Emma’s Army – Walking together to beat cancer!

Cancer, and raising money towards research that will find treat and sure it, or eventually how to prevent it, is a cause close to my heart. I have lost friends and family to the disease in it’s many malevolent forms and I have friends fighting to beat it, now.

I have written about Emma, from Crazy With Twins, before, when a whole group of bloggers got together to write posts for her, in a campaign called Shoulder to Shoulder to support, and cheer her up, when she was recovering from her recent treatment for her cancer, which meant she had to be in isolation, and away from her beloved family. You can read her story here, and about her treatment.

Emma has had a really tough time recently. She beat cancer, when she was a child, but in recent times,  not only has she had a difficult pregnancy with her twins, suffering from HELLP syndrome, but when they were a year old, she faced and has been fighting thyroid cancer, and all the treatments that has entailed, and in the past few weeks,  she has also struggled with a pregnancy loss, after being diagnosed and treated for an ectopic pregnancy, from which she is still recovering. This has all been incredibly hard to deal with, a roller coaster of a journey with lots of ups and downs, and she has been so brave, and I reckon far tougher,  stronger and forward facing about it all, than I could be. I admire her, very much, and she’s also a mum, which makes me want to support her even more as a  mother, myself.

She has already beaten cancer once, and is beating it again. We want to help her, and one of the ways she has asked people to help is to raise money by doing a sponsored walk. She has mustered up Emma’s Army and the plan is to do a walk, along the Costwold Way, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

I can’t walk the walk, sadly. I have a damaged knee, and other family commitments during that time, and I am really sad that I can’t be there in person. So, instead, I am trying to raise awareness of what Emma and her army are doing, and promote the walk, and how you lovely people, who read my blog, can help.

When? 15th – 24th May 2014.

What? The walk is 104 Miles, along the Cotswold Way. Groups of, or individual bloggers are going to walk sections of it, with Emma who is going to walk the whole 104 miles, herself, and she is hoping to raise £20,000. This seems like a lot, but in reality is a drop in the ocean when you think about how much treatment, and research into cancer costs. Every little helps, and each donation will be very much appreciated. 

How to help? You can donate to Emma’s Army by clicking here. You can also share my blog post, and also find more information on Emma’s Army and share her blog post, on social media, blog pages or anywhere you think will help. 

If you would like to see the route you can check here or you can like Emma’s Army Facebook page, and help spread the word. 

We’ve sponsored her, and I will be tweeting and sharing news and updates on the walk and progress, and cheering her and all the other walkers on, all the way. If you make a donation, you are really helping towards a good cause, for Emma, and for many, many others who are trying to beat cancer. 

 I'm part of #EmmasArmy

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Time out, then more time out…?

Time out

So, I took a bit of a mini break, last week, after writing my post on perspective. I have to admit, it has been nice to have time away from e-mail, a slightly less presence on social media (ahem, I can’t quite give that up) and also to not have to worry about blogging.

We all go back to a normal routine tomorrow, work, school, nursery.

I am trying to get my head round what our routine should be. How much of my own time I dedicate to the things I do. How much time I put into extra things for work, blogging, and social media. When I should be doing these things. Spending time with my children is my first priority, and to be honest, trying to work, with them around, most of the time is a big, fat fail. I am working on what I do and what I prioritise.

I have lots of stuff I want and need to write (reviews and posts for other people) and it’s bothering me that I am not organised and that I haven’t been able to figure out how to manage things. Fortunately, this little blog isn’t financially contributing to the household budget in a massive way right now, so I can be a bit more relaxed, but I don’t want to loose momentum.

So, in short, this week is an extended break for me. I will be sharing old blog posts, on our Facebook page, a post scheduled for tomorrow, and do have a Ranty Friday post all ready to go, but other than that, it will be time out this week, for the blog, so I can plan, and get my head together. I hopefully will be back, in full force next week.

I know it is manageable, I just don’t seem to have sussed it out yet, and would like to do the things I do well, and not feel like I am letting one thing drop to do another thing.

I would love to hear how other bloggers who work, have families and also write blog posts regularly manage? If you have any suggestions please shout, I am keen for input.



