How Not to … Build A Bear

One of the most memorable days of my boys’ lives so far I think … a visit to Build-A-Bear ... but not just any visit as today was “Pay Your Age Day” ….. an absolute bargain.

So the idea was that you could pick ANY soft toy in store and yes that includes all the film ones and only pay the price of how old your child is, in our case £3 and £1 (minimum was £1) … what a cracking offer.

I’d told Dan about this earlier in the week and said “come with me, we won’t be there long” … famous last words I might add.

It is 2.30pm and we have just got home, we left at 8am! 😂

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I thought getting there for 9am, it would be pretty quiet as a lot of people would have their children in school (I was very surprised to see children in school uniforms in the queue) … but how wrong was I! We hit the queue just before 9am and I reckon that we were about 100th in the queue .. so not too far back I thought… then the problems started.

We soon realised that the queue wasn’t moving very much at all. They were only letting a few people in the shop at a time which slowed things down. Obviously on top of that, the children spend time making decisions about which one that they want, then changing their mind (all part of being a toddler I might add) … then trying to convince Mum or Dad to let the soft toy have an outfit (more pennies) then having to give the bear a name on a computer and lastly actually getting the bears stuffed!

4 and a half hours … that is how long it took us in total from joining the queue to paying for the damn things! 😂… I have to say that this was not one of mummy’s best ideas. I take full responsibility for making us have a day out at Build-A-Bear.

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The problem was as well, that after about an hour queue, Leo had spied the shop and said “going to the bear shop?” … so we couldn’t leave could we? Not a chance as he would have been really upset. The shop was so close but so far….

The local Greggs did a roaring trade this morning because there were lots of people in the queue eating sausage rolls and doughnuts for breakfast! Then a quick thinking staff member in WH Smith cottoned on (she certainly deserves staff member of the month) as she came out with baskets full of drinks and chocolates for sale – made a fortune selling to people in the queue – great idea! We took our brekkie with us …

The thing that bothered me the most in the queue … rude people. I couldn’t believe how many people “saved a space” for their friend that turned up 2 hours later …. for the record, it’s damn rude and an obnoxious thing to do when people have been queuing for so long.

I felt so sorry for the Arndale security staff as there weren’t enough of them for the amount of people that turned up and to be honest, Build-A-Bear should have had their own security on the door and the queue.

Turns out that many of the stores actually announced that they were closing and many stopped people from joining the queue anymore, this was for safety reasons

I’m not sure if they are even opening again today because of this, but I bet a lot of parents aren’t happy that they’d promised to take their children after school and now it looks like they might not be able to.

But … look at Leo’s face when we eventually got into the shop when he saw all the bears that he could choose from,big smile equals very happy.

To be honest, we got really lucky with both our boys today. They were both really well behaved, Leo only had a 5 minute moment and Asher had a cry as we were waiting to stuff the bears and then he fell asleep (so totally missed the whole stuffing of the bear, placing a heart and making a wish 😂) … and Leo didn’t like the noise that the machine made, so hid behind us when the bears were coming alive!

Check out the ones we got though … they should have cost us £54 in total and today they only cost us £4 …. yes that is correct, £4 for the both of them including Chewbacca! There were hardly any of those left in the shop, good spot by Dan!

It was a really good promotion of Build-A-Bear but I think some heads might be rolling at head office because of the chaos in stores throughout the country before.

Here are my tips Build-A-Bear for your next event;

1. Registration online so you get a ticket number and an allocation time.

2. Offer pre-made bears (yes, I know that the magic is in the stuffing and adding a heart but for most under 3s, they don’t get it or quickly lose interest)

3. You needed more staff stuffing the bears, you needed temporary machines. The staff at the store that we were in took about 5- 10 minutes to stuff each bear and sew them up, that means on average about 20/25 bears an hour were being completed. This was just not fast enough for how many people were coming through the doors and how many people were outside queuing.

4.You could have done with a ticket system for toilet visits. Remember, there were sooo many young children with their parents and people were scared to leave in case they lost their place. The nearest toilets to the store we at were a 15 minute journey there and back if you were quick.

5. Water could have been offered to the queues, a really simple cheap solution to keeping your crowds a little bit happier.

So, rumour has it that the promotion is linked to the launch of “Count Your Candles” in the UK where you will be able to pay the price of the age of your child in their birthday month for a bear. Check the American version out here … I’m not sure of the terms and conditions coming with the offer but it might be worth registering on their website for especially if you can get a cheap gift for their birthday, I think it’s a great idea.

