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30.9.11

Have You Ever Convinced Yourself......?

Have you ever convinced yourself that there's something wrong?
Something wrong with you?
You can almost see it. See the illness and disease inside of you. Eating away at everything. Taking over every organ, every vessel, every single thing it can grab onto and take hold of.
It attacks.
It moves on.
Leaving a trail of devastation.
You convince yourself that its there.
That its taken over your body.
Beyond control.

You picture yourself sat at the doctors surgery. You tell the doctor of your worries.
You want to picture him saying everything is ok.
But you can't.
As much as you try.
Instead, you see whats really going to happen. Well, you see what you have convinced yourself.

You picture him telling you that you have to go for tests.
You notice his eyes. His facial expression. You can tell that he is telling himself to keep a straight face and not show sympathy to you. That he is trying his best to act "normal" and like everything is ok.
But its not. He knows its not. You know its not.
Because you convinced yourself.

You picture the phone call. Asking you to go to a meeting with a consultant.
"We can't give you the results over the phone I'm afraid. You need to see Mr X"
Boom. Then you know.
You know the answer.
You know you were right.
That the thing you convinced yourself was wrong.
The thing you convinced yourself that had eaten away at you. Had taken over your body. Attacked you beyond control.
Its dominated your body.
There's nothing you can do.
Nothing.

You picture the meeting. Where you sit in a small, cold, grey office.
No, its warm, its light. And big.
You notice family photos in frames around the room. Smiling children. Happy wedding photos. Perfect families.
Perfect lives.
The perfect life you had.
The perfect life you planned.
Until this thing came along. And took over your body.

You picture him telling you.
"I'm afraid its bad news"
You know this. You had convinced yourself after all.
You don't know how to react.
You are numb.
Just imagining it you can feel the numbness.

You don't know what to do now.
You hadn't got that far.
Because it scares you.
Because you won't dare go any further because..............well........there isn't much further to think about.
Because this is what you have convinced yourself.

28.9.11

Simple, effective, cute and so funny!

I urge you all to try this.
It's best done if  your child is into In The Night Garden but I guess it can be adapted to other 'non-speaking-but-makes-some-kind-of-noise' tv character.

What you need:
2 phones
2 people [adults]
2 free rooms
A gullible child

Steps:
1: One adult must leave the room which contains the remaining adult and gullible child. Both adults must have a phone each.
2: The adult who is now alone and in a seperate room must call the phone which is in the possession of the adult left with the child.
3: The phone must either be put on speaker or given to the child.
4: The adult must now impersonate Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy or Iggle Piggle.
5: Sit back and relax and watch the look of amazement an excitement on your childs face as they "speak" to their favourite Night Garden character.

Charles was so excited that he copied everything my husband Makka Pakka was saying and kept talking about it for hours afterwards.
I have 2 videos of us doing this and cannot find them anywhere but trust me! Its hilarious, simple and so much fun!

The Gallery: Home

This weeks theme for The Gallery is Home.
Today I'm bringing things right back home, literally.
This week's theme is: Home.
There's no place like it, right?
So what makes your home 'home'? What's your favourite bit, a favourite corner, a room with a story to tell? Is there something in your home you wouldn't be without, or a treasured item, or something passed down the generations?
Is there a place you sit to find peace or a room you're particularly proud of?
Let's talk home. And you can be as creative as you like!

So I could show you photos of my home, inside and outside. Or I could do something a bit different. Something which means a lot more than the bricks and cement that make our 3 bed semi. I expect someone else has done this too.

The special place I am talking about, the place that only 2 people will ever call home is:
ME.

For 9 months I nurtured my two babies, kept them warm, fed and comfortable and let them grow.
And like in our house, they come in, make a bit of a mess and leave their marks but we love them despite this.

 You know where to go now......

27.9.11

Just...Relax?

"Why don't you go and have a hot bath this afternoon? I can take Charlie to work for half an hour or so"

Oooo lovely. A bit of time to myself, I thought, in between ripping copious amounts of white tissue from the toilet roll.
"Ok thanks, you'll take Harry too yeah?"
"Erm, well, Charlie can play in the garden can't he. I can't really look after Harry too".
Pop.
Bubble.
Burst.

I'm poorly and I suspect Harry is feeling almost as poo as me.
He wakes from his nap, as soon as I sit down to eat lunch of course. He's been asleep in his moses basket for around an hour. Before this he was asleep in my arms for the same amount of time. Only waking to smile at me, have some milk, give a thankful appreciative "thanks for your boobie mummy" smile and nod back off.

How long will he stay awake?
My husband holds him so I can finish my lunch and grab a drink, the whole time Harry's eyes watch me.
"Where's my lunch mummy?"
"Where's my drink mummy?"
My milk automatically comes in just through looking at him.
We're not in any kind of routine. I don't "do" routines until around 12 months but only slightly then anyway. I prefer the baby led approach.

He stays awake for 2 hours. We have a nice play with his brother, watch In The Night Garden, I take photos of them both cuddling then its milk time again.
And.
Sleep.
And slow transfer to the moses basket (think Friends style "hug and roll")

Excitement fills my body!
Bath time!
HOT bath time.
Recently my baths have been hijacked by a splashy toddler so a solo bath is high on my treats list.
I rush Charles to the studio (converted .garage) and pass him on to my husband. I then slowly pick up the moses basket and slowly walk upstairs.
Please don't wake.
Please don't wake.
Please don't wake.

