Monday, 27 October 2014

Let It Be (29 Weeks + 6 Days)

Right, so it's been a while since I last posted. This has mainly been because I've been:

a) busy
b) stressed
c) busy and stressed

As such, this is probably going to end up being a very disjointed, rambling post that doesn't make a lot of sense (I apologise in advance).

Ok, so where to begin.... Got it.

So last time I posted (properly) was the week that Percy had started nursery. So, that weekend (the 11th), we ended up being a bit poorly. Percy had a bit of a cold; I was convinced I had meningitis. So convinced that I actually rang the out-of-hours NHS service to say that I thought I had meningitis. Like the total mess that I am. I didn't have meningitis- I had an "infection". I have no idea what type of infection. I have no idea where this infection originated from. I was simply told that I had an infection. given some ibuprofen, and sent home. I had a fever of 103 degrees. I was ill. I honestly couldn't move from my bed because all of my joints were in agony. It wasn't pleasant.

We also had our march on cancer that weekend, on the Saturday night. That was nice. Well... it was nice because I really like organised events and things like that. In hindsight, I don't think I'd do it again. There was a lot of people, and anyone who knows me knows that I have a big issue with being stuck behind slow walkers- even if everyone is supposed to be walking slowly. I think I'll stick to the races in future.

In terms of Student Finance, I received a bit of shocking news. They approved my loan (after I'd sent my ranty e-mail, of course), but hadn't released the money. I called them to ask when they would be doing this, and was told that because I was on maternity leave, I wasn't actually entitled to anything from them: PANIC.

Hence, I then began a mad mad mad mad manic job search. I've literally applied to probably in the region of 100 jobs in the past two weeks, if not more (more on this later). After about a week of job hunting/crying into pillows/ plotting to run away from the financial mess I had created, I got an e-mail from a lady at uni who I'd contacted about the whole situation. She was incredibly helpful, and told me that actually, because of the very nature of my interruption of studies (posh talk for "time off"), I was entitled to my loan. They SHOULD pay me, regardless of me being away from uni at the present time.

So, I called them again, and they tried to fob me off. Told me I wasn't entitled to anything. Now, the uni lady had very kindly sent me over the exact guidelines that they use when it comes to people in my situation. As soon as I quoted these to the man on the phone, he shut up. And told me he had to speak to his supervisor. I was then informed that I had to send off my past three months of bank statements, a letter from uni stating that I was in financial hardship, and confirmation of my dates of attendance at university... and that once they had all this information, they would release a payment within 24 working days,

24 WORKING DAYS?! HELLO???? I contemplated sending in that evidence. For about two seconds. And then decided that I was going to send another e-mail to their complaints department instead, first. To summarise quite a long story, I have essentially informed them that they have seven days (not seven WORKING days) to put that money in my account, or to give me an exact date as to when I will have that money. If not, I am going to inform my local MP of the appalling service that I have received from them, and take my story to the national press; prepare to see the headline "Student Finance Leaves Baby Without Socks" in The Times next week.

I do have every intention of doing this. It is I, not student finance, who is having to explain to people why payments for things are late. It is I, who is running up debts with various people/establishments due to not having my loan. It is I, who people are going to be annoyed at. I am really, really, REALLY fed up with the entire thing. And I am sick of having to fight for everything.

I feel that I am being penalised for wanting to better myself. That I am being disadvantaged for wanting to "have it all". I feel like a child who keeps building their tower of blocks, and someone keeps coming along and knocking them all over as soon as I reach the top. I feel disheartened. I feel scared. I feel vulnerable. And these are all feelings that I really am not comfortable with. At all.

Back to the job search. I've had a few interviews already. I had one last Friday (17th) which was VERY misleading. Essentially, I (and around 12 other people) were all told that we had been successful for a care assistant position. (Brilliant! This is really going to enhance my medicine application!) We just had to attend a training course for two weeks, and then we would start the job. Oh, how hilarious this is... Started the training course... and that isn't the case at all. At the end of this two week "training course", we will be told about any "opportunities" they might have for us. Oh, we were also told that we would be getting an NVQ Level 2 in Adult Health Care from this course- we're not. The course is "based" on the NVQ. Needless to say, I'm really annoyed with them aswell. I have a lot of anger, and annoyed-type feelings going on right now. The only good thing about this stupid course, is that I have actually met some really lovely people. It's been quite nice being able to socialise and have actual conversations with people that aren't babies/cats.

