Friday, 31 May 2013

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (May) The Florida Edition!

This past month we've had more photos taken as a family than we have done ever.

You see, this month we've been on holiday in Orlando, Florida (I'm still here as I write this post!).

I actually almost forgot about this post and whilst looking at photos on my camera yesterday I suddenly realised the date.

Anyone who follows my Instagram feed will know we've been having a totally amazing time!

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about such a big holiday with two small children. We holidayed here last January when I was pregnant and so I knew MC loved it but I was unsure how TC would cope with the travelling and the heat being so young.

I needn't have worried a bit.

At just 14 months old (3 days ago) he has loved every single second of it (separate post to follow on our return) even though the weather has been between 30-35c every day. He was a dream on the 9.5 hour flight too and he literally hasn't stopped smiling since.

We've had some pretty awesome magical moments out here. Both kids have loved the character meets. MC runs up to each character and wraps her arms around them like they are long lost family. TC can sometimes be a tiny bit shy with the 'people' characters like the Princesses etc. but with those like Mickey and Minnie he's loved them. He has a particular soft spot for Wreck It Ralph and even enjoyed meeting Darth Vadar!

One of the highlights of the holiday came Wednesday night when, after experiencing the ever amazing fireworks at Epcot, we drove over to The Magic Kingdom for some late night fun. We managed to catch the fireworks there then did some more rides and character meets. We were the last public in the new Fantasyland area of the character meet when Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy were all knocking off for the night. They saw MC and started playing with her. We got a photo of her with all 4 of them. She was beside herself!

During this holiday I've watched the bond between our two children grow even stronger. They've laughed so hard together and TC has developed even more of a cheeky character than he had before. Matt and I have enjoyed spending our 6th Wedding Anniversary out here. We've also enjoyed our time together as a family of 4 so much and I'm going to treasure these memories as I know, when we get back to the UK, we have the house move happening in less than 3 weeks and everything will feel like a blur.

We've been out here 17 nights now and we still have 5 nights left. I know that the kids don't want to go home and neither do Matt and I...even though we have a new house to move into.

I kind of put my tears on the plane home last year down to pregnancy hormones but thinking about leaving here next week I'm welling up already.

We feel so at home out here.

I have so many family photos I want to share but, for the moment, they are in my Disney Photopass account which I won't be sorting until I'm back in the UK. So I can only share a few that have been taken on my camera or my phone by other people (and a couple of others for good measure). I hope they still manage to give you a small idea of just how incredible it's been so far.

Here's to another amazing holiday out here and being ever thankful for just how lucky we are.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Guest Post...The Little Gang In Paris - Se Souvenir Des Belles Choses

Françoise, actually started her blog in June 2012 after moving to Paris with an 18 month old and another on the way. However, she only blogged 3 posts before starting officially in March this year.

The Little Gang In Paris is her blog about all the stories of their life over the other side of the channel and she blogs in both French and English! There's commitment for you.

Having known and met Multiple Mummy, this heartfelt post by Françoise made me cry. I think everyone in the blogging community and beyond (Françoise is also a friend of Jennie) is feeling very sensitive at the the moment. 

The title of this post in English is 'Remember the beautiful things' but I think it sounds much better in French. Considering English is not her first language, this reads beautifully.

Se souvenir des belles choses

This week I have read a blog that I hadn't heard about before (I have started blogging very recently). It was Multiple Mummy's blog. As I didn't know it, I read the "About' page. A minute later I was reading the "tribute to my beautiful wife". I had already grown an empathy for this woman and a minute later I was reading that she has passed away recently. 
I was left in shock.

Life is frail, very fail. 
Most of the time, you don't know it.
Most of the time, you ignore it, you forget it, you just don't think about the fact that you can die unexpectedly.

If we are honest with ourselves, we can only picture ourselves alive for a long time surrounded by our family and children. 

We cannot imagine that we might not be there to witness our children's life.
We cannot imagine that they might not be there with us for the rest of our life.
Yet, we, or they, could die, tomorrow, in a month, in ten years. 

We forget that we are only human until ...  we lose someone we cherish. 

