The Monthly Review: July

I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. This is July’s review. You can see others here.


The Monthly Review: July

I supposed it’s better late, than never that I post this monthly review. Some days I feel like I am chasing my tail round and round in circles rather than actually getting anywhere but hopefully July’s Monthly Review post will be on time.

Highlights from July

  • July started with Race For Life. It was so hot that weekend! It was 28C around lunchtime so we were very hot!
  • There were three family birthdays in July so had a Birthday BBQ followed by another birthday party.
  • Jaxon was one of those birthdays. Jaxon and I went to Lemon and Ginger Knitting group at the Pavilion. Laura sorted out a brownie for Jaxon and the staff at the Pavilion were amazing. They couldn’t find a proper birthday cake candle so used to two tealights. Two of the staff came out onto the veranda bit to join us and they all sang Happy Birthday to Jaxon. It was so lovely of them! I asked Jaxon what he wanted for lunch. He decided that he wanted sausage rolls so we went to a bakery and got some sausage rolls and drinks. He then wanted to go and get an ice cream so we headed to Gallones. It was a lovely birthday and I hope he enjoyed it. His next birthday falls on a school day and I’m not sure how well he’s going to cope with that one!  Jaxon's Birthday
  • In August, I’m helping at a Holiday Club so as part of that I went with a group from the Holiday Club to take assemblies at two lower primary schools. It ended up as three school sites because of how the school is setup at the moment. They were good fun. One of my friends is a teacher at one of the schools, she walked past the assembly hall and waved at me. She had to go to a meeting while her class was in assembly so she couldn’t stay but it was lovely that she’d come past to say hello.
  • At Coffee Morning, we had a couple of speakers from Bedford Street Angels. I was part of the team when they first started so it was great to hear about what they’ve been up to and how things are going now. Bedford Street Angels has now been running since February 2009.
  • Since about March I’ve been working more on our family tree – specifically Chris’s side to figured out the link between him and Admiral Byng. A few weeks ago, I got an email from Ancestry.com to tell me that more extended family members on my side  had been added to a tree that I had found. I sat down and started to fill in what I could. In the end I worked out I was back to my 9th time Great Grandad or something like that. INSANE! I’m still not much further on Chris’s side though which is a shame but it’s coming along. You can read more about when I started back in March here.
  • Chris has gone to Newday this week so I’ve been looking after Jaxon with tag team assistance from my parents and Our Sidekick when needed. Our Sidekick has also been helping with some of the chores (yesterday afternoon he took up three baskets/bags of washing which is great – I’m hoping I can get it all away before Chris gets back at the weekend and then I have more washing to do!
  • On the first night of Chris being away, Jaxon had gone to bed in his own bed but around midnight woke up and decided he wanted to sleep in my bed – it was easier to say yes then to upset him in his half-awake state. I expected that he was going to be a wriggle bum but actually once he was out he was really still once he got settled. I decided that would be a one off and was grateful to have the bed to myself on the second night!

Top Posts Viewed in July

Projects Worked on in July

  • I’ve been working on my jumper a bit more but I’m having trouble with the arms so it’s on pause at the moment.
  • I started Stormy Skies Jumper, but between one or another thing I ended up having to start again.

Books Read in July

In July, my reading level has gone back to the pre-Disney level again. Hoping to get this back up again.

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares (Second Summer of the Travelling Pants)
  • Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher

Series Watched (Not full seasons btw!)

  • Amazing Interiors
  • Elementary
  • Nashville
  • Marvel Agents of Shield
  • SuperGirl
  • Arrow (just the crossover episodes when I could find them)
  • Flash (just the crossover episodes when I could find them)
  • Doctor Who (Season 7)
  • Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast (Season 1 – I attempted to watch it but with it being in Korean with subtitles I needed to be able to watch it and concentrate on the subtitles)
  • Gilmore Girls (Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning)

Films watched

  • Home Again
  • Moana (lots! It’s Jaxon’s current favourite to the extent that if he would learn Tokelau, I think he would!)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (this is still in progress)
  • Brain on Fire

Goals for August 

  • Clear some of the UFOs (unfinished objects. I have the jumper to finish (Autumn Breeze Sweater) as well as properly get started on another one (Stormy Skies). I was about 20 rows into it and then thought it was going really wrong so pulled it all out again. Casting on for like the third time now so hopefully, it’ll work now.

