Me and mine (January 2016)

I am so excited to be apart of the me and mine project this year as I absolutely love the idea of taking the time out to take a picture of my family all together. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often as, although I take lots of photos, I’m very rarely in them due to being behind the camera!

It’s such a lovely project to look back on and see what we were doing or loving that particular month.

January, I think, has been such a long gloomy month. The weather has been awful and has seen us spend more time than usual squirreled away in the house. Although I must admit, with the hustle and bustle of December it has been nice to have a few restful lazy days to recuperate. Although it has been a long and gloomy month January has seen us through potty training and nursery placements so it has been a busy month in that sense.

This months photo of us was taken last week when the snow was with us. (I was trying to take a photo of us this week but I’ve been too busy!) but it was quite nice to capture the weather and us all being wrapped up outside. It probably isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken but the wind and snow was against us plus I had to be quick and take it in one shot as D wasn’t particularly impressed about being out in the cold! But some times in life things are less than perfect and sometimes you have only one shot to nail it. I think I strive to much for perfection and perhaps need to take a step back and realise that being perfect isn’t always possible and the end outcome is still as beautiful.


This month we are loving…

 K being independent with he potty

 Lazy days in the house

Organising and decluttering

Spending time organising our family holidays for the year

Being together as much as possible

That’s it from me this month. I aim to take a few more pictures of us next month! What have you been up to with your family this month? I’d love to hear from you!


Nursery, Michael and Massages #littleloves

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s Friday here already! Although, does anyone else think that January needs to do one now!? Longest. Month. Ever. I get really fed up of miserable, wet weather and dark nights. I really struggle to keep K entertained when the weather is gloomy as it means your stuck in doors a lot more instead of being out at the park. It’s been quite a busy week in the FLAM household this week and most of our evenings have been spent viewing nurseries for K to go to. She is completely ready for nursery now and to branch out on her own a little bit and I feel confident now to let her spread her wings a bit. Had you asked me to send her to nursery 6 months ago, I would have said no, no, no. I couldn’t let go of my baby!! But my baby needs to flourish now and as of next Wednesday she will be attending nursery for 4 hours once a week. I 100% guarantee I will be blubbing in the car once I’ve dropped her off.




Things I am loving this week…


I’ve finally managed to sit and finish “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. It has taken me around 3 months to finish it. Partly because I have been too busy so finding time to just sit and read a book was difficult but partly because I wasn’t a massive fan of it either! I didn’t think the film adaptation of it was great and I found the book to be exactly the same. It just didn’t grab me! I’m sure a lot of you will be shocked by this revelation as I hear nothing but good things about it, but, I don’t know. It just wasn’t for me! I have also been trying to read as many blogs as I possibly can but narrowing those down to my favourites is proving difficult at the minute. There are some amazing blogs out there! Perhaps next week I can individually name my favourites, who knows!?



In terms of hearing this week it has to be (dare I admit it) the new Little Mix album! My daughter loves them despite being a fickle two year old so she wanted to buy their album at Christmas with some money she had been given. This is all I have heard this week as it has been on a few of our car journeys. Next week I will try to be a little bit cooler! *ahem*


I am loving the new Fearne and Gok – off the rails programme. It’s a bit like the UK version of Fashion Police. They critique celebrities outfits and show you what  is hot (or not) in fashion that week. It is right up my street. Combining fashion and light viewing is something I crave when I’m tired at the end of the day.


This week I made – Random meals! Is that cheating?…hmmm I don’t think so. Our freezer in the garage is due to be defrosted so we are trying to eat EVERYTHING in there to make it easier to do. Therefore there has been times this week when my family has had literally the most random things that have been left over in our freezer! Anyone for fish fingers, waffles and Yorkshire puddings!?


I bought a beautiful Michael Kors handbag with some Christmas and Birthday money I received this year and quite frankly, given that I’m on mum duty pretty much all the time, it’s not really had an airing yet. Therefore I made an effort one day this week to take it out with me. It probably wasn’t the most practical idea I’ve ever had given that I ended up looking like a bag lady with 3 bags in tow but it felt nice all the same. I think I will leave Michael for the special outings in future though and just shove my belongings in D’s change bag like I usually do.