Over the last four years, I have lost my father. He died of a cancer. 
I have lost a very dear friend. He was murdered for who knows what reason last August. 
And recently, friends well known in the blogging community in the UK have lost their baby girl. 

This has left me in a very deep state of sadness that I find hard sharing with other people, This has left me wondering about the beauty and cruelty of life. 

Because there is definitely beauty in life : one of the truest experiences of it is giving birth.
But there is also cruelty : why would you die before you've even had the time to live ? Why would such people, with so much happiness in them, have to die so early ? 
Because this is the common point between my dad, Paul and Matilda : so much happiness, so much joie de vivre.  
It makes it so much harder to go on for their loved ones.

But as sad as I am - and I have never been so sad in my life - I want, I need, to learn something from these tragedies. And they really are tragedies to me. 

We are in charge of our children's childhood. 
Them having wonderful memories of it is all down to us making it happen.
I don't know if I will be able to look back in the future and say that I have become the mother I wanted to be.
But this is what I want to aim for. 
This is the portrayal of the mother I want to be. 
This is the mother I wish my children say I was if I was to die tomorrow : 

A mother who loved her children,

A mother who told them everyday she did,
A mother who they could talk to,
A mother they trusted enough to confide when things were not ok,
A mother who made them laugh,
A mother who gave them a sense of curiosity, 
A mother who gave them a taste for adventure,
A mother who built their selfconfidence,
A mother who made sure they understood life had to be enjoyed fully, 
A mother who made sure they understood that family matters,
A mother who built their relationship as brother and sister,
A mother who truly played with them,
A mother who danced and sung with them, 
A mother who took them to as many places as she could,
A mother who made things by herself for them to play with, for them to wear...
A mother who tried to communicate her passions with them, not necessarily for them to have these passions, but for them to have passions of their own, for them to be open-minded.

I don't mean to sound arrogant. 
I have a lot to do to become this person. 
I'm not sure I will succeed. 
But this will steer me in the right direction.

I have written this yesterday and I realize that the person I want to be for my children is the person my dad was for me. 

He really was an awesome father and I miss him dearly. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Guest Post...Baked Potato Mummy - Inheritance Tracks

My next guest post is is the first from three special ladies who are friends of Jennie at Edspire

Lucy has recently started blogging over at the lovely blog Baked Potato Mummy and this is her her with her little boy 'Potato'.

She's given up her job in London to become a SAHM (and try and run an online retail business) and loves it. Like Jennie, she's a huge fan of messy play so head over to her blog for some inspiration. 

Here she takes on an idea from BBC Radio 4...

Inheritance Tracks

I’m pretty new to blogging, although I’ve been lurking in the background for some time. Over the last few months, I’ve met some wonderful people in this online community. I’ve learned that you don’t always have to be able to sit down face-to-face over a cup of tea or glass of wine, to share troubles and joys with like-minded people. I’ve learned that being on the end of a keyboard for somebody is as important as being able to give them a physical hug. Everybody has been so friendly and supportive and I already feel part of this wonderful community. One of these lovely welcoming ladies is Heather, from So when she offered this opportunity to guest post on her blog, I was thrilled to be able to take her up. I've shamelessly 'borrowed' this idea from a BBC Radio 4 program (am I showing my age a bit here?) I’ve always had music in my life, both played and listened to. My dad is especially keen on keeping up with the latest musical technology and sound. He’s even gone so far as to install a 3.1 sound system in Potato's nursery at their house, arguing that he wanted his grandson to grow up appreciating a proper sound! Some of my strongest early memories are of family gathering and the music that went with them. Because of that, I can't stick to just the 2 tracks, so I've expanded the idea a little. 

So what tracks have I inherited from my parents? 
The first is easy. 
Rod Stewart, ‘From Here to Eternity’. 
If I close my eyes, I can go straight back to the sittingroom in our Suffolk cottage. The fire roaring in the inglenook, kippering us all slightly; the dog sprawled on the rug in front of it, twitching in her sleep; and my parents, sister and me lounging on sofas and floor cushions. Blasting from the stereo, Rod Stewart's Every Beat of My Heart album. I’ve always been taken by songs that tell a story, and this one always struck a chord with me.

