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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

This year is going so fast already and I cannot believe that in just a few weeks time, (15 days to be exact) it will be Mother’s Day yet again. I struggle at the best of times knowing what to buy people and Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to gift something that someone wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves or treat themselves too.

I’ve been taking a look at what’s around to gift this year and I’ve found some amazing companies that offer products that are treats for mums/completely unusual purchases and products that might just give mum a little bit of time off (or at least an easier day). I’ve also chosen some alternative/niche gifts that you might like and these are truly worth a nosey at.

First up are Cheshire Home Fragrance who had a fab rebrand last year and I have to say their monochrome products are very appealable aesthetically.

I chose the Blackberry and Bay fragranced set and the smell was stunning. The candles are extremely well made and these particular ones burn for 40 hours and in my opinion rank way up there with certain expensive brands but for a much more sensible price. I’ve recently been burning the Shortcake candle too and it was gorgeous, with so many different fragrances to choose from, it’s hard to pick my favourite. The set also came with a reed diffuser and an in car fragrance, two products that were completeley new to me. Placing the reed diffuser at the top of our stairs has given the landing a wonderful aroma when you pass. Take a few minutes to have a wander around their website as there are some beautiful products to treat your mum to or spoil yourself with. If you are local, you can also visit the lovely Caroline herself who makes all these lovely handmade candles as she has a lovely showroom in Hazel Grove.

Next up is some kitchen storage 🙂 I’m a complete sucker for kitchen utensils and gadgets and I came across this amazing egg hutch which I absolutely loved, even more so because they are handmade to order in Stockport and are available in a range of colours (mine matches the new paint I have bought for my kitchen). I love the fact that they are so unusual and I’ve never seen one in a shop like this before and that’s what appealed to me. I had a boring wired egg rack (no offence to anyone who has one of those) that I’d had from before I’d even moved in with Dan 8 years ago, finding this gave me an excuse to finally get rid of the old one and get a funky new one in our nearly new home!

Available to fit 12 or 24 eggs in and they can be delivered free to Stockport and surrounding areas you can send your queries/orders through to pwardjoinery-handmadegifts@outlook.com and they are taking Mother’s Day orders until Friday 2nd March (although they are available all year round too).

Michelle from the fabulous Crystal Company based in Macclesfield introduced me to this gorgeous gift set that made our bathroom smell absolutely exquisite. I am not joking, three days later our bathroom still smelt as though I had just taken the bath. This particular set was Rose Quartz and came with a Rose Quartz Crystal, a gorgeous candle, a few chocolates and two bath bombs that leave you with a smaller Rose Quartz after you have taken your bath. The aroma in the bathroom with this particular one was a stunning floral scent and I can’t wait to use the second one. These boxes make a great gift at £16.50 and you can also purchase the bath bombs and candles individually so there’s something for everyone. Click here to purchase or visit them on Instagram.

You can see the smaller Quartz in my hand here that I was left with after the bath.

Heading off to get my nails done (as seen in the photo above) is one of the only “mummy time” things that I get to do in a month. The ever friendly Mel at Composure & Harmony in Bramhall offers Bio Sculpture nails and the thing I love about her is that she is fast but the nails are amazing. As much as I love my mummy time, I still only get very little of it and this helps me out a lot! Mel and her team also offer lots of other beauty services and one that I’ve recently experienced is the Caci Hydrating Skin Boost which only takes around 15 minutes and is just £15. It is so relaxing, smell gorgeous and makes your skin feel beautiful (it does take a little longer and a few more pennies at £45 if you choose to have the Caci Ultrasonic Peel on top) and they are very much worth a try and I can’t wait to have another one.  Composure and Harmony have gift vouchers available for Mother’s Day gifts and always have special offers on for those special treats.

I’m giving away a personalised soft toy in my competition, click here to enter

One of my favourite companies that I came across during this research was Cooks at Home. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love cooking, genuinely I do and from scratch as I always find it tastes better. As a Mum though, sometimes you just want a night off from cooking but to still have a good meal but in my house it hardly happens as Dan is so busy with other jobs that I’ve given him 😀. Kelly from Cooks at Home popped round to my house and left us with three samples. Prior to this, I’d had a phone call with her so she could determine what to make us. This involved telling her of foods that we didn’t like and foods that we couldn’t eat. Mushrooms (bleurgh) and fish (allergies) were off the list for us and this led to Kelly making uo three lovely meals, Carribean Chicken, Lasagne and Chicken Satay.

The best thing is that I didn’t have to prepare them! They were dropped off frozen and went straight into our freezer and I was able to pop them in the oven straight from frozen and just add a bit of veg or rice to them. The food was extremely tasty and I was shocked to find that my favourite was Chicken Satay as I wouldn’t usually say that I am a huge fan of food with peanut butter in but it was so yummy! The lasagne was meaty and juicy and the Carribean Chicken was perfect with the meat being very tender. Cooks at Home don’t only prepare off site, they will actually come to your come, prepare and cook in your kitchen, clean up and leave you with a freezer full of food. You can book a personal chef for the evening for any occasions, hire them for outside catering, after school cookery clubs and join them in a cookery class (which is something I hope to be booking on soon). Take a look here for further details.

