Where to start…

I have promised myself every new year for the past 5 years that I will start a blog and have yet to give it a proper go.

Having had a turbulent few years in my personal life and career it has spurred me on to create an outlet to share my experiences and hopefully help and even inspire other people facing similar challenges. I’ve also said that this year I’ll try more new things so it will be great to have a place to record those experiences to look back on!

I will also post and share what I’m learning as I get older and also any funny anecdotes along the way!

The name of my blog is inspired by my little man Monty so it’s only right he’s in the first photo I post.

Wish me luck!

M&M x

Featured post

New Decade, New adventures

I cannot believe it’s been over a year since I wrote a post! It feels like a couple not 13 months ago!

A lot happened in 2019 both good and bad. I lost my dear Grandpa at the end of 2019 and I really struggled.

On the plus side I left my ‘dream job’ and began a new challenge that I absolutely love!

On paper the role I was in was my dream role but in reality it made me into a person I really didn’t like. I was negative, worried, stressed, felt worthless and that impacted everything in my life. I was so sad that I drank and smoked to ‘relax’ and ‘feel better’ but all it actually did was mask the underlying issues and make me irritable and miserable.

The biggest change is simply how much happier I am, now that I’m not worrying and stressing all of the time about things that are not worth the extra units of alcohol, cigarettes or wrinkles! I used to leave work wound up like a top, ring mum or a friend on the hour long journey home and rant about what had annoyed or upset me that day, walk through the door and relay the same rant to James before opening the fridge reaching for the wine and heading outside to smoke.

Now I leave work and put on some music for the drive home (I even sing most days!), walk through the door and put on my trainers to take Monty out for a long walk, get back and start cooking and then welcome James home with dinner cooked and a smile on my face.

I go to bed at a decent time, sleep really well and wake up feeling happy.

I have put weight on because of Christmas but I’m going to the gym regularly and even have favourite classes, I’m eating better and I’ve had one glass of wine in 10 days and not smoked this year which for those of you who know me is quite remarkable!

So for anyone reading who feels like 2020 needs shaking up and a change needs to happen I’d completely recommend giving it a go. My life is so much better that I hardly recognise myself! I have more time for myself, James, my family, Monty and my friends which is more important to me than anything else and the best part is I haven’t had to sacrifice anything. I just had to be honest enough to say I wasn’t happy and brave enough to change that.

I’m determined to keep up with the blog this year so I’ll post again soon 😊

Monty and Me xxx

Dear Dad…

So on Thursday you would have turned 60. I know we would have had one hell of a party to celebrate and I would have been right by your side. Sadly it wasn’t to be but as it’s a special birthday I thought I’d write you a letter that I hope wherever you are you can read.

I spent my early years thinking ‘why me?’ ‘Poor me’ ‘it’s so unfair’, and to a certain extent I still feel those things from time to time. When I got my exam results, passed my driving test, graduated uni and introduced James to everyone I desperately wished you could have been there to experience it. Every occasion as lovely and happy as it was always had a sadness lingering for me.

As I get older I actually dread the moments in my life that I know will be the next significant milestones as it will be just as hard to not have you at those! My wedding day, the birth of my children, the list could go on.

I think the hardest thing for me has and always be that I never met you…properly. We’ve never had a conversation so I don’t know what you sounded like. I don’t have a memory of your laugh or you calling my name because I don’t remember hearing it. I don’t have memories that are special between me and you because we didn’t have the gift of time to make any that both of us could treasure.

What I do have is a huge amount of memories that your friends and our family have shared with me and I wish that when I hear them even now that I could do so without shedding a tear but I’m yet to master that. What they all tell me is how much I remind them of you, how much I look like you and how well we would have got on and as much as I love that I also hate it. How bloody unfair that I don’t get to learn that and experience it myself.

I guess this all sounds like another ‘poor me’ moment but don’t think I’m not aware of how unbelievably lucky I am to have the incredible family and friends that I have had and do have in my life because I really am blessed in that department.

I guess this is my time to say or write how incredibly sad I am that I haven’t had the chance to know and make my own memories with you dad and how I wish with all my heart that I make you proud every day.

I love and miss you and you will forever be a part of my journey.

Thank you for the long legs, sense of humour…and the double chin. I owe you a lot and I miss you more than you’ll ever know.

Happy Birthday from your Anwril xxx

Am I broody?

