Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, mental health, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, Positive Wellbeing

Positive Failure

A while back I shared the struggle I was having with myself. My mental health was taking a right beating and I was finding it hard getting it back to a healthy balance.

It took a while and a complete breakdown for me to realise that I wasn’t failing. I have spent days, weeks, months feeling like I am a failure. Failing at being a mum, a wife and a friend. Basically failing at being a human being. But the truth is I wasn’t failing at all, I was having a hard time and that is okay. Positive failure.

Admitting things arent perfect is okay. It doesn’t mean you aren’t the best person you can be at that particular time.

Since my “breakdown” I’ve felt better. Something in me may have snapped but I’ve found I can make it even stronger. Positive failure.

I’ve made an effort to be calmer, I’ve made an effort to do more things with friends, simple things like talking more but it’s a start and I celebrated my birthday with the most amazing people I could wish for and it reminded me of how lucky I am to have people who care enough to tell me Im not myself.

That was a hard one to hear, I could sense it in myself but no one has ever said it so plainly as someone I have known pretty much my whole life. I’ve spent so long pretending I am okay, smiling as is I’m not broken inside and hoping others accept it that actually I’d forgotten how to show my true feelings when I needed help.

In the past few weeks I really have noticed a huge change in the way I feel. I feel happier, I’m not as stressed out over slight things. Ellie’s tantrums aren’t taking me to breaking point when actually they aren’t that bad and in return Ellie has been happier. We’ve had more good days than bad days and was able to enjoy our half term off as a family. We made memories that I hope I will never forget and my heart is full of complete love and happiness.

I know this feeling may not last as long as I would like, saying Goodbye to a lovely February means saying Hello to March. To a month that starts off so happy with Hubby’s birthday celebrations but once the 4th is over it turns in to a countdown until Jason’s birthday. The day we should be celebrating his 4th birthday and yet a day where I am reminded of everything I gained and lost within moments. The day he died and I had to say goodbye.

Please be mindful that if I seem distant and off, it is not intentional. I am just grieving for the life of my son who I can’t hug and who I miss so much every day. My heart breaks with every memory we make as a family because he will always be missing but I am also grateful we can make these memories with Ellie, she saved me in ways she will never know and I will always try to be better for her. She is the reason I breathe and for her I will try and make March as gentle as I can.

Posted in days out, ironbridge, ironbridge gorge, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, museum, parenting, telford, Toddler Development, Toddler Play

Blists Hill – Telford

Place yourself in the year 1900. Queen Victoria is on the throne and Shropshire was at the heart of the industrial revolution.

One of our trips this half term was to Blists Hill in Ironbridge (Telford, Shropshire) another one of the fantastic museums in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site. Blists Hill is an open air museum that recreates the sights and sounds of a typical Shropshire Victorian Town.

Walking through the doors to the town you instantly feel like you’ve gone back in time. No cars, no TV;s but a lot of fun awaiting! With 52 acres of land to explore there was so much to see and do throughout our visit. This recreation makes you feel like you are actually walking in a Victorian town; the shops, the houses, the bank where you can change your money to “old money” and the townspeople who truly make your visit feel authentic.

Each house had a different story, whether we were in an old doctors surgery or a typical families house with their shared, cramped bedrooms and bedpans under the bed! Whether it’s walking in to the chemist with their traditional remedies, or to the bakery where you can buy freshly made bread, rolls to either eat straight away or take home there really is something for everyone. If you aren’t interested in those there is a traditional sweet shop or the amazing chip shop selling authentic fish and chips cooked in beef dripping. (Spoiler…they are to die for!!)

Ellie loved having the freedom to run around and explore but didn’t stray too far away. All the townspeople were fantastic with her, not pushing her to interact but all with friendly faces and a world of knowledge of their “character” and the way they would have lived in the Victorian era.

