Going Balls To The Wall, Learning How To Fail and Other Life Lessons From Thailand

11189639_467238166767600_328472311_n

I’m going to start this story with another story, which is surely how all the best stories begin.

When I went to Thailand a couple of months ago I had the absolute pleasure of crossing paths with Laura, someone I’d known on Twitter for yonks and yonks. We’d be in Bangkok for 24 hours at the same time and had never managed to meet up in London so we agreed to hang out on the http://wildbeautyworld.com/cialis-online-50mg other side of the world. Casual.

Now, Laura’s blog is one of a few that I love. She lays bare her heart and her head in stories of raw, true human emotional experience and emotion. Some of it resonates and ALL of it prompts me to think and for that I adore her words. So I was looking forward to meeting her, sharing the life experiences I know we’d had in common and generic levitra soft tabs getting to know each other better.

I’m sure Laura won’t mind that I describe her as a force of nature. She is HERE, she is PROUD, she know what she wants and she ain’t afraid to get it. As soon as I met Laura we got into one of those conversations that is just so intensely interesting that I remember wishing more than once that I had a pen and paper to write down the golden nuggets of truth she was telling me (over pints of £1 Thai beers, natch).

In the last year I’ve had a personal motto, and that is JFDI. Just fucking do it. Because if you want to do something you should – life is too short and uncertain not to. Laura embodies this motto, she goes where her heart takes her, falls in love with abandon, tries new things, puts herself in uncertain situations… because what is life about if not that?

I walked away from my 5 hours with Laura feeling indestructible (and more than a little pissed, it has to be said). I’m so sure of what I want out of life but I have to admit that I’m still a little wobbly on how to get there, but Laura made me focus on what I want: cut the crap, balls to the wall, just fucking do it.

I want to travel, I want to meet new people, I want to write, I want to make people happy with my cooking, I want to be the healthiest I can be, I want to train, I want to work hard, I want security for my family. That’s what I want, and I will always love Laura for giving me the http://agp.qc.ca/levitra-doses courage to  be proud of that. In the hours I spent with Laura she allowed me to summarise and process the changes I went through experiencing rural N.E. Thailand and converted that into ways I could live my life moving forward.

11356348_1635733470044707_847683436_n

On to the story part of my story.

Six weeks ago I was offered a promotion that was so very unexpected. I’d been working freelance as an Account Director at a Marketing agency and they asked me to come on permanently to take on their Head of Marketing role. I was stoked. I’d have a team, lots of great clients, autonomy, fiscal responsibility… it was a huge deal. I basked in the glory of my new job for a while – I’d worked so hard for the last few years, why not? – and got on with the job in hand.

Full-on is not the word. This was the http://skelfsborg.com/buy-cialis-soft-online challenge of all challenges. The Marketing team at the agency had gone through many recent personnel changes, there were difficult and time-consuming situations that needed resolving and I was leading projects that I had little experience in. Having worked in digital almost since I designed my first website 15 years ago it was odd to look at physical flyers with print lead times, traditional marketing plans, campaigns that didn’t have websites or Twitter or Facebook at their core. I felt out of my depth which is something I haven’t experienced in years. I was working my arse off, 70 hours a week at one point, but the rx online viagra job was never done. When I worked for myself I was always confident that I’d done the best job possible but working in a business when you’re responsible not only for your own actions but those of a team was hard – I was answerable for everyone’s work, not just my own.

I really loved the job. It was challenging, exciting, all-encompassing. But tough, TOUGH. I started feeling more stressed than I think I ever have, didn’t sleep well, was unconsciously grinding my teeth, developed palpitations. I was rushing around from pillar to post, neglecting my friends and becoming snappy with the children. Our house was a state because I just didn’t have time to clean and one week I ate cucumber for breakfast four days in a row because I hadn’t visited a supermarket in weeks. I was so tired that I became reliant on an afternoon pickup from those tubs of M&S Caramel Crispy Bites (I don’t do coffee). I’d be at work all day, pick up the children, put them to bed then get back to work until bedtime. It was relentless. Enjoyable but relentless.

