we decided to re trace our steps to try and have a little success before giving up the ghost. Needless to say, we had no success and after phoning in the local community shops and police with little hope, we had a gin break at the house and worked on a new plan of events. Headed back to town at 11.30pm to make the Central fireworks and celebrations before a wee dram for the road.

Power walk and a lot of sweat later, we made it. By this time, I was thinking of a wine and a cosy pub mind you, which soon after the fireworks we headed straight for. First up, the wild boar for a rose and a round of jagger bombs, yuk. I don’t do shots very well, and they don’t like me either. Two of those down and I was soon singing.

Having made the last orders we finished up our drinks and conversation and headed out, well we were mostly forced out by an angry doorman shoving everyone toward the door.. rude. Never mind, out in the open, 1AM, conversation flowing and not ready to admit defeat and get home just yet, we went to an old favourite the Bridge Street social for round three of jager and Ill admit I’ve lost track of the wine count. Let’s just say more than my drinks count in any given six months. It must have been the Christmas spirit..

We talked all things children, life, holidays past and present, future plans, home and family plans and most importantly kitten talk. Yes kitten talk. You see, my friends are proud owners of a Ragdoll cat and I am working on persuading my Husband into getting a kitten, a Ragdoll to be precise so I seen this as the perfect opportunity to get some cat chat it, and try to sway my Husband (a non cat person) to turn his thoughts around and look at getting a family kitten to grow to be our family cat. Not going to blow my own trumpet, but we now spend our evenings searching for kittens. Hallelujah!

At 3AM, things are a little blurry, after finishing up the last dregs, we began the venture home it was out into the cold. Give me credit, for a mostly tee total, non party goer, I done well to survive a twelve hour party mode but as the early hours drew in, I was sure ready for home time. My Husband stopped for some ‘chips n hame’ (late night take out kebab) and we slowly waltzed our way back home.

High spirits and flowing conversations despite being way past bed time for myself, the most late I’ve stayed up since I have been a teenager I’d even go as far as to say. With all the wine flowing through my veins, I didn’t recognise the cold in honesty, I was more concerned with hopping into bed for a child free snooze and all the bed space.

For New Years Day, we were headed up to my family home for a big New Year lunch and a little party with the whole family. My brother and nephew were headed over for the occasion too as we had not spent the Christmas together. A lovely catch up was in order and definitely just what was needed as far as family time goes. I wasn’t up for any alcohol but the food and afternoon nap was spot on.

No matter how you spent your Hogmany, whether you were in or out, with friends or home alone, I hope it was a good one and wish you all the very best of health and luck for the new decade. Happy New Year everyone.

Keren x

Starting the decade with some resolutions.

Happy New Year guys,

I hope you have all had a chilled out and loving festive period. Maybe you’ve danced your butt off until the early hours, ate until you were sick, stayed home by the fire or hitting those sales, whatever you have been up too, I hope it’s been perfect.

With the New Year, I always like to have a little time to reflect and work on self improvement. I’ve made a quick couple of resolutions that I think will better myself and help with self love, personal growth and those all over fuzzy, happy feelings. I thought I’d just pop on to get those fresh resolutions written down and posted before I forget as let’s face it, I’m not very good at keeping my blog on track.. (there’s a resolution for that).

I’ll begin, first up – READ MORE BOOKS.

I make this resolution every year but last year my reading trailed off track, with a toddler, working life and all the in between there is little time to wind down for an hour here or there and find opportunity to enjoy a book. This year, I wish to make the effort. Half an hour before bed each evening to send me off to zzz. There are SO many books I want to sink my teeth into and what better than the beginning of a new decade to get stuck in?

Secondly – BE MORE GENEROUS, BE MORE KIND.

I have been thinking a lot lately about ways to help inner happiness, to bring smiles to others and show I care for my loved ones. I’ve decided to dedicate more time for friends and family and to be more generous. Wether it’s bringing Mum flowers weekly, treating my Husband to a meal out or even just putting in time for those we don’t see enough of. I’m working to be a better me and to try and being the best out of those around me too.

Last but not least – SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.

Yep, we all want to save more, myself included. Currently we are hoping to move to a family home to expand our family and have a little more living space, ideally one with a bath so I can buy a bath bomb for every day of the week (I love a bath).

Saving is tough, especially when you aren’t left with much other than bills, childcare and childerns activities but I always like to check our savings and watch as they grow, it brings me happiness and a sense of achievement. Here’s to another year of saving, one step closer, one hundred to go, to the dream of a family home.

Have you made any resolutions for the beginning of the next decade? Let me know, I always love to hear from you all. Happy New Year.

Keren x

Hi guys,

I’m back and this time with darker hair again. I’m sorry but the blonde had to go, I was so tired of the endless roots and maintaining my mane, I gave up. Slacker, I know.

Anyways, I thought I’d end the Christmas week with a post reflecting on the year and the ups and downs that I have been working on each day. As the year comes to a crashing end (Thank Lord) , I felt there was no better time to begin a little reflection.

How cliche? I know but as I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep and looking through past photographs, it brings me to a time in my life of struggle and inner torment. A time I have chosen not to talk about openly, a time of my life that left me feeling lifeless.

2019 has been tough to say the least, I started the year by relying on prescribed anxiety meds for a crippling post partum anxiety that left me unwilling to leave home, not talking to my Husband and feeling a whole lot of worry and sadness. The medication was like a ritual, I had to take my anxiety medication before I could begin the day. Rinsed down with a stale morning coffee, it was a horrible time.

I became reclusive very early in 2019 and I shut off from my emotions. Rather than connecting with my body and listening to my needs, I steered away from myself only to become withdrawn and most definitely sad. A person I didn’t know, nor did my family. I know in life we all have our good times and bad but it seemed that 2019 just kept throwing those curve balls. Sure, nothing significant or terrible happened but the day to day events and just getting by was enough to make my toes curl.