He stayed asleep.
Quick.
Taps run. Muscle soak sprinkled. Few drops of tea tree oil and...
Ooooooooo.
That's soooo good.
The hot water relaxes my achy poorly muscles.
This is perfect.
I even top it up with hot water. Almost to the point when its unbearable. Inches away from flowing over the lip of the tub causing a flooded floor.
Simply.
Because.
I.
Can.

Although am I relaxed?
No.
I'm on a time limit.
30 minutes or so. What does or so mean?
What's the max time?
I daren't ask through not wanting to sound ungrateful that my husband is sort of giving me this time off (I say sort of because I still have Harry)

I want to lay here and close my eyes.
Daydream.

Instead I am listening out.
Baby crying?
"Mumim"
"Weasel*"
10 minutes of soaking and I hear a stir.
No baby. Please don't.....
A couple of groans and....
Phew. He's back asleep.

My whole life now seems to revolve around time limits.
How long have I got before Charles/Harry wakes from his nap?
How long until Harry wants to sleep again?
How long can I stand in the shower in the morning until Harry forgets he'd just had a HUGE feed before we got out of bed and needs me again?
How long have I got to dry my hair until my husband goes to work? Do I leave it wet? Can I completely dry it? Or is it just a quick "blast the dryer through it and do the best you can" 5 minutes?
How long through eating my tea until Harry smells it and decides he should be eating too?
How long into a perfect feed with Harry until Charles comes along and decides he NEEDS something or NEEDS to kiss or cuddle his brother?
How long until after a feed, will Harry do a burp? A poo? Or the dreaded projectile vomit?
How long into a bath with Harry until he poo's? (Fingers crossed this hasn't happened yet)
How long until Charles wakes at night telling us of his fear of the dark (despite lights being on) or the fact that "no I don't like my bed anymore"?
A solo trip to Asda/Next etc...how long until my phone rings or beeps? "Harry really needs you."
How long until my husband gets home from work for lunch or tea?

Yes my life is full of "how longs..."
Would I change it? Of course not!
I find it hard to switch off. To not listen out for the boys.
Right now, as I lay in the bath, knowing Charles is with my husband, my ears are still pricked. Listening to what he's doing.

Do I wish that for one hour I could let myself switch off? To relax fully?
To be able to lay here with my eyes closed.
Body totally relaxed.
With nothing to worry about.

Oops its been 40 minutes.....

*My nickname from my husband.

25.9.11

Christmas Countdown: The Story of Father Christmas

With 3 months to go, I am already starting to get excited about Christmas! And therefore believe a Christmas countdown is in order!


I love the idea of Father Christmas and am so excited that this year we will be able to start the magical story properly with Charles.
Since his first Christmas I have still made Christmas magical. I've talked about Father Christmas, signed a present/s from Father Christmas, left the mince pie and drink out and even put a carrot out for the reindeer, just to get the idea going even though Charles was too young.
We have yet to take Charles to meet Father Christmas. Simply because in 2009, when I visited a Garden Center, which when I was little was the place to go to meet Santa, I was left highly disappointed. Walking around looking at the beautiful lights we turned round to see a short skinny man dressed as Santa. He was the worst Santa I have ever seen, and as a result we saved £5 and left.
I didn't want to find an alternative and as a result decided last year that I wouldn't bother either. Charles didn't understand afterall.
But this year I am determined to find the best Father Christmas. The man who fits the description and helps to create the excitement I desperately want my child to feel around this lovely time.

We are currently debating, well we have been debating this for a few years, on how our story will go.
We have no chimney so how does Santa get in?
I like the idea of Daddy staying up to see that Santa comes, makes sure Santa has something to eat and drink. As a child I hated the idea that a man was able to get into our house so my parents also said that my dad used to stay up.
There's also the story of presents.
I can't entirely remember what we used to do when I was little.
We would have our "main present" [tv for our bedrooms one year, snooker table another year, bikes another year etc] and then little presents. Now, Santa either brought our big presents, or he brought the smaller presents to accompany the bigger presents. I should check on this.

I love the idea of writing a list for Christmas, and we will do this every year from now on. Even writing the ridiculous [Rhino, plane, Zebra etc] to the simple [books, etc] Father Christmas will be sent a copy of this list and select 3 items from the list to give to Charles.

In between now and December I'm going to show Charles pictures of Father Christmas, try an introduce the story to him early by finding books and dvds. He currently thinks Makka Pakka comes to our house every night to lay stones around our front garden so I fully expect him to embrace and accept the story of Father Christmas with no questions at all!

Silent Sunday

24.9.11

Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?

I am laying in bed as I write this, at 2:39am. I'm not alone in the bed. I'd fully expect you to assume that I am laying next to a 6ft something man whom I call my husband. except you'd be wrong. Instead I lay next to a newborn baby, snuggled in next to me.

I am a bed-sharer, co-sleeper, whatever you like to call it. its my way of parenting.
I did the same with Charles and it worked for us.
It comes with its fair share of negative comments, because of course, as with all areas of parenting, everyone is required to tell you what you are doing wrong and what they don't agree with!

Sometimes Harry will sleep in his moses basket at night, sometimes he won't. and when he does, he sleeps on his front, and has done since he was a week old. At first he was fine sleeping on his back, then he changed his mind and wouldn't sleep on his back at all.

