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Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you & yours.

My word for 2017 was BRAVE.

I used that word to push myself away from letting my fears control how I lived.

2017 my year of brave helped me achieve:


Going to the Photography Show on my own... I learnt so much and I decided to turn pro. I signed up for my big fat crazy goal of running a half marathon.... I hadn’t quite conquered 10Ks then....I have now! I ran the RunDisney 10K in ParisI launched my Etsy ShopI applied & got a job where I get to be at the coal face of empowering women from all backgrounds I started my feature writing courseI faced some rather huge personal obstacles - including a laparoscopy which I wanted but was terrified aboutI came off my antidepressants , and have been working hard at managing my illness.  You know the phrase, “Fake it till you make it”? Sometimes I didn’t feel brave at all. Sometimes I was so crushed by the fear & the “what ifs” that I honestly didn’t know if I would reach all my goals.
This year, my word …

New VLOG: Look at my KEYS!!!

A quick VLOG for you all including my very awful piano playing! 


I Knew a Girl Once...

I’ve been a plethora of emotions this past weekend.... yesterday was particularly ridiculous. One minute I was pottering, doing my thing next I was cross, sad, happy. My heart knows. Even when my brain hasn’t clicked yet.

The 10th of December,2005 will always be significant to me. That’s the date I came face to face with grief.  My cousin, Owanari died that day. Before then when people I loved died, like my grandma in 1999, for example I was sad. But for some reason maybe a combination of our close relationship & my age at the time , I was a walking wound when Owanari died . I couldn’t sleep for months, and my eyes would just start leaking without me knowing.

Every time the story came on the news, it would lead me to obsessively research the incident . I wanted to know everything about what happened.

This year, I just want to share some memories I have of her.

My earliest is one Christmas, I was staying with them that year whilst my mum did her Masters. Santa brought me a doll wit…

Odd

Odd.

Sometimes you just feel odd.

Odd like you know something isn’t quite right.  Sometimes you just feel odd. Like today, someone or something forgot to add all the ingredients that make you feel like you. Odd. You can’t quite put your finger on why you feel the way you do.  You only know that you do.

Odd like a puzzle that doesn’t quite fit. Or a piece of fruit that isn’t quite ready yet but you munch anyway.

You go through the motions hoping that at some point in the day things click and you are back to feeling like you again. Odd but in a rather satisfying manner.

I’ll let you into a secret, today I’m fed up of flashbacks. Every time I return to a place of my childhood, memories & traumas of the past attached to that place decide its their time to shine once more. Back & forth I go and the emotional whiplash is draining.

Trying to function when your insides are anything but is soul destroying.

So I sit through the monotony of Surburbia.

Today my friends, Cat in the Hat is …

Living Your Life Intentionally

I’ve always been the sort of person who wants to learn about how other people live their lives. A few years back - think when I became a parent, I started really wanting to live very intentionally.

Over the last few years this has looked different depending on where we are in life.  When E was 15 months & we were starting our business, we got rid of the telly. This was a 2 part action. 1) my toddler’s first sentence was “tiddy on pees “ & 2) Shaving off our Sky subscription & TV licence would do our budget good.

We were Live Telly free for 3ish years.

However now we’re hitting our 30s some sooner than others (*cough cough* Mr B! ) I started to think more about doing this intrinsically.

You see as a kid, I had this immense pressure to perform. I had to be the best at EVERYTHING. There was no room for failure. There was no space for emotional weakness. So what followed was me seeing my value & sense of self via my grades and abilities as a student. This changed at Sixth…

Managing Gynaecological Pain - a guide

Without delving into too much health history, I wanted to share my experience of managing gynaecological pain. I wanted to do that for a few reasons. 1) I like to share, in case my experience helps you with yours 2) I’m fucking scared I’m not a wuss by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I’ve put up with this awful condition for 20 years. Now I guess I’ve been chasing down a label for what I’ve been dealing with the entire time.

Back on the mainland, the head gynaecologist told me I had Adenomyosis & he couldn’t take Endometriosis off the table either. Ever since I was 14, I’ve been on a variety of pharmaceuticals to control my menstrual symptoms. I’ve also tried the natural path basically I’ve done it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone is different & different combos work for each individual. When one of my meds’ stopped working, after 3 years, my pain returned. I’ve gotten to the point where I know it’s there, I just carry on until I possibly couldn’…

Freedom - it’s all about context

“Freedom!” What does that even mean? What does it mean to be really free? I’ve been pondering this for a while. I just finished re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In a totalitarian society like The Republic of Gilead, Freedom takes on an almost tangible urgency. When your speech, dress, sex - your being is under control, to be free means something completely different to say in our supposedly democratic society. Thoughts about Gilead mix with my thoughts about George Michael’s film Freedom. “Freedom!” What does that even mean? What does it mean to be really free? I’ve been pondering this for a while. I just finished re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In a totalitarian society like The Republic of Gilead, Freedom takes on an almost tangible urgency. When your speech, dress, sex - your being is under control, to be free means something completely different to say in our supposedly democratic society. Thoughts about Gilead mix with my thoughts about George…

Letter to My Dear LJ - You are growing up!

