Posted in baby loss, baby loss awareness, Ellie, life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, parenting, parenting after loss

Sleepover

Ellie went for her first ever sleepover last night. She has been asking to stay at both her grandparents houses for a little while and I knew we needed to let her. She packed everything she needed; pyjamas, clothes,hair brush, toothbrush, DVD player, night light, 2 teddies and she was ready. She also wanted to take her curtains (i don’t know why) but with a little persuasion she realised she didn’t need them.

You see, my anxiety over her not being here has always stopped us from letting her stay over anywhere for the night. I know she is safe with both our parents, that’s not the issue, I just knew I would find it hard. I’m sure most, if not all parents, find it difficult leaving their children for the night for the first time but for me it felt like a repeat of history and I’m still not sure I’ll ever be prepared for her to not be here.

Whenever I think of waking up and Ellie not being here it takes me back to the first night after having Jason. Neither of us could sleep, of cause, so we sat on the sofa and watched awful comedy shows. We stayed up until the station turned off and even then sleep was hit and miss. I couldn’t go upstairs, knowing my son should be lying in his Moses Basket or his cot sleeping away. I was very aware that I should have still been pregnant but I wasn’t and the reality hit like a tonne of bricks that I was at home while my baby lay on his own in the hospital. That feeling is awful, unless you’ve been there you’ll never be able to fully grasp what it feels like being at home and knowing your life should have been so different.

Of cause, being a parent after you’ve lost your child is really tough, I’ve never really been an anxious person but where Ellie is concerned I worry about losing her more than is really healthy. I’m so unbelievably grateful that we were given a second chance at being “normal” parents but with each day that Ellie grows and becomes more independent the more I wonder what Jason would have been like now and the reality is I will never know. Due to Jason’s health complications I will never know what it would have been like to parent a 5 year old right now.

Anyway, Ellie absolutely loved her sleepover and has already decided she is staying at my inlaws next week. Mummy really struggled but fought back the tears and the urge to sit in her bedroom and cry those really ugly tears I get when I think about death and what my children would have been like together now. We slept, I woke up and it didn’t feel the same as when Jason died, I didn’t get that gut-wrenching feeling that she was gone, I knew she was safe. I may have cried a little once I’d picked her up and she was back in my little bubble but that’s allowed right?

Life is unfair and our lives should be different however I made a promise to my daughter that she would never be second best or miss out on anything because her big brother isn’t here and a sleepover (as little as it seems) is something she shouldn’t miss out on no matter how difficult it is for me.

I feel proud. Proud of myself for not letting my fears take over and proud of Ellie for being so grown up, spending a night away from us and not being bothered at all.

What age did your little one have their first sleepover? If they haven’t yet, i’d love to know why you haven’t done it yet (if you feel like sharing of cause).

Posted in parenting

No more nappies

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.

Posted in baby clothing, baby fashion, clothing, fashion, Gifted, lavender sun, motherhood, parenting, product review, toddler fashion

Top 5…(GIFTED)

Things I look for when buying toddler clothes.

There are certain things I look for when choosing clothes for Ellie, especially now she is getting bigger and the clothes need to last much longer and here is my top 5 things I look out for when I need to buy her new clothes:

1. Durable – Does it wash well? Do any stains remove easily? This is a huge one for me as Ellie is a messy child; she spills her tea most nights and always wants to drink the milk from her cereal bowl in a morning. I am always looking for clothes that wash well, retain their shape and dont shrink when tumble dried 🙈 Now Ellie is in 2-3 clothes I want them to last her as long as possible.

2. Appropriateness – This one for me only seems to be an issue with girls clothes. I find girls clothes (even at age 2) are far too “grown up” for their age. Crop tops, thin material, see-through, spaghetti straps, I could go on. Boys clothes are so much more appropriate for their age, I went through a time when Ellie was a baby where I would only buy boys clothes because they weren’t so stupid looking but now Ellie is older it’s silly but I want her to look like a girl, pretty in pink with a frilly tutu. Clothes I would have hated being put in and I’m sure one day she will hate me for too!

3. Quality – I have already touched on this but the quality of girls clothes in particular is usually quite shocking. The generally use a thinner material which can sometimes look see-through and therefore end up not lasting very long at all. I always look for the quality of the clothes which is why I usually opt to buying Ellie’s clothes in person rather than online.

