Saturday, 31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

I feel like this year started off so well, I couldn't of asked for more. 
There were lots of pictures I could of chosen to share but these are the ones that stand out for me. 

After 6 months of build up and getting so excited we finally became home owners in March. The thought of this still puts a huge smile on my face.

A week later all of my family got together to celebrate my Grandmother's 80th birthday. It was such a special weekend as its the first time we had all been together in years and my Grandma was so happy.

In June Isabelle turned four, FOUR! The years are flying by. We had a party at home which was of course mermaid themed and it was also a chance for everyone to come over and see the new house.

July brought a visit to my old school as it was sadly shutting down and I wanted to take the opportunity to visit again. It was so strange taking the kids there and showing them my old class rooms but I'm so glad I did.

Come August and everything started to go wrong. I handed in my notice at work and actually ended up leaving before it was up. The job was making me ill to the point were I was diagnosed with depression. It was definitely the right decision but it obviously came with consequences. 

The beginning of September brought Charlie's second birthday and it had to be Thomas themed. His birthday was exactly what we needed and we had so much fun celebrating. It also brought Isabelle starting school. Three months later and she has come on so far in such a short space of time and we are beyond proud of her.

Halloween came and went and before we knew it we were planning Christmas. Phill had taken on more hours at work and for now I was a stay at home mum. I very much realise this is not ideal and it lives with me everyday. The guilt is overwhelming and I have found it so difficult to find a job that would fit in with the children as childcare is so difficult for us.  

Since August lots of little things would go wrong making us feel like we had some kind of hex over us. I'm aware that everyone goes through tough times but when it's constant and it feels like nothing will ever change its hard to keep going on. The children have been our saviour and we have kept pushing forwards for them.

On Christmas Day we had an ambulance out to Phill again (he previously had one out in August for the same reason) as he had severe pain in his side. As I type this he is waiting for an urgent scan appointment to come through and I just cant think about it too much as he is my whole world. We will get to the bottom of whats going on though and we will get him sorted.

I really don't want to end this post on a negative note so I should write down what I want from 2017. I want just the basics, to be happy, healthy and to live in the positive moments more and try not to dwell on the negative so much. All though that is very much easier said than done. I want to push forwards with this blog and my youtube channel as they make me so happy. 

Happy New year to you all! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

'But you don't look ill'

(Picture from google)

Mental health, something that is not talked about enough. It can make you feel alone, terrified and like your whole world is falling apart.

I have suffered with anxiety since I was 12 and everyday is a battle for me. It's definitely a case of some days are better than others. In my adult years it seems to rear its ugly head severely every six months. It's there every day but in the past few years I have finally learnt how to control it to a certain extent. Having my children played a huge part in this. Suddenly you don't have time to think about yourself and for me this is a good thing, finding a distraction really helps. I don't have time to let anxiety creep in and its only when I stop that it now occasionally creeps in.

In regards to symptoms mine range from feeling sick to feeling like I am not in my body. Anxiety can do some truly terrifying things and for a long time I could not understand why or that it was possible that it was anxiety causing me to feel so bad.

As a child my anxiety was over worrying, A LOT but as an adult it got worse. When I first met my husband I was having severe panic attacks, I still remember the first one I ever had. I had just got home from work and bang it was instant. I couldn't breath, my chest was getting tighter and tighter the room was spinning and I thought I was dying. An ambulance was called and that's when I was first told I had just had a panic attack. JUST had?! Like it was nothing,that what had just happened was a walk in the park. Until you experience a panic attack there really is no real way of explaining it.

There is help out there though and I am very lucky to have a supportive husband (who has had to put up with a lot) family and friends. The most important thing to remember is that anxiety does not control you, you control it. I very much have the mind set that I will not let it control my life but believe me I know this is easier said than done. 

What helped me is speaking to other people, you will be so surprised how many people are going through the same thing. Opening up and saying how you feel, getting it off your chest really helps. I have to be honest my old doctors surgery where less than helpful and it took months of pushing them to give me access to services like CBT courses.  

