Minnis Bay Brasserie & Gravity Review ~ Olivia-May’s Birthday Week

 

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Olivia’s 4th Birthday-and boy, does that girl know how to drag out Birthday celebrations (goodness knows where she gets it from…..)

I’ll attach a vlog I put together over the week, at the end of this blog, but first I wanted to review a couple of places we visited during the celebrations. Continue reading “Minnis Bay Brasserie & Gravity Review ~ Olivia-May’s Birthday Week”

Mayflower Blogs is 1 today! A little round-up and celebratory giveaway!

MAYFLOWER BLOGS TURNED 1 TODAY!!!

1 whole year, of blogs, reviews, comments, shares, editing, learning, vlogging and everything in between!

 

I genuinely never assumed I’d get to this point-I worried at the beginning that I’d not be very good at this writing lark, and maybe my unorganised mind would mean I wouldn’t cope. Continue reading “Mayflower Blogs is 1 today! A little round-up and celebratory giveaway!”

One Third Stories-The Great Francais Word Search

We were sent a French language learning book from One Third Stories!

 

Who are one third stories?

OneOneCreated by friends of 8 years, Alex (who loves languages) and Jonny (who loves stories), they’ve been thinking of ways for years, to combine their two passions into a business.   The first time they tried they were just 17 years old and ended up dressing as penguins and sleeping on boxes full of books. (We’re going to need photos of this right?) Continue reading “One Third Stories-The Great Francais Word Search”

Celebrating As A Mum Of 5 This Mothers Day #WeAreAllMums

With Mothers Day fast approaching, those with children, throw themselves into celebrating-seldom giving thought to those who aren’t celebrating as they should be able to.

With 1 in 4 women losing a baby during pregnancy or birth, that’s 1 in 4 women, not celebrating being a Mum on a day that should be theirs. 

Then there are those women who’ve had babies before their losses, in between their losses, or after their losses.  Those that are told to be happy that they have children-to be grateful they’ve already got their babies.  Those that are questioned on how they can still dwell on their losses, when they went on to carry their children to term. 

This Mothers Day-we all might spare a thought for those struggling through the day-regardless of circumstance.

 

Every Mothers Day, since I’ve had my children, I receive a card and some gifts from my Son and Daughter.

Something that I don’t mention, is the slight tainted feeling surrounding not just Mothers Day, but most celebrations that my children take part in.

In complete honesty, I long for the cards and gifts I’ll never get given, from the children I’ll never meet.  

I know what people would think/say; how can I long for things from three little blobs on a screen.  Three little “things” that never grew, were never held, never nursed, never seen.

My answer will always be;  because those three “things” were always loved, always wanted, always mine.

Yes I have two children-but I’m a Mum of five.  I carried five babies-regardless of how long for, or the outcome.  I have two babies celebrating Mothers Day with me here on Earth, but three angels I wish I could celebrate with too.

I understand that it doesn’t make sense to some.  I understand people’s assumptions that I should be happy with the two I have.

Most of me is happy-I focus on my two little ones, and the joy I feel when they burst in excitedly, with shouts of HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MUMMY!!!

But the day-to-day grief that has filled my life since we lost our three little ones, is hard enough, without it being amplified during celebrations such as Mothers Day.

Everything is tainted-it has been from the day we lost our first angel.
Everyday is a challenge-it always has been.

But everyday is filled with love-love for my children, my husband, my family and of course, love and constant recognition of my angels.

I’m content in my world, and will continue celebrating another Mothers Day as a Mum of five.

x

 

For more information on the work Tommy’s do-head over to their website https://www.tommys.org/.

The Panda Kids Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow Review (from my 3 year old)

panda

We were sent The Panda Kids Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow to review from My Panda Life.


I thought it would be fun to let Olivia review this one-so I asked her a few questions.


Do you like your new pillow?
Yes! (Lots of nodding came with this answer).

Do you find it comfortable?
Yes it’s lovely and comfy!

Do you sleep better when you sleep on your new pillow?
Ooh yes, it’s lovely and warm!

