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 Easter

Good Friday

It’s been so lovely having time off with Luke and Ellie, we all broke up for the Easter half term last monday and this week has been spent getting on top of the housework, it gets so run down when we are both at work and Ellie needs constant attention to function without tantrums. We have also managed a couple of trips out, walking around some of the beautiful places we are surrounded by. Honestly Shropshire is beautiful and has so many landscapes to see.

We have noticed that Ellie needs to get out of the house after a day or two at home otherwise we have a constant stream of meltdowns before 9am. I think we are definitely going to make use of our National Trust membership and our Ironbridge Passports this year!

We don’t usually celebrate Easter, we buy ourselves an egg because why not? We usually just spend it at home, resting and enjoying our time together as a family. We are so busy most days that we haven’t been able to visit our extended family as often as we would have liked so Luke decided we’d hold a little afternoon tea in our back garden and invite our parents and grandparents along. I must say that since Jason died, he’s not coped well with large groups of people, even family, and hasn’t been able to attend family get-togethers. He gets anxious and ends up so stressed out he has a breakdown. I am beyond proud of him and how he felt able to do this for us and the rest of the family.

We spent time enjoying all the hard work he has put in to the garden, the difference from when we first moved in is phenomenal. It’s such a calm space and we are so lucky that it gets quite a lot of sunshine and warmth too. Ellie is such an outdoorsy child too, she would stay out there all day if we let her, as long as we are out there too, she happily plays with her toys and runs around like a “shadow monster” chasing whoever she can around our apple tree. We all ate plenty of Easter treats; hot cross buns, scones with jam and butter, crisps, cakes and other nibbly bits. I was even tempted to have a cheeky glass of prosecco (which I didn’t but might do now everyone has gone :P). The weather has helped and everyone was happy to just sit and mingle. We are so lucky that our families all get on so well, there is never any tension as I know can be the case with some blended families. Our’s are all so good together we don’t have to worry when we all do get together.

Ellie has been so spoilt with her choice of Easter eggs this year too, I think she’s got 8 eggs altogether and couldn’t wait to devour the smarties chick and had unopened it as soon as her Uncle gave it to her. All this chocolate will probably last her until Christmas (unless Mummy has a bad day haha!) Especially as we still have Christmas chocolate in the cupboard. She deserves it though as she is everyone’s ray of sunshine.

Tomorrow, Ellie is spending a few hours with my parents and me and Luke are off to hopefully buy a new sofa!! We currently have a 2 seater that was given to us from my in-laws (and is over 15 years old and it’s starting to get uncomfortable) and an IKEA rocking chair we purchased for those pesky night feeds when Ellie was a newborn and honestly we never used. It’s less than ideal and really we need something that we can all use and will last.

I am hoping to get out and about for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday so fingers crossed my plans all work out 🙂

How are you spending your Easter weekend? Any trips out or just simple quality time at home? I’d love to know.

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.
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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 Gifted, motherhood, mothering a rainbow, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, parenting, Pregnancy, product review, Self Care

First Rhyme Mom Review (GIFTED)

I was recently approached by an author (Leanne) to review her debut book. Leanne has written what can only be described as a poetic view on the realities of being a mother. She has taken the good and the bad and written about it in a way that I could definitely relate to.

First Rhyme Mom shares the journey Leanne took during the first 6 months of her daughters life, from pregnancy to “the outside” and does so with humour and realism. It is obvious that each poem has come straight from the heart.

I was intrigued by Leanne’s offer to review her book as she is currently living not too far from me in the West Midlands and I love being able to support people especially those who are local. However I was unsure how I was going to feel reading it as my journey to motherhood has been a tough one to say the least.

Admitting I haven’t read a book that doesn’t include talking animals for a fair few years; I needed an excuse to read something and have a bit of time for self-care and I am so glad I did. I’ve always wondered whether I was alone with some of my thoughts and feelings, especially in those early days and months when Ellie was born. Unsure of whether I was suffering more because I was still grieving Jason or just not being a good Mum. Reading First Rhyme Mom has shown me that everything I felt was completely normal (and still is at 28 months!) being a parent is difficult, no doubt about it but being able to find the funny side is what gets you through.

I would HIGHLY recommend this for any mum but especially for those mums who feel like they haven’t quite found their mojo in this journey as Leanne has a way with words that will make it clear you are doing just fine ❤️

Overall First Rhyme Mom, made me laugh and cry (To My Mummy really hit me!) but also gave me a strong sense of knowing we are all doing the best we can and to these little darlings (😅) our best is more than enough ❤️

First Rhyme Mom can be purchased here

First Rhyme Mom

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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 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:

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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, 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.