Stickerscape are a company that I came across last year when we were decorating Asher’s Nursery as they make wall stickers, these turned Asher’s Room into a gorgeous little haven for him, you can see this here. As well as stickers, they also sell some unique gifts that I’ve been taking a look at. I actually bought my Granny a shopping bag from them for Christmas because I loved the fact that I could find something for her with Granny on as that is what I call her, the best thing was is that she absolutely loved it. The same goes for their Mother’s Day products, I was sent a gorgeous bag with “Mama” on it as that is what Leo calls me (see the pink bag below with chief bottom wiper on it) and it’s lovely that you get things on with Mum, mummy and Mama! They have lots of different products to chose from and I’ve shown some of my favourites below.

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They have many variations of styles and in lots of different colours. I love this #mummyfuel gift bag, it’s fab and reusable when you’re visiting other people with wine! Check out their shop here.

If you are looking for something to keep forever, head on over to Daisy Imprints. The lovely Amanda makes beautiful, solid silver finger/hand/foot and animal print charms, jewellery, cuff links and other gifts.

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You do need to book an apointment (at her home in Cheadle) for fingerprints but she is able to send out inkless wipe kits for all other prints to be captured easily in the comfort of your own home. Gift Vouchers are available.

Please contact Amanda on: 07963 906698 or email: amanda@daisyimprints.co.uk or message via Facebook or Instagram or Twitter

Synerva CBD oils are offering products that are made from the finest organic, zero THC,CBD Hemp oil. I received the RELAX Chamomile CBD Oil and before you start to get worried after seeing the word Hemp, that you could get high, don’t worry, you won’t!

It is used for many different things from anxiety & depression to pain relief, sleep issues and cancer. It’s wakes up your endocannabinoid system and works to put your body back into a state of homeostasis and don’t worry it is legal in the UK. CBD oils are still very new to the UK but I’ve already started to notice them when out shopping. I remember about 20 years ago when a well know high street brand made Hemp Lip Balm and people couldn’t believe it! This is something new and worth taking a look at.

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The appealing thing for me was the benefits for sleep as mine is awful! I’ve just started to use this, so I will bring you an update on another blog soon.This product is a food supplement and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. For more information and to purchase, click here.

Loretta Douglas, a local provider of Temple Spa products sent me a package which basically has everything in for an indulgent pampering session for yourself and you can choose products to match your skin type. This is basically a “spa in a box” and you can purchase specific products for different skin types and the best thing is that it has instructions on the inside of the box of how to use the products and in what order to have the most amazing “me time”. I often buy things or get given presents of beauty products and don’t have a clue as to which order they should be used in or which should be used with which, this is why these instructions were perfect! I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who does this, if you do it too – you’d love one of these boxes.

The products smelt divine. They literally made you smell like you do when you have spent the day in a spa being pampered – they definitely have the luxurious feel to them. I have to say, my favourites were the Purification Deep Cleansing Mask as it made my skin feel amazingly cleansed and fresh and the WORK IT OUT muscle tox bathing and massage oil smelt lovely and made my skin feel really soft after my bath. Oh and the last thing, the ALL TALK moisturising lip balm is fabulous. Around 8 years ago, I ended up with an infection in hospital and it scarred my lips and I find it hard to find a good lip balm, but I think I’ve just found my new one! It made my lips feel soft, took the roughness out and felt like it stayed on a good few hours as I often find they feel like they wear off quickly! I’ve also been lucky enough to try out their award winning Skin Truffle range and I’ll certainly be using it again as I love the way it made my skin feel and as a bonus it smelt fab too. I’m extremely impressed with this range and I’ll certainly be trying more of it out.

Take a look here at products available and to purchase.


Photgraph Copyright: Temple Spa
I also found out that Loretta offers a portfolio of ‘spa wherever you are’ classes in the comfort of your own home. All free of charge and all guests are guided through a luxury spa facial. It’s perfect for Mum’s who are desperate for some very much needed ‘me time’! I’m very much looking forward to booking one of these!

The last thing that I’m giving a recommendation for are Himalayan Salt Rock Lamps. Cheshire Energy Therapies sent me one over to test out and I have to say it was very relaxing having the lamp on in the evening, the light that came off it was a bit like the glow that you’d get off a camp fire, it reminded me of sitting on a beach in the Maldives on our honeymoon with the locals playing guitars around a beach camp fire 💕. One of the benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps is that they cleanse the air which for me is great having asthma.

img_5372 To read more about the benefits of these lamps, take a look here and visit Cheshire Energy Therapies to purchase.

So that’s it for my Mother’s Day Gift List 2018, I hope that you’ve found something interesting in here that you can gift on Mother’s Day, or treat yourself too! Go on, I’m giving you permission xxx

No payment was taken for any of these reviews and all thoughts are my own.

If you would like me to do a full review of a product or include you in a gift guide, please contact me using the details below;

Email: samepersondifferentme@gmail.com

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Click here to enter my competition to win a gorgeous personalised soft toy – ends 28/02/2018

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Oh, the guilt!

Could I actually feel guiltier than I do?