And so I had one moment last Wednesday at about 11.30pm when I received an email I didn’t really want to receive and I burst into tears. My first thought was, “I really don’t want to do this anymore” and then my second thought was “so don’t do it anymore, idiot”.

Doh.

I’ll admit my pride was a bit hurt at the thought I’d tried really bloody hard at this job and just didn’t have the mental, emotional or physical capacity to see it through but in the end logic won. It would have been easier to keep trucking on with my lovely big reliable salary and impressive job title as I slowly descended into a pool of my own stress-related mentalness but I thought back to my time with Laura and f-utilidades.com realised this is not what I want. This is not something that makes me want to go balls to the wall. I want to do what I’m good at, be in charge of my own destiny, work in an area I feel real passion and a connection for (that’s you, internet).

Plus, come on. I’m a single mother of a 3 and 4 year old, it’s hardly realistic to be working 70 hours a week now, is it?

So this is me stepping outside the box, apologising for following my head and not my heart, for choosing money and security over what I truly love. I feel like I’m back in control of my own destiny and making that decision on my own feels really wonderful.

And I share this story because I want to say thank-you. Thank-you to Laura who puts her own self out there to help other people see they can do it (and you can read her own personal story about why it’s OK to quit here). Thank-you to the Universe for the series of events that led me to feel empowered enough to make this decision (that’s the biggest fucking hippie sentence I’ve ever written, right there). Thank-you to my mum who has held my own personal fort down and looked after my children while I’ve been living the stressed-out corporate dream. Thank-you to my friends who haven’t forgotten about me while I’ve drifted off into this period of craziness.

I also share this because I think it’s important to realise we don’t have to do what others expect us to do. We can take the lovelovefilms.com road less travelled and discover that path is much happier. As Laura says, go balls to the wall… it’s a great way to take steps towards finding your happiness.

Internet, I am back. And by god have I missed you.

Bed Wetting: The School Age Taboo

This post brought to you by DryNites®. The content and cialis next day delivery opinions expressed below are that of More Than Toast.

IMG_0190 I’ve noticed as a mum there are still some topics that are taboo, even within circles of friends. We discuss so much with other mothers – education, health, relationships, POO – but there are some things that really still don’t get discussed. One of these things I’ve noticed is the subject of bedwetting. I have one particular friend who I talk about this with and we always comment that it’s really unusual to hear other mums discuss where they are at with this stage of their children growing up. I’m not sure if it’s seen as shameful or embarrassing but I very rarely get roped into conversation about it. I’ve asked my own mum about it and apparently I was incredibly advanced and was dry at night at something like three months old. Not really. IMG_3039 But in all seriousness according to her it happened from something like 20 months onwards, which despite me already knowing I was an incredibly advanced child ;) has made me wonder if I’m doing anything wrong with my children. Is it OK that, at the age of nearly-5, Elfie is not consistently dry at night? Of course it is! I’ve recently been doing some research and have learnt that 10% of all 4-15 year olds wet the bed at some point, with most cases occurring in children after 8. So you’re definitely not alone. Normally just a developmental stage, it’s worth bearing in mind that night time dryness is usually something that feels like it takes ages to be mastered. One could argue that this isn’t a situation limited to children under five. I’ve been reading the comedian Rob Delaney’s autobiography recently and he wet the bed up til the age of 21… IMG_3046 Interestingly boys are slightly more prone to bedwetting than girls, with boys making up 60% of bedwetting cases in the younger age groups. Some studies suggest that girls tend to develop bladder control before boys. I went through a stage of thinking Elfie ‘should’ be dry at night by this point. But after a couple of upsetting nights for her I thought: really? Does it matter? Bed wetting is a part of growing up – she would like to be dry at night because I know it’s not a situation she enjoys but it’s really not the end of the world. IMG_3036 For the time being we use DryNites®(and always have for their lovely character illustrations and their age-appropriateness). I want Elfie (and Hux!) to feel confident when they go to bed at night and wildbeautyworld.com I think this really helps them. They feel slightly more grown up and it brings that little element of fun to our post-bath bedtime routine. We get our kicks where we can ;) The DryNites Confident Kids 24/7 campaign aims to provide parents with helpful tools and advice to boost their child’s confidence and overcome challenges such as bedwetting.

