Don’t judge a book by its cover is one of my favourite sayings.
You never know what someone is having to deal with. You don’t know what’s going on inside.
I remember the early days after I had lost Ethan, looking around and thinking that everyone who had a baby where lucky. That they had everything they wanted and they where lucky.
The truth was I had no idea if they had suffered before like me. If they’d lost a baby, struggled for years to get one or adopted because they couldn’t have one.
That parent in a shop who’s battling with her child yet again, who’s probably close to tears. Look a little harder. It might not be a naughty child, may be there’s underlying problems they aren’t discussing with anyone yet.
Maybe they are battling a long term health condition. Maybe a loved one died. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they are struggling in ways you can’t imagine.
Never judge a book by its cover. You never really know what’s going on inside.
2019 is over and 2020 has well and truly started. Last year saw the loss of a few things in my life but I have also gained as well.
My aim at the start of last year was to get over 300 followers on Instagram and now I’m eager to get to 1,000 which feels almost within reach.
Regardless of numbers I also wanted to try extra hard from my blog. I really love blogging, sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences with you. In the hope that I can help someone else through the same experiences as I have had.
You won’t be seeing any new year resolutions from me, or new year new starts, or even hoping for a better year. It just isn’t me, the next year still sees the same luck as last year. Resolutions are quickly broken and it’s never going to be a new me lol!
I’m proud of things I have achieved for 2019 and no matter what 2020 throws at me I do know this…….I’ll always try my best and I’ll always be a fighter. So bring it in 2020 because I’m here to fight anything you through at me.
However, between us as a family we have decided to write a list of things we want to do this year. These include various things from both me, Ste and the boys. Such as; have more than 2 date nights this year. Visit Thorpe Park. Go to Legoland, films we want to see at the cinema, trips to various places and having more games nights as a family. I’m also hoping I can replace a broken unit in the hall this year but I’ve been hoping for that for a while now lol.
So as you can see, the things I / we want to do this year don’t consist of things that will change me as a person. I’ve had enough life experiences to change me as a person. They are merely things I would like to do this year.
I would love to know if you have any resolutions this year, how your getting on with them or even just your opinion.
I wish you the best of luck with anything you want to achieve in 2020.
Like I wasn’t good enough………. Suddenly there were Christmas blogs, vlogs and posts everywhere and I had nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love and good Christmas vlog and everything else that comes with it. I have a fabulous watch list on my youtube!
However, I suddenly got that Mum guilt. The guilt, that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t doing enough as everyone else.
This time last year (2018) I had not long been out of hospital and Christmas was organized for me / around me.
This year I feel like I have got to prove something. Like I can still do it all, which is ridiculous because I can’t.
Social media is great and I love it. I really have found a great community on my Instagram account. I follow some amazing people with wonderful homes and ideas.
So why am I so god damn guilty of feeling like I am not good enough?! Before I answer why I think this is so let me share this with you….
I asked a few question on my Instagram stories and these were the questions and results…….
“Do you feel like social media constantly tells you it’s just about making memories”
63% of you said yes!
So then I asked………”yet you still feel like your not doing enough?” An incredible 92% of you said YES!!
I also asked:
1) “Do you feel like you are meant to have the picture perfect Christmas?”
2)”Do you feel a certain amount of pressure for Christmas?”
3) “Do you feel like you should have it all and do it all?”
Lots of you said yes, a few people said no and some gave more detailed answers which consisted of;
Feeling like everything should match, co-ordinated outfits, colour co-ordinated decorations and everything homemade.
Instagram is OTT about Christmas this year.
In real life no but for social media yes.
Feeling like family are out-doing you for your kids.
Keeping both parents happy.
Pressure to make it perfect for the children.
Now if social media keeps telling us it’s just about the memories then why do so many of us feel like we aren’t doing enough at Christmas?! Well here’s my thoughts……..
Despite the efforts that we all make as bloggers / vloggers / influencers to be real. I do think there is still an element of wanting to show perfection. I mean who wants to show a half done Christmas job? If you can’t manage a tree or a finished tree are you really going to be telling everyone than illness suddenly struck you down and this is what you have? Or that everyone argued on how to decorate it and you gave up? No! You want to be the one that influences someone else and have someone else copy what you have done. You want to feel loved and liked for all your efforts.