4. Price – This isn’t a reflection on the product itself but I do find the price of clothing has a huge impact on whether I buy it or not. I am a teaching assistant and so is my husband so our income isn’t much, especially as I currently only work part time. I believe that Ellie is still young and has no concept of how much clothes can cost or that she would need to look after them so I try to spend as little as possible.

5. Usability from Ellie’s perspective – Can she remove it herself? Ellie is just beginning to remove her own clothes confidently and occasionally put them on, I am now more conscious of whether she is able to do these herself. If it has buttons I know she’s not going to be able to do these herself and I want to build her confidence while she is learning.

I was approached by Lavender SUN Co who I have worked with previously (see old review here) to review their toddler range. I was so impressed with the baby items I received that I knew I wanted to collaborate again. This time I opted to review an outfit, which I loved from the second I saw it. I found a lot of the choices for toddlers didn’t fit in to my liking (mainly because they were quite girly and I am not) but the outfit I chose suited us perfectly.

Click to visit shop!

This fairytale 2 piece outfit is absolutely gorgeous!! The skirt is such a great quality and as it is elasticated I know it will fit Ellie for quite some time. I ordered this outfit in age 3-4 and there is plenty of growing room in the grey skirt yet it fits nicely now too (just a tad long as Ellie is quite short for her age).

#OOTD

The top is fairly thin but as I wanted this for the summer I know it won’t be too warm for her. It fits well and the pattern is so cute. Ellie loves finding the butterflies and counting the flowers she can see. I must admit, the top already fits fairly well and I am unsure of how long she will fit in it but again it is true to size and Ellie is just a short, dumpy girl like her Mama is so tops are already getting slightly small in age 2-3years.

I love that she is able to put the skirt on and remove it herself effortlessly and that the top has no buttons and as her confidence in dressing herself grows she will be able to put it on herself in no time at all. There are no buttons or fastenings to deal with which is great!

In regards to it being durable, the first time Ellie wore her new outfit we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at my grandparents house and she managed to get spaghetti bolognese sauce, chocolate and grass stains on the WHITE top and I was sure there would be stains. I removed the top as soon as I could and used some Oxy Action stain remover spray from Tesco and a quick 15 minute wash on its own and it has come amazingly clean, no stains or slight discolouring, it still looks brand new.

I couldn’t fault the customer service of Lavender Sun Co and the website was so easy to use, changing from. British Pounds to US Dollars was quick and meant I didnt need to figure out the difference in price myself.

If you want to have a look at the fantastic outfits available then head on over to Lavender Sun Co or to their instagram page.

Disclosure: I was gifted The Golden Key in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own. #gifted #AD

Posted in Gifted, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, product review

The Golden Key (gifted)

It is no secret that I LOVE books, specifically children’s books. I haven’t sat down and read an adult book in years, which bothers me terribly at times but I just find reading with Ellie brings me more joy than if I was reading on my own.

Her love of stories is far bigger than mine, she is always asking to read, sits and demands 10 books at bedtime some nights and usually finds some to read during the day too. I love that she loves to read, I never say no because I work with plenty of children who don’t enjoy reading and choose not to. I don’t want that for Ellie. I want her to develop a storytellers imagination, to divulge herself in to a story that she just can’t put down. I want her to enjoy reading as much as I used to (Jacqueline Wilson being one of my favourite authors growing up!) and I can’t wait to share all the classics with her as she grows.

I literally jumped for joy when I received an email from Bang On Books asking if I would consider collaborating with them and reviewing one of their personalised books. It has been a dream of mine to develop my blog and social media enough to be able to share items that I love and this is DEFINITELY a book we both love!

The process of making the personalised book was so easy. Bang On Books has a bright, colourful and user-friendly website that guides you through the process of creating your own personalised book. You can add a photo, choose what the character looks like and write a personalised message for the inside.

3 simple steps to creating the a book your little one will love!

I chose The Golden Key as Ellie loves sea creatures and adventurous stories, I could have chosen Unicorn Oo which seemed a bit more girly however I was drawn to The Golden Key because the picture on the website showed a girl character rather than a boy (very well done!!) and I quickly remembered it didn’t matter which seemed more girly but what mattered is which Ellie would enjoy more.

