Thursday, 29 November 2012

"It's Viral"

It's been one of THOSE weeks.

They seem to be happening on a regular basis at the moment.

Mini Cheddar has been ill.


I know I shouldn't moan as there are people who have children with long-term illness or special needs etc. but I need to vent a minor frustration.

Also, before I start, I would just like to point out that I have every respect for the NHS and it's staff. I think it's fantastic and, as a country we should celebrate it.

I also want to say that I totally respect working mums and how difficult it must be to cope with a sick child when you have to work etc. I really don't know how I would cope if I wasn't able to work from home when I choose.

But here goes...

MC was ill with a severe cough the other weekend. I kept her away from ballet class and off school for the Monday as she hadn't slept well the night before and, even though she wasn't running a fever, I knew a day off would do her good. She seemed to fight it off quickly and was back at school the next day and all that week. She went to ballet and a birthday party and everything was fine. At ballet class there was a little girl who was clearly very poorly. She looked so ill. She actually looked like she would pass out. She had a streaming cold and was coughing badly every 20 seconds. It was awful. She was coughing all over the other children and I cringed every time they were all holding hands.

2 days later MC suddenly started coughing severely. She was running a fever, looked dreadful and was off her food - not like her!


Her cough became so bad so quickly that Matt took her straight to the out of hours GP.

"It's viral", the doctor said after a quick check over "There's a lot of it about at the moment".

Those two words. IT'S VIRAL. Urgh!

A very pale MC in the doctors surgery
We knew that this is what we would be told as we've been here before. Knowing that there was nothing the doctor would do or prescribe for her we just did our best to 'cope' at home. Coping is difficult when you have a child that coughs every 10 seconds (and that is no exaggeration!). Coughing so badly she was screaming in agony and being sick.

She was off school and Matt was heading up to Durham overnight leaving me to cope with MC and TC. Thankfully TC is still (teething aside) the most chilled out and laziest baby ever *crosses EVERYTHING and touches wood a million times*.

A second night of no sleep followed but this time it was without a husband to split the nursing hours.

The next day MC didn't seem so bad as she managed to get a decent block of sleep early on in the morning while I was up giving TC his breakfast. She was still coughing badly but she showed glimmers of her normal happy self between the coughing fits.

That afternoon we tried to get a nap when TC went for his usual sleep. MC couldn't stop coughing. It got worse. She started being sick again and went downhill fast. Matt returned home mid-afternoon and I rang the GP to book an emergency appointment at our usual surgery.

The doctor had heard MC coughing from his room.

The problem with emergency appointments is you have to wait a long time and by the time we were seen she was burning up again.

He said "It sounds a bit like whooping cough and there's a lot of that around at the moment. An awful lot" and raised his eyebrows.

"But she was vaccinated against that as a baby" I replied.

He checked her records "Yup, you're right, she was".

Looking in her throat he said it looked swollen and nasty. Her tonsils were swollen too (although no white spots).

"She needs a dose of antibiotics" he said "I'll prescribe her Erythromycin which is what we would prescribe for whooping cough. She needs to take it every 6 hours".

23 hours after her first dose she started to come back to life.

I'm so glad because that night, just after that very first dose she was in a state. So much so that Matt started to say we should take her to A&E.

She's still coughing now but not anywhere near as often and she was able to sleep much better last night. Today she's been happily playing and her appetite has started to return too.

I know that dishing out antibiotics isn't healthy and people are building up resistances to them but sometimes they are needed. I seriously believe that sometimes doctors hold back unnecessarily because they don't want to be seen to be giving out drugs willy nilly. Having a severe cough when you are an adult is bad enough, nevermind when you're only 3 years old!

Also, to the little girl who was at ballet. I have a question for her parents. Why didn't you keep her at home? I get that she probably wanted to go to ballet. The other week MC was poorly. She still wanted to go to class but we kept her home. There were a few tears but it was for the best.