A Week in Disneyland Paris – Monday

Following our weekend, exploring Paris some more. It was now time to head onto the second part of our adventure. We were off to Disneyland Paris or as it had been called in our house “Mickey’s House”. It’s only taken me since May to catch up! A Weekend in Paris

Getting to the Park

The great thing about Disneyland Paris is the transport links. The train station is right in the middle of the Disneyland Paris area. There is a Eurostar service that comes directly into this station as well as the RER Ligne A service. From the station, you can then get shuttle buses to and from the hotels. There’s also a coach that runs to Charles de Gaulle airport. This should have been straightforward but because the train we got on stopped at Torcy (four stops away from the park) we had to get off and wait for the train that would take us the rest of the way. The train seemed to take ages to come by which point we were all getting a bit grumpy.

On our arrival at Marne-la-Vallee Chessy, we followed the signs to find the Disney Express desk. Now, this was something I’m glad Chris had looked into. We were able to drop the luggage that we didn’t need for the day at the desk and they would transfer it to our hotel later in the day. This was a great idea because it meant that we could have the Monday in the park without having to drag our suitcase with us (and then try to guard it while we were on rides etc).

Monday in The Park

Having dropped off our cases we headed into the park. This was very exciting and I wanted to get that first feel of Main Street. As we arrived the “Pirate and Princess” parade was happening right in the middle of Main Street. Rather than try to get along Main Street, we ducked into one of the arcades and escaped the crowds. This actually meant that we would meet our first character. Unexpectedly as we came out of the arcade we spotted Eeyore. As the queue wasn’t very long, we decided to queue for our first Character Meet. When we were the second in the queue, the actor playing Eeyore had to take a break. Jaxon was really good and waited his turn.

Hannah and Jaxon meet Eeyore at Disneyland Paris

Nearly all the day was spent doing rides, we headed to Discoveryland which included the Star Wars rides and some Toy Story ones. We first went on Orbitron, followed by the Nautilus. These were both Jaxon suitable (and Mummy suitable!). After this, we temporarily split up for one ride. Chris went on Star Tours by himself while Jaxon and I looked around the Star Wars themed shop. Jaxon was just about tall enough for Star Tours/ However, we wanted to check that the ride itself was okay for him.

An Adventure to Guest Services

When Chris came off, I was going to take my turn on Star Tours while they went to get in the queue for Autopia given how long the wait was for it. I took some video clips to show my brother but then realised that I had lost one of the tickets. I retraced my steps back through the queue line and then around the areas we had been. However, I think the Cast Members on litter picking were being extra organised and had already scooped up the ticket for the bin.

I went to Autopia and waited for the boys to come off. They were still in the queue and Chris could see me from where I was stood. He texted me to see if I was okay and I explained what was going on. I explained that I had lost the ticket and I was kind of upset at my own stupidity. While the boys explored the park a little more, I went to Guest Services to try and get the ticket reissued.

Chris looked at the Disneyland Paris app and told me where the nearest Guest Services was. The first one I went to was inside the park. The Cast Member I spoke to had a look to see if it had been handed in as lost property. He came back a few moments later and no it hadn’t been handed in. He then said that I needed to go to Guest Services just outside the park. At the second Guest Services, I spoke to a lovely lady called Raquel. She had to do various bits to make sure that the tickets I did have in my hand were official ones. She then called the hotel to make sure that we did indeed have a booking there.

It took a few moments to get all the bits together to be able to reissue the tickets but Raquel was really lovely and helpful. There was a minor hiccup in the system so it wasn’t entirely working the way it should have. However, Raquel came up with an idea and it meant that she could reissue the ticket. YES! Thank you lovely Raquel!

Back into the Park

Once I was back in the park, I went to find the boys. They had been on Autopia and then Nautilus again then had taken up residence in Videopolis. Jaxon was watching clips of Star Wars animations on a big screen. While they carried on watching the videos, Chris despatched me to take my turn on Star Tours. After my turn, we went to Starport to meet Darth Vader. This probably would have been more interesting to Jaxon if he had known who Darth Vader was but we had a good time. It was a bit surreal especially as the person playing Darth seemed to be very tall!