My Dear LJ,

Honey, you are growing up.
It scares me to admit it but its true. There are signs everywhere pointing to the fact that you are no longer the chunky baby i used to sling everywhere. Last night I had to do a double take because lying next to me, you seemed longer. I thought it was your brother. My darling, your fierce demands to be independent have always been heard. Right from when I met you, you let me know that you will always march to the beat of your own drum.


Everything in my parenting toolkit was blunt and useless, I had to learn different ways of parenting you. You my rainbow baby, refused to be molly cuddled. I wanted to keep you wrapped up and safe. But you longed to explore the world in your quiet but steadfast way.  You are doing it. I'm so proud of you.

It's only preschool another voice in my head shouts. Your mother is and will always be a sentimental soul. This is the first step to you having a separate life i'm not part of.  I hope you have a blas…

ReBlog - World Mental Health Day - 2017

This Blog post was originally written in January 2014... I think a lot of it still applies except I know my illness a lot better now. I've accepted that we are going to have to ride the wave of depression and the most important thing i've learnt is that there is always hope. I still worry about how i'm perceived but this only applies to my boys... I want to protect them from this for as long as I can. Of course they've seen me wracked in pain but Mental Pain is a harrowing sort i'd like to protect them from.

Without further ado,

Loneliness 


Often I want to pour out how I feel about my mental health and to be honest I feel overwhelmed because no amount of semantics will do justice to the mess that's within me. I however feel like "loneliness" covers most of it. When I am within the grip of depression, I feel Unreachable. No one can reach me (though some try - my hubby & a few trusted friends) and I can't reach anyone either. I do try but the weig…

Travel: runDisney Weekend Part 2!

The last time we went to Disneyland Paris was in July,2017. We stayed in Newport Bay Hotel - which was right up my street in terms of decor & luxury. I was a bit apprehensive this time round but I want to try ALL the disney hotels so i figured this was my chance to tick Hotel Cheyenne off my list.





Hotel Cheyenne is styled in a Wild West Frontier town style. I really liked it. Yee-Haaaa! The bedrooms itself was styled in a Toy Story theme. I had Woody, Jessie & Bullseye in a frame behind my head. I was in a shared room that consisted of a double bed, a single & a pull out single bed.













Friday
We arrived, got checked in, Unpacked and headed into the Disney village. We were directed into the runDisney expo which was located in the Disney Event arena on the outskirts of the Disney village. There we collected our bibs and race packs. We browsed the runDisney merchandise. I was on a tight-ish budget so I bought myself a limited edition runDisney 10K pin and saved the rest of my mool…

Travel: runDisney Weekend - Part 1

There are 2 important things you need to know about me:
1) I'm a HUGE Disney Nerd - and proud of it.
2) I LOVE TO TRAVEL. See new places (or the same favourite places 👀) , meet new faces. Have a cultural exchange & swap life perspectives.


I have a huge list of places I want to see but one place I always will want to come back to is Paris. Ever since I stepped foot in France & all my daydreams met my reality, it's somewhere I just adore. This summer, me & my boys, hubby included visited Disneyland Paris for the first time and that too lived up to my expectations.


I felt so at home there, I am seriously considering investing in an annual pass.

This weekend is the 2nd runDisney weekend in Paris and yours truly is going to be there. My first official 10k race had to be in the place that makes me extremely happy. Am I looking forward to it!? You betcha'!

I'm meeting my Online Running Family at the Eurostar to experience this together.

Today though, I had fun wi…

Hey! How You Doing?!

September historically has always been an extremely exciting month for me. You can add busy to the list now. I know we're only on the 15th but I already feel like I've seen September twice! Ha!

I've not blogged since I shared about my need for a shock... I did achieve my distance. Infact by the time I had avoided the cows (long story, see my @lucytakesfotos insta) I managed to knock out 12.6KM that Saturday.

I have also launched my Etsy Store (that was last weekend) and so the week preceding was manic. Making samples, Photographing, Editing, & Listing them. I was so social media'd out by the end. I also celebrated my birthday. That was fun. It was mellow though.

For a start, I didn't stay up until midnight like I usually do. I went to breakfast with Mr B, then crafted in the afternoon before having a fancy dress girly night with my friends.

Hello 29! This year as with all other years, my top priority is to live my life as authentically as i can. 2018 is my year…

I Need a Short, Sharp Shock.

Since about Wednesday when I did my Vlog on my Facebook page, I've been feeling off.
In that video, I admitted out loud for the first time (to myself) that I was struggling mentally. I however figured that I'll be doing an inflatable mud run at the weekend and that should reset me. Long story short, I didn't go. I was absolutely devastated - which sounds a tad dramatic but it was more than the event. Something, I'd looked forward to with someone I care about. I had pictured all the awesome memories we would've made together. The run itself, campfires, after parties, drunken nights . All of that taken away from me. Just like that *snaps fingers* . After I found out, I went for a plod. The adrenaline of being let down once more by this person flooded through me. Thoughts about  the reasons - who & why made me even more angry. The core reason has been the bane of my life for as long as I can remember. ( I know I'm being vague, trying to be sensitive to the inv…

Little Ways We Evolve - Hair

Now that's an odd title for a blog post but bare with.
My hair is a very accurate barometer for where I am in my head. Anytime there's a change (first time I lopped it off- leaving home for boarding school at 11 & then preggo with 1st kid ) or even more pressing, a dip into the pit of depression (the other times it's been cut off). Anytime things are overwhelming, I reach for the clippers . It gives me a sense of liberty that I can't actually replicate. However this time around, I'm cutting my curls off because I actually can't keep up with the demands of coloured  hair care. My life is too busy & active to be doing with the whole shebang.

