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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Resting Place Vandalism

Dear Stranger,

There are only a few words to describe you, take your pick which one you would like to use to refer to yourself right now, scum … lowlife… waste of space … would you like me to continue?

Who in their right mind would think it is ok to walk through a resting place of our loved ones and trash treasured mementos?

Have you that little going on in your life that this is what you get a thrill out of? Do you not have anyone to love you or that you love that could not make you understand how what you have done is not ok?

Had you had a drink when you did this?

Had you taken something that made your tiny little brain think that it was ok to walk through sleeping places and smash vases up, throw mementoes around and stamp on loved ones items? How would you like it if this was reciprocated in your home? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t.

I’m not even angry. We have nothing down at our daughter’s places that is irreplaceable – we know that this can happen, we know that the weather can destroy things, that’s exactly why we don’t keep anything irreplaceable down there – but others do and I’m so sad for them. This wasn’t the weather though – this was different. It was so obvious that things had been stamped on and kicked so hard that they’d smashed – we can replace them though, remember that. You can’t replace your tiny little empty thoughtless mind though can you? Or change that pathetic, shitty personality of yours that made you do this in the first place?

You are just a piece of nothing, you’re worthless. If this is what you get your joy out of in your life, trashing cemeteries, you don’t deserve a kind word said about you.

Grief only makes you tougher, that’s why I’m not upset about what you’ve done. I’m just sad that our daughter’s resting place has been interrupted by a no mark like you .

Karma. I believe in that. You’ll get yours.

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Purchase a Millie’s Trust Giraffe by clicking here … available in Brown, Pink and Blue

Mother’s Day means being broken again

Mother’s Day without your child breaks your heart into the smallest of pieces all over again.

Kind gentle hugs to all those mums out there who have their own special little angels today sending love from their fluffy clouds.

They’re all watching, they’re all smiling, give them a little smile back.

From one grieving mother on Mother’s Day to another xxx

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