Next, is Deacon Blue, 'Dignity'
Whereas Rod Stewart comes from Mum, Deacon Blue is very much from Dad. High quality audio sound didn't stop in the house. The car sound system has always been top notch too.As kids, we'd often go for long family drives and inevitablythis song was in the stereo, playing at full volume whenever Mum would allow it. I have a vivid memory of singing it at the top of my lungs with Dad and my sister.

Finally comes the embarrassing admission. The song that shows how untrendy I really was when it came to musical taste for an 11 year old. 
Ralph McTell, ‘Streets of London’.
There, I’ve said it. Don’t shoot me, or judge me too harshly (my husband has already threatened divorce over this one!). This one goes back even further than Rod Stewart. I can picture toddler me sat on the sofa in our first house, listening to this tune. It was one of the first things I remember picking to play on the piano. It was also the cause of much mocking in my early teens. When my peers where into New Kids on the Block (is that really any better?), I was still humming“Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London. I'll show you something to make you change your mind.”Rest assured, in the way that only teenage girls can, I had my mind changed soon enough!

So there you have it. My Inheritance Tracks.

So how about the tracks that I would like Potato to inherit from me?

Again, the first one is easy. It’s Eva Cassidy, ‘True Colours’.
This was the first dance at our wedding. As soon as we heard it, we knew it was going to be our song. We had an amazing 6 piece band playing, with a stunning female vocalist. They’d actually forgotten to learn the song and proposed downloading it and playing Eva Cassidy’s version. I tried not to have a Bridezilla moment, but obviously something showed in my face and in 4 hours, the band learned it and performed it perfectly. When we hired them the following year for my Dad’s 60th birthday party, they performed it again, dedicating it to us. Even now, whenever we hear it, we stop and listen and think back to our special day.

For my second one, I think I have to go back to my teenage years again with Metallica ‘Sad But True’.
I’ve always enjoyed rock and metal music and although my taste has perhaps mellowed with age, Metallica is definitely a band that defined my youth - from 6th form through to university and beyond. So they deserve a place in here. I used to sit in boring history lessons at school, scrawling the lyrics on my notes, with hands painted in black nail varnish and sporting my Metallica patched denim jacket. Later, at university, I’d head down the local rock bar on a Sunday night with my mates, for DJ Tim. Sad But True was guaranteed to get us all up and moshing! Wow! Those were the days! Listening to it now in the background, I can even feel the urge to indulge in a little headbanging! I’ll refrain though, as my aging body probably isn’t up to it!

Finally, something a little different. 
Prokoffief’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ (this link is only the first part of the piece).
It’s the Disney animated version that I remember watching as a young girl, but I’ve recently found this version narrated by David Bowie, which I adore. The way in which each instrument is associated with a character in the story, really brings the instruments alive. I will forever associate a duck with the oboe. If you haven’t watched or listened to this, or have children that haven’t, I urge you to. Though the wolf in the Disney version can be a little frightening!

Well there we are. A little insight into the important music in my life. There are so many other tracks I could mention, but that’s perhaps another post for another time. For now, I hope you enjoy the music.

What would your inheritance tracks be? 

Lucy can be found here:

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Guest Post...StoryBramble - Five Lessons I Learned From Facing Chronic Illness

Stephanie is someone I happened across on Twitter in my search for new bloggers. How can you now warm to this picture of her?

She runs the fabulous Storybramble which she describes as 'the story cafe'. It provides free audio stories and poems for children which also have follow-on creative activities.

Stephanie is a trained actor, qualified drama teacher and mother of two.  She's passionate about using stories to help children develop their creativity, have fun and build strong imaginations and created Storybramble as a resource for other parents who feel the same way. 

Here Stephanie shares a life changing story with us which gives some great advice for others...