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Our week in photos – Iguanas, dirty nails, cheese on toast?

We have had a busy week. LSH has now either been working at home, or on leave, for the last month, and after tomorrow’s bank holiday, will be back at work, and normal routine, school for the children, work for me, commences. The uniforms are ready, we have new lunch boxes, shoes are waiting to be polished. I may have stifled a sob or two at the prospect of him “leaving us”. I know, pathetic, really. I have been spoiled having him home for such a stretch.

This week we have had lots of fun. We didn’t go away on holiday. I posted about why, here, in my post on perspective. But we did lots of things to keep oursleves amused. Cinema trips to see Rio 2, a visit to a National Trust property, a trip to a bird of prey sanctuary, where Little Man met a very large Eagle called Kayla, and we also have had fun at home, in the garden, and out and about.

So the round up….

PhotoweekEaster4 PhotoweekEaster3 PhotoweekEaster2 PhotoWeek Easter1

Dirty nails, Pinterest fails, gluten free pizza that was really good, cheese on toast, tea that is actually beer, popcorn snacking, Big Girl fully recovered and posing by fountains, ice on dodgy knees, kneading dough, kitchen taken over by triffid like tomato plants, cake requests and a rather splendid marine iguana….

Phew, I am exhausted now. That’s our week. Now pop along to Make Do and Push and see what other lovely bloggers are sharing. One of my favourite weekly link ups!

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Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday 20th April

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Friday’s Rant from the Soap Box in MY Living Room – I’m in the loo!


 Welcome to my Friday’s Rants from the Soap Box in my Living Room. A small space in the week where I can have a chunter about things that have made me twitch with annoyance or made me question if the world has gone mad or not….

I also  linked up with MummyBarrow for her Ranty Friday. You can find her blog and link up here if you’d like to join in. A good rant can be therapeutic.

So, I am not really in the loo, but when you go to a public toilet, it is clear someone has already taken up occupancy, and the sign on the door, or lock of said toilet, says “engaged” or “busy” or “occupied” or whatever, usually in red, what do you do? Do you wait, patiently, possibly doing a spot of mini Irish dancing if you bladder is telling you it needs emptying fairly soon, or do you bang on the door, try and turn the handle, or rattle the door?

Toilet lock!

What is it with public toilets and people thinking it’s OK to do this? If a toilet cubicle or room is clearly full and occupied, it’s just rude to rattle the door, or try and see if someone is actually behind it. It’s most disconcerting when you are doing what needs to be done, you have me already on edge with someone rattling on the door, I hate public toilets anyway, so I am usually feeling stressed out, add small children touching everything in sight, unrolling the loo roll and asking pointed questions – “why don’t you have a penis like Daddy does Mummy?” was one I got asked recently, loudly, in the cubicles in John Lewis (and yes, my children know the proper terms for body parts, before you ask,) and this means I am usually sucking at least two rescue remedies by the time I leave the toilet – after I have washed my hands, of course.

It seems to happen a lot, and it’s annoying, and people need to stop it. I have decided that the next time it happens, I am going to say loudly “I am slightly constipated, so will be a few minutes, once I have finished this level of Candy Crush, I think I will be done, sorry for the delay” or something, and take just that few minutes longer. It’s just rude. I realise other people also need to go to the loo, but I am pretty sure most people in public toilets aren’t in the cubicles for pleasure or fun (this is a family blog, let’s not go there, thanks) so rattling on the door while someone is trying to do their business is just not acceptable.

That’s my chunter for today. Pop along to MummyBarrow, she has a jolly good rant about how PR and other companies approach bloggers today, on her blog.


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Sat Cap – I want to be an accountant….

So, a future accountant? As long as he can keep me in a style I would like to become accustomed to, when he is making his millions I don’t mine… ;) But I am sure there’s a Sat Cap for this picture?


So Mammasaurus is handing over Sat Cap to some other lovely bloggers to take on, because she has worked very hard with the linky but she’s a mega busy lady with lots on her plate, and needs time to concentrate on other things. We love SatCap and we are sad but we are glad for her and it’s not going away. This week Sonya over at RocknRollMum is hosting it, so mosey on over there and see what’s happening.