Only last week I was stood in the school yard waiting for the nursery door to open at 8.30am and the amount of children that were coughing constantly was terrible. There's so much of it about.

Due to someone not keeping their infectious child at home I've had to suffer having just 6 hours sleep in 60 and a daughter so poorly it's been heartbreaking at times. She's also been off school for the week missing out on her singing practice for her school nativity.

As Matt and I were poorly last Christmas I'm determined to have a happy and healthy one this year. If I could lock my children away for the next month to keep them germ free, I would but I fear this isn't the last time we'll be told "It's viral".

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Power Of Bloggers #Healing4Kerry

Every blogger has that moment.

The moment when they want to say something but the words just don't seem to come easily.

This isn't one of those posts.

Although this is a hard thing to blog about, the words flow easy because of the subject.


AKA Multiple Mummy.
Kerry has been a big part of my blogging life right from the start. She started blogging just a few weeks after I did so we instantly hit it off. We entered the world of blogging together and never looked back. Her blog became an huge success because of her being so lovely, genuine and down to earth. We would spend ages chatting on Twitter and striking up an online friendship. Six months later we finally got to meet at Cybermummy 2011.

It's always the same when you finally meet someone you've 'known' online. You wonder if they will be the same lovely person in the flesh as they are online. I've blogged before about how the online world has brought me some amazing friendships - it even brought me a gorgeous husband!

Well, Kerry is one of the many wonderful bloggers who totally live up to their online persona.

She's beautiful, funny, genuine, kind and lovely.

However, something happened this Summer that made me, once again, realise just how precious and fragile life is.

Kerry suffered a brain haemorrhage at the end of July.

The whole blogging community was in total shock.

Kerry was in a coma for some time and continues to have setbacks. Unable to speak or feed herself, Kerry's husband (Multiple Daddy) is doing an amazing job of raising their 3 gorgeous little ones - and managing to keep up Kerry's amazing blog.

Today, Liska (AKA NewMumOnline) has asked bloggers to hand their blogs over to Kerry and come together to pray, wish, meditate etc. to send positive thoughts. I'm not a religious person but Kerry is constantly in my thoughts and my heart aches for her and her beautiful family. I wish with all my heart that her rehab goes well and she does not suffer anymore setbacks. We are a month away from Christmas and the best present ever would be that Kerry makes dramatic progress along her healing pathway.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - bloggers are awesome. As a collective we have the power to make a difference. I've seen it countless times across blogs and twitter, we make make waves for positive change, we spread the word about things, we get our voices heard. Today we are using ours to shout out for #Healing4Kerry. We need to believe that we can make a difference.

So please, join with me and the rest of the blogging community as we join together to make that wish a reality for Kerry. Please spare some time on Twitter at 22.00GMT today using the hashtag #Healing4Kerry and send your wishes or prayers her way.

This post was written as part of the #Healing4Kerry Blog Hop

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Being A Big Sister

Being a Big Sister is a tough gig but someone has to do it

Being a Big Sister means you can make your Brother cry if you shout at him when he's tired

Being a Big Sister means you get your face felt. A lot. It makes you giggle. A lot.

Being a Big Sister means you have to think of new ways to stop your brother getting your small toys

Being a Big Sister means you get to hold your brother's hand

Being A Big Sister means you will always put a protective arm around your Brother

Being a Big Sister also means you help to get your brother 'dressed'

Being A Big Sister means you can read your brother a bedtime story

Being a Big Sister means your brother loves you just as much as you love him

NOTE: No babies were harmed during the making of this post.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Back To 'Work'

I say work but I don't really mean work.

Yes I 'work' whilst I'm there but it's a different work.

I don't get paid a thing for it.

And I absolutely LOVE it!

Regular readers will know that I used to volunteer for my local Save The Children shop one day a week but I had to stop when I gave birth to Tiny Ched in March.