Five Lessons I learned from facing Chronic Illness 

This time last year I was insanely busy working at my job as a secondary school teacher, taking care of my two children under five, running my own youth theatre and studying for a post grad in physical theatre which conveniently took place at the other end of the country!  I like to be busy and yes I was tired but I was confident that I could push through it.    The summer holidays arrived and instead of taking a break I went to work with a theatre company.  I had the time of my life but when the school year rolled round again I was exhausted.  As the new term started I took on the usual round of extra curricular commitments and just kept on going. Then I got sick.  It was just a throat infection and as it was almost the October Break I was sure after a week off I would be well again.  But I wasn’t.  I stayed off for another week, then another and another.  The Dr’s began to do tests but found nothing and eventually I was diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue which after several months was changed to Chronic Fatigue.  I had gone from a full, busy and active life to one where getting to the end of the day was a physical chore. I spent hours stuck in my bed.  I often found it difficult just to take care of my children.  My whole world had been turned upside down and things felt very, very bleak. I would like to say that one day I woke up to a beautiful revelation about life with rainbows, glitter and singing unicorns.  Sadly the singing unicorns gave me a miss.  What I did get however was a painful wake up call about how I was living my life and I wanted to share a few realisations I’ve had these last few months. 

1. MOST THINGS DON’T MATTER I am a professional worrier.  I am so highly skilled at fretting that if you could get a qualification for stressing about things I would have a distinction.  Before I was sick everything felt very important.  Until suddenly I realised most of it just wasn’t.  The world would keep turning if work didn’t go the way I wanted it to, if I didn’t get something handed in on time, if my housework was never done.  99% of the things I was worrying about really did not matter one little bit.  
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE When life throws a ton of stress your way as it so often tends to do try to step back and see the bigger picture.  If you and those you love are healthy and well then it probably isn’t as big a deal as you think.  Work, having a show home, being the perfect mum - it’s not that important in the scheme of things. Your energy is precious so save it for the stuff that really counts. 

 When I got sick one of the most upsetting  consequences of it was the sheer number of people who  simply walked away.  People who I had once considered good friends dropped me like a hot coal.  On the other side of the friendship coin however were the people who went above and beyond the call of duty to help and support me.  I saw people in a whole new light and suddenly had a much better idea of where I ranked in their lives and while the answer wasn’t always pretty I now have  much stronger friendships as a result. GO ON A PEOPLE DIET The people in your life are like food. They are either good for you or they aren’t.   Good food adds to the quality of your life, makes you feel healthy and well and gives you energy.  Bad food does the opposite, leaves you feeling lethargic, sick and low.   Take a look at your relationships and where you can limit the time you spend on sugary friendships of little or no substance.  Your soul deserves better than this.  In the same way that being run down can highlight our bad diet choice, going through a rough time in your life can shine a light on the good, bad and ugly in your current friendships.  Instead invest time in the friendships that enrich your life, you deserve no less than this. 

3. TIME IS YOUR GREATEST RESOURCE I like to be busy but being ill forced me practically to a standstill.  As my energy was limited and I had to choose very carefully how I would spend it.  Having to pick what activities I could do and which ones I would have to drop made me seriously re-evaluate my priorities.  Before I was rushing to work early and staying late then running off to classes and rehearsals in the evening.  My children, I am ashamed to admit, were fitted into the gaps.  Now that I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the energy to even read them a bed time story feeling well enough to play with them suddenly became a very precious thing.  I was in such a rush to live life that I was missing it.  SAVOUR THE LITTLE MOMENTS Today is all you have, the moment, right now is all there is.  Savour it.   Enjoy the daft wee moments with your children, the time with your family and friends.  It is the stuff that life was made for.  4. LIMITATIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS BAD I have always been passionate about the arts but after I had children I often felt frustrated when  I couldn’t get out to the theatre or to workshops as much as I wanted to.  Once I was ill however all this was out of the question, I  wasn’t well enough to go anywhere.  For several weeks I sat at home miserably watching one opportunity after another sail by.  I was frustrated and angry.  Then I thought, what am I waiting for exactly?  Why don’t I just get on with it?  Weirdly being limited made me more focussed.  I thought about the things I loved: being creative, children’s stories, writing, creating characters.  Bit by bit the idea for Storybramble began to form in my mind.  I thought about what mattered to me and how I could bring it into my life despite my circumstances.   And so I started to write, and then I started to share what I was writing in the hope that the stories I had written might just bring a bit of fun and creativity to other children. 
 MAKE WHAT YOU MAKE Whatever it is you make go ahead and make it.  Whether you are a writer, painter, crafter, cook, chef, musician, dancer, engineer, carpenter, architect, scientist or gardener go and get making! Don’t wait for the right time, there is only now.  The circumstances will never be perfect so just start and have fun with it.