So I’ve always been a person who wants to have children. If there’s a baby in the room I’m the first to want a cuddle and in the past when I’ve been single I’ve always dreamed of meeting THE guy and having children with him.

I’m now older so thought I’d want them more, plus I’ve met THE guy so even more reason to want them…however, my sisters both had beautiful girls 2 years ago and having been around them I see more than just the fun play time and cuddles before bed.

I lived with one of my sisters last year for a couple of months with my boyfriend and we were very grateful for the offer of a bed while we got our own place sorted, but we are also grateful for the lesson in how bloody hard being a parent is!

Don’t get me wrong I’m sure it is the most rewarding job to have and it’s amazing having a mini me who adores you and loves you unconditionally but what you don’t see is the tantrums, refusal to do anything you want them to do and the way they stop you from sleeping or having any time to yourself…ever! You can’t even pee alone! My dog follows me into the bathroom now and again but he doesn’t quiz me or try to get on my lap while I’m having a call from nature. He also doesn’t shout ‘boobies’ when I get in the shower. (I’d be straight on Britain’s for Talent if he could)

I guess it made me think of the very basic Sex education we had when I was in school and how it only dealt with 0.2% of what having a baby means. It’s a lifetime commitment, you can’t have a day off or skip a walk (thinking of the dog when I’m hungover) or ignore a cry or nappy change. You can’t just get dressed and pop to the shop or make plans without thinking about 1,000,000 scenarios! Plus you have to pack a caravan if you need to go away for just one night.

This alone was enough to work as a contraceptive for a while but then my sister had twins. TWINS! They are absolutely beautiful, incredible and I love them with all of my heart but I can now say with utter conviction…no I am not broody!!

High five and hats off to all you parents out there, especially my wonderful sisters and their misters who are amazing parents. I have respect for every single one of you and will think of you while enjoying bubble baths, adult holidays and my time peeing alone.

M&M x

Peaks, Pies and Swingers

Last week saw J and I heading to the Peak District for a romantic break away. We travelled for 3 hours up to our lovely, cosy cottage, a part of the Charles Cotton Hotel which is tucked away in a sleepy village in the heart of the countryside.

The scenery is breathtaking with green fields and original crooked stone walls lining every field and road. We headed to The Cheshire Cheese Pub in Buxton where we enjoyed playing their weekly quiz! We absolutely love a quiz even though we regularly come last or second to last when we go! If anyone wants to join us on a Tuesday night at 9pm in Caerphilly we would welcome the help!

If your travelling to the Peak District then Buxton was a lovely place with lots of little pubs and shops with really welcoming and friendly locals who will happily tell you all the best places to visit!

The next day on recommendation from said locals we went to the Monsal Trail to hire bikes for a 10 mile cycle along disused railway tracks, through tunnels and over bridges all the while taking in breathtaking views. I originally had the idea of a romantic tandem ride where we would cycle together in harmony while birds tweeted and the wind blew through our hair. In reality we had a brief practice in the car park which resulted in J getting very red and angry and swearing more than I had ever heard before while I laughed til I cried (still not able to put my feet on the pedals) Trust me it is a lot harder than it looks and in no way romantic, quite the opposite in fact!

The next day went to Speedwell Cavern and Peak Cavern or the Devils Arse as it’s better known for the very distinctive sound the water makes as its leaving the cave…Both are definitely worth a visit but I’d advise a rain coat and sensible footwear as it’s dark and water tends to drip on your head quite often!

We also went to sample the famous Bakewell Tart and lesser known Pudding in the famous Bakewell Pudding Shop I ordered the pudding and custard and it was delicious. I’m not a huge pudding fan but the tart jam with the sweet pastry and custard was just heaven on a plate. You must go and try some.

At breakfast on our first morning the very busy waitresses were warm, friendly and comical at times with the youngest clumsily dropping cutlery or mixing up orders and saying ‘sorry’ more times than I can remember. They were so lovely though and the food was amazing. Fresh and cooked to order hot breakfast with the well known local addition of Oatcakes which is like a savoury pancake (it’s yummy!).

The older waitress who turned out to be the younger girls Mum was really chatty and told us animatedly all about the history of the hotel which was known for swingers back in the day. Thankfully this was no longer a feature at the hotel and we were left without offers of chucking our keys in a bowl.