IMG_3047 What I’m trying to say is that you needn’t not worry if your children are still wetting the bed at this age. It’s so very normal (almost 600,000 children are affected by this every year) and I bet if you started a conversation with your friends about it they’d have more experiences and stories about it than you might think. 4690-DryNites-POME-Content If you’re worried do take a quick look at the DryNites® website where there’s stacks of information to help you navigate through this particular motherhood minefield. You’re not alone!

Visit Sponsors Site

Blogging Is Weird (But We Love It)

11246881_371686226366322_372777126_n

The blogging world is a weird one.

It’s like school. It’s a bit cliquey sometimes, we all have the groups that we seem to slot in to and if you’re a new arrival it might take you a while to fit in. Sometime there are fallings out – you say something that upsets a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend, and things get a bit odd (which to be honest is how I have felt after writing this). There are the bloggers who have been there for a long time – they’re the ones on the back seat of the bus who you go to when you need to ask an advanced question about WordPress (who am I kidding? Most of these back-seat-bus bloggers are on SquareSpace now). There are also the cool bloggers, the smoking behind the bike shed bloggers.

Sometimes I don’t know where I fit in.

I have been blogging for a loooooong 15 years and have never seen such a saturated blogging community as we have now. Sometimes it feels like we’re all in a crowded room at a party, trying to shout, make our voices heard above the rest. It sometimes feels difficult to find your space, find your voice.

I’ve always said that the main reason I blog is because I enjoy it and I never want to forget that – I want to stay true to why I began; to record my family’s life and redevgroup.com to give myself a voice. Not for the money or the notoriety or the freebies. For the love. And sometimes the shouting gets tiring. I shout enough at home.

11267612_847722575319817_775364792_n

Having not blogged for the last few weeks has been weird; I’ve truly missed it, missed you, the people who read my blog, missed everything about it. I’ll be back soon to tell you the http://osa-online.net/cms/cialis-china story of how I’m becoming the next Sheryl Sandberg in the time I used to use for blogging (if SS was a Single Mother Marketing Director from Milton Keynes innit) but in the meantime I’m still here – figuring out my place, working like an animal, mothering like Maria Von Trapp.

I’m off to BritMums with the lovely Boots lot tomorrow and I’m excited to feel inspired again, see some of my favourites in this lovely shouty blogging world who will give me the kick up the bum to remember why I love it so much.

See you on the other side!

Modern Mexico In London: SelfridgesXMexico

IMG_0204

A little while ago I was invited to visit Mexico. Well, kind of.

I love Mexican food. The one terrible thing about living out here in Milton Keynes is that there’s literally no decent Mexican food to be had anywhere. We have a Las Iguanas, true, but if a ‘Latin’ restaurant doesn’t even make fresh guacamole as part of their offering then I don’t want to know.

A Wahaca would be the dream, but I’ll just keep dreaming. God, I love Wahaca.

So when Selfridges asked me along to sample their Taste of Mexico evening I almost bit their guacamole-flavoured hand off. 2015 is The Year of Mexico at Selfridges and along with the Mexican Tourist Board they have provided a veritable feast for the senses throughout the foodie parts of the store.

10808700_582859271856109_950611468_n

I went the whole hog; had a lunchtime cut and blow dry with my absolute favourite Sam at Ena (I have never left that salon feeling less than a million dollars), invited my dad along for the evening and enjoyed pre-Mexican champs at the Dean Street Townhouse. V decadent for a Thursday (I’m worth it… yeah?).

IMG_0211 IMG_0212

Our meal was held in the beautifully appointed Corner Champagne Bar at Selfridges which is now my new favourite place – the house Champagne is lovely and there’s nothing like raiding DVF and Roland Mouret when you’re half cut, am I right? Me and daddy-o were the first arrivals and used the opportunity to sit back and http://nauticalprogressions.net/viagra-online-cheap watch the sun set over Oxford Street.