I got ill again. On Wednesday. I never normally get ill. And in the past four weeks, I've had three different viruses. My immune system is a mess. I'm 95% sure that it's down to stress. There was a sickness bug that was going around nursery- Percy managed to avoid it, and I got it really badly (how that happened, I don't even know). I literally couldn't move without being sick. I'm not even exaggerating. I was that ill. I had to call 111 again (I KNOW, I KNOW, I AM THAT PERSON!) and they sent me out some anti-emetics. I'm slowly getting over it, but even now I'm pretty nauseous. I was on a liquid diet all weekend because I just couldn't cope with food.

Last Thursday, I had a new boiler fitted (yay!). The house was a bit (a lot) of a mess, because I'd obviously been out at training (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, not even getting paid, absolute joke) and then I'd been really ill. I wasn't in the mood at all to have the boiler men round- I actually tried to cancel them but it was too late. I had to leave halfway through the day because I had an interview. Came back to find they had taken a kitchen cupboard off the wall and left it in the middle of the kitchen floor. What exactly am I supposed to do with that...? So, hate the boiler men too.

Right, back to interviews. Thursday, I had an interview for Barclays. It was terrible. The questions were atrocious and stupid. The job was to work in a call centre, so I really didn't expect such ridiculous questions. Also, it was very obvious that the woman who was interviewing me just really didn't like me. Very clear. And I spent the entire hour praying that I wasn't going to be sick on her. Needless to say, it didn't go very well at all, and I got my rejection e-mail today. It wasn't a shock, but it still stung.

On Friday, I had an interview for Boots, which was far better. I know what I'm talking about at Boots- I could quite happily live there. However, I was also rejected from them today. They said they didn't have any shifts for the times that I was available, and that if I did become more flexible with times, to get back in touch with them. Childcare restraints are a bit of a nightmare when it comes to job hunting.

I've applied for a million more jobs tonight. Hopefully someone, somewhere will realise that, you know, I'm actually super awesome? Alternatively, if student finance sort their act out, I won't need to get a job, and can focus on preparing to go back to uni. Which is really what I should be doing at the moment....

Seriously, I'm just so, so, so, so annoyed at everything. And 45% of me wants to just sit in a corner and cry, and cry, and cry about my life. Luckily, I've got 55% that's still trying to fight, And I'm hoping that part stays in the majority. But I really don't know how many more setbacks I can cope with.


Monday, 13 October 2014

The Reason That I Write.

I just wanted to add a bit of a note about this blog, and my reasons behind it. I've had quite a bit of feedback about this: some people think it's a really lovely thing to do; on the other hand, I have also been told that I "shouldn't be airing my dirty laundry in public" (although, that statement was said by somebody who has no place reading anything I write, and is far from my biggest fan).

I'm not letting negativity stop me posting; I intend to continue with my blog, hopefully until Percy is far into adolescence. I'm aware that at some point, we are going to have to become "anonymous", and I will have to omit our names from here- when Percy starts school, probably- as I don't want anyone new that either of us come into contact with to have stumbled across something that is so personal. At the moment however, my readership is limited (I average about 1000 views a month, which isn't colossal in terms of web traffic), as are the people we encounter, so I'm happy to put myself out there.

Percy is going to be my one baby. I am not having any more children. I am aware that a lot of people say this, but most of them attribute that statement to a traumatic birth. I didn't have a traumatic birth. I'm just happy with one. I like how we are. I like that it's just the two of us (and Boris and Jeremy)- we're a team. And, I don't think I'm going to meet a new partner for a long time, (if ever), because of that: you'd have to be seriously special to get an invite into our club.

