Something on my mind

Blogging has been the last thing on my mind recently.

Regular visitors to Bouche in the City will know that my father has Huntington’s disease and that I have a 50% chance of inheriting HD. I have never been tested and my mantra has always been that I will not be tested until I became aware of possible symptoms of the disease.

I guess for a long time I was not concerned and I guess deep down I thought that I didn’t have HD. I have a good memory, I wasn’t showing any motor symptoms and I wasn’t showing any emotional symptoms.

That was until last summer. I had some work done on my teeth and I had noticed that I occasionally bit down on my crown, which caused me to pull a face. It soon passed after a couple of weeks, or so I thought. Then after several months, my mother and husband noticed that I did it quite frequently. I am not aware that I do it and if I really concentrate then I can stop it.

During the same time, I also noticed that I would get involuntary movements in my feet and would get pains in my legs, at night whilst asleep.
I didn’t mention it to anyone, not a soul. I desperately wanted to tell my husband, but his mother was battling cancer and was very poorly. We needed to focus on her and making her comfortable through the cancer treatment.

My mother in law passed away in November. It was a difficult time (still is to be honest) I focused on being there for my husband and put my concerns back in the box in my head. I started to feel so angry about my mother in law’s death and would often find it hard to keep my emotions in check.
After Christmas, I decided I had to book an appointment with the genetic counsellor for the new year. It was after I had arranged it, I told Mr Bouche. He was obviously upset but understood why I needed to see her.

I went to the appointment and after speaking to the counsellor, I have decided to see a geneticist to have a motor test done. They will be able to observe me and conclude whether I am showing signs of HD. Depending on the results of that test, I will then decide whether to have the full gene test or not.

There is so much to think about and I am terrified to be honest. I am trying to be positive but some days that can be really hard. I will probably have a few weeks wait before I see the geneticist and is going to feel like the longest wait ever. But, what will be, will be.

A nervous Bouche

X X X

Goodbye 2012, hello 2013

So here we are, in 2013. 2012 brought much sadness and I am glad to see the back of it, if I am honest. 2012 brought a fantastic new job for me and greatness, work wise for Mr Bouche. Little J passed his 11 plus with flying colours and 2012 had the potential of being a great year. However, Mr Bouche’s mum was diagnosed with lung cancer in February and sadly lost her fight in November.
It has been a difficult 12 months and some days are better than others. We are all grieving and Mr Bouche is finding it particularly tough. It is hard to start a new year on a positive note with the sadness that surrounds us. But, we are battling on.

I did make some resolutions last year which you can read here https://boucheinthecity.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/new-years-resolutions-goals/

Did I stick to any of them? Well, one maybe. I found my dream job and work wise I am so happy. I didn’t do great on the blog front. I did not manage to do much about my body but I did become less pessimistic and I think I did ok at being a friend.

So what resolutions do I have 2013? Well I have decided on quite a few and I do aim to stick to them!

I am going to wear more sequins – When purchasing an outfit for a night out in 2013, I will be seeking out sequins and bling. I am 34 this year and realise that I may have to start being cautious when choosing outfits soon, as to not look like mutton dressed as lamb. So while I can, I am going to rock the bling and sequins!

I am going to try and eat less and exercise more – I am not going to go on a diet this year but I am going to join the gym and start doing the spinning classes I love again. When I was at my happiest (figure wise) I ate sensibly, ate out, had the odd treat and did three spinning classes a week. So I am adopting this mantra once again and hopefully I will start loving my figure once again.

I am going to wear less makeup – I love looking glam but looking back on some photos from 2012, in some instances I look more drag than fab. I am toning it down for my daytime look, going easier on the eyebrow pencil and going for a more smokey eye / neutral lip look for nights out.

I am going to let things go – I am going to stop worrying about things I cannot control. Sadly in 2012, one of my friendships deteriorated. One of my oldest and closest friends and I drifted apart. I have tried to keep things going but it has not been reciprocated. I am not sure if I could have done more from her point of view but I have tried to keep the flow of communication going but it hasn’t. Obviously, I am sad about this but I guess this is what happens in life. People drift apart and people can be in different places. I need to stop worrying and pondering on this situation and maybe in time we will reconnect but for now, I am going to let things go.

I am going to listen more – I am a bit of a whirlwind at times. I can be excitable and when friends are talking to me, I can on occasion be known to butt in and talk about myself. Friends have told me things and I have been so airy fairy that I haven’t taken things in. I know this must be frustrating so in 2013, I am making a conscious effort to listen.

I am going to stop saving things for best – If 2012 taught me anything, it is that life is too short. I am going to light my posh candles, use my expensive bath oil and drink that expensive bottle of wine.

