Monday, 24 June 2013

The Emotional Hangover - #BritMumsLive

It's Sunday 23rd June as I start to write this and I have an unbelievable hangover.

I didn't even drink last night.

I have an emotional hangover.

Yes, I spent Friday and Saturday at BritMums Live in London.

I'm sat here in a daze, trying to find the right words to sum up what I've just experienced.

Overwhelming, crazy, amazing, inspiring, happy, sad, whirlwind are just a few that spring immediately to mind.

There's one word that would stand out from them all though.


When I started blogging 2.5 years ago I had no idea of the emotional journey my blog would send me off on. I had no idea just how much sheer joy and also sadness it would bring into my life. But I also had no idea just what amazing friends it would help me find.

Like minded people with a passion for sharing their stories.

Stories from the heart. Stories of love. Stories of tragedy. Stories that make you wish you were wearing Tena Lady!

Each and every one of us has our own stories to tell and the last 2 days have brought together some of the best storytellers around.

I can't begin to tell you how many people I admire that I saw again or met for the first time this weekend. I can't possibly name everyone so I apologise for that. I can only name a few or this post would go on forever. But, if we met and shared a hug (or many hugs like the very lovely Lauren), a smile or a natter, know that you are included in this post.

Firstly, I have to show huge love to my gorgeous friend Heather (aka @photopuddle who blogs at the lovely It's All About The Photos).

13th March 2012, just 15 days before I had TC, an email dropped in my inbox. Heather and I had been chatting on our blogs and Twitter for a while and getting to know each other but then she emailed me out of the blue. 107 lengthy emails later... (I work that out at over 1.5 emails a week average), sharing tales of our similar aged families, our hopes, our dreams and our secrets...we finally met on Friday morning at Euston Station.

It felt like we already knew each other. As someone who met her husband online just under 10 years ago I know just how great a bond made over the Internet can be.

Heather and I spent pretty much the whole weekend together and I enjoyed her company a lot (I just hope she felt the same!). We also treated ourselves to rooms at a gorgeous hotel only a stones throw from The Brewery.

Saying goodbye to her on Saturday evening was strange. Knowing that she lives so far from me (about 250 miles) is quite gutting. We have a girl and a boy both of very similar ages and living closer would mean the kids would probably be friends too. I'm hoping we can see each other as often as we possibly can though.

There were incredible friends I'd already met quite a few times this year. Susanne (@ghostwritermumm) and Lisa (@hollybobs). The 3 of us will always be good friends, I know we will. I don't need to tell you all just how much I think of them - they know. Susanne and I will also always have that bond as we shared our journey and our tears at Matilda Mae's funeral.

Matilda Mae.

A name that will be forever on my lips, in my head and in my heart.

Her mummy. Jennie (@Edspire). Someone I'm truly honoured to call a friend. She is, quite possibly, the most loveliest, kind hearted, honest and most inspiring person you could meet. It was so lovely to wrap my arms around her again this weekend.

7th March was the last time I had hugged Jennie. It was at Tilda's funeral. Susanne and I had read on behalf of the blogging community at the funeral and this time we had been asked to read Merry's words again.

At BritMums Live!

In front of a huge conference room full of extremely talented women (and men). Far more talented than me.

On stage.

Hot glaring lights dazzling our eyes.

I'd been emotional from the moment I woke up on Saturday (just ask Heather). I'd not been able to sleep the night before (despite the gorgeous hotel and comfortable bed) which only made everything worse. Listening to words read by the amazingly inspiring Katie Piper that morning sent me over the edge and I lost control.

At various points during the day I gave into the overriding emotion of it all.

Susanne and I got through speaking though. Holding hands. Just like we'd done at Tilda's funeral.

Somehow I did it even though I was completely terrified and emotional. I found it so much harder than I did at the funeral. The funeral was intimate, it was close family and friends of Jennie's. It seemed easier, although that seems like the wrong word to use.

With thanks to the wonderful My Two Mums for
capturing this moment for Susanne and I
This was more out there. More open. More people. More expectation. It was also being streamed over the Internet and I knew Merry and others would be watching us. Reading someone else's words, especially when they are watching, is hard. Really hard.

My heart, like everyone else's, aches for the loss that Jennie has had to go through. I didn't know how I was going to stand strong enough to read about it again.

I faltered a few times.

Fighting back tears.

Susanne grabbed my hand.

Then I could hold my tears back no longer.

I cracked.

But I finished my piece.

Although a lot redder and snottier than I'd started! I'm so glad we'd taken tissues up with us.

I can't really remember walking off the stage. I do remember I walked off still clutching hands with Susanne. I can't remember any clapping. I don't even know what Katy Hill (who was utterly amazing!) said when she came back on the stage. I just remember seeing Jennie's face and hugging her tightly.

