Featured

Hello there :-)

So my New Year’s resolution, or plan if you like, is to start writing a blog. Heaven only knows why – there are so many brilliant blogs out there! Who would want to listen to little ‘ole me waffling on? Perhaps nobody. But really, this is for me. I’m planning to treat it like a diary. But hopefully, because of the ‘online’ element, and because I’ve paid for a whole year to use the web address (domain is it?!) I’ll actually keep up with it.

The C-Word

So life has gone a bit mental all of a sudden… and it’s all because of this coronavirus craziness. I mean, who actually thought that one day something like this could really actually come along and turn everything upside down?

I am a person who craves certainty, and predictability. I calm myself with planning and organising and filling in my calendar with activities and holidays. And now it’s all been upended. We were due to go on a once in a lifetime family holiday to Disney Florida in 2 weeks time. (Once because it costs an arm and a leg!!) Family as in 11 of us! My mum and step dad, my 3 brothers, a wife and a girlfriend, and me, my husband and my girls who are exactly the eight age for it at 9 and 11.

But not now. Now I’m looking through the small print of hotels, villa bookings, flights, car hire, airport parking details, all to see of I’ll be able to get it back to maybe go next Easter. While managing my children who have been looking forward to this trip for a year.

In typical rebound-style I’m hastily trying to plan a Plan B trip for the 4 of us in the UK to go some way to making up for the dream holiday we won’t be taking. We’re thinking a lodge in the Lake District, or mid-Wales, with a hot tub at the moment. We can take a stack of board games, bikes and fishing gear and ‘self isolate’ in the woods somewhere.

But who knows if we’ll even be able to do that?

Don’t get me wrong. I know how lucky we are. This all sounds very “woe is me” with my shiney golden slippers. But we are gutted. I know how lucky we are to know that if we do get the the virus, me and mine will probably be fine. And we are fortunate to be able to plan an alternative.

It’s just this uncertainty and not knowing. The schools have closed. For how long? Will we be in lock-down? For how long? Will my Nan be ok (she’s 87)? I have to try and work from home? How long can I even do that for effectively? Are the British government not taking enough precautions like the other European countries seem to think? WHEN WILL IT ALL BE OVER?

It’s a really scary time. My nan said it’s more scary then during the war! She said “we had rationing and all that, but we always went to school”. Bless her.

In a way though, it’s comforting to know that we’re all this together. Not that I would wish this on anyone, but it’s good to know that it is everyone. So everyone understands this struggle. Everyone has to do the right thing. We have to do it as a collective, and there is an amazing solidarity in that.

Stick together, do what it asked of us, and stay safe. Thank god I’m not drinking – or my anxiety would be through the roof!!

Lost

I think it’s fair to say I’m having a bad week. I feel completely disillusioned with my life, my work, my relationship. What am I even doing? I wake up each morning and I do the things that need doing, I’m tired, I’m fed up, I feel like my husband and I are in an elaborate play whereby we pretend that everything is OK.

I talked to him about it a bit. Everything is not OK, and I started to talk to him about all of the things that play on my mind and are leading me to a generally low mood all of the time. Needless to say it didn’t go well. It turns out HE feels unappreciated, HE feels unloved, HE feels like I’m judging his drinking all of the time, HE can’t fix my stuff.

I told him I think we need to go and see a therapist together to learn to talk to each other better rather than every minor disagreement, or attempt by me to talk to him about some of the noise that whirls around my head resulting in him feeling attacked and then we don’t talk for 24 hours.

I’m having a bad day. It will pass. But the things I’m constantly banging on about to myself don’t go away:
– I want him to stop drinking with me.
– I feel trapped by my salary working in an industry that I have grown to hate.
– I want to escape alarm clocks and school runs and calendars and diaries.
– I want to be where it is warm and I don’t feel like the cold is attacking me all of the time.
– I want to travel and feel free to go where I want when I want.
– I want to feel calm and content and spend my time on something that feels worthwhile rather than being stressed and overwhelmed.