Another reason is, we watch one person and they’ve done elf in the shelf with great ideas. Then we watch someone else and they’ve done incredible advent calendar ideas all homemade. Then you see someone else who’s baking from scratch.
Now then, each of these is wonderful, however are each of these also doing the other things as well? Or are they just doing that one as best as they can?
Why do we insist on trying to do all these three at 210% and not just do one at the usual 100%? I’ll tell you why! It’s because you don’t want your child to be the only one that missed out on not having an elf, or not having the best activities planned or the best food served on the table.
I am 34 now and my only hope is that Alfie and William look back on their childhood with nothing but fond memories.
I remember Christmas when I was a
Child and I absolutely loved it. There was no elf on the shelf, no fight for the best tree, no competing for the best and most exiting activities!!! It was just me, the family and some mega fun Christmas games! In fact the Christmas games are what sticks out the most in my memories from being a child at Christmas.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, I know your putting pressure on yourself. You went your child to have the best presents, food, activities and the best elf.
However the truth is, as long as they are happy don’t worry. They really won’t remember the details, they will just remember that every year you always watch that film on that day with those treats.
Or that you always pick a new decoration after decorating the tree.
Or that you play those yearly Christmas games that you all love.
So stop comparing yourself to everyone else. It’s not all what it seems. So what if you having got matching pjs?! My hubby prefers loungewear and my step son is 14, they aren’t going to want to be in matching pjs so why should I bother wasting my money!
So here’s my motto;
You are good enough.
You do not need to prove anything to anyone.
Your Christmas is yours as well.
Memories are really all that matters in the end.
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. They might be feeling the same and just not showing it.
That being said, if you do want it all and you can have it all easily. The matching pjs, matching decorations, every room looking like Christmas and the homemade cooking and baked goods then go for it! The rest of us are only jealous that’s all ha ha
We all talk about Christmas gift guides for children but what about us Mum’s too? I mean we work really bloody hard and put ourselves at the bottom of the pecking order all the time.
Then when it comes to Christmas it’s oh just money or vouchers thanks…….
Then what happens to that? Be honest……it probably goes to the kids or the house. I’m right aren’t I? I know I am super guilty of this. My mother in law was very quick to notice this and one year she got me a voucher where I had no choice but to spend it on me! Another year I was under strict instructions to buy myself something and not Alfie ha ha!
So why do we find it so hard to think of gifts for ourselves? Well I don’t know about you but I think it’s because, we put that much time and thought and effort into our children. Helping them through the world and being their voice when they can’t speak, we want what’s best for them. How many times have you shared your bath because it makes them happy? Or your food because they were still hungry? Or your drink because they wanted to be like you and copy.
I think the reason why we don’t have a big long list when it comes to Christmas is because ultimately the things we want are not much. After putting the kids before us every day and us to the back, we miss out on things that shouldn’t be a luxury but now are.
So when it comes to Christmas, these are my first thoughts on gifts for me……..
Socks and underwear. I really should update these, holes in my socks and
knickers that quite frankly have seen better days. I mean when the kids have growth spurts they comes first don’t they!? Well my eldest is 15 now and so that’s a long time to wait for decent socks and knickers isn’t it!?! (Please note I do have decent underwear if anyone is worried however some have still seen better day’s).
I’ve got slippers that have been used as a setting for pirate ships, a bridge and god knows what.
Right now a long hot bath or shower would honestly feel a spa day……
I can’t remember the last hot meal I had where I wasn’t helping Alfie eat because and I quote “my arms don’t work today” or “my fork is being funny” (FYI apparently laugh at it then is not an appropriate response to his just so your aware!)
I’ve got pictures on my pjs that are so worn you can’t make out the character anymore…….
And if Mario Dedivanovic ever saw my make up bag……..well I think he’d have a heart attack (he’s a famous make up artist – yeah I had to google one,I’m not cool lol)
I mean I ran out of perfume months ago and it won’t be replaced unless Santa brings some.
So to anyone reading this. If you ask a Mum what she wants for Chrsitmas, yes she might want a new mirror, dining table and a new unit in the hall because that one is broken. (this is genuinely me lol 😂 it’s all been moved to next years list now for us to save and buy ha ha!)
She won’t ask for them though and she won’t ask for anything else.
