What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. It’s hard finding the right work/life balance when you’ve been off for six weeks and haven’t had to think about work at all! I’m missing our days out and being able to stay in our pj’s until lunch time! Honestly, I’m just missing the summer because we had such an amazing summer to miss.
September is always a funny month because I have my car MOT and Ellie’s birthday to sort out plus lots of birthdays this month and next month. I also try and start my christmas shopping/planning by the end of September as I hate leaving everything so last minute. I’ve already bought a few of Ellie’s Christmas things but honestly I’m nowhere near where I’d have liked to be with everyone else’s! I haven’t even planned who we need to buy for this year. I feel so unorganised. Yes I know it’s only September but there’s less than 100 days until the big day and I hate having to wait until December to get sorted. I’m so unorganised that I wanted to get another gift-guide planned and set up but just haven’t even had the time to look around for things nevermind actually contact anyone. Honestly, I don’t think i’m cut out to be a blogger sometimes but I absolutely love writing and wish I’d done something more with it at college. I mean, what has Health & Social Care and Sociology done for me lately eh?
We’ve spent our free time enjoying the last few afternoons of sunshine and I’m so glad we did. I love Autumn but it’s been nice to get out of the house and go to the park after work. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited to get out and walk through those autumnal crunchy leaves, wrapped up warm in our hats and gloves and watch Ellie really enjoy this season. She’s happy as long as she can still be outside.
We’ve got so much to look forward to in the next few months with days out, half term, Ellie’s birthday and Christmas that I feel quite giddy about it all. This really is my favourite time of the year, the build up to Ellie’s birthday and to Christmas just makes me so happy. Ellie has asked for a party this year and originally I had said no. She didn’t need a party but in her mind you have a party for your birthday and I really can’t have people just turning up at my house…it’s too much. So she’s having a party. I was not prepared for a party at all. We’ve booked a venue a few weeks ago and managed to get a few bits here and there but there’s still so much to do and organise and honestly, Luke is pretty useless with things like this so he just leaves me to get on with it. There’s still lots to do but i’m hoping I can do her proud.
October also brings some difficult times with Baby Loss Awareness week and wave of light, both of which always gives me a bit of anxiety. We’ve been so lucky that people remember Jason but each year the support seems to dwindle slightly. I get it, life goes on, but it still hurts when people seem to ‘forget’. Seeing a candle lit up for him means so much to us as bereaved parents, the opportunity to feel like he is remembered as my son. I’ve written a special post for Wave of Light and BLAW which will be shared nearer the time and i’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with one of our favourite small businesses on this too! It’s really exciting!
I just wanted to let you all know we are still here, still attempting to get things written and failing miserably(!!).
My plans were that Ellie would be completely toilet trained by the time the 6 week holidays were over but the closer we got the more I realised she really wasn’t ready. She would have tantrums whenever we offered the potty or cry if she didn’t have a nappy on. She would tell us it is safe in her nappy and I knew we’d cause more anxiety by forcing her and we needed to wait until she was ready.
At the start of the summer Ellie was suddenly ready. She asked for her potty and didn’t want her nappy on as much. It was fine while we were at home but I was dreading going anywhere. I’d concluded we wouldn’t be toilet training so I wasn’t prepared for the sudden change of mind! We did little journeys, putting a towel on Ellie’s car seat and carrying enough pants to last a month 🤣
We had no accidents but found car journeys were causing Ellie too much stress as she worried about leaking on her chair. We survived a wedding where I carried her toilet seat everywhere and a 2 hour journey to our holiday making regular stops. Ellie was doing amazing. I would definitely say that once they are “ready” it will just happen.
Now that Ellie is dry in the day and has been for just over a month, she has now decided she doesn’t like the pull ups at night. We’ve used the pull ups at night since she stopped wearing nappies and she hasn’t had an issue with them but they do irritate her on the sides. Again, I wasn’t prepared for night time toilet training but so far she’s done really well. She hasn’t had a pull up on for 5 nights now and she’s been dry for 5 nights too! I’ve limited her drink once she’s in bed and she’s been using the toilet just before bed too. I’ve then been taking her to the toilet when I come to bed just as an extra but find if I don’t she wakes herself up and tells us which is great. Now just to show her she can use the toilet without waking me up… Now that would be amazing!!