Interaction with others has been hard, I have very few friends and those that I call friends, I don’t see. I spend my free time mostly indoors if I’m not out walking and really, I’m struggling to tell you what I did in free time, I don’t really recall. Perhaps nothing, mull around in my own state of sadness being consumed by a bubble where nothing was at it seemed. I’d make mountains from molehills, worry myself sick and favor insomnia over sleep due to stress and panic. I’d pick needless arguments, lash out then feel upset over my actions and reactions. I was the world’s best at over thinking and I was running on empty as I dealt with trials of life which I shall begin to share a little more about.

I’ve previously spoken about my past weight battles, before falling pregnant I was 39kg, at full term in my pregnancy I was 52kg, I wasn’t allowed two paracetamol during my time in the labor ward due to my low weight, I’d have taken a thousand during my labor if I could, never mind one mesley paracetamol, that’s sure to kill the crippling labor pain..

At my worst, my legs were so tired, my body so pale and eating porridge oats for every meal. Days I’d feel my eyes shift as my body would prepare for syncope, I never did faint through my illness other than one time as I got up to leave a restaurant with my Husband where I blanked, I crashed into a table, fell at a woman’s feet. I got myself up in a shock and didn’t look back, although I knew then how serious my illness had become, I didn’t stop. I had no reason too, it felt good to me, to weigh myself after every meal, after every day and see the numbers drop. I went from a healthy 70kg something, to mere 39kg to which I steadily maintained the weight for around two years as I feasted on oats, fruit and little else.

I’d count ribs as I got into the bath and watched my reflection, searching my body for any fat to pinch. A bite of a biscuit here and there only to throw the rest in the bin. On one occasion, I had two oreos for my dinner and went to bed so that I wouldn’t be tempted by food. I had told my Mother I was gluten intolerant so I wouldn’t have to eat foods that she would make for me, instead I could have a salad, soup or god forbid, oats. It didn’t stop, full fat milk became fat free, calories were counted so much so that I can still recall the calories in any food you name and I am pretty good at guessing calories in meals, take outs and drinks. Sometimes I still calorie count, not that I watch my intake but for curiosity and I like to prove myself right.

As we draw 2019 to an end, I’d like to say I feel that this year, despite the lows and the hard times, I have recovered from my food issues and have regained a healthy weight and BMI. My periods have returned after five years of absence – during which time I fell pregnant FYI (shocker, belive me, I know) and I can now eat without remorse, or guilt. I enjoy food again, I enjoy eating with my family and you’ll be glad to hear I can’t bear to face porridge oats ever again frankly. I’ve gone from surviving on porridge and ten strong coffees per day, even into the late hours to three full meals, snacks and no coffee at all. I don’t consume alcohol and I don’t over indulge or under indulge any more. I truly belive I have overcome the demons I faced with food, my arms no longer resemble sticks as I have been told previously and nobody pressures me to gain weight any more. Hallelujah.

Although faced with anxiety and PCOS, I fought through and continued to maintain a healthy weight goal, I stopped worrying about what I was eating and decided to eat what I wanted, when I wanted to. I braved impromptu Burger King trips, I indulged in a Whopper for crying out loud. Little things which were all pretty major for myself and inadvertently led to my recovering and strength. I wouldn’t say I eat well, but I have a balanced diet and I always take time to treat myself to chocolates and take out pizza.

I can’t say that my anxiety with food will be gone forever, I think it will always be a big part of my life and on days where I don’t feel body confident, want to cry in front of the mirror or ache for a better body it is easy to begin to let old habits rise once more, to skip a meal, to cut out the snacks to lose a few quick pounds. To start calorie counts and push away the dinner plate with an empty, aching stomach.

Can you see what Im getting at? Recovery is not perfect nor permanent and it had to be worked at every day. I’m trying to embrace myself as I am and encourage myself to feel confident in my skin on the good days and the bad.

To further work on self care and focus, at the end of 2019 I began to take a barre class to help gain confidence, fitness and strength. To take time out once a week for myself to feel good and do something for me. I won’t be gracing the stage of the theatre production with my (not so) fantastic ballet any time ever, but I like to think Barre is helping to build strength and bring a little peace to my life which has in turn allowed my mind to slow down a little and focus better.

I decided to stop taking my anxiety medication to end the year, not because I didn’t want to take it, but because the urge to take it has gone, my anxiety is barely apparent to myself and I have gained inner strength and confidence to do things again, to be more honest, to be open and to try to understand and explain my emotions. I’m working on myself using my focus and alternatives to medications, I don’t think I’d have got this far without the aid of medical intervention but I can now see the end of the tunnel, I have my motivation and happiness back and I have the drive I need to get through the next year and even set myself goals. I am proactive and forward planning for the future something that I’d have no interest in just six months ago.

Although the year didn’t begin well, it certainly didn’t flow well and I’ve had my issues I have fought through it all and worked on myself enough to be free from the daily anxieties I once had holding me back. I’m not a sudden extrovert with a large social calendar and urge to go sky diving quite yet, but I’m more me again and right now, after a testing period, that’s all I can possibly ask for and more.

A liitle about me right now – I’m hellish tired, I’m more clumsy than I have ever been before, I get headaches nearly each day and I forget.. A lot. Motherhood has changed so much of me, but I don’t live in fear of that person it made me anymore, I have chosen to embrace myself how I am and I know who I need to be. I’ve got some goals I have set for the pending year ahead and I will share those with my next post.

Right now, I’m proud of what I have overcome, where I am heading and my ability to speak about my experience, reflect and learn from the hard times. I’m off to bed to think about what I can do better tomorrow and hopefully get six hours of kip in.

Keren x

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