The Ramblings of a formerly Rock n Roll Mum

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On my desk, which is a bit messy, with stuff piled up, because I have been away for 3 days and I usually clear it at the end of each day, because I HATE clutter and mess, especially in space I have to work or spend a lot of time in, stands a vase, with a single red rose in it. That rose, which cost £2.50 and was bought at my almost 4 year old’s son’s insistence, when we were out shopping today. He also managed to wrangle a box of usually not found in my pantry cupboard sugar laden cereal and a Disney DVD which was on sale (making me feel slightly more justified in buying it) out me me today.



I let him buy it, I let him choose a box of sugary cereal, I let him choose a DVD to take home to watch this afternoon, with is sister. I don’t normally let them splurge like that, we don’t just let our children spend money, like that but the events of this week have put life into perspective for me.

Earlier this week, despite having had a really successful and smooth recovery period from her recent operation, Big Girl developed some complications, and I had to call an ambulance to our home, early on Tuesday morning, and we spent 3 days in a hospital 11 miles from our home, with me staying overnight, with her, and LSH shuttling between home, childcare for Small Boy and being with us (we are eternally grateful to all those who offered to help, and to my brother and lovely child-minder who actually had him for those days) She is now home and recovering, and it was a complication that was manageable with medical care, but it was hellishly scary for a few hours on Tuesday morning. She doesn’t want me to share details, so I won’t but I don’t ever want to have to call 999 like that again.

Whilst I was sitting in the hospital, first in A&E with her, and then in the ward, where she was monitored and given medications I had so many thoughts going through my head. I knew she would be OK, because I have ENT experience and have seen what happened to her, in my work, but also I had my faith, and  faith in the excellent medical care at the hospital, and also in my own ability to advocate for her, if I thought she wasn’t getting the care she needed or wasn’t responding to the treatment but I was still shaken, and had to really battle with some anxious thoughts, throughout the event and afterwards. LSH was also very shocked and shaken, (a phonecall from your wife to tell you “get home now, I have called 999″ will do that to you) and family around the world have been worried and anxious, because they weren’t able to be there with us, helping us and supporting her.

It’s scary, to see your child unwell, to the point where other people, strangers, have to step in and take over, and tell you what to do, and to give you facts, and plans, that you have no control over. You have to listen and hope that what they are saying is right, and that your child will be ok. There is always that possibility that they won’t be. Life is fragile, the human body is not infallible, and the worst CAN happen. We all hope and pray it won’t be us or our loved ones it will happen to, but it can and does. Watching your child, you feel helpless, scared and for me, my heart felt like it was being gripped, by something that I cannot explain, a cold “what if?” and “this could have been worse” and “why did this happen to us?”

Fortunately, she recovered, and is well on the mend, but whilst I was in hospital, I met two families. One with a little girl, exactly Big Girl’s age, who when I got chatting to the parents, in the kitchen, told me what their daughter was being treated for, and in my nursing knowledge, I know that it’s likely to be life limiting, and her chances of coming through are pretty slim. That shook me, as I watched my own child, get better, that someone else was preparing to support their own child through gruelling treatment that probably won’t work, on a long term. The other family have spent most of their son’s short life in and out of hospitals, because he has multiple health issues, that need a lot of input and treatment and will continue to, for years to come. He may lead a normal life, at some point, but for now, he is “hospitalised” and spends more time in hospital wards, or clinics, or at appointments, that he does doing normal things that a nearly 4 year old boy should be doing. He is a month older than Small Boy. I came away from the hospital this week, taking my child home, thankful and with a new sense of perspective.
We cannot control life, I have been blessed with two healthy children who can go about normally, and whom I love so much, it makes my heart hurt with a breath taking away pain, to think about loosing them. Other people don’t have that. I have friends who have lost countless pregnancies, or tried and failed to get pregnant, who suffer the heartbreak of infertility and not being able to have a child, I have friends who have lost their precious children, who have struggled with the worst thing any parent can have to deal with, and no one can take that pain away. I realise afresh, that I have been given these two gifts to raise and love and send out into the world, and to treasure the time I have with them.

