I remember how my late Mum used to sing the song “You don’t bring me flowers anymore” Dad was not great at treating her to flowers. If she had asked for them, she would have had the finest but he was not spontaneously romantic.

Him Indoors is like that too. So imagine my surprise when he walked in yesterday with a huge bouquet of the most beautiful pink roses. Apparently he thinks I deserve them for putting up with him. So my first reason to be cheerful to record this week is that he does still bring me flowers 17 years after getting together.

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It seems to have been a long week and I don’t like the dark afternoons or the soggy days. No wonder we need all the fairy lights at Christmas to brighten our hearts a little. In a way recording our reasons to be cheerful is like putting the fairy lights on to focus on brightness and colour.

Here are some of this week’s bright moments

1. My son turned 15 and we had a happy day with home-made cake and the inevitable Doctor Who and Flash watching sessions. He does not ask for much but he got what he wanted. It is odd to see him starting to tower over his Dad and to see the little moustache in the making. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He will do fine in the world. I just need to convince him of that.

2. My daughter is amusing me with her manifestos on life. She is definitely a blogger in the making! Today she started the task which she loves every year of making fine Christmas decorations out of cheap and cheerful materials.

3. My youngest son is spending more time to me snuggled up on the sofa. I found him researching something the over day and was so impressed as it was a really deep scientific subject. He is also very politically aware in a way that I don’t remember being at the age of just 10.

4. Him Indoors and I have had some lovely days together sorting out a few bits and pieces and taking long walks. He is shortly going to make one of his wonderful dinners after getting in from his late shift.

5. I am alive and I have a great family and firm friends. The awful events in the world this week make me reflect how important it is to honour and look after those who add to our lives past, present and future. I resolve to try my utmost to do so.

6. Home education is becoming more relaxed which weirdly means we are actually learning more. Great and fun experiments on acid rain and volume this week. The more chilled I get about it the more excited I get and that leads to the children also being engaged. So simple really but takes some getting used to too.

7. Finally I did more than I thought I could this week putting myself up for a rejection that did not come. How easy it is to assume the worst. Here’s to assuming the best as a more positive way to approach life.

You don’t bring me flowers anymore. Oh yes you do!

Have you heard of from Blogging to Jogging?

Blogging To Jogging

It is a very flexible linky for all your health, fitness and well-being posts. The lovely Hannah from Budding Smiles has kindly asked me to host the linky for the foreseeable future. I hope bloggers who take part will continue to do so and that newcomers will know that they are very welcome.

Do you have a goal in mind?

Have you got a healthy recipe to share?

Have you some powerful tips that might help others?

Are you writing about your physical or mental health and how to improve it?

This linky has come at the right time for me as I set new goals after losing nearly 5 stones in the last year. I am adapting to a smaller me but know I still have a long way to go and need to get back on track motivation wise.

From Blogging To Jogging is open from Monday morning until Sunday night for all your health, fitness and well-being posts so whatever your goals, healthy recipes or tips are, please do come along and join the party. I will post the first Blogging to Jogging linky on my blog next Monday and you can link up anytime in the following week that suits you.

The Rules

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos.

Check out the Facebook group that runs alongside Blogging to Jogging – we can all be in this together!

Huge thanks to Hannah for trusting me and I hope I do as good a job as she has.

What qualities do you look for in a perfect gaming chair?

My 10 year old loves the chair he was sent to review.

gaming chair

It is a specially designed Gaming Bean Bag Chair which is really stylish. It is easily put together with little white balls providing the firm but comfy filling.

When asked to describe it, my son said “It is super comfy. It is ideal for gaming or relaxing on. I reckon I could sleep on it because it has a great head rest too. It is the perfect gaming chair!”

As a mum, I love how it has a cool design that looks right in a tween or teenage bedroom. I say this because I have every intention of getting one for my 14 year old too, a gaming obsessive.

chair for teens

We have had a huge beanbag from this company before so can state that they can survive the demands of kids, cats and dogs and the rough and tumble of family life.

The beanbags are also great for seating in playrooms or when you have extra guests.

With Christmas scarily close, I have found you the perfect gaming chair for a gift and can highly recommend the beanbags for those larger than usual family gatherings and parties.

Available at www.BeanBagBazaar.co.uk with FREE UK mainland delivery.

Learning about prefixes and suffixes today was a breeze as both children seemed very confident in this area. My son immediately gave the example of how the prefix “un” changes the meaning of the word “detectable”.

We looked at the prefixes “tele” “auto” and “anti” with the help of a workbook from Marks and Spencer picked up in a local charity shop. I asked the children to define “anti-ageing” “anti-bacterial” and “anti-freeze”.

They both went to town on anti-ageing having heard me rant on about the expense of anti-ageing stuff and how all it does is build up company wealth and continue the myth that women are not good enough as they are. Note to self – must attempt not to brain wash my children.

My son thought “anti-freeze” might be something to help with hypothermia which I thought was a really inspired guess. When I explained it gets used in cars, he was clear that we should not put it in toothpaste.

Learning about prefixes and suffixes went a bit awry when we moved onto suffixes looking at “cian” and “ist”. The world “beautician” came up at which point my son told my daughter that she obviously needed one. At this point, my strong-willed daughter pretty much downed tools and I am learning that is OK because she will come back to things later in the day or week.