Pregnancy is full of amazing moments, watching your baby move in your stomach, mum looking “blooming” lovely, hair and skin glowing, energy to carry on going to the gym, eating healthier etc. etc.…

Actually, no. My experience is the complete opposite

Being totally honest, I cannot stand being pregnant. People often presume that being pregnant especially after child loss should automatically mean that you would enjoy every second of the pregnancy and treasure everything that is happening, that you should be grateful that you have the opportunity to have another child again and be thankful for being able to have this experience again.

That’s exactly why I feel so bloody guilty. I lost Millie and had a not very enjoyable pregnancy with Leo, alongside the crappy physical experience that I had with nausea, sciatica, iron problems and exhaustion; I also had an awful time with my mental health and struggled to bond with the little man Leo growing inside me because of our previous loss of Millie. I couldn’t wait to just have Leo in my arms, to not only stop all the physical pain I was in but also because I knew that my mental health would be so much better once he arrived.

Then there was the miscarriage. Sadly, 12 weeks into my third pregnancy last November, I suffered a missed miscarriage that was not only physically hard but affected my mental health yet again. I was extremely embarrassed that my husband was watching me miscarry in the bathroom (I don’t even pee in front of him) but I needed him more than anything by my side, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. It felt demeaning, I felt useless that I couldn’t protect my baby again and I was also filled with so much sadness that my husband was watching me lose his child.

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Then I got pregnant again earlier this year – and the cycle began again. I was diagnosed with HG, it turned out that I had huge problems with my iron that meant my body wasn’t doing what it should be with it and that was causing exhaustion. You might think here, she was just a little tired. It wasn’t that. I physically did not have any energy. I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t get dressed, I couldn’t come down the stairs and some days I couldn’t even lift my arms. Eventually after a few months, I was put on some medication that took a few weeks to work but my energy started to come back and I began to function again. I was so glad because I felt so guilty that I couldn’t play with my little boy Leo, he spent weeks seeing me laid up in bed or with my head down the loo, some days he even learnt to hold my hair back whilst I was throwing up. This type of illness played havoc with my mental health, it took a huge nose dive and some days I just didn’t want to wake up (when I did sleep) because I felt such a burden to my little family.

Click here to purchase Millie’s Trust merchandise VAT FREE for the final day until 9pm 30th Sept 2017. 

My hair comes out when I brush it when I’m pregnant, I can’t stand my skin, I can only eat certain foods and then the heartburn kicks in. I honestly feel like I am genuinely keeping Gaviscon in business and have been for the past few months. The hospital has given me tablets for the heartburn, they were great; for the first two weeks. Unfortunately now, they seem to wear off pretty much as soon as I have taken them; not fun.

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Then there is the bladder jumping. Yes, this little man seems to like partying on my bladder during the early hours of the morning, pretty much every day. This was okay in my last pregnancies, as I could get to the bathroom pretty quickly but now, I’m on crutches.

Did I not tell you that bit? No, well, just to add to the fun, my body is trying to wear me down even more by adding Sciatica and SPD to my list of pregnancy problems. Again something I was coping with until recently when my legs starting to go from underneath me, in particular if I had been asleep in bed during the night. It soon became where I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without having to hold on to pieces of furniture or the walls to get there. After a very quick referral (thank you NHS and Wythenshawe Midwife/Consultancy Teams) to a physiotherapist, I had a few sessions and was straight away given a support belt for my stomach (I really wish that I had the nerve to put a photo of it here – but believe me, it is the least sexy thing that you have ever seen. Think Tubi-Grip that you have when you sprain your wrist, except this one is big enough to go all the way from your boobs, across your stomach and to your hips).

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Dan just laughed. I don’t blame him. I look ridiculous.

Then came the crutches. Well this is lots of fun, with a toddler. Not.

I also have to use them every day even if I have no pain, so I don’t counter-act the benefit on good days. I feel like a total spanner. 8 months pregnant with this huge bump and on crutches – no wonder people are looking at me in sympathy.

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Chester Zoo was fun this week on my birthday. Dan hired me a mobility scooter. Oh the humiliation I was thinking … but actually it was a great idea and we got around so many more animals than if I would have been hobbling around on crutches. Leo thought it was hilarious and he got to have a little sit on it before we left.

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The physical pain that I am in though isn’t a laughing matter. It’s excruciating some days and it makes me cry. It makes me really sad that I can’t play with Leo like I want to.

After all that – I’m not even sure that I have captured all the reasons that I don’t like pregnancy here – but you must get the idea.

To all you mums that completely adore being pregnant, I totally envy you – I really do. I wish I could enjoy my pregnancies; it would be great.

But to all those mums who feel even the slightest bit of guilt like myself, I’m with you, I feel your pain and it will all be over soon, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Bring on the Pink Botegga Prosecco and Camembert Cheese! I cannot wait. That’s all I can say!

Saturday 30 September is your last chance to purchase VAT free merchandise and Qualification Course places for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at work. You have until 9PM on this date to purchase VAT FREE. This includes are limited edition giraffes too, so please click here to purchase to save pennies before the increase.

 To read We got his hair cut blog, click here

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During October Stickerscape will be supporting Baby Loss Awareness UK 2017. Every sticker sold during this month we will donate £1 to the The Miscarriage Association (charity no. 1076829) and Millie’s Trust (charity no. 1151410).

