Category Archives: Leo

Day 1 Potty Training 

Today we started to potty train … we didn’t have a clue what to expect. We’ve waited until Leo’s shown all the signs, waited until we have a few days between us to ensure that we can stay at home through these first few days and stocked up on even more baby wipes than usual. 

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Lessons we have learnt in just the first day 😂

1) You need far more underpants than you could ever anticipate (cue last minute trip to the supermarket) 

2) Daddy needs to learn not to tickle Leo and make him laugh during this process (wet floor incident) 

3) Don’t buy a variation of cartoon characters on underpants because when you put one on – they want another character on within minutes (Totally went wrong mixing paw patrol with diggers and monsters and animals) 

4) Don’t underestimate your child actually liking sitting on the potty – this afternoon must have resulted in at least 15 sessions on the potty just because he discovered he got to pull his underpants up and down if he sat there … resulting in absolutely nothing in the potty at all. 🙈

All in all, a pretty successful day ending in Leo realising that he knows when he’s going to need a wee and rushing for the potty… oh and an underpant wash cycle …


Day 2 … here we come 😀

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Crash Course in…

Often I find that throwing myself into the deep end works more for me rather than wallowing in the shallow end for a while, in this case it was straight into the deep end for me.

I didn’t learn to swim until I was about 9 years old and I always hated that all my friends could swim but I hadn’t been taught properly. I always felt silly when we started to go swimming with school and I still had to wear armbands. I have never wanted my children to feel like this and so this week, Leo has been taking part in a swimming crash course.

Back in March when I first saw the course advertised, I decided that Leo was still a little young as he had only just turned 2 but a few months ago we decided that the time was right and we were going to get him booked on. So, I contacted Swimabout based in Cheadle Hulme and got him onto the next available crash course. I figured that doing it like this would help Leo’s confidence, my anxiety and Dan’s worries about someone else taking care of our our boy.

I have literally been pulling my hair out every time that I thought about him taking part in this course since I booked it. Many of you know that I have serious issues with other people taking care of Leo – there is literally only a couple of people that we are comfortable leaving Leo with and even then, it’s never longer than a couple of hours and when we are around the corner.

So handing Leo over to a swimming instructor (that we didn’t actually know) and not being in the pool with him was absolute torture for me. Honestly, I often wonder why I put myself in these situations but this was one situation that I wasn’t going to give in to though and so on Monday, this happened…

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This was the first evening…look at his poor little face. I am pretty sure you can imagine what I was like at the moments like these – especially when he was shouting “mama, dada” in between those cries. The idea is that he is in the pool and mummy and daddy aren’t around, so you literally have to ignore the cries. I was sat on the floor, with tears in my eyes listening to him cry but trying to smile at him if he looked at me – I honestly felt like the worst mum in the world. I can imagine him being in the water thinking, why can mummy and daddy see me but they’re not coming to get me when I’m crying?

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After around 20 minutes, we had our first couple of smiles that lasted a few minutes but then he started again. Cue mummy tears again.

We do take Leo swimming when we can and he swims in the pools on holiday but he always clings on to us and to be honest, we of course let him, why wouldn’t we? No parent wants to see their baby upset and we know that we are even more likely to let him cling on as long as he wants; but this is why we needed this course – the intention was that it was going to benefit all three of us in one clean sweep.

Learning to swim is obviously something extremely important for a child and it’s something that we should all know how to do, as well as being enjoyable and healthy for you, it’s a potential lifesaving skill.

So day 2. Talking to Leo about going in the pool again before we went and he is all excited and laughing in the car and can’t wait to get there – shouting “pool” in the back of the car … although it was a completely different story when he actually realised that we were back at the same place again. Dan putting his Swimfin on resulted in pretty much a full on break down at the side of the pool because Leo must have realised that he was actually getting into the water again and without mummy and daddy. Dan put him on the side of the pool and .. well check out the photo, I think that pretty much says it all – not impressed at all about being plonked there.

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This night didn’t get any better. In fact, he pretty much cried the whole way through the session. Well, I say cry – there wasn’t any really tears – just lots of noise and a very uncooperative child. Let’s just say day 2 was a write off.

Day 3 and we have an excited child again – until Dan hit the changing room and major meltdown Operation Leo commenced, although by the time he made it to by the swimming pool edge, he had calmed down a little and was saying “pool, pool” and actually wanting to get in. Could this be the night it all changed? Actually Leo did pretty well, there were a lot more smiles and a lot less noise. He was still pretty grumpy, although that’s more than likely to be because he doesn’t like being told what to do by anyone.