Following food at Plaza Gardens it was 5 pm and time for the Disney Stars Parade show. Apart from on Friday, this was the only day that we stopped in one place to watch the parade – and this time we stayed for the whole parade. Jaxon was very excited and when Mickey waved at him, he nearly exploded!

After the Parade

After the parade, we completed a lot of rides and attractions including the Dragon’s Lair, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Lancelot’s Carousel and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Between various bits going on, at this point I went for a sit-down. I think the cold/wet was making my joints hurt and really I needed to sit down somewhere and warm up properly. While the boys went to do Pinocchio and It’s a Small World, I sat down in Videopolis and tried to get comfortable. When I realised my phone was running low on battery and the battery charger wasn’t working, I decided to go and find the boys (And go through the pain!)

You can read the rest of the posts about our trip to Paris here

Unicorns, Frogs and My Passion Planner

Imagine a messy desk with just about enough space for the keyboard. That’s my desk, so the idea of sitting at my desk to journal or create anything more than the odd scribble has been a challenge. Working hasn’t exactly been easy with no space on the desk but it’s worked in it’s own way!

Supposedly a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind. I think mine would just be unorganised!

Back in May we went to Paris for the weekend and then to Disneyland Paris for a week. I’d spent all week collecting train tickets, paper placemats from the restaurants and photos galore to then journal about it when I got home. Just like I’ve done with so many other trips.

Well, we arrived back on Sunday evening having been away for about 9 days. In theory, we were ready to go back to normal life. However, at the end of our trip, Jaxon had gone down with Chicken Pox. Of all the times to come down with it! We knew it could be coming because it had been going round preschool and one of his little friends had gone down with a week earlier. While Chris went back to normal life, Jaxon and I were sort of in quarantine. Thankfully with some tag teaming with Grandpa I was able to escape to a work meeting. This is where working for myself comes in handy but between one thing and another journaling about our trip was getting further and further down the list.

It’s now the middle of July and I’m writing this post. Well actually it’s the end of July and this post is being edited from the one I wrote on Mrs Brimbles blog. Jaxon is playing in the soft play bit at Ikea and I am attempting to get some bits crossed off my to-do list while I have the chance. Back at the beginning of July, it crossed my mind to join in with One Book July but it’s only now that I sort of have a plan in place. (About time right?)

Passion Planner

Week 16th - 22nd July using Mrs Brimbles stickers

For months maybe even years it had crossed my mind to get a Passion Planner but having not got on with other hourly based planners I wasn’t sure it was right for me so kept putting it off. When I sat down with another independent business owner here in Bedford and I saw what her Passion Planner looked like, I was convinced – I’d print off the tester PDFs from the website and see how it would go. Well, that lasted all of the time it took me to fill in the next few weeks – I decided to order the undated version and get on with it. Well, the classic is a bit big (it’s A4) but works wonders! (And actually, since writing the post for Mrs Brimbles, I’ve ordered a compact too!). When my stickers arrived from July’s Sticker Club, I carried them around tucked in my planner for a few days and got a few ideas together like alternating the sticker washi with normal washi tape. Then when Chris was out at the church youth group and Jaxon was in bed, I attempted to get some filming done before it got too gloomy. I’m not sure it’s my best recording but it was fun to have the camera out for the first time in a while.

Week 23rd - 29th July Using Mrs Brimbles Stickers

Journaling

Bullet Journal Layout with Mrs Brimbles Patreon Collage Sheets

When you consider all the delays about writing about the Paris trip, I think I got further and further away from wanting to journal about the trip because there was more time that had past since we had got back. In the end, I sat down and did it. I knew by getting on with it, I’d actually be able to clear both some of my messy desk and the pile that was growing underneath my desk (and would regularly get kicked and messed up!) Also I’ve been collect items since our holiday so they are taking up more space too!

My go-to for journaling is usually some kind of TN insert, for a long time I’ve been in a TN but something recently has taken me away from that and I’m not entirely sure what it is that has put me off. I’ve been working my way through the notebooks and inserts I already have. Some are as big as A5 and others are smaller size TN inserts.