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We are Seven

If many more people thought like the child in this poem, the world would be just a little lighter for many bereaved parents as the acknowledgment of every child they created and not just the ones that they still have with them everyday is something many of us crave. 
I’ll forever be a mum of every child I’ve held inside me, not just the ones I can hold tight every day. xxx

We are Seven – William Wordsworth 

—A simple child,That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

—Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”
“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be.”
Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.
“And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.
“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.
“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And, when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.
“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little maid’s reply,

“O master! we are seven.”
“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

William Wordsworth

International Bereaved Mother’s Day Sunday 7th May 2017 – send a thought to those who pop into your mind, they’ll appreciate it xxx
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Never Ending Cycle of Life

There are so many special events throughout a lifetime for your children, the day they begin to talk, when they start school, move to high school, graduate university, get engaged, get married, have children; the list is literally endless but for Millie, she was never even given the chance to get started.

I am so proud of my little baby girl, I am so proud that she came into my life and I got to see her smile, I got to hear her laugh, I got to see her wiggle her little bum when she was dancing. I am so proud of everything that she was and I hate saying that as I want to still be saying that I am so proud of everything that she is, but I can’t because she is gone.

I am genuinely sat here in tears whilst I am writing this because as I am writing, I am flicking through video footage of Millie and once again I can her laugh, I can see her gorgeous smile appearing and I am watching her little bum wiggle and I miss every tiny cell of her body, it tears me apart that Dan and I created this amazing little human being and she was ripped from us in an instant and we never even got a chance to say goodbye.

Led in front of me right now, is our newest little addition, little Leo and he is fast asleep and I can hear him breathing and every breath I hear come from him is a treasure to me, only a parent who has lost a child will understand that. I want all the things for Leo that I wanted for Millie, that has not changed, what has changed is how I think. I try not to imagine Leo growing up and experiencing all these things that Millie missed out on because , for my own sanity, I have to concentrate on one day at a time and cherish whatever Leo is doing on each and every separate day.

For 2 years, Dan and I haven’t done birthdays or Christmas, we couldn’t face it. I couldn’t face going out and looking for presents for my family and friends, especially the children. The pull from my heart to my eyes strengthened so much if I even thought about trying to shop for child; my heart made my thoughts turn into tears. This wasn’t just for the younger children, this was for the older ones too – I couldn’t face looking at things that I was never going to be able to buy for my daughter, toys that I would never be able to see my daughter play with or clothes that she could never wear.

This year though, we are attempting it, for Leo’s sake – to ensure his normality of life is there as he grows up. We seem to be doing ok so far. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, I still cry, I still come home with headaches because I have tried to buy someone something and it has stressed me out so much because my head has been in a totally different place. This week it has been a set of twin relatives eighteenth birthday , two absolutely gorgeous, articulate and intelligent girls and we went to their 18th birthday party. Looking at them hurts, it hurts that I will never ever see my little girl turn into this beautiful woman who is so excited for her 18th birthday party, a party that I can never throw for her. It hurts that I can’t see her get excited about passing her driving test or take her to look around universities (that’s if she wanted to go), see that’s the thing , I will never know if she wanted to go into further academia, she might have just wanted to throw a rucksack on an go travelling and to be honest , she could have done exactly as she had pleased and I wouldn’t have tried to stop her, because all I wanted for her was to be happy and enjoy her life.

Then it comes to the dad’s to look so proud – hearing their dad talk about them with so much pride in his voice , so ecstatic that his daughter’s have grown up to be polite, stunning and amazing human beings. You don’t know how much that hurts me as a mum, it hurts me because I know it hurts Millie’s daddy, I can see the pain in his eyes when he sees things like this, I know that his heart is breaking and all he wants to do is stand there and cry, just like I do. I detest the fact that I cannot do anything to ease my husband’s broken heart, to stop him feeling this excruciating pain. We have sadly learnt how to keep our poker face on now in the moment, the tears stay put until we get home. Mine came in the shower later.

Just over 12 months ago, one of my truly best friend’s got married, I’ve known her for close to 20 years and when I have needed her, she has been there supporting me every step of the way. At her wedding I was one of her bridesmaids and I was genuinely honoured to have been asked by her, as (I don’t actually know if she knows this) I have never been a bridesmaid before. When she asked me, of course I said yes, there was nothing to even think about. Later that night, I cried, I cried so many tears because I knew that my daughter would have taken my place if she was still here, I know she would have been a little flower girl/bridesmaid tottering down the aisle, stealing my place of a bridesmaid from me, but that would have been OK, she would have been entitled to steal it from me and I would gladly have let her. It was me though as a bridesmaid that day, it was I that was the bridesmaid because my little girl had left us way before her time, before her mummy. It hurt that day, it really did.

HB Wedding Me as a bridesmaid with Dan, (the eyes say more than the smile here)

But back to proud dads. My friend kept completely to tradition that day and kept her dad away until she was ready, until she was ready to show him what a beautiful bride she was (she really was).

