Another Face in the Crowd

The first thing that came into my mind when asked to produce a portfolio for my course, was London. It’s a place I love to visit, it’s streets are seeped in history, creativity and diversity. From the architecture to the people.

It was the people I wanted to concentrate on, such a vast spectrum of life rushing all over the city, I felt I had to capture some. When I arrived to begin the project I started to document all different kinds of people, but one group in particular caught my attention. Greater London is over 600 square miles spread across 33 boroughs, with a population of over 8 million but the faces that stood out in the crowd for me were the ones that most just simply walk by. Homeless people, street performers and street vendors of all cultures. These faces are often forgotten quickly, lost in a fast moving metropolis of money and tourism. A place where you can loose yourself in overcrowded, bustling streets. Where you can quickly become just another face in the crowd, they were all I could see.

I decided that these faces would be the stars of my project. These faces with stories to tell captured my attention very quickly and over the course of my project I spoke to many different people, of all different circumstances, cultures and backgrounds. I wanted to show the faces of the homeless that are so often forgotten, the street performers often taken for granted and the hard working people bringing different cultures to us from all around the world. This is a project I wanted to create for anyone to enjoy, for people to stop and notice the faces of people with fantastic stories to tell. I hope that people in these photographs will become the forefront of the city every time the photographs are looked at.

During my research for this project I came across many different documentary pieces of London life, as well as some urban street photography from other cities around the world. Whilst searching the internet for inspiration into other photographers work, I found a project called ‘Humans of New York’ by Brandon Stanton. Stanton is from Atlanta, Georgia and began taking photographs and interviewing the people of New York for a project that he started back in 2010. His plan was to photograph and interview 10,000 people for his blog and this was tuned into a book in 2013. What I loved about his work is his ability to capture the story of his subject without having to read the interview alongside it. I adore the diversity of the people in the collection, as well as glimpses of the streets of New York in the background. I have tried to apply this method in my project, to capture the stories of these people by simply taking their photograph. Another influence for my project was Vivien Maier. I find her story fascinating, working most of her life as a nanny only pursuing photography as a hobby. Perhaps it is this approach that adds the warmth to her photographs, giving them so much more than just documenting life passing by. I get the feeling of being amongst the people, rather than an outsider looking in with a camera. I feel a more personal approach to what she saw all around her, her photographs take you right into the moment they were taken and it’s as if you could have a conversation with her subjects like you knew them. I tried to get this approach across in my project making sure I spent time with my subjects, to really get their story across in just one shot.

I decided to use a closer range lens for my work, more like portraiture. I felt this lens gave a more intimate feel to each shot. I wanted to get a close feel of the person in the photograph. You see the diversity, their creativity and hear their stories, it’s written all over their face. The way I have decided to present them is to give a reversed sense of importance. I have placed the homeless, often thought of as the lowest contributors in society at the end. I wanted the roles revered, they are the climax of this piece. The faces I want everyone to remember.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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Hello! It’s been a while. I’ve been gathering my thoughts and sorting stuff in my mind, so I needed a well earned break from over thinking and needed to just do ME for a little while. I hope that’s ok. Ive been spending time with my family, reading, writing and concentrating on my photography. To be honest I really needed to re-evaluate shit, I’ve been letting things get to me that I shouldn’t. Like social media, what other people are posting, thinking and whether they are judging me or not. I hate that these things bother me and I am really trying to be brave about it and think fuck it, if they don’t like me they can just unfollow me. It’s harder than it sounds.
One thing that’s changed the most for me over this past month is Slimming World. After a lot of deliberating I have decided to finish attending the group’s and following the plan altogether. This choice came after discovering a book when I was away in London that I read cover to cover in a day and a half, this book is called The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells. Now usually I’m  not into the ‘self help’ type thing but I was talking to a lovely lady that I follow on Instagram and she recommended it. Needless to say I was completely absorbed by it within minutes. While there are some things in there that I don’t 100% agree with and wouldn’t necessarily follow to the letter but the overall ethos of the book spoke to me on a totally different level and came at the perfect time for me, because things have not been good for a while.

I’ve discovered that a lot of my depressive state, anxiety about the way I look and feel and how others perceive me revolves around food. Losing weight was great, looking slimmer was brilliant but over all STILL didn’t make me happy. Not on the inside, I quickly realised it was all becoming a numbers game for me. I HAD to see those numbers decreasing, there was no other option. They had to, but even when they did it wasn’t enough. I was still miserable inside. I was missing food, food that I loved to eat and getting to a place where I couldn’t think of anything other than what I was putting inside my body.

