Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tiny Ched 1 Today!

It's a happy day today.

Tiny Ched was born a year ago.

I can't believe my beautiful baby boy is 1.

I say it's a happy day but there's a bit of me that's sad. Those who know me or read my blog will know why, so I won't go into detail, but let's just say I have so much to be thankful for. Today, as well as enjoying TC's birthday, I am also thinking of others less fortunate.

TC is such a gorgeous little boy. He's happy, smiley, cuddley, inquisitive, charming and, most importantly, loves his sleep. He's given us so much joy and is loved by all - especially his big sister.

He's not really near to walking yet (a lot later than his sister who was walking by this age) but he can free-stand and cruises with ease. He's doing some lovely things - waving, clapping his hands and doing high fives etc. Watching him learn through play each day is incredible. He also does the cutest 'head tilt' you've ever seen. Unfortunately he's not too well at the moment but we are going to try and make the best of the day.

So Happy Birthday, Tiny Ched. We love you very much xx

28th March 2012

28th March 2013

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Win With The Green Door Bookshop!

Packaged with love
As a busy Mum of two it's sometimes difficult to find the time to read myself but I always try and encourage my children to love books. Mini Cheddar has so many books and is now pretending trying to read them herself.

There are some truly amazing books out there and it looks like one independent online bookshop has cornered the market with the best of the best.

The Green Door Bookshop uses the tagline 'Where the best books live' and looking at their selection I have to say I agree with them.

Even when she's poorly she
loves Belle & Boo
The brainchild of wonderful husband and wife team Gary and Caroline Black, The Green Door Bookshop delivers quality children's books that you can tell have been hand-picked with love. They are truly unique and sometimes quirky but one thing's for sure, they are pretty much guaranteed to keep the kids permanently entertained.

We were lucky enough to be sent 2 fantastic books that Caroline chose for us to review. They arrived beautifully packaged (complete with bookmarks) and I could tell that, not only had the books been picked with love, they had been packaged with love too.

Both captivated by
The Noisy Book
Belle & Boo books are a real treat and Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss is no exception. Mini Cheddar loved it and it's now become one of her favourite bedtime books. The words in it are so beautifully soothing and the story of Belle & Boo's bedtime routine is just so cute.

One of my favourite pages
from The Noisy Book
The Noisy Book is an amazing book for babies and one that will last a really long time. Not only was Tiny Ched delighted with it, MC loved it too. It's the first 'baby' book that I've seen that has lots of pages. In fact, the book has over 100 pages! They aren't thick cardboard but thin and coated in plastic so they are really sturdy. The book is really great as it's different pictures and noises will make any grown-up laugh, never mind a baby or toddler!

We loved both books so much and I know they will be treasured by the kids for a long time.

*** WIN WIN WIN ***

So, now it's time for a little treat. "Oooooh" I hear you all cry!

How do you fancy choosing them or some equally amazing reads courtesy of The Green Door Bookshop?

I don't really run competitions on my blog but it's TC's 1st Birthday this week and I thought it would be nice to treat my readers. So how's about the chance to win £15 to spend online with The Green Door Bookshop?

To enter the competition simply tell me what your favourite children's book title of all time is.

Couldn't be easier! addition to this you can have up to 4 more extra entries to the competition by choosing to do the following:

Liking The Green Door Bookshop on Facebook
Follow The Green Door Bookshop on Twitter
Tweet about the competition
Sign up to The Green Door Bookshop's Mailing List

All you have to do is use Rafflecopter (*cough* I've never used it before so I hope it works!) to enter the competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Noisy Book is priced at £9.99 and Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss is £6.99*

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

*prices correct at time of writing

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Little Bit Lost

I've had grand plans lately.

Plans to get on top of the housework. Plans to throw myself back into blogging. Plans to get more 'me' time to read blogs. Plans to get more time to comment on blogs. Plans to reply to comments on my own blog. Plans to throw myself back into my freelance work. Plans to see my friends and family more. Plans to to spend more quality time with Matt and the children.

All plans that keep going out of the window.

I'm feeling a little bit lost if I'm completely honest.

I can't get my head into gear.

