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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.

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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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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

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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

Swimming Update

It’s been a whole 6 months since Leo started swimming lessons with Swimabout in Cheadle Hulme, so I thought I’d give you an update on how he’s doing! You can read about what happened when we first took him here.

…. So fast forward to this weekend and we’ve just started Leo on his third term and he is doing absolutely fabulous and has recently received his Duckling 2 Award!

Leo has gone from being extremely clingy in the pool to absolutely loving the water. He’s been having his lessons and for the past few months we’ve also been taking him more as a family with Asher coming too – I’m hoping that Asher will want to copy Leo as they get older and he won’t be as clingy in the water.

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Swimabout have the children use Swimfin and we had never seen these before we started lessons there but we think they are amazing and the best thing is that Leo actually likes wearing it.

I had never seen children being taught with anything other than armbands so watching the children progress using these fins has been an eye opener but we would definitely recommend them for helping children learn to swim.

The staff at Swimabout are absolutely fabulous with the children and you can see the confidence growing in the children every week as they splash around and laugh in the pool. It’s very much all about making the learning fun at this stage for them and it’s brilliant.

For us as parents, it’s fabulous to see that Leo has gained the confidence to be in the pool with someone other than Dan and I and to see that he genuinely enjoys it.

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Swimfin kindly sent Leo the perfect bag for swimming which fits all his swimming gear in, including his swimfin and when you put it in the special pocket, they look like a shark! Also Fully waterproof which makes it fantastic.

And how cute does he look in this video running to his swimming lesson with it on his back 💕💕💕.

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In the photo below, Leo’s also showing you Swinfin’s Funky Floaties which are fantastic for encouraging your children to swim further in the pool … we get Leo to chase them and then just move further away from him without him realising, they’re really helping him to increase his distance and build his stamina in the pool and they taught him the words, turtle, dolphin and crab! 💙

Seriously though learning to swim should be so fun and it’s so important to ensure their safety in and near water in every day life and especially when on holiday too and as you can imagine, Dan and I are overly cautious with safety issues after losing Millie.

When we first started taking Leo to swimabout , I genuinely wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to handle it, handing Leo to someone else to look after in a pool…six months down the line and sat on the sidelines with our littlest one Asher, we couldn’t be prouder of our little Leo for taking part and enjoying himself and we are quite proud of ourselves for allowing him. The staff have been brilliant with us and we would highly recommend Swimabout if you are local to Stockport and want to see your child gain the fabulous confidence that our Leo has and we cannot wait for Asher to be old enough to start classes there too. xxx

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Four weeks in with Squat Bot

Four weeks ago I kind of fell into something by accident. I agreed to meet with a lovely lass called Sarah (a.k.a Squatbot) for some training sessions in the gym. I said yes and presumed that we would be doing cardio workout – don’t ask me why, I just did.

Big mistake to presume.

I did a blog about the first ten days (see here) and I thought I’d give you an update now that I’ve completed a month of workouts with her.

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Well, if you’ve read the first blog, you’ll see that I’ve actually been doing weight training and hardly any cardio at all which is completely new to me as I’ve never done anything like this before.

I’m now at the end of week 4 and I’ve enjoyed it that much, that I’ve actually signed up for another 4 weeks with Squat Bot (how guilty did I feel spending money on myself and not my kids 😂) then I can perfect some techniques to ensure that when I train on my own, I don’t injure myself.

I’ve absolutely no idea how much weight I’ve lost or if I have but what I have noticed is that my clothes fit much better and bizarrely that my wrist strap size on my watch has gone down a notch! I know, how odd, losing weight on my wrist, 😀.

I’ve noticed generally in everyday life that I’m getting stronger. One of the things that I mentioned to Sarah earlier this week is that I’m finding it so much easier to pick Leo up and as a 3 year old toddler boy that never stops eating, that can only be a good thing. Leo likes to ride around on Dan’s back and that’s not something that I’ve been able to do with him up until the last few weeks and he loves it and when we go swimming, I can swim a whole length with him hanging on to my back now and pick him up and twirl him above my head – I know that these are such random things to be mentioning but to me, this is great and I love the fact that I can now do these with ease and not have to say that I can’t do it with him.

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When I first walked into the gym, walking into this felt absolutely daunting and my first thought was, what have I got myself into? But I persevered and 4 weeks later I’m realising that it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done.

I was asked the question the other day of “do you not feel like everyone is looking at you in the gym and critiquing what you are doing?” – Now I must admit, this is one thing that always put me off working with weights but Squat Bot has completely changed my mind about this. I’ve finally realised that people are just too busy concentrating on their own workout to be bothered about what I’m doing.

