Back in June I felt elated as I handed in my final portfolio. All of the tears, late night study sessions, questioning about what I was doing and general stress had come to an end and I jumped for joy as I looked and realised – I had done it! For the first time in years I had actually stuck to something. I had found my passion (and possible career path) and I had seen it to the end. I had accomplished a course and It felt absolutely mint!

Since September 2017 I have been going to college every Wednesday night to study a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling Skills. Back in the Summer I came to the realisation that counselling (or Therapy of some description) would make a great career for me and would be great around the family too in these coming years. After a lot of thinking and praying about it, it just seemed such a clear and fulfilling path to take. It felt like it would fit me so well and it made me really excited.

The more I contemplated it as an option, I thought about how it would use both my natural talents and life experiences and bring them together to be something that would be beneficial to others. I thought about how it would be a job that really mattered and I would be doing something that was as varied as I am day to day. As I looked at everything I had ever done in my life; from after school jobs, to full time jobs, and from volunteer work and subject interests, it all suddenly became less random and seemingly indecisive, and came together under this umbrella of giving me various experiences, talents and interests that all had a common thread of preparing me to be able to be a therapist at this stage in my life.

I felt more confident and clear about my life and my life choices/experiences than I have ever previously done. And so I went for it – the first step – A level 3 Diploma in counselling skills … part-time!

I kept it a secret for a while. I suppose I didn’t want to have to tell a lot of people about it and then feel like a failure if down the road it didn’t go to plan. I wanted to avoid the awkwardness of if I did quit like I have done so often before, that people wouldn’t know and judge. I know now thats really silly but at the time, and the me back in September, that’s what felt right.

The difference this time though was that I was really invested. I knew deep down that however hard it was, this was what I needed to do and what I wanted to be.

It was something I enjoyed learning about and practicing and it was helping me grow in incredible ways too. I knew that, because of the things we were studying, that to push and fight through the hard things would eventually make me a better person and better capable in my life as well as being capable of helping and guiding others on their journeys.

I loved the theory – I found it super interesting. And I enjoyed putting my skills into practice and working with people. It felt good to know my limits and interests and comfortable with both.

I learnt from this course so much about me – my excuses, my fears, my weaknesses and judgements of others, and how to combat them and overcome them. I also grew in confidence as I discovered my strengths and who I really am and wanted to be in life. I learnt the tools to own my choices and how to handle worrying situations. And it was those latter lessons (amongst others) that made me more determined than ever to accomplish this course and progress to be more.

It became less about just doing this course and more about the future – A degree or diploma in a related field and eventual goal of being a therapist by the time all of my kids would be in full time school.

I experienced a lot of struggles but a lot of growth too and with that it has been great to see what I can become and offer to the world. It has felt good to discover parts of me that have been suppressed by difficulty or how I have taken others behaviours towards me and it has been so great to be more open minded and more self confident. I have loved feeling secure in myself and my life/day to day choices. I have enjoyed the freedom of being okay with where I am at and knowing how I can become whoever I want to be. I have felt fulfilled to be able to accept and be okay with my weaknesses and I feel empowered by knowing my strengths and talents.

I guess you could say this course has helped me feel accomplished because I have not only completed something around a  young family, but I found me in the process. And there I found how to be okay with all of my scars, weaknesses, flaws, choices, gifts and abilities – and that was a wonderful feeling.

Collecting my Certificate

Last Thursday I went  to collect my certificate – I had accomplished the first step. I had completed it and now to pass it felt even better than completing it in the first place.

I had accomplished my goal and it was so great.

It really wasn’t easy to study around kids (not easy at all) and it wasn’t easy to study for a topic that at times was hugely sensitive and heavy. A subject that resurfaced a lot of pain and highlighted a lot of painful things and insecurities about me, but I did it. I persevered, I worked through those hard times with my new friends and persoanlly and I smashed down the mental walls I had built up. I dealt with things I needed to that were holding me back…and then with lots of study and essays – I did it – I passed!!

I am so proud of my little certificate. I am so proud of my progress.

I haven’t just accomplished a course people, I have overcome great barriers and personal insecurities. I have found a purpose and passion beyond that of motherhood and something that feels so right for me to be doing in life. I love the vast options that being a therapist offers, and in the process of all of this discovery, I have made brilliant friends from all walks of life.

This certificate is a symbol of the power I have to do hard things and to be ever growing and being better on a personal level. It shows me, however hard it is some weeks with a young family to study, I can still reach my personal goals and I become someone to make a difference in the world. I can reach my educational and life goals.