I am detailing everything that happens to us, for Percy. So that, one day, when she is old enough, I can give this to her. That time may be when she is 18, turns 21, has a baby- I don't know yet. It will be my gift to her, so she can see how our lives began (yes, our lives), and how they progressed as she grew up. My daughter was not the reason that I began writing; but she is the sole reason that I continue to.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pride And Prejudice (27 weeks + 3 days)

Ok, so I'm going to cover several main themes in this post. I've ordered them into sections, as follows:

1) Percy starts nursery/I have no money
2) Student finance suck/I have no money
3) Job hunting as a parent/I have no money

1) Percy Starts Nursery
So, Mrs Piglet started nursery properly on Monday. We were a bit late for her first day, because we'd had quite a rough night on Sunday (Percy didn't go to sleep until midnight and then woke up at 4am and decided she wanted to play. Mummy was not amused). So, we were supposed to be there for 8am... and got there for 10am. I'm just that mum. I don't know why I try and fight it, I am the late mum. (That being said, we got there for 8:30am on Tuesday- practically EARLY!)

Percy loves it. I am lost without her. It's lovely to have time to get things done (namely wallpaper stripping and cleaning) but it is very very odd being alone. She has a diary that she brings home with her each day, that details what she has been doing. Everyone says that she is the most pleasant baby they have ever looked after. She smiles at everybody all the time. She is wonderful. I'm pretty sure they think that I am a disaster. A bit like "that baby is so lovely, poor child, how did she end up with that mess for a mother?" But that's ok. I'm fine with that. (Also, I think I'm slightly paranoid at the moment.)

Now, obviously nursery costs a lot of money. And I am very very very lucky that because I'm a student, I am entitled to a grant from the government, which covers 85% of the fees (HAHAHAHAHA more on this later). It works out so that basically I pay about £10 a week top up. Which is great. However, there are hidden nursery costs, that nobody tells you about- EXCEPT FOR ME!!!!

So, to start with, you have to buy two of everything. So there's stuff for nursery, and stuff for home. You're buying a box of milk for home? Don't forget the nursery one! Ran out of nappies? Remember to grab a pack for nursery! Baby food? Grab some for nursery too, because Wiggles is a fussy eater and might refuse the food they offer her. Instantly your expenditure is doubled. (I am aware that these costs will even out as time goes on- because everything will last twice as long- but I'm on about initial start-up here).

Clothes is the next one. Percy has recently had a bit of a growth spurt. She's currently on a capsule wardrobe, which consists mainly of Summer-type clothes. Now, if she was staying at home with me all the time, this would be fine. I could wrap her up in 53 blankets, put the heating on (for a restricted time, obviously) and she'd be warm as toast. At nursery, you can't do this. Babies need to be dressed appropriately, otherwise you are a Bad Parent. And the worst thing you can be is a Bad Parent. So, new clothes for Percy is also on our shopping list at the moment.

Now at this point, I can quite nicely roll into section 2:

2) Student Finance suck (and that's being polite)

I was supposed to be paid my loan on the 3rd October. I was not paid. I have called them 532542 times over the past two weeks. After being told a million different things, I was finally told that I should expect my application to be approved on the 3rd November. I'm fed up. I'm utterly disgusted. I can't be bothered to write about them anymore. They've really upset me. Here's the e-mail that I sent to their complaints department (I'm not expecting a response):


They are a complete and utter joke.

3) Job Hunting As A Parent

Ahahahaha THIS IS SO DEPRESSING. I've decided to search for a job for two main reasons:
1) I need to save money anyway in case, by some sheer stroke of luck, I am accepted to study medicine.
2) I never ever want to be in the position that Student Finance have put me in ever again. I literally had no money.

When I say I had no money, I mean, I had no money. Someone very kindly lent me enough to see me through this week- I am paying them back when my income support comes through. For that, I am eternally grateful to them. They really really helped me out when I was in a mess, and I hope that one day, if they ever need it, I can do the same for them.

The "pride" in the title of this post, refers to my own. I have mentioned that I am solely financially responsible for Percy and her upbringing. I do not claim any maintenance from her father. And that is because of my pride. I do not want his help. Not just because he would then have more rights to see Percy, but also because I really want to be able to do this alone. My problem is that pride is a luxury; if the aforementioned person hadn't helped me out this week, there's a strong chance that I would have had to swallow that pride, and go and request payments. Which would have really mortified me. It would have been a short-term solution to my financial issues, but in the long-term it really would have had the potential to mess everything up for Percy and I. I never ever want to be in that mess again.