I’ve realised that concentration is actually needed to get the benefit of the workout that you are doing; being at my own usual gym today I’ve noticed that the people that are looking are actually the ones that aren’t doing much themselves and are just sitting playing on their phones sitting on equipment that they aren’t actually using… something that I’ve never noticed before.

When I’m concentrating on a specific exercise or a certain type of weight lifting, I really am in a zone. I’m working out where my hands need to go to keep me stable, where the bar needs to sit on my front or back so it doesn’t hurt or how far I need to get to the floor to do a perfect squat … I really don’t notice what anyone else is doing in the gym at all.

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I have some issues with my elbows (only me, lol) not pain issues, movement issues – there are some moves where my elbows just won’t move in the direction that they need to go for some specific exercises – I’m working on this but I know that I just look so funny!

The photo below I know is blurry but look at the smile on my face! We were doing some boxing cardio and I put my guard down and Squat Bot clocked me one, totally served me right! I won’t do it again!

Seriously though, it is hard work but it’s really good fun and I’m even enjoying getting up at 6am as when the workout and showers are done, it’s not even 8.30am and I’ve got the whole day ahead of me with no lounging about needed as I’m already wide awake!

I’ve noticed some other benefits as well.

1. My head. Now if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that I suffer from mental health problems because of losing our daughter Millie (you can read a blog about this here if you’ve got a spare few minutes to catch up)

Starting to work out properly again, getting out of bed early and having something to focus on other than my family is really helping me. It’s giving me some me time, some de-stress time and believe me battering those pads during the boxing session works bloody wonders. This can only be a good thing right? Working out all that emotion/emptiness and anxieties before 9am? It’s making me calmer, it truly is.

2. Confidence. I’ve never used the weight section in a gym on my own until today. I have always thought that it was a blokes area and been self – conscious (not now, I actually noticed that I was lifting and pushing more weight than quite a few of the men in there)! Go Me. 😀

It’s a personal challenge though for me, not a challenge against anyone else. Seeing how far I can push myself, seeing what I can change and what I can strengthen; having the ability to make changes and be a stronger person both physically and mentally.

Next week’s challenge … a handstand 😂Come back for an update soon x

Here’s That Squat Bot below – check her out on Instagram or take a look at her website to get in touch

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Messy Monkeys Giveaway

We struggled a lot taking Leo to any baby classes after Millie passed because I was so anxious about everything at home that Leo could get his hands on – never mind everything possible at a class that he could get his hands on.

But we did try one and we found one that we all truly loved and it turned out to be amazing for us and Leo, the class was Messy Monkeys.

As you can see Leo certainly got in the spirit during these classes and always had to have a bath in a bucket at the end of the class.

Letting Leo attend these classes was a huge step for us and they really helped Leo be around other children of his own age and they really helped us overcome some of our anxieties of having Leo in another environment other than our home.

To win a Messy Monkeys South Manchester Party click here

With this in mind, guess who is going to be attending soon, you got it, our other gorgeous little man, Asher!

I’m sure that Asher will love the classes as much as Leo did and we will love taking him to them and we can’t wait to see the team that run Messy Monkeys again as they are fabulously friendly and fantastic with children.

So in conjunction with Asher starting these classes soon, we are joining Messy Monkeys South Manchester in a giveaway!

When Leo turned 1, we threw him a Messy Monkeys party and everyone (including the parents absolutely loved it) – so that’s what we are going to give away! A party worth £140 and I promise you will all have a fabulous time!

Click here to enter to win a Messy Monkeys South Manchester Party

If you’d like to check out Messy Monkeys Classes in South Manchester, take a look here.

Attending a messy monkeys session is a great way for your child to explore freely and creatively, encountering different materials and textures in a relaxed environment. Free and creative play is an essential part of a child’s learning process, messy monkeys  classes focus on activities you wouldn’t normally encourage at home…we clean up the mess so your walls, carpets and sofas are safe from grubby little paws!”

Source: Messy Monkeys South Manchester Website

Click here to read my blog Overcoming Fear

Terms & Conditions

1.Party is worth £140 inclusive of all materials used on the day and of course all of the tidying up! Venue hire, food, party bags etc are not included.

2. Party Organiser will travel a one hour (roughly 40 miles) travelling distance of one hour from Heaton Mersey, Stockport (please google your postcode from here to work out travel details)

3. Party is valid from 12 months from announcement of winner

4. One prize only

5. No monetary exhange is available

6. Competition ends 17th April 2018

7. Winner will be announced and contacted 18th April 2018

8. Winner must claim prize within 28 days of contact from Same Person Different Me or you will forfeit your prize and it will be drawn again.