The last 6 weeks or so have been an emotional roller coaster. The news of Matilda Mae's passing has completely rocked me. Not a day has gone by since I heard the news that my thoughts haven't turned to Jennie and her family. Not a day has gone by when I haven't shed a tear. Not a day has gone by when I haven't looked at Tiny Ched and thought of Baby Tilda.

Matt's Grandmother passed away middle of February too. It's been a hard time for all.

It's also not been helped by illness striking our house full-on. First Matt was laid up in bed (again - we were all really poorly in January too) for two or three days. Then we spent all last week in a severe state of worry about TC and ended up being referred to the hospital Friday night. But that's a whole other blog post in itself!

We've also had Mini Cheddar turning 4 in the middle of all this. Cue birthday day celebrations followed by a big party at the weekend.

My life just seems like a long 'to do' list.

None of which seems to be getting done.

What am I doing?

Where are the days going?

I don't seem to be achieving anything right now.

I see images on Instagram or blog posts with family days out or fun days in and I can't help but feel completely jealous. I'm a stay-at-home-mum. Surely I can find time to fill my children's lives with fun activities?

I'm feeling like a failure.

I seem to be shouting a lot too.

Then I feel incredibly guilty. Even though MC is testing her boundaries a little, I still shouldn't be raising my voice to her. What sort of example am I setting?

I love my children more than anything. The guilt that I'm not being a good Mummy right now is tearing me apart and making me feel even worse. It's like a vicious circle.

TC is almost back to 100% health, thankfully. He'll be celebrating his 1st birthday next Thursday (28th) and I want to do something special.

Really special.

Susanne has inspired me to do a cake smash, that much I have thought about, but the rest is unknown. We have immediate family coming over the day after his birthday for a small get-to-gether. However, the thought of having to even cater for that and clean the house just makes me want to curl up in a ball.

Yes, I feel a bit lost about his birthday too.

How can I be planning and celebrating his 1st birthday when another mother...another blogger...a friend is grieving for her beautiful baby girl?

So yes, I'm feeling a little bit lost.

In fact, this blog post is a little bit lost.

I don't even know where it's going.  All I know is that I need to blog my feelings tonight, even though they are a little bit lost.

Let's hope I find myself again soon.

Photo credit

Thursday, 14 March 2013

One Week On - #MatildaMae

It's been a week since we said goodbye to Matilda Mae.

A week.

7 whole days.

It seems like an age already but at the same time it only seems like yesterday.

I knew that if Jennie was happy for blogging friends to go to the church that I wanted to be there. I wanted to give Jennie a big hug. I'd not seen her since she was pregnant with Tilda. I got to give her lots of hugs last week.

It was actually the saddest and most emotionally draining day of my life. But, it was also an amazing day. A day when I saw how much love, strength and dignity Jennie and David have. A day when I saw family and friends celebrate a beautiful little girls 9 months on this earth. A day when I saw tears and a day when I saw smiles.

I'll admit it. I cried. I actually sobbed.

A lot.

Jennie had put so much thought and planning into Tilda's goodbye and it was amazing.

It was beautiful.

The love inside that church was incredible and is something that will stay with me forever.

Seeing Jennie and David walk down the church aisle. Seeing a broken family. Seeing Baby Tilda's tiny woollen coffin carried by David. Seeing the love and tributes. Seeing the pink and purple. Seeing the beautiful photo montages and words put together by family and friends. Seeing and sharing the beautiful memories.

At one point I didn't think I'd be able to get up and speak but I did. Susanne and I took to the front of the church (shaking like jelly) and we read. I read a goodbye introduction I'd written, Susanne read a small piece she'd written and then we both read these amazing words by Merry. I'm thankful to Merry for providing us with something so powerful. Something to make the blogging community come to life for those that didn't understand it's importance.

I'm so thankful for a lot of things.

I'm thankful to Susanne (and her wonderful Mum who gave me a bed the night before) for her immense support. We held each other. We held each other so much.


I'm also thankful to the lovely ladies I met for the first time. Millie, Monika, Keira, Ruth and Sarah. We shared something very special that day. We shared tears, hugs and smiles. We shared friendship.

Most of all though, I am thankful to Jennie for having me as part of Tilda's goodbye. I'm thankful to her for the love, strength and beauty that radiates from her. Her smile. Her love. Jennie was the ultimate reason that Susanne and I were able to speak. She is one amazing woman.