 5. YOUR HEALTH SHOULD BE YOUR NUMBER 1 PRIORITY How often have you put your needs second?  It seems to go hand in hand with being a mother.  We make sacrifices, we push through, we keep going and we cut corners when it comes to our own health.  It’s a false economy. I will admit I was arrogant. I thought I could abuse my body, keep pushing it and that I would get away with it.  I was wrong.  And when I realised how wrong I was I was afraid.  What if I never got better?  What if I had ruined my health for good?  What kind of life would I have?  How would I take care of my children then?  A RADIATOR HAS TO BE WARM TO HEAT OTHERS It’s not selfish to take care of you.  You can’t look after anyone or anything else if you don’t.  So put your health at the top of your agenda.  Eat, drink and sleep well.  Take time out for you, relax, walk and rest.  It is an investment that will pay dividends for you and all those you love. 
 Dealing with a long term illness has been a huge shock but as they say every cloud has a silver lining.  Being sick forced me to stop and when I did I was able to  see what really mattered in my life.  I wanted to write this as I wish it hadn’t taken illness to open my eyes.  I hope that other people can stop, be still and value themselves and their lives today. 
What about you?  Have you had a life changing moment?  I would love to hear about what lessons you learned from it if you did. 

You can find Stephanie here:

Saturday, 18 May 2013

#MessyPlay - Pink & Purple Jelly And Chocolate Stars!

This messy play was meant to be so special. I had so much more planned but time was against me.

I wanted it to be extra special as today is Jennie's first theme (pink and purple to honour the beautiful Matilda Mae) and it's also my 6th wedding anniversary.

Yes, 18th May 2007 - Matt and I said "I do" and I openly admit he's the best thing (children aside) that's happened to me.

He's definitely my soul mate.

*passes sick bucket*

Anyway, I'll admit, I haven't been able to join in Jennie's lovely Messy Play Linky as much as I'd like. Life's just too damn hectic and I feel so ashamed saying that but going on holiday for over 3 weeks at the same time as moving house wasn't part of the plan. I have to say, the thought of messy play is that last thing I need.

However, my kids need it.

They need it because they love it.

So I try to find the time.

And I usually do when I set my mind to it.

Yes, the kids love it.

So much so that MC keeps asking me when we are going to do some. She was really upset when she found out TC and I had done the last messy play without her!

So, it was time to get them both involved.

I did have plans to create pink and purple jelly stars, ice cream and get some fairy lights in a dimly lit room with music to create a real sensory (and edible) experience for them.

In the end I just had to make do with pink (raspberry) and purple (blackcurrant) jelly and some little white chocolate stars.

TC didn't like it at first. He got a bit upset when he first touched the jelly but it was so funny, as much as he didn't like it, he was totally intrigued by it.

He kept touching it.

Again and again.

Then he tasted some.

After about 10-15 touches he got more confident and dived in.

MC joined in and soon there was jelly everywhere.

And the stars came out!

I thought a lot about Matilda Mae while watching the pink and purple and the stars and wondering whether she was watching us somewhere.

MC poured them into the Tuff Spot and they both played with in jelly and chocolate heaven for ages.

It became very slippy in the Tuff Spot but great fun.

I think they both liked the feel of the jelly between their toes.

It wasn't the grand plan I had in mind but the kids enjoyed it.

I enjoyed watching them and I got some time to sit and think of how lucky I am to have two such happy, healthy and gorgeous children. And a gorgeous and amazing man who loves us.