This certificate represents hours of work, lots of tears, and it stands as a reminder that I have power!

I look forward to my next course, whatever that will be! I know it will be harder and it will require more commitment and dedication … more work and balancing of family life. But I am looking forward to more personal growth and more knowledge.

Thank you so much to my friends and family that helped me power through and accomplish a course that was both challenging but hugely satisfying!

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Being organised (or at least trying to be) and having routine and plans is something I love to have in my life. It is both crucial when raising a family, and also something that is a huge part of my character for my personal sanity. I love to write “To do” lists, keep on top of things, have things written down, and have goals and some kind of structure in our day to day lives. I am a spontaneous person in many ways, but mostly I find comfort in having some kind of plan and structure. I feel there is a lot of stress and unnecessary chaos in family life where there are no real plans or routines!

Being a stay at home mum raising 3 kids, as well as being a blogger, a student at night school and the president of the girls youth organisation at school is a challenge, but is also very much my reality. Throw in trying to have date night with Nath, a social life, keeping track of extracurricular stuff and general life – it is no easy feat. And so I feel it is hugely important to be organised and keep some kind of balance for all of the demands of life, and to ensure self care.

For me, in order to do this I have in place things to keep organised and to keep some balance to my days. These include recording appointments and schedules in various places, and “My 3 job rule” to keep on top of the home without it becoming a complete drag or dominating pull!

How I Keep organised day to day 

I have had a lot of people observe to me that they find it interesting that I still write the majority of things we need to do with a good old pen and paper. It fascinates them that for someone that spends so much time online why I don’t use a digital calendar like google? The truth is that whilst I do record reminders on there, my brain seems to much prefer the act of writing things by hand, and seeing it all there to monitor and tick off. I don’t know why but I much prefer to write it all down, as oppose to type it!

I record things in 2 places – A family Calendar and a Diary!

A family calendar – For several years now we have had hung in our kitchen a family calendar where we have to hand all of the families appointments, classes, schedules and social events. It is useful fo Nathan and I when planning weekends and school holidays, and it is also good for us all to just be aware of what the coming week looks like for one another!

I love the flexibility of being able to look up and see at a glance what is planned that day and in the coming weeks!

A Diary – I love a Diary for my own personal goals, “to do” lists, notes and family stuff. I have tried numerous types of diaries, but my favourite has to be the one I have now that Nathan bought me from TKMaxx this Christmas. I love that each month is in sections, and each section has inspirational quotes and such an array of spaces to write lists, appointments, goals and birthdays (to name a few). I find my brain likes the layout of it, and how I keep things in order within it’s pages!

In my diary I pretty much copy everything off the family calendar (only this one is able to move around with me) and then add in all of the little things I do day to day; like food shopping, seeing friends. playgroups, cleaning, assignments, blogs etc. I used to love to bullet journal things like my goals, bucket lists, blog ideas, gratitude and blessings, and last year I did try a bullet journal for everything, but I found the creative style too much work, and it all hurt my brain not having it prewritten, so now I love the balance of my new diary with all of its little sections – most of which I would have previously written into bullet journal format, but it is already there!

A new addition to my life, and something I really love for an organised life and journaling, are the new filofax notebooks – again they have the option to be divided into sections, some with pockets to keep letters/bills/leaflets in, and the mix of lined/squared/plain paper, as well as the option to add extra sheets in to, make it the perfect option for bullet journaling or as a general family organiser. It is a good space to brainstorm ideas, make plans, set goals (with more plans), and keep lists of all sorts from all areas of life!

The leather look cover and bright colour options feel lovely, and it is a really useful and versatile piece of stationary for anyone looking for a more free way to keep track of (and organise) various areas of life!

My 3 Job Rule (for Balance and Sanity)

I love the saying “all work and no play makes ______ a dull boy/girl”! And so whilst I am one who enjoys routines and structure, there is an element to me that loves and craves some adventure and spontaneity. I suppose keeping a diary and track of everything, creating routine etc gives balance to my life and helps me to enjoy and be on top of the day to day demands, whilst still making space in my weeks to have fun and live life!