So, would I do it again?

Would I queue again for that long? You know what, yes I would!

I bet that you thought that I was going to say no then, didn’t you!

The reason that I’ve said Yes is because what memories it created today and all you need to do is look at this photo of Leo smiling …

And also look at this one of daddy and Leo, they had both definitely had enough by this point though …

And Asher checking his purchase out too …

I’m not sure what Daddy would say though, I think he was slowly being driven insane throughout this adventure … although I am also sure that when he looks back and remembers this day, he will be laughing … and I have warned him that we will more than likely be queuing again at some point in their lives for something that they want so much … all part of parenting xxx

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This weekend Millie’s Daddy Dan is doing a sky dive in her memory.

He is extremely nervous, if you have a few pennies to donate please drop him a text donation by texting DSKY01 £3 to 7000

Loving the snow!

I know a lot of people don’t like the snow because it disrupts the work/school day but I love it. I always have. I know you might think that I’m odd, I love the cold wintry days and can’t wait for snowy days to come every year – and they don’t, they just never come.

The last time that we got snow like this was just as I got together with Dan, my husband – that was 8 years ago, I had to cancel a date because I was snowed in. 😂

There are so many things that I want to do with my children, so many things that I want to show them. My love for snow is one of the things that I want them to see.

Something so simple, so free and so fun. I hope they grow up to love it like I do and love playing in the snow together as they get older.

But it’s one of the things that I never got to show Millie, it’s one thing that she never got to see – and that hurts. The pain that hits me when I teach or show my other children things that I never got to with Millie, is indescribable, there are just no words for it … I could try to describe it but there there are just none that I can think of that can communicate the feeling and the thoughts strong enough.

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So that’s why this morning, at 7.30am – when I had been waiting for an hour (I’m surprised that I lasted that long to be honest, I was like an excited child when I opened the curtains) for him to get up, I went in and poked Leo and told him that we could go and play in the snow! (Yes Dan, I woke him up – and I’m not sorry 😘, love you 😘)

Before Dan had even finished his shower, I had Leo up, dressed, fed with his wellies, all-in-one and coat on! I don’t think Dan knew what was going on – or he thought that I had gone a little mad!

But look how excited his little face was 💙💙💙

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Dan’s breakfast was ready for him and then I sorted myself out for the weather outside and Dan and Asher were soon ready for the snow too 😋.

Within a few minutes, we were out in the white stuff and watching Leo’s face brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t stop thinking that I hope that Millie is sat on her cloud watching us and laughing at us, being cheeky and throwing some extra snow down for us.

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(I bought the sledge weeks ago, the last time that we were supposed to get good snow – and we got none!)

I totally know full well that I annoy people on social media when it snows, I annoy all those people that end up late for work or school, the ones that are wet when they get to work and the ones that only like the sun and heat … but am I sorry?

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Nope, not one little bit – because I get to show my children something that I love … and something that still actually makes mummy truly smile … which only a few things do nowadays. So if the snow allows my children to have lovely memories and photographs of mummy smiling through their childhood – bring it on 💕💕💕.

Enter my competition to win one of these soft toys

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Why not purchase a Millie’s Trust hoodie to keep you warm in this cold weather – click here to purchase x

Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas …

Presents wrapped, Reindeer dust scattered, vegetables peeled, meat ready for the slow cooker and a key left for Father Christmas to be able to get into our house.

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Candles lit, decorations left and flowers ready for Millie’s resting place tomorrow.

Always two sides to our Christmas…

And Mummy daddy are absolutely shattered and on the Amaretto and Quality Street already!

Merry Christmas everyone 🤣

Let’s see what tomorrow brings, x

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Six, that many?

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that we are just around the corner from our sixth Christmas without our little girl.

We were at Millie’s resting place yesterday and a lovely lady came to talk to me who recognised me from a newspaper. We got chatting and she told me that she was visiting her son who has in grieving terms, not long been buried, she was so sad. It hurt me to see her in so much pain and knowing that there’s nothing that you can do to take it away. Her son was a lot older than Millie, in his twenties but still no age to lose your life and a parent should never have to go through the indescribable pain of losing a child, no matter how old or young they are or in fact, you are.