Leo had some time with Simon this evening who runs the classes. I’m not sure what he actually says to the children when he is with them but he is like a child whisperer and they stop screaming – amazing.  Look at how he has Leo concentrating and listening to him in this photo – I don’t actually think that he has ever concentrated that much on anything that Dan nor I have ever said to him.

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At the end of the pool time, we asked if he enjoyed it and wanted to come back tomorrow …. Result.. see the cheeky smile behind his hand.

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Day 4… Well, we ended up being late to the lesson unfortunately due to a huge traffic jam on the motorway coming back from the 999 day that we’d been at. Leo didn’t actually have time to realise where he was before he was changed and in the pool with the teacher again and once he did, he made a lot of noise. At this point we were actually thinking oh no, is it going backwards again? Then the Child Whisperer started to talk to him again and lo and behold, the noise stopped and the smiles started, enough for me to get him smiling in some photos whilst he was in the pool which I hadn’t really managed all week. Smiling Leo led to a happy mummy and daddy.

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Final evening ….. What a turnaround in just a few days, he has gone from screaming and clinging on to the instructors to not minding being in the pool without mummy and daddy, being a little way from the instructors playing with toys in the pool and laughing and smiling.

I’m not sure Leo knew what to make of the bike that was made for him out of noodles judging by the look on his face below – but I thought it was a great way to get his hands off the instructors and onto something else, completely fab for his confidence building in the water.

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The lessons had so much going on in them, it was great for the children, especially the younger ones that by the end of the week didn’t have much time to think about whether they should be crying or not. Ducks, bouncy castles, balls, shark fins, noodles and lovely swimming instructors to keep Leo distracted enough to smile pretty much through his final session of the week. 

So as you can see, Leo had us all smiling by the end of the week. It was nothing but torturous for the first few days and handing our son over to a complete stranger had both of us pretty much in pieces as it was the first time (apart from a small hospital operation when he was younger- click here to read this ) that we had done this. The instructor obviously didn’t know any of this, so it was really good for us to see just how great he was with all the children – not just Leo.

Next step is that we are going to continue to take Leo swimming over the summer and carry on with some of the things that we learnt to do with Leo in the pool to improve his confidence and then to get Leo booked onto regular swimming lessons when the new term starts in September and we will of course be booking with Swimabout – why would we choose anywhere else when we have discovered that the child whisperer runs it? 🙂

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Seriously though,  all the instructors were fabulous with the children and it really did worry us that Leo was pretty much one of the youngest though – but we had nothing to worry about in the end and it all worked out fabulous.

For anyone who is debating whether to do this type of crash course, don’t think about it – get it booked, you worn regret it. X . 

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Take a peek at this video clip so you can see he actually did enjoy it! 😀

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All I want is mummy & daddy cuddles 

Being a parent is so hard isn’t it? The worst part for me though is when you cannot give anything more than cuddles when your baby is ill. Even though it’s all they probably want, you cannot help but want to do more.  

Leo doesn’t get ill very often, but when he does – he is very much like myself, doesn’t do it by halves and completely shuts down.

Leo seems to have had some kind of 24 hour illness and it’s been so sad for him. He wasn’t himself yesterday morning when I went to work and I came home early when Dan told me that he’d not eaten anything and he’d slept all morning (highly unusual because Leo hasn’t slept in the daytime for a good year unless he falls asleep in the car). 

When I came home all he wanted was cuddles and to fall asleep on us, he kept swapping from mummy to daddy. He wouldn’t eat anything or drink anything; not even his favourite smoothies and then he went and hid himself in the conservatory like this (see pic) ... poor boy just didn’t have the energy to move. 


Even though he had slept most of the day, when bedtime came at 7pm, he was already asleep on me and we had to move him upstairs – thinking he would take a while to settle, we were ready to lie with him for him for a while but instead within 5 minutes he was fast asleep. He was very uncomfortable and fidgety during the night when we checked on him as he was so warm but he then pretty much slept for 14 hours! He must’ve needed his sleep. 

Luckily when he woke up, the first thing he did was ask for a drink. I was so glad of this because he had dry lips and a completely dry nappy because he’d not had much the day before. Within a few minutes, he had drank a full cup and asked for breakfast. He has been much better today, still not quite 100% himself but more like his cheeky self. 

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By 3.30pm, he was asking for a cheese sarnie, I very rarely put photos of Leo up eating but I took this video of him and I wanted to share – refusal to share his food is a pretty good sign that he is on the mend.