Well, as of today, I'm back!*

I did plan to go back a few weeks earlier but the dreaded mastitis got me so I haven't been fit enough to go in. Today though, there was no stopping me! It was only for a couple of hours but I've also brought a lot of work home with me so I can help out more without going into the shop. I'll need to keep MC away from the pricing gun though or she'll be trying to get me to play shop!

I forgot just how much I had missed the place, my fellow volunteers and the customers.

I can't tell you how great it was to be back.

So, whilst everything is still fresh in my mind (I've mentioned before that a Save The Children charity post has been long overdue on my blog) I want to talk to you about how you can help Save The Children at the moment.

Firstly, if you haven't made a will then NOW is the time to do it. It's not something that 'old' people do and it's essential if you have children. I blogged about Will Aid last year (click to read my post) and it's something Matt and I took part in last November. Throughout November each year local participating solicitors across the U.K. waive their will writing fees and donate to charity. Save The Children is one of these charities. You need to visit the Will Aid website (, find a local solicitor and book an appointment before the end of this month! Go...hurry!

Photo by Leanne Spencer
Christmas is fast approaching and there is one very lovely lady, Leanne Spencer - owner of The Delphi Burling Blog, who crafts the most beautiful items. Every year she puts together gorgeous Christmas Boxes full of decorations such as Christmas bells, elves boots, stocking, hearts and doves. She fills them with completely natural fillings and scents them with beautiful festive oils. She has also been busy crating handmade cards and tea lights for the boxes too. The boxes are £10 each plus £2 postage and packing and ALL profits go to Save The Children. Please visit her blog for more information and how to order. They are gorgeous.

Save The Children are Lloyds Banking Group 'Charity of the Year' again and they have made a huge difference to the campaigning that we (I love how I can use 'we' again) do. They have raised over £2.5m to support the Families and Schools Together programme which helps children in some of the UK's most disadvantaged communities.  Next Friday 23rd November 2012, Lloyds Banking Group are teaming up with local Save The Children stores and over 500 of their colleagues will be working alongside Save The Children volunteers for the day to raise even more money. Our local shop is hosting a fun day with cakes, a raffle, 'name the teddy' etc. so please make sure you visit your local Save The Children shop next week to help raise money.

Getting a real Christmas tree this year? Wondering how you'll find time to go collect it or worrying how it's going to fit on or in the car? Fear not! Christmas Trees by Post have it all sorted for you and what's more they are kindly donating £5 from every real Christmas tree sold to Save The Children. All you have to do is use the code SC12 at the checkout online. Or you can visit them yourself and pick your tree (they are based in Bentham, Lancaster). Don't forgot to mention the code!

Finally, don't forget you can support Save The Children in many ways - quality clothing and bric-a-brac donations, of course.

You can also give donations of old or stained material, clothes, shoes, cushions etc. Just make sure they are bagged up and labelled so your local volunteers know they are to go straight to the 'rag man'. I have blogged about this before as we can make a lot of money through these donations that would otherwise go in the rubbish bin.

You can also, obviously, give cash donations. Make sure, if your local Save The Children shop offer it (and you're a UK tax payer) that you sign up to 'Gift Aid' as Save The Children can claim back 25% on all donations - that's not just cash but through donations they sell on!

Then, if you or anyone you know, has a few hours spare then why not help out in your local Save The Children shop?

I guarantee you will love it!

* Special mention to my amazing parents who looked after TC for me and collected MC from nursery school too. Without them Save The Children wouldn't have me as a volunteer!

Monday, 12 November 2012

The LeapFrog LeapsterGS - Would Be Superb If It Would Connect!

Regular readers will know that I don't do a huge amount of reviews but those I have done over the past 23 months of blogging (has it really been almost 2 years?) have always been very positive. Perhaps it's because I only choose products that fit in with our family lifestyle, my blog or I think would be of interest to my readers... Or maybe I've just been lucky?

Now, before I start, let me just say that we are BIG fans of the LeapFrog brand in the SAHMlovingit household. Mini Cheddar has a My Pal Violet and a Leaptop too which she's both had for a long time and they still get attention even now. So when we were offered to review the new LeapsterGS it was kind of a no brainer.