What’s your favourite thing about your new pillow?
I like that it’s comfy, and I like to lie on it, and it’s got a panda on it-I like that too!

From a grown ups perspective, it is pretty awesome!  She genuinely has slept better since we got it, and we’ve actually had lie ins from her for the first time ever!

panda
(I’ll let you into a secret-she’s not actually asleep here-but is available for acting jobs!)


A little bit about the pillow.

pandaThe Panda Kids Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow is made up of a single cut of the finest odourless memory foam.
The memory foam helps position the head and shoulders correctly, something that can’t be done sufficiently with normal, stuffed pillows.
There is a crescent bow in the centre of the memory foam pillow, which has been proven to help to fight against flat head syndrome.

Just like the adult pillow, this one also has a bamboo fibre cover, allowing the pillow to breath naturally.   Bamboo fibre has natural temperature regulating properties, which means it will keep your child cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

I’m pretty sure this has helped Olivia have a better nights sleep,because she does tend to overheat and is still at the age where regulating her own temperature isn’t possible.
pandapandaThe Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, which helps it resist mould and dust, therefore reducing allergy issues in small children.  IT also needs less washing, and when it does have to be washed, it can go on a 30 degree wash, takes half the time of regular cases to dry, and doesn’t wrinkle.
panda

The pillow also comes with 10 years manufacturer guarantee and 30 night home trial too-so really, what are  you waiting for-head over to My Panda Life and buy one now!!!!

 

*Please note, I was kindly sent the pillow, free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Alcoholism, My Mum and Me



I found the above quote on Pinterest when trying to find something profound to start this blog off with.

In all honesty-I don’t know enough about the subject from an alcoholics point of view to be profound, but I know how it is to be the victim of alcoholism.
I haven’t got it, I should add that, I barely actually drink.  Maybe that’s because I’m so scared of being the person that is suffering from it right now.

That person is biologically, my Mother. 

I have to say it like that now.  I have to say biologically because she is-biologically my Mother.  But that’s all she now is.  We have no relationship anymore.  We haven’t done for over three years. And even prior to that, the relationship was fraught.

All because she chose to make her decisions under the influence of alcohol. 

My parents divorced when I was 13.  My sister was 10.  My brother was 8.

I woke one night to hear them rowing,  I crept to the top of the stairs and as I did, my Dad came up, on his way to the bathroom, murmuring as he passed me to go back to bed-that everything was fine.

I’m unsure if she did it to spite him, but my Mum shouted up to me “he’s leaving me-your Dad is leaving us!”

Unable to process this, considering my Dad, my idol, had just told me everything was fine, I rushed back to my bedroom, and got back into bed.

Within minutes, the feeling of worry crept over me and I remember the panic taking over. My Dad came in and I didn’t give him chance to explain. I just kept asking him if it was true.
He confirmed it was, but he wasn’t leaving us, he was leaving my Mum.  Nothing would change between him and his children, it was his wife he’d fallen out of love with, not us.

Shortly after he moved out, leaving us with someone grieving the loss of her marriage. 

I get this, I really do. 20 years of marriage thrown away like that, you’re going to struggle.

Unfortunately, my understanding didn’t last as long as I hoped it would, because, although I understood she was sad, my 13 year old self assumed we, her children, would remain her driving force to stay strong and keep going because she had us.

It didn’t happen like that at all. 

Within a week, she was out every night. She was spending all of her money on drinking in her local pub. I was left at home, at 13, cooking for me and my siblings, getting them into bed on time when she would go out prior to their bedtimes, and making sure all was ready for our school days.

On occasions, she wouldn’t come home until the early hours, on other occasions she’d bring random men back with her and I’d have to try and sleep through loud music, while she continued her party downstairs.

I was effectively a Mum. At the age of 13. 

I did this for 5 years.  We saw my Dad on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday one week, then a Wednesday Thursday and Friday the next.  When he met his now, wife, he would holiday with her,, so, in August he’d be away for 3 weeks.  I’d dread it.