My current notebook is a Midori MD A5 notebook with grid pages. I’ve used some of the collage sheet from previous Patreon collections from Anna to decorate the outside and then used some of July’s Patreon collage sheets to decorate where I’m starting in the notebook. This will be a bit like a bullet journal in that it will carry my to-do lists but it will also work as my journal to write about what we’ve been up to and how I’m feeling etc. Also, it will be a bit of a “catch all” so there might be photos and things too along the way (maybe a flip through will follow at the end of the book).

I’m hoping now that I have this plan, I can clear my desk a bit, I can feel a bit more clearer in my head and come up with a plan to move forward. After all, what’s the point in getting caught up in all the decorative planning if you don’t actually get any plans done?

7 Things I’ve Noticed Since Giving Up Diet Cola

7 Things I've Noticed Since Giving up Diet Cola

For five years I worked in the same company, and nearly every day I had at least one can of Diet Cola (and the nearest drinking water tap was upstairs). When I changed jobs, I semi gave it up but was still drinking quite a lot of the stuff. When I started Slimming World, you’re told that diet fizzy drinks are fine. Meaning that the full-fat versions are the “baddy”. For just over a fortnight now, we’ve been on a new health kick. As Lucy put it on her IG story – “I don’t like to drink my calories”. Exactly! Why waste the calories on a can of full fat Cola when you could have chocolate or ice cream? When I was pregnant with Jaxon, I switched to lemonade or other non-caffeine fizzy to try and make a difference overall. However, sometimes the odd can of Diet Cola or glass while we were out for dinner would slip in there. I’d been told that it was probably rotting my insides and yet still drinking it was easier, even when I was pregnant.

As a mum to a small child, having that caffeine boost was needed. The caffeine boost was still outweighing any damage it was doing.

Back in May, we went to Paris and then Disneyland for just over a week. For lunch on the first Saturday, we were there, we got McDonald’s. Having had our crazy adventure around Paris, we were all hungry. Chris and I figured it was a safe bet that Jaxon would eat it. We would have plenty of time to get experimental! This was the first time I noticed that French Cola Light was definitely not the same as Diet Cola we have here in the UK. I was sure that last time we were in Paris it tasted more similar to UK Diet Cola. Chris told me later in the week that the French recipe had changed in line with the changes to French Food Law or something like that.

Well that was it, at first it was one meal, then it was a whole day and now it’s around 10 weeks. I feel like I need a reward of some kind. Maybe I’ll run that one past Chris! We also made sure we had some squash (or the closest French equivalent). Even when I was offered Diet Cola at a friend’s house, I turned it down. (She never normally has Diet Cola in her house and yet this time she did and I stayed strong and said no!!)

So what did I notice once I gave Diet Cola up?

Less Headaches

In the past, giving up Diet Cola has often been accompanied by the mother of all withdrawal headaches. However, something I learned this time around was that most of the time when I had given up, I wasn’t replacing that fluid. I’d go from drinking anything up to a litre of Diet Cola a day (plus a few cups of squash or water) to maybe having less than a litre fluid all day total. Not only was I going through withdrawal but I was dehydrated – no wonder my head hurt!

Having gotten over those first few days when you’re in withdrawal, overall I’ve noticed that I’ve had fewer headaches. I think I can count on my fingers how many I’ve had – I think I’m on less than 1 a fortnight so that’s 5 in the space of 10 weeks. The headaches that I have had since I’ve been able to pin to a particular factor like not enough sleep or getting overheated in the crazy heatwave we’ve been having in the UK. Also when I have had those headaches I’ve tried to use 4Head or a similar product rather than reaching for paracetamol as the first stop.

More Settled Nights

As a teen and in my early twenties I would dream vividly, I’m talking about them being so vivid I could recount them in great detail each morning. But I found as I got older that’s gone away but I’ve also realised that that could have been suppressed by the amount of caffeine and sweetener I was consuming. Now the vivid dreams haven’t come back although I do dream more now than I did, but I have noticed that my nights are more settled. Minus the odd wake up for Jaxon, I am sleeping near enough full nights whereas I would often wake multiple times in the night even though I was shattered.