I follow guidelines as much as I can but sometimes think that mothers instinct needs to take over.
I feel uncomfortable at my babies sleeping on their backs at times. I was told that sleeping on their backs is partly due to the fact that if they are sick, and are on their front, they can suffocate on their vomit. This to me seems like a sort of rubbish reason for me to sleep them on their backs as with both boys they have choked when they have been laying on their backs and have been sick.

I sleep better when Harry is in bed with me. I'm not a deep sleeper at all which is why I am confident enough to co-sleep and find that if he is in his basket I wake up looking for him and end up accidentally waking him.
I constantly check that he is still breathing, which at 27 months I still do with Charles (and have been known to do with my husband!)

One thing I hate about parenting, is the constant criticisms and comments from others.
When co-sleeping with Charles I faced constant criticism from my husbands dad and his partner claiming I was making a rod for my own back etc. Which is rubbish as Charles took to his own room with no problems until now, although the problems we face now with bad nights is unrelated to co-sleeping.
I have a problem, personally, with straight away forcing my children to sleep alone, in a tiny moses basket, when for 9 months they have been snuggled so warmly and cosy inside me. Why would I then want to immediately want to make them sleep alone? I waited 9 months for each boy to come along and looked forward to hours of cuddling, co sleeping gives me extra cuddling hours!

I faced comments from people too about how long I planned to co sleep, with some saying that at 16 I would have to stop breastfeeding Charles and send him out of our bed, which to me is really inappropriate! At 6 months Charles went into his own room, if he woke at night he would then come in to us and I would feed him and either leave him with me or take him back to his own room.
We went with it.
 It worked.

I didn't plan to co sleep with Charles, it just happened as he hated his moses basket. it just happened naturally. and the same has happened with Harry except this time I was prepared and expect to co sleep with him, and yes secretly hoped that we would co sleep.
I also plan to co sleep for a while because he's not going to be tiny forever and I want to make the most of these moments whilst I can, to treasure them and hold on, tight. 

These babies grow up so quick and will soon be grumpy teenage boys who don't want to be cuddled by their mummy, so why wouldn't I steal these precious moments whilst I can? (and they make great hot water bottle alternatives for winter!)

19.9.11

Save The Children: Healthworkers!

I've been tagged by SAHMLovingit and Mymumdom to support an important cause.
Two amazing bloggers, Michelle and Gemma are asking for 100 people to join this linky by Tuesday.
Visit Michelle's blog  to find out more about this linky.

Michelle has given us these instructions:
On Tuesday, a fellow blogger and friend Chris Mosler (@ChristineMosler) will attend the UN General Assembly in New York. She is going there with Liz Scarff on behalf of Save the Children to pressure David Cameron to play his full part in solving the health worker crisis.  There is a target of 60,000 signatures on the petition by Tuesday. At the moment that petition sits at 41,673 can we change that? Sure we can!
Let's pull together, people power and make Chris proud.  Lets do our damnedest to make sure she goes on Tuesday armed with 60,000 signatures.

  1. So first off - Let's all sign the petition, 30 seconds work and a step closer.

  2. Then the challenge set by @HelloItsGemma and I is that we want (need) to see 100 posts of 100 words linked up here by Tuesday. If 100 bloggers each write a post about this and encourage more signatures that could make a massive dent in the 20,000 signature shortfall that we sit with right now!
    Write your 100 words about a great health professional you have encountered in your life. Add a link to the petition and either link or add in some information from Save the Children about the #Healthworkers campaign

  3. Link to a number of other bloggers/ vloggers and ask them to do the same. 

  4. Tweet about this, facebook mention it, remark on google plus, talk to your Mum on the phone, whatever you can do to spread this to just a few more people, please do it.
Doctors, nurses and midwives are vital to saving children’s lives. But there's a massive shortfall of health workers in the world’s poorest countries.  As ever, the poorest and most vulnerable are hardest hit.
Half of the 8 million children who die each year are in Africa, yet Africa has only 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives. Click here to find out more.
These are my 100 words: 

If it wasn’t for one particular midwife and registrar Harry wouldn’t be here.
If it wasn’t for two breastfeeding counsellors and a consultant Charles would still have tongue tie.
Doctors, nurses, consultants, registrars, midwives, health visitors, physiotherapists, counsellors, breastfeeding counsellors. These are SOME of the health professionals I have encountered in just less than 3 years whilst pregnant, giving birth and postnatal. If I ever need these people again, they are there.
If I ever need anyone medically for anyone in my family someone is there to help.
How very lucky is that?
Let’s NOT take it for granted anymore.

As I said above. For the last 3 years, and well, even before I fell pregnant, I had these professionals available to me and to my sons. These very professionals that are NEEDED in Africa. Its so easy to take this for granted. To know that, if needed, at the other end of the phone or a 15 minute car journey away we, in the UK, have the help we need. Yet in Africa, they don't. They have to suffer. They have no choice.
How lucky are we that we can over-react about a rash our child has and quickly take them to the doctor to be told its nothing. We feel that immediate relief and say "thank goodness I was just able to get him checked, even though I did worry over nothing".
Imagine not being able to be told your child is ok or that you have worried about nothing.
Imagine being told you've left it too late. When actually it isn't the fact that you've left it too late....its that the help wasn't available when you needed it. Or you couldn't afford the help.