I was waking up Mondays feeling great, on plan and full steam ahead. By Tuesday I was feeling ok, thinking and counting a lot more but over all ok. Come the evening wanting a treat but remembering you can’t you have already had your daily allowance, waking up Wednesday still wanting that treat and feeling unsatisfied. Wednesday evening was hardest because Neil is at football and he distracts me from my craving and I just ignore it. Thursday… I.Hate.Thursday….. weigh in day!!! So I can’t go to the group’s during the day because of the kiddies, I have to go to the 7pm one which means I was starving myself ALL DAY long and then not even drinking after 4pm in case the numbers on the scales went up!!! What. The. Fuck??? That is not normal. Which brings me to Friday and by the evening I crash and gorge on all those delicious treats I’ve wanted since Monday, then it’s Saturday and fuck it I’ve already gone off plan so let’s forget about Saturday. Sunday I’ll just spend the day loathing myself because of the last two days, go to bed unsatisfied and hating myself and start all over again tomorrow.  This cannot go on.

That was my week, every week. I thought it was working because I’d lost so much weight and was still loosing some on and off but this mind set is seriously unhealthy. Once I read this book, sat and thought about what I was doing to my body but more importantly my mental state (especially surrounding food) I knew I had to stop. Now I’m grateful I started Slimming World in the first place, it helped me loose a big bulk of weight I needed rid of and helped me form some new eating habits (mainly surrounding sugar). So for that reason I’m happy I did start Slimming World but the time has come to stop.

I would recommend the book to anyone who needs to fall back in love with themselves. I know I did ❤

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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I’ve had just about all I can take of this Lions Tour thank God that is over with. I’ve had enough of sport in fucking general if I’m being honest. If it’s sport my husband will watch it, it seems to me like there is not a single day of the year that there is not a  professionally played sport televised. If it’s televised then it’s on in this house. Now I know most men are like this and it’s usually fine with me but this past week has tested me and the weekend was a disaster. Neil left at 7am on Saturday to go watch the sodding Lions and I was stuck solo parenting again all day, I know that there are single parents (I’ve been one), army families and people all across the world who do it on their own day in day out but Saturday…. I had had a guts full.

Every week is getting a little harder, what with appointments coming out of me ears for Connor. Therapies and education, we have the speech therapist coming two sometimes three days per week and I am trying to learn more about behavioral therapy and techniques to help with his anxiety attacks. Plus all the day to day things we face, sometimes just getting him dressed has me on my knees in tears. Now we have things beginning for Florence, in the next three weeks we have three new intervention projects starting and her first appointment with the speech therapist. Now I’m grateful for all this I really am, I may not seem it right now but I am. My kids mean everything to me and they need my help but right now I feel like I’m failing. I’m struggling to stay on top of life. I am failing at keeping on top of special needs learning, I’m failing at spreading my attention around all of my children, I’m failing at keeping on top of housework, I’m failing at getting my daughter to move on with her development and most of all I am failing at being me. There is only so many things you can fail at before you start to question if your the problem, I must be the failure. I am the only common denominator.

This has been on of those weeks where everything is kicking my arse. Being a Wife is kicking my arse, being a Mum is kicking my arse and being Natalie is kicked me so far up the arse that she’s been gone a few weeks now. So feeling like this and the fact that I was solo parenting again Saturday, which I wanted to strangle my husband for…even though he needs a break too because he works his arse off for this family, didn’t make the weekend seem all that promising to me. Plodding along though, until major meltdown hit right in the middle of trying to get Ed Sheeran tickets on the ticket master website. FFS! I only wanted ten minutes why choose now to kick off Connor? Yeh I’m blaming Connor, my Autistic four year old for my head stress. I mean what the fuck is up with me? (Rhetorical question please don’t answer that). I decided to get the kids out of the house for a little bit, our days and blurring into weeks and weeks into months. Being stuck in alot of the time because it’s so difficult to go places with them both on my own. We are very limited to where we can go because of Connor’s sensory issues, and I know I’m not the only Mother who has more than one child, but I can’t even go to the park for God sake. Connor has no sense of danger, he can’t speak or understand alot of what I say so if I’m pushing Florence on the swing and Connor tries to run out of the park, jump in a river, dash across the road etc… which one do I leave? The baby sitting in the swing or run as fast as I can to catch my son who won’t stop when I call him because he doesn’t register the danger. I may seem like I’m over paranoid but things have happened in the past and I’m terrified that he will get seriously hurt. So most of the time we are trapped in the house in a cycle of needing to socialise and not coping well on my own out and about.