During my runs I can feel the heat radiating through my fro. I'm not a fan. What I'll miss though are my crazy curls. I love them so much!! Missing them made me try growing them out. I even gave my hubby strict instructions to not let me cut them off.  You see, I know what I'm like!

I'll probably just …

It's Gone VIRAL: Toddler Iris & the Newsroom

Funny how people have opinions when they've never been in that situation before. I think News anchor, Alistair  & Mum Lucy both handled the situation perfectly. Have you ever tried to get a toddler to sit when they don't want to? Armageddon occurs ok? So all you "she needs discipline" brigade , please take several seats. Instead of seeing it for what it was , an adorable incident at a an inconvenient moment, you choose to preside as judge & jury.  I don't know Lucy (the mother) personally but I am a mum with two rambunctious kids who also suffered with allergies. I can tell you now it's not a walk in the park. Parenting children with allergies mean you end up being hyper aware of things around you (in case of cross contamination etc) It's always said "It takes a village to raise a child, bring back the village" blah blah blah... how about YOU BE the village? What are YOU doing to support a mother that you know? Please think about it &am…

Turn the Pain into Power

"She's got lions in her heart A fire in her soul he's a got a beast In his belly that's so hard to control Cause they've taken too much hits, taking blow by blow Now light a match, stand back, watch them explode When you've been fighting for it all your life You've been struggling to make things right That's a how a superhero learns to fly (Every day, every hour, turn that pain into power)" ~ Superheroes, The Script 

My favourite Irish rockers are back on the scene so that means going through their back catalogues in readiness for what I'm sure will be an awesome album release.  Anyway, I actually listened to the lyrics even more closely than I usually do and these words have taken on huge huge significance for me. This past year 2016/2017 has shown me a lot about life, love, pain & what you ultimately do with it. I have a few friends (old & new) who inspire me everyday in how they handle their very personal pain.  I just felt like I needed to …

Save Our Schools - Isle of Wight

Now except you've been living under a rock, you'd know that our current government is obsessed with Austerity. This has spread to our fundamental services. The NHS, PIP (formerly DLA) & now, Our Schools.
The government says these cuts are necessary . We are the 5th largest economy in the world and so I really don't understand how it is justifiable to cut our safety nets.

If you haven't visited the Schools Cuts website yet please do, I find that when numbers are made personal, they make a larger impact. For me, these cuts equate to my son's school losing 3 teachers. We are already seeing the consequences of these cuts in our schools.
Here are the figures for The Isle of Wight as a whole:


It's only going to get worse. We as parents have to speak up, It is our responsibility to advocate for the voices of tomorrow. Our education system is at risk from these cuts. I cannot overstate the need to snap out of the apathy that often accompanies modern living.

Join th…

Daisy Meadow Designs @ The Sandown Family Fun Day.

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a few goals (like i always do) but this time it pushed me past my cushty corner. It boiled down to living 2017 with intention & not letting Fear, Anxiety and all that stop me from trying to achieve my dreams. Lofty stuff wouldn't you say?


In business, it meant starting Lucy Benton Photography & Daisy Meadow Designs. Whilst also working with my hubby on our baby - MB Carpentry. Some may say that it's a lot , which sometimes it can feel like but the other option is to not do it and resent myself.

I've been steadily working on both. However, DMD got a lot more attention as i prepped for the fun day hosted by Wessex Cancer Trust. It was an intense day, with not much to say £ wise but validation was in abundance. Also I met lots of lovely crafters - Networking. It helped me clarify business models too. So all in all, a good experience. What's more a few of my items are being worn by actual people i don't know!









IRL: Crafty Catch Up 2017

Well what can I say?

My first ever planner meet up was all I thought it would be! I had an absolute ball. I had wanted to come to the last one but being an islander meant it was just too far for me to consider however things changed when this date was announced.

22nd July was only a few days away from our wedding anniversary. We'd planned to spend it at Disneyland Paris so it made perfect sense to do the crafty catch up on the Saturday, and then continue on to France the following day.

Serendipity.

What I didn't account for was the mania that it would entail.

Kids breaking off for summer Friday afternoon, finishing packing, cleaning the house etc , getting the 7am ferry, driving to Kent, etc on the Saturday.



As I arrived, I saw the beautifully laid out Lydd Community Hall. In the hallway was the table plan, I was on table 3... I met great people! I was reminded that all kinds of people love crafts, I was inspired by their creativity Specifically the mummy/daughter duo of The A…