I wish I had some magic tips to offer but I feel like our toilet training was a bit of a fluke. My biggest tip would be to get them used to having pants on without nappy time and not worrying too much about the mess. Waiting until they are ready is also the best way to try toilet training as it won’t take as long to master.
I am so proud of Ellie as she has done all of this before she is even 3.
Months ago I decided I’d treat us to a holiday, I couldn’t afford much as I am only working part-time so thought I’d try the Sun Holidays as I’ve heard so many good things. I found a holiday park fairly close to where we’ve stayed the past few years which was only going to cost £112 for 4 nights which I knew was cheap for a break away in the Summer Holidays. So I booked our 4 night stay at Pontins.
In the months that followed I’d started seeing bad reviews for the site and was feeling really anxious about it all. I did some research but wherever I looked the bad reviews outweighed the good by quite a lot. Its the first holiday I have paid for without Luke’s help and I wanted it to be perfect. I was started to feel quite sick at the thought of us going and contemplated just cancelling and losing the money I’d paid.
I do want to say that you shouldn’t believe EVERYTHING you read on review sites but I am glad I did my research otherwise I’d have been so disappointed when we arrived.
My following review is an honest account of my stay at Pontins Prestatyn Sands and I have written it because I wanted to show what I thought of the park and our apartment.
Upon arrival at the park my first thought was that it all looked a bit run down and in need of an upgrade to modernise it. We arrived around 5pm and found check in quite quick compared to what I had read however it felt very unorganised. We were given our keys and our electric key. I was under the impression that we would need to pay for the electric (which I was annoyed at as this wasn’t stated when booking via The Sun) however I was told our electric was part of the deal and when we ran out we were given extra electric cards for free.
Our apartment was on the second floor of one of the apartment blocks which, quite honestly, looked like they needed rebuilding. Our apartment definitely needed some work doing to it but it wasn’t as bad as I was imagining. The outside looked dirty but there was so many seagulls I wasn’t surprised. Our apartment looked clean at first sight and I felt quite relieved. The bathroom looked fairly new and clean and so did the kitchen. The appliances were basic but clean and working. It wasn’t until I looked a bit closer that I’d realised the floors hadn’t been cleaned at all. I always take some cleaning products with me so I was prepared to do a little bit of cleaning but there wasn’t anything in the apartment to clean the floor so we had to make do with a small dustpan and brush. I also noticed there was crumbs and bits on the sofa which I wiped before letting Ellie sit down and the paint on the walls had been damaged in places. I reminded myself that we paid just over £100 and it wasn’t going to be anything special but I wished it had been cleaned before we arrived. The curtains all had scissor cuts in them which when we walked around the park seemed quite common in lots of rooms and our curtain rail was falling off. Everything was just a bit “off”.
We stayed the 4 nights but didn’t use any of the facilities. We decided to use the room as a base point and visit places around it instead. Not the calm, relaxing holiday I wanted however we had a much better time when we were busy exploring. We drove to Llandudno and walked on the pier and enjoyed the arcades; we drove to Conwy and returned to a National Trust site we went to last year which was beautiful; we also took a walk along Talacre and Barky beach.
We made the most of the holiday knowing it didn’t cost up half as much as holiday parks charge for Summer.
Storytelling, reading stories and acting out known stories has quickly become one of our favourite pastimes as a family since Ellie arrived. Her love for books, nursery rhymes and everything literature has brought out a passion in me I haven’t had since I stopped reading a few years back.
Every night Ellie asks for a minimum of 3 stories, one read by me and two read by her Dad. She seems to obsess over certain ones for a while before going back to others but she listens intently until she is able to join in and pretty much tell the story herself. Recently we have been encouraging her to “read” books to herself, I know this is something a lot of EYFS children (reception/aged 4-5) can struggle with when learning to read and I want her to be able to use the pictures and tell the story in whatever way works for her. She has started reading stories to her favourite soft toys and loves flicking through the pages.