SO, job hunting has been an interesting experience. So far, I've applied for something in the region of 7639503 jobs. I've been rejected outright from one. I failed one of the online tests (I know, I am shocked). And I'm still waiting to hear back from the others.

The issue with searching for a job when you're on your own and have a baby, is that you can't be flexible with the hours you work, Percy is in nursery from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday. Those are the times that I can work. If needs be, I do have the option for her to start at 7:30am, but I'd rather not. A lot of places want you to be able to work weekends and evenings, which obviously I am unable to do.

It's really annoying. I'm applying for jobs that I know I could do. And I know that I could do them WELL. I don't think that I should be instantly discriminated against, simply because I have certain times that I am unable to work. At this rate, I truly don't know how anyone is able to find a job when they are a parent.

It really is just such a twisted system. I have no doubt that if I was able to work anytime, then I would be one of the stronger candidates; it is that point that's messing me up.

PLEASE, SOMEBODY HIRE ME!!!!!!!

In terms of what we've been up to, I've been a decorating bunny. STILL stripping all the paint off the bannister; doing some more wallpaper stripping. I've been experimenting a bit with foam filler (never use foam filler. Don't touch it. It's a nightmare) because some of the "holes" in the walls were essentially just...well, like the Grand Canyon. Percy has been playing, all day, every day.

We're off to march against cancer tomorrow evening, as part of the big big big big Stand Up To Cancer event that 's going on all over the country. You can sponsor us here if you fancy it. We've got our placard all ready, to go:
I'm still debating who to run the London Marathon for. There's so many charities to choose from, and I really don't know which one to pick. They're all sending me e-mails at the moment saying "PLEASE RUN FOR US!" which is confusing me even more! Any suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. You can tweet them to me- @el_snazzbeans :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

'Twas The Night Before Nursery

A poem for my Piglet- the most important person in my life. 

‘Twas the night before nursery, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Except for a mummy, awake alone, and sad
Filled with guilt, regret, and other feelings so bad.

The Piglet was nestled all snug in her bed
Unaware of these thoughts going through mummy’s head
“It's nursery tomorrow”, had been said with a smile
“You’ll be going to play, without mummy, for a while”

Arrangements had been made, it had all been prepared
(We’d gone over the sign language, for if you were scared)
Mummy thought she was ready, that you would be fine,
But those thoughts have changed, now we’re nearer the time.

Piglet had her nursery visits, and loved them ever so,
The nursery staff said “Great! She’s all ready to go!”
Mummy had worried that you would find it hard,
But now it seems that it is me, who is going to be scarred.

I know I have moaned, about always being busy
That I have too much to do, and it's making me dizzy
"Nursery will be best, for both of us, you'll see"
Is what I have said, and believed in totally.

I am not ready, I have changed my mind
I want you here with me, right by my side
I don’t care if it’s messy, if nothing is completed
A moment without you, and I’ll feel I’ve been cheated.

Yet, I cannot do this; nursery it must be,
If I am to provide the life for Piglet and me,
That she so deserves, and I so need
And so, to this heartbreak I must concede.

We’ll walk down in the morning, I’ll give you a kiss,
And say that’s it’s you who I will so dearly miss,
The time apart will be difficult, of that I am sure
But, have no doubt, I will run back through that door

I think of all the things you are yet to do
To crawl, and to walk, and to feed yourself too
I will probably miss seeing these for the first time
And that will be the death of me, emotionally, inside.

I am trying my best, and I want you to know
That I love you, so much, and am finding it hard to let go
I hope you have fun, that you enjoy going there
But, at the same time, please miss me- even if it’s just pulling my hair!

And so here I sit, packing your bag full of things,
That you may need (far too much, we will bring!)
Roger Rabbit, Jangles Puppy Dog, Floppy Bunny aswell,
(They've all had a wash, so that they don't smell)

I will miss seeing your smile, for most of my day,
"You don't know the joy it brings to me", more often, I should say.
Hearing you laugh, is my favourite noise in the world,
I guess I'll just have to wait till the evening for it to be heard.

I know we'll be ok, that we will adjust,
"Time is a great healer", is the phrase that we must trust.
But for now, tomorrow will be my hardest day,
You are my everything Piglet. Go forth, run wild, and play.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Importance of "Success"

This is probably going to end up being a controversial post, even though I'm not intending it to be; I'm not trying to cause any offence.