He walked through the door; the look on his face when he looked at her, the look that he couldn’t believe that this stunning bride was his daughter, his little girl – that it probably didn’t feel like two minutes ago that he was teaching her to read, to ride a bike and to tie her shoelaces. But here she was, all grown up, ready to create this whole little new family and become someone’s wife.  It’s really funny because this was such a lovely moment, it really was and I will never forget that split second look on his face as he beamed his “proud dad” smile for the first time at seeing his daughter in her wedding dress. The reason it’s funny? Because this was like a dagger to my heart for Dan, it didn’t affect me as much when the mother of the bride was in the room, it was the dad. All I could think about was how Dan was never ever going to get this moment with his precious daughter, how he was never ever going to do that “proud dad” smile as he saw his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time. It hurts me more when I know Dan is suffering because we lost Millie. I blame myself, I know I shouldn’t because it wasn’t my fault but your head does crazy things to you, my head makes me think, well if Dan had never met me or married me then he would never have had to go through this pain. I know, it’s stupid because we could never in our wildest nightmares have predicted what happened to Millie but it doesn’t stop your brain thinking it.

The closest we ever got to seeing Millie in anything remotely similar to a wedding dress was at her christening and I am so glad that her great-granny bought her this amazing gown, she looked absolutely gorgeous in it, I am sure that you will agree.

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I know that this is going to be a never ending cycle, there will always be something that will be coming up that Millie should be involved in or that Millie should be doing. People like to say that “it must get easier” – for your information it doesn’t get easier in the slightest, you just learn to live with it. The pain is still exactly the same, the same as what is was on 23rd October 2012, just after 1pm when I found out Millie had passed but there are tricks that you learn, tricks that you learn to use to in front of other people and to be honest, a lot of the time, the tricks are to benefit you, not us …..

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Got to love a good TV show

As in most relationships I can guess that sometimes (often) you clash when you are deciding what to watch on television in the evening and we are no exception to that. We are also a couple who don’t ever seem to watch live television anymore as we are just too busy; On Demand and Netflix are great inventions for busy people as it is the only way that we get to watch tv!

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Currently when we are in our separate time when one or the other is out, I am watching Thirteen Reasons Why; which I didn’t think that Dan would like to watch but every time he sees me watching it, he says “I can’t believe that you’re watching that without me” Clearly I was wrong.

To be honest I thought it would just be a cheesy high school teen show but actually it’s about growing up, suicide, teenage indifferences and it is quite a dark show. Dan is currently watching Breaking Bad when I’m not in but he can keep that one to himself, as I’m not keen on that show.

We are huge Netflix fans, all those shows for a few pounds a month and there is always something to watch for everyone in the family on there and it’s very rare that we don’t find something that we agree on.

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There are some programmes that we love to watch together and recently we have seen some great series. We were huge fans of Dexter (I swear he is still alive) the serial killing blood splatter analysis who worked for the police.

Michael C.Hall portrayed the character so effectively, so it’s been great to see him recently in a new show on Netflix. If you like a good short drama then catch him in Safe which has recently been released on Netflix and is about his daughter going missing and their search for her (if you’re from Manchester, see what places you can spot as it was filmed here).

If you were fans of the Lethal Weapon films in the nineties then you will either love or hate the Lethal Weapon series that is currently on at 9pm on a Friday evening. We love it, the characters and storylines are really well thought out and it’s actually quite funny in a lot of places. I’ve become a big fan of Clayne Crawford who plays Detective Martin Riggs in the programme and I’m quite sad that apparently he’s not coming back for a third series but he is being replaced by Seann William Scott (you might know him as Stifler from the American Pie films) so it’s not all bad as he’s quite funny.

Then there is Sons of Anarchy, if you haven’t seen this yet – you don’t know what you are missing. A group of bikers that have their own way of living that are involved in so many crimes that you cannot keep track of them all. As you watch more episodes, they delve into the lives of the characters and you end up warming to them. To be honest, it took me a couple of episodes to actually get into it but once I did we had some serious binge sessions where before we knew it, it was 1.30am in the morning and we had hammered 3 or 4 episodes at once. As you work your way through the series, you can see that more money was being thrown at it as the special effects, stunts and storylines got a lot bigger.

I always found it highly amusing that Katey Sagal (who you might remember as Peggy Bundy from Married with Children) plays quite a prominent character in the programme but I wanted her to rock up as Peggy, just for a laugh. Seriously though, she is a great actress and the rest of the cast work amazingly well together. I’m very pleased to hear that there are going to be spin offs from this show over the next couple of years, I’m looking forward to them very much.

So that’s my little round up of what we like to watch and I would love to hear your recommendations as we always on the lookout for new shows.

This Blog was sponsored by Panasonic.

Tidy Tot Review

We’ve been checking out the Tidy Tot recently, what an interesting product to be trying out.

We all hate the mess don’t we? The mess that is created when weaning a baby. Asher is currently in that stage, so this product couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

Arriving in a small package from our lovely post lady, we couldn’t wait to give it a go.

I love the green colour (I’m obsessed with Green, so this worked well for me), so bright and cheerful for Asher too!

The Tidy Tot was very easy to put together, it just kind of flipped open ready to insert onto Asher’s highchair, attaching by small suction cups to make sure that it didn’t move about – what a great idea rather than it being able to spin around.

Once the Tray is attached to the high tray the bib is then put on the baby, it was a lovely size bib with long sleeves and a Velcro attachment that attached to the tray meaning that absolutely no escapee food would be able to get onto any clothes, a miracle! Not only that, food doesn’t disappear down the side of the highchair and get squashed between baby’s legs or against the highchair anymore, meaning more food is eaten!

