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Our Stories – 1 – Bethany’s Birth and becoming a mum for the first time



Bethany was due on the 19th September, the day before Brett was due to leave to go away on business for 2 weeks, so as you can guess we were eager to get her born so he could be there to witness it.

We approached the midwife who recommended we went into the hospital to speak with their midwives/Doctor who would be able to book us in for an induction a few days before hand as Beth was growing fine and was measuring ahead of her dates anyways.
Unfortunately at the appointment the Doctor said he wouldn’t allow me to be induced so we would just need to let nature take it’s course.

So the 19th rolled round and nothing,so off Brett went to France and then onto Italy whilst I stayed at home awaiting a twinge to signal the start of the new chapter of our lives!
The morning of the 26th was that day… I got up had a shower and just didn’t feel right, twinges were coming but not regular. I got out the shower and tootled into my parents room where my mam was on the phone to my Aunty down in Yorkshire saying not to come up this weekend as it didn’t look like anything was going to be happening any time soon… little did she know!
So she hangs up and I said I think something is happening… her answer oh gosh i best dry my hair first!!

So we headed off for a walk on the beach with Hamish and I climbed sand dunes to try get the contractions to become regular..

Walk complete we headed home for lunch and for me to make that all important phone call to Brett. So I ring him and tell him I think its happening and he starts discussing getting a plane back which in hindsight was a really silly idea as then his car would be in Italy and customers with no transport!!

Anyway I tell him I’ll call him with updates and he continues to sup his beer over in Italy!

Contractions are cracking on so my mam decides its time to go over to the hospital. Dad drops us off, I get checked out and they say sorry you are only 3cm go home and labor there for now. So poor dad has just arrived back home 15 miles away, ate his KFC and has to come back to get us!
We get back and I decide I need a toffee crisp and a magazine so off I tootle to the coop and have to stop mid way round for a contraction. Whilst paying another one starts and the cashier is oblivious and talking away and I’m trying to breathe through the blinking thing and just wishing i was back in the car!!
So back home and into the bath with my magazine and toffee crisp. I refuse to get out until xfactor starts then I pace the living room watching that. Again refusing to go back to hospital until that is finished! My dad demands we go back through so again mam, dad, me and my brother hop in the car- well I roll into the car- and off to the hospital we go!!

This time I am 6cm and I refuse to go home so the Midwife books me in ad suggests another bath as the birthing pool isn’t available.
So more laboring in the bath and calling Brett to update him and again he suggests a flight back which we poo poo as it would take longer for him to get here than labor will hopefully be.

Time ticks on and the bath isn’t helping with the pain so out I get and I get a shot of pethidene and use the birthing ball. Funniest bit of my labor happens here… Since it’s a Saturday night the lottery has happened so my mam was wondering if we’ve won so im checking and bouncing on this ball and I’ve had a few shots of gas and air by this point and we just start laughing and my mam decides to ask in the quietest voice if she can have a go on this ball so off I get and on she gets and practically rolls off it straight away!! it was super funny and I really wish I’d filmed my birth so this could of been on record!

The midwife comes in and checks me and says I’m very nearly there but shes off on her break so hold on!!
She comes back after her break at 3am and has just had a curry and a pint of coke so comes in and realises I’m ready to push but is bursting for a wee so runs out, thankfully the other midwife was there and she makes it back in time to deliver Bethany. However whilst I am pushing I am holding my mam’s hand and bite her so they gave me the end off the gas and air to bite!
When Bethany is crowning she is still intact in her ‘bag’ and it looks like she is coming out in a water balloon. They burst the bag and after a few more pushes my first beautiful princess is born and placed straight onto my chest. My mam who is now officially a Gran cuts her cord. I am now a mother!!

Welcome to the World Bethany. Born at 3.38am on Sunday 27th September 2009.

I call Brett and it is 5am over there, he answers the phone and I say Hello Daddy and tell him he has a beautiful daughter who looks like him and I hear his business partner say Congratulations. I tell him I’ll call him later to tell him her weight etc. and dad will email him some pictures when he collects mam.

