Three years of blogging at mrssavageangel

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When I registered for a free WordPress account three years ago (three years ago last Thursday as it goes), I had no idea that I’d write more than a couple of blog posts. To be brutally honest I wasn’t sure I’d even write one. So believe me when I say I had absolutely NO idea that I’d still be writing three years later. Seriously, I’ve been in most jobs less time. And it’s not like I’m a young thing, who’s only ever had one job. I’m 37!

It’s safe to say I’ve surprised myself, both with my commitment to blogging and with some of the stuff I’ve actually written! But the thing that baffles me even more is just how much other people have come along for the ride. That anyone chose to read the words that have poured, often uncensored, out of my head amazed me. But that these same people kept coming back and giving me such crazy good feedback? Well, three years on and it still hasn’t gotten old.

I wont lie, blogging can be hard work. Coming up with actual words to say can sometimes be painful. And getting your stuff out there and in front of people who actually want to read it can sometimes feel like wading through treacle. But despite all this, at no point in three years have I ever thought of jacking it all in. Hand on heart I haven’t. Because the support I get from this space is too precious to give up. It gives me so much positivity, in a life and a world that needs as much of it as possible.

Rather than do a serious ‘What I’ve learnt in three years of blogging’ post or a worthy ‘My dos and don’ts of blogging (which, by the way, should always be taken with a huge pinch of salt!), I decided to make this a celebration. A celebration of mrssavageangel – gawd love her – and my favourite moments from her past three years!

Beni Girls Bash

The first blogging event I ever went to was the Beni Girls Bash at Benihana in Chelsea. I met so many wonderful people and learnt so much, including how bloggers always photograph food before eating it (something I am STILL rubbish at remembering to do 😆).  It was the first time I ever felt like a ‘real’ blogger (whatever one of those is 😂) and as it was also my first real review, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

I don't know! Only I would meet the Beni Girls and pull a stupid face! Sigh!

I don’t know! Only I would meet the Beni Girls and pull a stupid face! Sigh!

Not such a Fat Face

Such a sweet little post, that I only wrote simply because it felt too full of emotion to put in a status update. The reaction it got was fantastic. It made me realise how much more I’d achieved in my weight loss journey than perhaps I’d previously accepted.

Don't know why I love this one - I just do.

When I could finally wear Fat Face clothing.

#BML16 badge

I wrote about my experience at #BML16 a few weeks ago. I met some wonderful people but in reality one of the things I was most proud of was my badge. I know that sounds strange, but it had my name, my blog name and the word BLOGGER on it. I got to look at it and say ‘that’s me!’ ☺️

Conference ID badge

Pride on a lanyard

Becoming self hosted

After 18 months worth of posts it finally felt like blogging was something that was going to be hanging around and so I decided to go self hosted. Funnily enough mrssavageangel.com as a domain name was still up for grabs 😂! Going self hosted was so technically daunting, but thankfully I married a pro-nerd and what’s the point of marrying a developer if they can’t build you a website when you need one? The beautifully slick operation behind mrssavageangel.com is largely due to him! Thank you Ben!

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I was so proud when mrssavageangel.com opened for business

Most read post

If anything exemplifies the power of writing from the heart, it’s that To be Honest.. is my most read post of all time. It was hard to write. So hard in fact it was causing something of a mental blockage. But once it was out there, it allowed me to be honest about who we are as a family and to start the process of coming to terms with Oscar’s Autism diagnosis.

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My beautiful boy

Favourite post (probably)

I love this one. It was an off the cuff post, dashed off while Oscar slept. I desperately wanted to capture the feeling of the moment I realised he was growing up and how fast time was spinning away from us. I once heard a quote along the lines of “Any jester can make people laugh, but to make them cry? Ahhh, now that’s a skill.” Many people have told me this post made them cry. 😉

Motherhood

Thanks

I have been unbelievably lucky to only ever attract lovely people to my writing. I’m not naive and know this might not always be the case, but for now it is and for that I’m so grateful. However, the thing that really blows my socks off is whenever I receive a private message from someone telling me that something I’ve written has helped them. Either with weight loss, autism, parenting or just in life, anytime someone tells me something I’ve had to say has touched them, well I can’t explain how humbling and gratifying it is all at once. It’s taught me that we all have a capacity to help others and that no one’s experience is invalid. And for that I’ll always be eternally grateful.

So on the occasion of mrssavageangel.com’s third birthday I’d  like to say Thank You, both to her and to you. You’ve both given me more than I could ever explain.

Prosecco anyone?

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A reason to celebrate

Last weekend we had one of those perfect experiences. You know, when you think, OK well this is happening, it could be OK, but it also could go horribly wrong and then it’s better than you ever hoped? One of those.