I could write and write about this subject as it is a passion of mine. If you are reading this and going through the above or anything else related to anxiety all I can say is that it does get better. Anxiety will always be in my life but I will not let it win. I want to be able to look back at my life and say that I enjoyed it and not that anxiety took that away.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Melting snowmen biscuits

If your looking for something quick and easy to do with the kids that also happens to be rather christmassy then this is tutorial for you! These biscuits could not be more simple to make and are so cute too!

What you will need ~ 

* Rich tea biscuits
* Large white marshmallows
* White icing (icing sugar and water)
* Writing icing tubes

Step 1 ~ Spread the icing on one side of the biscuit and add a marshmallow towards the side of the biscuit for the snowman's head. Then leave the icing to dry slightly as it will be easier to draw on.

Step 2 ~ Using the writing icing draw a face on the marshmallow, arms in the icing and then give him a scarf. 

And that's it, my son who is two loved getting involved and they would make lovely little gifts. Let me know if you give them a try. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Weekend In Pictures - 17th-18th December

Unfortunately the hubby had to work all weekend so it was up to me to keep the kids entertained. Charlie came down with a very heavy cold on Friday so we didn't do to much. On Saturday morning we headed out and took some Christmas cards round to our friends and dropped a few presents off. 
We then headed over to our favourite park and there just so happens to be a beautiful tea room right next door. We headed in and had the most scrummy hot chocolates. The kids played with the toys, coloured and played table football. We only ended going into the actual park for around 20 mins as the weather was so miserable and foggy.  By this point Charlie was starting to flag so it was time to head home.

While Charlie napped myself and Isabelle did some sewing and made a Santa Claus puppet. The concentration on her face! We then wrapped something present for family that we are seeing in the week. Charlie, bless him, was really suffering by Saturday night and couldn't fall asleep so we had cuddles on the sofa underneath our duvets.

On Sunday we went out for breakfast before the hubby had to go off to work again, no pictures as we were starving! I also woke up on Sunday to find I had reached 50 subscribers on my youtube channel. I had set myself a target to reach this by Christmas and to have done it a week early was amazing. This might not seem like a lot but I am genuinely over the moon! You can find a subscribe button to the right hand side of this blog.
On Sunday afternoon myself and Isabelle had to make the chocolate orange cupcakes again as they are just so good. She even wanted to do the washing up after and who am I to argue with that! Once Charlie had woken up from his nap we watched Santa Claus which is a childhood favourite of mine and I still love it just as much all these years later. We pretty much chilled out for the rest of the afternoon/evening and watched more films and munched away on yummy snacks. After the kids had gone to bed I had a lush bath with a rose jam bubbleroon, amazing!

I hope you all had a fab weekend, I can't believe Christmas is this weekend! Have a great week!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

My Labour & Delivery Story Part 1

I am by no means writing this post to scare any pregnant mummy's to be but it's important for me to write down what happened. For a year after Isabelle was born it did hugely affect me so it's time to be honest. I should probably say this post will be tmi so please don't read if your easily offended. 

So let me start by giving a bit of a back story about my pregnancy with Isabelle, my first born. I was incredibly luckily to have a smooth and straight forward pregnancy all the way up to 38 weeks and 5 days (yes I remember the exact number of day). I went for a routine check with my midwife and the mood in the room changed, you could see in her face she was concerned. My blood pressure had sky rocketed. 

I was sent immediately to the hospital to have further tests carried out. The baby was still totally happy and I had no protein in my urine or any other signs of pre-eclampsia. I was therefore advised it was 'just one of those things'. I was sent home and told that I had to come back every day to have my blood pressure checked and also to be hooked up to the monitors. I remember spending our 1st wedding anniversary hooked up and hearing her heartbeat and wishing that I would just go into labour so that there were no more worries. It was decided that if I had not gone into labour by my due date I would be induced.

On the evening of the 4th June (the evening before my due date) I did my usual routine of sitting in front of the TV bouncing away on my birthing ball before dragging myself up to bed at 10pm. At 1am I suddenly woke and found myself sat bolt up right in bed. Something wasn't right and I wasn't sure what. I went to the bathroom for a wee and I was spotting blood. After going back into our bedroom I felt like I was still losing something (this later turned out to be my back waters). I called the hospital and was told to go straight in considering what had been happening with my blood pressure.

