I feel like 'me' again

This week, 16 weeks after re-joining Slimming World, I reached my target and lost the final one and a half stone of baby weight.

It's been the hardest to lose, and at times has felt really slow. My first week I lost 5.5lbs and I thought I'd be at target in a matter of weeks. However, from there, it was slow going; losing a pound or half a pound each week. I had a few gains along the way - Peyton's birthday and our friends' wedding - but these were only small, thank goodness.

I wouldn't say I felt any pressure, other than from myself, to lose the 'baby weight'. Society does trick us a bit into thinking all these celebs and Insta influencers 'snap back' within days; but they've probably got armies of chefs and personal trainers helping them throughout their pregnancies. If my confidence hadn't taken such a knock, I probably wouldn't have felt any rush to try and slim back down. But I was really feeling it, so back to group I went.

When I did Slimming World the first time, I joined in November 2015.

This was the 'before and after' I used to use, from round one...

For those who didn't read my blogs back then, I'll give you a bit of background.

I had been toying with joining for months after feeling really, really unhappy while on holiday in Rhodes in the August. I could never pluck up the courage to go, though. I tried every 'quick fix' out there. From teas that make you shit through the eye of a needle, to tablets that 'suppress your appetite'. Yeah, they all gave me short-term results, but it wasn't the answer.

One week, a lovely lady named Beth contacted me at work to do a story about her weight loss journey ahead of her new Slimming World group opening in Selby.

She sounded lovely and I got this sudden burst of confidence and fired off an email asking for more information because I wanted to join. I'd committed then, and knew I had to turn up that Wednesday.

I went along and was shocked at how much I weighed when I stood on the scales for the first time. I knew my clothes were tight, and I wasn't particularly happy with how I looked, but didn't realise the number would be quite so high. My BMI put me in the "overweight", almost "obses", category; and I was not too pleased.

The weight absolutely dropped off me and by Christmas, just six weeks later, I was already a stone and a half lighter. By the start of March I'd lost two and a half stone and was at target.

I managed to maintain that until we got married in the following May, and for my best friend's wedding in the August. We went on honeymoon September 2017 and, soon after, I discovered I was pregnant.

I had all good intentions of following Slimming World (to a degree) while pregnant. However, that plan went out the window when I was hit with terrible sickness in the early days. I went completely off fruit and veg and literally only wanted to eat dry, plain, carb-y things (and chocolate).

I absolutely ballooned whilst I was pregnant. In one of the first blogs I wrote, shortly after announcing I was expecting, I remember saying that I could see I was going to be like Kim Kardashian when she was pregnant with North; and I wasn't far off the mark.

I put on over five stone from going away on honeymoon to Peyton being born. It actually turns my stomach a bit thinking about it. Basically, I put on about half my current body weight.

I have always struggled with body image and body confidence. When I got to target initially, my body confidence was probably the best it's ever been. I felt comfortable in absolutely anything and didn't bat an eyelid.

When I was pregnant, it absolutely nose-dived. It was made worse by everyone thinking it was ok to say how "massive" I was, and forever question if I was sure there was only one in there. There's nothing worse when you feel rubbish about yourself for everyone to constantly comment on that one thing.

If someone had a complex about their nose, you wouldn't go up to them everytime you saw them and say "wow your nose looks huge today mate!"

After Peyton was born, I was in a really bad place when it came to my body and body image. I was absolutely covered in stretch marks, in places I never even expected. Some of them are really, really deep, too.

I couldn't ever see a way where I would be back in my size 10 skinny jeans, and I was so unhappy.

The weight fell off quite quickly to begin with; as it often does when you've a lot to lose. By Christmas, I'd lost about half of the weight and was roughly back to my original starting weight when I joined Slimming World in 2015.

I told myself that when I went back to work, and was back in a routine, I'd go back to group to shift the last lot. While I do find it easy to follow Slimming World on my own, nothing beats the support you get from everyone else to give you that extra boost along the way.

When I rejoined, the first week of May, I had 1.5 stone to go.

Back in January we'd booked our holiday and the thought of wearing any kind of swimwear filled me with absolute dread. I have said previously that my body confidence was at such a low I didn't think I'd ever wear a bikini again.

Even when I started back at Slimming World, I wasn't convinced I'd feel the same when I got to target as I did last time.

But, let me tell you, it feels even better.

The last few weeks I have seen such a change in my body; and myself.

I fit back in all my pre-pregnancy clothes now (apart from a few things which my boobs just won't play ball with; I'm actually amazed I've managed to lose weight but they've still stayed!) and have bought bikinis to wear on holiday! This is a major win for me.

