Real Housewife of Suffolk County

Friday, 22 May 2015

Five Things | Long Distance Friendships

Today I get to see my wonderful beautiful friend for the first time in SO long. I'm not really allowed to be all soppy about her, she'll slap me if I do, however if there is one positive thing for me to take away from blogging it would be her. Meeting her at Britmums in 2013 was the highlight of my year, and our friendship was totally unexpected.
Everyone needs a Hayley in their life...but not my one. You'll have to get your own.

I do think it is hard to maintain a long distance friendships. There has to be a real commitment and a real bond there to keep it going. I suppose it's like a long distance relationship really, or similar to one at least.

With a close friendship for almost two years now I think we're doing quite well. In fact for me this friendship has been a complete surprise as I certainly didn't expect to quite happily share a bed with someone when I've always hated sleepovers and sharing a room with someone else...yet I've shared a bed twice with Hayley now.

Whatsapp

Whatsapp is probably the best form of communication. Being able to send videos, photos, voice notes, messages, seeing when the other person is online or if they have read your message, makes it really easy to maintain regular communication. 
It doesn't have to involve super long chats and messages. Just a quick chat in the morning, or at any point throughout the day is enough to just keep that friendship fresh.
I think that Whatapp is also pretty much the virtual way of living a couple of doors away from someone. You are easily able to ask their opinion on things, or to rant or ask any kind of question. Or simply just to have a chat.

Skype

Because sometimes Whatsapp isn't enough and you miss seeing the other person and hearing their voice, and laughing at their mannerisms, eyerolls and their serious resting face.
I think you have to be pretty laid back when it comes to Skype calls and to treat it like your friend is actually sat there in your house. So leaving them to pop to the toilet is totally fine, or letting them watching you make lunch or make a coffee, answering the door to the postman, and even checking your emails and online shopping whilst you chat is totally fine.
It's also a great way to keep children interested in each other. Our children are all similar ages and get on well, yet have only met up twice in two years. However, being able to Skype and just see each other through the computer is a nice way for them to communicate, they are able to show off toys, share stories, pull faces at each other and just generally be pretty silly. It can be very noisy and very full on though.

Weekends and Mini Breaks

I remember when Hayley first mentioned a sleepover to me. I honestly thought it would never happen, and that she was a bit bonkers. However, it did happen and it was wonderful. I realised that the drive to her house is pretty simple (I don't even need to use a sat nav to get there now. Which is a win!!) despite taking 3 hours.
Last Summer we even managed to fit in a mini break as me and the boys visited Hayley and her family for a few days. It was a little stressful at times but it was lovely to visit some lovely places and to all spend quality time together. 
Although we last saw each other in October which seems like SO long ago we do regularly talk about making time to see each other and I think that as long as that thought is there, and that you both put in as much effort as you can to make it happen then it doesn't matter (too much) how long there is between seeing each other. 
Oh, and a big hug and kiss when you do see each other is essential.

Support and Expectations

The blogging community and blogging world can be competitive and there can be jealousy. One of you will get better opportunities than the other, one of you might have better ideas, more interaction, might be a bigger blogger than the other and one might just simply be more popular than the other as a person...or on social networks. 
I think from the get go the best thing about our friendship in particular was that we accepted what kind of blogger the other one is. We worked out boundaries, and also promised that if we were to share ideas that the other one would give their true, honest opinion. 
For example when it comes to Living Arrows photos I can send one over to Hayley and ask if it is awful. So far she hasn't said yes so I've been lucky. I have asked her opinion on a post and she will tell me if she thinks it is silly or a bit inappropriate. And I like that. 
I think it's nice to have a friend who understands blogging. They understand that creative side, the community, reviewing, and everything else that comes with it. And to have a friend who supports your blog, and doesn't get jealous or will celebrate and praise your achievements is a wonderful thing to have.
However, it's also nice to be able to be confident that if the blogging stopped for one of you or both of you, that your friendship would survive without that.