I love the design on the bib with the clouds and rainbows, so pretty and Asher kept trying to play with the clouds whilst he was waiting for his food, very cute 💕.

As you can see in the photo below, the tray is huge. It’s great for Asher to be able to have all this room as he likes to play around with the cutlery and dishes and having all this extra room means that if he flips the bowl over at any point, the food isn’t going to get all over the carpet as the tray just catches it. Fabulous idea.

The tray and the bib does have to be cleaned after every use but I’ve found that I’m changing Asher’s clothes less as his food doesn’t end up all over him – it’s much easier wiping down the tray and putting the bib in the wash than cleaning Asher every time that he eats something. I think it would be a good idea to purchase a spare bib as that would mean that one could be in the wash whilst you use the spare one – we will certainly be buying a spare one.

The bibs are made of a very soft fabric and are fully waterproof and wipeable, I’m not actually sure how that works but it does.

Asher is loving his new found freedom of being able to mess around with spoons full of food without daddy stressing over the mess, he’s not a fan of the messy weaning process but this is making it a little easier on him 😀.

I would definitely recommend purchasing the Tidy Tot if you want a little bit of help in keeping everything a little bit cleaner during the weaning process or when you are having messy play time! The Tidy Tot also comes with a handy little bag that it all folds back into for you to take on your travels and a perfectly easy storage solution.

I’m sure that Asher will make good use out of all this extra space as he makes his way through all the amazing foods just waiting for him to explore.

Check out more about Tidy Tot and purchase here

Suitable from age 6 months to 2 years.

Baby Mule Changing Bag Review

We’ve recently been testing out the Babymule Original Baby Changing Bag and here’s our thoughts.

Originally we had just taken to using the changing bag that we had with Leo but it was looking a little tired so it was great to get our hands on a brand new fresh design that was sent for me to review.

Firstly, it looks great (opinion of both my mummy and daddy). I can’t see that Dan would be that comfortable carrying around a girlie changing bag of my choice but he was very happy with this one. A smart rucksack type looking bag that we tested out in black with little hints of red. (More colours available here) , there are some gorgeous colours available, my personal favourite being the teal colour, beautiful!

The best thing that I loved about this bag was that you could wear it as a rucksack (perfect for walking with) or it adapts to a messenger type bag or you can hang from your pram with special clips included. To have the adaptability in a changing bag like this is fantastic to ensure that it works on all your family adventures.

Below you can see Dan rocking the bag as a rucksack and hanging from the pram as I pushed it around the zoo. It is extremely Versatile and I love the fact that you aren’t restricted to the messenger bag like a lot of baby changing bags on the market. We often don’t have the pram with us or don’t want it hanging from the pram and this is the perfect choice for us. Neither of us had any issues when wearing the bag, the padded straps actually made it rather comfortable to wear. I actually find wearing the bag as rucksack the best for me as it means that I have two free hands for my little ones and it’s out of the way and not hanging by my side; also works well like this if you are also wearing baby!

Changing from messenger to backpack is extremely simple and you aren’t left with any loose straps hanging around as they all pack back into the bag ensuring it stays looking sleek. I love this because I cannot cope with unnecessary bits hanging off bags and like everything to be neat and tidy when out and about.

The bag has two main compartments for all those things apart from the kitchen sink that we take out with us and they are very spacious. We found the bag had plenty of room (22 litres) for all Asher’s baby things (nappies, milk, numerous outfits, wipes etc), also coping with what we needed to take out for our three old toddler Leo too and plenty of left over room for toys for both of them and of mummy’s purse and phone!

Pockets, pockets and more pockets! I love them all! Lots of pockets for lots of essential things that we pick up on our adventures and travels like stones and sticks and acorns!

I found that there is a really handy zip compartment on the side of the bag that is just big enough to pop in my phone, keys, a bit of cash and my inhaler – everything that I need to hand without having to dig through the main sections in the bag under the mountains of bits that come with our little ones – trust me, this is a blessing in disguise when you have two young ones with you!

Below you can see a couple more well designed compartments attached to the bag itself…

First up is the small insulated changing pouch which we found is an ideal size to store about 5 nappies in and a full size pack of wipes alongside a neatly folded onesie, perfect for those times when you need a quick change and need everything to hand quickly. In the back of it also fits a decent sized (56cm x 34cm) changing mat which for an added bonus for little bums is padded so makes it that little it comfier for them.

The best bit … drum roll please … a lined wet bag! Yes, somewhere to finally put messy/wet clothing/muslins/bins separately instead of being thrown in with the rest of the stuff or having to remember (which I always forget) to put in a separate carrier bag! The photo above I took before I used it when it looked all lovely and new straight out of the bag but I can genuinely say that it has been used on plenty of occasions now to store unsavoury soiled clothing and the odd bits of rubbish when we haven’t been able to find a bin straight away.

What can I say, it’s a great piece of baby kit and at around £89 to purchase, it’s not the cheapest of bags or the most expensive but it is definitely worth the purchase as it looks great, has plenty of storage and is machine washable (one of my favourite things in baby products 😀).

I think that Babymule have hit a niche market here with their design, the fact that it has appealability to dads as well as keeping mum happy that she can get everything from her handbag in too allows couples to choose this bag together and ensure that both are happy to carry it around.