She probably wants the simple stuff in life, pjs, slippers, underwear, socks, perfume and maybe some chocolate and her favourite drink to herself! An uninterrupted hot bath with a face mask will feel like spa day!!!
If you let her have time for shaving her legs followed by a no kids allowed hot grown up meal (with green stuff if you like!) then my god let me tell you……..next year you will get the best pick of the homemade Christmas cards let me tell you lol 😂😂😂
Be sure to tell me what’s on your Christmas list year?
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I recently went away for my Mum’s 60th birthday.
We had such an amazing time that I want to share it with you.
This was paid for by us. Nothing was gifted or anything. I just wanted to share with you that’s all.
So, we stayed in a converted chapel called Kaber Chapel in Kirby Stephen in the Lake District.
Having seen the photos in the website and now in person. You just cannot appreciate how gorgeous this converted chapel actually is.
It sleeps ten people and had five bedrooms. Three double and two twin rooms. All with their own bathroom, three are en suite and the two twin rooms have bathrooms situated in very close proximity.
Two double bedrooms are upstairs and the other bedrooms are dotted around the downstairs of the building.
Each bathroom has; two towels, two bath robes, two sets of slippers. The owners have also placed in the bathroom; cotton wool, cotton buds, shower cap, shoe mit, sewing kit, sanitary disposal bag and some face cloths.
Each bathroom also consists of body wash, body cream and hand wash which I believe is refilled regularly.
The owners have clearly gone to great lengths to ensure that you have a really comfortable stay.
The hymn board displayed happy birthday 60 on it and the organ had a happy birthday music sheet on the stand.
These little touches made my Mum’s day and made her feel quite special.
Around the main living area are cupboards where you will find a wonderful extent of books, games, Baird games, DVD’s information regarding the chapel and how to guide for everything but also some leaflets on places to go.
You could also find little pots of honey fitted around and in each bedroom on each bedside were some sweets wrapped up or some rasins. I mean it was just such a lovely idea and such a friendly and welcoming touch.
Now. The main living area.
The actual living room is upstairs, it has for double series and two beanbags in the window. One thing of room to sit and chat, play games or simply watch tv.
Upon entering the building, past the coat rack area, is the dining and kitchen area. Wow. Just wow. It was utterly amazing when we walked in. With high ceilings, beams and a kitchen of dreams it really was amazing.
There was 11 of us that went (Alfie slept on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom) and I can honestly say that we didn’t feel ok too of each other in the kitchen area. We had plenty of room for a few of us to be busy and make food and drinks.
I also really loved it because the kitchen and dining area really felt like the hub. Where it all happened. It felt central and homely.
People came out of bedrooms and we could greet people from the kitchen / dining area. You could chat to people sat at the table while cooking and making drinks.
It’s just how I imagine being around a lot of people in one house. It was perfect for what we wanted.
With games, books and DVD’s and lots lots more, you honestly didn’t actually even need to leave the chapel. You could easily spend the whole weekend in the chapel and not feel the need to leave.
Then finally. Let’s discuss what made us click that book now button!
At the back of the building, they have put in; a sauna. An indoor bbq and an indoor hot tub! I mean wow!
The sauna was lovely and seated 4/5 people more than comfortably. It wasn’t too hot either, perfect temperature and even had a radio / music system plugged through into the sauna! They’ve laid towels out in the sauna to sit on as well. I mean it was just glorious! Especially in the cold weather we are having here in the UK now!
The hot tub was just wow! There’s a window just behind the hot tub which is nice, you can look at the views, admire the wildlife or simply open it to cool down lol!
The indoor bbq area is just incredible! It’s so cosy and lovely. There are candles, blankets and cushions. While someone cooks, the rest of you can sit around the warm bbq and just take in the surroundings. It’s not something I have seen before but my gosh it’s just wonderful and a definite visit.
With 11 of us staying. I won’t lie I had concerns that we would feel like we where all in top of each other and that you couldn’t get a moments peace. It was completely the opposite. It was homely, brought us together and I honestly couldn’t have been any more relaxed and at home. I truly felt at home here and I am already thinking about another trip back.
let me know if you’ve had any great weekends away recently and if so where?
There’s something about going to a different country that I just find wonderful.
I don’t just mean the sun. I mean the buildings, the way of life, the people and the culture. It’s all so different and whilst I am no history buff I just think there’s something wonderful about learning how someone else lives in a completely different country.