He’s still been quite irritable today though, he hasn’t had much patience for anything – more so his toys! He has literally played with every toy that he could find in the living room today … last night the living room floor was pretty clear as he hadn’t played much … this was tonight’s effort – that still needs to be tidied up when I get the energy. (Dan is out working, if he was home everything would already be away nice and straight) 


Leo took until after he was 2 years old to have his first throwing up episode when he was ill and as many of you know I have issues when it comes to things like because how we lost Millie and I had been completely dreading it.I was absolutely petrified when it happened and I couldn’t stop checking on him, I led with him in bed watching him, I was getting up all that night to keep checking on him in his sleep – I truly can say that, that evening was one of my worst with paranoia since Leo was born and that is saying something because I’ve had huge anxiety issues when he was a tiny baby and around the age that we lost Millie. 

Luckily though this time, we haven’t had any of that and I think he’s nearly back on track… we’ll see what tomorrow brings xxx

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Kisses for big sister 

We all know a photo can speak a thousand words but there are some that just truly make me well up and cry. This is the newest one that makes my tears come within seconds. 

Leo often comes with us when we visit Millie, he comes to her sleeping place and he plays with the bubbles that we have down there, he often walks around with her dinosaur and he likes to water the flowers and plants. 

A few months ago, he started to pick up on something that Dan and I do and he’s now doing it all by himself when we visit and I think it’s amazing. 

Some people won’t. Some people will think it’s odd. Some people will think it isn’t right. Some people will love it and some people will smile when they see this photo … 


Leo kisses his big sister (and grandpa who sleeps by her side) goodbye and goodnight and says “bye bye” as he leaves. This makes me so proud, so proud that he has an understanding that mummy and daddy do it, so it must be a good thing. 

I’ve always wanted this to be a normality for him and it is genuinely becoming one. 

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He knows mummy & daddy chat to Millie here when they visit, he is learning that he isn’t to walk on any one else’s resting places, that he has to walk around them but he knows that he is allowed to sit right next to Millie and play with her teddies and toys but he isn’t allowed to touch anyone elses. 

It’s just how we wanted it and we hope that it continues. I hope as he grows up, it’s a place that he still likes to visit and I hope it becomes a place that he can visit on his own when he is older because he wants to and because he feels like he can talk to his big sister, even though he never got the chance to meet her. 

Oh bloody heck, I’m crying again now thinking about that.

I genuinely don’t care in the slightest what anyone thinks about how often we visit Millie, the time we spend down there or the fact that we’ve made it normal for Leo to make him feel comfortable at her sleeping place. 

Growing up, I’ve always visited cemeteries were people around me that we lost we’re buried. In fact, earlier this week – we also paid a visit to my grandma & grandad’s resting place and took them some flowers and Leo did the same things, watered the flowers and arranged them how he wanted, it genuinely is a lovely thing to see a young child doing and when he’s old enough to ask me questions, we are ready with an open heart to answer anything that he wants to know.

I’d love to know how you feel about children in particular visiting sleeping places of loved ones, it genuinely is an interesting topic for people to discuss, even if it is a taboo subject for some. xx

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I promised pregnancy updates ….. 

Come on ladies, be honest with me now … are you team “I love being pregnant and could do it every day for the rest of my life” or team “Come on, this has got to be over soon”

I would love to be one of those women who absolutely adore being pregnant, bloom when they should and sail through it all with no problems …. but just to make all the pregnant ladies feel better that don’t feel like that … I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum …. this has pretty much been me for most of this pregnancy so far…

One of the biggest reasons that I wish I felt good when pregnant is that because I’ve lost Millie and had a miscarriage, I carry this awful guilt around with me constantly were I think I should be thankful I can have more children and I should just get on with it and suffer with these awful illnesses as the outcome is worth it all. 

I’ve suffered from Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) for the majority of this pregnancy. I mean, I have been sick very badly with Millie and Leo but this time has been something else, some days it has been non stop pretty much from waking up to going to sleep. The strange thing is though, is this is the exact reason that I knew something was wrong in my third pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage last November – I wasn’t sick, I didn’t even feel sick once. Don’t get me wrong, I know each pregnancy can be different – that you can be really ill one pregnancy and glowing the next, but I knew. 

Even after 2 awful sickness pregnancies with Millie and Leo and then having the miscarriage, I was hoping to get an easy ride with this one, but nooooooooo – it came back with a vengeance. I’ve been gradually coming out of it over the past 2 weeks and touchwood, I’ve just felt sick all day for 2 weeks – no doubt it will start again.