Perspective is good. It makes you see what you need to change or work on. I am not a perfect parent, I never will be, but I can try harder, to be the best parent I can,  and I can also change my priorities, and attitude. We aren’t going away on holiday as planned this coming week, the doctors think it is best that Big Girl is close to home and resting. Normally I would have been really upset, we all desperately need this break, we are tired, and we need time away. But, she is on the mend, and we are having a stay-cation at home. We will spend time together and rest and enjoy things, despite not being “away”. I had a fleeting thought that I could catch up on work, blogging, admin, household chores and all that mundane stuff, whilst we had our week at home, but I have banished it. I will not be blogging for the next week. I will not be making sure my Facebook page is flowing with our usual updates and antics, I will be deleting my e-mail apps from my phone and not even opening my mail on the computer and I will be reducing my social media presence, and I won’t be worrying about all the work admin and prep that needs done. It can wait. It is all important to me and needs to be done, but it’s not urgent, or life threatening, and it will all still be there next week. Perspective means for me, taking time out, time off, to be with my family. Perspective is good. Life is good, we have been given some very precious gifts, and this week, I plan to hug them, hold them, love on them, let them have a few things here and there, that normally I would frown on, and I won’t worry about a messy house, or things that need to be done.

So that’s why I let Small Boy buy this rose, and carry it home, to put in a vase on my desk. That is why my children spent this afternoon eating sugary  cereal out of bowls whilst watching movies. Life will go back to normal, but for now, perspective is letting me relax and enjoy them and life.



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Cornsilk sensory play.

Creative kids logo

I happened to be chatting to a friend of mine, via Facebook yesterday, about messy play, and activities you can do with children, when the weather is foul outside and you don’t want to spend lots of money.

Something we used to do, when I worked with children with special needs, was sensory play, using lots of different items to stimulate their senses, and help them explore the world around them, using textures, smells, and touch.

Cornsilk, is one of the easiest things to do, and is cheap, and most people have corn flour in their cupboards. It’s one of those weird mediums that can be a liquid, then a solid, without freezing or being heated. You can read all about it here where it’s called Ooblek (which is a very cool name, I am sure there was a Dr Who episode called that once….) It can be solid but liquid at the same time.  I love the texture of it, and always enjoy playing with the children when we get this messy play activity going. It appeals to the geeky, science part of me!

You need 

  • A tray with a deep ish rim (about 1 inch)
  • Food colouring, and or flavouring, if you want to make it smell nice, and this is ideal for children with sensory loss, or visual issues, as they can smell it, if they are not able to see it, but it also makes it fun for anyone playing with it.
  • Corn flour
  • Water
  • Any toys that you don’t mind washing afterwards. My kids like to run cars and small trucks around in the cornsilk, you can use pretty much anything you like though, or just play with it with their/your hands

Add the water to two cups of cornflour, and stir it, until it is mixed. It will become firm, but when you touch it or scoop it out, it becomes liquid. Pour it onto trays, and let the kids loose. You can add colours, and mix it, for extra fun. Just add more water to make it runnier, and thicken it again with cornflour.

I do this before bath-time, with the children, so they can then jump in the bath and wash it all off, but it’s also fun outside, as it washes away.

A great, non toxic, fun thing to do, and my 7 year old still enjoys it.

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Get Fit Mummy – OW!!


Thank you to those who linked up last week, I am hoping that we can get lots of links joining up and we can all share and support each other. I am sorry this post is a bit delayed and it took a while to read and comment, I am struggling to juggle a few things right now. I will try and do better next week.

This week, I have been struggling.

I have lost weight, 1.5lb to be exact, despite having had a week of good eating. I think I run around so much at work, that I do burn off a fair few calories, per day and if I don’t over indulge, I can maintain and loose some weight.

I have tried to run, twice this week, but have come upon a problem, a rather painful one. My left knee, which has caused me issues before, has finally, so to speak “given up the ghost”. I have had some issues for some time, with ligament and cartilage damage, and have seen a physiotherapist for treatment. Of course, they tell you to rest, which is very unhelpful, when you are a parent, are working, and don’t drive so have to walk everywhere….