Health workers save lives

Doctors, nurses and midwives are vital to help children survive. Without them, no vaccine can be administered, no life-saving drugs prescribed and no woman can be given expert care during childbirth.
But the massive shortfall of health workers in some of the poorest countries is hitting the most vulnerable children and families the hardest.
Half of the 8 million children who die each year are in Africa, yet Africa has only 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives.

No Child Born to Die

Children are dying from causes we know how to prevent or treat.
That’s why lots more doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers are needed in the poorest countries. We can stop millions of children dying.
Our No Child Born to Die campaign has helped secure a massive increase in funding for life-saving vaccines. Now we must take the next step to ensure children don’t die simply because they are too poor to see a doctor or nurse.

It looks like most of my Blogger friends are tagged so if you're not JUST DO IT ANYWAY! Don't wait to be tagged.

16.9.11

The Thing Is......

I know whats wrong with me.
I know where it all stems from.
I've had help. I've seen a counsellor and someone from the mental health team.
I've even seen a psychologist.

And the thing is, none of them can help me. Because I know whats wrong.
Being forgotten about. Being left behind. Not being important enough.
This is where it stems from.
My depression.
My anxiety.

I know that there's nothing anyone can say that will make me better.
I've tried.
I don't want to be on medication. I've had bad experiences of medication and I want to DEAL with my problems rather than mask them with tiny pills I'd need to take everyday without fail.

I am insecure.
I am paranoid.
I have issues with people forgetting about me. Not noticing me.
I have issues with people not thinking I am special.
Not meaning enough to people.

Not only that I have a malfunction with a filter in my head. As my doctor put it.
Whereas any "normal" person can filter information into "possible" and "not possible", my "not possible" filter doesn't work.

i/e...1 in X chances of being hit by a bus. I would be that one.
1 in X chances of having a comet hit your house. I would be that one.
1 in X chances of having a firework fly into you at a bonfire display. I would be that one.

In my head, SOMEONE has to be that one person. Why won't it be me?

But you know what. I am a normal person.
Meeting me you'd never know I had these feelings.
My friends don't know I have these feelings.
Family don't know I have these feelings.
My own husband doesn't know some of the things I feel.

Because I hide it.
I ignore it.
It's the best way to be and the best way to deal with it.
If I ignore it, then its not there.
And if its not there its not an issue.

I'm not ashamed.
NOT. 
Some might think I'm crazy. Some don't know how to deal with it. What to say.
But I can't help how I feel. Or how I think.

These thoughts and feelings are a part of me. How I was made. Ignited through life experiences.
And its ok.
Without them I wouldn't be me. Would I?

I have days where its hard to cope. Really hard.
Then some days its easy.
I just have to get on with it regardless.
I can't let this rule my life.
I rule my life.

THE Question

*Warning: this could be a sensitive read to some.

Just when I think this question is out of my head it smacks you in the face again.
SMACK.
Something as simple as two episodes of Torchwood [episode 9 and 10 to be exact] bringing back this thing which I then can't stop thinking about. It gets into my head, tick, tick, tick and then....
Explode.
I breakdown.
Over 10 years I've had this thing going round and round in my head.
*heads to Google to just check a date*
*Comes back shocked*
1995 these feelings first crept in and found a comfy spot inside my young, fresh 10 year old head.

I'm sat in my bedroom watching Top of The Pops.
Michael Jackson has just released Earth Song. I love it. And I'm watching the video.
Theres an old man in the video, on bended knees.
He looks like someones grandad.
He must be someones grandad.
I had lost my grandad 3 years ago.
1992.
Although I don't have many memories of him we used to see him regularly. It was my first experience of a family member dying but my parents did a very good job of protecting me, and my brother, from the hurt. My great-nanny also died around now. I remember very clearly when we were told. We were outside playing, my mum called us in. Sat us down. And told us. She wasn't crying, she told us in a lovely way. Soft voice. Protecting us. Shielding us from the pain of losing someone.
Seeing the old man on the video, and seeing his hurt made me so sad.
I ran downstairs to my mum.
She was sat on the floor with her legs stretched out. She was sewing. I remember it so clearly.
She had Top of the Pops on too. The video was just ending.
I sat on the sofa behind her, leant down towards her and I cried. And cried. And cried.
She hugged me. She didn't ask me what the matter was. Or even need to.
Eventually I asked her a question. THE question.
And I expect it was a question she was sort of dreading. I dread the day my children ask as I honestly don't know how to answer. Or want to answer.

What's the point in life when we only end up dying?

Even writing it down creates a wave of something through my body.
I'm scared.
I'm really really scared.
I'm scared of dying.
I'm scared of my children dying. Of my husband dying. Of my mum, my dad dying. 
And my brother dying.
Explode.
There it is again. Crawling deep into my head. Bouncing around.
forcing me to imagine the day I'm told that something has happened to my brother. To my mum. To my husband. 
And god forbid.....to my sons.
Smack. Explode.
Just leave my sons alone. 
I don't claim to be the only one who is scared of dying. I know I'm not.
But the fact that I'm scared proves that no matter how low I am, I could ever take my own life, as some think I would [yes some people do think I would]
What is the point in life? I meet my husband. We set up life together. We live together. We hate being apart.
We bring two babies into the world. Our boys.

I bring my boys up to rely on me. To know I'll always be there.
But I won't. One day I won't be there.