The ride to the hospital is only twenty minutes away but it felt like hours. I was consumed with anxiety and felt like I was going to totally lose it at the thought of what was about to happen. When we got to the hospital I still wasn't in any pain and was shocked to discover I was already 4 cm's dilated! As soon as the midwife walked away the pain started and oh my Christ they came fast and strong. I remember standing in the corridor while I was still allowed to move around and I was on the phone to my parents. The pain was so strong I couldn't get my words out to tell them the baby was coming.

I was quickly moved to a room to deliver the baby. I had still had no pain relieve as none had been offered. I then asked if I could have gas and air which took an age for them to sort out. Then I lost it, and I don't mean a few screams I mean I lost all control over my body, my voice I was gone. I had the classic I can't do this breakdown I just wanted to go home. It was then time to push which I was actually quite happy about as at least this meant it was coming to an end at that it was nearly time to meet our baby. At this point my front waters finally went and exploded all over the poor midwife. This is when it all went wrong. They asked if I minded having an episotomy, I said no which I would later regret as I was left with a third degree tear after the baby was born. 

I find this next part still to this day pretty hard to talk about let alone write. Isabelle was finally born and the happiness and love was over whelming. Unfortunately this was short lived. The emergency button was pressed and I had only been holding Isabelle for a few minutes when Phill was told to take her. I was losing blood very quickly and they couldn't determine if it was coming from inside or from the tear. I was taken to theatre and given an epidural and after what felt like hours I finally heard the words the bleeding seems to have stabilised. I don't remember much after this but later learnt that my womb was full of clots which had to be cleared out. 

It felt like an eternity that I was away from my husband and I just wanted to hold our new baby and have that crucial skin to skin time. Finally we were reunited and everything that had just happened was forgotten. The next day I was found to be severely anaemic and I couldn't even walk myself to the toilet without collapsing, my legs where like jelly. Later that day I was asked to sign a consent form as it had been decided that I needed two blood transfusions. Suddenly the anxiety was back the magnitude of what had happened hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so thankful that I was ok and that I had a beautiful daughter but I just wanted to go home, begin being a mummy and try and forget everything that had happened. 

I will always be grateful to those who give blood, it meant I was able to go home the next day (or maybe it was the fact that I was asking every five minutes). I was still very poorly but the blood transfusions were a start in the right direction and I was sent home with a high does of iron tablets for the next 6 months. What I should mention next is that through out my labour and after I had delivered my blood pressure was still high, not as high as it had been but for the 3 months after having Isabelle I was in and out of the doctors.

The third degree tear was the final issue to over come and I saw some amazing physios for this who helped so much. I would say it was a good six months before I felt normal again. 

I will end with this, I would go through all of the above again in a heart beat because all of it can be forgotten. Your body heals, your memory fades and you are left with such a precious gift that none of it matters. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Chocolate Bark

This has been a huge hit in our house so I really wanted to share how to make it with you. This would make a great present and is very quick to make.

*What you will need*
2 x bars of 200g milk chocolate
1 x bar of white chocolate
baking tray
tin foil/cling film
sweets to decorate e.g smarties,candy cane, the list is endless!

First break your chocolate up and place into heat resistant bowls.

 Next you will need to melt the chocolate, I did this in the microwave on 20 second blasts to avoid burning it.

In a lined baking tray (either with foil or cling film) spread the milk chocolate to around 1cm thick. Next using a spoon drizzle the white chocolate over the top.

Now to decorate, you really can do what ever you fancy at this point. I crushed two candy canes by placing them in a sandwich bag and then gently hitting them with a rolling pin. Charlie also added some smarties on top for a bit of colour.

Place the tray into the fridge for 30 minutes then break up into pieces. Yummy!

Let me know if you give it a try!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Being Judged As A Mother

(Picture from google images)

Until I became a mum being judged is not something I'd ever really experienced. As soon as you have children people think it's OK to give there opinion on every aspect of raising your children. 

My favourite is being out in a random shop and my toddler having a full on tantrum and people stop in their tracks, stare and mutter under the breaths. I would love to know how they think this could possibly help the situation. It's like this is the only child they have ever seen cry. You are stood there trying to deal with said child all while you can feel the stares of complete strangers burning into the back of your head. It is already stressful enough without an audience tutting at you. I see other mums going through this when I'm out and I just want to go over and help. 

