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Today's a special day! It's my little chubby fur babies first birthday! I can hear the screams of 'wow, crazy cat lady' from here- shush!
I fully embrace being a crazy cat mom and planned on going all out for our little monsters birthday. He didn't exactly have the best start in life but soon as he became ours he's had a life filled full of food, cuddles and love, so he doesn't exactly want for much. He already has an overflowing 'toy box' full of every possible cat toy imaginable and a cat-tower/scratching pole that has 3 tiers and is half the size of our front room, so a new one of those was out of the question too. 
I keep saying Dex is far more than a cat so I decided to buy a Cat IQ Test I found on amazon for him to prove he really is a handsome and intelligent wondercat or prove i'm insane and he really is just a bloody cat! I also decided a lovely cushion so he never has his fave spot on the sofa was a must, and I absolutely love the Sass and Belle 'Reserved For The Cat' cushion!
I've also decided a birthday cake for him is a must. If buzzfeed had to write an article on a recipe on cakes for your cat then there must be a demand for it, and I can't be the only crazy one, can I?!
Anyway, plenty of photos of Dexter's cakes, presents, and the handsome birthday boy will surely be found on my instagram- @puzzplepiecelife.

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Good Morning! Somehow I’ve gone from having nearly 750 days left when we booked our wedding to now having under 500. It scares me so much as I swear it was only yesterday we booked the damn thing!? 

Everyone keeps telling me I have ages left to plan things, but until you've planned your own wedding, you have no idea how bloody irritating a thing that is to say to a bride! I've got four note books full of ideas and to-do lists!  I’m not really in a good place right now, so the wedding seems like a light at the end of a  tunnel. I wish I could fast forward 500-odd days to our wedding day and see Craig’s face at the end of the aisle. I’d also be quite happy if no one else was there but I am slowly coming to terms with the fact my dream of an intimate small affair will always be just a dream.

Planning wise we have a venue which includes food, dj, set up etc. I’ve brought my beautiful maids their dresses. I've half done the favours which i'm hand making myself because hand making 100 of something for £3 rather than paying over £100 for pre-made ones, will always win! I've booked a starlight backdrop and lace covers for the chairs.  I've also decided I HATE the invites i'd previously brought so have turned to etsy to download some floral vectors and i've been messing around in photoshop to make some myself. As we're under 18 months away now, honeymoons are also on the agenda as you can search and book for some destinations already. Mexico is looking to be a strong contender at the moment, but I detest flying so anything long haul might be a bit too much.

I'm hoping that by the 400 day mark i'd have the florist, cake and photographer booked, the invites made and i've had at the very least started some of the many DIY pinterest inspired projects I have in mind! I'll probably feel a lot calmer the more things are finalised! 

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Admitting I couldn't cope, again, was one of the hardest things i've had to do. Especially as I've no 'reason' to be depressed I guess. I have a loving family, and a wonderful life with a beautiful cat and handsome a man I cannot wait to make my husband. I know I should be happy, and every day I feel I'm unable to cope makes me feel even more guilty to feel this way. Every time I feel I cannot breathe from panic over something highly insignificant makes me feel useless. My inability to wake up every morning and go about normal daily tasks without feeling sick from dread that something terrible will happen is exhausting. Not being able to go to work makes me feel like a failure. 

Pretending everything was fine for so long was the worst thing I could do. It's weird that something that has consumed how i've felt for so long, was something i've kept inside like some dirty secret.  As soon as the words left my mouth and my doctor nodded sympathetically, I felt a wave of relief. As if just telling someone how I felt had solved a million problems I had. Even though this wasn't the first time i've been ill, and the first time I couldn't have asked for a more sympathetic and understanding doctor, I still expected the second time I was going to be judged, or just told to 'worry less' or 'cheer up', because it feels the rest of the world thinks it's that easy; as if to feel this way is a choice. I really couldn't want anything more than to feel okay again, and if it was that simple I would have done it already. To go to the pub and have a laugh. To not feel sick with worry. To want to go outside and have fun. That's what I want.