I am going to try and dress nicer than I think I should – On those days when I think I’ll just throw an outfit together, I am going to stop myself and think about dressing a touch nicer. I am going to think about my outfits for work the night before and accessorise more. When just going to the pub in the evening I am going to dress up more, than I have in the past, and when going out for a special occasion I am going to try and not wear my faithful skinny jeans and pull out all the stops.

I have high hopes for 2013. I am hoping for a happy home life, no more sadness, successful work life and fingers crossed, maybe our plans for a baby may come to fruition.

Here’s to 2013.

Bouche x x x

Bouche does bargains

Whilst reading the evening standard tonight, I read an interesting article about a high street addict who has forgone her monthly shopping for a year and just bought clothes from charity shops.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/my-austere-year-in-secondhand-clothes-7636343.html

This got me thinking. I love a bargain and love putting a quirky look together which is unique (nothing more annoying than to turn up to an event with a dress on that someone else is wearing!). So I have set myself a challenge. For the Next six months, I will purchase an outfit every month which has been pre loved and will post about the outfit along with some photos.

I have also managed to rope in my good friend, Doris over at http://www.dorisdoesdating.wordpress.com who will also purchase then post about her pre loved discoveries.

Apparently there are some real fabulous charity shops out there and it is all about the location. More affluent parts of London, Kent and Essex have some popular charity shops where donations often get stolen if left outside the shop. So I am hoping I manage to find some fabulous vintage and pre loved designer togs that I can share with you.

I have already perused the oxfam website and have found some pieces I really like. I never thought I would buy second hand clothes but I think I could really get into this!

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-clothes/990945

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-clothes/848849

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-clothes/696382

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-clothes/990047

If you fancy the challenge please comment below and feel free to post your finds back here.

Bargain hunting Bouche x x x

Maid of honour

When I was a little girl, I dreamt of having a sister (my actual sister was born when I was 23) I was stuck with brothers and they didn’t appreciate it when I tried to turn them into a sister, with the help of Mum’s Wardrobe and some makeup. So when my Mum’s sister had a baby girl, I was in my element. We lived in different counties but our Mum’s were close, so we grew up together. I used to get so excited when I knew I was going to see my cousin, so much so that on one occasion I actually wet myself in the car journey there.
Although our worlds were very different, I lived in a very middle class street with parents that were still together and financially, I guess we were doing better than most. My cousin was born to a teenage mum, with a wayward dad and lived in a poor part of town. It didn’t matter to me that we were a little different. I loved being with her and often used to beg my mum and Dad to let me stay there in the holidays.
As we grew into adults we both became distant from our Mum’s and for a short time we became a little distant ourselves ( Our mother’s doing,it is probably important to mention). We both knuckled down and got good jobs, along with settling down and deciding to marry wonderful men.
In the past two years we have become closer than ever and, when my cousin told me that she was getting married I was thrilled for her. She excitedly told me of her plans and the things she had seen for her big day. She asked my advice and I was happy to find nail salons and veils.
Back in the summer, she asked me to organise her hen weekend. I was thrilled to be getting involved. I won’t lie, organising so many women was hard work but we had a great time in Brighton earlier this month. She also asked me to make a speech as sadly her parent’s nor sister will be present at the wedding.
Apparently, I am good at talking and she wanted someone who had known her all her life to speak in place of the father of the bride’s speech. I was very choked up when she asked and even as I am writing the speech, I have emotional moments.
So you can imagine what I was like when she asked me to be her bridesmaid. A blubbering mess to be precise. So Easter Saturday, I have the honour of being the maid, the father and the cousin. She is going to make me so proud and I hope I say and do all that is required. So that everyone knows how much I love her and am so proud of her and all that she has achieved and become.

Bouche x x x

How to shock Bouche into losing weight.

I’ve been in denial. My clothes weren’t really getting tighter and I still looked the same size as last summer, I was sure of it.
A year ago, I rejoined weight watchers and made all these promises that I was going to lose lots of weight and get back to my former self. I did lose some weight, at one point I had lost 20 pounds. But, I am ashamed to say I put it all back on, bar one pound. 12 months of fees costing £240 and all I ended up losing was one pound.
I made all the excuses under the sun for why the weight didn’t stay off and even when I had lost twenty pounds, I still needed to lose another twenty pounds.
I think the final nail in the coffin was Christmas and my unemployment. I was still saying it’s Christmas mid January.
I started my new job and I started eating better but I was still making rubbish choices and Gregg’s the baker became my new place to hang out at lunchtime.