Bethany is weighed and weighs in at a healthy 7lb 2oz. We get moved up on to the ward at 7am and once I’m settled my mam leaves to go home.

I Get transferred Via my dad in my green corsa (First car!!haha!) at 3pm that afternoon to the maternity hospital for a night to get some help and advise from there. My dad arrives on the ward with the car seat and I’m desperate for the toilet so I ask him to hold Bethany. It’s the first time he’s met her, so he’s overwhelmed at having this baby, all brand new and he hold’s her at arms length, one hand under her bottom and the other under her head and he’s still in the same position when I come back!!
So we get her into the car and up to the maternity unit and my mam and brother are waiting up there to see Bethany.
I get settled and then they are allowed in and my grandma and my aunt arrive too to see Bethany. After visitng is finished I have some tea (- I choose salad(!) for tea, don’t ask me why!!) 

What an amazing experience it was and it was incredible to have my Mam there to help get me through it and support me especially with Brett not being there. Yes it hurt but it’s true that once the baby is here you forget about it immediately.

So that’s how I became a mam for the first time. What a roller coaster and amazing journey that was just beginning!

A 2017 round up! Peaks and Pits

So after a fab end to 2016 which saw us moving into our new build forever home, 2017 started off a bit pants for us.

Only 4 days into the new year me and Emily were involved in a car crash. Luckily Emily wasn’t injured just shaken and left with nightmares, I has whiplash and sore, bruised collar bone, neck, shoulder and back. So not the best start but luckily the year did get better!

We built a cabin to use as a playroom for childminding.

We celebrated my cousins sons christening.

We went bowling for the first time as a family and Beth was FANTASTIC at it!!Scoring strike after strike!

We had lots of woodland adventures and map reading skills were progressed further.

Beth got her level 7 gymnastic badge!

Emily turned 3 and we celebrated with a day at our local National Trust property playing in the park, going in the maze and den building. oh and a cheeky ice cream.

The sunshine was kind to us and we had lots of fun days spent in the garden playing in the paddling pool, on the tummy slide and in the sprinkler. Our lovely neighbors and their children joined in on a few occasions which was lovely.

On Mothers day we had fun at the beach and Bethany went in for a swim fully clothed!!

We walked to Linhope Spout and saw the waterfall.

A few Fujiyama trips thrown in for yummy food!

However at the end of July we made the very hard decision for me to finish childminding as during our fun times of the first half of the year I had been suffering intolerable, excruciating pain in my body most specifically in my joints. I was freshly diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and awaiting treatment and we decided as a couple it was too much on my body looking after children, with lifting and rushing around and trying to keep up with them daily 8am-6pm I needed a break and Brett very kindly said he would support me whilst I took some time out.

We had a last minute caravan adventure at Craig Tara which both the children loved. The pool was amazing and they really enjoyed the entertainment. We played on the beach, on the penny slot machines, ate fish and chips and pizza, made smores on the bbq and had lovely family time together.

The end of the summer holidays was celebrated by the girls going to Haggerston Castle with my parents for a weekend which also meant me and Brett had our first weekend off in over 3 years! We celebrated by painting the snug room, buying a new sofa and pottering around the house. We also had a night away in a hotel paid by my childminding parents. This weekend also signaled a big change in our lives. I had finished childminding AND Emily was about to start Nursery!!

S0 September saw Beth start year 3 and Emily Nursery.

Emily took to nursery like a duck to water, she cried/had to be pried off me at drop off but was fine once I left.

Bethany turned 8!!!

Nelly joined our family!! ekk!!

Beth went on her first pack holiday with Brownies.

Life rolled on and Christmas arrived! We had both my parents and brother and Brett’s mam stop on Christmas eve and they spent all day Christmas day with us too! We didn’t stop all day and hardly took any pictures but the children had great fun!

However on the Wednesday I had an allergic reaction to a shower creme and ended up with a rash all over my body, which then blistered and went red raw ouch!