I saw something a few weeks ago which shocked me. A mum had put online that her child had told her that she wanted tattoos when she was older, so she could be just like her mum (just wait a minute before you all attack me- this isn't going in the direction that you think). I was speechless. Up until this moment, I hadn't fully contemplated the impact that parents have on their children. It was only when I read this that I realised that (at least when they're little) they want to grow up to be just like Mummy or Daddy. And it really scared me.

One of my big big big big big fears is being a "typical" single mother. When you hear the phrase "single mother", it doesn't bring with it positive connotations. I've heard what people say about "single mothers"; I, myself, have probably at one point or another said those things. In fact, since becoming a mum, I have been on the receiving end of conversations that are very negative about single mothers- they always end with the phrase "oh, but I'm not talking about you".

But, that's what I am. I am a single mother. I am learning to come to terms with this. I am in denial about it. Part of me sees Percy as a little friend, as opposed to my daughter, I'm sure a psychologist would EAT that up, and tell you that's my brain giving me a "coping mechanism" for my situation.

I have a desire to succeed. I have a hunger for success. I do not want to "waste my life". And until I read that initial statement, I thought that was probably quite selfish of me. Now, I don't. I have a duty to succeed, for my daughter. I want to be somebody that she can aspire to be. I want her to see me, and think I am awesome- not just when she's little, but when she's older aswell. I don't want her to think "oh well, Mummy doesn't go to work, so why do I have to?" or "Well, Mummy was going to be somebody, but then she had me and now does nothing, why can't I do that too?"

I wasn't going to apply for medicine this year. With the whole homeless thing, and then moving up here with nobody to watch Percy, I haven't been able to do any volunteering. Not. A. Sausage. And then I thought about it. And realised, that, I may not have caring experience in an NHS environment, but my God, I have caring experience. I look after somebody 24 hours a day, every single day. I don't expect to get a place based on that. But I'm hoping to get an interview. Then, I'll probably do a PhD, and go back to medicine when Percy is a bit older. Financially, that would be more sensible, and then I will know what to expect when I go through the application process again. If I do get a place somewhere, I will be ecstatic. Literally over the moon, Because I SO want it. And it really is what I am supposed to do. I truly believe that.

I just want to point out also that when I say "success" and "succeed"- those are very subjective terms. Your definition of success will be different to my definition of success. And that is good. Variety is GOOD. I'm not saying that everyone should be like me (literally, would be my worst nightmare), I'm saying that everyone should be someone who they would want their children to be.

Percy-related news: Wiggles had a visit-hour at nursery today. She loved it. I was mortified; honestly, I walked away from that building a sobbing wreck, wondering what the hell was wrong with me. It was very odd being alone for an hour. Clearly, Percy is more adaptable than me (or I'm just easily replaced!) It is a relief that she likes it though. I'll feel less guilty about my lazy parenting.

She's being very very vocal at the moment. Says "baba" (sometimes "bye-bye"- occasionally in context). She also said "dada" on the train the other day. Can honestly say she's never heard that word in her life, which shows she's just making noises and not actually identifying things.

We had a bit of a Percy shopping spree yesterday ("Persephone, if you're good for Mummy ALL DAY then I will buy you some books and toys ok?"). Percy loves Toys r us. We got lots of fun noisy light-up toys and some books. Although, I must say, I was a little bit gutted: I'd gone out initially to try and get this specific book by Todd Parr? The one I was looking for was The Family Book. It's really cool. It discusses all different types of families, and how some are big and some are small, some have two mummies, some have two daddies, that sort of thing. I really wanted to get something like this for Percy, because whilst I don't think it's odd to be in a "broken home", I do think it's unusual to not know your father at all. Also, families are different, and I want to introduce this to her as early as possible. There's another book that he's written which I really want for her, which is about how everyone's different and that's ok. It's like "some people have big noses, some people have big ears". (Maybe I should just marry Todd Parr...?).