I now love my body again; even my stretch marks - and that's not something I ever thought I'd say.

Tom calls them my "stripes", which is cute. I know that they should be celebrated because I got them growing Peyton, and I know that some women would kill to have stretch marks from carrying a child, but you just can't help how you feel about them. Everyone has their own demons, and of course there is always someone worse off than you, but you can't always think like that.

I was determined to one day love my post-baby body, and now I do. It's such an amazing feeling having my confidence back and feeling happy within myself once again.

I honestly love Slimming World, it has transformed me twice now. It hasn't just helped me lose weight but it's given me new-found confidence and new friends. Every week, group is filled with so many inspiring people; all losing weight for their own reasons, all fighting their own battles.

I haven't ever had to deprive myself of anything, either. In the last 16 weeks I've eaten a lot of cake (we've had two 1st birthdays, two christenings and a wedding), we've eaten out regularly, I've had a lot of ice-cream (I had two over the Bank Holiday weekend and still lost 2lbs this week!), and I've continued to have a social life (found a new love for Aperol Spritz, too!)

It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. And it's honestly changed my life.


Baby girl, you're getting so big

Peyton is almost 14 months old now.

Next month, we are going on our first family holiday abroad - to Dubai!

I am so unbelievably excited for a week of fun in the sun with my little team. I am slightly apprehensive about the seven hour flight that will get us there, but I'm thinking positive about it (and arming myself with as many Quavers as I can pack...!)

We went to Dubai on our honeymoon but it was a flying visit, just three nights (and only two days), so we always said we would love to go back. When we were looking for a holiday back in January we found an absolutely amazing deal to go for a week in September, which was too good to turn down, so we booked it. We thought we may as well while Peyton is still free, because who knows when we'll next be able to afford to go abroad.

She's growing up and changing so much every single day, I'm so excited to see what she's like when we're there. She will love the beach; she always has loads of fun playing in the sand at nursery. And I know she'll love the sea and the pool, too, because water is her favourite.

While her personality is coming out more and more everyday, she's also starting to chill out a bit more. Now, she sits happily watching something on TV (Bing is currently the most hypnotising which is great when I want to get something done, but rubbish because he's the whiniest bunny known to man!) and it quite content cuddling into me on the sofa. She's not been all that cuddly since I stopped breastfeeding her. Then, she loved nothing more than a cuddle (and some boob).

Don't get me wrong, she's still a live wire. She will race around the house like a mad woman: screaming, clapping, laughing, shrieking, squealing and just causing general mayhem. However, those moments are balanced out now with some calm, something I felt was lacking for quite a while!

She's getting more and more adventurous with each passing day, which is so lovely to see. She loves exploring the world around her; whether it be an animal or a stone. She loves dogs and cats, and is partial to the cows that are in the field next to her nursery. 

What's probably most exciting at the moment, is she has started saying proper words. We've had "iya" for a week or so now. I absolutely love going into her bedroom on a morning. I open her door and say good morning everyday, and now she's started replying with "iya" with a massive cheeky grin on her face.

This weekend, she's learnt "no", accompanied with the shaking of her head. Now, when she doesn't want a drink, or won't have the Calpol, I get "no" with a firm shake of the head. It's hard not to laugh, because it's so bloody cute, but also really annoying. To be fair, the amount of times I tell her no, I'm not surprised she's picked it up quick.

She also says "oh noooo" whenever she drops anything, which is my favourite so far. She sounds so Yorkshire when she says it, I just love it. I'm also taking a small mum win from the fact it's "oh no" and not "oh shit". It's honestly a miracle, because I swear I say shit more than no.

Everyday I feel like she learns something else at the moment, and I love it. Even stupid things like learning to use cutlery make me wanna burst with pride.

I always thought the baby stage would be my favourite, and never thought too much about having a toddler. However, I must say, that so far I am loving this so much more than I ever thought.

Don't get me wrong, nothing beats the newborn weeks and when they're a baby. There's something so magical and special about that. But, while so, it was a shock to my system. I wasn't sure what to expect, was winging everything from the second I opened my eyes each morning, and I struggled to adapt to this new life. 

Now, she's like a proper little person. She interacts with me, understands what I am saying, and is just so, so loving. She'll come up to me and give me kisses and cuddles (albeit kisses with her mouth open, but we're working on that), she'll hold my hand and walk me around the garden, and she is absolutely hilarious. I feel, dare I say it, like I have my shit together now. My ducks are in something that resembles a row, life feels like it's in order, and everything just feels really, really good.