Blists Hill is also home to a section of the Shropshire Canal, which going back 100 years or so would have transported boats up and down the 207ft incline to coalport and back. Wherever there is water, Ellie asks to see the ducks. She loves ducks and walked carefully down the canal side watching the ducks in the water. Along with pigs and Shire Horses (with demonstrations throughout the day and horse and cart rides!) there are many chickens…this was possibly the highlight of Ellie’s entire day!

As I have said in a previous post; we purchased the Annual Passport for all 10 museums which gives us unlimited entry for an entire year. We paid £53 for two Adult annual passports as under 5’s are free to all museums. Entry to Blists Hill alone for 2 adults would have been £20 just to go for the day. Although this isn’t expensive for a trip where we stayed nearly 3 hours and only left because E needed a nap and would have screamed the entire place down we live a 5/10 minute drive away from all of them we will make the most of the year-round entry especially in the Spring/Autumn months – a family of ginger-haired beauty’s don’t do well in too much sunshine so we tend to hide away in the Summer months.

Posted in days out, enginuity, ironbridge, ironbridge gorge, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, museum, parenting, parenting after loss, telford, Toddler Development, Toddler Play

Enginuity – Telford

We visited Enginuity, which is a science museum in Ironbridge, (Telford, Shropshire) during this half term and is one of ten museums in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site. We are incredibly lucky to have these museums on our doorstep and since Ellie is now a fully grown toddler we thought she might enjoy some of the aspects of these museums.

Enginuity

Ellie is a very curious toddler and loves learning, whether it be through videos or active learning she is always keen to be doing something. Enginuity is perfect for anyone who is curious about science, design and technology and provides a range of stimulating activities for children of all ages. I would say that for a small toddler Ellie found it tricky accessing all the different parts but was able to with a little bit of help.

Looking around there wasn’t a single child who didn’t look like they were having fun and enjoying themselves. I mean who wouldn’t love pulling a real 10-tonne locomotive with their own hands? Actually…there were quite a few adults who seemed to be having quite a lot of fun testing themselves too!

Ellie’s favourite part was the machine that made balls float in the air (can you tell i’m not very sciencey?) and with Daddy’s help she was able to make enough wind power to get the balls floating in the air.

During this half term, we were fortunate enough to take part in the Pop-Up Planetarium they have, which was absolutely out of this world! We managed to get tickets for the first showing of the day and it didn’t disappoint. We were asked to crawl inside a big black dome and sit on the floor and then the dome went very dark. I wasn’t sure how Ellie would cope but the two people delivering the talk were great and accepting of anyone who needed to leave before the show was over. The show was called “Our Earth, Our Sun, Our Solar System and Our Place In Space” and featured a hands-on demonstration. I learnt so much about the stars and how to spot constellations in the night sky and how people in other time periods would spot them. There was so much to take in. Of cause Ellie didn’t learn a thing…it was never about that but she is genuinely interested in the sky and the stars that she loved just looking at the stars surrounding the dome and I guess I felt a little bit closer to Jason by learning something too.

There was also a drop-in workshop where you could make a space-themed pop up card (or anything really!). We tried Ellie with scissors for the first time as they were on the table and she was VERY keen to grab them. She actually did quite well seeing as she’s never held scissors before and my hair is still in tact (she won’t be using them any time soon though.)

The drop-in workshops, planetarium and everything else going on was all included in the admission price which I thought was great. We decided to purchase the Annual Passport tickets which gives us unlimited access to all 10 museums for an entire year (not during evening or special events) as we had already planned to go again and wanted to take Ellie to Blists Hill too (blog post up if anyone wants a read.)

For anyone thinking of taking toddlers and young children, Enginuity has a soft play area too! The colourful space is a fair size and has lots of soft play blocks to build and climb over. Ellie loved building with the soft lego shaped bricks, I think her Dad’s passion for Lego has passed down to her. The soft play was clean and suitable for young children and perfect to get a 5 minute breather from all the stimulation Enginuity offers.

You can visit their website here to find out more or to buy tickets!