It’s not a case of people and the nasty shit they say or do because I’m good at ignoring that, it’s just so hard to do alone and more than once I’ve broken down in tears in the middle of the street and just so you know what not one person, NOT ONE has stopped and asked if I was OK. Sometimes I just don’t get humanity at all. Why do we have this problem with people admitting that they are struggling? I’ve kept my secret long enough now, perhaps it is because I don’t feel like I’m failing every day or perhaps it’s because I’ve been ashamed but why should I? Being a mum is so hard. I’m exhausted most of the time and I miss me. What about me? I know people will think “selfish cow” but I can’t find me anymore. I’m trying to be something to everyone and I’m failing at most things, and the one that is making me the most sad is missing myself. I want to be me again for a while. I’ve given up so much to be a mum, just like most mother’s I know but I don’t think I was even slightly prepared for how much time and dedication a child with special needs takes. I hate myself for saying this but I need a break. I am now a full time carer and have had to give up my job and in doing so the career I had been planning for around three years, but that’s ok I’ve excepted that. Connor needs me and I want to be with him but now Florence is under the microscope and they could tell me at any minute she is on the spectrum too and I really don’t think I am gona cope. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and that you go through things in life to prepare you for the next chapter of your life and I still believe that, but what the fuck is am being prepared for? I sometimes sit and wonder what the hell can the universe through at me next? I feel like I’ve let my husband down alot of the time, he waited a lifetime for the family he never had and we keep getting told we are failing at every turn. This is not what I wanted for him. I wouldn’t change my children are I love them all more than life but I sometimes wish we could catch a break before we break ourselves.

I’m doing that thing that I hate, where I am looking at other people’s Facebook and Instagram and thinking, “When am I gona get to do that?”. I hate that I’ve been doing it and that I can even think it but when I found out I was having a daughter, I dreamt of ballet classes and gymnastics, Mum and daughter shopping days and horse riding but all that seems so far away, if even possible now. It makes me so mad but mostly sad because I feel like I can’t give my daughter all the things that my parents have me. I know how lucky I am to have my children, that some people can’t have the children they desperately want and that some parents have had their children taken away too soon but my children are here and I just want them to have the best and right now, I don’t feel like that is me. I always feel like I am playing catch up to everything, I am so busy all day then at night we have to have things done a certain way or Connor will struggle to settle. Not that he does most nights and when he does it’s for two or three hours at a time, then when I finally get them into bed I am trying to play catch up with it all. The housework, staying healthy and fit, just having five minutes to sit down or have a bath, having any kind of social life is just a fucking joke and never mind trying to have a career of any kind. Yes I feel incredibly lucky that I am now doing something that has been a secret passion of mine since my teenage years and that I am now lucky enough to have a husband who will do anything for this family, so I can actually take courses and be serious about writing which I’ve wanted to do for so long now but getting any time to write is near impossible. I am having to start it at around midnight sometimes and I’m not talking blogging or freelancing, I am in the process of writing a book. (There I’ve said it, the secret is finally out) At the rate I am going, I’ll be finished in 2050!!!!! I just feel like I am loosing now matter how hard I am trying to do all these things, something always slips. Myself and my husband spent no time and I mean NO TIME together, this may seem like a regular thing for parents and yes I was aware we would be giving up alot but seriously Connor has been alive for 1681 days and I have been away from him 23 times!!!! That is 1.37% of his life.

People actually think that when your child is disabled ‘at least’ you don’t have to work. People think ‘at least you get money for nothing’??? I mean are you serious? Firstly, as if I would want my child to be in any way affected so I didn’t have to work. Secondly if you think it’s a money pit then you are so misinformed. For example Connor needs around the clock care and CONSTANT supervision, that is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no sick days for me and no holiday pay. So if you actually worked that out it comes to 38p per hour, but that’s ridiculous right? So let’s work that out basing it on me ‘working’ 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, it comes to £1.60 per hour. So yeh it’s all about the money eh??? My whopping carer’s allowance. The fact is I had a job, I wanted to go back to work and I couldn’t so I am staying home to make sure my son gets the life he is entitled too… and just so you know, I’d do it for free. So to the people who think that as a carer in this country you get to stay home and look after your children, why should you get paid to do that?? There is my wage slip broken down for you. I don’t see my children as a job I chose to have them and I wouldn’t change a thing about them but I am drained at the moment and I feel like if I don’t get myself back in the picture a little bit I might disappear altogether. Being a mum is so hard, we are expected to juggle so many different jobs all at the same time. Am I the only one who’s not coping?