Midlife crisis do we think? I’m nearly 37… maybe what I need is a high-powered motorbike 😉

One thing is for sure, at the moment I definitely don’t feel like I’m working it all out. I feel like I’ve lost myself and I don’t even know who I am anymore. I guess it’s back to the booze thing again? It was so much of who I was, what I did, such a big part of our relationship and now it’s gone. And I feel like I’m lost at sea… up shit creek without a paddle.

Never again?

Will I really drink never again? I’m fine now with not drinking day-to-day. But when people at work suggest going out for a meal or for drinks I think… what’s the point?

I used to love going out with my work colleagues for drinks, and to play darts after work (yes – I’ve played darts for years!) but now, without the drink, I just can’t see the point. Why would I want to hang around with a load of people drinking when I’m….. not? Does that reveal that I don’t really like my work friends? That I only ever went out FOR the booze? Probably.

We used to have a great time – I’d laugh until my belly ached. I’d drink cider, get drunk, make hilariously inappropriate jokes, sing, and stumble about and usually make it home just in time to spin out and then try to sleep – with one foot on the ground followed by a horrific hangover the next day… what fun!?

When I watch my favourite TV shows like Cold Feet, or Sex and the City, or the Good Wife, there they all are with their big beautiful glasses of wine, adding sparkle to any occasion. Occasionally I dream about buggering off to leave on a tropical beach somewhere where I would live in a bikini and sarong with a big floppy hat, my kindle and….. a nice lager? All of the dreamy lovely pictures of fun and relaxation include a beautifully shaped glass with an ice cold bevarage. Pimms with all of the trimmings maybe. Why can’t I have that anymore?

Lately I’ve been thinking, maybe if I do a year, get my head straight, continue with the wonderful life coaching podcasts, and my therapy sessions, and generally improve my mental wellbeing and get everything nice and in order, I can go back to it one day. But with everything nice and in order in my brain so that I don’t end up back where I was…. drinking too much and suffering from anxiety. That could be me, right?

But then I remember how I was always thinking about drink. Is it time yet? How much can I have? Not wanting to get drunk and embarrass myself. Not enjoying a day out with the family after about 3/4pm as my mind has flipped to it’s probably time to find a pub….

There is no denying the fact that for some reason drinking creates a sense of occasion, it elevates any situation to something everso slightly more special. Even if it’s just a bottle of wine on the sofa with the evening’s telly. I miss it. I miss the excitement in the evening of a glass of something. I miss the excitement at the weekend. I miss the excitement of arriving somewhere and having a drink as a reward for making it there. A drink to kick-start the weekend, the holiday, a beer when we put the tent up. That treat. Even though it was a treat I had every.single.day. I miss drinking with my husband, it was our thing. I feel like something is missing in our relationship now that a shared drink is no longer there. He drinks on his own now and I’m not a part of it, and that makes me sad.

I know I can’t go back to drinking. I know it. It had taken over my mind and it got into every corner of what I did. It made me feel anxious and shame. I don’t want that for me or for my kids.

But I miss it.

Motivation in winter

How hard is it to stick to good intentions when it is cold and damp and grey outside? I know that I need to be active, and get outdoors in the fresh our, escape the central heating and move my body to avoid feeling grotty and lethargic. It is also the only way I have found to combat my self-diagnosed SAD syndrome!!

But it’s so difficult. One of my favourite things to do after work with the kids is go for a bike ride, but during the deepest darkest winter that’s a bit tricky as we lose the light so early on. Usually our go-to activity in the winter is swimming. I do love swimming but after 3 months of swimming 2-3 times a week the kids are understandably fed up with it.

Last night i got home from work by about 3.30 so I figured we had an hour’s window if we were going to manage a ride. Plan was to wrap up warm, grab the bikes and the cycle to the park, round the park and home by 4.30 ideally – 5 at the latest as it’s getting proper dark by then. Hustling the kids we wrapped up in our camping jumpers, body-warmers, gloves, hats and helmets!! Wrestled the bikes out of the mess that is in the garage ready to set off only to find that 3 of our 6 tyres were flat!!