Posted in 2 years old, days out, mental health, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, Positive Wellbeing, telford

Half Term

This first half term of work has been a killer. A new teacher, new routines, it felt like starting a new job, it’s been 7 weeks since we started back after Christmas and it has felt long but things have settled and seeing as I started the year off feeling completely lost and in need of a change, I am back to enjoying my job and feeling worth-while again.

It’s so important for me to be able to have a good work/life balance because when it isn’t balanced my mental health takes a massive hit and I start to feel down in the dumps. I finally feel that my mind is taking a more positive approach to life and I’ve come out of my slump. I am enjoying life again, enjoying work again and not struggling as much to get out of bed in a morning. I’ve really been bothered about this, I am a morning person and if a morning person is struggling to get out of bed there is a problem.

I have been looking forward to this half term for weeks, not only because we have all needed a break and time off together for a while but also because the weather is slowly picking up and I am wanting to do more with Ellie. Nothing too extravagant; some walks, maybe a bit of shopping, trips to the park that sort of thing along with a meal out as I was treated to a Pizza Hut voucher for my birthday so will treat the man and the girl to some unhealthy food. We are planning an afternoon at the cinema for just Luke and I, Ellie wouldn’t sit long enough for a film and we really want to watch The Lego Movie 2 so while Ellie spends a day with my in-laws we will be enjoying that!

The only other thing I am really wanting to fit in this week is a trip to the farm, there are quite a few local farms we could go to so it’s really just based on money and the weather as to which one we decide to head off to. Ellie is fairly good at walking now and that means we don’t need to take the pushchair as long as one of us is willing to carry her a little bit (she’s very lazy!)

Since breaking up, I have already kept up with my want to take Ellie on more walks as the weather was absolutely beautiful and so I dragged her to one of our local National Trust places for a little walk, which turned in to quite a long walk and she did so well. We headed off to look for the deer but they were too far away unfortunately but Ellie wasn’t bothered, she loved having the space to run around and be outside.

Posted in motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting

Twenty-Eight.

Birthday’s come and go so quickly don’t they? I have never been a bit fan of celebrating my birthday, something about being in the spotlight I guess, it’s just not my thing. I’d happily celebrate anyone else’s in their’s was the same day and so i’ve never really got excited about it. Turning 28 doesn’t really mean anything either, I freaked out turning 21 it just seemed like a huge milestone where suddenly I was VERY grown up. For background info; I passed my driving test and moved in to our first home just weeks before my 21st birthday so yeah, suddenly my whole world had turned upside down and I was pretty much an adult. 25 didn’t really phase me much either and i’m 100% sure i’m not bothered about getting closer to 30 either.

Age really is just a number.

My birthday this year was quite ordinary, being a Wednesday and not half term meant I was working until 1pm and then taking Ellie to our weekly toddler class in the afternoon however I was quite happy to treat it as a normal day. I love our weekly classes and doing something we both enjoy on my birthday made it more special. Work was more eventful than I’d have liked (I will just leave you with the words cleaning and shit for you to work out the rest!!) and leaving slightly later than I’d have liked meant that I was in a huge rush to get to our Hartbeeps class on time…which I did…JUST!

I was incredibly spoilt by my lovely work colleagues and had so many beautiful flowers and daffodils (everyone knows they are my Jason flower) that I had to go to Tesco after Hartbeeps with Ellie to buy a new vase! Even that wasn’t the disaster it can be and we took a little detour to the farm (okay Pets At Home!) to see the rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and fish which Ellie loved. She isn’t too keen on animals close up but quite liked watching the rabbits hopping about.

Despite spending most of the previous night squashed on our very old 2 seater sofa downstairs with Ellie because her cough kept waking her up and it was Luke’s long shift at work and I decided he needed some sleep after already getting up with her earlier on which meant I had less than 4 hours sleep all night, woke up feeling VERY much my age and then some, it turned out to be a pretty nice way to spend my birthday.

And in true form, I fell asleep in bed before 8:30pm…I know how to party!