More recently she has been obsessed with acting out the traditional tale “The 3 Little Pigs”, she runs around building each house and waiting for the big bad wold (usually me ¬_¬) to come blow the house down. Her imagination is incredible and she will use whatever is around her to pretend. I recently aquired some masks from a teacher at work who doesn’t need them and it made me wonder what else was available to really help Ellie’s imagination and storytelling develop through her love of stories and play.
I came across a lovely lady called Sian who runs her own small business StoryProps.
Sian is an EYFS teacher and has used her knowledge and passion for learning to create props that children can use when reading or telling stories. StoryProps provides handpainted items that help to ” develop a young child’s communication, language & literacy skills, and creative & imaginative development whilst increasing a love for stories, rhymes, characters and books ” (taken from the StoryProp website) and I completely agree. Each item is beautifully handpainted to a great standard. My favourite is the Story Spoons which are perfect for enabling Ellie to create her own story around the characters. I can’t wait to order a set!
Follow StoryProps on Instagram and Facebook To purchase your own set of wonderful StoryProps whether they are spoons, stones or cubes then head on over to their Etsy Shop 🙂
For as long as I’ve been buying toys for Ellie I’ve been aware of the discussion between parents as to what is better for babies/toddlers/children wooden or plastic toys. Now I’ve always been on the fence I suppose because honestly, Ellie has her fair share of plastic and wooden toys. I have always tried to make a conscious effort to buy wooden toys where possible but found they are usually more expensive than plastic and in Ellie’s eyes they aren’t as colourful/exciting/playable as the plastic toys are advertised to be which has made it difficult to be as wood friendly as I’d like. We are two parents who are both on a Teaching Assistant wage (which I have to tell you really isn’t great…) and living penny to penny each month. Sometimes you just have to accept that what you want isn’t always achievable and that’s okay. I’m not here to judge, every parent does what they can to get through each day right?
Here are my 5 advantages to choosing wooden toys from my own personal experiences!
They are DURABLE. Ellie is a tough cookie and she likes to play rough, as do most toddlers I would assume. Wooden toys are long-lasting and they don’t break easily meaning no little sharp bits on the floor. Ellie loves being outside so having her wooden toys means I can clean them easily too.
They are SAFE. Plastic toys usually carry toxins and chemicals that you wouldn’t want near your babies/children. Wooden toys are safe to play with, don’t have chemicals and are usually painted with non-toxic paint which makes them perfectly safe to be gummed, licked etc by those playing with them. Wooden toys are designed not to break easily so there won’t be able broken pieces lying around with sharp edges.
They encourage OPEN PLAY – whether this is imaginative play or real-life skills, the possibilities with wooden toys are endless. Without the constant electronics and noise, the wooden toys encourage children to use their imagination to build on the play. The toy might be a dinosaur but the child must know how to make a noise like a dinosaur or stomp like a dinosaur themselves. As the child’s imagination builds so does their play. They start to include real-life experiences and scenarios in to whatever they are playing with.
They develop KEY SKILLS such as hand eye co-ordination, problem solving, reasoning skills and fine motor skills. Wooden toys can be made in all shapes and sizes making them perfect to develop the skills children need to hold a pencil. Poor development in these key skills at an early age can cause issues in later life.
They are BEAUTIFUL. Their natural colour means they can be transformed in to any colour and anything a child dreams of. They can be monochrome to support babies development or bright and colouful to grab toddlers/childrens attention. They are timeless!
In the past few months I have treated Ellie to a few toys that I know she would get a lot out of. We became brand reps for a fantastic small business; Timber Tots who create and hand paint wooden animals. With so many different animals to choose from I found it so difficult choosing which Ellie would like most of all. I decided to show Ellie and let her decide…which she didn’t. She wanted the bear and the lion and the elephant and the giraffe and the dinosaur and the unicorn….and she continued until I took the phone away!
