My Sunday Photo: Tootsie! 

It’s been a mixed week that started well and ended up with seasonal tummy bugs and colds, so I’ve not been able to blog as much as I’ve wanted to.

Browsing my photos from the week, I was reminded of capturing Naomi having a good old suck on her big toe! She loves putting things in her mouth and loves her dummy so I suppose a plump toe was just as appealing!

A life lesson can surely be made of this: If life gives you lemons, look at a picture of a baby sucking her big toe!


I’ve linked up with #MySundayPhoto at Photoalife. Darren has posted a stunning picture of fungi (yes, you read that correctly!). There are some brilliant photos this week so do pop over and have a look!


Guest post: Born sleeping – 10 years of missing Amy

I’m sharing this post on behalf of a lovely friend, Louise, who lost her first child, Amy, 10 years ago. Louise has offered me much emotional support since my own loss and I have been inspired by her strength. Please read and appreciate the years of love and loss in these words and images.


Thursday, 17th March 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of the death and birth of our daughter, Amy. She was stillborn at 39 weeks, following a textbook pregnancy, and with no logical explanation.

Having happily carried her for nine months, to then endure labour and birth knowing there would be no positive outcome is certainly the hardest thing I have ever experienced and I truly hope never to surpass it. I know, my husband, Jason feels similarly about having to helplessly watch it happen.

It took me a long time to begin to face my grief, but even in my darkest days I started to write about it. This poem took me years to complete (and I am still editing it as I re-read it!) but I thought, a decade on, I might dare to share it.


Losing Amy

“It’s not there, sweetie”.
Those words I’ll never forget.
The words of a consultant,
Searching for a heartbeat,
So strong for nine whole months,
That now had ceased to be.

Disbelief so whole,
And pain so numbing.
We held onto each other, as our world collapsed.
To leave that room was to accept it.
I couldn’t move.
I kept repeating, “NO!”

I had felt so joyful,
As I nurtured our first child within.
I had taken great care,
And yet our daughter, Amy,
Our little ‘Bean’,
Was born sleeping.

Although so cold,
Her skin was soft,
As it should have been.
We caressed her face, her perfect hands,
And took our birth day photographs
Of our precious girl.

I felt broken.
So sad and lost.
I gave birth to her
And yet I didn’t feel like a mother.
I treasured the memory of her kicks.
Poor Daddy had nothing to remember.

Three years passed and, despite two beautiful sons,
I was feeling desperate.
I had confined Amy’s photographs to a box
my grief alongside them.
But now the lid was about to blow.
I was losing control.

I reached out for help
And someone grabbed my hand.
Rachel. A bereavement counsellor.
A rock to cling to in the whirlpool of grief.
She helped me find my way out of the dark
And I am so thankful.

Ten years on and my grief persists.
Sometimes it washes over me like a wave.
Occasionally, it still bends me double with its force.
But I don’t attempt to control it now.
I accept it has a place in my life
And our darling Amy, a place in my heart.


We sadly know we are not alone in our experience and were thankful for the support given by SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity). Their work provides an essential resource to grieving parents, so if you would like to donate in Amy’s or any other baby’s memory they would welcome any support. Please click this link Thank you. x

10 guilt-free reasons to use childcare

Grubbalo, now 15 months old, has been going to a childminder twice a week since he was ten months old. I run a business from home and I wrote this post about how hard I was finding it juggling looking after him and keeping on top of work. It is impossible to do anything remotely professional while he’s in the house.

I was relieved to find that my old childminder (who had looked after all my three older children in their pre-school years) had space available. She’s a truly lovely lady who is brilliant with the little ones.

I pay for all-day care, 9-5pm, but in effect I only have around four hours’ work time on those days, sometimes less as it’s the only days I can do appointments like dentists or doctors without Grubbalo around, as well as taking my other two children to clubs after school. So I pay a lot for a little bit of work time. But it is essential and I can get a lot done in those hours.

Continue reading “10 guilt-free reasons to use childcare”

Coping with pelvic pain in pregnancy

Huffpost Parents shared a link to this blog post today about the reality of pelvic pain in pregnancy. I wrote my own post when I was heavily pregnant with Grubbalo at the end of 2013 but never got round to posting it. I know many readers have suffered with this common ailment so it might be useful to read my story.

I’m so grateful that I’ve got this far in my pregnancy; that the baby seems to be okay, squirming around in there. But I can’t deny that it’s physically and emotionally demanding. I see lots of women whose bumps seems to be attached to them and other than that they look pretty much the same, can get around the same and it doesn’t seem to slow them down. It’s hard not to envy that when you have pregnancies like mine.