Not only was it the Summer holidays, so we’d have no school to break up our day, she’d have spent all her money on alcohol so there’d be no days out, no treats.

We’d just count down until he got home. 

When I was 18, I got with my husband. For a few months we’d stay at my house every night, because I had the children to look after.  Within a year we were engaged, and he made the decision we would get a flat.

If he hadn’t done this, I don’t know where I’d be today. 

She was upset when I left, I can never be sure whether it was because I was leaving and her daughter was growing up, or she’d lost her babysitter.

She married again, I didn’t go to her wedding-I wasn’t invited, and I didn’t want to go.  Her husband is also alcohol dependent, and openly told her he wished she hadn’t had kids, something he repeated to me during a drunken rant down the phone one night.

During my wedding, which her and her husband attended with my late Grandad, she spent the day with a face like thunder.  I can’t watch my wedding video because she taints it in the background constantly.  An hour into my reception, following the food and the first dance, she left, to go to her local pub. 

During my sons christening, which I also invited her to, she didn’t speak to me or my husband.  She sat in the pew in front of us and didn’t even acknowledge my son.  At the drinks afterwards, she made her excuses to my Dad and left without speaking to me. 

When I lost my three babies after having my son, she wasn’t there-she doesn’t even know she could’ve had three other grandchildren. 

The day my daughter was born, I messaged her to tell her the name and weight of her new Granddaughter.  She didn’t reply.  I messaged again and she responded asking why I’d chosen the name.  She was angry my daughter was named after mine and my husbands grandmothers-there was no congratulatory message, no plans to visit and meet my daughter.

She refused to be part of her life unless I allowed both of my children to call her Nanny-something I’d made very clear during many previous arguments, fuelled by her decisions made during drunken phone calls, that she’d not earned that right-that her constant flippant relationship with me and my son, didn’t warrant her to have that title-that it had to be earned.  At the time of those conversations she’d agreed.

But suddenly that agreement wasn’t accepted anymore. 

She’s never met my daughter. My son doesn’t remember her.

Around 18 months ago, I messaged her during a clear-out of my old photos, to tell her I had pictures of her with her late parents, and I’d give them to my brother to give her if she would like them.  She responded telling me to f*** off out of her life.

So I did. 

Honestly, I’ve never found a decision so easy but hard, so upsetting but elating, and so final.

There’s a certain element of grief in it.  I’m grieving for the Mum I had as a young child.  The one who spent time with us, as a family.

But I’m also grieving for the life I never had.  For the love I never felt from her.  For the cuddles I never had. For the relationship I’ll never have again.

Yes, alcohol did this, but her choice to drink that alcohol, to get through a divorce, caused her to end up addicted to it.  She not only make her decisions under that influence, but showed no remorse the following days upon realising her mistakes.

And I’ll never forgive her for that. 

Ultimately throughout all of this, I’m left with peace. I have a doting Mother-in-Law, Step-Mum and Auntie (who ironically is my Mother’s sister-another family member alienated by poor life decisions) who play the role of a Mum better than I have ever known.

I have two children who are shielded from a relationship they could have had, with an unhinged adult I couldn’t have allowed to influence their lives.

I am proud of what I do, decisions I make and relationships I have, and I’ve made those decisions based on a need to never act how she has.

Teletubbies DVD Review

We were sent the new Teletubbies DVD from Sony to review!

As someone who actually watched Teletubbies the first time round, I couldn’t wait for my little lady to watch it too!  She’s seen it on CBeebies since the new series started, but she was so thrilled to have her own DVD of it!

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When I get things that the children love, to review, I always like the idea of having them review it rather than me.  So this time, that’s what we’ve done!

Olivia settled down on the big black chair to watch her DVD, then, when she’d binge watched the entire thing, and coloured the majority of the colouring book that came with it, I sat down to ask her some questions about what she just watched.