Like a duck to water!
Matt and I had actually considered buying MC a LeapPad a while back. He had bought me an iPad 3 for Mother's Day this year (yes, he's a keeper!) and I can't leave it anywhere without MC grabbing it and playing on it. I'm not against this, in fact I think it's great on occasion as there are so many educational apps out there that make learning fun.

The LeapsterGS replaces the LeapFrog Explorer but all cartridges are fully transferable between the two and you can download apps. Unlike the Explorer, the LeapsterGS has a built-in camera for photos and videos. I have to say, this has been a huge hit. MC has always wanted her own camera so now the LeapsterGS is full of pictures of the family...well, maybe an arm, an ear or a foot - let's just say I think we can safely assume David Bailey has nothing to fear!

Very educational
The set up of the console is handheld gaming device style and I was worried that MC may struggle with this as she was used to the iPad but I needn't have had any concerns. As soon as I got the LeapsterGS out of the box and switched it on she took over. It comes with a stylus attached and MC just took to this straight away. She's not even 4 years old yet and she just seemed to know what she was doing more than I did. Before I knew it she was practising how to write letters of the alphabet on the screen!

The LeapsterGS is a great educational toy but it swings toward the 'game' side of things in it's design. However, you are in control of what you buy or download so you can keep the cartridges or apps more educational rather than gaming. All the apps are actually designed by educational experts though so even the games are educational.

Putting herself in the picture
It comes with 2 fun apps as standard - Escape of the Sillies which is an fun maths game and Pet Pad where you can create and care for your own pet. MC has loved both. You can also download your choice (from 3) of another educational app within the LeapFrog App Center. There are actually more than 300 games, eBooks, videos, music and more to download. I'm sure this is fantastic.

I say 'I'm sure' because this is where the review takes a bit of a turn.

The LeapsterGS comes with a CD and a USB cable so you can connect it to you computer to download apps. I didn't expect this to be a problem. I've connected My Pal Violet and the Leaptop to my Macbook before without problem. The LeapsterGS, however, had other ideas.

So far so good...
I put the CD in and downloaded the 'connect set-up' successfully. However, once I'd been through the installation process it wouldn't actually start up.

It would just hang.

I tried numerous times to get it to work but it wasn't having any of it. I trawled the Internet looking for advice and found quite a few people posting about similar problems with the LeapPad (obviously the LeapsterGS is new so there was limited info on this) and Mac computers. A few parents had actually ended up with disappointed children on Christmas Day.

Big fat fail!
I was told that it may be an issue with my firewall but even with this disabled the connection would just hang. After a few weeks of trying I eventually admitted defeat. I'm still to try and connect it using my husbands PC but why should I? I use a Macbook and I know lots of people who do. Surely LeapFrog should be addressing these issues as I'm clearly not the first person to have a problem and I definitely won't be the last. Leapfrog were supposed to contact me to discuss the issue but, almost 2 weeks later, I'm still waiting. It doesn't give me confidence that if they can't contact me then other customers will have the same customer service problems.

All in all it's a great device and gets the thumbs up...well, half up as it's SO frustrating that it won't connect to my computer. I'd love to see what the LeapFrog Learning Center has to offer but can't!

My advice to anyone buying the LeapsterGS (or a LeapPad) for their children for Christmas - especially if you own a Macbook - take it out of the box and set it all up before Santa arrives!

The LeapsterGS retails at £64.99 and is available via Leapfrog direct and other outlets.

This is not a sponsored post.  
We were sent the LeapsterGS to review 
but all photographs, video, words, views and opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

To Continue To Breastfeed Or Not To Continue To Breastfeed...

...that is the question I've had to wrestle with over the past week or so.

It's not been an easy decision to make.

Not in the slightest.