I wouldn’t say I have difficult pregnancies, far from it. I’m very lucky to not have months of sickness or problems which leave me on bed rest or in hospital. I know getting pelvic pain is simply ‘how I am’ when I’m pregnant.

I had this with each of my four pregnancies, getting worse with each one. And despite being physically fitter before this pregnancy than I was with my others, I’m six years older so perhaps that’s a factor?

Continue reading “Coping with pelvic pain in pregnancy”

Photo of the Week – Project 365 – week 9/52

Another pretty hectic week (am I going to start every 365 like this I wonder?). The children managed to go back to school okay and the week seemed to pass in a blur of appointments, clubs and work. I’m yet again at Sunday evening and realising I’ve not yet uploaded my photo of the week.

It’s all good though. Grubbalo is now one and it’s now March (so unofficially spring in my mind!). I haven’t blogged on here since my last 365 post although I did write this post about why I’m fed up with what TV is offering me at the moment. I enjoy my regulars, like Gogglebox, and also found I enjoyed the recent Wolf Hall series, but I’m always irritated by the number of hospital/trauma programmes on TV. Continue reading “Photo of the Week – Project 365 – week 9/52”

Nesting – beyond the firstborn!

I saw a link to this thread on Mumsnet‘s Facebook page about how ‘precious’ we can be around our first child. A comment that had me giggling for ages after was that one mum actually squirted Johnson & Johnson’s No Tears Shampoo into her own eyes to test it really was ‘no tears! Oh dear!

It reminded me that when I was pregnant with my fourth baby last year, I wrote this post about how my attitude to so-called ‘nesting’ had changed since I had my first child over 10 years before. I seem to have gone from feathering my first nest to, perhaps, just tidying that nest a little bit with my second and third, to simply trying to keep all the twigs together by my fourth nest! So, without further ado, here is my list of ways nesting was different for me:

Nesting, then and now
Having spent most of the afternoon cleaning the house, I realised I’ve not actually achieved much more than the basics… and now it’s a tip again! I thought it might be the nesting instinct (pregnant woman with duster = feathering her nest), but in fact I’m just doing the bloody cleaning!

I thought it might be fun to compare some of the things I did first time around in 2000, when expecting my first child, with now (and my other children). Ah… the days of organised living… *goes off into daydream of tidier times*

Continue reading “Nesting – beyond the firstborn!”

Baby rivalry

I wrote this post while I was pregnant with Grubbalo and Crackernut and Ponymad Girl were trying to understand what having a new baby meant.

Tonight, I was sat with my six-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter on the sofa and my son raised the topic of my going into labour. I reminded him that he was born just a few feet in front of us, on the lounge carpet, which he finds unreal.

When I asked him how he would feel when he hears the news that the baby is here, he said he’d not like it as it means I will spend all my time caring for the baby and won’t have any left for him; that people will bring the baby presents; and, importantly, that the baby will get the ‘day off’ (meaning school). Continue reading “Baby rivalry”

Photo of the Week – Project 365 – week 4/52

Absolutely no contest this week for my photo of the week. I’ve taken plenty of gorgeous shots of frost and flowers, but while this isn’t the greatest quality as I was snapping away in dim light on my phone, it’s hands down my favourite photo. (And yes, that’s my ‘lovely’ whippy ceiling!)
Continue reading “Photo of the Week – Project 365 – week 4/52”

Mummy time with my boy

I haven’t really written much about Crackernut so far.

He’s seven now and really coming out of himself. He’s a fairly straightforward child. He can express his emotions, laugh himself out of a bad mood and is fairly independent.

Continue reading “Mummy time with my boy”

Giving up breastfeeding is hard to do

This feels a bit like a confession… I want to give up breastfeeding.

Baby J is now seven months old. I’m amazed I’ve got this far! After the horrible start, which took me around 16 weeks to comfortably establish feeding, I didn’t want to give up.

I passed the six-month mark and thought I’d wean him off then. I know it’s advised to feed for a year these days, but I just couldn’t see myself doing it that long, what with teeth and the endless night feeds. I fed Boy J up to six months and that was what I had in mind this time round too.

But we’ve now passed seven months and I’m still in two minds.

So, I’ve been thinking about the reasons I want to give up breastfeeding:

Continue reading “Giving up breastfeeding is hard to do”