Here's to the next 6 years of marriage.

And here's to Matilda Mae - a beautiful star in the sky.

Head over to Jennie's blog and check out all the amazing pink and purple themed messy play this week. Also, it's not too late to donate to Jennie's Just Giving page - raising money for The Lullaby Trust
Even just £1 will help. 
Thank you.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Guest Post...You And Me Are Family - When Will Two Become Three?

Next up on my blog is someone I've been 'friends' with on Instagram for a while now. The lovely Claire blogs at You And Me Are Family and she started her blog after previously blogging about planning her wedding in Spain. 

Her blog is a mix of craft, cooking, musings and, more importantly, her and her new husbands journey trying to conceive their first child.

This is a lovely and very honest post about her feelings...

When Will Two Become Three?

Hi everyone, my name is Claire and I blog over at youandmearefamily. I am really excited to be guest posting for Heather while she is away having so much fun with Mickey and Minnie. Thanks Heather for having me!

My blog in my head was meant to be a little bit of everything and I am hoping that it has stayed that way, but recently I have been blogging a little about something really close to my heart at the moment and I would love to share it with you.

My blog has been very theraputic for me recently, I decided to take the plunge and blog a little about a subject that doesn't seem to get talked about often, trying to conceive. I was scared of putting it out there, of telling people of our journey - I don't know how better to describe it, I suppose some of the words you could go with could be trek, adventure, roller coaster or ramble through life, take your pick of any words that can describe, highs, lows, positives, stresses and our love for one another and you will have managed to sum it up.

I have had to learn a whole new language, who knew that getting pregnant had some many special words for things. I've found a whole new world and found some great support and friends along the way.

It's not been easy though and we are still not there yet. It has been nearly a year now of actively trying, a lot of longer of just not playing it safe and yet our dream has not come true yet. It hasn't been helped by me turning 35 this year and if you read the books, this seems to be the time when you suddenly become less fertile. So you go through all the worries, you know that little voice we all have in our heads, yes that's the one, Mr Negative, the one that creeps up on you when you are least expecting it and trying your best to be positive and whispers a little thing in your head that makes you drop all positive thoughts and only focus on the negatives. I have met Mr Negative so often over this journey, he sneaks in every once in a while but I'm pleased to say most of the time I beat him, but boy it's hard.

I always thought that falling pregnant was easy, well at least that's what they always told me at school, but once you look into it it's actually quite hard. On average most couples have a 1-6 chance of conceiving each month, this does increase with time and it's estimated that within a year 84% of couples will be pregnant and 92% within 2 years (Pregnancy figures) which is good news for us as we come up close to a year of trying I'm hoping that we will soon be falling into the 84% group of people.

At the minute we are going through some fertility testing, just to rule things out and help us both worry less that there is something wrong, hopefully we will be able to relax a little in the knowledge that we will soon be joining the ranks of parenthood. In the meantime, I love following parent blogs, they really help me to believe that one day we will get there.

If you know someone who has shared they are going through difficulties in trying to conceive with you can I please ask you one thing? Don't tell them to relax, to not think about it, simply just listen to them, it's a harder journey than anyone can imagine, I'm sure some of you lovely readers have been there and know only two well. I just wish we felt able to talk about it more with each other, I for one am happy I have shared it and hope by doing so it helps others even just a little not to feel alone.

Claire x

You can find Claire here:

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Guest Post...Delicious Designs - I Am Work In Progress

So, it's that time when I hand my blog over to some totally awesome new bloggers so they can introduce themselves to you.

First up is the lovely Jill who blogs over at Delicious Designs and Gluten Free Living Our Story. Jill is a Mummy of 2 gorgeous girls and a graphic designer. She loves creating printables, cards and cake. Her and her youngest daughter both suffer from coeliac disease and Jill has great stories, recipes and help on gluten free living and some great advice for parents. 

I didn't know Jill before this post, she responded to my plea for new bloggers who wanted to get involved. I'm glad she did as I loved finding out more about Jill's journey and I hope you do too...