This is the sort of thing that really winds me up!! I’m rushing to squash a really great activity into the day and all I get are obstacles!! Cue another rummage in the garage for the plug-in-the-car pump thing. Luckily I located this fairly quickly, found the car keys, pumped up the bike tyres, resisted the urge to simply chuck the bloody pump back in the garage in a tangle (I neatly wound up the wires and put it away properly) and then we were off!

It was wonderful. First bike ride in months and the girls and I loved it. Luckily the rain held off. I would have liked to keep going! But alas, the light was not with us. While I have thought about buying lights for the bikes – it’s really just not safe to be out with kids once it’s dark.

Yesterday I learnt that I need to remember how fabulous I’ll feel if I can get myself over the “we’re doing this” hurdle (and shoot down the kids’ whining) and just do something outdoors. Otherwise they’ll be glued to screens all evening and I’ll shrivel up into a centrally-heated SAD ball of meh.

Happily it is Saturday 🙂 Off out for a lovely long river walk today, and we can take a picnic! I’ve done some research and I fancy Eckington Wharf Circular Walk. It’s 3.5 miles which is about right I think. The kids will moan initially but they’ll love it once we get them out and they’ve each found a stick and a muddy puddle.

Picture is of Eckington Bridge… which i hope to walk over today if I can manage to convince the rest of them….!

A question about sleep?

Back when I was drinking every night I used to fall asleep straight away. Like literally within 3 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. You know the score – in bed, fidget, pillow adjustment, check alarms are on and phone is plugged in and on silent, another wriggle then….. sleep.

Since I stopped drinking it takes a bit longer. Don’t get me wrong, I am still reasonably good at going to sleep… and I have the the greatest sympathy for people who really properly struggle. But nowadays, it takes me a little while, say 15 or 20 minutes. And during that time I think.

I am trying to use that time for helpful, positive thoughts. Gratitudes. Thinking about what I’ve learnt from books I’m reading or podcasts I’ve listened to. But more often than not, my mind gravitates towards work. This really annoys me! In an ideal world, work would stay at work and my time away from work wouldn’t be invaded by it. For some reason though, I always end up back at work.

It’s not that I don’t like my job, I do! When I’m there. However home is a very different place. I need to compartmentalise otherwise the working takes over. Home is for self care, family, calm. Not for stress, unfinished to do lists, remembering things I forgot to do that day, problem members of staff or issues on projects to deal with.

So really what I’d like to know is – what you think about when you’re trying to fall asleep? I was wondering this the other night – what do other people think about when they’re lying in bed?

Since I’ve embarked on not drinking and self care, this is my routine:
– into bed
– browse instagram (I only follow sober stuff)
– browse facebook (only in sober FB groups anonymously – not looking at the propaganda from ‘friends’!)
– read the WordPress blogs from the lovely people I’ve found and follow
– read my kindle for half an hour or so
– lights off, to…… think.

I know that all of the good advice is to ignore social media and screens but I figure it’s OK if it’s all strictly self-care focused! Hey – we have to bend the rules a little sometimes!

Any pointers would be gratefully received 🙂

In conclusion – it’s all going rather well. I’m sleeping well (when my husband’s not snoring!). I’m not drinking well. My therapy sessions feel positive and useful. I think I’m a calmer more patient mum to my two angels. Oh yeah, and work is going well too…. except I keep sodding thinking about it at bed time!!!

Night xx

Searching for joy

I often watch my kids and marvel at the pure innocent joy they regularly experience. Why can’t I experience that as easily as they do? I don’t even remember feeling that way as a child.

When they laugh, usually together, it is completely beautiful. They are absolutely free, they let go and immerse themselves in the pure joy of whatever they are laughing about.