I will never forget that day.

I will never forget Jennie.

I will never forget her hugging us goodbye and telling us to hold our little ones tight.

But most of all I will never ever forget Baby 'Tiger'.

Jennie, Susanne and Ruth have written beautiful posts which capture the day perfectly. I didn't want to duplicate too much of what's already been said so I urge you to read their words:

Jennie @
Susanne @
Ruth @ rocknrollerbaby

In my last post I mentioned about 'Mile In Memory Walks' that are being organised across the UK for 11am on May 11th. I will be part of the North West one in Salford. We will be raising money for FSID's (the cot death charity). There's a little DONATE button on the top right of my blog. Please read more about why we are doing this and please give whatever you can - even if it's just £1. Every little helps to stop another family being broken. Also, if you can donate something to the online auction which will take place the same day - please contact one of us. I will blog more about it in the coming weeks. Thank you for any support you can give us.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ahoy There Pushchair Lovers - It's The Cosatto Yo!

I hold my hands up...

*holds hands straight up and looks a bit ashamed*

I should have written this post a few weeks back. Things have been a little hectic lately but I also think that subconsciously I'm upset that my time as a Cosatto Brand Buddy has come to an end.

And I really don't want it to end.

I have to say that Cosatto products rock. And when I say that 'I have to say...' I don't REALLY mean I have to say...nobody is forcing me to say it..I want to say it...because they DO rock! Confused? Probably. I do have a tendency to ramble on my blog.

Excitement as soon as it arrived!
Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yes...Cosatto products.

Well, Tiny Ched and I have had sooooo much fun. As a Cosatto Brand Buddy we've got to review the superb Noodle Highchair and the fabulous new Moon Unit travel cot/play pen. Also, before I was asked to be a Brand Buddy, we were sent to Swift Lite Supa pushchair which we fell in love with. I really didn't think anything could top it.

Until now.

We are certainly going out with a bang! Last month we were sent the incredible special edition Ahoy There Cosatto Yo! pushchair to review.

What do I think of it?

In a word...AWESOMENESS.

Yes, I'm just making up words now (sorry!). But it really is awesomeness.

Just the right size for MC's doggy ;-)
So much so that Matt and I are seriously considering taking the Yo! to Florida with us.

Now, I'm not saying we don't love the Swift Lite Supa. We do. It's just the Yo! has the edge on the manoeuvrability. It glides like an absolute dream. Yes, the Swift Lite Supa is a little more compact and lighter (I think...) but I've fallen for the Yo!

What's not to love?

Available in 6 eye-catching designs, the Yo! is the ultimate in funky design. It's lightweight aluminium chassis folds down umbrella-stylee into super compact easy to put in the boot (there's a mouthful!). It's got an automatic locking system which clicks into place when you put the pushchair away and it's even got a carry handle.

It's suitable from birth as it reclines fully flat but what's also great about the recline is that YOU can control it so there's no set positions - whatever works for you and your little one. It comes with a detachable head-hugger for small babies too.

MC even co-ordinated her hat and gloves with the Yo!
As with all the Cosatto products the attention to detail of the design is second to none. The 'Ahoy There' stripes and funky skull and crossbones go throughout the pushchair. They are even underneath the hood so your little one has something cool to look at. It comes complete with a funky fully fleeced footmuff (try saying that when you've had a few scoobies) with kangaroo pouch to keep little fingers warm in this crazily cold weather we've been having. It also comes with a rain cover (in a matching bag/bottle holder), reversible seat liner (fleece for winter and light for summer) and...wait for it *drum roll*...a matching change bag!

Seriously, the team at Cosatto have thought of everything.

The thing that we love the most (Matt and my parents have said this too) is how easy it is to push. It's just so lovely and glides along like it's on ice. I'm so pleased with it that it's my first choice when I'm out and about and will be forever, I think.

So, I'm going to leave you with my slightly rambling vlog review of the Yo! in which I am obsessing about the fact I didn't get chance to wash my hair this morning.

Yes, I've stooped to a new low.

I have no shame.

I tried to get away without unveiling my greasy mop on the world but, alas, it wasn't to be. Enjoy.

I wonder if I can become a brand buddy for a dry shampoo company next?