I Am Work In Progress

I am totally new to the world of blogging. I have always loved the thought of starting a blog but had no idea of how to fill it, or when. All the blogs I have seen just look so professional and a lot to live up to! However, after spending most of my thirties being Mum to two beautiful girls (now five and eight), I decided in April (with my forties bearing down!), that maybe it was time to do a little something just for me, and after some encouragement (or should I say mild bullying!), from my colleague and friend PR wiz Emma Collins, I decided to take the plunge.

My sole aim of blogging is to find my self-confidence, which went on a trip around the world after I had kids and never came back. I want to remember a little of who I was before I had children – not that in any way I want to wish the last eight years away – they have been the most amazing and special ones of my life. I recognise that I have changed as a person, my kids, and all the experiences they have brought with them, have moulded me into someone different. I feel like my life has more depth and meaning because of them, but I also feel I am now at a cross roads where I need to make myself stronger emotionally again.

Before my girls came along, I had a very fulfilling job as head of the creative department at a craft distributors. I had confidence by the bucket-load. I could make presentations, head up meetings, demonstrate our products to roomfuls of people – I held my own, in and out of work. Even when I was pregnant I had the vision that I would find motherhood easy, how hard could it be?! I read all the books, knew how my baby was developing each week, read Gina Ford cover to cover. I felt armed and full of knowledge, but what the books don’t prepare you for is how you will feel emotionally – nothing could have really prepared me for the reality of my first baby.

I remember the first night we brought Beth home. She was such a tiny little dot, wrapped up in her car-seat, wearing a little homemade hat that we had been given by the hospital staff. We put her down in the middle of our lounge floor and just looked at each other, the sheer force of the HUGE responsibility came crashing in and I simply panicked – I felt like I had no idea what to do. I struggled with breast feeding (then felt guilty for months after when I stopped but that's another story), got so bogged down in the restrictive Gina Ford routines that I felt like I was going mad. I felt out of control and in the process I waved goodbye to me.

Eight years on, after being sucked into a whirlwind of nappies, housework, work, school applications, homework, juggling, juggling, juggling like all Mum’s do, it is now time to claw myself back, to be stronger. As being creative is what I have always done best, I am going to use that as a tool to do it.I have noticed a difference already. My blog has given me the incentive to stay up a bit later and simply MAKE stuff, cards, cakes, sketches, paper designs – I love the fact that there is such a massive, friendly blogging community out there, it has really opened my eyes. I wish I had used the internet more when I was struggling, I think I would have found comfort in it, knowing I was not the only one. I feel like my eyes have been opened and I am appreciating everything around me more. Blogging, I have discovered, is a little bit like free therapy!

A friend once said that she read a quote about how a mother needs to be like the trunk of a tree – she needs to be strong and healthy so that she can support all the branches and leaves that grow out of her. I totally relate to this and am a work in progress. I want to be a better person for my girls. I want them to feel like they are capable of taking on the world and never feel like they are anything other than special and loved. Thank you Heather for the opportunity to guest post, it has been a great experience!

Jill x

You can find Jill here:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Goodbye Me - Hello New Bloggers!

I can't believe it's finally here.

We are off on holiday next week. Eep!

I've got someone I know to house sit for us and all is good, if somewhat hectic. We have signed the contracts on the new house in readiness and are just awaiting the final formalities before we exchange. I'm hoping it will happen while we are away *crosses fingers and toes*

To those of you still following my blog, thank you! I know I haven't been about much these past couple of months and your readership means the world to me. I promise, once the holiday and house move are out of the way, I'll be back on form.

I've made another important decision too. I've decided to step back from my freelance work for now. What has happened lately has made me realise that my family are most important. Tiny Ched is growing up so quickly (quicker than I ever imagined) and I want to cherish this time with him as a baby/toddler and give him as much attention as I possibly can. I guess I'm living up to my blog name!

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, if I'm honest, as I've been struggling lately. I have also stepped back from my volunteer work - mainly because of the holiday and the house move. I hope to pick that back up after the summer.

Anyway, I'm rambling and keeping you from the most exciting news of all.