Ben’s maternal grandparents celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary last week (that’s 60 years people!) and wanted to mark the occasion by bringing their relatively small, but rather geographically scattered family together. It was a really lovely idea and something we haven’t done in ages! The family were all booked in to a small boutique country hotel near Kingsbridge, Devon and invitations sent. However, this really wasn’t the kind of establishment that leant itself to toddlers, so it was agreed both Oscar and his cousins Lucas (3) and Anya (16 months) would stay elsewhere. My sister in law easily found an extended family member to sit for her in their home in Plymouth. However all our family are also in Devon, not Surrey where we live. Finding someone who Oscar felt comfortable with and who had the space was not going to be easy.

This in itself could have derailed our weekend from the off. Oscar doesn’t often stay the night with other people, mostly because our family all live hundreds of miles away. And the last person he successfully stayed with was joining us at the hotel. He doesn’t really know his extended family well enough, or they don’t have the space. So it was with some trepidation we asked our good friend Michelle whether she would have him. As he’d recently spent a few days with Michelle and her 4 year old daughter Holly when they visited a couple of weeks ago, we figured she would be fresh enough in his mind to be familiar. Add that to the fact that I just knew that Michelle would be bloody marvellous with him, I felt really confident leaving him with her. Her daughter Holly was so excited Oscar was coming for a ‘sleepover’ it was all Michelle could do to convince her not to sleep on the floor next to his bed!

So on Saturday we headed off to Plymouth, with the boy in the back thoroughly enamoured of the iPad in its new holder attached the to the headrest. We’d downloaded a few films and some Thomas the Tank Engine and by golly it was the most peaceful four hour journey we’ve ever had. He’s not a bad traveller all told, but this is my little ball of energy we’re talking about and four hours is a lot to ask of him. Despite setting off at 8.30am, nowhere near his nap time, he did brilliantly and even snoozed for the last hour of the journey waking up 10 minutes from our destination. When we arrived he was happy and calm and easily distracted enough by the gazillions of new toys not to bother about us leaving. We ran to the car like escaping convicts!

Buckland Tout Saints Hotel, Goveton

Buckland Tout Saints Hotel, Goveton

The beautiful misty view from our room

The beautiful misty view from our room

The hotel we stayed in was the Buckland Tout Saints and we arrived with plenty of time to join the family in the bar. I was unwinding with a Pinot by 3pm and it felt fantastic. Everyone was in fine sprits (literally) and the fun began in earnest. It was just so nice to get to chat. I’ve known Ben’s sister longer than I’ve known Ben, but as Ben and I have been together 17 years this year, it always feels like catching up with old friends when the family get together. We talked about the children and our lives and this and that. My brother in law was most impressed by their bathroom, which was on a mezzanine floor in their room. I think we were all taken to see it at some point or another!

Sent to to my sister in law when we went to get ready for dinner

I sent this to to my sister in law when we went to get ready for dinner

Getting ready in peace was amazing. We put some tunes on the iPad and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of putting my make up on without feeling like a fugitive hiding from someone (also known as the boy!) I got to wear my gorgeous new dress and as promised here is the evidence. It was so beautiful and comfortable and felt both smart and fun. It wowed the family just as I hoped it would. Nice one Pepperberry!

Charlotte dress by Pepperberry Size 16 Super Curvy

Charlotte dress by Pepperberry Size 16 Super Curvy

Super smiley - 3 glasses of wine in. Or was it 4 ;)

Super smiley – 3 glasses of wine in. Or was it 4 😉

Dinner was just how a big family meal should be. Full of chat, laughs, debate and fun. Who knew Aunty Gillian’s inability to get her arm out of shot would cause such hilarity? But then that’s what it’s all about. Laughing at the silly memories that mean nothing to anyone else.

Fun and laughter

Family

I just love the joy on Ben's grandma's face in this one.

I just love the joy on Ben’s grandma’s face in this one.

Me and the hubster

Me and the hubster

Rachel and Ross photobombed by 'Uncle' Andy!

Rachel and Ross photobombed by ‘Uncle’ Andy!

After dinner we proceeded to take over the bar (again) and partied until the small hours. Not sure how, but I seemed to drink myself sober. I even took my make up off when I went to bed and woke with no hangover at all! Bonus!

We picked up Oscar the next day, to hear that apart from not wanting to brush his teeth, he’d been fine with Michelle and actually put himself into bed and had fallen asleep immediately. What a star! He had taken every toy in the house out though, which I did feel a bit bad for, so we ensured Michelle was rightly compensated with wine, chocolates and flowers. We can’t explain how much knowning he was OK allowed us to have the best night. So once again THANK YOU MICHELLE!

From Michelle’s we took Oscar over to his Great Grandparents house. Again it’s not somewhere he’s been in a very long time and we were concerned how he’d cope being in a strange environment with a group of adults he doesn’t known all that well. We shouldn’t have worried. He was absolutely fine, heading straight for the toys in the conservatory and playing with his Great Granddad (and his namesake. Oscar’s middle name is Frederick). And when Lucas arrived with his sister Anya, well that was that. Oscar’s not always the most receptive to other children, but for his cousin Lucas he makes an exception. Despite only seeing Lucas handful of times in his life and certainly not for the last nine months, they have some kind of connection I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. Every time they see each other they are like the best of friends and this time was no different. Within half an hour they were chasing each other round the house, laughing like drains and even holding hands, something I never see Oscar do with his chums! I don’t know, maybe they look at each other and see something familiar (or familial!) in each other. Either way it was beautiful to see and we cant wait until Lucas is old enough to come and stay with us!