IMG_0218

IMG_0214

Our evening began with a sample of a Mexican IPA which was paired with the amuse bouche: a taste of avocado, salsa, crab and paprika on toast. This was lovely – the IPA was light and hoppy (just as I like it!) and the natural levitra crab zingy with layers of flavour through the salsa and avocado. No sign of pre-made guacamole here, I’m pleased to report.

IMG_0222

IMG_3484

Does anything make you happier than a table full of tasting glasses? No, it does not.

IMG_0261Our starter was a beautifully light dish of lobster with mole verde paired with a Mexican Sauvignon Blanc, which I would have said in a blind taste test could have come from Chile. It was beautifully fresh and complimented the flavours of the seafood to perfection. I always think mole verde is a weird one and not to everyone’s palate but this was gorgeous – not too heavy and bursting with the taste of the herbs, or Oaxaca’s ‘seven moles’.

IMG_0263 IMG_0262

Next up was my favourite wine of the evening – a chilled red (I might have asked for seconds). I believe I’m right in saying that each wine this evening came from the Baja California region of Mexico which is apparently ‘the next Napa’ – watch out for this red one in particular, it’s a corker. It accompanied our main course of pork served Manzanilla style.

IMG_0264

This came on a bed of pureed beans (think refried beans but a million times tastier) and a garnish of pickeld veg. I’m not ashamed to admit that I tried to send my pork back for being undercooked before I was told this is ‘the mexican way’ – it was delicious. Different to what we’re used to but delicious.

IMG_0266 IMG_0269Pudding was the absolute pièce de résistance. A deconstructed rice pud pannacotta which was made by the traditional method of making rice pudding but with the liquid drained off and used to form the pannacotta. This was garnished with dried mango and enter site ‘nitro churro’ – tiny little raisin flavoured balls of delight that popped in your mouth. In.Cred.I.Ble.

IMG_0241The talented chefs who’d joined us from Mexico for the evening happily circulated and answered our many slightly drunken questions about how they’d come to the menu and the cooking methods they’d used. For two foodies (and wine-os) my dad and I were in heaven, it really was a treat of an evening.

Having eaten a fair bit of Mexican food in London I was delighted to sample something a bit different. This truly is ‘modern Mexican’ cooking: a beautifully fresh and interesting approach. It’s sparked an interest in Mexico in me that I didn’t have before and I can’t wait to visit the Baja California region to discover more (and hunt down that gorgeous wine).

Thanks to Selfridges for sponsoring MTT and for inviting me along to such a wonderful event. 

 

 

 

 

Now You Are Three.

IMG_2618

It’s an odd thing, your baby’s birthdays. Elfie’s are one thing; as the eldest she’s the birthday trailblazer, demanding parties in village halls or Pizza Express and spending hours wondering if she’s going to dress up as Anna or Elsa.

Hux is different. He still doesn’t ‘get’ birthdays so mama makes the decisions (as well as the cakes). Feeling slightly bittersweet this year as I scrolled through pictures of him as a wrinkly newborn, I savoured every last moment of planning my little baby boy’s (“I NOT A BABY, MUMMY, I A BIG BOY”) special day.

11274356_484164035072641_1977826863_n11247773_909698855738490_1981414499_n

Last year was a slightly chilly garden picnic, this year we went for a dinosaur-themed day of fun with stacks of pressies, playtime outside, a trip to the trampoline park and a small family meal. Despite me feeling ruined now after a weekend of birthday-related activities, we had a blast 

11282655_375483392658860_493734929_n 11184569_1579629715658902_740048132_n

So, Hux. Now you are three.

You are very different to your sister. She’s Miss Independent, Miss ‘I don’t need your help mummy’. You like me to carry you down the stairs, to give you a hand lugging your favourite toys round Waitrose or IKEA (it’s a good thing Buzz Lightyear likes the inside of my handbag) and to give you a cuddle at the end of every day.

You really love your mum and the amount of smackers (that’s kisses, not punches ;) you give on the regular makes me happy. These big, sloppy, often snotty kisses that you plant on me – if I go for the lips you stick your hands on my ears, twist my head round and shower my cheek with them. They’re sticky but lovely. Never stop. Your affection and ‘I love yooooo’s are just the highlights of my days.