Posted in 2 years old, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, rainbow baby, Rainbow Mummy, telford

Fiesty Redhead

Wow the terrible twos are in full swing over here. I have always heard that redheads have fiery tempers but I’d never fully believed that hair colour could define temper yet I seem to have the fiestiest toddler ever!

Her temper is definitely worse more recently. She has learnt to scream, tighten her fists and shout as loud as she possibly can. I’m 100% sure our neighbours either hate us or thinks we are trying to kill her.

Anyone else’s toddler squeal like a banshee when she’s in a complete meltdown? Or is it just mine? She is so incredibly loud too so the banshee noise travels throughout the house. Earlier on today a meltdown happened over not being carried down the stairs, the squealing started and I had to walk away. I really struggle walking away, I don’t want Ellie to hate being on her own because we leave when she is having a tantrum but today we both needed 2 minutes to calm down and the noise from upstairs was deafening.

I know tantrums are all part of being a toddler; exhurting independence and learning about boundaries and I believe E needs to learn early on that this behaviour is not acceptable but I also know this is a healthy part of her growing up and I don’t want to squash her fiestiness too.

God parenting is a minefield!

Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, mental health, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss

Breakdown

Do you ever feel like the world is spinning so fast and you start to feel so dizzy and there’s no way of slowly it down?

As much as I am putting in to life and being present, my own mental health is taking a huge bashing. I am constantly worried about everyone else, about work, about everything that my head feels like it is going to explode. I am usually quite good at sensing when I need to try and rest, I can feel my body become exhausted and drained. I know that carrying around so much extra baggage isn’t good and for my own sake and my families sake I should take a step back, let someone else deal with it for a change but that’s not who I am. I have spent my entire life focusing on someone else and I am a parent and focusing on someone else is so much more important.

I am not proud of myself, I am not really sure how I feel or even who I am sometimes. Today I had a meltdown, a screaming, toddler-like tantrum over a pair of trousers. I could see the wrong; I wanted to stop, hug E and take a step back but I couldn’t. I could see the rage inside me and I hated myself. I would NEVER hurt her, I know that much, but in that moment I really scared myself. There were lots of tears, mostly from me and it wasn’t even 7:30am!

I don’t want to be that parent, the one of shouts at the smallest things. I don’t want E growing up to resent/hate me. I don’t want her to feel like I have failed as her mum but right now that is exactly how I feel. I am so scared of losing her, of something happening to her that the guilt is immense. I should be more easy-going, able to just be in the moment and remember the heartache we went through to have a living child but this is so difficult sometimes. I often wonder whether I get like this because of Jason’s death, could it be linked to grief, PTSD, losing a baby fucks things up, or am I really this bad of a mum? Would I be struggling this much if Jason had lived? His needs would have been much more demanding, I’d have needed far more patience and I wonder whether I’d have coped with him. I just don’t know. I hate thinking I’d be better for Jason because that makes it sound like Ellie isnt as important but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Everything I do is for her, I want her to grow up with the childhood I never had, to choose who she wants to be and to have the relationship with her to spend time together and have fun.

I have no idea what’s going on right now, hormones, grief, I’ve even questioned whether I have PTSD or postnatal depression, I am unsure of whether after 4 years of trying to be strong and hold it all together that Jason’s death is actually hitting me like a tonne of bricks and I am finally feeling like Luke does. I’m scared that if I talk to someone they are going to prescribe and that’s it. I don’t want to forget the pain or never feel it again because that’s the only way I know to be his mum and parent him. The grief and the sadness is a huge part of remembering him and as horrible as that is to endure that is parenting a baby who isn’t here.

I’m not sure whether I’m looking for clues or answers here just hope that in time I will reread this and see how far I have come.