And lastly…

I’ve been spending a bit of time these last few weeks working on my 2016 goals and one of those goals was to make a little bit more of “me time”. My lovely husband bought me a voucher for Christmas to have an hour long aromatherapy massage at a local salon so I utilised said voucher and went for the massage this week. It was absolutely heavenly and just what my post-baby, tired mummy body needed.  It is really important to make time for yourself even if it is only an hour, it makes all the difference to your mind, body and soul.


Linking up with: #littleloves

Tropical butterfly house – A mummy & daughter morning

Over the last few weeks and particularly over the last few days I’ve noticed a slight change in K’s attitude. She has gone from being a happy-go-lucky pleasant little girl to a tantrum throwing, emotional little terror! I feel myself lucky that I think I skipped the whole “terrible twos” stage as K has always being a dream to look after. I loved spending time with her. But recently, her little outbursts, her tantrums and general attitude has been slacking slightly. So much so that I’ve been counting the hours down to bedtime every night and thanking the lord that the day was over. I do genuinely think this is a little stage she is going through especially since we are nearly hitting the “threenager” milestone and I’m sure it will pass as quick as it came on. (Please, for the love of all things sweet, let it pass soon) That said, I am also aware that there has been a lot of adjustments in our household of late. One being the arrival and sudden illness of D which takes a lot of our time up and attention away from K who is used to being the centre of attention in our universe. Therefore I arranged a morning where it was just me and K again, like old times. It was me giving her my full attention and the morning being all about her. Which, both she and I absolutely loved.

I left D with grandparents for the morning and I took K to the Tropical butterfly house wildlife and falconry centre in Sheffield. We are really fortunate as this little gem of a place is about 15minutes away from where we live. It’s basically what it says on the tin. It’s a tropical butterfly house which is situated on large grounds within a wildlife and falconry centre. It is home to lots of animals including Lemurs, Meerkats, Wallaby’s and Otters and also has farm yard animals and a falconry area which houses owls, ravens, parrots and other birds of pray. The butterfly house is a warm tropical hut which has butterflies and reptiles within it. The grounds are lovely and there are some decent nature trails within it where you can spot local wildlife and different species of birds. There is also an outdoor play area and splash zone but it was far too cold today to experience those! It is such a good day out. We only spent the morning there as we were on a time restraint but you could quite easily spend the day there and it enables you to purchase food and drink within their café or there is an indoor and outdoor picnic area if you want to bring your own packed lunches. They also give you a timetable of what is happening throughout the day including different talks and animal feeding times. It costs £9.75 for adult entry and £8.50 for child entry (over 2yrs old). In all honesty, I do think it’s worth £9.75 for an adult but I think it’s slightly expensive for a child admission. Most Zoos and wildlife centres charge a fraction of the price for children and most places allow under 3’s free admission. It can make it quite an expensive day if there are two adults and two or more children visiting. But that’s just my opinion.

Watching the parrots

Watching the parrots


A working ant within the butterfly house


Feeding the fish


Trying to spot the butterflies in the tropical house


It was too cold to play in the outdoor play area but we did sneak a quick ride on the bull


There is a lot of food and drink to choose from in the café. Katie is enjoying a children’s meal box


The Meerkats were her favourite but it was very windy outside!!


I think they thought I had food!!!

Overall, both K and I had a fantastic morning. She loved seeing all the animals and butterflies. It was nice to spend some quality mummy-daughter time and in all honesty it was much needed by both of us.  I have made a promise to myself to spend some alone time with her on a more regular basis and just touch base with her a little bit more as it is quite easy to let every day life become the focus of everything. It’s also hard when a lot of my focus and attention is based around D at the moment.

How do you all cope when there is more than one child to focus on? Do you spend time with each child individually? I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave me a comment!


Being the parents of a critically ill child

I was in two minds whether or not to publish a post like this as it is still a very raw subject. I’ve edited it so many times and hovered over the “publish” button with doubt. But with the aim of this blog being a memory, this is still apart of our journey as a family. It was a time in our life where we were the most vunerable, where we saw each other at our weakest and a time where we needed each other the most. That’s because we experienced something no parent ever wants to go through.