The amazing keynotes continued and then came more emotional outpouring as we all joined together to remember Kerry who passed away at the end of last year. Kerry is another blogger friend I'd had the pleasure of meeting and the memory of her gorgeousness will stay with me forever.

I don't think there was a dry eye in the house throughout the whole evening.

It was all so powerful.

So emotional.

So real.

I ended it all with this tweet

Because I do.

Monday, 17 June 2013

I'm Going To BritMums Live!

You know me? Always late to the party, especially recently.

In fairness though, this linky made an appearance a couple of day before my extended holiday and, what with drowning in boxes since my return 11 days ago, I'm just glad I'm able to get this up 4 days before the event.

Yes, I'm going to BritMums Live!


I booked the ticket when they first came available. In hindsight, had I known I would be going to Orlando for over 3 weeks and moving house at the same time, I probably wouldn't have signed up.

But I'm so glad I did!

It's going to be stressful and I'll probably be completely knackered (I'll be the one snoozing in the corner), I haven't even glanced at the agenda yet but I can't wait to wrap my arms around some old friends and meet some new ones. There are people going that I have known for over 2 years in the online world who I class as 'friends' but I've never actually met in person. How mad is that?

Anyway, enough ramble. Here goes with the linky...

Name: Heather

Blog: SAHM Loving It

Twitter ID: @sahmlovingit

Height: Just under 5ft 6" (the good thing about moving house is there's a tape measure to hand!)

Hair: Longish - highlighted. Probably with roots as I won't have time to get to the hairdresser.

Eyes: Two. Brown.

Is this your first blogging conference?
No, but it may as well be as I didn't attend any last year so it's 2 years since my last one.

Are you attending both days?
Most definitely - the more days I can avoid packing boxes, the better.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live?
Giving very special people very special hugs. I'm also looking forward to staying in a luxury boutique hotel with my lovely friend Photopuddle (we both deserve a treat) and I'm looking forward to meeting her - although it seems like we know each other inside out pretty much. We have separate rooms but will probably be in and out of each others. I may take some wine to calm our nerves before the conference.

What are you wearing?
Clothes. Whatever hasn't been packed for the move!

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live?
Apart from meeting old and new friends, I'm hoping to reignite the spark I had for my blog sometime ago. The two of us have become quite distanced from each other in the last 6-12 months.

Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows
That's a toughie as I think I've blurted out lots of secrets on this blog. Erm, ooh I know...I can't stand it if there's a plug socket with no plug in it but the switch is on. It makes me twitchy.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Distant Memories

By the time this post goes live I will have been back in the UK exactly a week.

And what a week it's been!

A week of ups and downs coping with jet lag, solicitor stress and house move packing.

It seems like our 22 nights in Orlando is just distant memories already.

But oh what a memory!

We had a truly amazing time. It was just full of sun and fun. Matt and I celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary inside The Magic Kingdom with our two children - it doesn't get much better than that! I can honestly say that I feel like it's the happiest place on earth. The enormity of what Orlando has to offer is incredible. In total now, we've spent just over 6 weeks out there and we've still only just scratched the surface of it.

We can't wait to go back already.

Remember I was a little apprehensive about taking Tiny Ched with us at only 13.5 months?

Well, I needn't have worried a bit. In fact, I think he enjoyed it the most out of all of us. He even finally learnt how to walk, the lazy little monkey.

I plan on writing about our trip in a lot more detail over a few posts but we are due to move house in just 2 weeks so time is something I don't have right now. Remind me never to move house on the back of a holiday again! I have already shared a few of our family photos on my recent Me And Mine post if you missed it.

I also have the amazing BabaSling to review which was a lifesaver on holiday. It's so lightweight and comfortable and was just what we needed, especially at the airport. Full review on this to follow.

In addition to this we took our Cosatto Yo!, which I've reviewed previously, away with us and it was brilliant! One of my major pieces of advice, if you are planning on visiting Orlando, is take a really good pushchair with you. 

We also used the brand new Snoozeshade Plus Deluxe which was fantastic - another lifesaver. TC slept so soundly even at busy and noisy theme parks in 35°C+ temperature! This is another piece of 'must have' advice for summer travelling with little ones.

Anyway, I digress (as usual).

I just wanted to churn out a blog post to announce my arrival back in the UK.



I am also going to BritMums Live the weekend after next. Let me know if you'll be there and come say "hi". I still can't believe that I'm going down to London in the middle of moving house too! If I'm totally honest, I could do without it but I am so looking forward to seeing old friends (and hugging them tightly) and meeting new ones. I haven't even thought about clothes or even looked at the schedule yet and I don't think I will have time to.

*takes deep breaths and swigs wine*

I'd also like to thank my lovely guest posters who wrote awesome posts for my blog whilst I was away. They are all brand new bloggers so, if you haven't already done so, go have a look and show them some support

I also want to apologise for not being on my blog, other blogs or social media much at the moment. I really miss reading and commenting on my friends blogs but that has to take a back seat for now until things calm down. I'm sorry. I will be back! I promise.