Posted in 2 years old, Gifted, Instrument Play, Instruments, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Music, parenting, Play, product review, Sensory, Sensory Play, Toddler Development, Toddler Play

The Percussion Box – Review (Gifted)

Recently I have been so excited for the launch of a new small business on Instagram, The Little Sensory Box, a sensory box designed mainly for babies up to the age of 12 months. Or I was excited until I realised Ellie was quite a bit older than 12 months! I love supporting small businesses though, it is something I have wanted to do for some time and never had the confidence to even think about setting up. I am a firm believer in sensory play and that it gives babies (toddlers and those with additional needs!) a fantastic way to boost their own development which has meant I have been keen to support Dee and her new business.

Ellie (and Mummy!) was so excited when our box arrived!

Dee, the creator of The Little Sensory Box, contacted me as she was hoping to make these boxes as toddler-friendly as possible, offering parents of toddlers the option to still create the magic of sensory play at home and so sent us one of her Percussion Boxes to test out and review. 

Before I continue I must tell you this was a gifted collaboration
with the Little Sensory Box however this 
review is completely my own thoughts and opinions based on 
Ellie’s play/enjoyment.

The Percussion Box (which is specified as being suitable for up to 18 months however Ellie is 27 months old and loves it!) has a variety of items which dominantly develops hand-eye coordination, sense of rhythm and listening skills. For Ellie, this was definitely true, she loved dancing around and making her own music with the large Handbell and even recreated her favourite songs from our local Hartbeeps class with the Egg Shaker.

We experimented with different sounds, the handbell is much louder than the maracas which meant we could play around and encourage/teach Ellie the idea of loud and quiet using the instruments. Of cause she much preferred the louder sounds but focused so well on listening for the quietness of the maracas.

Baby Shark is much more exciting when you are dancing along with maracas!

Ellie is keen to make music and is always running around with her flute (which is loud, plastic, blue and REALLY annoying!) so I loved that these were beautifully decorated with bright colours and I can control the volume by encouraging quiet play which I can’t do with the flute. I also liked that each instrument was wooden and not plastic, they are robust so I know Ellie isn’t going to break them easily.



The Percussion Box is just £8.99 which in my opinion is a great price for the items we received and will continue to entertain Ellie for a long time.

You can purchase The Percussion Box from here
Or you could have a look at the other two boxes available to buy, although we haven’t tested out The Ultimate Box or The Look and Feel Sensory Box, I am sure both have items that would still be suitable for toddlers too

The Little Sensory Box is also on Instagramand Facebook

Posted in Gifted, Isabella And Us, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss, Positive Wellbeing, product review, Rainbow Mummy, Self Care, telford, zine for mums

Positive Wellbeing – Review (Gifted)

I was overjoyed when I received an email from the wonderful Emma asking me to review her new ‘zine in return for a free copy to read. Mainly because I have followed Isabella & Us since their early days and have loved the products Emma has worked so hard to create. This is a small business I am proud to have made purchases with, Emma is approachable and kind; in the past she has helped contribute to the raffle I did last year to celebrate Jason’s 3rd birthday (more on his 4th birthday plans soon!) by donating her fantastic Mummy cards.

I’m not good at self-care, I find it difficult to MAKE time for myself since Ellie was born; before I would use the playstation to escape and have some “me-time” but that isn’t really an option; I would rather be playing and creating memories than sitting and taking time for me yet I know just how important being able to switch off and take that time is.

Positive Wellbeing Zine For Mums ❤

I knew by reviewing the zine it would give me the perfect excuse to leave Luke in charge and have the time I never allow for myself but am so quick to give Luke and I was definitely NOT disappointed at all.

The Positive Wellbeing ‘Zine for Mums does exactly what Emma envisaged, it promotes positivity in a world that can be extremely hard for new mums, actually on all mums! We are constantly filled with guilt and doubt over whether we are doing the best. This magazine takes away the negativity and reminds you that you are not alone in your journey. Following Emma for such a long time I admire her ability to share not only her own motherhood journey but also raises awareness of maternal mental health through her #winningasamummy campaign which can be seen throughout her website and social media accounts.

Emma doesn’t just use the ‘zine to promote her own business, she supports other small independent businesses that offer support and services to parents or children. Issue 2 is full of positive self-care ideas, affirmations and the best illustrations from such artists like Sketchy Mama and Helene The Illustrator.