Trying something new

Seriously, how hard is it to try something utterly out of your comfort zone? Well, I’ve been doing just that for the past 10 days and I’m loving it.

I’ve been working with a fabulous Personal Trainer called Sarah (otherwise known as Squatbot) and I didn’t expect to be doing any of what I’m doing.. Weights! I mean proper weight work, I’ve never done anything like this before. Many of you know, I like to run when I have the time, I like going to the gym (normally just cardio) and I love to swim (when time let’s me) but weights … a totally new concept to me and one that I did not think I would enjoy! But I could not have been more wrong.

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I am genuinely surprised at the fact I am loving it and it’s partly because I’ve realised I’m actually stronger than I originally thought I was (thanks to Leo and Asher being mini Hulks) and that my trainer Sarah is really easy to work with and she totally pushes me.

One of the best things about doing this too, is that’s it’s getting me up and out of bed first thing in the morning and I absolutely love it! I’ve finally got more hours in the day and I’m feeling so much more energised and with a lot clearer head. My 7am workouts have been having a great effect on how I feel the rest of the day and it’s totally what I need at the moment.

What has stunned me the most about this type of training is the concentration that it entails. When you see videos of people lifting weights, it looks so easy. What you don’t see is what is going on in their head … where do I place my hands? Are my feet wide enough apart, is my back straight enough, are my knees locked too much … so many questions to ask yourself before you can actually make that lift or push that weight.

Sarah has been teaching me how to use weights and machines safely and I think that makes a considerable difference to getting what you want from your workout.

Once you’re learning how to do things right, your confidence levels start to rise.

I’ve not weighed myself this week because I know that weight training effects your weight differently than just doing a normal diet. I’m still following Weight Watchers but eating a little more protein than what I would normally have been, so we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.

I already feel like my clothes are fitting a little better and I can really feel muscles working that I’ve never felt working before.

I even attempted a home workout that Sarah set me over the weekend and I got to get Asher and Leo involved too… turns out that young children make fabulous weights when squatting.

This machine looked very scary to me but not long after I took this photo, I was pushing 113kgs with my legs that apparently for a newbie is a bit of alright. 😀

If we avoid everything that we are scared of though, none of us would ever experience anything new would we?

I’m training with Sarah in Heald Green at the moment, take a look at her website for more details of how to book in for a free consultation or some sessions. X

Read my last blog Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear …

Real, gut wrenching fear is most often used as an excuse not to do something, not to take part in something, not to experience something. Fear stops us missing out on a lot, sometimes some of the most amazing experiences that you could ever have in life.

Fear is often irrational, sometimes not.

I’m not scared of many things in life, I never have been.

One thing that petrifies Dan and I though is another person looking after our children, leaving our children in someone else’s hands. It cripples us with fear.

Our fears are perfectly rational though, as our daughter died in a nursery when she was just 9 months old, she choked whilst eating her lunch. You would develop fears too if this has happened to you, there is no way that you wouldn’t have.

I have other fears including being anywhere near the food that she choked on, I cannot stand to see it – it makes me physically sick. I have fears of feeding my children, of feeding myself. I have fears that our other children will come to harm. These are all completely rational though, for us, considering what we have been through.

Dan and I have conquered an enormous fear of ours. Something that we thought that we never would.

Leo has started to attend nursery, yes, you read that correctly, Leo goes to nursery.

Follow my blog on FacebookBefore your mind begins to ask questions about how and why have we done this, keep reading.

I was adamant. I point blank refused to send Leo to nursery. I could not stand the thought of him being away from me, from us. I could not stand the thought of someone else looking after my child, the last time we put our child in nursery, she never came home. (Rational fear here, remember what I said).

I had it in my head that I would deal with school when it came to it, that I’d figure a way out that I could deal with Leo being at school every day, five days a week. I didn’t need to think about it until he was 4, at the time – that to me was a long time away.

Dan talked to me about it a few times but my answer was always no, or I don’t need to think about it yet.

Then we moved house.

After we had moved, Dan casually mentioned to me that there was a nursery on our estate, 5 minutes from our house – would I consider it? No But it’s got Millie’s Mark No We teach their staff now No

I made excuse after excuse. “He’s not old enough. We don’t need to put him in there, we can work our jobs around him. He can’t speak properly yet. He’s a fussy eater. He can’t tell us what is wrong with him yet when he is crying … the list went on and on..”