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

*not my image
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Over the past week I have done alot of thinking about mental health and why I think that there is such a stigma surrounding the subject. As children we are all taught there is a way that things are done, we are taught the basics of how to function in society like walking, talking and eating etc. We are conditioned to believe there is a right way of doing things, you go to school, get good marks and then go to Uni. You pass Uni, go travelling and meet the man/woman of your dreams and make amazing plans for your life. You come home to your dream job, a long promising career and then buy your first home. You get engaged and plan your dream wedding, go on a once in a lifetime trip for your honeymoon and come home to find out you’re expecting your first child. The first of three wonderfully perfect children, who grow up to become wonderfully perfect versions of yourself, doing all the things in life that you did (if not better) and then you grow old gracefully with your life long partner and die peacefully in your happy place. The end.

Two words….. FUCK OFF!!!

It’s no wonder we all have this warped view over mental health if we are aspiring to be this concocted version of Stepford lifestyle. This is the reason why people are constantly questioning themselves, why people are always subconsciously in competition with each other. Surely we are not hoodwinked by this? Surely not. Why is this version of perfection sold to us as children, not just by our parents (who are not entirely to blame as they probably had it fed to them) but by society? It continues on throughout our lives, through Instagram and Facebook etc. Who’s opinion of perfection is this anyway? It’s certainly not mine. I was a little naughty in school and not a straight A* student kind of girl, I most definitely didn’t get the grades to go to Uni and there was no way they would of accepted me at the time due to the fact I was pregnant!! That’s right I was a pregnant teenager and get this… I was an UNMARRIED pregnant teenager!! Shock horror!! As if this wasn’t a stressful enough time for me as it was I had to put up with the judgments of others who thought they were so much better than me, thinking that their one way ticket into a university made them so fucking superior to me. Whilst they partied and went on group holidays, I went from one crap job to the next just to get by with my son and in my disastrous relationship I clung on to the thought that if I stayed in this relationship, everything would be ok. Now this is not aimed at anyone in particular by any means, and I am the kind of person that thinks if you ever get the chance in life to travel, party and go off to uni then you should take the chance, grab it with both hands. However if that chance never comes your way, or it’s not in the correct ‘order’ that society deems correct then that’s ok too.

After having my son when I was just a baby myself, in a tragic relationship I suffered from post natal depression. Which thankfully, even though I was young I recognised quickly and managed to pull away from but not before it had spiraled into actual depression. Now people assume depression is something that you only suffer with if you’re sat alone in your house, rocking in the corner crying with the curtains closed. This is the very reason why people no nothing about mental health, because people have the totally wrong impression of depression. Depression is the guy at work who makes jokes and gets everyone laughing, the guy who is everyone’s best bud but goes home alone to an empty house and is desperately lonely. Depression is the single Mother with 3 kids, a full time job and is on the PTA. She is always smiling in the playground and on the school run, you always applaud her for her beautiful make up “How do you find the time?”. However when the kids are fast asleep she cries into large glass of red wine, because she has been so mentally trodden on that she believes no one will ever love her again, because who wants to raise another man’s kids anyway?? This is what depression is. It’s just as likely to be your friend as it is someone crying on their knees, alone in the dark. Society is far too busy teaching us how we are expected to be living our lives and what we should be aspiring to be, rather than considering that we might be happy with the way we are or unhappy for that matter. That we may need a little help, instead of alot of judgement. I am so sure that this kind of prejudgment about right and wrong way to live is why racism still exists, why homophobia still exists. It is because we are trying to live someone else’ version of perfect.

People have mental health problems, some develop and some are born with it. Some are milder than others and some completely destroy a person, but I truly believe that if we as a society weren’t so caught up in the ‘perfect version’ of how life goes we would see that really there is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s the reason people don’t talk about it, because people with it are afraid of being judged and people without are far to quick to judge. We are all subconsciously trying to live up to these unachievable heights. Now I am not saying that everyone is closed minded and I know that I am probably going to get some backlash from this post but in my experience with my own mental health and my sons mental health, most people just cannot talk about it. We should not be hiding away from talking about it because we either think it’s bullshit, or because we simply just don’t know what to say. If you have a friend or family member with any kind of mental health issue ask them how they are. Ask them to try to explain how they feel, because it’s ok for you to not instinctively understand. It’s NOT ok however for you to not even try to. I feel like I am in a good place now mentally, I still suffer with crippling anxiety but other than that I am all good and I’m proud of myself. I am however constantly battling for the rights of my son and his mental health, he is Autistic and people are just as unwilling to talk about that as any other mental health issue. If you don’t get it, just ask me. I will gladly try to explain the best way I know how so that you can understand a little better, so that step by step and day by day the world becomes a more tolerant place for everybody to live in.