11267612_847722575319817_775364792_n 11282823_827968037272772_196288906_nYou love not only your mum but your sister fiercely. You two share a room which I think is so good for you both; it’s turned you into best friends and co-conspirators, giggling into the night as your mum sits downstairs and pretends to be cross. You argue like cats and dogs (or brother and sister…) but always make up with a kiss and a cuddle and a ‘love you, Elfie’.

IMG_2608 IMG_2619

You have your favourite toys and it’s generally the biggest, loudest, most plastic flashing piece of licensed tat you can find. Awesome. You take your toy of the day everywhere with you and I’m forever turning up glow-in-the-dark balls, Spiderman figurines and Woody dolls in my car. Today I drove to work to the soundtrack of a talking helicopter in the back seat; I couldn’t hear the news but I wouldn’t have it any other way (and when I say news I obviously mean Taylor Swift on Radio 1). You have the most vivid imagination though, and it’s a pleasure to watch you make-believe. Today you pretended for half an hour that you had a cat living on your shoulder called tiger and kept making me kiss it. I obviously obliged over and over again.

IMG_2009 IMG_1980

You used to have this trick of sneaking into my bed in the middle of the night, sometimes so stealthily that it wouldn’t wake me up until 6am when it was time to get up for school. But, probably sensibly, I decided you should probably spend more nights sleeping in your own bed and now that is what you do. Cos if I ever get a boyfriend it might be awkward when you’re 15 and still spending your nights snuggled up to your favourite woman.

I miss you every night, though!

IMG_2258 IMG_2261One thing we argue about is food. You have your favourite foods (pasta, peas, cucumber, sausages, CAKE!) but you’re really not fussed about eating anything else. Which obviously isn’t entirely helpful on the days I spend hours slaving over a roast dinner, only to have you pick at a pea before asking for milk. I try not to let it worry me – you’ll eat when you’re hungry and I don’t want to stress you out over food – but goddamn it’s annoying. We had a breakthrough last week when you ate a lasagne so that’s what I’ll be cooking for the forseeable future.

We have a lovely time, you and me and Elfie. I hope you are always as happy as you appear.

Happy third birthday, darling buddy.

PS: Hux turns one / Hux turns two

 

MTT Travel: The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21


The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

If there’s one thing I like in life, it’s a nice hotel.

I will book into a hotel at every opportunity, I really do daydream about them. The robes, the room service, those huge bloody baths. I’m one of those bonkers people who will squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of their stay; if check-in is at 3pm I will arrive at 12pm to just enjoy the order cheapest viagra online ambiance of the bar or lounge (free time to read magazines? I’M IN) before booking into my room. Once inside I will do a headless chicken impression, running around checking out the minibar, the safe, the comfort of the huge bed. I’ll put my robe on, order a club sandwich and get into bed before napping (unless I’m too excited to nap. Has happened).

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

Arriving at the Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 was a slightly different experience. For one it was 6am, I’d just got off a long-haul flight without sleeping and my body thought it was in a completely different time zone. We were in Bangkok and I don’t know if you’ve been but you don’t find many club sandwiches in Bangkok at 6am.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed upon arrival is that the staff were just so darned happy for that time in the morning. My not-yet successful journey to becoming a morning person has been well-documented so I always respect 6am smiles. I was smiling too, but mostly because I was delirious after 11 hours of sitting next to a stranger who liked small talk even when I pretended to be asleep.

IMG_2387IMG_2384

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 is located on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok which is one of the main commercial roads in the city. It’s adjoined to the next-door shopping mall, Terminal 21, which is handy if you’re feeling homesick as each of its floors are named after different areas of the world and London is one of them. Brick Lane was quite similar to what we are used to ;) It’s really convenient for central Bangkok and is a 2 second walk from the Asoke Sky Train station.

We were greeted with chilled glasses of orange juice in the most beautifully opulent foyer. Let me tell you, you know you’re in a good hotel when the pavement outside is marble.