The snow came on the Friday after Christmas and we spent a fun filled day outside, walking the dog, making snowmen, sledging and building an igloo! We ended the day with sledging in the dark with our neighbours and a fish and chip supper!!

so that was our 2017. Peaks and pits to it but we’ve made it through and are looking forward what 2018 will bring

S x

The kind of days when you think you are winning at this parenting malarkey!

Today has been one of those days when you sit and smile to yourself at 6.30pm that yep you’ve cracked it. The kids are getting on, the house is in a semi state of ok-ness post Christmas and yes this parenting thing is going great.. It’s only taken 8.3years to conquer but yep I’m there, I’m the parent I’ve always wanted to be, calm, collected and non sweary in my head 😐 However how long will it last and what makes today different to the many many days before hand… it could be the way I plied my youngest with her dad’s phone at 7am so I could have a lie in till 8.30am! Whoop! Or maybe the fact I cleaned the benches, emptied, reloaded the dishwasher then that wonderful man of ours hoovered (man points right there guys!!) Or the fact I got to shower in peace and apply my many creams (you read thinking lovely skincare routine, read it the other way that I’ve had a horrendously bad reaction to a well known brand and I’m currently looking like a peeling lobster! Then a gentle, calm bike ride for the girls whilst I walked the dog Or perhaps it’s because we did hama beads when we got back together and then painted a fairy door then got through a food shop with no fall outs AND buying only what was on the list, a sneaky happy meal on route home then a colouring in session. Followed by now a dance off in the living room whilst I watch the two little loves of my life dance and finish the day still getting on which is a rarity in itself!!

Fingers crossed it carries on tomorrow…. Oh and by the way Happy New Year. I hope 2018 is the year of success, health and happiness for you all… S x

Meet Nelly!

So what do you get the man who has everything and needs nothing for his big 4-0?!

Well you get him one of the things he’s wanted for so long but we haven’t been able to have due to the nature of my past job….

So everyone meet Nelly!! Our beautiful wee girl, the newest member to our gang!

She is a Labrador crossed with a Pointer which Brett thinks it makes her a pointerdor!!
She is the most placid, loving, adorable little thing ever and we are all truly besotted with her.

She is nearly 17 weeks old now and has been with us since the beginning of september and she has from day one just slotted straight into our family like shes always been here.
Nelly is still waking up a few times in the night but she is just doing it as she’s still so little and needs to go wee/poo so is very good in the sense that shes letting us know rather than going in her cage.
However I dont sleep too good due to pain levels so she keeps me company when she does wake up in night/early in morning.

Nel’s may be Brett’s birthday pressie but she’s also been bought to help me fight my ’empty nest syndrome’ . This can happen for some Mama’s that once their youngest goes off to nursery they think holey moley what do I do now?! This is more so than ever for me right now as not only has Em started nursery this month but I’ve also stopped childminding so Nelly Belle has been helping keep me company. So Nelly is a double whammy, birthday present and empty nest helper in one!!

Here’s a few more pic’s of her of her first few weeks at the Grove….






Why I decided to start this blog..

Back in 2016 I decided to start a blog- a online diary to record our lives- but it got put on the back burner as life was about to get pretty hectic so I just didn’t have the time or energy to give my all to it… working none stop as a childminder, raising two beautiful girls, looking after a house, supporting a loving partner and then throw a spontaneous putting the house on the market was never going to end well so the blog was literally shelved but not totally forgot about…

Fast forward a year (and a bit) later and life is VERY VERY different now some bits are the same like two beautiful girls and the loving partner are still here but we now own a new house (down at The Grove) but I’m no longer childminding as I’m had to give it up due to ill health which you can read all about here. Therefore leaving me time to spare so I can now focus on my blog to keep me sane!

So now that I’ve got the time to blog I’ve been thinking about why I’ve wanted to blog….

I’ve decided there’s 2 reasons…

The first to keep me sane and give me something to focus on in this new different life of mine. With me no longer working I need to have something to focus on to save me going  insane! Ha! This will be my new baby, my way to express all the feelings about life and parenthood as this malarkey is hard work sometimes!