Your not feeding them the right foods, there not being stimulated enough, you should just let them cry it out, you should try disciplining them this way, the list just goes on and on. The only people who know what is right for their children is the parents. End of. 

Don't get me wrong I will always take supportive advice but I will not accept being made to feel like I am not trying hard enough to be the perfect mum.

Being a mum is bloody hard and I think as a society we need to be more supportive of families and take into consideration how truly hard raising children is.

That was a bit ranty wasn't it but that's what this blog is for, my honest view of everything motherhood.

I would love to know your thoughts on this subject.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

It's officially Terry's chocolate orange season (or if your like me this 'season' is all year) so if you do anything this month then you have to make these cupcakes. So delicious and surprisingly simple to make so lets get started! 

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

What you will need for the cupcakes
150g unsalted room temperature butter
150g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
2 medium eggs
100ml milk
The grated zest of one large orange
2 Terry's chocolate oranges

For the butter cream
150g unsalted room temperature butter
400g icing sugar
Orange food colouring (not necessarily essential)
The juice of one large orange

Pre-heat you oven to 180c. Start by creaming together the butter and sugar, when smooth add in the two eggs.

Add in the flour, cocoa powder and the milk. Mix until smooth.

Add the orange zest, 8 chopped up chocolate orange segments and mix again.

Spoon the mixture in to 12 paper cases, my silver snowflake ones are from sainsburys. Then place into the oven for 16-18 minutes.

Leave the cakes to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes. While you are waiting you can make the butter cream.

I tend to whisk the butter on its own for a few minutes first as I find it easier to then add the icing sugar. Add the sugar a little at a time until smooth and creamy. Add a few drops of orange food colouring, the juice of the orange and give it a final mix.

Spread the butter cream on the top of the cupcakes using a knife or using a piping bag if your feeling fancy. Then place a chocolate segment on each one. If you have any spare chocolate that you have not eaten by this point then you can melt it and drizzle it on the top.

I am seriously impressed with these, the hubby is already asking me to make more.

Let me know if you give them a try!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

25 things to do this christmas

1.) The most important thing first, get your Christmas tree up and decorated!
2.) Visit a Christmas market, our favourite is Bath
3.) Make your own mulled wine, its surprisingly simple to do.
4.) Go to a carol service, this doesn't have to necessarily be in a church there are lots of services around which take place at schools, community centres and even outdoors.
5.) Don't forget to open your advent calendar EVERYDAY. I usually forget and end up with a weeks worth in one go (not saying that's a bad thing)
6.) Go and watch a pantomime, this is definitely a dying art as there seem to be less and less around each year. Support your local pantomime by taking the kids along, they would love it. 
7.) Make a Christmas playlist. I normally have it blasting out in the mornings while getting the kids ready and its always played when we open our presents on Christmas day. 
8.) Make a treasure hunt for the kids buy hiding chocolate coins round the house.
9.) Have a Christmas movie day. Shut the outside world out, get cosy on the sofa with lots of food and have a movie marathon.
10.) Wear a Christmas jumper for save the children. This year it takes place on Friday 16th December.
11.) Make a luxury hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and a flake.
12.) Take a walk in the evening in your local area and look at all the Christmas lights.
13.) Go ice skating, I used to do this so much as a child.
14.) Make a gingerbread house, there are so many available that are pre cut so all you need to do is put it together.
15.) Get the kids to make Christmas cards to send out to family and friends
16.) Make indoor snow, all you need is baking powder and hair conditioner. You can even add silver glitter to make it even more special.
17.) Read Christmas stories with the kids.
18.) Make mince pies, my two love getting involved with this, remember to save one for Father Christmas!
19.) Make paper chains, so old school but again my kids love making these.
20.) Find a Christmas wreath workshop in your local area and make your own wreath for your front door.
21.) Make reindeer food (oats and edible glitter) and sprinkle it on your front garden on Christmas eve.
22.) Make Christmas bark, I will be doing a blog post on this shortly.
23.) Have a glow stick bath, if you haven't tried this then you are seriously missing out! 
24.) Make melted snowmen biscuits, blog post to follow on how to make these
25.) Most importantly remember what Christmas is actually about, spending time with family and friends.