The Cosatto Yo! Ahoy There retails at £265 but is available online for as little as £207*

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

*price correct at time of writing

Monday, 11 March 2013

4 Today - Happy Birthday Mini Cheddar!

Exactly 4 years ago today I was a woman about to embark on an incredible journey.

That journey was motherhood.

I was about to become a mother for the first time.

Until then I had never realised just how much you could love something so small with all of your heart.

I didn't realise just how much my life was going to change.

For the better.

When I look back over each year I can't believe how much my beautiful baby girl has changed. How she's growing up into a confident, beautiful, intelligent and caring little lady.

Just after her 3rd birthday last year she became a big sister. She's been nothing but loving to her little brother and I trust her completely with him.

The two of them (and their Daddy) are my world.

My perfect world.

Happy Birthday MC. We love you very much xx

11th March 2009

11th March 2010

11th March 2011

11th March 2012

11th March 2013

I've not been blogging much over the past few months and I've certainly not been putting enough of my children on my blog. I want to spend more time documenting their lives so things are going to be different. Recent events have showed me just how much blogging is a world of love and memories.
Watch this space.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Goodbye #MatildaMae - My Words

I've scheduled this post to go live automatically at 10.15am today.

10.15am on March 7th 2013.

The time and date I think will be in the hearts and minds of many people forever.

The time and date we say goodbye to precious Matilda Mae - beloved 9 month old daughter of Jennie and David.

I feel honoured that Jennie would like me to speak at Tilda's funeral. She's asked me to mention when she told me she was expecting Matilda. I'm not going to lie though I'm terrified but I want, with all my heart, to do a good job. I'll have Susanne there to hold my hand and I, in turn, will be there for her when she speaks.

I think the youngest persons funeral I ever attended was 20 years old (a school friend). I never expected to be at the funeral of someone so young but...9 months old.

9 months!

I am still struggling to believe it all.

As this post goes live, so many people will be thinking of Jennie and David and holding their hands, either in person or virtually. Social media will be alight with thoughts and prayers for them and I know they will take great comfort in this.

Whatever you do today, promise me this. Hold your children extra tight. If you don't have children then hold a loved one tight. Tell them you love them. You really never know what life will throw at you.

I'm now going to end by sharing what I have written to say at the funeral*. I just hope I have the strength to get through it for Jennie xx


If you've not been part of an online community before, you may find it difficult to understand exactly what it means.

How can you care so much about people you've never met before?

The world of blogging is an extraordinary place. It's a world of love and support. It's a world where there's always someone to listen. It's a world where you can laugh. It's a world where you can cry. It's a world where we share our lives. Our highs and our lows. Our ins and outs. You may not be able to get a physical hug but you get the most incredible level of love and friendship that, sometimes, it can completely take your breath away.

I've met Jennie before but, sadly, I never got the chance to meet beautiful Baby Tilda. The first time I met Jennie I knew about the incredible secret her and David were carrying. You see, Jennie told me she was pregnant with Matilda before she announced it to the blogging community. Only her family and her best friend knew. She told me as I had just announced I was pregnant too and she was bursting to let someone else know. I remember her excitement at finally being able to tell me and I felt honoured to be carrying her secret too. We met at The Mad Blog Awards where we sipped soft drinks and shared nibbles to fight off early pregnancy sickness.

There were a large group of ugs all pregnant at the same time. And, even though some of us had never met each other we all shared such an incredible journey. Through our blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. we all exchanged our thoughts, excitement and fears about our pregnancies and the highs and lows of those first months of babyhood.

Through Jennie's writing we all grew to love Matilda as a part of this amazing community. A community that has been completely rocked by the tragic loss of such a beautiful baby girl. A community that will never be the same again.

Rest in peace Baby Tilda.

Photo by kind permission of Jennie xx

On Saturday 11th May 2013 (what would be just over a week after Matilda would have celebrated her 1st birthday) we will be walking a 'Mile In Memory of Matilda Mae' to raise money for FSID's. You can read more about it on Jennie's blog and I will be writing a blog post in the coming weeks with details of the North West event.

* These words are correct at the time of writing my blog post. They may be different to what I actually say as we are still working with all the speeches and we will be reading words from others too or we may not be speaking at all  


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