The second reason like many in the blogging world nowadays is it’s going to chart the good moments and maybe the not so good moments of our family life but you know what….they’ll be our moments and our cherished memories and to show the girls even though I’m a crap shouty mother sometimes I bloody love the bones of those 2 girls. The girls that are mine and always will be!!

It’s going to be the place I reminisce and remind the girls and myself of stories from our lives so we don’t forget them.

So there we have it, the reason Life at The Grove was born…

Enjoy the ride my lovelies, buckle up it may be a bit bumpy at times…
S x


No longer a childminder, finding who I am?! 

So here we are I am officially no longer a childminder! After nearly 8 years of being a self employed childminder and before that a nanny for 2 years, I am no more responsible for anyone else’s wee darlings.

How did this happen? Who am I now?

Well as in my post ‘finally a diagnosis’ back in July I was diagnoaed with psoriatic arthritis and advised by my doctor and my consultant to take some time out or have a career change to rest and let my body heal.

Of course me being me I wasn’t having any of it and I powered through, I tweaked my days at work to have a Monday and Wednesday off so surely that was good enough wasn’t it? I was giving my body time to heal..or was I?

On the days I wasn’t working there was a house to tend too and I still had my own 2 girls to look after and entertain so I wasnt actually giving my body a fighting chance to recover.

So summer holidays and I was still powering through, still in absolute agony, still crying on a nightly basis, but getting better at hiding all my pain from most people- customers included, bar one who has fibromyalgia so she understood the constant pain and fatigue I was going through.

So it gets to a Wednesday during the holidays it’s a day off for me woohoo but I’ve promised to go meet up at our local national trust with a few friends- who were also customers, two current and two on maternity- just for the morning and I’m in so much agony with every footstep that I have to take my stick with me for extra support and admit to those that I’m not coping very well actually and I’m hitting the wall now.
They were all shocked at how bad I truly was and I think it hit home just how sore I was and how much I’ve been powering through to not let them down.

So after discussing it with Brett and asking if we could survive if I gave up childminding for a bit to do as my consultant and doctor advised he agreed we could.

So the next day I told all my customers with a very heavy heart that my last day would be at the end of the summer holidays. Luckily they were all supportive and not one of them whinged or whined at me for putting me first. They all agreed this was for the best and were happy I was putting myself first and taking time out to heal.

So fast forward and now I’m at week 3 of not working as a childminder but running the house and doing Brett’s accounts and supporting his business. So technically I’m a stay at home mum/book keeper!

How do I feel?!

Well I’m a bit lost, what with Emily being at nursery in the mornings and me being on my own it will take a while for me to find my groove. Luckily Nelly is keeping me company and keeping my mood up.. more on Nelly on the next post!!

I’m not going to lie I’m really glad I’m not rushing out to do 4 collections/drop off’s a day or cooking for 12 kids at night time or entertaining them all 24/7. My body is thanking me for taking it slower, the pain and the fatigue is still there but I’m fighting through it and allowing myself to chill out a bit more now that I’ve got time to.

So all in all I think as a family we have made the correct decision and I’m just thankful I  have such a supportive partner who has taken on the financial burden of supporting the whole family on his own. He is one of a kind and I’ll forever be thankful to him for allowing me this time to let my body recover.

S x

2 weeks into school 

So tonight marks 2 weeks of school done! And also 2 weeks of not being a childminder in the bag also (that’s for abother post though!!) 


So Emily last week was a doddle going into school.. excited, happy, making new friends, basically loving it! 

Bethany back into route and nailed it in year 3 no bother.  Proud as punch of both of them.