Lots of things throughout my life have added to the depression I carried around for a long time, I am now in such a good place and somehow I fought my way out of it but I know it’s not always that simple. I hate the thought of people having the added pressure of people judging their lives because I’ve been there and I know exactly how that feels, it’s pressure that is simply not needed. So please just stop it. If you have ever thought for one minute that it’s “all in their head”, please just stop. Take a minute to think that the mind is a closed door and you never know what goes on behind closed doors, and you will never know how hard it is to open that door to someone when your mind is pushing it tight shut. Depression, post natal, PTSD, autism, schizophrenia and every other mental health condition is real. Just ask. If you are suffering from some form of mental health condition please know that you are not alone and even though it may seem like there is nothing you can do to help yourself, someone somewhere wants to help you. Just ask.

Mental health is just as valid as cancer. Stop sweeping under the rug, and stop trying to achieve someone elses ‘perfect’.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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(photo bit blurred to respect privacy of other children)

Thursday 6th July

This morning started off so much easier than most mornings in this house and I have no idea why? We had a busy day right from the start of the day, as it was Connor’s first transition day into the SRB school he will be attending full time in September (SRB prev post). Now usually Connor sleeps in due to him having such trouble sleeping through the nights so I had already decided last night to wake up early get myself and Florence sorted and ready to go before even attempting to stir him. It can go one of two ways he either jumps up happy or he has a total meltdown and it goes from bad to worse from thereon out. However, despite the late night he got up really well. Now I didn’t want to add pressure this morning and push for him to come downstairs too quickly so I took him some breakfast in bed and he watched his tablet, like a King. Two pieces of marmite on toast and a chocolate brioche. Sometimes it can take as long as an hour to eat, an hour to get dressed and I have to physically dress him which can be so hard if he decides to fight me. I knew I would have to be ready, but he was an absolute delight this morning which really helped. Once he was readywe waited for my Mum to arrive, she was coming as reinforcements for me because Neil had to work and we had no idea how Connor would react to this huge change. Connor is not all that great with new places, new people and large numbers of people and in a school there can be quite a bit of noise, for Connor that is a no no.

We managed to get in the car all fine, with a slight anxious episode over the cars because he is really struggling with traffic at the moment, something else we are trying to work on. The traffic just simply moves too fast, it’s too quick and the cars etc are just too big. Arriving at his beautiful school my Mum was immediately impressed just at looking at the building, the difference in the site compared to his last place is so extreme there really is no comparison. Parked the car we made our way to the reception area and they were expecting us. The reception staff paid no mind to the meltdown that ensued in the foyer because he had spotted their sports day setup and the slide in the playground and just simply had to get to it. They called down to the classroom and asked his class teacher to come out to meet him, by the time she got to us we were mid meltdown and both sat on the floor, me trying to clam him with soothing voice and deep pressure. Once his teacher arrived she got down on the floor straight away, she sat with us at his level. Nobody batted an eye, she new that Connor needs to not see her as a threat and she needed to watch me and learn what calms him. As a family we spend alot of time on the floor. Myself, my husband, our teenage son, my family and my friends. These people that are in my inner circle who don’t care what society thinks when they are sat on the floor in Asda, who don’t listen to the passers by who mutter about the ‘spoilt child’ kicking out in the car park. My people who love Connor exactly how he is weren’t there (my Mum had hold of Florrie) but this lady just got down instinctively and I knew straight away she was going to take good care of my boy. After I explained what the problem was she took us outside and straight into the playground so Connor could go on the slide. He just ran in, he didn’t look back. After around 5 minutes of us chatting to his class teacher and Connor playing on the slide with another teacher, the other children in his class came out to play with him. They had be prepped that Connor was joining their class over the last few days and were excited to meet him. They all started playing together and Connor was laughing his best belly laugh, I knew he was fine. Myself, my Mum and Florence backed away slowly and Connor just carried on running and we could hear his laugh all the way up by the top gate. I knew that I would keep checking my phone just like all Mums do on the first few days, even weeks and given our history of how our boy has been treated, no one could blame me for my nerves. We strolled in the sunshine along the brook all the way into the town, spying on the ducks with my daughter and chatting. My phone didn’t ring. Not once.

I’m so please that the summertime seems to be returning, there have been a few rainy days where I’ve thought that was it. We had our hot two weeks of summer and we were done but the the sun has been such a lush change today and Florence loves to be in the pushchair so it was win win. Connor being able to go to a suitable school is going to be so good for him but at the same time it will be wonderful for Florence. She has never had anytime with me just to herself and with her flagging up a few social concerns I am desperate to get her to toddler groups etc, which is next to impossible with Connor it tow. We managed to have a stroll around the town and grab a coffee before walking back to collect Connor before lunch as we didn’t want to push him too far straight away. He came out witha great big smile on his face and a lovely visual daily diary for me to look at, showing some of the things he had done that morning. We waved ‘goodbye, see you next time.’.