I was surprised at how quickly the book was processed and posted out, it seemed to take only a few days from ordering (late night shopping is THE best!) to it being delivered and I got a little giddy when I realised what was waiting for us on the doorstep.

The Golden Key (written and illustrated by Hannah Walton) is beautifully illustrated and colourful. Each page gives you something to look out for (Ellie’s favourite is finding the “naughty ocapus” hiding. She asks to read “Ellie’s book” at least once a day since it arrived. She loves seeing her own face turn in to the character of Ellie and I love that we have a book that captures her at 2 years old and we have already made memories of her imagining herself on a swashbuckling adventure with Sailor and his crew!

The Golden Key is a lovely story based on a protagonist character being kind and brave enough to help Sailor find his lost golden key. It has pesky pirates, adventures on a turtle and a GIANT octopus who in Ellie’s view is very naughty. I find that Ellie’s attention span is small (she is only 2 and a bit) and long stories can be a bit tedious to read at times and at 44 pages long I assumed this would be the case for The Golden Key but the story and the fact that she is the main character keeps her attention right to the very last page, she loves it!

You can follow them on social media and order via the website linked below.
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Disclosure: I was gifted The Golden Key in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.

Posted in Aching Arms, baby loss, grief, Jason, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, pregnancy and infant loss, Pregnancy Loss

27th March

I can’t help but wonder whether that day was when everything started going wrong.

Illness had struck, I worked in a nursery at the time and the sickness bug had hit the kids. The day I was due to finish for my maternity I ended up having off as I was being sick and I felt so bad for not working my last day.

I hadn’t thought much of being sick, other than being grateful I didn’t suffer from morning sickness as I just wouldn’t have coped. I’m not a good sick person at all. I spent the day on the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket feeling baby kicks (or so I thought… More like flutters with him being so tiny!) and generally feeling dreadful. I had a constant smell of cigarette smoke around me which was odd as I have never smoked and no one was near the house. To this day I wonder whether someone was trying to tell me something was wrong. That in just 2 days my baby would be gone.

I have since learnt that being sick can be a sign of labour starting and I wonder whether I had signs but was too naive to recognise them. I had just turned 35 weeks pregnant and was innocent in thinking I had 5 weeks to go before we’d meet him. I was unaware that babies were born so early and it’s not something midwives tell you is a possibility either. I feel that the information you are given is just what they think you want to hear not what you should actually know.

The next day I felt perfectly fine, I’d cancelled plans with friends because I had been ill but actually thought about uncancelling due to how much better I felt. I’d taken a picture of my growing bump in a summery dress, we took a stroll to Tesco for pizza as it was what “baby wanted” and while walking around I had started to feel some pains in my tummy that felt a bit like constipation pains… Of cause I know now that they weren’t at all and I should have taken them more seriously and got checked out. Maybe if I had have been checked we’d have been able to save him, we’d have had a chance of saving him.

I think every grieving parent goes through life finding ways to blame themselves for the loss of their baby/child. Those “what ifs” haunt me 4 years later and they always will. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel like I should have known something was wrong and done something.

Posted in baby loss, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, rainbow baby

Weekends

This weekend has been a tough one. The one before Jason’s birthday. The one where we were meant to make some family memories. The one where Ellie had the most epic tantrum of all time. The one where Mummy cried far more than I would like to admit.

The one where it all went tits up basically.

I have found that making plans spontaneously means those plans can get broken very quickly. We decided to “celebrate” Jason’s birthday early this year as we aren’t sure how I am going to feel with Mother’s Day following his birthday this weekend and wanted to take Ellie to the Zoo. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Zoo as by 8:30 Ellie had multiple trips to “the step” and I was defeated.

The day didn’t seem to get any better and it just felt wrong. I so badly needed to spend time together as a family that I think it made it harder to deal with Ellie’s tantrums. It’s hard being a parent after baby loss. It’s hard being a parent.