The decoration on the walls was incredible with hand painted murals lining the various rooms in the hotel. The waitress also pointed out the unusual additions of naked women and men hidden into the images, which are below of you want to see if you can spot them! (Some are more obvious than others!)

Overall we had a fantastic time and I would highly recommend the Peak District as a destination. If you’re looking for adventure or just to relax then it’s the perfect place to go come rain or shine.

M&M (and J) x

Baring all for the one you love…

No this isn’t a deep and meaningful metaphor for bearing my sole or letting someone in to know the real me. This is about getting guilt tripped into going swimming.

For some people (including my boyfriend) my response of ‘but I might know people there and I’ll be in a swimsuit’ was ridiculous, but for me it is totally rational and reasonable to start panicking at the thought.

We went on a family trip to a local holiday village where the swimming pool is open to the public at certain times of the day. As I know it’s popular locally I knew that when I stripped down to a swimsuit, (while still carrying all of my Christmas weight), chances were I would bump into old school teachers and friends and younger more beautiful women I know who look far better than I did in a swimsuit.

My boyfriends response: “But I want to go and it will be fun! No one will be looking at you anyway!”

Cue my response: “Oh so no one will even bother looking at me?! So you think I look fat too?”

To be fair to him whichever way he’d approached it and whatever he had said to me would have ended up with me having a go at him.

In the end I went. And he was right.

No one looked at me and I didn’t see anyone I knew there.

So you’re thinking ‘Oh good you had fun then!” No. Not at all.

My boyfriend loves the pool, loves swimming and loves slides. He was joyfully swimming along the lazy river, jumping happily in the wave machine and flying down the slides with a huge grin on his face.

I was counting down the minutes to getting out. Away from the fast ‘lazy river’, away from swallowing the contents of the pool in the wave machine and away from nearly drowning when eventually leaving the terrifying darkness of the water slide (after a pit stop in an outdoor pool half way down where a random man caught an eyeful of my boobs as I came shooting out of the slide sideways).

But that wasn’t the worst bit. The worst bit is getting out into the cold air and foot slapping your way in cold water to find your locker. Then is the envious task of trying to roll yourself out of your tight, soaking wet suit, (without dropping your towel on the already wet floor) while keeping your modesty and balance. You also never really get dry so you have to then try to roll on your skinny jeans, that now feel a size smaller than when you got out of them, over your damp, cold legs and bum. Once finally dressed I had the task of trying to dry off my hair with a hair dryer that would have been beaten in power by a door mouse breathing heavily.

To summarise I really don’t get the attraction of swimming pools as an adult,especially In the UK. At least when you go abroad it’s boiling hot and if you get wet then you’re dry again in minutes, you also get huge rubber rings to sit in for actual ‘lazy’ rivers and the likelihood of bumping into someone you know is slim to none. You also diet for holiday so are at least a little prepared to strip off.

The only bonus is the brownie points I earned for ‘trying’ and I’ll be cashing those in on a lovely stylish sofa in the comfort of a warm dry bar while enjoying a long, cold, alcoholic beverage sometime very soon!

M&M x

Love is all you need*

*and time, money, a home, healthy diet, exercise, sleep, willpower, a job….the list goes on.

Ahhh January, how i’ve missed you! The one month of the year I promise myself I will get back to the gym, eat healthier and drink less.  So far I have been to the gym a handful of times and not for very long each time, I have drunk less than I did in December but then that isn’t hard! and I have made more of an effort to make lunch and bring it to work. (I brought lunch once, last week).

Why is it so hard to make time to do things that you know will make you feel better?

I am currently living with my boyfriend in the spare bedroom of my sister and brother-in-law’s house with their 20 month old little girl (Oh and they are expecting twins) waiting for the purchase of a house to complete.  I have also just started a new job in a very busy, demanding role that means I have no time to think between 8.30am and the time I leave that day (sometimes after that).

I need to find a way to switch off of an evening (without the need for wine) that leaves me as physically tired as I am mentally.  BUT I also need the energy to go to the gym when I have finished a days work, make breakfast and lunch ready for the next day, keep on top of the washing, read my emails relating to our house purchase and the admin that goes with that, make time for my boyfriend and I also need to shower now and again…

How do people have time to make time for everything that you need time for?!

I have a new found respect for anyone that has this all figured out and any tips or tools to help with time management will be greatly received!

M&M x

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