Anyway, medication, talking and submerging myself in things I loved will hopefully ease things off. I know there's no quick fix that'll rewind 6 months to make everything feel okay again but it's all I want. It frustrates me so much that mental health is so poorly talked about. Why should there be shame in having difficulty coping? There really needs to be last stigma surrounding depression. It would make seeking help and discussing experiences less daunting and would allow for the education of others. It would make it far easier to ask for help...

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I remember the 24 hours before my grandad died so very vividly. The night before, Craig and I spent the evening belting out singstar whilst I wore my ugly green pj’s. He kept beating me at ‘Friday I’m In Love’ by The Cure. On my way home from uni, I walked via the garage to pick up BBQ doritos and I sat in Beckie’s room nattering. I remember my phone ringing when I was sat there moaning about something or another. I ignored it thinking it wouldn’t be important. I was wrong. Three years ago, the perfect mundane life I had stopped, and the sheltered existence without grief and loss came to an end.

I'm very aware everyone will die eventually, but it doesn't make it feel okay. It's not okay people can just die. Young or old, aware the end is near or quick and sudden. It will never just feel alright. Death highlights how bizarrely fragile our whole existence is.

There are reasons why my grandad’s death hit me far harder than I could’ve ever imagined. It left me numb. There’s no amounts of tablets, counselling or ‘time to heal’, that fixes the void left by a person not being there anymore and the what could have been’s being unanswered. The last three years saw me lose both my grandads, whom I loved so very much, and my uncle so suddenly too, but the last three years were where I’ve achieved the most. Never did my grandad see me graduate from uni, neither got to see me get engaged, and none of them will be sat there beaming back at me on my wedding day. How is the pain of that ever going to be alright?

Losing someone you love and coming to terms with knowing you can never hear their voice, hear their laugh, feel their hugs or see their face is exceptionally painful. No one can tell you how to fix the pain, there is no 'right' way to grieve, there no checklist of what is normal to feel and it can leave you feeling hopeless, especially when you’re someone who needs to feel in control.

Good Morning!  Wednesday's will be wedding post days moving forward! Today’s ramblings are on the topic of telling people they’re invited to the wedding, before you actually invite them, aka- save the dates. There is nothing wrong with those who want to spend every penny they have on a wedding, but personally, that's far from what I want. Love is free, after all. So i'm rather chuffed with these super affordable save the date magnets from Vistaprint.

(The venue was also printed on the magnet, but thanks to the wonders of photoshop, I removed it for the purpose of posting all over the internet, sorry wannabe gatecrashers.)

My main concern with save the dates was they would be a lot of money for something that would be cast aside and forgotten about. Realistically, paying for a piece of card to say were getting married, finding everyone’s addresses and buying a million stamps for everyone to just bin it was not something I have time or the money for. Especially as invites provide all the information you need, and you could just send those out early if you were having a wedding some might find difficult to get to or one where people might need to book time off work.

I decided early on, if we were going to have save the dates, they would be more for the purpose of being keepsakes, and they’d need to be practical or something that wouldn’t just be opened and put to one side. Which led me to a choice of two options, a business card type save the date, which people could just slide in their purses. Practical, yes, but not so much a keepsake and you still run the risk of people not realising they should put it in their wallet. They would also be far too tiny to post. My other option was fridge magnets. Highly practical, as you can whack them on the fridge and they’re there as a daily reminder, and something that can be kept there long past the wedding as a soul-warming reminder.

After swooning over the idea of having magnet save the dates, my next issue was finding a fridge magnets which was budget friendly. Etsy was full of beautiful and cute designs but spending £3-5 per save the date was not for us. You soon realise when planning a wedding that having pinterest dreams and wanting to save all your pennies does not go hand in hand. 