Fast forward to this week. Beth was poorly with  bad throat and temperature so she was off on Monday and Tuesday. Que Emily turning into a nightmare! She obviously couldn’t understand why Beth got to stay home but she was still being farmed out or she’s realised this is her reality now 😕 she didn’t want me to leave on Monday-wednesday so I stayed until after 9.30am and then had to just leave her with the teacher to cry/not cry. Thursday I had a consultant appointment that I couldnt miss so I literally dropped and walked away. Bad mother feels:( 

Today I kissed her and handed her over to the TA and she was fine. However she was then playing trains at 9.30am (the time I’ve still been there most mornings!!) Happily playing away when another boy (in the year above- mixed class) came over and decided he wanted the green train and because Emily didn’t want to give it up he ‘pushed her’ with his yellow train and has marked her face and blacked her eye. 

She screamed and cried so a cold compress was applied! However for not sharing/letting him be the boss she was asked to apologies to him. He was forced to apologise which he did. 

I know we have to encourage sharing with children but it shouldn’t just be assumed that as soon as someone else wants something they have to give it up there and then! That’s not how the world works. Patience is a  virtue. 

So maybe the teacher should of turned it round and said I know you want the green train but Emily is busy playing with it. Once she’s finished with it I’m sure she’ll let you have a turn. Turn taking is a skill that need to be learnt as is patience and yes sharing is too. 

My poor baby has gone to bed not understanding why she was made to say sorry as to her she was just playing and child x hit her or ‘pushed a train in her face’  because she didn’t want to give up her green choo  Choo just yet. 

I know accidents happen at school but like we all feel as parents if it’s our babies that are being hurt we will move heaven or earth to protect them  🙁 

Thank goodness it’s the weekend now so plenty of snuggles will be given to make the world better for her.. 

Nelly has already been helping make her feel better… have I introduced Nelly yet? I don’t think I truly Have!! 

Goodnight from an over protective and over thinking mother 
S x 

As the summer holidays grow to a close 

The summer holidays are nearly over here in Northumberland and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

In one way I’m happy they are done, my two and even myself we are craving a routine again. Knowing where we are and what we are doing is how I thrive. I like a plan of action and don’t like to ‘wing’ it too much. So I’m ready to get our flow back.
However in another way I’m sad they are ending. It means my last summer having a non school child is over and both my children will be in school. It also means my job is over, 4 weeks ago I decided enough was enough and I had to give up childminding and tomorrow is my last day.
 If you havnt read my other post I have recently been diagnosised with psoriatic arthritis and have started treatment to combat it. And after finally taking notice of my doctor, my consultant, my partner, and even the parents of the children I care for I decided to slow down and take time to allow my body to recover so that’s it, tomorrow is the end of my childminding journey of nearly 7 years.
So that means when the summer is over I’m done.
I also feel bad that this summer held so much promise of adventure filled days and lazy picnics in the sun (not that we’ve seen much of that here this year!) But instead it’s been a very mundane summer as my body hasn’t been up to it.
So I’ve promised myself that come next summer I’ll hopefully be more in control of my own body and be able to create more memories with just my two children. We will be able to get up and just pack the car and go. Be it to the beach, a national trust place, beamish or further afield i promise that next summer will be filled with magic and memories.
So there we are a summer 2017 is over today consists of school shoe and coat shopping. Maybe I’ll treat the girls to new pencil cases and then come home and do their homework that we have obviously left till last minute!

S x  

Being the bad guy 

Sometimes it’s true we have to be the bad guy to benefit our children in the long run.

Tonight I took the bulb out of my darling eldest light… why you ask?
 Because last night I put her to bed and went off to bed myself an hour later checked on her she was ‘out like a light’ 11pm rolls round and she’s stood at the edge of my bed, gives me the fright of my life and tells me she can’t sleep…

Hug her, kiss her and put her back to bed and think nothing more of it until the next day we are playing lego together and she let’s slip that after I put her to bed and after I checked on her she had been up making a dj area with her lego!

So fast forward to tonight… I put her to bed, goodnight,love you, sweet dreams my darling… go have a shower and come back out to her light on and her sat playing lego!!!