Instead of preparing ourselves for Christmas by hunting out the latest gifts that our children want, an extremely large number of us are hunting out flowers or plants that might just last outside over Christmas a little longer than usual, we are placing little Christmas Trees and outdoor lights around our children’s resting places and we are laminating cards to last in the rain or laying them down knowing that within 24 hours they will be destroyed but hoping that our children will have read our words in them, in some strange and mysterious way that they are involved with our lives.

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For the first three years after we lost Millie, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t put a tree up, we didn’t see any family or friends or exchange gifts or cards. We didn’t acknowledge it, it was just another day to Dan and I.

I don’t ever think Christmas will be a huge thing for us, it hurts too much. It’s hard to make plans with other people as I can’t predict how many times each of us will break down and cry and many people (thankfully) cannot understand why this happens. We’re more comfortable just having our own little Christmas in our own home.

The fourth year was different, we put a tree up and did a little bit of Christmas because we now had Leo. We couldn’t not do it for him. We’ve always said that we don’t want Leo’s (and now Asher’s) lives to be any different or miss out on on things because of what happened to Millie.

Christmas is something that Leo and Asher’s friends will celebrate and take part in and we don’t want our children to feel left out and not to be able to enjoy this time of year, especially as they get older.

I’m not religious, not at all. I did wonder,like many of us do and we had Millie christened but once she passed away, that was it for me. I couldn’t believe in something so cruel, something that could take away a child from loving parents, so as you can imagine Christmas will never be associated with religion in our house.

There will never be any Christmas scenes, any prayers and certainly no bibles. It will always just be a fun day for our children where they get some presents and are allowed to eat more chocolate than usual!

It’s extremely hard that first Christmas after you lose a child. Everything you see or hear, tears your heart out. Children getting excited looking at toys or coming out from visiting Santa, families enjoying big family Christmas meals and songs on the radio that can make you spontaneously burst out crying in the middle of a supermarket after playing just a few notes or words.

Waking up on Christmas morning, there are lots of tears before any of the fun. The tears fall as soon as we wake up for the missing part of our family, our precious daughter. We cannot help but think about how we won’t see her face running smiling into our bedroom, or the shock on her face when she sees that Father Christmas has been or how happy she realises she can be when she can have chocolate for breakfast. None of it. We never got to see it, we never will and we still miss it like it’s an existing memory. That’s the thing with us though, we don’t have any Christmas memories with Millie because we never got to see her first one. All we know, is everything that she will miss out on, everything she will never get to see or experience and although these thoughts are with us every day in everything that we do, they became ever so more prominent at special times of the year.

We’ll visit Millie a couple of times on Christmas Day, normally in the morning and then in the evening to light some candles. She’ll be left a card and lots of gorgeous flowers from us and at home, she’ll have a Christmas Stocking, just like we all will. Although it won’t be filled with special treats like all the other ones, it’s still hers and it will still be there.

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We’ve also got our other little star, the baby I miscarried in November 2016. I love my family so much, but it’s hard not to see what should have been, that we should have 4 children all laughing around the table with us, that there should be twice as many presents in our living room from Father Christmas and that there should be twice as much mess as there will be. I’d love to see twice as much mess and twice as much chaos in our home at any time because that would mean that we wouldn’t have any sad memories from the past and that all our children would be here with us.

If you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate Christmas with all your children around you, send a little love to the people that can’t. Christmas is an emotional time for anyone who has lost a loved one but a Christmas without a child that should be there is unbearable as you think about all the missing futures that they should have and even just the missing smile from around the table.

As much as we will laugh, smile and play with our little ones on the day, a piece of us will be with our missing children and there’ll always be a part of us that can’t quite get to that happy place that we all crave to get to, that perfect life that we all want.

I sign Christmas cards (any cards) off with Millie’s name in them, she’s a huge part of our family and always will be. Some people might find that odd and think that we shouldn’t do it, but I don’t care. Unless you have lost a child, I don’t care for your opinion when it comes to how we should we grieve or how we should act. Losing a child, is not the same as any other type of loss or any other type of grief, far from it.

Six Christmases down the line since we lost Millie and we are still trying to figure out what and how we want to do things without Millie here.

My heart is with all those parents right now who are experiencing their first Christmas without their child. The pain of all those firsts is a pain that will never leave me and will always hurt. I wish that I could tell these parents that the pain will go away but it doesn’t,not at all.

You learn to live with the pain and your life is built around it. You learn how to deal with your pain to get you through these special days and you will discover what is the right thing for you to do on these days and whatever you decide that is, is perfect – for you and always will be.

