Friday, 22 September 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I am thrilled to share with you that I have received my first award. The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those sites that are creative, inspiring and positive. On The Wrong Side Of Thirty was nominated by Shaina from Happiness Exposed. Thank you for the recognition and encouragement.

Below are the interview questions from Shaina which I answered for you.

1) What's your favourite part about blogging?

I think I love the creative side the most. I love to write and I find it really therapeutic.

2) What makes you happy?

Curling up with a blanket on a cold day and watching movies with my son.

3) Where is the coolest place you have been to?

Although I fell in love with New York I think the coolest place I have been to is Memphis. I am a huge Elvis fan so going to Graceland was a dream come true.

4) What is the biggest frustration in your life right now?

Maintaining a work life balance is very difficult. I have a full time job and then with blogging I'm finding it hard to find time to see family and friends. I think the main problem is that I'm not very organised so that's something I need to work at.

5) Do you have any Pets?

I have a dog called Ava, she is 6 years old and she is a jack russel/poodle cross. She loves cuddles and scaring the postman.
I also have a cat called Norman, he is 3 years old. His hobbies include running away with my makeup brushes and chasing the dog.

6) What is your favourite thing to cook?

I'm going to be brutally honest here, I hate cooking! I can and do cook but I don't enjoy it at all. Big fan of eating though.

7) What is a weird/interesting fact about you that most people don't know?

I'm terrified of frogs. I can't even tell you why but I've actually been in tears before when one has crossed my path.

8) What are 5 things on your bucket list?

To learn how to ski, to go to Mardi Gras, to go to a festival, to go on safari and to buy a camper van and drive all over the USA.

9) How do you handle stress?

Well the short answer is, I don't. I've had anxiety for almost 2 years and yes things are getting better but there is still a way to go.

10) What inspired you to start a blog?

I have always loved writing. I used to write for the the school newspaper but I had let it slide since then. My son actually encouraged me to start the blog and start writing again.

Below are the inspirational websites that I nominate for this award.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

My Child Is More Than Just Clumsy

Living With Dispraxia 

Five years ago when my son was 14 years old he was diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder, more commonly known as dispraxia. It was the end of an 8 year battle and although I was relieved I was angry as he should have been diagnosed so much sooner.

Before I explain my sons condition I think I should start at the beginning. He was such a happy baby but he was very behind in development. He didn't sit up by himself until he was 8 months old and didn't walk until he was almost 2. Now obviously I expressed concern to health care professionals but they never seemed worried. He was also very behind with his speech and he did have an assessment with a speech therapist who again wasn't worried and his speech did come in time. Another worry was the amount of times he fell over, he never really hurt himself but he just seemed to topple over for no apparent reason. He also banged himself on walls, doorframes, cupboard doors, you name it he walked in to it.

When he was 2 and a half I mentioned it all to the doctor who pretty much just called him a typical toddler and yet again did not seem worried. When he started school things got worse. Although he could dress himself I couldn't leave him to get on with it as he would get lost after one article of clothing. The only thing that worked was if I stayed with him and handed him each piece of clothing. Following tasks were difficult for him, I quickly learned to break things down simply for him and never to say too much at once as that would stop him in his tracks.

By the age of 9 I was certain something was wrong. He couldn't tie his shoelaces and it was obvious to me he never would. Sports were an absolute nightmare for him, his coordination was terrible. He still fell over a lot and knew it was more than just clumsiness and it broke my heart to see people telling him to be careful or shouting if he broke something. I knew he was being careful. We had a lot of problems with his handwriting which was illegible and no amount of practice could improve it. There was also clearly something wrong with his memory as he forgot pretty much everything after 5 minutes. Surprisingly he shone academically, was an avid reader with an excellent vocabulary and never had any behavioural issues. He continued to struggle with everyday tasks and I constantly worried that he was never going to be independent.

It wasn't until he was 12 that we first heard the word dispraxia and a doctor finally took me seriously. It was still 2 years before he got the diagnosis as a lot of assessments were required. 

Dispraxia is a fairly common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor skills. It is 3 times more common in boys than girls and causes the child to perform poorly in everyday tasks. There is no clear cause although it is thought genetics and a premature or difficult birth may be risk factors. There is no cure for dispraxia but therapy may be beneficial.

Once we had the diagnosis things got a bit easier and he had some cognitive behavioural therapy which seemed to help. As he got older and exam time came we were able to inform the exam board of his diagnosis and they took his condition into account when faced with his handwriting. He passed them with flying colours and now has a job that he loves. It's not been easy and he still takes quite a bit of organising but I am so proud of the progress he's made. He has been told he will probably never be able to drive and his memory is still pretty bad but we have worked out all kinds of tricks to help with that. He is even learning to cook, which I thought would never happen. He's grown into and amazing young man and I no longer worry about his independence.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

A New York State Of Mind

Last December I visited New York with my family. Now I'm not going to talk about the sights or give you a guide to the city, I'm no travel writer. I want to tell you how it made me feel and the spell it put on me.

I remember walking down the street for the first time and just feeling so insignificant. Everything was huge, we were like ants and I felt quite closed in at first but I soon got used to it. I was filled with wonder at everything I saw, things that had only ever existed on tv. The yellow cabs, the bright lights and all of the famous street names suddenly became real.

I couldn't believe how comfortable and at home I felt in New York. Now I'm from a small town in the UK and I'm lucky if I get to a city twice a year so I should have been overwhelmed but I was surprisingly at peace. The hordes of people should have unnerved me but I was calm and happy to be jostled along in the crowd. I was cautious as any sensible person would be but never felt unsafe.

Now I can't write about my trip without mentioning how unbelievably festive it all was. Americans do Christmas so much better than us Brits, our hotel lobby alone looked like something out of a film. It was all so cheery and we couldn't stop smiling.