So, at the moment I am stumped for what to do for exercise. Swimming is ok, but I can, in reality only do that once a week, and I need to do something. I can’t do any high impact exercise like aerobics or dance classes (and I don’t do stuff like that, anyway, ballet classes is where I draw the line) and running is now out. I ran for the bus this morning and my poor knee is now so sore, that I am sitting with ice on it and have taken pain medication.

I would love to hear some ideas for exercise that might be gentle enough to do, but not kill my knee of any further? I will have to keep walking, but am at least on holiday from work for the next two weeks to rest it, for a bit, and hope to see my Doctor soon to get a referral to a specialist, as per my physiotherapists recommendation. She muttered something about draining fluid from my knee, which is very swollen. I have had this threatened before, but never needed to actually have it done, and the prospect of it makes my stomach churn.

So that’s my rather gloomy Get Fit Mummy post this week. I will be on holiday, next week, but if you link up, I will share your posts and comment. Please feel free to grab the badge and share on social media.



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Marriage – 13 years, lucky, or a lot of hard work?

So, this time 13 years ago, the soon to be LSH and I were getting ready to walk down the aisle, and say “I do”. We had, actually done the official thing two weeks previously, and had a small celebration with that (don’t ask, a combination of bringing the date forward, family politics, and not being able to do the “official” thing at the church we were using, means we actually have two wedding anniversaries, although we don’t make that much fuss about one, although I have tried to hint that we should! :) )

We were pretty young, when we got married, but we had known each other for almost 6 years, and been good friends almost from when we met, and we were pretty broke, I was a full time student, he was working full time, whilst also being a part time student. Our first couple of years were very challenging, although lots of fun. We did some travelling, and enjoyed married life in a very small flat, with the addition of Layla, and some fish. We figured if we could keep a cat and some fish alive, we might be in with a chance of managing a baby. We have been very lucky, yes, but it has also taken a lot of work, to survive and grow.

13 years seems like such a long time, yet also a really short time. I look older (he doesn’t, I have no idea how he does that!) and we have both changed, grown up a lot, and learned how to live with each other. We have had lots of laughs, and quite a few serious bumps and ups and downs. I don’t think you can really prepare yourself to live with someone, and be with that person, for “life”, and commit to that person. There are good books, courses you can do, and also people to lean on for support and guidance. We have been very fortunate to have had a lot of support from the church we go to, and also good friends who have had their own ups and downs. We have several friends who have been married for much longer than us, who have helped us to pick up the pieces or walk through stuff when we have needed a bit of input and support.

I think we have learned to communicate with each other, understand each other, tolerate and compromise. I don’t think you can be with another person, unless you are willing to do these things. We have had some stonking rows, both of us are stubborn, determined and fairly feisty, and also we have both had to deal with the scars from our past, relationships and things that have happened to us, in order to be better people to each other. I have learned that marriage is not about trying to change the other person that you are married to, but trying to be the best person you can be, give, love, and let go of some things. I think I am slowly becoming a better person,  to be married to, or at least I hope so. I used to be very OCD about being in control, wanting things done MY way, because that was what worked, but I have learned that things can be done someone else’s way, and that it may not be exactly how I would do it, but the results are the same, and even if they aren’t quite how I want them, it doesn’t matter. I have also learned that as long as we have each other, and can laugh, more than we cry, that things will be ok.

Adding children to a relationship makes it more amazing, but also more hard work. Suddenly you have to work out a new dynamic, you have to share yourself with more than one person, you are tired, your priorities change. I am very thankful that LSH is an excellent, very active, hands on father, is very gracious with me when I am tired, and when I have struggled with mental health and other issues, he has been my rock.

It isn’t always glamorous, in fact, sometimes it is down right blooming hard work, and feels like it won’t get easier but it is worth it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have each other, we have our little family, and I hope we can be a good example to our children of how to be, and when our children do leave home, we will have each other.

Didn’t we look young, I looked thin, and much less tired….?


Here’s to the next 13 and beyond….

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