ANYWAY, we settled on some different books, including "Spot goes to school" (preparing her for nursery see? I'm a FANTASTIC mother.) We went to Ikea aswell. I mentally spent £5426042642, but physically spent very little. Bought some 35p mugs that I didn't need (I have a terrible affliction where I can't walk past a cheap mug and not buy it- I am sick). Had some driving this morning. I was amazing. I'm basically the best driver in the whole world who hasn't actually passed their test. And I really want a transit van.

OH SNAP. I almost forgot: I WAS PICKED IN THE LONDON MARATHON BALLOT, I AM RUNNING THE LONDON MARATHON, OH MY GOD, BEST DAY OF MY LIFE, SO EXCITED CAN'T WAIT, I AM SUCH A LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY GIRL!

So, to summarise:
- Be awesome
- I'm in the London Marathon
- Things to buy for me are: Todd Parr books, Transit van and The Entire of Ikea.

(Ps. we're running the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon on the 2nd November, fundraising for Beat; you can sponsor us here)
....Seriously. Come on. 50p. Just click it. Go on, you've been cheeky enough to nose into my life. Click the button. I will set Boris and Jeremy on you. CLICK IT.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The 5 Things I Miss About Pregnancy

After spending some time reminiscing a little earlier (mainly about point number 1 below), I figured I'd write this post.

 So, here are the five things that I miss about being pregnant:

1) My 11am Pain Au Chocolat
Every morning, without fail, in the library cafe at uni. No guilt. No regrets. BEST. THING. EVER.

2) Getting A Seat On Public Transport
Thank you, kind people. THANK YOU!!!!!

3) Seeing Percy/Feeling Her Kick For The First Time
As silly as it sounds, I was astonished that she was moving. For some reason, I had imagined that babies were stationary... (Just don't- my baby brain obviously started immediately). And it was such a relief to see that she was actually there! As for the kicking- amazing. Less amazing towards the end, when she was bigger.

4) Maternity Jeans
SO SO SO COMFY. Oh my Gosh. Honestly- go get some topshop maternity jeans. Even if you're not pregnant; just have them for days when you've eaten too much. They are AWESOME.

5) It's Actually Really Cool That You're Making A Person.
And getting to meet that person, is even cooler. 

And, of course, lets not forget: the five things that are the reason I am never, EVER getting pregnant again:

1) "Restless Leg Syndrome"
Oh my God. Restless leg syndrome? More like "restless-entire-body-refusing-to-go-to-sleep-ever-even-though-my-eyes-are-falling-out-of-my-face syndrome". Worst thing ever. There was one time when I was in a hostel in London, sharing a room with about 532542 other people; it was 3am, I was exhausted, I had a meeting with my supervisor in the morning, and I could not get to sleep because I was so uncomfortable just trying to lie still. I had to go outside and pace up and down the road for half an hour. It's the oddest sensation in the entire world. You have to move, I HATED this so much.

2) Morning Sickness
AHAHAHAHAHAHAH. HAHAHAHAHA. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Morning sickness? They call it MORNING sickness? I did not have morning sickness. I had 24 hour sickness. Until I was almost 20 weeks pregnant. Then it disappeared for a few weeks. And returned for a few more weeks. Absolute nightmare. Morning sickness is horrendous. To everyone who hasn't had morning sickness: bugger off. I hate you. 

3) Boobs
Ugh. UGH. They become enormous. And PAINFUL. And everyone stops looking at your face. JUST GO AWAY BOOBS, I LIKE BEING FLAT CHESTED, LEAVE. LEAVE. RIGHT. NOW.

4) Sneezing
This is one of those things that nobody ever mentions to you, obviously because they don't think it's that big a deal, or maybe it's just not that common? Anyway, I sneeezed at everything. Every. Single. Thing. I think the actual condition is pregnancy rhinitis? This might not sound like that big a deal, but it is SO annoying. 

5) Being A Whale
Seriously. And half of it isn't even the baby. You gain about 2642lbs of water weight. I remember one week when (according to my scales) I gained a stone in one DAY, and then lost 10lb the next week. WHAT IS THAT?! WHAT IS IT?! Crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. Honestly, I AM SO GLAD THAT I HAVE MY BODY BACK AGAIN.