Towards the end of my drinking career I would laugh. But not full proper laughter, not that I remember anyway. I was stuck in the rut of life where nothing was really fun anymore. Nothing was really that funny.

When I stopped drinking, and then started again with an attempt at moderation, I mainly experienced misery. Or indifference. For a while I thought I may never laugh properly again. But then it happened.

It was at the end of September last year, after I stopped for what I hope was the final time. We were away with friends for the weekend – we were in our caravan and they were staying in a ‘pod’. It was a cold and windy weekend. I had been not drinking for around a month by then and I honestly thought I’d never truly laugh again. We were having a lovely weekend wrapped up in coats and wellies and walking in the woods. Then one evening, when it was pouring with rain, the six of us went out to the pub for dinner. It was a gorgeous country pub and we’d been lucky to find a somewhere that had a table at short notice. To entertain the children we played that game where each of us draws part of a person and then folds it over so that the next person drawing can’t see what’s gone before. Everyone at the table got involved and we took it in turns to each draw our section – with colouring in and everything! My husband went first, then my youngest daughter, then our one friend (a chap), then his Mrs, followed by me and then finally my big girl.

When we unfolded the piece of paper, the big reveal, the creature we had created was ridiculous. With each un-fold we laughed more and more. Everyone had worked so hard, and taken the task so seriously that our efforts were evident, it was brilliant! I laughed so hard that people actually started staring!! And the more I laughed, the more the kids laughed – they loved how much I loved our masterpiece. It even got to the point where I could hardly breathe from laughing even after everyone else had stopped. They were just staring at me with bemused looks on their faces. It was brilliant. I’m even smiling as I type this 🙂

The guys were drinking, the girls (and obviously the kids) were not. In my glass was a delicious elderflower Bottlegreen. Once I’d finally regained my composure I vividly remember thinking – this is absolutely wonderful. I was overwhelmingly proud of myself to have been able to experience such joy. I didn’t even know that was possible anymore! I honestly felt like I’d won the lottery.

Now, I haven’t laughed like that since. I think I have been spending a lot of time lately taking myself a bit too seriously, but this blog post has been a reminder to let go, channel my beautiful children more often, and maybe act like a kid myself from time to time. Maybe that’s where joy lies.

And if you’d like to see what all of the fuss was about…. have a look at the picture below.

Thanks for reading, if anyone actually is! I’ve certainly loved writing this one xx

Not enough time

I am obsessed with time; I’m definitely a clock-watcher. I cannot stand lateness and I struggle with inefficiency in situations when I deem efficiency to be required. But unfortunately this weird fixation creates an always-there low-level sense of unease, of stress and unsettledness.

So, somewhat paradoxically, I crave stillness, and slowness and calm, but often find it difficult to achieve. I struggle to marry up these two parts of me in any way that I can mentally manage.

I’ll get home after a busy day at work and I’ll think “Right. I should have some chilled out time before I tackle dinner”. So I’ll run a bath, light a candle and take my kindle in with me. Bubbles and everything. But then I can’t relax. I just lie there, impatiently, feeling like I ought to be doing something more productive. Nine times out of ten I’ll manage 15 mins and then the restlessness will win. Hair washed, legs shaved then out.

But here’s the thing. I’m actually rubbish at being productive with my time. When I spend a few hours at home I achieve very little. I’ll start on a task, and then get distracted, flitting between things. I’m actually a bit shit at focusing efforts leaving me frustrated at my own inefficiency. Then I might have a strop!

I know people who can do this stillness. My husband is one. He is excellent at doing bugger all. Just chilling and relaxing. I often joke that his default position, unless instructed otherwise, is to go and lie in bed. Not on the bed… actually in bed. Whatever time of day it is. And he’ll watch YouTube mainly, or read his book. Even doze!!! This of course winds me up no end 😂😂 and oftentimes creates some animosity between us when I think he should be doing more around the house but he’s being what I perceive to be lazy. Which it is! But I suppose if I’m honest, the irritation is borne somewhat out of my inability to do the same.