The changing bag has become a good looking add on to all our days out whether that be a trip to the shops, the zoo or the park!

When you purchase the changing bag itself it includes the following;

1 x Babymule Original changing bag in Black

1 x Separate insulated changing pouch with short carry handle. Holds 5-8 nappies or 3 cloth nappies and wipes. Also doubles as a cool bag for carrying toddlers snacks

1 x padded change mat 56centimeter x 34 centimeter

1 x lined wet bag in a handy zippered purse

1 x Neoprene bottle insulator with carry strap.

For full details of the bag, take a look here.

Happy Shopping!

I’m still going

So I carried on with the training that I started with That Squatbot back in March.

Take a look here for how I got started and what I originally thought and here for an update at week 4.

I’m now just about completing cycle 2 and I can honestly truly say that I am still loving it and I am so very surprised at that. Not because it’s exercise but because it’s a different type of exercise that I’d never done before.

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I like being a bit of a loner (or like my own company if it sounds better that way) 😂! So for me to agree to work with a personal trainer took some persuading to myself, but it’s honestly one of the best decisions that I’ve made. I often like to just put my headphones on and go to the gym or on the running machine and not speak to another soul in the gym and then leave, but working out with That Squatbot has been so much more different than I anticipated.

She has been giving me so much encouragement, providing me with lots of advice of what better things to eat, how to perfect different exercise techniques and has generally become a friend!

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We train at a gym in Heald Green and the other trainers and visitors are all so friendly. I was a little apprehensive in the beginning as I thought it felt like a real serious gym goers gym with all these weird and wonderful machines but after a couple of sessions, it didn’t feel like that anymore.

And oh my I missed it … true sign of an addiction… Dan had his tonsils out a couple of weeks ago but then unfortunately ended up having a further emergency operation which meant between the kids, work and looking after a poorly husband, I couldn’t get to my own gym or to see Squatbot and I began to crave it. Not just for the physical side of it but for the mental health side of it. I needed to let some steam off and the gym has become my place to this! (Ask That Squatbot about our boxing sessions 😂 #sorrynotsorry)

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Thankfully Dan is nearly back to normal now and my mum came over to help this week during half term so I managed to get there a couple of times and I’m now booked in for a full new cycle with That Squatbot and I cannot wait.

I haven’t weighed or measured myself for a couple of weeks as I lost my good earring habits whilst Dan has been ill but I’m getting back into it again. But all my maternity clothes are now away (yay!) and a lot of my clothes are starting to fit better – my aim was the 9 months on, 9 months off cycle and Asher has just recently hit 7 months old so I am totally on track and I cannot wait to hit my target if things go to plan!

The 9 month on/9 month off theory I think is a very sensible train of thought after having a baby. In those first few months, you don’t have time for yourself, you really don’t; not unless you have a lot of help around you to give you that free time and we don’t and with having two boys at home now, it was even harder this time than it was after Millie & Leo but I’m getting there.

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It’s not just about weight loss though for me, I’m not interested in the scales anymore (which is a bad habit that I have gotten rid of) it is about toning, my clothes fitting much better, my mental health and getting stronger. I feel so much stronger in what really is just a short space of time. I love not struggling to pick my children up anymore – and often both of them together because my arms weren’t strong enough and my back pain from pregnancy was still causing me issues. Weight Training has really helped me develop a stronger core, improve my posture and improved my back pain and I am genuinely so glad that I started this new challenge.

That Squatbot has also managed to convince me to aim for a further challenge and enter a competition in November with her! Eek, I agreed and I’m sure it will be fun but I’ll need to be working hard for this with her. This one isn’t about winning anything for me, this is about challenging myself to do something like this and I’ve never competed like this for anything before. Training for this alongside training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks that I am taking part in, in September this year for Millie’s Trust should hopefully see me hit my 9 month target!

As a Mum in her thirties, I often feel like I’m a bit lost. I was feeling like I was just working and being a mum and wife and I had nothing for myself, nothing to do for me, nothing to call mine. Now I do and it’s not only benefited me but it’s benefitted my family as I am a much better place mentally and even having to get up in the mornings for my early sessions (I love early mornings) has meant that my day is longer and I get more done, I’ve created those extra hours that I so badly needed.

Fancy joining me on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk in September – click here for details

That’s a wrap for now! But if you’re local and fancy a session with That Squatbot, give her a shout here on Facebook or catch her on Instagram.

Click here to read my blog We are Seven

A civil case

We’ve got a little bit of news to share with you and it’s with a very emotional heart that we have decided to share this with you.

Following Millie’s Inquest ending in December 2013, Dan and I decided to pursue a civil case over what happened to Millie. We decided to keep this from the public because it was private to Dan and I as a family. To be honest, even very few family and friends know that we have been doing this, so this will be a little shock to some of those reading this.

Many people thought that we stopped everything after the Inquest but we didn’t as we wanted to feel as though we achieved a little bit of justice about what happened to Millie and to feel that we fought for her, we know as parents that you will no doubt understand this.

Unfortunately we will never know exactly what happened to Millie that day and as a parent that is completely heart breaking. What we do know is that we dropped of our perfectly healthy precious daughter at Ramillies Hall Nursery to be looked after, and never saw her alive again.