...In case it isn't obvious, I did not enjoy being pregnant at all. I can categorically state that being a mummy is a LOT better than being pregnant. So I'm going to make a concious effort to remember that, and stop being such a moody cow.... Most of the time, anyway.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Break From Reality (28 weeks + 3 days)

So, we're writing this post from Mimsy and Gramps' house in Shropshire- we came down here on Wednesday (24th) because (to summarise) I am not able to be ill and look after a baby all on my own. I hate being ill. I really hate being ill. Let me just list a few things I hate about being ill:

1) I can't breathe.
2) I suck at running/ workouts because of the aforementioned inability to breathe
3) Coughing. UGH COUGHING.
4) Anything and everything nose related- I would chop my nose off right now if I could.
5) I'm bloody ill and I am basically TRAPPED IN MY OWN BODY, BECAUSE IT IS FAILING ME.

Percy and I spent Monday and Tuesday lying in bed, dying of illnesses (well, I was; Percy was rolling about and having a whale of a time. Honestly, she'd be the happiest baby in the world if we just spent all day in bed). On Tuesday night, I realised that I really wasn't able to sort out the house and look after Percy, and the cats whilst I was feeling so rubbish. So, we've come down to stay with my parents for a few days until I'm feeling a bit more human. (The cats have been left to guard the house, along with 33 bowls of food and 7 bowls of water- this is not even an exaggeration.)

The journey was...interesting. We managed to get from Sunderland to Ludlow for around £20 (I am a bargain transport hunter) but it took a long time. We left home at 8am and got to Ludlow at around 6pm... VERY LONG TIME. 

Percy has been very happy to see everyone. Extremely happy. And she adores spending time with Auntie Pippa; she gets very excited when she comes home from school. Obviously, because there's so many people here, she's always getting attention from somebody, which is what she wants. I do think that half the reason she gets unsettled when we're at our home, is because she wants me to be with her all the time, playing and chatting. This isn't something that I'm able to do; I clearly have other tasks that require my attention, and it is for this reason that I think she is really going to enjoy starting nursery. I don't have any guilt about her starting nursery at such a young age (not at the moment, anyway!); I think it's going to be something that she'll really enjoy, and it will help her both socially and developmentally. I really think that it is going to be beneficial for both of us.

Speaking of Percy's development, she has come on so much. Honestly, I can't believe that my baby is so grown-up already. And she is so lovely. As much as I moan when she is being a moody poo, the majority of the time she is so smiley and pleasant (as long as you are talking to her.... I am 100% tempting fate by writing this- watch her be a nightmare child tonight).

It's a little bit odd being back here. Obviously, it's lovely to see my parents and siblings, but I haven't missed the place itself. I like where we live now. I have no desire to come back- Seaham is our home.

There's not really a lot to report other than that. We've just been chilling for the past few days. We're going up to Lancaster tomorrow with my parents and my sister to take her back to uni. Sunday...I don't even know yet. And then on Monday, we're going back home to give the puss cats lots and lots and lots of cuddles and love (I am a crazy cat lady, and I don't even care).

We've got quite a few organised race type events coming up in the next few months. I haven't registered for them yet (planning on doing that on Monday), but I have checked with them all that we're ok to take part with the baby jogger. So, our cheeky running diary:

- October 11th: Stand Up 2 Cancer March in Newcastle
- October 12th: Hartlepool 5 Miler
- November 2nd: Newcastle Town Moor Marathon (yes, you have read that correctly)
- November 9th: 10k MoRun in Newcastle

The March is to raise money for Cancer Research, and the MoRun is to support men's health and more specifically Prostate Cancer UK (we are both going to be sporting moustaches for that one). At the moment, I'm looking at running the 5 miler as part of the marathon training (so as a non-fundraising event); the marathon itself, I do want to choose a charity to run for. I have a few in mind, that are close to my heart, but I haven't fully made a decision yet. If anyone does have any of their own suggestions, please give me a shout. (I just want to add that I am full-on petrified about the marathon. The others are all distances that I have run before; this will be my first marathon. I will be running with Percy- which does make it harder. We have 6 weeks to train. I am very nervous, but it is something that I want to do, so badly.)

The Illness has eaten my brain, so I can't really think of anything else that I wanted to say... I guess I'll shut up, and finish with a lovely picture of Percy with her Mimsy.