You see I have these strange self-imposed rules. Or maybe they’re not strange? I don’t think it is necessarily reasonable to go and lie in bed during the daytime. That’s just not normal it? Maybe I could get on board with on the bed… but this is in the bed! That’s just dirty behaviour from my point of view…. Or, if I’m busy, he should be busy too! But then how unreasonable do I sound?!

Oh bloody hell, look at me, I’m moaning! I said I wouldn’t do that!!!! Right… moving on.

So, I think that this general need for busy-ness comes from the fact that I grew up in a very busy home. My mum ran a childcare business in our house. There were always lots of young kids around, and members of staff with people coming and going. Making food, making snacks, organising activities, nursery rhymes, school run, the door bell ringing, the phone. It was as if we lived in a little tornado! Even after all of the people had left, and it was just my mum, my brother and me, she would continue with this high-energy way of being. Paperwork, or games nights, or friends round. Busy busy busy.

When I left home I was astonished at the quiet. I felt almost all at sea. That was when the drinking started. Work, pub, home for more drinks, repeat. My husband (then boyfriend) and I always had friends round, or we were out. I’d never just sit and…. what? What is it people do to fill the quiet time? I know, PUB!

Fast forward 18 years…. we’re married, we have 2 beautiful daughters, my husband and I have good careers, a lovely home… it’s been busy. All of my time has been busy! Only now that my kids are grown a bit, I’m finding that they don’t need all of my time any more. When they were little, even if I did find some time to myself, I dutifully filled it with drinking wine!

But here’s the thing… I’ve quit drinking. So now what? I have all of this time, but I don’t know what to do with it. Know how to use it well. I never learned.

So far I’m trying this: I’m reading a lot; blogging (hello there!); watching more movies, with a cup of Yorkshire’s Bedtime Brew tea -love it- or some sparking water or elderflower somethingorother; I’ve tried bathing – not too successfully; and I’ve upped the exercise, swimming regularly. I’m also trying to do puzzles to somehow make me do mindfulness, and I’ve tried meditating but again…. while I have time, it’s not really alone time. I should play the piano more, but for some reason I don’t.

But here’s the ridiculousness of it all… there is also so much that I want to do, and be, and have in my life but it doesn’t all fit in the time that is available. It’s big stuff. I want to travel, retrain and have a new more fulfilling career, move and live in a different warmer country for a while, go back-packing! Of course, none of this I can do with 2 kids in school, a full time job and a mortgage to pay. I watch Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild and marvel at how brave the people he meets on there are to give it all up to follow their dream.

I don’t think I’m that brave. Would I really like to be? I’m not sure.

I listened to an audiobook a few months ago that was something to do with Steven Covey. The chap on there was talking about drawing a timeline of your life and allocating certain things that you want to do to an appropriate time period in your life. But life isn’t long enough, like the days aren’t long enough. The nights aren’t long enough. Even now, I’m sat here typing in bed… but I really should go to sleep as I have to be up in the morning on the treadmill that is life.

But do you know what? Generally, when I find myself with a period of ‘time’ available, I’m so overwhelmed that do you know what I do with it….? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not nothing in the way a calm, relaxed person might doing nothing. I fret, and feel anxious that I’m not able to make the most of the time, use it in a valuable way, because it’s so precious. And so it is wasted.

I’m trying to get the hang of this new life with all of this time. I think I need to recognise that this will have to be a year of adjustment. Getting used to not drinking, to having more time, and to work on my effectiveness. I need to learn how to use my time well. To find balance.

Apologies if this one’s been a bit rambling… I’m getting used to blogging too!

I felt calm this day. At Three Cliffs bay, walking along the beach in the blustery weather. It’s not me in the pic… it’s my husband 🙂

Reasons why

On Boxing Day 2018 I decided I’d had enough. Enough of drinking and drinking and drinking and drinking. I had loved it. Since around 2001 I had been drinking pretty much every night… wine, lager, cider. My favourite was wine. A nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc: Mud House or Villa Maria were my absolute faves. I was also partial to a bottle of Aspall… or 3.