So? What have I got in store for you whilst I'm away?

I've lined up some awesome new bloggers to entertain you in between my indulgent Silent Sunday posts (and one other very special post I have planned which I hope comes together). They are all brand new bloggers who only started their blogs this year. In fact, some of them have only been blogging a month or two.

They are all really lovely ladies and I'm so excited as they have written some fabulous posts.

I'd really love it if you could show support for them by commenting, visiting their own blogs and tweeting/following them.  I remember a couple of years ago when my blog was brand new and it was the love and the support of the amazing blogging community who helped me get my feet on the blogging ladder.

So, without further ado, here's who will be guest posting for me and when:

Tue 14th May - Jill from Delicious Designs

Thu 16th May - Claire from You And Me Are Family

Tue 21st May - Sarah from Stay At Home Mum - In Training

Thu 23rd May - Stephanie from Storybramble

Tue 28th May - Lucy from Baked Potato Mummy

Thu 30th May - Françoise from The Little Gang In Paris

Tue 04th June - Millie from Toddles And Tantrums

Please show them lots of love. I'll be attempting to schedule some tweets to promote their posts but would be so grateful for any help you can also offer.

With that excitement, I'll love you and leave you all, dear readers. Take care and see you on my return...and thank you again.

Florida here I come!

Woohooooooooooooooooo *runs off screaming with bikini in hand*

(Taken January 2012)
MC is ready to be reunited with her idol

Thursday, 2 May 2013

2nd May - Tilda's Day

It's just a date, right?

Well, yes it is, of course.

But this is a date that will be in many people's hearts and minds for the rest of their lives.

A date when an amazing mother and father should have been celebrating the 1st birthday of their beautiful baby girl, Matilda Mae.

It's not right.

It's not fair.

I've been struggling all week. Not knowing what to write. My heart is heavy and my mind can't concentrate.

I have a book that I write in each day that my best friend bought me. It's a five year book that asks a question each day, so you can compare your answers over 5 years. A couple of weeks back the words read something like "I wish I could stop ____________ from happening".

I wrote 'cot death'.

I don't think my answer will change, even by 2018.

As I look at Tiny Ched, I think of Tilda and everything she should be. Everything that Jennie and David have lost.

2nd May will be a date, just like 2nd February and 7th March that will live with me forever.

Pink angel slices for a sweet angel
I've made plans for today. Plans to celebrate Matilda's short life and honour her birthday in some small way. I'm meeting Susanne and Lisa with our children for a picnic in the park. We are meeting where we will be walking a mile in memory of Matilda in less than two weeks.

We are going to blow bubbles and enjoy pink treats. I'm also dressing myself and the kids in pink and purple.

There will be lots of tears (I have invested in a multipack of tissues) but there will be happiness too. Susanne and I have a unique bond from our journey to Tilda's funeral and back and I know, when I see her tomorrow, all those memories will come flooding back.

We will, as we have done everyday, think of David, Jennie and Matilda Mae.

Then tonight, as the sun sets on 2nd May, I will be lighting a candle for Matilda as her parents say goodbye to their precious little girl in a way that Jennie describes so beautifully.

It's something no parent should have to do and I hope they somehow find the strength to get through it.

It's not just a date. It's a remembrance and a celebration.

Of a short life.

Of a life of love and beauty.

It's also a time to reflect.

Of what could have been.

Of what should have been.

2nd May.

A date that will never be forgotten.

Tilda's day.

Happy 1st Birthday in the sky sweet angel xx

I've blogged before about an auction taking place in memory of Matilda Mae. This auction will be running from 11th May - 20th May 2013 with all proceeds going to The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID).  They help support families, like Jennie's, who have experienced the loss of a baby from sudden infant death syndrome. 

There is an ever growing list of generous people and companies who have donated to the auction and full details of everything available will be online soon. Please help support the auction in any way you can by bidding, tweeting, posting on Facebook, emailing etc. Get the word out there!

If you require any further information, you can contact Jennie or Susanne.

This post was written as part of a blog hop for Matilda's 1st Birthday. You can view the other entries here:


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