Happy Anniversary!

Wow. 9 years together, 5 of them married.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together a lot longer, other times it feels like it’s passed in the blink of an eye.

We had hoped to be away this weekend, celebrating our anniversary with a trip to London, just the 2 of us, but unfortunately (because I’m too soft) we couldn’t leave our youngest who still wakes for Mumma overnight.

Instead we had a family trip to the Coronation Street Tour yesterday and we are going out for dinner tonight.

I remember our first date like it was yesterday. I say date, basically Damian had asked me to go out with him but as I was on holiday with my best friend it was a night out – Damian, my friend, a random holidaymaker called Russ (who we never saw again!) and me! We never looked back from that day.

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When we got engaged and sat with the wedding planner at our chosen venue to pick a date for the year 2009 there was our anniversary on the perfect day to have our wedding. It was a Sunday and it was Bank Holiday the next day which made it perfect for all our family members who needed to travel up to Yorkshire from various counties down South. One less date for hubby to have to remember too hey?!

Our wedding day was the most perfect day. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Hot sunshine. Blue skies. Perfect.

I often look at our wedding photos and just smile. Smile because it was one of the happiest days of my life. Smile because I married my best friend. Smile because I knew that day how much he loves me. Smile because of it being another memory we created together.

Hope I’m writing about our golden anniversary one day and that I’m able to remember everything just as clearly as I do now.

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Shots, bar crawl, laughter and friendship

I’ve chosen this photo for this week’s What’s the Story? link up with PODcast

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March 25th 2005.
It was a Friday night.
It was taken in a bar in Albufeira, Portugal. Renos, to be precise.
In the photo is me and the man who is now my husband.
I remember this night like it was yesterday.

It was 2 months minus 1 day after this photo that we went on our first date and started our relationship.

This particular night had started out like all the others had that holiday, with Shelley and I drinking shots and vodka at BJs Canadian Bar with our new friends. Our new friends were the bar men!

Damian was sat at the bar drinking on his night off from the bar he worked at. When it came to the time Shelley and I were about to move on to do our bar crawl on The Strip he asked if he could join us.

What followed was hours of 3 people laughing, drinking shots, dancing, drinking vodkas and lots and lots of talk about anything and everything.

Although neither of us realised at the time, looking back it was that night that created the initial sparks of attraction between us.


When I had a successful E.C.V

From about 28 weeks in our first pregnancy the midwife suspected our baby was breech. Nothing got the little monkey to turn so at my 36 week check I was sent up to hospital for a scan. The scan confirmed that our baby was indeed breech and I then had to wait for the consultant to look at the scans to see if an ECV was possible. I was willing to try if they were as I was determined not to have a c-section. The consultant was busy so we left the hospital and 10minutes after we left we received a phone call saying if we wanted to try an ECV we could return the next morning.

That was 4 years ago today and here is what I wrote at the time on BabyCentre:-

“Since I had my ECV booked yesterday for this morning I had googled and searched on here and I read a few things and had tried to avoid horror stories but in back of my head I had it that it was going to be extrutiating but hand on heart it was hardly even painful.

We got to hospital at 8.30am and I was put into one of the delivery rooms which I wasn’t expecting. The lovely midwife – Irene (who we hope is there to deliver Bubs!) – hooked me up to the machine more or less straight away. I had one monitoring in case of contractions and one monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. She explained they needed to monitor that for an hour…….so me and my hubby just chilled and watched Animal 24:7 on BBC1!! LOL Although he did keep looking at the graph printing out and keeping an eye on the heartbeat.

The doctor came and saw me just before 10am. She checked the heart monitoring and said Bubs was happy and she explained what would happen, then I was given my pills – 3 capsules which were the muscle relaxants. Within minutes I felt really drowsy and went really cold!!

So half an hour later the doctor and midwife came in. The doctor scanned me and showed me where everything was. My placenta is more or less all the way down my right hand side. Bubs head was under my ribs on the right and they had their hands in front of their face. Then she showed me their bum in my pelvis and that their legs were extended.

Then she got to work. The bed was tilted so that my head was lower than rest of my body and she worked on lifting Bubs bum out of my pelvis. It took her a few minutes then I felt it almost glide along my pelvis up and over so it felt like it was over my hip. Then the only uncomfortable bit was as she tried to move Bubs’ head out from underneath my ribs. The pain was in my ribs and wasn’t a massive pain – it just was not pleasant in the slightest. Then I just felt it move!!! At this point she scanned again and sure enough there was my empty pelvis and our baby was transverse!!! She then just guided Bubs’ head and bum into the right positions. My husband said it was bizarre when they were transverse as he could almost see the whole baby being lifted almost around my tummy!!