Posted in clothing, fashion, Gifted, parenting, product review

Fierce Femme – Surviving Society Review (GIFTED)

I was recently approached by Katie at Surviving Society to review her twinning range, specifically the Fierce Femme t-shirt. Originally Katie wanted someone to review both the adult and the mini tees but currently didn’t have any of Ellie’s size available however I was still gifted the adult tee to review and loved it so much that I have ordered (and paid!) for the Fierce Mini tee in the next size up for Ellie too!

Katie is passionate about supporting and empowering women, which is where she came up with the Fierce Femme slogan. She ensures that all her products are manufactured with a low carbon footprint and is keen to raise awareness on how the fashion industry can lower carbon footprint.

Katie uses her brand to also raise awareness of Sepsis and Mental health and supports the UK SEPSIS Trust and MIND and maternal mental health nonprofit organisations.

Details from the website:

The Fierce Femme tee is 100% organic combed cotton white jersey t-shirt with red slogan. Printed locally in the UK using eco-friendly water based ink approved by the Soil Association. Fair Wear and GOTS certified, and manufactured with a carbon neutral footprint. PETA-Approved vegan-friendly.

Now the actual review:

The tee arrived very quickly and well packaged, wrapped up in tissue paper to keep it clean. Once opened I was so pleased with the quality, it is true to size and I’m glad I ordered the XL as I love how it fits. I always worry about ordering tees as they can be tight fitting and uncomfortable however this tee isn’t at all.

Of cause white and being a mummy doesn’t go too well together and it wasn’t long before Ellie had got chocolate and tomato sauce over my beautiful, white top! I felt gutted! I quickly got it in the wash, followed the instructions and used some stain remover and thankfully all Ellie’s little marks have come out and the tee has washed great! Its kept its shape, its colour and the design doesn’t seem to have faded like other tees have in the past.

The Fierce Femme tee is currently priced at £22 but its price is definitely worth it! At the time of writing the Fierce Mini tee that I have purchased and am eagerly awaiting its arrival is in the sale at only £5.

Surviving Society:

Website

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Disclosure: I was given the Fierce Femme t-shirt by Surviving Society in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.
Posted in baby loss, grief, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting, parenting after loss, pregnancy and infant loss, stillbirth, telford

Goodbye February

Goodbye February, this month has been a mixed month. I started off feeling very low and depressed and finished the month off feeling grateful and full of love. As a family we have made so many memories and spent a whole week together having lots of fun.

With the end of February comes March, a month I literally dread. We have lukes birthday on the 4th which I love as I’ve always loved being able to spoil him and show him how much I love him. We’ve always celebrated his birthday with a meal out with his family and we are going to a local favourite place of ours (I may post about it after) on Sunday for Sunday lunch which I am looking forward to.

The rest of the month is a countdown. Reliving the days and weeks before Jason’s death, trying to come up with a reason it happened or something we have all missed. Blaming myself because I was naive to think I deserved to have my baby and that babies were safe! I actually hate the person I was because I was ignorant to the fact that this has happened for thousands of years and it still happens today.

4 years ago I was blissfully unaware that in just 29 days my whole world would collapse. I was hoping my unborn baby would arrive early, impatient to meet him1her and moaning about my pregnancy aches and pains. 4 years ago I wasnt at all scared about being pregnant or that something bad would happen.

In 29 days my son SHOULD be 4. I SHOULD be planning his 4th birthday party and inviting all of his friends from nursery. I SHOULD be spending my money on a few more presents because he deserves it and buying the best birthday cake because if he was like his Mummy and Little Sister he’d have loved cake. I SHOULD be deciding on the theme of his party and writing lists of the food I would need to buy.

Those things were stolen from me. Taken. Gone.

All the things I dreamed of doing as a parent, as a first time mummy, were taken from me the day we were told Jason only lived 37 minutes.

His whole life was spent looking at doctors, nurses, paramedics trying to save him. He never got to be with his parents, the people who love him. I never got to hold him alive.

With March comes a whole lot of memories of that day, one’s I try to suppress partly because it hurts so God damn much and partly because after 4 years you are expected to just get on with it. Jason’s birthday I will have to get up, go to work, pretend that 4 years ago I didn’t have to say goodbye to my son and I’d never see him again. Pretend that everything is okay even when it isn’t.

March is the month that gave me my son and I will Always be grateful for the short time I had with him but it is also the month that took my son away and I can’t wait for it to be over.

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!