This smile below … this is what I want to look like 😂 I’ve got no chance 😂 For the record, none of my pregnancies have been easy going.


Then, of course there is the tiredness. Now this is never standard tiredness with me! It completely knocks me out- exhaustion doesn’t ever cover it. I can’t function, I can’t eat, I can’t shower, I can hardly talk. I’ve never seen anyone like it or heard anyone talk about being like this and again doubled with the sickness has left me feeling absolutely horrendous. 

Make me feel a little better ladies, tell me your stories… I know I’m not the only one. I can’t be 😕. 

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It does turn out though, that some tests came back to show that I have a problem with my iron – so much so, that I’m now on quite a high does of medication that has finally gotten me back on my feet, just!

And then I caught a bloody cold! I was so angry, I’d not been out of the house for nearly four weeks and I came down with the world’s worst cold on top of everything else …. made worse by the fact Dan and Leo were fine which one of them had kindly carried it in for me! 

This time has been different too. 

When I was ill with my pregnancy with Leo, I was struggling, of course I was, I’d lost Millie. I was so scared and frightened but Dan was by my side every step of the way, just like he has been this time. 
Except, now there’s a toddler in the equation in the middle of all this illness. Leo being a toddler is not the problem at all – me feeling like I can’t be a proper mum to him because I’m so ill, that’s the problem. 


(Not a care in the world 😍😍😍)

Not being able to pick him up.

Not being able to bathe him.

Not being able to change his nappy on the changing mat as I couldn’t lift him up.

Not being able cuddle him properly when he’s hurt himself.

Missing out on him playing and laughing because I was so exhausted that I couldn’t  keep my eyes open ….

That hurt. In fact it ripped me apart inside. This big beaming smile coming running into me in the morning and I couldn’t even muster the energy to throw him up into the bed with us; actually – this has led to him mastering leg swinging, I’ll class that as helping his skill building 😉. 

But then my black dog came back to haunt me. The feelings of uselessness about not being able to feel like a proper mum. The wanting to close my eyes and not wake up again. The thoughts that Dan and Leo would be better off without me because I am such a burden when I’m so ill and lacking basic human functionalities to get through a day. 

I knew it was bad and I realised I needed some help. I was so close to asking for  anti-depressants again, I wanted that release of feeling numb and the pain going away. I was so angry with myself wanting these tablets again, especially when I’m pregnant. I’m a complete advocate for if you need anti-depressants then there should be no shame in taking them – but my shame was because I was on them for such a long period of time after we lost Millie and that I worked so hard to get off them with the fantastic mental health support from the NHS; that I was disgusted in myself for wanting to what to me seemed was an easy way out. In my head, when I’m feeling okay, I know it’s not any easy way out taking anti-depressants – because even just admitting that you need help is one of the hardest things to do, it’s an alternative way out, not an easy way out. 

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This all gets to me even more so because I never needed anything like this before we lost Millie and now I feel like it’s never going to do away, that at the most difficult times in my life, at any point in the future I could fall again and that’s so scary. It’s really scary and I know that so many of you who suffer from a mental illness feel like this too at the back of your mind. 


As it turns out, my psychologist had left me a voicemail on one of these awful days and when I picked it up, it’s just what I needed to hear. She wanted to know if I was ok with my pregnancy or if I needed any help. I’d never responded to anything as quickly in my life. 

I’d been asked previously at my pregnancy booking appointment if I wanted access to any pregnancy mental health services and I’d said yes because I knew I was going downhill – a combination of mixed emotions about Millie and I was starting to realise that I hadn’t really dealt with my miscarriage well – I’d kept myself busy and distracted after it happened and the effects were now starting to show.

I’ve started to see my psychologist again now. I’m going to be honest. I hate it. Don’t worry, if my psychologist reads this, (I’m not sure if she does read my blog) she already knows this. I hate it because it really hurts, it’s so emotionally painful. We’re doing EMDR again and it knocks me for six and takes me a few days to feel slightly normal again… but …  I know the benefits and I know how it helped me last time.

And just to finish this off on a laughable note for you, I just got my bump stuck in between the side of the bins and our house, go on, have a good laugh.. Dan did 🙈.