Privacy

Hayley subtly set ground rules at the beginning of our friendship in that we should keep it private. I am super soppy and she knows perfectly well that I would talk about her every day and have conversations on Twitter etc. And I almost felt a little offended at first, as if she didn't want people to see or to know we were such good friends. However, now I can see why she wanted it to be like that.
Our friendship is a private and personal thing. No one needs to know what we talk about, how often we talk, how many hours we talk for, what we do when we met up. When we had our family break there last year we kept Instagramming to a minimum. We wanted to more concentrate on spending our time together, and enjoy that face to face communication and to not just take photos of each other to post on social media for people who probably weren't particularly interested to see.
The occasional photo, and update of "this is what I'm up to" is totally acceptable.

Now, today I'm off to have a mini stay at Hayley's house. Which I will probably share a couple of photos of...but I may not (depends on whether or not she gives me the wifi code).
But wifi code or no wifi code, I am looking forward to lazing around in pjs and contemplating the possibility of an afternoon nap (woohoo, no children!), watching Eurovision, and clinking our glasses to another year of friendship.



Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Two School Run Mums

There are these two mums on the school run. Every day they park their cars on the same road, and wait for the other to arrive. They walk in together, they walk back to their cars together. They stand and talk on the corner or next to their cars and are usually the last to say goodbye and drive off, whilst the rest of the parents are long gone.

They will meet for coffee, go for walks, they talk on messenger....despite only just leaving each other and despite the fact that they will see each other in 5 minutes.

They park their cars, in the same place as in the morning, and walk to school to pick up their sons. As they walk in and as they stand together they are pretty much in their own world. They talk about anything and everything, they laugh until their faces are red and their cheeks hurt, and they do the best they can to embarrass and shock the other one.
They joke around, they banter, and they are almost unaware of those around them. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that they are themselves, and they won't play their friendship down just because others might judge them, or think they are silly.
They collect their boys and then they walk back to their cars together. They stand and talk on the corner or next to their cars and are usually the last to say goodbye and drive off, whilst the rest of the parents are long gone.

They will continue to chat in the evenings thanks to Facebook messenger and texts, and will occasionally go for a girly cinema date.
They have this mutual appreciation for each other, and will sometimes give a reminder to the other that they are thankful for their presence in their life. They're not afraid to hug if required, and are completely honest with each other.

Last week one of the mums realised how much she relied on the other. She turned up and parked her car and the other was nowhere to be seen. Pushing it for time she walked in, constantly looking around hoping the other had parked elsewhere and was already inside.
As she walked to the door she inquired as to whether or not her friend was inside. She was told no, she wasn't.
And a panic set in.
She had only messaged this friend 15 minutes previous and was told that the friends son was ready really early this morning. So where were they?
She didn't show her panic. But inside her heart raced and she wondered what could have happened. She tried to be rational but those anxious thoughts were overwhelming.

Someone joked that she couldn't cope without her friend. A comment she was getting used to and would usually shrug off.
She made a jokey comment back, but then felt anger.

All throughout her school life friendships were pretty awkward. She didn't have that one close friend like everyone else did. Apart from in middle school, when her close friend was a boy and she was picked on daily for it.
She was feeling so lucky to, as an adult, have found this solid friendship that the fact someone felt the need to make jokes about it couldn't help but to ignite this anger inside.

Jokes were made about her finding another friend and although she had a comeback to it, and didn't let the commenter win, she couldn't help but to take to heart.
She knows she is a good friend, she knows how important this friendship is to the two of them, and she knows that "finding another friend" isn't something either really want to do...in a replacement sense at least.
She felt as though she was being questioned as a friend. As if, despite the way she and her friend acted and how clear their bond was to them, others couldn't see that it isn't just this friendship that is set on the playground and is in fact a real thing.