From the buildings, to cooking, to entertainment, socialising and even religion.
I mean some of the religious buildings in foreign countries are just incredible. The artwork and detail inside and out really are a piece of art.
I’m not the most well travelled person by any means. However I certainly appreciate the way of life of other countries.
You may know that we recently went to Turkey and we had a wonderful time. I have been before and we explored then. This time was more of a getaway.
However I still loved meeting the local people and tasting their food and drinks and their general way of life.
Tell me what do you enjoy the most about going away?
I clearly remember this time last year being at my in laws house for a weeks holiday.
I couldn’t walk far at all. I had a wheelchair that I used more or less all the time. I was in two crutches. Putting one foot in front of the other was almost impossible. I could barely feel my legs. The pain was unbearable.
I had no idea what was wrong with me. August 2018 I was still none the wiser on what was wrong after 18 months of testing. I just knew something wasn’t right, the doctors knew something wasn’t right either.
Eventually I got my diagnosis. I had FND. It wasn’t cure-able. There was no tablet to take. No one knew what it was. We had no idea why I had it. We had no idea if I would even walk properly again. Everything was unknown and I was thrown into this unknown void of my future.
It’s been a rocky time this year of 2019, I’ve had many obstacles to over come. I’ve faced more things than I ever thought.
You know what though? I’ve done it. I’ve fought hard. I haven’t given up and I’ve done what I can. I fight every battle that comes my way. I go to every appointment that comes my way that might offer me something to get further in my battle to feel
Some kind of normal. I want to be able to walk with confidence. To take my son to the park by myself and not feel like I am letting anyone down because of my condition. I manage better now but I do still have to use a mobility scooter, I always have a stick of some sorts with me.
Let’s hope this time next year I can say I’m walking without aids!
The warrior bracelet was kindly gifted to me from @dollsanddudes on Instagram. A fabulous reminder of how far I’ve come.
So if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that Alfie spent a long weekend at his Grandparents house.
Which meant that Ste and I finally got a break!
A little background information for you, Ste and I have been together for almost 13 years. As William is 14 we have always had a child to look after.
In between looking after William all those years ago, I was studying for my degree and Ste worked. So time together was well basically non existent!
Our circumstances are that we don’t get much help with the children or chance for a date night or few hours to ourselves. I’m 100% certain we are not alone in this though and we didn’t have children for someone else to look after them.
That being said, Alfie is quite hard work. Ste works a lot to make up for the fact that I can’t work at the moment. Then as you all know by now with this stupid neurological condition I have it means I do really struggle to look after Alfie and take him places some days. So a break whenever it presents itself is always welcome. I also think it’s good for Alfie to be with other people and do things with them that we can’t.
So when Sue (my mother in law) offered to have Alfie for a long weekend to give us a break we where both relieved and nervous (ok I was nervous Ste was happy as Larry lol!)
So off Alfie went and we were left with a quiet house!
So why am I writing this I hear you ask? What’s the point of this? Well keep reading and you will find out.
So with 4 days child free we decided to decorate the downstairs toilet. (No giveaway as to what it will be like, just keep and eye on my Instagram for details.)
We had trips to all sorts of hardware stores for bits and pieces and guess what? We actually held hands! I know! I was surprised myself ha ha ha.
It was really really nice.
I mean I missed Alfie like crazy don’t get me wrong, but let’s face it, when they are around you can’t get a word in edge ways to each other. Every other sentence out of your mouth starts with please don’t or just a minute.
Every meal time consists of please just eat Alfie.
When your discussing something important with each other and your toddler suddenly shouts one of the following: Mummy I had a poo, Mummy wipe my bum, look Mummy it looks like tractor……..please insert any other comment on toilet related conversation.
So for the whole weekend Ste and I not only managed to hold hands but we managed uninterrupted conversations. Yes yes it actually happens I promise 😂😂
Tv at will.
Broke all the rules such as snacks (Alfie doesn’t eat well so we’ve had to cut out snacks) and tv at meal times and phones at the table.
We had all evening jobs done by 7:30 and sat down with gin and whatever film we wanted without wondering how many times Alfie is going to get up that night!
We laughed, smiled and reminisced together and generally felt like two people in love.