She tells me it’s not fair she’s a grown up so should be allowed to stay up late.. I try to explain we’ve just had a weekend away and she stayed up till 11pm 3 nights in a row 🙈 and she’s off again on Friday for a holiday with her grandparents before school starts again so it’ll be another 3 nights of late ones so she needs to gather her energy for the next couple of nights but nope she’s kicking off, saying the lights going back on the second I’m out the door!
So I calmly move her stool, take out the bulb, pop it in my pocket and say “goodnight my darling sweet dreams.” And close the door to her wailing.
5 minutes later I hear her say “you’ve hurt my feelings by taking my bulb !” My heartstrings ain’t being pulled tonight my dear, mammy is taking a stand and that bulb will go back tomorrow morning.

Sat on the sofa, eating milk trays and just said to the other half “I bet she’s been wise enough to open her ensuite door and use that light!!”

Summer hols week 2!

Week two started with the Monday thankfully off work as I was till having a painful body day 🙁 The girls were really good and watched a film to start the day and had a wee snuggle together.  However a knock on the door and it was the bloke arriving to fix our flooring issues – even though they weren’t booked in so I had to send him away as I was on my way out (once I’d washed my hair treatment out and got out of Brett’s Pj’s!!) . Thankfully he understood and realised that he didn’t have enough screed to fix all the problems there actually was. We bought a new build back in December and have had numerous flooring issues which is getting just ridiculous now but hopefully they will get sorted ASAP.

Once sorted we headed up to Swarland again to meet two of my very good best friends and their children and had a blast in the sunshine. The kids had a whale of a time in the park and eating yummy cakes and sweets!

Tuesday was work day again. Playing in the garden, putting on shows for the older ones, building dens, crafting on!! We also did some gardening and took some cuttings from our sweat peas which smell amazing in my dining room! 

Wednesday was a day off so we headed up to Cragside to meet lots of friends in the park but I was still having a bad day so had to take a good old walking stick for support. The kids all had lots of fun playing in the park and den building. Bethany loves to be outside and be at one with nature- we had took her good friend with us too as a treat- I’ve cared for this one since she was 8 months old so shes more like a sister to Beth!)
In the afternoon we had to head off to the hospital for my lung function test which I wigged out on silly me. I got told to use my stick if going out and about to give my body some support.

Then a trip round good old Aldi ON MY OWN as Brett had collected the girls from me at the hospital and was off to see his sister. Is it just me who thinks a shopping trip alone is a treat!!

Thursday- another fun filled childminding day full of busy playing, crafting, running around the garden, up and down off the floor to play with the happyland. However a sad end to the day as we finally decided that I needed some time off to let me body have some rest time. So Thursday ended with me giving notice to all the families I care for to finish for September. (another post to follow about that hard decision.)

Friday I just had my two and one lovely wee girl so we went back up to the park for a good old play in the morning with a few of our friends and there was a pony tied up and the lady allowed the children to pet him- aptly named Iggle Piggle a firm favourite of one of the children I care for!! We arrived home for a quick lunch and my new shoes had arrived- Birkenstock recommended by a friend as fab footwear for my ouchy feet.

Then we hit the library in the afternoon to go to learn about how to care for our pets- however the people didn’t turn up to give the talk- ekk- but we still managed to get some new books to borrow and Bethany signed up for the summer reading challenge-that girl loves a book, just like me!!

Saturday we were lucky enough to have a babysitter for the morning so me and Brett had a date and tootled off to the cinema to see Dunkirk Fab film!!

Then a quick run round Ikea for curtain rails- 8 months since moving in we are finally getting curtains for the bedrooms!! Whoop Whoop!

Collected the girls then had a lush chinese for tea as another treat!

Sunday Brett went off biking and we stayed in and attempted to rebuild the lego castles!! 4 hours later and and we were no where near finished so it was tidy up time and a quick blitz of the house before Brett arrived back.
The rain hit just as we were about to leave to head to Nelson’s (again!!) but waterproofs on for the girls and we still headed off! Nice tea there and a a-ok from Brett for a secret purchase and back home for bedtime!



Another busy week!