The kiddos had an easy peasy lunch of a happy meal while I did a few muggle jobs, like going to the bank and popping into Morrisons for a few bits. We came home and while Connor chilled out, Florence napped and my Mum watched her crazy Australian soap operas, I popped to Slimming World to weigh for the week. After Mum had gone home with two big bags of our washing (still no machine), we decided to do a bit of sensory play with bubbles and shaving foam in the bath, which is always a winner with both babies especially Connor. Jay came home the usual time and was excited to hear all about Connor’s first day, he is so grown up I take it for granted how he takes everything in his stride. It’s not easy have a sibling with a disability. Connor takes up alot of our time and energy but Jay gets on with it and we are lucky with such a big age gap, that he is happy to be left to himself and his mates. Teenager in residence. The kids had a lovely tea, I treated them to a bit of steak (which they both love) with veg and homemade chips. So now we are all clean, fed and ready for bed.

Managed to get them tucked up and sleeping Connor by 7pm (miracles can happen) and Florrie was more like 8pm, which again isn’t too bad. I was going to work on some theory for my photography portfolio because it has to be submitted in 5 weeks time and I cannot leave anything to chance. Whenever I get time I need to work on things, because you never know when the routine will go tits up in this house and I will run out of time. However, it didn’t go quite according to plan. I lay on the bed to get my head together and the next thing I knew it was 5am Friday. Neil said he did try to wake me and I wasn’t very nice to him, that will teach him eh. So no, I didn’t get any portfolio done, or any writing. Well done me. On a separate note, I can’t believe that it has taken me to nearly 32 years of age to finally do the things I have been passionate about my whole life, and always thought were a pipe dream. Turns out nothing is if you work hard enough for it.

So that’s it, a day in our life this week. A really proud, important day and such a massive step towards a whole new future for Connor.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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It’s that time of week again already and I went to group feeling pretty positive. Not that I was expecting a loss like last week, the 3lb I lost last week is usually a really good week for me and that never gets any higher really. This week I was hoping for 1.5lb loss and that is exactly what I got. So I am feeling good. This is the level I am hoping to maintain now through to my new target which is only 5lb away. I feel like I am back in the zone now, good meals, good plans, I am doing well and I actually feel great again. Not just when I stand in front of the mirror but in my head, I feel clean and refreshed again. This may sound cheesy but it’s true and in my house you need to keep a clear head and be on your toes because my kids can be a bit feral.

I am thinking of doing a foodie post next week. Just some go to recipe that I make that is syn free and something that most of the family will eat. Not sure what I will do yet but I love to read food blogs, slimming blogs and I am so obsessed with budgets, I am always challenging myself to beat the price of the previous weeks food shopping bill. So I thought a family friendly recipe that is kind to the purse and the hips will be a winner.

Hope I can keep up this level of motivation, I have alot of stuff coming up in the diary and staying on plan is the one thing that tends to slip. So fingers crossed. I hope you manage to stay focused on whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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This week we went to visit a new school that Connor has been offered a place at ready for September. Up until now he has been attending a local nursery in a mainstream primary school, and needless to say what a horrific experience that has been. For our whole family. For the last 19 months our poor boy has had to suffer judgement, stigma and neglect from teachers, the last people you would believe capable of such things. Now I don’t really want to go into too much detail of the things we have been expected to put up with or the way Connor has been treated, as I think I have made myself perfectly clear to anybody who will listen. So from here on out I am going to forget that that dreadful place even exists and just pray that another family never has to experience the same hate from them again. We have made all the relevant authorities aware so it’s just up to them now I guess.