To conclude, Olivia’s favourite Teletubby is Po (the red one) because she has a scooter like Olivia.  She also loved the fact the scooter squeaked, and her favourite bit was when Dipsy went up, and down, and up and down!
She liked it when they shared the puddles to splash in, and remembered who shared with who.
She absolutely loved it, and has already asked when we can watch it again.
Additionally to that in depth review from my three year old, I would like to add some points from a parents point of view.  The DVD was really good. Highly educational, and the short, different episodes keep a small child, like Olivia, engaged and entertained without them becoming bored after a larger amount of time watching the same thing.

From the aspect of a parent who used to watch Teletubbies as a child, I’d like to add, it feels like nothing has changed, in a good way of course!  The same movements, no major changes to make it look too messed with, the same noises and character from each Teletubby, makes this a trip of nostalgia for those who watched it the first time around.

You can buy the new ..DVD from amazon HERE.

 

30 Million Minutes*

Right, before I write anything else, this isn’t something I usually do.  I’ve never reviewed a TV programme/episode, I usually leave the critiquing to Ian Hyland-but I just couldn’t leave this one alone.

You see, since as early as was acceptable, my hero-my Dad, used to let me watch French & Saunders with him.  I then became a ridiculously massive fan of the Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, and mainly anything with Dawn French in.

Dawn French, very quickly became one of my comedy heroes.

On New Years Eve, the critically acclaimed show, 30 Million Minutes, was shown on BBC4.

Unsure of what kind of show it was going to be, I have to say I assumed it would be a whole 2 hours of stand up comedy.  But it was so much more than that.  It was basically an autobiographical show-the life of Dawn French!
People like Dawn French-well, anyone in the public eye I suppose-seem to have been moulded in our heads using a preconceived idea of who we think they are.
What doesn’t help are media morons, trying to convince us (badly), that what they print is true.
Social media platforms, where the age old game of “Chinese Whispers” comes into play-in the form of tweets/statuses, spreading untrue rumours.
And, as Dawn mentions during this show, horrible, nasty, vile arseholes idiots, who would happily mess with a child’s life to make a quick buck from a book full of crap.

So, imagine my surprise, when, while watching this glorious woman’s show, even though she’s double my age (sorry Dawn), I found the most amazing, and heartbreaking similarities in our lives.

I cried, I laughed, I laughed and cried at the same time.  

I felt my heart break all over again, when she re-lived her miscarriage, something she kept so private-like I initially did with my first one.  Who knew this amazing, funny, beautiful, open woman, had lost a baby-just like me.

I sat, open mouthed, at the detail in which she went into, when speaking about her father’s suicide when she was only 19.  My eyes glancing over at the photo of my life hero-my Father, imagining how it would’ve felt to lose him at such a young age.

I cried, so much, over her descriptions of her Grandmothers, because the similarities in them and my own Grandmothers was so unbelievable!

And, I recalled my own memories of my Mother and Father’s divorce, and looked at it from another angle, when she explained how one day, she just knew it wasn’t working with Lenny, and decided to put herself and her “truth” first for a change.
All those years of listening to why my parents had split-and never really understanding, finally made sense.  What Dawn and my Dad have in common (aside from age), is that they followed their hearts-and now, both remarried, know what they did was right for them!

If you haven’t seen it yet, none of these things are spoilers.  The context in which Dawn speaks about these life lessons and experiences, aren’t anything you can read in an article or blog.  They really have to be watched to be experienced fully.
Also, if you haven’t watched it yet, please don’t think its full of misery.  Somehow, Dawn manages to make you flip from heartbreak to hilarity in a matter of moments, and, at one point, I genuinely couldn’t work out if my tears were from crying at an earlier story, or laughing hysterically at another tale from her past years (the glass on the car seat literally had me in pain laughing).

To sum up-the entire 120 minutes, of Dawn’s 30 Million Minutes, are just unforgettable.  If you haven’t watched it, go watch it.  If you have watched it, go watch it again-and lets start some kind of DVD release petition-because I absolutely must own this show forever!

Thank you Dawn-for, well you know, everything!