Then the day came when I realised I was in denial and lying to myself.
I was on my way home from work one day and upon boarding the train, I spotted a girl I worked with 13 years ago.
I bounded over and said hi and she looked at me blankly. I said ‘it’s me Jo’ and mentioned our former employer. She looked me up and down before saying ‘oh my god, what happened to you?’
At first I was confused. I hadn’t been in an accident or disfigured. Then I realised she meant my weight. I was a size 8 when I worked with her. I am now a size 16.
I was mortified. I laughed it off, ‘oh you know, good living!’.
I walked up the carriage and as I did I could feel the tears coming. I wasn’t a monster, just a girl who liked wine and cake.
Her comments haunted me for a week then all of a sudden, I felt more focused about losing weight than I ever had. Three weeks in and I have lost five and a half pounds. I am not cheating, not rewarding myself on weigh in day and I am hoping that I I have lost enough this week so I get my 7 pound star.

I might not be a monster but I was thinking… If I lost weight and got to goal. How great would it feel if I bumped into someone and they said ‘oh my god, what happened to you?, you look amazing!’

Bouche x x x

Survival

Nickie over at www.Iamtypecast.com has asked some of her blogging chums to contribute to the #dosomethingyummy campaign for CLIC Sargent http://www.yummymummy.org.uk/. Nickie has given us a writing prompt and has asked to share our inner most thoughts. This week is about Survival.

;

I was 13 years old when my Dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. Over the next 5 years the disease took hold of him and slowly chipped away at my family. My mum lost the plot, my brother started drinking at 14 and I tried my hardest to keep it together as I felt I was the strongest of us all. Thinking back to when I was that age, I probably should have had more support. For a brief period when I was 14, I was taken into the care of my aunt and uncle and put on the social services risk register. Once back with my family, my dad had got progressively worse. My mum was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and my brothers were running amok, and I started to get obsessional about food and my weight (but that is another story). There were times when my Mum would go out, my dad was in bed and I was playing Mum to my younger siblings. I didn’t have the carefree teenage life that my friends had. I was always trying to keep our family together.

Eventually, my mum finally cracked under the pressure and wanted out from caring for a sick husband and after a nasty incident involving police, my Dad left the family home. I was devastated. Everything I tried to do to keep us all together had failed. All the pain and suffering we had been through was for nothing. I was so angry at my Mum. How could she let this happen to us, how could she not love Dad enough to care for him.

I started to resent Mum and I spent a lot of time with my Dad at his new place. He needed me more than ever and I wasn’t going to run out on him. Mum and I argued constantly and eventually she asked me to leave. I was 18 and studying for my A levels. It should have been the best time of my life. Instead I was now homeless, penniless and my world had collapsed around me.

At this time I was working part time for Stakis hotel group in their banqueting team and my boyfriend worked in the restaurant. Immediately after leaving my Mum’s I stayed with him for the weekend then we approached my boss at the hotel. The hotel had living quarters for some staff and I asked if I could temporarily stay there until I could find a place. My boss was fantastic and allowed me to stay there rent free. I suddenly realised that there were people out there that would help me find my feet and that maybe I could do this on my own. I could be independent and stand on my own two feet.

At the staff house, I would spend my evenings going through the local paper looking for a place to live. I was working part time and I knew I was going to struggle to study and work more hours. I was terrified about the kind of place I was going to find especially as I only had £200 a month to spend on accommodation if I stayed at college and worked part time around it. However, I found a room in a house advertised in my price range. So I called up and arranged to view the room.

When I walked into the house I just knew it was going to be my home. It was a two bedroom house and I would share with the landlady. She was the most compassionate woman I had ever met and after a cup of tea, I ended up explaining how I came to be homeless. She assured me that I could do this. I could live away from home, work part time, get my A levels and eventually get a job that I deserved.

So that weekend I moved in to my lovely room in my lovely house with a lovely landlady. I was so scared that I wasn’t going to be able to manage. I studied hard, I worked my hours and occasionally did an extra shift. These extra shifts paid for cheap nights out with my friends. Dancing the night away carefree, like they had been doing years earlier. I continued to support my Dad and help him whenever I had time away from work and college. I paid my rent on time and I gained a very special friend in my landlady. I passed my A levels and I found a job at a stockbrokers. My Mum and I never recovered from that time, however I became so strong. It is true what they say, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I survived that time in my life and I am a better person for it.

;

I have never really talked about this time in my life like this and whilst I am typing the tears are pricking my eyes. This is a great cause and I am pleased Nickie asked me to contribute.