When Ethan was a baby however, things became very out of sync and I developed a very unhealthy cleaning obsession which included unrealistic expectations on myself to have a very orderly home all of the time. I don’t know how it got to that point, I suppose I saw it as being a sign to the outside world that I was coping well if my home was tidy when I had a new baby. But, reality was that after several months it was one of the tell tale signs that I had PND, and I soon realised (at breaking point and since) that motherhood wasn’t about having a clean and tidy home all of the time, but living life with my kids. Yes part of motherhood is creating a clean and safe environment, but it is also the responsibility of parents – not just me, and that it was unrealistic to expect it to be so. In time I began to enjoy being a mother more and have since been able to get more of a balance by living my 3 job rule mantra!

As our family has grown, so has the food bill, laundry pile, and the lack of order – I quickly realised in all of this that my days could quite easily be spent going round in circles and being dominated by the demands of a family home. Hours could be spent cleaning, Ironing, doing laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, cooking and hoovering. I knew that whilst I was a stay at home mum, this isn’t what I wanted all my days looking like. Yes I wanted to care for my family and keep our home in order, but this wasn’t just my sole responsibility – I am a mother, not a cleaner! And so early on, when Ethan and Megan were young and both at home full time, I realised I couldn’t do it all everyday, and nor did I want to. So, to help my mind and mental well being, and to be a more present mum, I Introduced for myself “the 3 job rule”!

The idea is that each day (except for Mondays which has become my cleaning the house day after the weekend and is more intense) I do just 3 jobs in the house – only 3, and then I go and do other things I need to do or want to do. The jobs are things that can be done quite quickly whilst the kids get dressed or for 20 – 30 mins after the school run, but they help me keep on top of the home! I do my 3 jobs, and then we might go out with friends, or on adventures somewhere. We might go to local groups, or swimming, or to the park…for a walk out, or simply snuggle and watch a movie. I do all of these things without the mum guilt or worry that there is loads to be done at home, because I know I already did the 3 most pressing jobs that morning and that is enough!

For me I always want to make sure they are done in the morning so that the day can be ours. I don’t particularly enjoy coming back to a messy house when we have dinner to make/eat, and other things to do, and so daily (often before or right after the school run) I always  1. Clean the Kitchen  2. Put on a load of laundry and then 3. (which is more flexible) usually clean the lounge. But Sometimes it might be to put the dinner on if it can be in the slow cooker, or it will be a quick hoover round, or maybe some ironing, or folding laundry.

Having the 3 job rule ensures the house stays in order and is clean, without dominating my day. It means I have a sense of achievement each day because my home is in a decent state, and I have done several things before leaving the house. But ultimately it means that I am more than a cleaner of our home! I keep my home clean yes, but within half an hour, meaning I have time with my kids and a social life with other mums and family. I means I have time to do things for me as well as my family, and I love it.

Organization and routine are very important to me, and I love the feeling of being in control of my day’s and making good use of time each day. Now that there is just Alice and I during the day, we tend to stay fairly local for school runs, and so that when she naps I can then blog or do college assignments. On an evening Nathan and the kids usually help tidy up from dinner, and Nathan always takes care of the bins!!! I love this balance as each day I can shut the door and go out with the kids to school and not stress, knowing I have accomplished something in my home and keeping on top of what needs doing without being dragged down by it all! I like that when we come home the downstairs is almost always clean and tidy, and for me it is a real sense of accomplishment to be able to balance everything I am and do.

It is so good for my mental well being and soul to have some structure, time out of the home most days, and just time with my kids to be mummy and go places and do things! I find that keeping a diary/notebook to track my goals, plans and schedules, as well as setting little daily goals in the home, all help me to accomplish this huge goal to raise a family (with all that that entails) and have some personal development and goals too. Whilst some days are a complete write off, most days are good and I flop into bed knowing I have used my time well and done my best!

*I received the Filofax notebook recently as a gift from them, and so wanted to share with you how lovely it was!

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Hello and welcome back to another week of “MyHeartyLife” – an opportunity for us to share in the goodness and positive points of the previous week!

I feel like this week has just flown by, which is great because we are so close to our holiday now (12 days) that I am starting to get just an incy bit excited! I have been buying loads of English treats for my friends and our family in the states, and sorting out the kids wardrobes to see what they will need extra!

I can’t believe though the difference in weather to last week! It’s so crazy how we have gone from a frozen, Winter Wonderland, to a beautiful mild and sunny Springtime feel in a matter of days. I have loved the milder feel, and when I know that it’s here to stay I will be looking forward to packing away big jumpers , feather coats and scarves, and getting out more colourful T-shirts, tops and pumps! I can’t wait to seeing nature come alive again and enjoy the colours of flowers and green fields!