Our bags were whisked away as we checked in, were handed our keys and http://www.hexicamaerials.com/buy-discount-cialis shown to our rooms.

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

Mine was on the 21st floor and my ears popped as we went up in the super speedy lift. I walked into the room and BY GOD it was one of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen. The window was as wide and as tall as the room and the first thing I did was work out how to use the high-tech electric privacy blind so I could get the full effect. Gorgeous.

11101976_686446014798029_904836227_n

IMG_2440

IMG_2354

The room had everything you would want and need including a full-size fridge and microwave – robes, safe, multiple mirrors (excellent for selfies, I sampled them all, see?), plenty of hanging space and the biggest bed I’ve ever seen. Literally – I could roll over in it four times and cialis brand not reach the other side (I checked). Club sandwich aside I was in hotel room heaven.

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

9am/jetlag/no sleep face

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

The bathroom was just as good with a massive shower and deep bath but the highlight was definitely the fancy heated loo seat with added bottom cleaner. I tried each and every setting (apart from the enema one because if you can bring yourself to push that button you’re a braver person than me) and sent my mum a text message saying I’d literally just given my bum a wash and blow dry.

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

By the time I’d surveyed my room properly it was 7am and I was ready to get in that ginormous bed for an hour. IT WAS SO GOOD, literally one of the nicest beds I’ve ever had the luck to lie down in. I used about a tenth of it and didn’t spend nearly enough time in it. I’d return to the Grande Centre Point purely for this beautifully magnificent bed.

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

9am came and it was time to drag myself out of that bed and to the in-house spa (I know I know, it’s tough being me). And I’m not over-egging it when I say this massage was one of the highlights of my trip. I ADORE a good massage and was a bit hesitant about how I’d find the notoriously brutal Thai rub-down I might get, but it was just gorgeous. Exactly what you need after a long flight. It was interesting to witness the differences from a UK massage, too; I was asked to shower beforehand and follow link the therapists wore masks and then climbed on to the table to properly get my back sorted out. I loved it.

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21

Post-massage I retreated to the pool for a bit more relaxation and WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT HOW AMAZING IT WAS. It literally needs no words. Infinity pool, relaxation pool, landscaped gardens, bosh.

It’s worth noting that, due to the buddhist religious beliefs of the owner of the hotel there is no alcohol served in The Grande Centre Point Hotel – including minibar. But there’s a supermarket in the basement of the shopping center next door and the hotel staff were happy for us to grab a couple of beers there and bring them to the pool or our room.

It’s also worth noting that Thai law permits the sale of alcohol in shops between 11am-2pm and 5pm-12am. It tastes better when you have to work harder for it.

IMG_2392 IMG_2390

The restaurant at The Grande Centre Point was buffet-style with traditional Thai dishes, sushi, Chinese dishes and pasta to order. I went with Thai food (it’s my new favourite, you know?) and of course had a stab at those gorgeous teeny tiny desserts, because how can you not? Buffets in the UK are traditionally rubbery, tasteless and cialis tablets for sale crap but there was none of that here; I actually preferred this approach to food because you could go back for seconds (greedy? Moi?) and sample absolutely everything should you wish (I did).

IMG_2987IMG_2438

 

More shots of the view because it really was magnificent. Out of this world. I stayed in two different rooms on opposite sides of the hotel (both on the 21st floor) and each view was as good as the other.

When we returned to The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 at the end of our trip for our last night in Bangkok I really felt like I was coming home. It was such a lovely place to stay and if you’re looking for a luxurious and peaceful retreat in the centre of buzzing Bangkok I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. Comparatively I’d definitely rate it above the big chains we have in the UK such as Radisson or Hilton, and on a par with the most luxurious business-type hotel I’ve stayed in, which is the Threadneedles. I couldn’t fault it. Prices start at around £90 per night.

I stayed at The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 on a complimentary basis thanks to Tourism Authority Thailand. 

The Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21
2,88 Sukhumvit Soi 19 (Wattana), Sukhumvit Rd., Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
www.grandecentrepointterminal21.com