;

Bouche x x x

;

A series of firsts

Yesterday, my friend Paula at Cad E An Sceal tagged me in her post about a series of firsts. http://cadeansceal.blogspot.com/2012/02/series-of-firsts.html?m=1 So here goes. I hope you learn something new about me!

Who was your first boyfriend?
His name was Jason Barth. I was around 9 and he was the cutest boy in the school. I recently bumped into him outside my office. He didn’t recognise me but I sent him a message on Facebook. He never replied! Ha ha

The first person you kissed?
My first proper French kiss was with an older boy that had a chalet at the same holiday park as my parents. I was 13, he was 16 and he was lovely although I didn’t appreciate him slipping me the tongue in front of my aunt and uncle. Oh the shame!

First job?
My first job was working for Stakis hotel group before they were taken over by Hilton. I was studying for my A levels and I used to work in banqueting. We used to have so much fun and I met my first love at the hotel. The best memories were of playing music after service, having a boogie whilst laying out for breakfast whilst drinking a Tia Maria and coke!

What did I buy with my first pay packet?
I had left home by then so it went on bills, college fees but I had enough for a night out and half a lager!

First cd you remember buying
The first cd I ever bought was colour me badd, I wanna sex you up. The first song I ever bought was Happy birthday by Altered images, which was on vinyl 7inch.

First holiday abroad?
My first holiday abroad was to Marbella. All I remember was that we were staying in a villa once owned by Marti Cane (remember her?!) and we were near McDonald’s!

What age were you when you moved out of the family home?
I was 18. It wasn’t a good time in my life. My mum had turned her back on my dad and they had split up. It was the start of a 4 year silence between me and my mum. However, I was determined to do everything on my own and I did.

Shall I pass the firsts on? Yeah. Onto Doris at www.dorisdoesdating.wordpress.com

Bouche x x x

New Years Resolutions (goals)!

I have never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I have been a smoker for the best part of 18 years, although I did give up twice (once for 18 months and once for 10 months). My husband is a non smoker as are most of my friends. So when resolutions creep into conversation, I am often asked whether I will give up smoking for new year. The question always makes me feel embarrassed, like it should be my resolution and I guess this is why I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, as I should be giving up smoking.

However, 2011 was tough for me on both a personal level and a professional one. So I have decided on a few goals (not resolutions) that I wish to achieve in 2012.

I dislike my body immensely. I had high hopes for weight loss in 2011 and although I lost 17 pounds in total (after gaining some pounds), I do intend to change my body in 2012. I am not going to diet but to change the way we eat in the Bouche household. Mr Bouche is to reduce his portion size (he does most of the cooking) and I am going to exercise in a way to lose the weight and I want to a shape my body to how it once was.

For the majority of 2011, I had a job I loved until I was made redundant in November. In 2012, I will challenge and push myself totally out of my comfort zone, in order to find a job I love and a job, that challenges me everyday.

In 2012, I am going to be less pessimistic, a better friend and less of a worrier / stresshead.

I am also going to blog more, and blog better! I have been pretty poor the last couple of months. I plan to go to Cybher this year and will network my butt off, along with having some fun. I started this blog to have a place to vent and to jibber and now after doing this for almost a year, I think I can make this blog something better.

Happy New Year everyone and hope you will continue to read and follow me (hopefully) completing my goals!

Bouche x x x

Goodbye 2011

So that’s it. 2011 is over and 2012 is upon us. I can’t lie, 2011 has been a disappointment but that said I thought I would give you a run down of Bouche’s year anyway!

January – I started my blog! After months of tooing and froing I finally did it! Mr Bouche turned 32. I joined Weight Watchers, with the view of losing three stone.

February – Was a quiet month but I spent 5 hours at Guys hospital having my root canal treated. I helped a good friend move into her home after a turbulent 18 months for her

March – Little J turned 9 and I suddenly realised that he as becoming a young man. My good friend Doris and I headed to the cinema and ended up in London Gallery’s and had a fab night. Mr Bouche took me on a date, even though I had, had three hours of root canal treatment!

April – April brought Easter and lots of family time. I spent lots of time with Daddy Bouche. I also visited my GP to be referred to the genetics clinic at Guys. The first of the 2011 babies was born to a good friend and he is a beaut. Our girly trip to Butlins was booked for later in the year. The royal wedding brought a houseful at 11am and some hangovers the next day!

May – The second of our 2011 babies arrived and he is a handsome chap. My mother in law turned 60 and we had a lovely day at my sister in-law’s. More root canal treatment for Bouche and a big girly night out. We also went for our first appointment at Guys Hospital to discuss our options at the Genetic clinic.