I'd also like to say...wait for it...

*passes sick bucket in advance*

...yes this post should come with a boak alert...

I'd like to say that... although I'm busy and stressed to the eyeballs at the moment (and suffering the "why can't I live in Florida?" syndrome) and *breathes sharply* not sleeping properly due to jet lag and stress ... I am happy.

Very happy.

I know I'm one blummin' lucky lady. 

I have one gorgeous and amazing husband who I love even more than the day I married him (and I didn't think it was possible) and two gorgeous, happy and healthy kids. We have just been on, what many would call, the holiday of a lifetime and we are soon to be moving into a big brand new house.

With everything that's happened in the last 6 months (can't believe it's 6 months since the beautiful MultipleMummy passed away), it's really made me appreciate everything so much more and I am trying my best to just be positive and happy that I'm truly blessed. Kerry's comment on my blog in 2012 was on my mind a lot during our holiday. How I wish things were so different.  

Oh yes, how I wish things were so so SO different.

Friends who are going through hard times right now are always in my thoughts and always will be. That's blogger friends and a couple of my very close real life friends (they know who they are). I shed tears of happiness on holiday but I also found myself shedding tears of sadness occasionally. Jennie, especially, has never been far away from my thoughts during our trip. Every bubble I saw blown into the sky at Disney I thought of Matilda Mae and how she would have loved it. I also thought of Tamsin and all that she is going through. I wore my 'Making Waves For Alex T-Shirt' which Mickey Mouse thought was awesome!

Yes, this holiday has made me appreciate everything so much more.

I have the post-holiday blues and feel like our holiday is just distant memories but that's what they are.


Amazing memories to cherish. Forever.

I'll always be thankful for them and so much more.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Guest Post...Toddles And Tantrums - May Bank Holiday at Bowood House

Last, but by no means least, is Millie. 

Millie is actually the only one of my guest posters who've I met in person. I was only introduced to her online the night before we met but when we physically met we gave each other the biggest hug ever. We were both at the funeral of Jennie's beautiful daughter, Matilda Mae.

Millie is just an all-round lovely lady and I'll be forever thankful for the love and support she gave me that day. I think it was that day that made her decision to enter the world of blogging...and so, Toddles and Tantrums was born.

Here Millie shares her lovely May Bank Holiday with us...

May Bank Holiday – Bowood House

How was your bank holiday Monday? Ours was pretty special. We spent the day with Craigs twin, Uncle Daz and his wife & family at the stunning Bowood House & Gardens, in Wiltshire. Home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Landsdowne – it’s a great way to spend a lazy sunny day. 

Adventure Playground
The site has a choice of fantastic adventure playgrounds which are set in 100 acres of parkland, designed by Capability Brown. It also has a lake, arboretum, pinetum and cascade.  The house itself is a treasure trove of fascinating items. Bowood is no ordinary country house, this is the ancestral home of a proper aristocratic family in the heart of beautiful rolling countryside. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

Death Slide
The Adventure Playground at Bowood was first opened in 1978. Designed and constructed by Cornish boat builder Alistair Guy, using timbers from the Estate, it has become one of Bowood's most famous features and has delighted hundreds of thousands of children ever since.

What I loved especially about this area is that it is restricted to children under twelve, it is without doubt one of the finest adventure playgrounds in the country. The playground has a full size pirate galleon called the 'Centaur', complete with rigging and a crow's nest. There are also several a very large slide, as well as high level walkways accessed by a huge scramble net. Most famous and popular of all is the 'death slide'! This vertical drop slide is a modern version of a Victorian invention and starts with a shocking 19- foot vertical drop which then levels out for an exciting, fast and slippery slide.

For Evan, and children of his age, the park had swing boats, trampolines, a Wendy House, a ball pool, see-saws, swings and a sand pit. The children in our party aged from 2 – 12 were kept happy here for a couple of hours playing in the sunshine. The park has lots of areas for you to camp out and have a family picnic. It also had many trees for you to hide under away from the sun. After camping out, playing & relaxing we decided to have a little wander around the estate. We stumbled across the house & had a look inside at its impressive chapel and antique treasures. We stayed inside for a well deserved cream tea which was scrumptious!

Bowood House
Evan and his cousins outside the house
We then ventured off across the lawns to the hidden cave, which led us out to a very impressive waterfall. The boys in particular were impressed with this and quickly undressed to enjoy the cool water. Evan had a little paddle in the stream too which cooled him down. Suddenly it was 5 o’clock and time to go home, but not before a photo to remember our lovely day.

Cascade Waterfall

I highly recommend this place if you are in the area, it’s lovely & relaxing & there’s plenty to do for everyone.
Evan, his cousins and their friends the Scudamores


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...