I rely on my mum a lot. Mainly because she won't let go of the reins. Sometimes I can get free but then she somehow grabs hold of them again but brings me back in.
It annoys me sometimes.
I'll call her, asking a simple question on how to wash a certain item of clothing or how to get a stain out.
"I'll do it for you" she'll sometimes reply.
And I have to be honest.
"I need to learn mum. One day I won't be able to call you"
She understands. She's felt like this too.

I just don't understand how people can answer the question of why we live by saying "to create life again, and keep procreating".
I just can't see how that is a reasonable answer.

I want to know why I'm here. 
Where am I going next? 
Is there a next? 
Or is this it?
And if this is it, then why can't it bloody well slow down and stop going so quick.
I want to enjoy my time here. Whilst I'm here.
I want to be able to spend all day cuddling and kissing and nurturing my boys. 
Whilst I can.
Explode.

I know this will always be an issue I'll have troubles dealing with. 
Some days it sits there, in my head, waiting and waiting and waiting.
And then......
BOOM
Off it goes. Bouncing around, and bouncing around.
Then laying back and relaxing whilst the rest of me sorts out the mess left behind.
The questions. The settling myself down again and clearing up the chaos and confusion. 
But knowing that at any moment....
Smash.
It'll be back again.

Whats the point in doing my garden up? Having nice pretty flowers?
So I can sit outside and enjoy life. 
Enjoy life whilst I can? 
Because it'll be over soon and then what?
And then....what?

The thing is. Its tough.
There's no way to deal with it. There's nothing anyone can say to make it go away.
It's just something I have to live with. I have to cope with it.
I have to accept that these moments will come.
But they are so hard. So hard.

Someone else reading this will wonder what I'm talking about. Will tell me its easy to switch off and not think about it. Will tell me to get help.
Someone reading this will understand how I'm feeling. 

And then it relaxes.....
It lays back......
Comfy.....
Looking at the mess its made....
Proud of itself.......

I have some cleaning up to do.
Until next time.


12.9.11

I Love Cake: Fruit and Nut Cupcakes.

Mmmmmmm finally a linky most of us can drool over.
The super lovely Jenny from Mummy Mishaps has created a linky for all us cake lovers to join in with.

In her introduction for the monthly link up, Jenny says:
Once a month I will choose a theme (am open to suggestions if you have a good one), for example, December will be a Christmas theme. Then all you need to do is to make your cake of choice and then come back to my blog and link it up, to include the recipe, how you made it and any photos you took. I appreciate you are all busy so if you haven't had time to make the cake that month but have one you have posted before on your blog, then please link that one up instead.
The theme for the first week is
CUP CAKES as it is National Cup Cake Week from 12th-19th September.
I was making cakes anyway last week with Charles. This being the first time we'd made cakes together. My first batch was perfect and then second batch [which I made without Charles' help] failed miserably.
So the next day I recruited my little baker again and cracked on with the job at hand.
There were certain flavours I wanted to attempt but I ran out of ingredients so I looked at what I had and realised I had a craving for a particular chocolate bar so this gave me my inspiration [to an extent]

Fruit and Nut Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
125g caster sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
Raisons [as many as you'd like]
Chopped hazelnuts
Nutella
Mix together your sugar and butter
Add both eggs, one at a time, folding in some flour each time
Fold in the remainder of the flour and mix well
Once you have a smooth cake mixture add some of the chopped hazelnuts [leaving some for the top of the cakes] and mix
Then add your raisons and mix also
Once you are happy with the mixture, spoon it into cake cases which have been placed onto a baking tray [preferably one suitable for cakes/yorkshire puddings, you know the ones I mean]
Place into a preheated oven and bake 180oC / 160oC [fan assisted oven] for about 20 minutes.
 Once these come out then take a dollop [thats the technical term for blob] of Nutella and spread on top. YOU decide how much.
Then add a sprinkle of hazelnuts.
Leave the cakes to cool and then eat them all before anyone else see's and wants to have a taste! 

These are really gorgeous and take almost like a cake version of a Ferrero Rocher than a fruit and nut bar. I will be making this as a chocolate cake as well as a plain sponge as it would work perfectly.  
Charles very rarely eats a whole cake but he demolishes this within minutes!

*Be warned, the nutella makes it messy if you don't handle with care but its sooooo yummy with it.

Now head on over and drool at some of the other cake recipes....mmmmmmm cake.

I Love Cake

Seabands Competition: The Winners

First draw: Adults pair of Seabands.
I used Random.Org to draw two winners.
The entrants were:
1: Heather
2: Heather
3: Helen
4: Suzanne
5: Felicity
6: Rich
The winners were:
**WELL DONE SUZANNE AND FELICITY**

The second draw was for two pairs of childrens SeaBands.
The entrants were: 
1: Heather
2: Heather
3: Helen
4: Suzanne
5: Felicity
6: Rich
7: Amy Whyley
The two winners are:
 **WELL DONE AMY AND HELEN**

Postman Pat DVD: Winner!

Oops, little bit behind with this.
I have just drawn the Postman Pat Birthday DVD and Party CD giveaway. I used Random.Org to draw the winner.
There were 12 entrants:
1: Mcai7td3
2: Emma
3: Emma
4: Him_Me_Three
5: Him_Me_Three
6: Lucinda
7: Kath
8: Kath
9: MummyDichotomy
10: MummyDichotomy
11: lisajane13
12: pennyscribbler

The winner is.............drumroll.............

**WELL DONE LUCINDA!!**

A-Z of Me Blank Form

ANORAK…Do you have a sad side?


BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change? 

CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why? 

DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging?

ERROR …What’s been your biggest regret? 

FUNNY – who’s making you laugh?


GRAND…If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on? 

HOLIDAY… What’s your favourite destination?  

IRRITATE… What’s your most annoying habit? 

JOKER…Whats your favourite joke {the one that makes you laugh everytime you hear it}?


KENNEL… Do you have any pets? 

LOVE…Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner? 

MEAL… Whats your ultimate starter, main and dessert?

NOW…If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with?

OFF DUTY…What do you do in your spare time? 

PROUD MOMENTS …What are you most proud of? 

QUEASY …What turns your stomach?

 
RELAX…How do you relax? 

SONG…Whats your favourite song of all time? 

TIME …If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose? 

UNKNOWN…Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows? 

VOCAL…. Who is your favourite artist? 

WORK….. What is your dream job, and are you doing it now? 

XRAY…Any broken bones?

YIKES…What’s been your most embarrassing moment? 

ZOO…. If you were an animal, which one would you be? 



A-Z of Me Meme

My husband was sent a list of questions to fill in which would then be used to help listeners of his Saturday Radio show get to know him better. We had a laugh at some of the questions and I thought it could be fun to get bloggers involved, turn it into a Meme and spread it around so we can find out more about each other. 
I've changed some of the questions to make them more appropriate for bloggers.
Tag as many people as you like once you've filled it in....if easier a blank form can be found here [just copy and paste]

ANORAK…Do you have a sad side? I collect Ricky Martin albums. I have all of them [just need the most recent one] including his early Spanish ones.

BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change? My shape. I have long legs and a short body, my short body means I can't really wear dresses.

CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why? Peter Andre. Because I love him. (Would be Ricky Martin but as he's gay I'll pick Mr Andre instead)

DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging? I one day stumbled across Baby Genie and became hooked. I then saw her Colour Meme and wanted to join in which she encouraged and hey presto!

ERROR …What’s been your biggest regret? Being so kind to my dad when he left us after having an affair. I would go round to his girlfriends house [the tart he was having an affair with] and take her flowers as it was the only way I could see him.

FUNNY – who’s making you laugh? Other than my hilarious toddler, it'd be Micky Flanagan.

GRAND…If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on? Washing machine, Ugg Boots, decent hoover.

HOLIDAY… What’s your favourite destination? Cruise around the Med. I've been on three. One of my favourite excursions was to St Tropez 3 years ago. 

IRRITATE… What’s your most annoying habit? I forget what I'm saying mid sentence a lot and change the subject.

JOKER…Whats your favourite joke {the one that makes you laugh everytime you hear it}? Micky Flanagans 'Out Out' joke has me in stitches at the moment. Haven't heard it? Youtube it!

KENNEL… Do you have any pets? 1 cat, Jasmine and 1 rabbit, known just as "The Bunny" or "The Rabbit"

LOVE…Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner? Married.

MEAL… Whats your ultimate starter, main and dessert? Prawn and crayfish cocktail, Italian pizza, Bread and butter pudding or crumble.

NOW…If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with? Either Disneyland Paris or on a cruise ship around the Med with my husband and two sons.

OFF DUTY…What do you do in your spare time? Pamper myself in the bath, wash my hair/go get my hair cut or shop. My spare time usually lasts approx an hour.

PROUD MOMENTS …What are you most proud of? My children and myself for giving birth and breastfeeding. 

QUEASY …What turns your stomach? People sniffing really loudly and then coughing it up or sniffing through a meal. Smokers.
 
RELAX…How do you relax? Cuddling with one or both boys.

SONG…Whats your favourite song of all time? Vuelve by Ricky Martin.

TIME …If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose? The time around my wedding.

UNKNOWN…Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows? I can fit my toes in my mouth. But I can't touch my toes with my hands if I bend over.

VOCAL…. Who is your favourite artist? Ricky Martin.

WORK….. What is your dream job, and are you doing it now? Growing up I always wanted to work in a shop so it was my dream job and I worked in retail since I left school & became pregnant with Charles.

XRAY…Any broken bones? Never

YIKES…What’s been your most embarrassing moment? During my labour with Harry in the birthing pool, there were bubbles....it wasn't a jaquzzi. (I never fart in front of my husband so this was not good!!)

ZOO…. If you were an animal, which one would you be? Charles recently informed me that I am an elephant [after I called him a cheeky monkey]

I tag, although don't feel you have to join in if you don't want to.
@JennyPaulin
@jessiesonline
@MyLittleFamily
@Mum2babyinsomni
@Emsyjo
@NotMyYearOff

11.9.11

Silent Sunday

7.9.11

Being honest with your children.

From day one I've always said that I will be honest with my children about how their bodies work, how babies are made [to an extent until they are old enough to understand] where babies come from, the difference between girls and boys and so on.
We fib enough to them with Father Christmas, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and so on that makes me want to be truthful where I can.

So far this has worked out really well for us.
As soon as we knew I was pregnant with Harry we were honest with Charles and told him that there was a baby in mummies tummy. We let him be in the room when we watched programmes such as One Born Every Minute and Baby Hospital so he knew what a baby looked like. We told him the baby was a boy as soon as we knew and once we decided on the name we told him and it definitely helped him bond with my bump.