X

*I stole the above photo from The Telegraph-just in case anyone was wondering!

Tommy’s Reduced Fetal Movement Campaign


Today’s blog is for the baby charity, Tommy’s who are leading a campaign to raise awareness of reduced fetal movements during pregnancy.  The campaign is supported by Kicks Count and NHS England, alongside the hashtags #movementsmatter and #KickMeBabyOneMoreTime. 
This is a campaign particularly close to my heart.  As some of you may know, I have been pregnant 5 times.  During the first pregnancy with my son, I wasn’t aware at all of checking the amount of times my baby moved.  In all honesty, I sailed through that pregnancy, and didn’t give a second thought that anything could go wrong.  As I mention in a previous blog, The Mummy He Used To Know, I pretty much took the entire pregnancy for granted (without realising of course).

Then over the following couple of years, we endured the traumas of three recurrent miscarriages.  And I suppose that’s where everything changed.  I ended up with severe anxiety, and, when falling pregnant with my daughter, I panicked constantly, from beginning to end, that we were going to lose her.

That’s when I did some research into reduced fetal movement.  I wanted to make sure I was feeling my baby girl move as much as she should be, and what to do when those movements were reduced.

On only one occasion, did I have to act upon my concerns for my baby, when, along with horrific pain, a temperature and faintness, I hadn’t felt her move for the best part of an afternoon.  I did all the websites told me to do, ate something sugary, drank a cold drink, laid on different sides.  Nothing.

I called the maternity unit in my local hospital and was told to come in.  In fairness I was pretty adamant I was coming in, so I’m not sure I gave the leading midwife much choice!  In all honesty, the pain was bad enough to take me up there but the reduced movements, alongside my already anxious mind pushed me further.

The pain ended up being a urine infection, (another beautiful pregnancy effect, people fail to mention will more than likely happen to you!)  The reduced movements, were nothing serious.  The midwife said the pain I was in with the urine infection were more than likely masking the movements, and I was so focused on the pain I just hadn’t noticed her moving.  All was fine, and I went on to have a healthy baby girl.

The difference between my story and so many others, is that sometimes, a mum-to-be won’t go and get checked.  52% of women asked, during a recent survey, have said, they would be worried about looking for help when they notice reduced movements due to a fear of “wasting midwives time”.  Please don’t worry about wasting anyones time.  Midwives are there to care for you and your baby, go to them if you think anything is wrong with your baby during pregnancy.  Trust your instincts.

You are never wasting a midwifes time with your concerns.  You know your body, and you know the baby growing inside you.  If you think there’s a problem, get it checked.  The age old quote “it’s better to be safe than sorry” should be imprinted on your mind during pregnancy.  The alternative just isn’t worth the risk.

 

In a recent study, around half of women who had a still birth, said that they had noticed that their babies movements had slowed down.

For every 220 babies born in the UK, 1 is stillborn, and in the UK we rank 24th out of 49 high-income countries for the amount of stillbirths that occur.* For a country with such an impressive healthcare service, this isn’t acceptable.  1 in 220 is not ok!

That’s why this campaign has been set up.  To raise awareness of reduced fetal movements and to help mums-to-be, whether this is their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th baby, that they must seek help if they feel something is wrong.

In Norway, a similar campaign was run, and it cut the rate of stillbirth down by a third-we could do that here in the UK too!

Tommy’s have provided me with this lovely link to a video about reduced fetal movements.  Please take a look as it explains so much about what I have highlighted so far.  


 

There is no specific number that everyone must follow to count the number of movements a baby has.  You know how much your baby moves.  Personally, both of mine, moved more in the afternoon and evening than they did in the morning.  Your baby may be different.  All pregnancies are different, and what is a normal amount of movements for your baby, will not be the same as another mums.  Comparing them and panicking because your friend/family member has a more active baby isn’t how this works.  You will know your baby has reduced the amount of movements, because you become aware of their natural individual pattern.

