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 days out, motherhood, Mum Blogger, mummy blog, product review

Nuby Trendz

Ever since Ellie was first born I have loved Nuby Products. In the hospital we used the First Infant Milk Starter Kit which used Nuby teats. Since that day Ellie refused any other branded bottle and on her second day at home we had to go to Boots and buy a set of Nuby bottles for her to drink her formula out of. Ever since then our Nuby purchases have grown; from bottles to bath toys to cups and cutlery. Anything we needed, Nuby has provided!

So you can just imagine the happy dance I did when Nuby asked me* (*Okay…Ellie) to review their Trendz range. Trendz has everything a child will need heading to preschool, nursery or school in September and the bold, exciting designs will definitely make them stand out with their friends (and be easy to describe IF they end up misplacing them in the dinner hall.)

The first product I want to talk about is the Trendz #Grande Water Bottle. This bottle is a perfect size, 540ml, for days out and dare I say it… for going Back to School (sorry Teachers and TAs!!) I really loved the pop-open spout which is also no spill, Ellie has loved feeling independent enough to open the bottle and close the spout herself and it is suitable from 18months+. We’ve made good use of her new bottle over the past two weeks and I can honestly say it is super durable, odour resistant and it doesn’t stain! There are literally no marks left from the juice unlike other children’s bottles we’ve used in the past. It also comes with unicorns and rainbows on it any anyone who knows me knows how much I love a rainbow design!

We were also really lucky to be sent Nuby’s Trendz Double Lunch Bag. Ellie loves the design as it is covered with sweet treats and it is the perfect size to take on our Summer Holiday picnics.
The lunch bag is insulated keeping the food/drink inside cool for up to 5 hours!! Again, thinking of those children who will be starting nursery/school in September, thats perfectly long enough to keep their sandwiches fresh until lunch time. I was able to fit 4 bread rolls, 3 bags of crisps and a couple of Ellie’s favourite snacks in the two separate zipped compartments which meant we only needed to take the one lunch bag out on our adventures.

Finally the Trendz Mini BackPack with Reins (in the same super sweet Treat design). Ever since the mini backpack arrived Ellie has wanted to take it EVERYWHERE. Any time we need to go out in the car she has filled it with her favourite toys and put it on her back ready to go. She calls it her adventure bag.
She really is so cute!
This mini backpack is perfect for Ellie’s age as it comes with easy to attach reins which means any toddler can have free roam without the worry of them running off. We haven’t used the reins as Ellie doesn’t leave our side when we are out however I love that they are an option if we needed them!
What I really loved about the mini backpack was the reflective strips on the straps which I hadn’t actually noticed until I’d taken a picture of her with the flash on! Its such a simple thing but makes me feel so much safer knowing that if we ventured out in the dark that I could see her and so could any vehicles that may be driving past us.
Ellie has walked around quite happily with her bag on her back; it is light-weight, soft and has padded straps so she doesn’t really notice it’s there. I tested out the pockets by putting her #Grande Water Bottle which fit perfectly in the side and didn’t stop Ellie from wanting to wear her backpack.

I am definitely not ready for this one to start Nursery yet (she doesn’t actually start until January…phew) but she is and she can’t wait to take her backpack and lunch box with her!

Nuby currently has a “Back To School” promotion running on their website and you can get a Bargain Bundle for as little as £20! These items come in the treats design you can see in our pictures or a super cool robot design. Like this one:

If you don’t want to order from their website (currently offering FREE DELIVERY with a spend of £15 or more) then the Trendz range will be available from Morrisons from September 2019 too.

Disclosure: The Trendz Mini Backpack, Lunch Box and Grande Water Bottle were gifted to us by Nuby UK during a Giveaway which I ran over on my Instagram page. We were under no obligation to write a review. All views and opinions are my own. This is not a paid ad.

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.
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 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.