We weren’t just parents, my disability didn’t get in the way. We just had quality time together, a brew in bed when we got up, cuddles, conversation and laughter.
The thing is that when children are around it just makes it that little bit harder to remember the care free and in love couple and not just the other parent who your asking to help you with a job or otherwise.
So if you haven’t guessed my point of this now……..
My point is this….
Whenever you do get the chance to have time alone with your other half. Take it. Embrace it. Do whatever you both want to do, cinema, redecorate or binge watch tv.
It really is so important to have some time where you are both just you together and not parents or running the house etc.
Thank you so much Ste for simple yet wonderful weekend. I loved our laughs together the fun we had, binge watching Harry Potter and above all else holding hands in B&Q without running after a toddler at the same time!!!
So as you have probably gathered I’ve been trying hard to get out a lot more at the moment.
We recently went to Legoland in Manchester.
We have been many times before but not for a while and Alfie has been asking so as it was a wet day, off we went!
Armed with my scooter and our passes, we figured we had cracked it.
Now, we love it there and the staff are great. However our recent trip wasn’t as successful but that was not the staff’s fault at all.
So disability access, they have a lift to get upstairs where the whole thing is based, downstairs is just the entrance and shop.
At the first ride we went on just as you go in, I was given a green lanyard to wear so I stand out to staff and also you get a card which let’s the staff write on how long you’ve had to wait for the ride etc.
Before I carry on I will say that they currently have a magical theme going on. So there’s Lego statues of wizards everywhere. There’s a magical carriage which you can get a photo in. There’s also a game to play where you have to find all the magical words in Legoland, at the end you can hand your results in to enter a competition to win the Harry Potter castle.
They have on display places from around the U.K such as London, Alton Towers and Blackpool, with moving parts. There’s even a football pitch! It’s incredible that some had built these.
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Moving along they have a virtual reality section.
You can build your own car of sorts and race it along the tracks they have then pose for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.
They have a ninja’s soft play area, a cafe, go car area and a climbing wall!
During the magical theme event they have they have a magician on as well.
They have a duplo area for younger children and a craft room as well with set times of activities.
The 4D theatre is great as well! They’ve just changed the move so we where thrilled to see a different mini movie when we went.
I do believe you can have parties there as well.
Ok so, whet was it a bad visit I hear you?! Well apart from the fact that it was so incredibly busy, to the point where I couldn’t drive my scooter because of all the Lego on the floor………(doesn’t look much in the photos but trust me it was everywhere and I kept getting stuck!).
The air con had also broken! Not fun! I have to say though that the staff where excellent and still as helpful as ever. They gave out free slushies as the machine wasn’t working properly and also gave out play dough to all the children when they left. I have to say that they really worked hard to ensure that everyone still had a great day.
We unfortunately cut our visit short due to the heat and me not being able to drive around properly because of all the Lego on the floor. However we weren’t disappointed, Alfie still had fun which was the main thing. We did miss a lot of things I would have like to do with him however it couldn’t be helped.
We will definitely be going back as we love it, the staff are friendly and helpful and apart from Lego on the floor it’s really accessible for me. I can get on the rides, they have passed for disabled guests as well and accessible toilets.
They also have wristbands for all guests with a time limit, this is during their busy period so that there isn’t too many people at any one time and it keeps a constant flow of guests.
All in all, definitely worth a visit just be careful with the Lego on the floor!!!
I love my best friend so much.
My best friend makes me laugh, cry and smile. My best friend knows how to comfort me when I am down, my best friend knows how to give the best hugs.
My best friend and I love the same sweets and chocolate. We love the same films.
We love each so so much and also argue!
My best friend knows when I am sad and when I need a cuddle.
My best friend is just amazing, we really do have so much fun together.
We share a love of books, movies, chocolate and baking.
My best friend is utterly gorgeous!
My best friend doesn’t mind my snakes and my best friend has a unique sense of style.
My best friend accepts me for who I am no matter what and thinks I am beautiful even without my hair and make up done.
We love going out in the fresh air and we love our day trips out.
My best friend had such a unique funny and quirky personality and amazes my every day. My best friend is also absolutely hilarious and tells the funniest stories and jokes without even knowing it!!!
My best friend healed a part of me I never thought could be fixed.
I love you so much & I am so glad that we have each other and we are best friends.
Here’s to many many more memories together.