I loved her being a baby; nothing will ever, ever beat that newborn phase. I'm honestly starting to fill up just thinking about it. But, my God, I'm enjoying her being a toddler way more than I ever thought I would.

I'll come back to you in a few months when the inevitable tantrums start and I am tearing my hair out. But, for now, I am absolutely loving this stage we're at. 


Sorry for the radio silence


Sorry for the radio silence from me, life has run away from me a little bit recently.

I've been back at work full-time since July and it's been a real juggling act. It's so hard finding the time to fit everything - and everyone - in now that I spend five days a week at work all day. However, it's got to be done and, for the moment, we're making it work.

I'm still at Slimming World - just 3lbs away from my target now. Although, after the last few days, probably a few more than that!

I'm feeling so, so, so much better about myself. I would almost go as far to say as I feel back to my old self. I'm feeling confident, happy and so comfortable in my own skin again.

Last week I wore a dress that I bought the summer I finished uni and got my first "proper" job; a whole six years ago.

I used to wear it a lot to work, but worried I'd never fit into it again.

Yet, here we are, wearing it on Thursday!!

I'm back in all my pre-pregnancy clothes now and have bought some lovely new things for our holiday (one month today, wahoo!) including bikinis!!!!

Yes, I know I said a few months ago you wouldn't ever see me in a bikini again, but that's how much better I feel. Granted, they are high-waisted bottoms, because I'm not feeling that confident, but it's a huge step that I didn't think I would be taking any time soon.

I really hope I feel as good once we get there, and I step onto the beach. If not, I've got some lovely beach trousers I can wear to cover up!

So, what else have we been doing?

I feel like our feet haven't touched the ground. 

You know, I don't even think I've written about Peyton's first birthday until tonight. So, I've written a separate little something about that, which you can read by clicking on these words here.

It's not the most riveting read. However, I feel like I've started a bit of a tradition here with blogging milestones etc, so couldn't miss her first birthday. 

We've also been to CBeebies Land which was a great day out for Tom and I, as well as P. Again, if you want to read all about that then just follow this link here.

And, finally, we've been to In the Night Garden: Live at the theatre. Another fun-filled, family day out which I've written a few words about, incase anyone is interested, here.

Those are probably some of the bigger, more exciting things. However, we've also done loads of other stuff. We had a heatwave, which warmed us up nicely for Dubai's temperatures; Peyton's started having sleepovers at my mum and dad's; and she's had her first, proper haircut.

Yep, at 13 months old the girl has finally had a much-needed chop.

Granted, it was so much shorter than I was anticipating...

However, it was needed. The top was unruly and the back and sides were just not in the same league.

Now, it's all the same length and is much more tidy.

She had it cut last weekend and, already, it's grown loads. I'm hoping, by the time we go away, we'll be able to put it back in her signature top knot. As much as it's nice her having her hair down, I do love her with it in a pony/top knot!

We've found a love of hoovering...

...eating at the big table...

...visiting the pub...

...being pushed around on my trike...

...eating cucumber whole...

...and a love for animals.

I've really missed writing my blog. I sometimes will be laid in bed, ready to go to sleep, and suddenly will think of loads of things I want to write about. However, finding the time to actually write them is another matter!

The only reason I've managed to churn out so much tonight is because Tom is at work so I've sat here writing since Peyton went to bed at 7pm, and haven't had any tea...! It's gone 9pm now so probably better sign off soon and feed my face.

While I've missed writing, it's also been quite nice.

I've only ever written my blog for me. I started writing it while I was at uni as a place to share my thoughts on current events, issues and topics that I was passionate about. It was a place to show off my writing style and practice writing things that weren't academic essays. I could write about things I was interested in, and that I had an opinion on.

I've shared almost every single milestone moment since then on my blog. Meeting Tom, getting engaged, wedding planning, pregnancy, becoming a mum, dealing with the hard times that brings... 

It's been a place to offload, make sense of how I feel and what I think, and document how my life is changing. It makes me happy to think I've all these periods in my life to look back on one day, like an electronic diary I'm sharing with everyone else.

Whilst that's always been my intention for my blog, I've found myself spending more time looking at the views each post gets. Previously, I'd post it and think nothing of it. However, my last few blogs I've been checking the views; the likes it's got on Facebook; how many people have commented. 

It bothered me that I was starting to care about that, because I've never written this for anyone else; only for me. It's so easy to get tangled up in this social media web, and I didn't want that.

I wanted to keep doing this for me; and for P.

So many things I think about writing but don't, because I don't think people will want to read them. But, from now, I'm going to write it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. The highs, the low and the in betweens. 

I can't promise I'll write as regularly as I used to, but I will do my best.