Grateful for…

This week I feel grateful for Nathan again. I guess I am always grateful he’s mine, and we have what we do/each other, but when I am having a hard time I am especially grateful for his understanding and general desire to make me smile! This week, with the build up to Mother’s Day (and other things) I have been feeling rather anxious, and so I have been grateful to be able to talk to him – someone who get’s it, and was there – and to have his hugs and reassurance.

I am also grateful for Easter eggs in the shops – I had a sneaky one at the weekend and it was delish!

Success…

My biggest success this week was that I have been super organised, and been able to get the kids sorted for our holiday! I have done all of the laundry and taken out what they will need, as well as hitting up Primark, Next clearance and H&M! I have managed to get them a few extra weather appropriate bits for them to add to what still fits, and whilst I didn’t want to have to venture back into the city, it has been nice to get them a few new things (on budget)! I have it all in outfits in a Lidl bag, ready to iron and pack in their cases sometime next week.

Does anyone else find that their kids grow like beanstalks? Taller and Taller each season.

Found beauty in…

On Wednesday Alice and I had a lovely little adventure up to Sewerby Park near Bridlington (East Yorkshire) with my longest of friends and her little girl who is 2 months older than Alice. We have been so many times but never fail to have a lovely time! It was sunny, mild, the flowers were blooming and it was a beautiful spot to have a walk and some fresh air. It was so lovely to see the little ones running around together, and for us to catch up and chat. When I see them toddling around together, my hope is that they will find such a great and lasting friendship like that which their mummy’s have with one another!

It was beautiful to see snowdrops in abundance and stroll through the quaint little walled gardens. I always find grand houses and their grounds so beautiful – especially when shared with such great people!

#MyHeartyLife Rules

You can link up one post a week that fits into either or all of the “Prompts”, and I ask that you at least comment on mine and one or 2 others too. Kindness costs nothing and a comment on your blog feels amaze!

Please use the #MyHeartyLife on Social media whenever to share the goodness and cheerful moments in your life that day! It might also help when summing up the week into a blog post to link up!

 

The Hearty Life


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This last week has been mostly uneventful. I have barely done the school run, seen anyone or stepped outdoors, due to most days being spent resting, snuggling and watching back to back episodes of Gilmore girls thanks to a stinking virus that caused me to revert back to my bed. Sickness…dizzy…painful muscles and lack of energy – its been both frustrating and rather miserable over here in my life!

I have these moments occasionally and my only saving grace in all of this was that I lost 4lbs, got to spend my time snuggling my baby and receiving many gummy grins, and ticking off a good chunk of the 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls I set myself to watch last year!

I fell in love with watching Gilmore Girls the first time around that it was aired over here, and have vivid memories of watching it daily during the latter weeks of my first pregnancy with Ethan. You either love it or hate it I think, and I am certainly a lover of that mother daughter pair!

Watching TV and movies are one of my favourite things to do, it just brings me joy (even when they are sad) and satisfaction. They are usually one of my go to’s to unwind and chill and a main factor in our date nights. I take a while to get in to box sets as they are so time consuming and I know I can get hooked and waste many an evening doing nothing but staying up late to watch “just one more episode”. But, in the past I have loved One Tree Hill, Suits (still working our way through season 5) and of course Gilmore Girls… Its no wonder then that I was rather excited to see it return to my life again via Netflix last summer and quickly bookmarked it for a time when I felt ready to watch back to back re runs, followed by the new season. I wanted to see the ones I’d missed way back when, see how it ends and how they have gone back to it – I actually couldn’t wait!

December was the perfect opportunity with wrapping gifts, packing bags and being so tired on an evening with all of my running around to tick off the first few seasons, and much to Mr Smiths dismay I again became hooked! I since have looked forward to the cold days indoors that come with January where I could curl up with my baby and a hot chocolate and catch up on more episodes. I decided over Christmas that I need to slow down a little more and at least once a week make the most of not having to be anywhere and just relax for maybe an afternoon – it would be good for my sanity and it would be something nice to take care of me before I am launched into the crawling and into everything baby stage.

I never anticipated that I would fall ill though and have that opportunity so soon. And whilst it was a burden to me and meant a rather boring week of doing not very much, I have had some lovely moments just laying in my PJs under the duvet (or wrapped in a blanket) with my snuggly little pal and watching hours of a much loved/fave TV series. I have been grateful for Mr Smith running the kids to school most of the week, grateful for little Alice being a snuggly baby (though breastfeeding when ill is rough), and especially grateful for having Netflix to give me something to do…hoping to resume normal life this week!

The Ordinary Moments
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