 

If you’re reading this, currently pregnant, and think you could do with getting checked out because you haven’t felt your baby move as much today, call your midwife.  If she’s not available, call your local hospital maternity unit.  Be insistent.  Explain your concerns and that you would like to be checked out.  Do not put that phone call off until the next day.

As I said, this sort of information wasn’t available when I had my son, but it was when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I recommend using this information for yourselves, but also spreading the word to your other mummy-to-be friends, who either may not have a clue about any of it, or may have been misinformed in the past and need clarification.

Sharing this, could save a babies life.  We could prevent that 1 in 220……

Thank you.

*Statistics taken from Tommys research. 

To find out more about reduced fetal movements and the Tommys campaign-click here

Lost Memories

If anyone follows my blog, or regularly reads the things I post, you’ll know about my history with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD following a lack of aftercare when I had 3 recurrent miscarriages a few years ago.

For those who haven’t read any, my basic background is that, between having my son and daughter, myself and my husband lost 3 babies.  We were offered nothing in the way of aftercare, no psychological help, and because of that, years later, I’m now suffering from several mental health issues.

Today, after a trip to the park with the little ones, I decided to sort the vast amount of photos and videos on my laptop out, and add them onto my external hard drive.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the sheer amount of them I actually own.  On the laptop alone there were over 8000 (whoops!)

I added them and decided to sit and nose through the old photos I’d already stored on the hard drive, and in doing so, came across the last six years worth of memories.  I’m going to go ahead and use the term “memories” loosely-you’ll read why further down.

While going through them, I remembered around 90% of them, whether that was taking them, or seeing them from someone else.

I know some memories don’t make it to the “long term memory” part of your brain (I’ve just completed a diploma in psychology-this was one of the modules), but I do remember the majority.

I then flicked through until I came to my daughters last three years worth of photos and videos.
We all sat round, giggling at how little, funny and sweet my daughter was (and still is-sometimes), and discussing with my son when they were taken etc.  It was then, that I realised something pretty sad-I didn’t remember the majority of them.

Of course, I know I took them, I remember roughly the reason behind them, the time (roughly) they were taken, but I cant remember being there, enjoying that moment, like I did with my son.  Quickly switching the laptop off, I tried to reassure myself.  I have a lot going on, most days, and what with the issues left behind from the miscarriages, my mind isn’t as clear as it used to be.

Then it dawned on me, what if those two things were connected?!

After putting the children to bed, I opened Google on my laptop.  I’d love to say I was wrong in my suspicions, but unfortunately I’m not.

I found out that the hormone cortisol, which is released when you’re stressed, is known to prevent the formation of memories, and therefore causes memory loss.  Because anxiety tends to be a long term issue, you’re putting your body through almost constant stress, therefore releasing a harmful amount of cortisol into your body.  Additionally, anxiety also distracts you, making your mind wander, therefore hindering your ability to remember what’s happening in the here and now.

PTSD is one of the biggest causes of anxiety, because of the trauma sustained.

I have to count myself as one of the lucky ones, even if it doesn’t feel that way.  I have thousands of videos and photos I’ve taken of my kids, and my “memories” can be in front of me at the click of a button.  However, what I find that infuriates me more than anything, is that this could have all have been prevented.   This is yet another thing mental health has taken from me, primarily down to the lack of aftercare I received.

Its just another thing I’ll have to live with, and slowly come to terms with.

I know I say it a lot on the end of these types of blog posts, but its SO important that the message is sent out.  If you, someone you know, just anyone you hear about, has gone through even one miscarriage, or a trauma, make sure they’re battling as hard as they possibly can to get help.  And if you/they can’t find that strength to do it for themselves, if their minds and bodies are just too bloody exhausted from fighting to get through each day, then help them, help those around you to get medical help.

Because the life they’ll lead without it, isn’t worth thinking about.

X

 

For immediate help or if you’re worried about someone’s mental health while they’re stuck on waiting lists/doctors lists, click the following links for advice.  There’s also a link for advice following miscarriage(s) from an amazing organisation, Tommys.

The Samaritans

Mind

Anxiety UK

Tommys