I decided that as she loves singing and nursery rhymes I would order her the 5 little ducks set and a green “Rex” dinosaur to start with. She has had so much fun singing, counting, matching the numbers and re-enacting Gigantosaurus. The possibilities have been endless, they have made me think more about encouraging her to learn through her play and let her explore things I wouldn’t have usually thought of. It’s far too easy to put the TV on and give myself 5 minutes to sit and enjoy the peace…that turns in to an hour because I just need to get these jobs done…and then before I know it she hasn’t played much at all.
I love how colourful and sturdy the timber tots toys are and I was impressed with how big they actually were. Although I am only a brand rep for three months I know I will be making regular purchases and building Ellie’s animal collection up as these are toys she will play with for years.
We’ve used our wooden toys in so many different ways and I am loving trying out things we’ve never done before too. We’ve used them when reading stories, playing outside, with small tuff trays and I have some amazing new ideas for our new order when it arrives.
We’ve even had fun singing nursery rhymes, Ellie loves singing and whenever she sees her 5 Little Ducks set she starts singing and playing with them.
Disclosure: I am a brand rep for Timber Tots but have not been asked to review or post about our items other than share pictures on Instagram. All views and opinions are my own. I have paid for all the toys we have (except the 5 little ducks which was a gift from the owner for joining their brand rep team!) HOWEVER I do have a fantastic 10% off code for anyone wanting to purchase their own. Just use RAINBOW10 at checkout…You’re welcome!!
Ever since I was a teen I’ve loved taking pictures, I was always hiding in my bedroom trying to find new ways to take “the best selfie” or posing in some way. Yet actually, I hate having my picture taken, I get awkward and self-conscious and always feel like a whale. I remember when Luke and I would go on holidays (always a coach trip abroad and they were AMAZING!) I would take roughly 2000 pictures to remember every single detail of that trip. Of cause, I don’t even look at them and the thousands of scenic pictures mean nothing to me as I don’t remember half the places we visited. Yet, I still take them.
I remember not wanting to take any photos of Jason the day he was born. It felt wrong and insensitive somehow. He was dead. I didn’t hold him alive and I didn’t want to fake how I was feeling for a picture either. I was told that the midwives would take some photo’s of him so there would be some if we ever wanted them. I didn’t want anyone to meet him but allowed close family in to say hello and goodbye; I denied those who would have loved him so much that chance but I knew I’d have put on a brave face and pretended this was exactly what we were expecting if they had come. I wanted to be true to myself, I wanted to cry and grieve for the little boy in my arms who didn’t even get to meet his Mum. Right before we said our final goodbyes to Jason I took one photograph on my phone. I placed him in the incubator/cot, wrapped his blue blanket around him (a hospital one as I couldn’t bear to see him with anything we had in our hospital bag…nothing would have fit any way) and took the only photograph I have in colour of my beautiful little boy. A decision I regret every day of my life. I wanted more. I need more and I can’t go back to take them. I’d give anything for one picture of the three of us. One moment where we could pretend our family was complete, regardless of whether we were happy or sad, just one photograph showing for a brief moment we were complete.
Since Ellie’s birth I have taken far too many lots of photos. I want as many pictures of her as I can possibly get because if ANYTHING was to happen to her at least I would have them to look back and remember that she is here. I know that sounds morbid but when you have lost a child you never fully believe any other children are here to stay either. I try to take as many family pictures as I can and i’m always asking Luke to take pictures of me and Ellie together. He doesn’t. He forgets. He’s not very good with photographs and the ones he does take seem forced because i’ve asked for them. I want those pictures where we are just being us, the pictures where we are playing…like I take of him and Ellie all the time.
What saddens me the most is that our family is complete. Not physically of course but complete all the same and I will never be able to have that family photo of the four of us together. However, I do have something pretty close and it means the world to me.
I have been Instagram friends with Nin for a while, our mutual loss of our children bringing two random strangers together and building a friendship. She has started her own small business creating beautiful family portraits so I messaged her to see if she could create something for me. We talked about what I wanted, we discussed whether I wanted Jason to be as he was born or as he should be now. I sent Nin pictures and she used what she knew about me and my little family to create something that is perfect. Every little detail was done with so much thought and care. Nin’s illustrations are stunning and she managed to get this drawn, coloured and sent all within the space of a few days! I was totally surprised when it arrived just 4 days after first talking through what I wanted.