The truth was that she relied on her friend on the school run, and she wasn't aware of it so much until now.
Due to her anxiety she selfishly relies on having someone to walk in with, to take her mind off the thoughts going through her head. She relies on this person to almost keep her safe, or at least to make her feel safe.
Without her friend there she panicked for her safety. She had lost that person she needed and it wasn't a case of missing morning gossip, it was missing an important element to her everyday routine.
But not just that. Her anxiety set in in other ways. Something that has generally only ever been apparent with herself or her family, but now she realised that this friend is part of that.
Different scenarios were going through her head. A car accident, the result of the car accident, and all sorts of other possibilities.
Of course no one was aware of this, and she tried to not react or to show that inside she was a mass of worry but something must have shown on her face for someone to comment, in a snide way, that she clearly can't cope without her friend.
But so what if she can't?

We are always so quick to make comments and to see things how we want to see it, without stopping to think that maybe, just maybe, there might be a reason why someone needs their friend everyday. There might be a reason why someone might panic at their friend not being there. And a friendship might emotionally, and mentally I suppose, be more to people than what others see.
Why should she need to defend her reasons for being worried about where her friend was? When a break in their routine is rare there is no other way to react than to panic a little...or a lot.
There is always so much more to peoples lives and it's frightening how others are unable to consider or accept that.

Those school run mums who met thanks to the school run, who rely on each other, and need each other. Who are alike in so many ways, yet also have their differences. Who can be honest and soppy, yet also mean and like to banter.
Those school run mums who are now best friends and are so proud of that. Who don't care if people are offended by their innocent laughter. Who have private jokes and know each others secrets.
Those school run mums, one of which is clinging on tightly, wanting this to be the unbreakable friendship...despite what other people may think or try to do.

Do you believe in luck?

Do you have an item you consider lucky? A lucky stone, keyring, a horseshoe or a charm?
Maybe a routine or process you go through which brings you luck?
Do you avoid walking under scaffolding, ladders, and avoid walking over three drains?

I think when it comes to luck it's a personal thing. What works for one person won't work for another, and it's all to do on your experience and beliefs.
I think it can also be down to chance, and can be psychological, a coincidence.
The guys at Paddy Power have put together an infographic with some interesting facts based around luck and chance.
What do you believe?


Monday, 18 May 2015

Feeling Ashamed

I've never been ashamed of my "condition" before, or should that be "conditions"?
I've always been proud to be open about what I am going through, what I am feeling, the feelings I have, how I am coping, or not coping.
I've never struggled to use the words depression or anxiety. I've never before been ashamed of the paranoia I suffer from, or any of the mental health issues I suffer from.
Until recently.

Despite writing about it, and being open about my feelings I, for some reason, struggled to label those posts.

Reading these posts I think is clear to anyone that I'm not in the best place, and haven't been for the last month or so. And I felt open enough to write about it, because to me that was ok. But labelling it "Mental Health" so it shows up with all of those other posts, I didn't feel brave enough to do that.
Why?
I don't know why. 
I don't know why I all of a sudden felt so ashamed of myself and for the first time felt unable to add that label because I wanted people to think I was ok.
I didn't want people to click on that link in the sidebar and to be greeted with a recent post. I wanted them to see one from March and to think "wow, she must be doing ok".

Because I'm not.
I'm not ok. 
I'm more confused than ever about how people see me. And about how I see myself.
I'm more confused than ever about my role in life. And my role in everyone else's life.
I'm more confused than ever about who I can trust.

I'm confused over why I all of a sudden felt like I shouldn't be open about being depressed and suffering with anxiety.
I was always so proud about being open about it and talking about it. Sharing my experience are helping people to understand themselves and other.

For the first time in a while, my anxiety feels it is at it's highest. This is the time I should be able to write about it, to be able to talk about it and to not feel ashamed.
There have been moments recently where I've needed or wanted people to have an idea of what I'm going through, without eyerolling and thinking I'm just a needy over the top mum.

Getting a teaching assistant to pull Charles out of his classroom recently just as I dropped him off because I hadn't said bye and love you as I was sure something was going to happen to one of us that day.