This past Thursday myself and Neil were invited down to see the SRB school that have offered Connor a place in there wonderful school. We had no idea what to expect and being an incredibly over emotional person I was extremely nervous and considering our previous experience, absolutely terrified. I decided to try to keep an open mind even though I had already convinced myself that this kind of place just won’t be able to meet Connor’s needs. Oh how wrong I was, and I have never been more thrilled to admit I was wrong either. For those of you that don’t know, an SRB school is what’s known as a Special Resource Base school (maybe you’ve heard the term ‘base unit’). It’s a mainstream school with some classrooms available to cater for children with special needs/learning difficulties or disabilities. They come in all different types and Connor’s for example is for children with highly/severely complex needs. The minute we arrived my first thoughts were just how incredibly modern and beautiful the building was, we went in and met with a representative from the local authority and the deputy head teacher to show us around the whole of the school not just the SRB. Which straight away showed me the ethos of this school and how these kids, these wonderful special kids are part of the main school and not segregated off. Each child there that we saw was smiling and we were shown examples of how the children in the mainstream side interacted and involved the children in the base classes in everything they did. These children are being taught that difference is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of, they just embraced it as part of their world. They saw no difference. For me this spoke volumes because I am always afraid of how the rest of the world will treat Connor, this terrifies me more than anything else you could think of. The children in the mainstream will take this attitude through to high school and then on into adulthood, that school is going to be responsible for a whole generation of open minded people. It’s wonderful. The school has two SRB classes, a foundation class (where Connor will be) and a key stage 2 and all children have a range of different needs. Each class has a maximum of 8 pupils sometimes less, with 4 teachers in each class. Which straight away eases my mind as Connor is a runner, he will just simply leave somewhere if he gets the chance. So the more eyes on him the better. Each classroom has the capacity to deal with all forms of communication which is amazing as we are just starting our journey of communicating through PECS (picture exchange communication system) and the fact that it will be used for 6 hours of the day in school makes reinforcing it at home that much easier for me. They also use sign language, as well as many other forms of communication to help give each child a voice and help them with their independence.

One of the highlights for me is that they have a sensory room, which the children have access to whenever they need it. This was a game changer for me, it’s one of the main things I have been battling for all this time. Connor is so sensory driven and has SPD (sensory processing disorder) so the minute I saw this I cant explain the relief that completely flooded over me, I know how much this will benefit him. It will stimulate him to the level that his brain needs so that he will be at a point where he is able to learn and retain any information given to him. We also told that the children in Connor’s class go on a school outing every Monday afternoon, the children are taken on little trips so they can engage with the outside world. Which for someone with Autism is so important, Autism is in many ways a social interaction condition and alot of people on the spectrum have difficulty with this. I know Connor does and this will help him seeing that the outside world can be part of his world. So it’s safe to say I am overjoyed with this school selection and I am finally feeling like my mind is at rest a little. Next week Connor will start his transition days so he get familiar with the building and the faces and know where things are, things like that are really important to him. After the horrid start to his school life this is a huge step in the right direction at a safe place that isn’t going to right him off the minute he walks through the door. He needs this, I need this. After nearly 5 years of having him at home full time I really need the break, and I am fully aware that there are people who cannot have children and I am extremely lucky but I am also knackered, over stretched and lost. My poor little girl has had no time with me just to herself and is limited on what we do because we simply can’t go certain places with Connor, so she is going to get some much needed attention and I will be getting a much needed rest.

So I am going to leave it there (because I am rambling now) and I will update how the first day goes. So excited.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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Hey everyone. I have been so so bad with updating my blog lately and I’ve missed it incredibly but I haven’t been in the right frame of mind for sharing these past few weeks to be honest, but all that is about to change so prepare to be bombarded. These past few weeks (I think at least 3 maybe even longer) I have had so much going on with the kids and life in general that I’ve not been myself. I was certainly not in any kind of mood for Slimming World. I had no room in my brain for this kind of commitment and the determination had completely left me, but I’m back. With a totally fresh approach and am back in full swing.

Over the past 3 or 4 weeks I gained pretty much every week, my meals are always pretty much on plan but then something would happen and I would just be like ‘F this…pass me that cake!!’. With so much going on all three of my children are going through big changes right now, my eldest has been picking his GCSE’S, my youngest son has finally been given a place in a special school plus lots of new therapies started for him and finally my daughter has just started on her journey towards possible diagnosis of ASD. So as you can imagine sometimes I just needed that damn ice cream, no questions asked. Then of course the more you gain the more you give up. I soon found, all other things aside Mum duties, housewife life (and all my other roles) the one role that was getting more and more miserable was me. Natalie. After thinking it over it was my body confidence that was starting to crumble a bit. Now I’ve never been a big girl, and most people would argue that just because I’m smaller means I should have a complex with my body (you’d be wrong) but I’ve always said you need to be happy in the skin you are in and I wasn’t.  Not even a little bit.

When I started Slimming World back in May 2016, after a few months and a few pounds down I noticed a smile again. A feeling of pride when I would get a lovely comment from a friend or even a sideways glance from some guy at the supermarket. It all helps. Mostly I was happy in my skin. Over the past few months I’ve had such a full on life at home that something had to give, and it had to be me. I’m a Mum and a Wife, I couldn’t be me as well there was just no time. Then I started my photography course and I could see a little glimpse of me in the mirror again, things had to change I couldn’t just disappear all together. Slimming World gives me the ability to love my outside which in turn gives me the ability to love my inside, which when your a Mum is super important because you often come last in the pecking order and it’s not an easy job.