When I was in labour he was aware of the fact that I had gone into hospital to make sure Harry was ok and when we knew for sure that I would be staying in to give birth my mum kept him up to date. Although he was only 24 and a half months we felt it was important for him to know as having a brother was just as important and special for him as it was for us to have a son.
When we sent the text to my mum to let her know Harry was here and was ok she informed Charles that Harry was here and mummy had done really well [one of the best phonecalls I ever had was when they woke up in the morning and phoned us. Charles said "Hello Mummy. Harry is here now. Well done mummy]

I've never been shy being naked around Charles. We used to share a bath together a lot when I was breastfeeding, since then its been difficult as 1-I didn't want him to see my boobs and want my milk again and 2-I was then heavily pregnant. We did share a couple of baths together up until I had a big bump.
We made him aware from an early age that he has a willy. He knows daddy has one too. To stop confusion we've always let him know that mummy doesn't have a willy and, after hearing a friends son call it this, we decided to refer to "my bits" as a ladybum! He knows mummy has a ladybum because she is a lady, and his friend Grace has a "ladybum" because she is a girl.
He has never asked where mummys willy is or why mummy doesn't have a willy which I am really proud of.

To go together with this I decided that to stop questions of "mummy, where does a baby come out of?" and a silly answer of "it's magic" or "my bellybutton" I let him know that Harry comes out of mummys ladybum (should it be called a babybum??) He accepted this and I know we won't have too many questions when he is older.

For me, I like the fact that we have been honest and in a few years time won't have to turn round and say "well actually, the baby didn't come out because of magic. Mummy pushed him out"
He knows the answer already.

When it comes to telling him about sex, I won't go into all detail obviously until he is old enough to understand. But if he asks how babies are made we will be as honest as we can without going into too much detail, eg/ an egg in mummys tummy.

My mum and dad has to be honest with my brother and I at a very young age about sex. This was due to a boy bringing his brothers porn magazine into Primary school and showing us. We obviously went home and asked questions and told our parents.

They bought this fab book for us The Body Book by Claire Rayner and it helped to explain not only sex, but body development. Breasts, erections, periods etc. And is certainly a book we'll be using to explain things better and easier to our boys.
And thanks to being honest from the start, we've got an easier job than we would've done had we chosen to hide certain facts and give wrong information.

The Gallery: Shoes

Last year I read that Denise Van Outen claimed that after she gave birth to her daughter Betsy, she had to sell all her designer shoes due to her feet increasing in size.
I was thankful that all I was left with after my pregnancy with Charles was bigger boobs and a saggy tummy, with no need to say goodbye to some much loved footwear.

Although sadly this is now true for me too. Recently I have tried on at least 7 pairs of shoes which fit perfectly fine pre-Harry but now appear and feel a size too small. Gutted!
This of course gives me the task of going through all my shoes and boots and trying them on and deciding which to give to charity and which to throw away. It'll be an annoying and sad job to do. Made even worse that most of these shoes will need replacing which as a stay at home mum, isn't possible due to no cash!

This year I had to say goodbye to my most favourite boots. My beloved Emu boots. If I had to live with one pair of shoes/boots for the rest of my life these would be it!
Simply because I had worn them to death, and a dog had bitten holes into them. I now dream of the day I am handed a box of replacement beige Emu or Ugg boots in a size 8 to keep my feet warm, in memory of this very pair.


*Yes I have cheated and posted this last week under a different title. AND since then am very lucky enough to have been given the money to treat myself to a pair of Uggs :-D

6.9.11

All That I Can See.

*Disclaimer: Please do not read if you are pregnant. And please do not think I am crazy or need help.

9 weeks ago, at this exact moment in time, as I write this, at 11:46pm, I was still pregnant.
I was sat in the birthing pool, pushing, saying "I can't do this anymore", breathing through contractions, saying "this is so hard", hoping that with the next push my waters would go, telling the midwife that "something isn't right", knowing that when I pushed my body was stopping my baby from coming out.

At this point I didn't know I'd be leaving the pool and the midwife led unit and ending up giving birth on a bed, laying on my back. A dry-land birth as I always called it. Something I never wanted. Until now.

At this point I didn't know I had a potentially fatal condition which, if not detected, could've resulted in us coming home alone. Without our baby boy.

All that I can see:


Is a blood vessel.
No baby bump.
Just the blood vessel.

I feel sorry for myself. My gosh that sounds so stupid.
But I don't see that as being me.
I can't remember being pregnant.
The feelings left me the same time I gave birth.
I remember giving birth, well, some of giving birth.
But I can't remember getting up and seeing this bump in the mirror. Or looking down and not seeing my feet.
Feeling a kick or a hiccup. Feeling him swirl around and hearing his chug-chug-train-like heartbeat.

All I have are these photos as memories.
And all I see now is a blood vessel.
Resting near my babies head. Blocking his way out. Waiting for him to drop down.
But he can't drop down.
Waiting for him to rupture the vessel.
But he can't rupture the vessel. He just can't. If he does then............

My body saved him. Somehow. It could've ended so wrong. It was so close to ending so badly. But it didn't.
I was pushing for hours. Strong pushes. Big pushes. But something stopped him pushing on this vessel.
My body it seems was almost at war with itself.
Part was wanting to push this baby out.
Part was wanting to keep him in.
To save him.
Waiting for someone to notice this evil vessel and move it so he could come out safely.