The city really got to me and I didn't want to leave. I don't know what it is about the place but I felt like I could be anyone and achieve anything. I didn't expect it to affect as much as it did but I can hear it calling me to return. Maybe next summer when I can relax in Central Park and let the city work it's magic once again.
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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Independent Woman

I was married for 9 years. The relationship was abusive and controlling and by the time I had clawed my way out I was broken. It took me a long time to heal and get my life back on track and when I did I embraced my independence.

I finally felt free. I'd had minimal contact with my friends during my marriage so I threw myself into socialising. Monthly cocktails, weekly lunches and impromptu movie nights. I answered to nobody and I had never been happier. Now I don't mean to sound selfish but I had spent a decade in fear. A decade of having my movements tracked, of never leaving the house and of being kept isolated. My freedom was everything and now I had it I wasn't about to give it up.

Over the years many people have felt the need to offer their opinions on my voluntary single status. Asking why I'm still single, telling me it's about time I found myself somebody and simply not believing me when I tell them I'm single by choice.

I find it very disturbing that in this day and age single people, women especially are viewed as failures because they don't have a partner. The concept that a person can be whole and completely happy without a partner is just inconceivable to some people. 

I have got to know myself so much better these last few years and I like who I am. I am surrounded by friends and family but am also completely comfortable in my own company. I don't need a partner to complete me, I am enough. I've recently began to think about dating again but absolutely could not be involved in anything too serious. I value my space, my privacy and my freedom too much. 

So if your you are on your own don't ever let anyone make you feel inferior. Now when somebody starts with the dreaded questions I just smile and tell people yes I'm single and that's ok.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Playing For Both Teams

This is a very difficult post for me to write but I believe it's very important that I do so. I spent years bottling this up and I was so wrong.

When I was 11 years old I began to realise that I liked girls as well as boys. I didn't understand what was going on, I knew about homosexuality but the concept of bisexuality was something I wasn't able to comprehend at that age. I remember thinking that I couldn't be gay because I also liked boys, it didn't occur to me to think that because I liked girls I couldn't be straight. 

It wasn't until I was 16 that I realised I was bisexual, I had a boyfriend at the time and I thought I would lose him if I told anyone. So I tucked it away far back in my mind and carried on dating men. You have to realise that this was the mid 90s bisexuality was not very well understood and the world was not as accepting as it is now.

Over the years the thoughts would return and I was so scared I just kept pushing them away. Now fast forward to when I was 35. I'd been married, had a child and got divorced, I been through a bit of a rough time during the break up and had decided not date as I needed some time to myself. One day I was watching a film with a particularly attractive actress and it just hit me like ton of bricks. How could I have been so stupid? How had I kept quiet all these these years. So I liked girls as well boys, so what? The world wasn't going to end if I told people, I was still me and I had done nothing wrong.

So I had finally accepted it but it wasn't all plain sailing. I was still scared, I wasn't sure how to begin explaining it to people. Biphobia still exists and it's difficult to get people to understand. There are so many myths regarding bisexuality. We aren't greedy, more likely to cheat and we don't need to make our minds up. I also wasn't comfortable with making a big announcement about it. I didn't want it to be the one thing about me that people immediately thought of. I'm not ashamed of my sexuality but I don't want it to define me. Yes I'm bisexual but I'm also many other things. I'm a mother, a daughter, a friend,  a respected employee, a bookworm, a geek and a chocoholic. There is so much more to me than who I'm attracted to and I want people to realise that.

So that brings us up to the present day. It's been a process and I'm not completely out yet but I'm getting there. I may even feel ready to date again soon and when I do I will definitely be open to dating either gender.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

More Tales Of An Anxious 30 Something

If you haven't read my previous post I would advise you to do so. This one will make a whole lot more sense.

So I left off where I woke up in agony. Now I was convinced that this was all connected to my anxiety but the doctor was not as convinced. She was concerned that I was having so many physical symptoms. Why followed was two months of blood tests, scans and endless appointments. I even had a lumbar  puncture. Of course, everything was fine and the doctor announced I had severe anxiety like it was all her idea in the first place.

By this time I was exhausted, every day felt like a battle. I had lost 3 months of work and also losing a lot of money in the process. I had to start getting back on track. I was eventually given a prescription for anxiety drugs but nothing could have prepared me for how they made me feel. 

I was dizzy for weeks, I had constant nausea and could hardly eat. My hands shook all the time and the anxiety got worse. After a month things had settled a bit and the doctor doubled my dose. I was scared that all of the side effects would start again but apart from a bit of nausea it was fine.

So that's where I am now. Things are slowly improving, my hands are no longer shaking and worrying has reached a manageable level. I'm hoping things will only get better and that one day I won't have to worry when I leaving the house and I will no longer be scared of everything. Anxiety affects so many people, please don't be afraid to speak out and ask for help. I'm so pleased I did, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

Finding Peace In Scotland

How atmospheric is this! I sat by this loch for hours, thinking and writing and drinking very strong coffee. I don't think I've ever felt so at peace.

I visited Scotland for a week last month because life had got too much. I was busy at work, struggling with my anxiety and had spent a week or so sorting out family problems. I was on the verge of a meltdown. So after a very long conversation with my very understanding boss I got a last minute cancellation on a gorgeous cottage in the highlands.

For a whole week I did not nothing but read, write and go for long rambling walks. The air is different there, it's pure and there's amazing scenery at every turn. I felt instantly better. At night I would curl up in front of a log fire and watch Netflix. I went to bed when I wanted and got up when I wanted and spent hours reading in the bath.

I was alone but I never felt lonely. I felt tranquil and truly happy for the first time in months. I needed to heal and I picked the perfect place. I would like to go back there and take my family, I'm sure they would fall in love with it too.