Those of you who read my post last week will know I got the dreaded mastitis. To say I was ill was a bit of an understatement - I felt horrendous. The antibiotics and the anti-imflammotories, although perfectly safe in breastfeeding, caused Tiny Ched to be seriously sickly. He couldn't hold any of my milk down so I was advised by the doctor to take a break from breastfeeding whilst on the tablets for a week.

I was heartbroken.

I'd breastfed TC for 7 months. In fact, it was the day before he turned 7 months that he started throwing up violently.

28th March 2012
A newly born TC
I can't tell you how much I love this little man
and I will always do the best for him
I think as soon as I realised I'd have to take a break that it would ultimately be the end.

Anyone who's breastfed and stopped, be it through choice or through force, it's quite an emotional roller coaster. I remember being extremely teary when I stopped breastfeeding Mini Cheddar 3 years ago - even though it was my choice to stop. My hormones were all over the place.

This hasn't been my choice though.

I know the mastitis wasn't my fault but I'm still beating myself up about it. A teething TC caused a cut on my nipple and that's how the bacteria got in. Couldn't be helped. It got hold of me in the night so the real damage was done by the time the excruciating pain woke me at 5.30am.

Anyway, before I ramble on and on, I've decided not to continue to breastfeed after this break.

There, I said it.

I've absolutely loved breastfeeding TC - my breastfeeding experience (mastitis aside) has been wonderful and so it's been a really hard decision to stop. I'm okay when my mind is taken off of it but when I'm alone, tired or just having cuddles with TC my heart aches (as well as my boobs!).

I could try and re-establish breastfeeding but I've chosen not to for the following reasons:

* I don't think I want to go through the hormonal effect of stopping again
* I'm scared to crap that I'm going to get mastitis again (it's nasty!)
* TC is teething sooo badly again. I see him tearing up the bottle teats and I'm so thankful it's not my nipple
* After TC flatly refusing the bottle for 7 months he's taken to it brilliantly
* I'm scared of being rejected
* I've done 7 months. I call that quite good going!
* I can drink copious amounts wine, eat spicy curry and baked beans*

I could become a 'pumping mummy' but I don't want to go down that road. Some completely pro-breastfeeding people (I'm talking about the extreme breast feeders) may think I'm being slightly selfish but I don't see it like this.

I'm not against formula milk in the slightest. What works best for mum and baby is what matters - there is no use trying to breastfeed or re-establish breastfeeding if it's going to make one of you (or both) unhappy.

Many women try and fail to breastfeed - good for them for trying. Many women choose not to even try for various reasons - this is their decision and if it works for them then good for them too.

Although I'm upset about stopping, I'm happy in my choice not to continue if that makes sense? Yes, I would liked to have carried on but I think I can forgive myself and pat myself on the back and the same time too...although I'm not sure that's physically possible?

Thanks to all those who offered their support on here, Email. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, G+ - you lovely people rock!

Right, where's that bottle of wine?

* I'm obviously joking with this one! "hic"

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Exactly A Year Ago...

Exactly a year ago I had a bump.

Exactly a year ago I was 4 months pregnant.

Exactly a year ago I had a 2.5 year old full of life and questions.

Exactly a year ago I was a Mummy to one with another on the way.

Exactly a year ago I was without Matt who was away on business.

Exactly a year ago I was missing him and hormonal.

Exactly a year ago I awoke like it was just another day.

Exactly a year ago I realised the day would be with me forever.

Exactly a year ago I went through so many tissues.

Exactly a year ago I couldn't stop crying for a couple of weeks.

Exactly a year ago I walked into the veterinary surgery with my dog.

Exactly a year ago I walked out of the veterinary surgery without my dog.

Exactly a year ago I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life.

Exactly a year ago I had to have my dog put to sleep.

Exactly a year ago I missed Betty like crazy.

A year on. I still miss her.

Betty Dogface enjoying Bamburgh Beach

NOTE: I just wanted to mark the year anniversary of us losing Betty on my blog as she was a big part of my life. It's not something I will do every year but it was such a tough time being pregnant. Thanks again to all those who supported me last year.


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