If you are looking for something a little different, a bit more personal or even a way to make your family complete then please get in touch with her. These illustrations would make the PERFECT gift for any occasion and she isn’t afraid of a challenge either!
To see more of her work please head on over to her instagram page
Disclosure: this is NOT an ad, I paid for this illustration and just wanted to share how amazing it is!! All views and opinions are my own.
It’s that time of year again, end of the school year and the summer holidays are approaching. Thankfully!
I can’t believe that another school year has been and gone and we are only 4 months away from Ellie’s 3rd birthday! This year is flying by.
I am definitely ready for a break and to spend time making memories as a family. I try and do as much as possible with Ellie in the week, keeping her stimulated is tough some days so knowing Luke is off for 6 weeks too makes me so happy.
I’m excited to share our adventures and hopefully find time to get this blog back to where I want it ❤️
A girl met a boy and she loved him more than the stars in the sky, more than woolly cardigans or jelly tots, more than lyrics that describe her own feelings, old records, concert tickets, photographs and writing lists.
She loved everything he was, and everything he made her believe she could be. She loved him through all his faults, she even looked past his old car that didn’t have a working heater in the winter.
She still loves that boy who has become a man. She still feels the butterflies he gave her when his car would pull up on the driveway. She still wants to be the person HE believed she could be.
Her heart swells so full to desire and pride for him. Of the father he has become. The way their little girl feels the same butterflies she felt as his car pulls up on the driveway. A love so pure and unconditional A love deeper than the ocean A first love between a father and a daughter.
Sometimes a girl can feel neglected Everything she does automatically is taken for granted. Sometimes a girl feels so lonely evenings spent alone fighting the thoughts inside her head battling with her inner demons, holding on to the grief for her Son that bubbles away silently.
A girl met a boy and she loved him more than the stars in the sky and will do so until her last breath.
The human body amazes me. It goes through so much in our lives and yet a slight change and everything goes tits up.
I haven’t felt like writing for the past six weeks, if i’m honest I haven’t felt like doing much for the past six weeks. I changed my contraception and honestly it was one of the worst decisions of my life.
You know the saying “I’m it aint broke, don’t fix it” well this wasn’t broke and I tried to fix it and failed.
I’ve felt so depressed and unlike myself and tried so hard to not let it affect my day-to-day life or how I parent Ellie. I didn’t want the downwards spiral to take control and knew I needed to accept that my mental health was actually fine but my medication wasn’t. I knew if I was going to stay on my current medication then I wouldn’t be able to be me and I hated the thought of losing myself. It’s taken me a while to figure out who I am and what my purpose in life is and now I’ve found it I am not giving it up.
I’m hoping to get my writing mojo back and hoping to get some time to let it all out. I find it difficult to sleep when I’m not blogging because I don’t have an outlet to empty my thoughts. So get ready to be bored to death (if anyone has stuck around long enough for me to get my shit together…again!) by my thoughts and opinions.
On Monday afternoon Ellie and I took a huge bundle of books down to our local hospital and met with our lovely bereavement midwife Jan. It’s the first time I’ve been in that part of the hospital since Ellie was born so I’ve been feeling quite anxious about going. It’s been a few months since I’d spent all the money people had donated and I knew I needed to get the books down to the bereavement suite as soon as possible. I knew that it was something I needed to do but the thought of meeting back with Jan (who I haven’t actually seen since the first few weeks after Jason died) made my anxiety worse and I just couldn’t find the strength to make that appointment.
Jan is lovely and remembers so much about us and Jason and it felt good to talk to someone else about what life after loss feels like.
The hardest part was walking in to “Quiet Room 7”. This is where we had our post mortem results, I sat in the same seat I had sat in 4 years ago talking about my perfect little man who was actually really very poorly. It broke my heart all over again walking in there with Ellie but I did it. I did it because Jason’s life deserves to be celebrated and he deserves to be remembered.
Once again thank you to EVERYONE who donated towards this, these books are going to support so many others suffering a bereavement ❤️