I’m not going to ramble anymore, this blog is longer than I intended already …. catch up in a few days xxx

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Without a Child – Mother’s Day 

In a perfect world this 2017 Mother’s Day, I would have my 5 year old daughter Millie running into our bedroom with a plate of toast that daddy made & a handmade card that she’d made at school with some flowers that she’d picked with her daddy; my crazy little whirlwind 2 year old son bringing me in whatever he came across as he ran from his bedroom to give me a kiss and I’d also be extremely tired after having a restless night because I’d be 6 months pregnant.

That’s how it should be, in a perfect world. But it’s not. And actually, not many people live in a perfect reality but many of us struggle to see that. 

In my reality. My lovely little whirlwind son will come bounding into our bedroom with a million books just as he does every morning and he’ll give me a big sloppy morning kiss and jump into bed with us. 

Later that morning, we’ll pay a visit to our daughter’s sleeping place and instead of her giving me flowers, I will give them to her and lay them on her resting place to keep it looking beautiful; this I find extremely hard on Mother’s Day but I still do it. 

The cemetery is always busy on Mother’s Day but with people laying flowers on their mother’s resting places – the way it should be. The reason we are visiting the cemetery places us in a minority group on this day, a group that we would give anything not to be in.

I won’t be tired because of a restless night being 6 months pregnant either because I sadly miscarried just before 12 weeks in November 2016. To read more about this click here 

We won’t go out for a meal or go somewhere fun like many families because four years after losing Millie and even after having Leo, I still struggle seeing families so happy on these certain days and I spend all day crying. Daft, I know – especially because many of these families probably have their own sad stories. I find it hard still being around families on these days that have these lovely big families – because we should be a noisy family of 4 (nearly 5) and we aren’t – our card has been dealt much differently through no fault of our own.  I’m not jealous, or angry – it just hurts, so much. 


I know that things will be different in a few years, especially when Leo is at school and he’ll make me things for these special days & he’ll come running out of school with for them, so proud of what he has made. He’ll suddenly one year be old enough to bring me breakfast in bed without daddy’s help & even pick his own card for me and choose where we should spend Mother’s Day together – I can’t wait for this; because it will make Leo happy and in turn it will make me smile and enjoy the day more. I genuinely am looking forward to this. 

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This year is my 5th Mother’s Day without Millie and my 3rd one with Leo. If you do the sums you will realise that I had 2 Mother’s Days being a mum but without a child in my arms. They were the hardest; being a mum but not feeling like one. 


This day is tough for so many who are thinking about their own lives right now and how different they would be if their children had survived, their pregnancy had continued or their infertility hadn’t stopped their dreams. 

Women who have lost children.

Women who can’t have children for medical reasons.

Women who have suffered pregnancy loss.

Women who want nothing more than to be a mum but it’s just not happening for them. 

A mother should never have to experience a Mother’s Day without their child, they should not have to wake up on this day feeling even less of a mother than they already do. I can say that from my heart because that’s honestly how I felt the first Mother’s Day after losing Millie and part of me still feels like that today even after having my gorgeous boy. A part of my being a mum will always be missing, no matter how hard I try. 

Mother’s Day is so commercialised that it is everywhere and you cannot avoid it even if you want to and for many that is tough. 

Think about those close to you this weekend that might be struggling a little not having a child with them for whatever reason that may be and drop them a quick text letting them know that you are thinking of them. 

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Impossible writing 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could each write our own life story. 

How happy we all would be.

You know the scene, fluffy bunny rabbits, cupboards full to bursting with food & drink, friends & family living forever and no money worries.

To be honest, I’m not sure I know anyone who has a completely perfect life. Some like to think they do … but it only takes a split second for all that to change 

I think that you can write your own story to an extent, you can make the choices and decisions which ultimately shape your future and the paths that we take. 

But what we cannot predict is life and death. 

One minute someone is there and the next they are gone.

One minute the light is shining, the next moment it’s pitch black.

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Grief is a unique situation to each and every one of us and there is little point in comparing how one grieves to another. 

There is little point in comparing one situation to another.

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Life is tough, life can be absolutely shit and once again for Dan and I, it is. 

It is absolutely nothing compared to what we have been through with Millie but life is currently throwing us a huge curve ball that is causing us a lot of pain and heartache and when I’m ready, it really is something that I want to blog about to help others but not just yet. 

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We need to keep going. 

We will.

Once again we need to be strong. 

Massive hugs to anyone who is experiencing any type of heartache right now in their lives – huge love to you all.

Be kind to one another because you don’t know what the next person you come across is currently going through. 

But … on another note, we’ve got this little monster keeping us smiling … he wasn’t very impressed with me when I had to wake him up today to go out and refused to move from his cot xxx


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