Easier Bedtimes

Before we went away, I often drinking between 500ml and a litre of Diet Cola everyday, that amount of caffeine has the tendency to keep you awake longer than normal. This was great I had extra time to work into the evenings. NOT! I would get into bed and lie there starring at the ceiling or I was downstairs doing stuff and then going to bed as late as 2am. On top of this, I would still think that I could wake at 6:30/7 for Jaxon and still be able to function. How wrong am I? When we were in France I was often going to bed anywhere between 9pm and 11pm once Jaxon was in bed and asleep. I read lots but often found that ours days had been so busy I was getting a bit of reading in and then falling asleep.

Once we got home, I tried to continue the 10 pm bedtimes. I would get in bed at 10pm, read or watch an episode of something before settling down to sleep. I would often be out for the count once I closed my eyes! They were the odd late ones that crept in when I really needed to finish something but often I’d get to 11pm and be feeling in. Would sometimes just go “that’s it” and retreat to bed, it would have to wait for the next day!

Better Mornings

Mornings with Jaxon
Both Chris and Jaxon are very much morning peope and I am really not. In all honesty, I’ve never EVER been a morning person. Add in the need for caffeine, along with the lack of sleep and I was really not human for the first chunk of the day. Getting Jaxon ready for preschool or to get out the house for something else was often hard work and I would be snappy. I’m not always 100% awake when Jaxon and Chris wake up in the morning now but I am a bit more human which is always a good thing with a 4 year old jumping on you!

Change of Appetite

This was one I was told about but never realised. There’s something in Diet Cola which makes you crave sweet things – not just more Diet Cola. I discovered whereas I could gobble down a lot of chocolate or something equally sweet. Once I’d given up Diet Cola my tastes have changed more. Sometimes I still fancy chocolate but it’s a small bar insead of a bigger bar. If I fancy biscuits then its 2 or 3 digestives rather than the majority of the pack. All in all, I’m eating less (combined with drinking more water/squash)

Bloating/Weight Loss/Change of Shape

This one I’m still working on. I have noticed a few changes but they are definitely slower. I think a combination of the other things I’ve noticed have given me more energy which has made it easier to exercise. I’m still not going to be a gym bunny or take up marathon running but I am definitely trying to make more of an effort.

A few weeks ago I actually walked all the way from town to preschool, normally I take a 20-minute bus right instead. This worked out as a 2-mile walk – that’s almost half my target for a day!

Moods

Overall it feels like my moods are better. I think my fuse has got longer so I’m less likely to fly off the handle at the boys. Also, I think it’s meant that my moods are more balanced. I still get upset about things but I don’t go from being perfectly happy to bawling my eyes out like I might have used to do. This has also meant that when my period comes round, I’m getting less PMT-y and not walking around with a black cloud over my head.

Naps!

I’ve discovered naps! Okay so I used to have them – Sunday afternoon often became a nap slot. Chris would be on Jaxon duty and I’d doze off on the sofa. But at that point they were often necessary. Sometimes a nap was the only way of clearing a withdrawal headache enough to function. Now why wasn’t that the point that I was putting a stop to it and giving up Diet Cola. Actually, I don’t have an answer. I think again it was easier to pick up a Diet Cola from the corner shop and with a dose of paracetamol deal with the headache that way. On one occasion, I curled up on the sofa to lie down for a few minutes, next thing I knew it was nearly preschool pick up time and there was no way I was going to make it to preschool. Thankfully Dad saw the funny side of it and came to my rescue! Now, most of the time I’m falling asleep with my book in front of my face at bedtime!

Is it bedtime now?

BONUS: Jaxon’s Diet

Of all the things to also notice, Jaxon is eating less sweets now. Cut down/out the trips to the shop while we’re out and Jaxon is having less sweets! He’s had more sweets recently as he’s been to birthday parties and had his own birthday. However, I try to steer him to fruit before the sweets. Also tried to keep treats to meal times once he’s had proper food and at least one piece of fruit.

Good Morning Sunshine! AKA Our Trip in an Ambulance

Why is it I start these blog posts and then don’t finish them? This was about four weeks ago now.

We have our morning routine down to a fine art. Jaxon is embarrassingly good at sleeping so when he doesn’t sleep right we know something is up. So it was definitley unexpected that we’d be going in an ambulance.