Then I stumbled across the vistaprint black-Friday deal, and managed to order 40 for around £20! The best part about the vistaprint site is they always have deals on all year round and they have so many designs, which are also customisable. There are pages and pages of save the dates, invites, programs, rsvps etc. They have so many different designs too, with the option to change the colours on some designs. I'm a bit gutted I couldn't change the pink font to another colour, but it sort of matches our theme. Who will notice anyway?! They all come with free envelopes too which was amazing. The magnets are also decent size too which I didn't expect, they're roughly the size of a 6x4 photo.  I even had to cancel my order at one point as I had a major flap over the original design I picked, and they allowed me too without any fuss. Something tells me they're highly skilled in hormonal bridezilla's changing their minds.

The only thing I need to decide now, is when to give them out! I've hand stamped all the envelopes already, so they are just sat awaiting to be dished out. Most of our close friends and family have theirs already, but i'm itching to give out the rest. I'm trying to wait for Easter/Summer before I give them out, with invites going out around this time next year. If I can wait that long, that is!

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Last year was a weird year. I don’t think anything would have topped the high which was 2014, yet for some reason I still set the expectations high. 

(How cute is this diary, I picked it up at Asda the other week for just £3!)

The year did bring positives, it was a miracle when I passed my driving test in June and booking my wedding last autumn fuelled my excitement to plan a day of celebration of mine and Craig’s love. Yet losing my Uncle in such a sudden and cruel way left the year clouded with hurt. I was so lucky growing up to have never experienced loss but for the past three years, without fail, I’ve had to say goodbye to close loved ones. I want 2016 to be a year where those I love stay close to me.

I slowly feel myself drifting into the awful place I found myself in a few years back and I won’t go back there. This year will be the year I make more time for the things I love. I’ll stop letting work consume the majority of my life and I’ll start writing more. I find something really therapeutic about writing down what’s on my mind, albeit normally a bunch of rambles. Seeing as I can now drive, this year will also be the year of road trips. I want to find a super quaint little log cabin somewhere and spend a weekend there. I also want to make more time for seeing my friends, which goes hand in hand with the road trips given we're all over the place. The worse I feel, the less I want to go out, but actually being outside the house makes me feel so much better, so getting out more is a must. 

 Two smaller aims I have include finding a new job and picking up German again. I've so much love for languages, so using the app I downloaded on my phone to pick up German again is a must. Finding a new job is also on the agenda as i'm pretty sure that is contributing towards my current mood. Preferably somewhere which doesn’t require a stupidly long commute would be brill. 

My biggest aim of the year is Project Wedding Ready. Not only do I want to collate of my Pinterest plans, spreadsheets and lists and turn them into results, but I want to work on feeling amazing on the day. So using Pinterest for slimming world meals instead of birthday cake fudge recipes is now my mission. I’ve shockingly re-joined the gym and have been using my ugly little fitbit. I should probably buy a new bracelet for it so it’s a little less unsightly.

So focusing on happiness, dieting and wedding planning. Not expecting much from myself there am I?!

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Last week something amazing happened- I became a cat mom! Now i've always loved cats and grew up with furry, meowing, bundles of joy, but this beautiful boy is MY first cat baby. It might sound a little weird to non-crazy cat ladies but the love I have for him is unreal. 

Dex is so well behaved for his tiny age. He has a strong interest in the hoover and all it offers him, rather than a desire to run away like most cats! He eats like a little piggy which has me pleased as he was so frail when we got him and he might have been the kitten no one wanted but to me he's nothing but beautiful.  He's got such a personality too, from climbing his scratching pole to get a better view of the tv (he really likes the Simpsons!?!) to us coming  home the other day to find he'd managed to change the tv channel, the little weirdo!

I'm so glad he's going to get to live a life full of cuddles, treats and happiness. Nothing beats a well loved pet. He'll keep me happy and sane and i'll have him walking around the house like he is a furry little prince, and what better than International Cat Day to introduce my kitty to the blog! 

If you already follow me on instagram, I apologise for the stream of kitty snaps, but if you don't and want to subject yourself to daily Dexter updates, you can follow me here; CLICK FOR LOTS OF CAT PHOTOS!! (AKA, my instagram!)

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