“Stop. Breathe and Remember how far you’ve come.”



It is compact (A5) and is the perfect size to fit in your handbag, changing bag, glove compartment, drawer…anywhere you might find yourself craving 5 minutes of self-care or even when the little ones evidently fall asleep in the car (don’t they always?) and you just want something to read. It uplifts your mood which as a parent will take a beating from time to time; you are not alone in these times!

Social media can be great but it can also makes us feel very alone in our dark times; life is not perfect but people only ever feel like they can share the perfect times; I always try to share the good, the bad and the truly magical moments of being a parent and there is always lots to tell. Emma too is very open and honest which I love and that shows throughout the zine. Her passion for being Isabella’s mummy shines throughout!

Compact and ideal for times where you just want 5 minutes to yourself.

I would encourage anyone to purchase this little bit of self-care or even gift one to a new mum so they don’t feel like they are in this motherhood journey alone.

You can purchase the zine here

or follow Isabella and Us on social media!
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

#WinningAsAMummy Self-Care on a Friday Night ❤

For anyone wanting to purchase from Isabella & Us then feel free to use my exclusive discount code for 15% off til the end of MAY!
Just quote AMY when checking out!

Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, stillbirth, telford

Gone Too Soon

Not a day goes by

That I don’t think of you

I’m always asking why

This crazy world had to lose

Such a ray of light we never know

Gone too soon

Whenever I use the laptop to do some blogging I always find myself listening to the same songs. Sad songs. Ones that make me think about grief and death and everything that has happened to my family.

It makes me sad, angry, confused but it makes me feel closer to Jason somehow, like by listening to sad songs it reminds me that it is okay to not feel okay. It’s okay that I’ve felt so low and confused but I’ve lashed out at those I love for no reason and I don’t know why.

You are my one and only

You can wrap your fingers round my thumb

And hold me tight.

And you’ll be alright.

Maybe you were needed up there

But we’re still unaware as why.

Lyrics are incredibly powerful, you can feel so much just by really listening to lyrics. Sometimes the happiest sounding songs are the ones filled with the most unhappy memories. For a long time after Jason died I couldn’t listen to music. I remembered spending hours and hours searching for the perfect songs to play at our wedding, each one linking in someway to our relationship, our love and I remembered the joy it gave me.

Like a shooting star
Flying across the room
So fast so far
You were gone too soon
You’re a part of me
And I’ll never be the same here without you
You were gone too soon

The next time I researched the perfect music was for my son’s funeral. Can you imagine how that feels? Finding the perfect music knowing you will never be able to listen to that song in the same way? Knowing that the next time you will have to listen to it is when you are standing looking at that tiny coffin that is holding the baby you longed for so much.

Music was no longer my safe place, it was there reminding me that I was going through the worst and it didn’t matter how happy the music sounded, each one made me miss him so much. Like I said, it took me a long time to find joy in listening to lyrics again but sometimes you need to wallow in your own grief, find those sad songs and sing them as loud (in your head in my case!) as you can and belt out those feelings. For me, this is as much a type of therapy as if I was actually having counselling; it’s a way for me to remember that my life turned upside down, I didn’t know how I was going to make it to the next day, I couldn’t imagine a life without Jason. I didn’t want to imagine a life without him. Sometimes I still wonder whether I’ll wake up one morning and he’d be here, sometimes my mind wanders to a life with him in and it hurts so much knowing i’ll never know what that life could have been like.

Lately I have been struggling balancing life, work and everything in between. I have no patience, I am cranky and frankly a bitch. I don’t really understand why Luke stays with me, I put him through so much and I’ll never forgive myself for making him go through all of this. To the outside world I have dealt with Jason’s death with strength but inside that’s so not true. I am not strong, I’m just good at showing people what they want to see. Society wants us to “get over it” “move on” and although I am open in talking about Jason, every time I have to explain his death my heart breaks once again.