We have decided the time is right now to talk because the civil proceedings have been going on for many years behind closed doors now and unfortunately we are now heading towards a trial in the summer of this year.

As Millie’s parents we genuinely believe that more could have been done for Millie when she started to choke on her lunch and we will never stop believing that. We believe that Millie received minimal first aid treatment from the staff at the nursery and she was then held and given no CPR before the ambulance arrived.

Dan and I sadly watched CCTV footage of Millie being taken to the ambulance, footage that the jury at the Coroner’s Inquest didn’t get to see. On this CCTV, to Dan and I, Millie looks like a rag doll and we believe that before this point that Millie should have been receiving CPR as she had symptoms of not breathing normally at this point.

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Throughout the years that we have been pursuing the civil case, we have often been in positions where we have felt pressurised to drop Millie’s case and believe me, we have been so depressed about it all that at some stages we nearly have; but we pulled through and fought our own mental health illnesses to continue for our Millie.

We have continually felt as though the nursery had a lack of respect for us as a family, starting with the fact that they chose to keep the nursery open the day after Millie died there, as though it was business as usual and we have had to have the police involved to stop relatives of staff working there spreading rumours about Millie the day she passed away and us as a family.

This is one of the hardest things that we have ever had to write about in a long time because we never thought that we would talk about it but with the impending public trial- we feel it’s the right time for us.

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We would like to thank you all for your support to us since Millie passed away and we hope to continue to have your support going forward.

Joanne & Dan Thompson (Millie’s mummy & daddy) xxx

With thanks to Rozita Hussain Solicitors.

Read my Blog, It’s True, here

I have …I like to …

My name is Joanne

(I have anxiety)

I like to read

(I have PTSD)

I like to go to the gym

( I have OCD)

I like to play with my children

(I have depression)

I love the job I do

(I suffer from complex grief)

I like to cook

(I suffer from panic attacks)

I love listening to music

(I’m on anti-depressant medication)

I like to … well try anything really.

Do my mental health problems stop me from living my life? (Sometimes)

Do my mental health problems control me? (sometimes)

Do my mental health problems stop me from being a good mum?

The answer here should be no, but it doesn’t sometimes feel like that)

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Do my mental health problems stop me from being a good wife? (The answer here should be no, but it doesn’t sometimes feel like that)

The thing I’m getting at here is that your mental health problems should not dictate the rest of your life and how you live.

It has taken me many years to overcome a lot of issues that I have had since losing Millie, it has not been easy; yet I have overcome so many and still have a mountain to climb.

Yes, it stopped me from reading.

Yes, it stopped me from going to the gym.

Yes, it stopped me doing some of the stuff with my other children that I wanted to.

Yes, it stopped me from working.

Yes, it stopped me from cooking.

Yes, it stopped me from listening to music

But, I’ve started to do all this again …

Determination and strength will always allow you to one day continue with the things that you love.

Determination and strength come from within and it comes from talking about how you are feeling, talking makes you stronger.

Don’t let your mental health illnesses control who you want to be x

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#mentalhealthawareness

To read my last, Tears, Click Here

Tears

I know that being a parent is hard, it is really hard at times and I know that you can tear your hair out when you child does something you don’t like, so I’m not saying to be the perfect parent.

Even after losing Millie, we still have to tell Leo off and shout at him or we know that he could turn into a total brat. He does have me wrapped around his little finger but it doesn’t mean that he gets away with being naughty or hurting people (or the dog for the matter), we have to tell him off, we know that.

I don’t judge other parents because we all have our own parenting ways that work for us but yesterday I was disgusted and it hurt even more because we had just visited Millie’s resting place and had a full on spring clean there. (Check out Leo rocking his underpants, it was just too hot for him and he was slathered in sun cream – which of course he had a meltdown whilst I put it on him 😂).

Anyway, back to my disgust.

I witnessed a Mum shouting at a little girl yesterday in a supermarket who was probably around the age of what Millie should be now. The mum was absolutely swearing her head off at this poor child and telling her to “not to f***n come near her again today” and “to get out of her f***n way” … I was absolutely gobsmacked and even if I wasn’t a Mum who had lost a child, I am sure that I would have thought the same.

I really wanted to say something but this woman was so angry, she could have gone for me or taken it out on the child and I wouldn’t have wanted that. I was in such shock, I dropped the £20 I had in my hand (which I didn’t notice until I got to the till and I haven’t seen it for dust since) and had to walk away to get myself out of the way. I went to pay (with my debit card now) and left the shop, got in my car and cried.

I cried that I had just saw this poor girl be spoken to like this.

I cried because I had just come from visiting Millie at her resting place and I can’t put my arms around her anymore.

I cried because I was so sad that this mum didn’t know what she had and how special her daughter is and that she is privileged to be able to kiss her daughter goodnight.

I’m not having a preach here saying that you shouldn’t shout at your children or discipline them but this little girl, do you want to know what she had done?

Accidentally stood on her mum’s toe.

It was an accident, she didn’t deserve to have her mum shout and swear at her like that … just my thoughts xxx

Millie’s Trust are looking for people to join our team to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks in September (I will be doing it too 😀) contact us here to get more details or to register

Read my blog Four Weeks In here