Despite the time between visits they're always the best of friends

Despite the time between visits they’re always the best of friends

Holding hands partner in crime

Holding hands – partners in crime

Follow me, I know the way to the trouble!

Follow me, I know the way to the trouble!

We tried desperately hard to get a picture with all the children in one shot, but you know kids. They are wont to move. A lot! This was the best I did!

What? All three of them are technically in shot. It was the best I could do!

What? All three of them are technically in shot. It was the best I could do!

And I particularly like this one of my niece Anya. She’s going to be tall like her Grandma I think!

Anya, 16 months old. Going to be tall like the rest of the clan!

Anya, 16 months old. Going to be tall like the rest of the clan!

We finished the lunch off with a celebratory cake, made by Ben’s mum. As soon as Oscar saw it he sat up to the table and started singing what I believe was his attempt at Happy Birthday! Bless!

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Cake!

Cutting the cake once again 60 years on

Cutting the cake again, 60 years on

We left, sad to be going, but so pleased that we’d been privileged enough to celebrate such an amazing milestone with such an awesome couple. A couple who raised two children, supported two grandchildren and care for three Great Grandchildren. A couple who have so many interests and hobbies and friends and ‘joie de vivre’. A couple whose attitude inspire the whole family, every day.

So here’s to a great weekend, to a great family and to a great 60 years.

Here’s to Fred and Peggy

... to Fred and Peggy!

… to Fred and Peggy!

Slimming World Update – Week 38

Hi!

How’s your week been? Mine’s been so mixed it’s untrue. On the one hand it’s been super happy, exciting and fun. On the other it’s been extremely stressful, hard and no fun at all. How is that even possible? Unfortunately I fear it’s because it’s life.

Food wise it’s been an incredibly challenging week. It was Oscar’s 2nd birthday on Wednesday. This bought with it wonderful celebration but also much reflection. Like everything this week, it was Happy/Sad. And with celebration and stress (in my life anyway) seems to come food. I’m not saying I went crazy, but I did have things I wouldn’t normally have even entertained. And once I started, I could feel the control slipping. It started on Friday with Chinese take away (which we had at my suggestion after a great piece of news and having a particularly difficult day – happy/sad). On Saturday we took Oscar and his friend for dinner to ASK Pizza (kind of like Pizza Express). Despite there being various more healthy options (Seafood pasta or risotto would have been lovely), what I really wanted was pizza. I met myself half way and had a kind of sauceless cheeseless pizza, topped with steak, rocket and salsa verde. This was quickly followed by birthday cake, that I hadn’t planned to eat. I couldn’t even begin to syn any of this or the roast I made on Sunday.

I started to feel like “well what the hell – I’ve ruined this week why bother trying any more”. I’ve heard others talk about this feeling, but I’ve not really experienced it myself before and man it sucked. I started to feel so out of control that I seriously (for about a minute) considered not weighing in. How could I face myself on Tuesday? The thought was fleeting and quickly told it was bloody nonsense. But still. I’ve never once considered not weighing in, regardless of how my week has gone and I think this is more symptomatic of the changes I’m experiencing throughout the rest my life and how unsettled this is leaving me, than any real mistrust in group. Anyway, I knew that despite the wobbles I’d had, the very best thing I could do, was to put it behind me and look forward. As someone said last night, there are 7 days in a week. 7 opportunities to start afresh. And while I’m not one to use “tomorrow is another day” excuse regularly (I can’t be – I did that for so long and look where it got me), occasionally it’s the only thing you can do. Accept what has happened, don’t allow it to take over and move on.

So I did. And last night I lost 0.5lb. I know it wasn’t the 1lb I set myself last week, but to be honest I couldn’t have been happier. That’s a total of 5 Stone 4.5lb (74.5lb).

We all doubt our ability now and then (I assume – maybe you don’t. And if not, high five to you!) But seeing that loss just confirmed to me that despite the hiccups and the stumbles I have along the way I do know how to do this. I need to listen to my quiet voice and trust.

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While I remember here is another picture I took this week. I bought these boots from Evans last October. I loved them then and I still love them now. They’re leather so I know they will have stretched (and please ignore how faded they are – my bad for not cleaning them enough!), but even so. I’ve never had a pair of long boots look this loose on me and I wanted to share.

Top - Oct 2013. Bottom April 2014

Top – Oct 2013. Bottom April 2014

I’ll be weighing in on Thursday next week as I have no lift to Liphook, so expect my next update on Friday. I would like to loose 2lb this week to start making a real in roads into the 6.5lb I want to loose by May (as explained last week).

Have a great week

xxx