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I thought he was doing fine at home. We taught him lots, we’ve taught him to count, he can recognise any number up to 20 that you put in front of him, he can tell you the colour of everything, he can point all his body parts out, he can name you animals and tell you their sounds. He was doing well. So why did he need to go to nursery?

But I was noticing something. Leo was more comfortable talking to adults and he would shy away around young children.

Dan has a lot of friends who’s children are older because he is older than me and my younger friends have only just started to have children really. The two children he was/is most comfortable with are two young girls who are 6-8 years older than him that he’s spent a lot of time with, he loves them.

But I had noticed. If children came along, he would hide behind me or turn away. I ignored it, I had to because if I didn’t then I couldn’t see it as a problem. I know, bad parent, I shouldn’t have ignored it.

Then he attended the party of one of our Millie’s Trust trainer’s young sons and I couldn’t avoid it anymore. He was uncomfortable, he wasn’t like the other children, he was shy and hiding and wanted Dan or I with him. That was my breaking point. So I booked to speak to the nursery. You know, the one that Dan had been asking me to speak to for over 6 months.

The nursery is Elm Cottage Orrishmere Cheadle Hulme and they have been phenomenal….absolutely perfect with us … they’ve talked to us about our fears, our worries, they’ve ensured that we’ve been comfortable every step of they way. All the staff have been absolutely amazing with us and go out of their way to ensure that we are ok with everything that they do. In particular Steph (manager) and Donna (Deputy Manager and Leo’s key-worker), well – we just cannot praise them enough.

They had their hands full even just trying to convince me to take that first step and letting Leo go in for a play – but we did.

We didn’t tell anyone apart from an extremely close friend (you know who you are 😘) who was to become our emergency contact and Alison (hi Alison 😀) in New Zealand who lost her son in similar circumstances and I needed her advice and sanity – that we were even contemplating this. No family and no other friends were told. We needed to do this for us and we needed to do it our way. We didn’t need any one else’s opinions or thoughts because not one person (other than our New Zealand friends) knew what we were about to put ourselves through.

And so it begin. For over 2 months Leo attended ad-hoc sessions and for a little bit at a time. We built him up from half an hour to a full morning over a period of time and this involved Dan and I being in the setting, we then moved back out of the room where we could see through a glass screen, then into the car outside whilst Leo played inside… remember this photo below? And the blog to go with it? Click here to read

Well, that was the first day that I had physically driven off from the nursery and left Leo without me in a 10 metre vicinity (I was 7 and half months pregnant here). I had planned to drive the 5 minutes to the precinct and sit and have a brew, but I melted 30 seconds around the corner and had to pull over. I eventually made it to the precinct and sat in the car absolutely crying my eyes out in the car … I must have looked insane to anyone that saw me. I ended up having a phone conversation with my friend Sarah who actually managed to make me laugh and that was an actual feat for her to do at this point in time!

As soon as the hour was coming to an end, i drove straight back and ran in to pick him up.

The lovely staff have come to understand how we feel and have often helped us when we have been massively struggling; such as the time above with me and when Dan arrived one morning in tears as they opened the door because he had walked Leo to nursery for the first time and he was unaware that the memory of doing this with Millie on the day we lost her, would come back and haunt him.

The nursery talked us through products they use in the nursery, food that they serve there, activities that they do and much more before we committed to Leo going there and one of my conditions was that Leo does not attend on the day that the type of food that Millie was eating on the day that we lost her, I know that sound a little crazy, but I had to do that for my sanity. I didn’t want him around it, not even with other children eating it. I’ll let him try it one day, I’ll have to – but not yet, I’m not ready.

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So fast forward a very long story, more than 6 months down the line and Leo absolutely loves being there. He only attends two sessions a week which has been quite enough for us all for now but he is doubling his sessions from next monthl to build him up having more time away from us. One of the other big reasons that we needed to do this, is that I was convinced that if we didn’t do this now then when it was time to him to go to school, that I would have suffered a mental breakdown and would not have been able to cope.

I truly believe that a combination of help through our mental health problems, the development of Millie’s Mark which Elm Cottage now has and the support from all the truly remarkable staff there has made this journey just about bearable for us and we can’t thank everyone involved enough. There’s much more to this story but this blog is long enough now, so I’m going to hit publish for now, don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated…. but for now, here is a photo of an excitable Leo coming out of Nursery after enjoying his time there…

And that thing you fear … face it xxx

What is Millie’s Mark? Does your nursery have it? Read about it here

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