Obviously I hadn’t drunk every night. There were the two pregnancies when I didn’t drink. And there were the attempts at moderation (not in the week, 3 straight days off the booze a week, maybe 2 will do?) But mostly, more often than not, I would drink in the evenings. And when I didn’t, I missed it. It was like a denial, not allowing myself to have something I wanted. I was grumpy, like a toddler. I would stare at my pint of squash with hatred and think “oh my god! How to people actually not drink and be OK with it? This is miserable. This is so boring!”

But my drinking had become a problem. It bothered me how much I drank. My ongoing attempt and failure to moderate made me feel crappy. I regularly felt like shit in the mornings. Not thumping head or anything (unless it had been a big night) but usually sluggish and lethargic. It was like being on a treadmill with the dull background noise of “meh”, every day. But then every day, at around 5pm, I’d start to get excited about a drink. Of course it wasn’t over-the-top excitement. It was like a little rub your hands together or a little tilt down of the head with a conspiratorial smile, with scrunched up eyes and a little wobble of the head – like a secret little treat was due. My husband would text me “WOFS?” which was abbreviation for “Want owt from the shop?” – our little excited drinking code. Of course all memory of the heaviness of the morning faded by then. Any thoughts or feelings of shame evaporated. By that time of the day, the focus was all about the evening – sofa, drink, telly. Lush. Heaven.

But then the next morning it was the same all over again….. eurgh why can’t I not drink every night. Shit I’ve got a meeting at 8am and I feel like I’m running on fumes. Then I started to notice the anxiety. Which I would mainly describe, in me, as becoming disproportionately worried about stuff. And then obsessing about it, and panicking, and then rationalising and convincing myself it was all OK, following by forgetting it’s all OK and allowing my mind to escalate into ridiculousness again before mentally dragging myself back down to earth. It was exhausting. Plus a million other things.

So on Boxing Day 2019, something in me broke, or clicked, or whatever. Something shifted. And then that was it. I’d had enough. I realised that I couldn’t go on as it was. It was exhausting. It was embarrassing. Shameful. Pathetic. Out of control. I pride myself on being a somewhat sensible, confident person, and yet this was how I was choosing to live my life. To raise my children. To spend my money and my time. Not good choices Emma. Not choices I would be proud of if I really thought about it. What the hell was I doing?! So on Boxing Day I wrote a list and I downloaded a book onto my Kindle. Probably the best book I’ve ever read as it was what kick-started me on this road to better choices, a better life. One I can be proud of.

The book was The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, by Catherine Gray. It was as if the universe had sent me exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. I loved her writing, I connected with her story, and it gave be the hope and the strength I needed to significantly change and improve my life.

The list I wrote was of ‘reasons why’ I wanted to stop drinking, and this was it:

  • To stop the on going mental battle of trying to drink less and failing.
  • To never be drunk. It’s disgusting.
  • To stop feeling miserable when I can’t or shouldn’t drink.
  • Because I’m never happy with only 1 or 2 drinks. We struggle and fail to drink in moderation. Always.
  • To start going to bed alert every night and not shit-faced.
  • To have good evening sex.
  • To remove hangovers and feeling rough in the mornings
  • To stop making bad choices when drunk
  • To stop the shame I feel about how much I drink
  • To enjoy spending time with my extended family more, rather than being embarrassed about how much we drink.
  • To stop always having to work booze in to my schedule and plans and days, which limits what we can do.
  • To be able to book a table for 8pm and not worry that I will have drank too much by then to want to eat.
  • To stop the anxiety I often feel after a heavy night socialising with drink, and cringing at my behaviour the next day.
  • To stop getting pissed and over-sharing.
  • To always remember what i did the night before.
  • To have more money.
  • To lose weight and have better skin.
  • To be healthier and live a long healthy life for my girls, full of great experiences. Travelling for me, and being there for them for as long as possible, helping them through their lives with their children.
  • To set a good example for my husband and to help him to drink less, and live a long healthy life with me. And to set a good example for the girls.
  • To have more energy to exercise and keep the house tidy clean and well looked after.
  • To have the energy and motivation to do ‘extras’ around the house.
  • To have more time (when I would be drinking or sleeping off a hangover) for:
    – exercising
    – playing with the girls
    – cinema
    – escape room
    – night time walks
    – theatre/comedy
    – …….etc
  • To be a better parent in the mornings and engaging with the kids rather than letting them watch YouTube all the time
  • To have better quality sleep
  • To read more
  • Hoping to have better focus, memory and concentration, and be less scatty

