This little year of mine.....#catchup

I have just realised that the blogs 1st birthday has been and gone a few weeks ago actually but if you have been keeping up you will know its pretty crazy here, so I thought I would do a little catch up on the past year now. I started my blog to share recipes and cake designs as its one of my main hobby's but it turns out I enjoy writing about everything and Y'all seem to prefer to know what I'm up to and just how awful my kids are being anyway! Don't worry its like a form of therapy to me and I will never be the type to try and make out life is all rosey when it really isn't, in fact I would say that is the quality I hate most in others, we should stick together and I love it when people say that "They can totally relate" or "I have made them feel better". I never expected anything like this to come of the blog but I recently hit 40,000 views and that might not be much to some but it means the world to me. Thank you everyone for all the likes, shares and comments, the #Realmam AND #Realdad army grows and please keep them coming.

When I started the blog last June I had not long been a full time SAHM after my department at a job I loved was made redundant and moved to another country while I was on Maternity leave. I didn't know what to do next as childcare was so expensive for both our boys. Its really just not something you sit down and do all the math BEFORE you get pregnant and think "Oh if I want to work and not have to tie the kids to the garden fence while I go there, it will cost me more than my mortgage for childcare" So I started a little job with Jamie at Home which I loved as it was so flexible and right up my street with baking ware, however I hadn't even done my second party when everything was tipped on its head and the husband was offered a new job which required us to travel to Texas. As it was a promotion for him and a change of scenery we decided to go for it. He had to go immediately, leaving us behind for 5 weeks in which time I went on our pre booked family holiday alone, well my brother stepped in as Au Pair but if you read that blog here Praa Sands. he was quickly given his P45 after disappearing at a Beer Festival for over 24hrs.

Cant believe I'm 30 yet either?!

The job from the start was in truth a total nightmare, if it could go wrong it would, visa problems, start date, location, time frame, end date you name it; nothing was certain at any point. However somehow I found my self on a plane for 10 solid hours with a 4yr old and a 2yr old on my lap bound for Houston. It was an incredible 4mths living there, again with so many ups and downs. Being travellers at heart when ever we go somewhere on holiday we always imagine living in the place, sometimes plan it out including job opportunity's but in reality living somewhere is totally different to having a holiday. You have to start again, learn how to drive and learn stupid stuff like where to get your legs waxed or where the nearest Dr's is. Also all my dreams of sitting by a pool or a park all day were quickly diminished because despite it being hotter in September that any day ever experienced in the UK, this is winter in Texas Y'all. So everything shuts down and if the parks weren't empty there are plenty of fire ants to keep you company. Coupled with the husband going from having weekends off to working most of them and me having two small boys to entertain 24/7 it was very tough at times to say the least. However the weirdest thing is I wouldn't take any of it back, I wish Id had a Nanny yes! but I wouldn't have wanted to think for the rest of my life what if? We had some fantastic experiences including visiting my Grandparents in Florida ONLY a 1hr52min flight, Florida. #Englewood too in fact spending Halloween in Texas alone was worth it all.

Husband sneakily took this skype pic, when he told me I would be travelling to Texas solo...Say WHAT?!

Off to Texas!

Jet lag killer...

Miss my walk in wardrobe so much!

"Texas Big"

Sometimes I dont want to live in this world.



The crazy contract then took another turn for the worse where instead of spending a few more months in Houston the husband was required in Trinidad where the Oil Rig they were working on was actually being repaired. So the boys and I could stay in Houston on our own (its a 6hr flight to Trinidad so weekend trips back were not an option for the hubby) plus it was pretty cold by then too so didn't fancy that, I could go to Trinidad which already sounded not much better than a war zone and when I heard guarded compound, like Dragons Den I said "I'm out" so homeward bound it was. We arrived home a week before Christmas and surprise surprise there was still some uncertainty if we would actually end up back in Houston in a  few months or if I would despite my protests go over to Trinidad but for now I cant remember ever being happier to see my little house. The only way I can describe it was putting on a pair of slippers after wearing killer heels for months. Everything was so familiar and cosy. For one thing we didn't see the kids for about 3 days lost in playing with their toys they hadn't seen in months and I was the same with my kitchen, all my clothes and general stuff. We had a fantastic Christmas, "The most wonderful time of the year" was made even better by catching up with everyone we had missed so much and doing the things we missed like walking on the beach...like I said its the stupid things you miss.



Merry with the Brother.

Just Mammy time, drive me mad but....

 Messiest kids ever.

The high was soon over though when the husband had to go to Trinidad on the 3rd of January. I still don't know why for a second I thought I would be fine on my own with two boys under 4, that it would be a 4 week on and 2 week off ONLY until April??!! I quickly realised I could not cope and was drowning especially when in no particular order between us we had Norovirus, huge allergic reaction, serious burn, Pneumonia, coughs colds and scabby holes! A visit was out of the question when the rumours were true and the husband spoke to the Police at the airport. It went like this.

Husband: How's Trinidad?
Police: OK but how many days in the year so far... 
Husband: 4 days.
Police: There has been 14 murders since the start of the year. 
So on an island only 16 square miles, in 4 days alone 14 people have been murdered... Sounded like Lost!

Also like everything in the Oil and Gas industry and frankly this job it ended up that from January to May he would only come home once for 10days... I developed a catch phrase "I'm like a Mushroom, kept in the dark and fed shit" Lets just say it was rough going and draw a line under it. 

Its one of the those situations though that somehow you just do it but when you look back you.cant.actually.believe.it. I mean this time last year I never would have dreamt that I would get 2 wild boys under 4 across the Atlantic myself...when I hate flying The Epic Journey... or that I would live in another country for 4 months(just one of the Texas Blogs) No Smoke....Texas life. or that I would be a single parent for 4 more months and nearly lose it The day I broke..... Writing this, I realise it really has been a mental year and I really have gone a bit mental BUT I/we have survived.

and you know what?

So what next?

  • Even people I don't know keep asking me "So are you going back to Texas?!" and the truthful answer is: I don't know. It would probably be a no though. The husband is currently having a bit of deserved time off and we don't know what our next move will be but we are going to try and stay together as a family.
  • After much churning about moving for around 4yrs as we need more space for sure, the kids are growing faster than weeds, we have decided to build a double story extension on our house which has started this week and I will be doing a blog diary on that for any DIY/decor fanatics or people interested in doing the same. Also part of the reason the husband is having some time off - to supervise.
  • BLOG BLOG BLOG. I sometimes feel like a plastic blogger at times because no sooner had I started the blog then all this drama happened and I didn't have the time I would have liked to dedicate to it, but no more. I'm going to consider that a learner year and going to make some changes to the blog and learn some more, Embarrassingly I have actually started using Twitter @AshlieDunn and made some great friends/fellow bloggers I've even been invited to a few blogger events which are great...nobody told me off when I took a picture of my food! So please watch this space. 
Thank you soooo much for all of you who "like" and "share" my blogs and my facebook page:
Always gratful for more. Also for following and retweeting me.

It wouldn't work without you cheeeeeeers! 

Ash xox