Prefix – letters added to the beginning of a word

Suffix – letters added to the end of a word.

They get it! Tick on prefixes and suffixes.

We moved on to the absolute joy of reading Peter Pan and then the less obvious happiness of factors in numeracy.

Learning about prefixes and suffixes gave us a positive start to our home education day with a little bad behaviour from my son but I guess real teachers have to deal with that in classroom settings too.

What is life after depression like?

Life after depression

I am becoming increasingly aware and joyful at how differently I find things now the black clouds of depression have disappeared.

1. I don’t mind the house not being clinically perfect. I don’t have the housework skills to make this happen or perhaps I do but not when a husband, children and animals are around. It does not matter. However, it did and it hurt me so much that I could not meet the standards either of myself or others. I always did housework every day but could only see what was not right. Now I focus on what I have done well.

2. I don’t feel pressured to find a 9-5 job to justify my existence in the world. I have found a role that suits me and am proactively building on that at a rate that is comfortable for me. For so long, I spent hours trawling job sites trying to find something that would fit in practically with the particular needs of my family and then beating myself up emotionally when I did not find it or ranting at the unfairness of society. Neither of these made me happy.

3. I am standing up for myself in all my relationships. Instead of sulking or being aggressive, I am stating quite clearly what I will and won’t accept and also looking for areas of negotiation which has to be a healthy thing. My husband said the other day that he no longer comes in worrying what mood I will be in and how to handle me. We are talking more openly and honestly and laughing a lot again.

4. Instead of hating the school run, I now home educate and am learning to play with that experience rather than stressing it. I can do it for goodness sake. I can’t really remember why I thought I would mess it up. I am highly educated, have had lots of life experiences, have a real love of learning – if I pass on just some of that to my children and encourage their passions, how lucky they are!

5. I have worked out that I don’t need a totally in my life best friend. I just need to feel that there are people I could go to in a crisis and also people who are good either in the real or virtual world for good times even if that is just a cheery hello from someone in a shop or cafe.

6. It is OK to be me and to celebrate that. I have nothing to apologise for and am a rich woman. It took me a very long time to realise that. Looking back, it is clear that I was carrying trauma from the circumstances of my first year in the world and rejections thereafter. All this has contributed to making me the sensitive and caring person that I am so it was all fabulous in the end. I had such dark days and years but I value the good ones so much now.

7. I am strong enough to keep toxic people at a distance whilst managing not to be cruel too. Toxic people tend to have their own very real issues. I am also courageous enough to allow people from my past back in knowing I have nothing to be ashaemed of.

8. I feel young again and enjoy playing with my lifestyle and fashions just like I did back in my late teens and early twenties. I am walking taller and sometimes in the kinky boots! My new jumper has “Ooh la la!” emblazoned on it which says a lot about my new sense of self-worth.

9. Christmas and birthdays are not giving me any cause for concern. We will have a good time. We don’t need to spend a fortune and we don’t need to run round in some vain attempt to make everybody else happy. We will do it our way because we have a right to and prefer it that way.

10. Overall there is a sense of balance that I love. I do housework, I paddle canoes that matter to me, I work, I reach out, I go shopping and bargain-hunting, I am part of the local community, I inspire my children and we laugh a lot, I make time to read and to walk in the fresh air often several times a day.

Roll back 10 years …

1. Living in darkness metaphorically and literally with curtains firmly closed.

2. Not coping with parenting or housework. Making big mistakes and hating myself for them.

3. Worrying when people judged me.

4. Working in jobs that were not practical as a young mum and then wondering why I was not managing to do it all successfully.

5. Not telling anyone what I needed or that I was struggling.
Not seeking help from a GP.

6. Being obsessive. Being angry. Sometimes a degree of self-harm.

7. Convinced that only one bloke could ever want or fancy me and therefore holding on too tight and being desperately insecure. I still have work to do in this area but I know think I am as good as any woman which helps immensely.

8. Sleeping on the school run rather than home-educating which is what I actually wanted to do and with a lack of strong support system in place and a husband commuting 100s of miles per day would have been the sensible option.

9. Feeling utterly isolated and abandoned.

10. Not celebrating my very real and unique qualities and skills.

11. Listening too much to the toxic ones. Not listening enough to those kind voices out there. If they knew me really, they would hate me. If they saw me, they would be repulsed by me. All in my own mind!

12. Hiding in baggy and dark clothes often in sizes too big for me. Trying to be invisible. Getting in the way.

13. Trying to deliver the perfect Christmas for everyone not just my immediate loved ones. Never managing to gain approval and then being miserable at not being the perfect person. Spending too much to make up for all my other sins.

14. Striving and failing to be the person that I now see relishing life.

It can be done and I hope this reaches someone who is giving up hope and that they seek help.

Help for me included counting my blessings however tiny they seemed helped loads by taking part in Reasons to be Cheerful set up by Mich and now hosted by Becky and Jo.

Someone finally realising something was wrong with me.

Building up online friendships and feeling valued again

Then going to the GP and saying “Excuse me, but I think I have had depression for about a decade”. For me, Prozac rocks!

If you have overcome depression, I would love to know how life is for you now and what you think can help others most.

Cuddle Fairy