All That I Can See:
A vulnerable girl.
A girl unaware of what her body has done.
Oblivious to the dangers and the fact that at any moment....
So fragile.
So delicate.
So frail.
So unaware.
A ticking time bomb. 
A vessel ready to rupture at any moment.
Anywhere.
Anytime.
Ready to take our boy away with it.

This is my body. MY BODY!
My body created this. My body put this vessel in the way.
Some stranger had to move it.
A stranger had to move this nasty vessel so MY son could be born.
My body put this vessel in the way.
My body put my sons life at risk.

All that I can see:


A precious little boy.
A boy who will grow into a big strong man.
A man who will never know just how cherished he is.
A man who will never know how guilty I feel.
How this pain eats me up everyday.
How my body.
His first home.
Almost failed him.
So very, very lucky.

Posted at 1:43am. Exactly 9 weeks old. 
Safe and in my arms. 
Where you belong. 
Where I promise to keep you safe.

4.9.11

The One We Don't Talk About

Last year, January to be exact, we decided to introduce a new furry friend to our house. Following the death of our much loved cat Harry who was run over in November 2009.
We chose to rescue a cat although we had three specific requirements:
1: It had to be a boy
2: It had to be young
3: It mustn't be tabby [Harry was a tabby cat]

We thought with it being after Christmas that rescue centres would be inundated with kittens and unwanted presents.
We really struggled to find what we wanted. Cats either came in pairs, were old or were feral, or female.

Visiting websites there was one cat which caught my eye, I made a note of him on a piece of paper and searched other sites. Then, lost that piece of paper.
One day we decided to visit some rescue centres. We fell for one cat, Stanley. He was amazing but when we went to enquire about him they informed us that he was given up because he was spraying everywhere. With a 6 and a half month old baby and a cat already we were broken hearted that we couldn't take him on. We left feeling deflated and so guilty.

On the way home I had a quick Google and realised we were near another rescue centre. I called them up and we visited.
On arrival I remember it smelling, a lot. And there were A LOT of cats, all in together. Some not so friendly.
We were there already so we still looked.
This is when I noticed a black and white cat around my feet. He gave me a lot of attention and when they told me his name I realised, this was the cat I had seen on the website and whose name I had written down.
Dominic.
We decided that we would like to give him a home and two weeks later he was with us.
We were slightly put off by the fact that they didn't know where he was from or how old he was. They thought he could've been around 1. We were never given any paperwork for him as the lady "forgot". 
He settled in really well, got on well with Charles but Jasmine, our other cat, wasn't so keen. It resulted in her visiting neighbours houses which was annoying but understandable I guess.

Within time though we noticed how much of a handful Dominic was. He wanted to constantly be around us, would beg for our food and constantly sit on the kitchen worktop [something Jasmine has never done!] he also pooed and wee'd everywhere.
It eventually came to it that I couldn't take it anymore. We phoned the rescue centre and asked if we could take him back. We felt so guilty to do this but couldn't face another day of a cat poo filled house and with a baby, we just didn't have the time or patience to keep getting him off the worktops, stop him from climbing all over us and begging for our dinner. 
I felt so guilty, really really guilty and like a failure. I couldn't look at him and kept crying.

The following day my feelings of guilt remained and although I knew we were doing the right thing part of me felt like calling the rescue centre and changing our minds. But things took a different turn altogether.
My mum was in the conservatory with Charles and Dominic. Dominic was laying on the sofa, got up and seemed to collapse from the sofa, walk out of the back door and collapse on the grass. By the time I got to him he was ok, or seemed ok at least. We decided to keep an eye on him in case it was just something simple like his legs falling asleep like ours do.
Except the next day things had got worse. All of a sudden his tummy had swollen, he looked pregnant. His tummy was huge.
We took him to the vets and they informed us that they'd have to perform a blood test, X Ray and some other tests. They kept him in overnight. The next day the vets phoned my husband, he came in to me and said it was bad news. Dominic had a condition which meant his tummy was swelling and filling with fluid. It was our choice as to whether or not to bring him home or, as they put it, do the right thing for him. (Why is it so hard to write it down?)

We made the decision to put him down. It was hard because although we were going to give him back to the rescue centre there was no way we wanted him to be put down.
He was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
We were told that it was highly likely that he was given to us with this condition rather than developing it since being with us. When we asked about our other cat, Jasmine, we were told that she should be ok but obviously to keep an eye on her.

When we went to collect Dominic it was really hard anyway. Guilt was eating me up anyway and now I was incredibly sad but also very angry that we were having to pay £400 vet bills for a cat we'd had for around 2 months and was given to us poorly. I was shocked when a veterinary nurse came into the waiting room carrying a box and shouted in a happy voice "Dominic". I just broke down.

We had to phone the rescue centre to inform them that Dominic was no longer with us. I did so through tears and at the same time had to tell them of his condition. They made me feel even worse by implying, through their tone, that we'd had him put down because we know longer wanted him and didn't want to take him back.I ended the phone call pretty sharpish before I shouted at them, because not only was this not the case, but they gave us a poorly cat.

My mother in law was aware of this rescue centre as she used to be friendly with the owner.She told us that years ago the lady lost a few cats to FIP. We were obviously very angry but sadly there's nothing we can do about it.

Dominic was a gorgeous cat and I'm still devastated with what happened. But, on a positive note, we gave him a really  good home, even if it was just for two months. And Charles adored him.

We never talk about Dominic like we do Harry. Mainly because we didn't get enough time to get to know him and love him and create happy memories.