Getting anxious about a share event at Charles' school this week because of not knowing the set up or which room we would be in, or whether or not the classes would be joined together. And not knowing if parents will be joining in or watching or having any role to play. Or knowing if our children are basically being used to prove something since the school has been put in special measures.

Going out recently and asking everyone I could where the best place was to go, the kind of people who are usually there, what drinks do they have, are there many seats, wanting to know a rough layout of the place.

Not being able to go for a walk in the evenings anymore because the beautiful scenery and sunsets are attracting photographers which makes what is usually a quiet route a tiny bit busier. Not very busy, but for someone with anxiety, it is too busy.

I don't want to feel ashamed and I don't want to feel that I have to hide this part of me. I don't want to feel like I can't talk about it or write about it.
It's not a choice to suffer with it, feel it, experience it, and to live with it.
It is a choice to be ashamed by it, and to let perception from others, if that is the case, make me feel that way.
It is a choice somewhat to let others get to me by their lack of understanding.

I can't feed my anxiety with shame and embarrassment as well as everything else. It turns into this bigger whirlwind. It will become unstoppable.

I need to grab hold tight, control what I can.
Throw out thoughts and feelings that don't matter, and think about myself and no else.
This is my battle. One that no one else can help me fight, but they can easily join the enemy and I can't allow that to happen.

This is my battle, one I need to fight alone. 
Unashamed.

Sunuva Beachwear Review

I think when we say we own a yacht people do automatically assume that it's glamorous, elegant, and posh I suppose.
In reality, it's basically like camping, except on a boat, when it comes to style and fashion.
Last year a big thing we learnt was that packing clothes for the week is a hard job. You have to prepare for all weathers, and even on a really hot sunny day you may need layers because on the open water it can be super windy and chilly.
Getting wet isn't a huge issue because it's not like our boat heels over to the point that water is rushing in, however, with ropes that tend to splash in the water and then are pulled inside the boat getting a little bit wet is unavoidable. 

I think for us and "boat fashion" so far it has definitely been more comfort over style. We wear what is clean, even if it clashes in some way, and we layer up to keep warm. It definitely takes a lot of adjusting to and working out what is best to pack is a challenge, especially with our unpredictable weather.

This year we are hoping to join a sail club or two. We want to make the most of what there is to offer and to be a part of the sailing community. We also want to really explore the Broads and with the addition of our rowing boat we will be able to have better access to areas of the broad we struggled with last year, which means we will be able to visit a few more of those wonderful Norfolk pubs!
As a result I want to make sure we have items to take with us that are not only suitable for the activity, but also adaptable to the weather, comfortable and that make us look presentable.

Sunuva sent the boys over some clothes which fit our needs perfectly.

The linen shirts are such a beautiful fit. Smart yet casual enough to wear on a day to day basis and also for those more special occassions.
These linen shirts are available in a variety of colours, the boys having a different colour each so they are not too matchy (and yes, I did choose the shades of blue to match their eyes, don't judge me) and have a slim collar, buttons down the front, a handy pocket for a river bank daisy stash and adjustable sleeves.


The seersucker shorts are also really lovely and have that smart casual aspect to them. The fabric is really light weight, making them cool and perfect for a hot summers day.
We love the stripey design, even though Harry decided that he looks like a chef in his.
The boys both have completely different body shapes and the shorts suited both of them despite this. Thankfully they feature an adjustable waistband so you are able to pull them in a little tighter for smaller waists.
We also really like the length, and the fact that the shorts can be worn with either trainers or sandals.
They are comfortable and easy to move around it which is essential when sailing and getting on and off the bank.

We were also sent a cap each for the boys which are a touch too big but will be kept for a year or so when they will eventually fit. We love the detachable flap at the back of the cap, which will be ideal for when the sun it at it's strongest and is bouncing off the water.
Looking at the girls designs in hats I do wish there was more available for boys, especially in the canvas fisherman style.


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