If I could line you all up and give each and every one of you a hug this Christmas, I would … I feel your pain, I feel your miss.

From one grieving parent to another xxx

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Baby Loss Awareness 2017 – Let them talk

Baby loss, pregnancy loss, child loss.

Let’s not talk about it.

Society says so.

Society calls for it.

It makes you uncomfortable.

It makes you scared.

It makes you …

Oh wait, hang on a second… it’s not about you.

It’s about your friend who is broken hearted as she puts the clothes away for the baby she longed for who’s heart has just stopped beating.

It’s about your brother that has just watched his wife/girlfriend curled up on the floor in the bathroom or keeled over the toilet feeling the life of their child slip from her and he’s confused and struggling because there is nothing he can do to take this pain away from her.

It’s about the new mum who is leaving hospital whilst her milk is coming in but who has had to leave her baby behind in the morgue.

It’s about your son who’s packing away the unused cot and pram that he saw his unborn child in, his future taken away from him in a split second.

It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Let them talk. Let them cry. Allow them to feel that they are not alone. Tell them that you are there for them. Listen to them. Let them sleep on you. Let them curl up and be where they need to be.

Remember their loss.

Remember their child’s birthday.

Remember their pregnancy due date.

Remember their loss date.

Remember that they will never forgot.

A baby is a baby no matter how far along in pregnancy that they may have survived.

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These babies have a Mum and Dad and they’ll always be a Mum & Dad and they will never ever forget.

I will always be a mum of four, it doesn’t matter that you will only see two of my children holding my hands whilst crossing the street.

You cannot see them, but I have an angel on each shoulder watching over us. One is my Millie, my daughter on one shoulder whom we lost when she was 9 months old and on my other shoulder sits my unborn child who I miscarried at 12 weeks, a child with a name that only I and Dan know.

Be kind.

Be brave.

Let them feel that they are not alone.

Let’s talk about it.

Tell me about your babies that you’ve lost.

Child loss is an unbearable experience, a situation that you don’t ever want to believe that you could be in. I’ve been their twice in completely different situations, one extreme to the other.

They both hurt. It always will.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

9th-15th October 2017

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Text MILL05 £5 to 70070 to support Millie’s Trust on Millie’s 5th anniversary this October.

£5 can be changed from £1 to £10

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Making Memories

One of the best things about having little ones is their ability to make you laugh out loud even when they are not actually with you …

      This week I went to pay for something at the shop and instead of pulling money out of my pocket … Stones 😂. I didn’t just laugh, the lady behind the counter did too! For some reason though, she didn’t want to accept the stones as payment, I’m not sure why… 😉.

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It didn’t stop there, yesterday I wanted to write an envelope in the office and put my hand in my hoodie to pull a pen out and out I pulled a big piece of bark … Cue big grin from me … I can’t help it.

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They make me smile even more because they trigger memories , I know the stones were from Bruntwood Park when we were there last week ( apologies Bruntwood!) and the piece of bark was from a farm that we visited late last week in Stockport! 


I love making memories with Leo and I cherish them all and I cherish every memory we have of Millie too, no one can ever take those away from us and most days now, those memories make us smile, not cry like we used to.

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Memories don’t have to cost a fortune to make, not at all. Most of my favourite ones involve visiting parks and running around or lying on the cushions at home on the floor reading books to Leo whilst he lies there listening and stroking the dog. 

Enjoy making your new memories today xxx
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Six years …

Six years ago today Dan and I got engaged, just 5 months after we went on our first date. When you know it’s right, you know it’s right 😍. Just 4 months later (less than 9 months after our first date) we got married in the most gorgeous place in Seattle – we cannot wait to go back there one day.


This is just a little message to say, go with your own feelings. Many people had their own opinions about whether we were rushing things and even whether we would last… 6 years down the line and we are still standing and we’ve proven all those people wrong. 

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Unfortunately many people split up after losing a child, their marriage cannot cope with it and we totally understand how it can get to that stage – I’m not going to lie, we got very close to it a few times after some huge rows but it all came down to the same thing – losing Millie and what it had done to us individually but we have stuck together and little Leo has been our rainbow to solidify everything again.

Do something for me. Always make sure that you are always happy, make your own decisions and don’t let other people’s opinions influence you – if we had, we might never have got married! 

Our 6 year anniversary is in September, so in just a few months and it’s another huge milestone for us … Every birthday, Christmas and anniversary is a massive achievement now for us. 

Look forward, not back and always be happy xxx