We had the awful experience of nearly loosing our child.

I have skipped a lot out from this experience due to the length of the post but the memories (however bad they were) are still stay with me.

D is now 17 weeks old, and a happy thriving 17 week old boy he is. He’s such a little charmer and a complete picture of health. But this wasn’t always the case. D came into the world a healthy (albeit in a slightly dramatic way – that will be for another post) little boy all 7lb 9oz of him. We were absolutely over the moon with him and K relished being a big sister. We brought him home and the first 3-4days were a haze of newborn craziness. On day 5 of his little life, looking back (it wasn’t particularly obvious at the time) he was very sleepy (I say this wasn’t obvious because most newborns spend their days sleeping) he never cried (really- he didn’t) and never really wanted food. I was desperately trying to breastfeed at the time and D really struggled to latch on. No amount of persuasion would get him to latch and for fear of him refusing the breast completely we opted to feed him via a cup until he was established. It would take him around 30-40mins to feed 3oz of breast milk from a cup which we thought at the time was odd but put it down to him being a bit lazy. When we spoke to health professionals about all his little “quirks” especially him not crying or waking they just reassured me that he was just a “content baby”. This went on for a few days and my mothering instinct alarm bells were starting to ring. So when we went to the midwife for our 10day check up we insisted that D was checked over. As it was, the midwife agreed that something wasn’t right especially as he had lost weight since day 5 and sent us to the local children’s hospital for D to be looked at. First impressions from all the staff was that D had not been eating much therefore his blood sugar levels were low resulting in him being lethargic. Not an ideal diagnosis but one that was relevantly easy to treat. We were instantly admitted with a view for D to have some fluids then to be discharged home. The next 48hrs were filled with D having blood test after blood test to determine why he was so lethargic as they believed that his low blood sugar wasn’t only to blame. For the sake of this post (and the fact that I don’t want it to be 10 pages long) I will skip a lot of the medical tests they were doing.

On the 4th night of our hospital stay around 1am, Dylan became even more unwell than he already was and the Drs took him away to be examined. After what felt like a lifetime, a doctor came in to my room and devastatingly told me that some of D’s blood results had come back earlier that evening and it had showed that he had liver failure caused by an unknown infection.

Coming from a nursing background, I understood that this was extremely serious. The first thing I could think to do was ask the doctor if my baby was going to die. The honest answer? It was that she really didn’t know.

I was heartbroken. I was hysterical. I couldn’t think straight. I felt angry. Angry that this was happening to us. Angry that my poor defenceless 2 week old baby was suffering like this. Angry that it wasn’t me going through it instead.

We were immediately transferred to a hospital that had a liver speciality but this was in Leeds almost 50 miles from where we lived. Thankfully there is a charity called The Sick Childrens Trust which provided us with accommodation for the time we were there rather than trailing back and forth to Leeds from Sheffield. We will be forever grateful that there are charities out there that provide such service. I don’t know how we would have coped without that support.

D was instantly brought to the High Dependency Ward where the consultants made the decision to transfer him to the Intensive Care Ward and put him on a life support machine to help D concentrate on fighting the infection rather than concentrating on breathing. No parent should ever have to witness their baby hooked up to so many wires and machines. We spent our days there continuously watching the monitors, making sure his vital stats were stable and that he was stable in himself. I cried every single day. I cried because my baby was ill, I cried because I was away from my  daughter who is only 2 years old and although she was safe with grandparents and visited us most days I desperately wanted to be at home with her doing the normal mum stuff, I cried because I felt guilty that I couldn’t be with them both at the same time when they both needed me. I cried because I felt cheated of those precious new born days where all you do is sit and snuggle and bond and I cried the hardest because with everything that was going on I couldn’t make it better. I couldn’t make my son better. We were sat down over the weekend that D arrived in Leeds and were told that the next 24-48hrs were critical and to brace ourselves for the worst.

On life support in intensive care.

On life support in intensive care.

I genuinely thought my life was over.

After a lot of investigation, It turned out that D had caught the Type 1 Herpes Virus which generally comes from a cold sore. The most frustrating part of this whole scenario is that myself nor my husband have ever had a cold sore. Nor did any of our visitors. How unlucky is that!?