We woke up this morning and could hear him coughing. At first, it was one or two barking coughs and we thought that was it. Then it was a few more so Chris went in to check on him. When Chris hadn’t come back I got up too. Jaxon was wheezy and has this barking cough. He wasn’t right so we rang 111.

Jaxon was awake and alert so ringing 999 seemed a little excessive. I answered all the questions from the lady on 111, was he awake? Could he speak? Was he turning blue or was his chest being sucked in? When she then said she was despatching an ambulance, I signed at Chris something like “Get dressed NOW!”. She then said the usual bits about making sure the door is unlocked and the paramedics can get themselves in, if one of us can’t get to the door and if Jaxon’s symptoms change at all callback or call 999.

As Chris was now dressed, he sat with Jaxon while I got dressed. We then all got downstairs and packed a bag, basically “If Jaxon gets admitted what do we need?” So there were things for us to do, snacks for Chris and I (That could be shared once Jaxon was cleared to eat). Also, chargers – if you don’t know how long you’re going to be, take your phone charger! Having done an unexpected overnight in the hospital with Jaxon, phone charger is definitely something that’s harder to get hold of (unlike food and drink!).

The paramedics arrived and were lovely. They asked Chris and I questions but always addressed Jaxon as his own person (so important right?). He takes after me and studied the heart monitor when they put the pulse oximeter on his finger. Between wheezy breathes he tried to read the numbers out loud. They also put the little pads EKG pads on his chest and feet to check other heart bits too. The paramedics listened to his chest (and then gave Jaxon the stethoscope to listen to his own heart and chest) and decided that yes the wheeze was in his chest and wasn’t just upper respiratory like croup. Whereas he’d been almost coughing as a way to try and clear the wheeze, by the time the paramedics were there he’d stopped coughing. Maybe after about 10-15 minutes, he did a couple of coughs and they discussed whether it actually was a bit of croup too.

They decided that they were going to give him a nebuliser treatment there and then to try and clear the wheeze. He definitely wasn’t happy about having the mask on his face but in true Jaxon style, he took it all in his stride and sat patiently. I think he had a small children’s mask on but it was slightly too small so didn’t fit on his face quite right – he might have looked silly but a bigger children’s one or even an adult one might have worked better!

While he had the treatment, they also took a heel prick for his blood sugar levels. The paramedic asked me did had we been through a heel prick before, I explained that we had when he was born so it’s no issue and that I’m sure it would be fine. I held Jaxon and kept talking to him while the paramedic did the heel prick. He did flinch a little but as usual, he was completely chilled. He looked like he might cry but actually didn’t – so brave!

Now comes the fun bit (well for Jaxon it was fun I’m sure!). As he’d had the treatment, the paramedics wanted to take him in to get him checked over and make sure there wasn’t anything worse going on. I carried him out to the ambulance as he didn’t have his socks or shoes on. When we got to the ambulance, the paramedics asked me to sit on the trolley (gurney is what it’s called on US medical dramas but I’m not sure that’s what it is here!) and then to hold Jaxon, they would then restrain us both with a combination of the straps they use to restrain patients in transit. We didn’t go blues and twos which I think disappointed Jaxon a little! As it wasn’t a B&T kind of emergency and I was with Jaxon if anything changed, Chris finished getting ready for work so that he could go straight to work from the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital and the paramedics got us signed in before sending us through to the paediatric waiting room. Jaxon was the only child in there for a while and we were seen fairly quickly in the end.

The Paediatric Waiting Room

We were seen by a nurse who gave Jaxon a once over to make sure the stats from home versus now were either matching or improved. We were then sent back to the waiting room and waited to be seen by the doctor.

While we had been seen by the nurse, Chris was on his way from where he’d park the car and met us in the waiting room. I was a little worried that we could end up waiting ages for the doctor but thankfully it wasn’t too long even though it was longer than when we waited for the nurse.

We were seen by the doctor and discharged as Jaxon was back to normal again and the doctor couldn’t see anything wrong so obviously the nebuliser had done it’s job. Chris dropped us at the supermarket on his way through town then he went to work. We then walked a different route through the park to get to knitting group.

That was a bit of a dramatic start to a Monday morning but so thankful that things weren’t worse, which they could have been. Once again so grateful for the lovely NHS staff taking care of us and making sure we were all well.