Now, I’ve deleted out a couple of the less British or unattractive entries. Trying not to overshare….!

This is a list that I’ve since revisited. I’ve added more detail and little notes too (in my phone); successes, or things that I’m proud of over the last year. But the list as given above was written in the notes section of my phone on Boxing Day night, while I lay in bed, determined that I was going to do this. I remember writing it, and feeling so strongly about those words, so quite emotional about how much I meant them, and I so wanted to be that person. That day was the beginning of the year ahead for me. Crikey hasn’t it been quite a year….

I’ve certainly eaten a lot more cake than I used to.!

Letters to myself

I saw a great post on instagram last night. It suggested that at the beginning of each year you should write 2 letters. One to the you from a year ago, and one to the universe.

The first one to ‘year-ago-me’ is to tell yourself some of the wonderful things you will achieve in the year to come. It’s a way to look back at the past year to consider all of the things you have achieved; big and small, and to think how you would have felt reading that letter – to know all of the things you will accomplish over the next 12 months.

The second one is instead of new near’s resolutions, it is a set of intentions that you will try to live by in the coming year. The theory being, I guess, that writing down your intentions you are clarifying what you want from the year ahead, setting yourself a road map to try your very best to stick to. Of course on any journey along an unknown path there may be detours, and you may get a little lost, but having that map to refer to helps you to keep coming back to your intended journey through your life.

So here goes… here are the letters I wrote myself last night:

Dear Me-of-a-Year-Ago,

In a year you will have:

  • given up drinking and become completely tee-total and be pretty much at peace with it. Most of the time.
  • lost a stone in weight entirely down to cutting out the booze!
  • sought a councillor and embarked on a journey of self discovery and self improvement working towards living a calmer life, with a focus on wellness.
  • taken out a family gym membership, and the 4 of you will be swimming regularly and loving it!
  • become committed to self care and compassion.
  • read LOADS of quit-lit, listened to podcasts, and started journalling of-sorts including setting up your very own blog!

Isn’t that amazing? You’re doing so well!!!

Love from, Future Me xoxo


Dear The Universe,

Over the next year I want to:

  • focus on health and happiness. You only get one life, let’s live it as well as we can.
  • work on my relationship with my husband. I want to have better communication and quality time together. Including regular date nights.
  • have established a blog with regular posts focusing on sobriety, struggles in midlife, navigating this complicated world concentrating on positivity. No-one want a to listen to moaning!
  • have strengthened my role at work enabling it to be a hassle-free means to an end: to fund my beautiful life.
  • continue to enjoy weekends away and time outdoors and be physically active.
  • watch lots of movies
  • survive and enjoy an extended family holiday to Florida!
  • stay sober.

Pretty please. Hugs, me xoxo

This is a photograph that I love. I took it on holiday a couple of years ago. It’s of a beautiful beach in the Caribbean. You can see my 2 beautiful daughters in it. I’d love to go back there some day… For me, the photograph encapsulates true happiness. There are of course lots and lots of other things that make me happy other than a paradise beach, and I have many many photos I’d love to share, but this is a good one to start with 🙂