June – My sister and law and I headed to Wembley to see Take That in concert. June also saw Huntington’s awareness week and the summer party at my Dad’s home. I attended an Ann Summer’s party which was more than fun. We also had a family get together at Mr Bouche’s Dad’s house and I finally met his aunt from New Zealand.

July – July brought the third of our 2011 babies and she is absolutely adorable! I also headed to Essex for Essex Polo which was hilarious and so much fun. Amy Winehouse passed away and I wrote the saddest tunage tuesday. July also brought a client go karting event at work and despite being very competitive my team came second from bottom!

August – I bravely had my second tattoo, of our wedding date in roman numerals on my wrist. We joined the local Huntington’s Disease support group for a meeting and made some new friends. We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary and had a bit of a shindig at home.

September – I turned 32, this involved a carvery lunch, a girly breakfast on my birthday, dinner with my aunt and uncle and a big girl’s night out. We also took Little J to the O2 to see Batman live. Babies number four and five arrived (twins) and are real smashers! I took my cousin to a wedding fayre and she asked me to make a speech at her wedding. Both Mr Bouche and I were personally affected by 9/11 and we remebered the date by purchasing a beautiful canvas of New York for our lounge. I also worked in the disaster recovery site and got to see Daddy Bouche lots that week, as I was based near his home. September also brought worry. We went to Guys Hospital and after they had looked at family history, they wanted to test me for a duplication of chromosome 15. It was one long week but all was well and I was negative.

October – October started with a sex and the city afternoon tea in London and a family bbq at my aunt and uncles (otherwise known as mum and dad number 2). We had a wedding reception which was fab and a visit to Mr Bouche’s uncle’s restaurant in London. I started organising my cousin’s hen weekend. Work was frantic and looked as if we were in trouble and our jobs were at risk.

November – We had another wedding reception, a 30+1 birthday party and the girly Butlins 80’s weekender. It was also the month that my company collapsed and I was made redundant along with half of the company, with the further 50% go early in 2012. With that it brought leaving drinks and an interview.

December – The start of my unemployment! My little sister was 9 and we had a tea party at Casa Bouche. I had a girly curry evening. Lots of christmas shopping was done. I met up with my cousin for some wedding preparation shopping. I signed on. I claimed ppi. We had an appointment at Guys and missed it as we were stuck in traffic. I had two interviews and am still waiting for the result. We had a visit from an absent friend. I avoided my family at christmas (I saw them on the 23rd, this isn’t really christmas is it?). We saw Little J on christmas eve and gave him his presents. Christmas day we visited Daddy Bouche and then came home for the Bouche’s christmas where we saw no-one but ourselves! Boxing day, we went to Mr Bouche’s sisters (www.cherishedbyme.com) and had a lovely day. The 27th saw us at Mr Bouche’s Dad’s which was eventful as usual. The rest of December has seen me mainly eating cold meat, cheese and pickles and drinking wine in my pj’s! I have managed to apply for some jobs and have an interview lined up for early January. Mr Bouche and I spent New Years together in doors, toasting the new year in and ushering 2011 out!

What will 2012 bring? Below is what I know will happen for certain!

An interview in January, which I hope will be successful and bring a whole new adventure.

A wedding in February. Mr Bouche’s best friend’s sister gets married.

A hen do in March organised by myself for my darling cousin.

A wedding in April, where I will be the acting mother of the bride and will read a speech about my fabulous cousin in a father of the bride fashion.

Little J doing his 11 plus. Wowsers, where has the time gone?!

The Olympics hitting London.

Our nephew goes to university.

Everything else will be, no doubt a rollercoaster!

Happy new year everyone, lets hoping 2012 will be fantastic!

Bouche x x x

Bouche and the organiser

September 6th 2005, it was my birthday. Mr Bouche presented my with a beautifully wrapped present in a mont blanc bag. I was intrigued. I only knew of mont blanc pens and I guess I never thought about using such a posh pen. Previous gifts from Mr Bouche had been mainly jewellery, so this threw me.

When I opened the present, I was a little miffed. I had always used a pocket diary but I had never thought of myself as an organiser type of girl. The mont blanc organiser was a beautiful tan leather and smelt beautiful but if I am honest I was a little disappointed as it seemed like a cop out gift.

It seems Mr Bouche knew me better than I knew myself! My Mont blanc organiser has been on my person everyday since then. I organise every part of my life with organiser and over the years although it has seen me through two house moves, eight holidays, several jobs, a marriage and numerous handbags, it has worn beautifully.

It is probably one of the best gifts I have been given and I hate being without it and will still be carrying it with me in decades time!

Bouche x x x