Posted in parenting

Water Baby

I remember taking Ellie swimming while on maternity leave and I clearly remember being in the water 5 minutes and having to get out because she HATED it! The moment her feet touched the water she would scream and cling to me, it didn’t matter how much fun I made it look or what I did to make sure she was warm enough, she really didn’t like it. I stopped taking her at around 6 months as the screams were becoming deafening and I didn’t think it was fair on others using the pool. I vowed to take her again soon however soon turned in to about a year and a half later…oops!!

A bit of a back story, I am petrified of water, I have a huge fear of being splashed and being put under water. I used to hate swimming at school and would use any and every excuse to get out of it.(My periods were every week at one point!) One lesson we were practising to dive in to the deep end and I tried to explain to my PE teacher that I really couldn’t do it…so she pushed me in! You wouldn’t get away with doing something like that now, I wasn’t confident in the water and I’ve never been able to tread water so I panicked and had to get out. I never did another swimming lesson with her again. I have always been worried that my own fear of the water was affecting Ellie and she could sense I wasn’t confident either which is why she wasn’t keen. Yet I have had awful mum guilt since we stopped going (we did only go a handful of times during my maternity leave) because I know the benefits of teaching a baby to swim early.

Swimming with a baby can:
*Help to build muscles, strengthening all of a babies muscles effectively therefore making them stronger.
*Help improve coordination and balance.
*Builds confidence around water early.
*Strengthens a babies heart, lungs and can help to develop the brain.

It can also improve their appetite and the extra exercise will help their sleeping pattern too… more exercise means they are tireder than usual.

Ellie asked to go swimming during the Easter half term holidays, it came completely out of the blue and was the only thing she asked to do throughout the holidays. We are so lucky to have 4 public swimming pools in our town that all have parent and toddler sessions however most of them are during the week. One parent and toddler session is held on a Sunday morning which is perfect for us as it means I can take Ellie but have the back up of Luke too. It’s the family time I crave so much on a weekend, it gets us all out of the house for an hour and we have found Ellie actually LOVES it.

She took to the water so easily this time round, the pool we have used is warmer than the one I used to take her to which has definitely helped but for such a long time now she has pretended to swim in the bath, she doesn’t scream when we have to wash her hair and that has DEFINITELY helped too!

We have been swimming around 4 times now (we skipped one due to an epic meltdown one Saturday) but the look on her face when she jumps in to the water gives me all the feels inside. She is totally confident in the water, which eases my anxiety over giving her my fears slightly, she swims using armbands and only clings a little bit when she’s getting tired. She loves to jump in and see the fear in my face when she does and she loves splashing us both with the floats.

I no longer worry that not taking her swimming as a baby is going to have an adverse effect on her confidence growing up.

To quote Dory: “Just Keep Swimming.”

Posted in Aching Arms, baby loss, baby loss awareness, grief, Jason, life after loss, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, Neonatal Loss, parenting after loss, stillbirth

Primary School Offer Day

In an ideal world I’d have been one of those nervous parents waiting to find out what school my boy had gotten in to. In an ideal world he’d have been accepted to the primary school where I work! In an ideal world I’d already have his uniform, or parts of it in preparation and be excitedly making him try it on for pictures. In an ideal world we probably would have had to put Jason in to the special needs school because that is where he’d have the support he needed. In a less ideal world we’d have to settle or appeal the decision.

I would give so much to be able to take that less ideal world. To be one of those excired/nervous parents dying to know.

Things like this shouldn’t cause me grief, I probably wouldn’t even acknowledge it if I didn’t work in a school however when September comes and I see all those parents and little reception newbies on their first day I know it should be me there too. I will see their anxiousness and wonder whether I’d have felt the same or whether we would both be ready for him to start school. I feel like Ellie is ready to start nursery so I know she will be fine but I will never know what Jason would have been like.

My life with him seems further and further away with every milestone that we don’t hit together. I’ve missed his first words, first steps, first hug, first smile and now ill be missing his first day at school too.

Of cause I miss him constantly and the ache I have to have both of my children here is never ending but sometimes days are harder to deal with than others and there are some days where you just can’t help but think how fucking cruel the world is.

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
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Facebook
Instagram

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

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 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 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 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!
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#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 life after loss, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, parenting after loss

The Step.

Ellie’s behaviour has been a true description of the terrible twos lately; she is quickly becoming more independent and as a result of this she is definitely testing the boundaries (and our patience!) on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  

Both myself and hubby work with children/young adults with extra needs and deal with the same sorts of toddler-like behaviour at work, so it feels like such a challenge to stay calm and composed at home when we’ve had to do it all day at work. I would say my patience is much shorter at home than at work and I wish it wasn’t. It isn’t Ellie’s fault at all and I know she is just learning how to deal with her emotions and her new found desire to be independent and her behaviour is quite normal.

But how do you try to nip it in the bud before it gets too difficult?

I’ve never been good at the cry-it-out method, I can’t sit and listen to her cry no matter how many people tell me “it’s worth it in the long run”. If she is crying I know there is a reason for it and I won’t let her grow up thinking I’m not there for her when she needs me. 

We started counting to three when she does something she shouldn’t do and then when she carried on we would carry her up to her bedroom and close the stair gate, sometimes I would leave her and come downstairs for two minutes and sometimes I would sit in her room while she screamed it out of her. However I don’t think this is really the best way to teach her that her behaviour isn’t good and I don’t want it to have a counter effect and she learns that her bedroom is a punishment, she barely sleeps in there as it is so I want her room to be her calm space, HERS, where we read stories, play and hopefully one day sleep through the night in her own bed. 

This is where “the step” comes in to play. I HATE the phrase “naughty step” as I feel the word naughty describes the child and not the behaviour, Ellie is not naughty, she is exploring the boundaries and seeing how far she can go, she is learning and I don’t want her to believe she is a naughty child. I know that this is thinking too deeply and a 2 year old isn’t going to be thinking this but I am always thinking of her future too. I’ve started calling it “the step” and putting her on it whenever counting to three doesn’t work. We seem to be using it more at tea times as Ellie doesn’t sit at a table or high chair and can be a little madam. I have found having the step keeps me calm, I put her on the bottom step, explain to her why she is there (she doesn’t really understand but I tell her anyway) and tell her to come back in when she is ready. Usually she waits for me to sit down and strides in with a big smile on her face (rolls eyes!!) and we end up repeating the process at least three times before she says sorry and we move on.  

I know there are lots of pros and cons to using a time out like the step or a corner and I realise there are more cons than pros but for now it seems to be helping defuse the situation before it becomes a full on tantrum. I must say Ellie has had less tantrums in the past few days than she’s had in months.

Has the “naughty” step ever worked or not worked for you? Do you have another way of dealing with this type of behaviour in toddlers? I’d love to hear what you guys think too.