His big sister visited him nearly everyday

His big sister visited him nearly everyday

Thankfully after a couple of days on intensive care, D was taken off  the life support machine and transferred to a ward and (after  jumpy start where he was transferred back to HDU for a few days) gradually made a full recovery. It took 3.5 weeks in hospital, which is no time at all given the seriousness of his condition. We were (and are) so lucky. We are so grateful that he’s here to tell the tale. We are blessed that he made a speedy recovery as we were told on many occasions by many doctors that we might still be in hospital at Christmas. How did he make such a quick recovery? I have no idea. He is a fighter. He is my fighter. He was determined that he was going to be apart of our family. Someone up there was looking down on us and helped us win our miracle.

We will be forever in the doctors debt, they were truly fantastic, knowledgeable and skilled human beings. Thanks to them I have my life, my soul and my family of 4.

All smiles. The day before we were discharged from hospital at 5 weeks old.

All smiles. The day before we were discharged from hospital at 5 weeks old.



Potty training hints and tips



I was going to write a post on “how to potty train” but realised that this wouldn’t be helpful to anyone given that everyone’s potty training experience is different. So rather than a “this is what we did” post I am going to write down hints and tips that I felt were useful to me and helped K to become dry during the day.

It’s taken K around two weeks to become dry during the day, granted we still have the odd accident but that is usually in the evening time when she’s starting to become a little tired from her day. So far (touch wood) we haven’t had an accident whilst out and about. But I am prepared for it if and when this happens.

Just as a note – K isn’t dry at nap time or during the night just yet so for these times she still wears a nappy and it comes straight off the minute I get her up.

My potty training hints and tips

  1. Make sure they are ready to potty train. This sounds so obvious but actually I find so many people say “Oh, s/he’s two years old now, I must potty train” – no. It really doesn’t work like that. Some children are going on 3yrs old when they are ready to train. They will let you know they are ready by telling you when they are having a wee (or a poo) and that’s usually a good indication that they are ready. Trying to train them any earlier will leave you both stressed out and it will make it an unsuccessful attempt. If you try and train when they seem ready but they just don’t crack it, don’t worry. Leave it a few weeks (or months) and try again. I tried training K a few weeks before Christmas and it just didn’t work so I stopped and left it until after Christmas and by this time she grasped it much easier.
  2. Try and clear your schedule and stay in for the week. Granted, this doesn’t work for everyone and was my idea of hell but it really did work for us. There were no distractions, no moments of “Goodness me she needs the toilet NOW and I don’t have one to hand”, no public puddles and no stressed out toddler.
  3. Ask them if they need a wee every 15/20 minutes. You end up sounding like a broken record, but asking them regularly makes them remember that they need to go.
  4. Put them on the potty every 30-40mins even if they say they don’t need to go. More often than not they did actually need to go they just didn’t know it and even if they didn’t need it, it gets them used to sitting on the potty.
  5. Bribes, bribes and more bribes. Am I a bribing mum? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? No. Does it work? Yes. Offering out rewards (or bribes – however you see it) works wonders. It gives the child something to aim for and makes them feel like they’ve achieved something. Tailor the reward (bribe) to your child whether that be a little chocolate, a sticker or a new book/toy. We had daily rewards of a little chocolate every time K successfully went on the potty and then at the end of the 1st week we went to the toy shop and she chose a small toy for being such a big girl. Those treats have completely trailed off now because using the potty or toilet is just the norm but it really did work for us in the beginning.
  6. Have a potty in every room. We bought K a potty with a high back support to make it more comfortable when she sits on it and this is her main potty in the house but I also went to a £1 shop and bought 4 or 5 cheap plastic ones and placed them in different rooms in our house because I found that when she needed to go, she needed to go NOW. Having a potty in the room she was in helped to reduce accidents. I also bought a child training seat that fits over the normal toilet so she can practice using the big toilet as well as the potty.
  7. If you go out – bring plenty of spare pants/trousers/tops/socks. You will have an accident at some point. Don’t be caught off hand when this happens.

So these are my hints and tips. I hope they were useful. I’d love to hear if you have any hints or tips that worked for you. Let me know in the comment box below.