So long story short, I’m back. Back on plan with a bang and feeling fantastic, excited and my mind is healthy again. At group this week I lost 3lb and am now 6lb away from the new target I set myself, which I would like to loose before my anniversary at the end of July. One of the few nights a year we have away from the kids, so to have an even bigger boost in confidence will work wonders for that night and my husband will definitely be pleased with that 😉.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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I cry because I’m scared. Scared of a world that might not understand how difficult it is for you just to be you. I cry because I worry what the children will say to you when I’m not there and I worry will you ever say anything back? Will you ever say anything at all, will you talk? Tell me your happy, scared, lonely or just fine Mum thank you very much. I cry because I feel selfish wishing you could talk, focusing on something you can’t do instead of all the wonderful things that make you, you. I cry because there will be a time when I’m not here anymore, who will make sure you eat when you refuse for days on end? Who lay with you at night when your brain won’t turn off and it’s dark and too quiet? Who will know which way you have to have your cucumbers cut and what order you have to go through doors? I cry because in a world of such desperate, terrorising times will you know how to be safe? I cry because the people stare at you when we sit on the floor outside in the rain, because you just can’t move and can’t tell me why. So when we lay there with the rest of our little family I start to think. Think of how amazingly lucky I am, and I start to cry.

I cry because I am so inspired by your complete love of life. I cry because I am so proud of how far you’ve come despite all the obstacles and the doubt. I cry because I am in awe of how you smile through tears when I know how much it’s hurting just to hear noise. I cry with laughter as you spin around and around, flapping your hands with glee as your little sister looks at you and belly laughs because she loves you so much. I cry with pride at how fiercely protective your older brother is of you, and how much he loves being with you. He knows just how you like to play and doesn’t care when people whisper about us as we do our shopping. I cry with happiness as I watch the way your Father looks at you when your together. That deep loving look in his eyes, the look that makes me fall even more in love with him each time I see you together because I know he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this world than with you. I cry tears of joy when you laugh hysterically at the same video on repeat, and at that look on your face when you watch your favourite film and realise Woody’s saved the day again. The way just dance around with your eyes closed and a grin as wide as your face, but most of all I cry because I can’t believe you chose me to be your Mum. That I am that lucky, I get to see this life through your eyes and know the true meaning of unconditional love. That’s why I cry.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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Hi folks. I am completely aware that I have been a bit awol of recent and not been consistent with posts but if I’m being honest, life has completely got on top of me and been directly in the way. It’s not easy this Mothering lark what with it being half term and I’ve started a course (and had homework *gasp*) time has just run away from me. 

Also the events in the last few weeks here in Britain have had a hold on me to tell the truth. I’ve been preoccupied with spending as much time as humanly possible with my little family and reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am. I think it’s fair to say that anyone with a shred, an ounce of humanity in them can say that these acts are barbaric and unforgivable. I have been anxious, sleepless and just sad about the whole situation. I have however been overwhelmed by the power of love in our country, our little island and our people have come together to show that we truly are GREAT Britain. The people have come together, taken a stand together and it’s been an incredible thing to watch. Everybody…. all races, all backgrounds, all classes! We are all together and it’s been so moving and comforting.

Is this world really that bad a place? Sometimes I think so, but the brave acts of our emergency services and general members of the public during these horrific events have shown me that there is some good in this world. Lots of it. Even when it’s hard I’ve been trying to remember this. Yes there are some evil people, some unfair judgements and some shameful behaviours but overall we are good people. These ‘people’ (and i use that term loosely) dont want us to love, they dont want us to care for eachother, they dont understand our way of life. They choose to behave the way they do because THEY are racist. Racist against humanity, against the human race but there are far more good people in this world than bad and as corny as it sounds good will conquer evil. I truly believe that.

So that’s where I’ve been, I’ve been using this time to write more about life. My life and the things I want, do things for my family and spend as much time loving as i can because I’ve learned these last few weeks you just cannot take anything for granted. This post isn’t about dwelling it’s about moving forward, these tragedies have taught me that as long as good people keep doing good things we will win this ‘fight’ against this evil force that is trying to change the future for everyone. Things have to change if there is any hope for our children. So I am going to start here in my house, am I going try each and every day to spread the love and teach my children that there is good left in this world even when it seems dark, and that it’s worth fighting for. Kill them with kindness.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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