Once she was satisfied Bubs’ head was placed in my pelvis she scanned again. So now Bubs head is down, their back is on my right and then their legs extended on left so their feet are down near my hip.
All in all it took her about 10minutes. Bubs’ heartbeat was regularly checked throughout and although their heartrate did increase he/she never showed any signs of distress.
I was then hooked back up to the machines again and monitored for just over an hour. Bubs heartbeat soon settled back down and was just steady away. I was brought tea and toast after 45minutes and I tell you – toast has never tasted so good!!!!!! I had to stay hooked up for a bit longer as they said baby was sleepy and they needed a few movements so I moved about a bit and Bubs was soon moving and it now feels so weird compared to the movements I have always felt!
We were at hospital for just under 4 hours in total. I have to go back tomorrow, Sunday and Monday and be hooked up for an hour to monitor Bubs heartbeat again, and now have to see my community midwife every week not every 2 weeks as planned.

I am so so pleased that I chose to try an ECV and didn’t just elect for the CSection without trying. I know that there is still a small chance Bubs could move back to breech again but with the effort it took the doctor to move Bubs I am hoping that it is unlikely they have room to easily move back to breech.

My bump has changed shape loads (about to upload photos in my profile!) and the movements I am now feeling feel so bizarre!!! I am also hoping it may provide a bit of relief in terms of the problems I am having in terms of eating/drinking/indigestion etc….

I am just keeping fingers crossed now for Bubs to stay head down and a vaginal delivery will follow!!!”

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I did have a vaginal birth. Granted it wasn’t “easy” and involved 2 failed inductions, water broken by the doctor, drip to start contractions, epidural which wore off, spinal block, episiotomy and forceps……. and 17 days overdue!!!!! But I wouldn’t have had that birth if I hadn’t had the ECV

When it was suspected our second baby was breech I knew I’d try an ECV again. Didn’t even cross my mind that I wouldn’t, but fortunately with baby 2 they were wrong when I was sent up for a scan at 36weeks again!

I would tell anyone to at least try an ECV, yes some people find it painful, but equally, some don’t. I just hope that someone can take positives from my experience rather than the abundance of negatives on the internet

When those two lines show

Exactly 2 years ago today I found out I was pregnant with Lauren.

I wasn’t a POAS (that’s pee on a stick for those that don’t know) addict like some fellow friends that had spent god knows how much on ovulation and pregnancy tests over the years. I took 2 tests with my first pregnancy, and 2 with my second.

I admit we were lucky. Both our babies were conceived within 4 months of starting to try. We are the lucky ones.

With our first pregnancy I’d stopped taking the pill about a month before our wedding. A honeymoon baby would have been the perfect scenario right?! We got married in the May. In the September I’d started to feel bit sick, my periods were all over the place so I couldn’t say if I was late or not, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up. But after a few weeks we decided to take a test, so it was a Saturday morning and the first thing I did when getting up was take the test.

I left the test on the bathroom windowsill and went and got back in to bed.

“How long do we have to leave it?” A few minutes I replied, but my husband was impatient and went to the bathroom

“Was there already one line on here?”
What do you mean?
“Well was there one line as an example and then another one matches it? There’s 2 lines”

I shot out of bed and into the bathroom snatching the test from him. Sure enough there were 2 lines. Shaking I handed my husband the instructions to show him what 2 lines meant – with tears of joy springing from my eyes I looked up to see the same in my husband’s eyes as he embraced me and we stood there in our little joy filled moment in the bathroom!!

We kept that pregnancy secret until after our 12 week scan. It was so loved having our little secret and knowing our baby was growing inside of me.

With Lauren we had been away for a week with my mum so although I’d felt like I was pregnant I couldn’t test while staying with her as no one even knew we were trying. We got home from our break on the Saturday and I went and bought a test that afternoon to do the next morning.

As soon as I woke up that next morning I did the test and left on windowsill while I went to make myself a cuppa and get Taylor some breakfast. Damian was still in bed. I’d convinced myself the test would be negative so I was completely shocked to go upstairs and find 2 lines on the test! I woke Damian up with the news we were going to be parents for a second time and this once again a celebratory hug happened.
I went out to Asda that afternoon and bought a Clearblue digital which confirmed the result the next morning.
This time we told no one until 10weeks. We had our 12 week scan but were put back 2 weeks so we told our family once we’d had the scan, and broke the news publicly after 12 weeks.

I know we were lucky. We were fortunate to conceive easily, have two easy pregnancies and deliver two healthy daughters.

I can’t even describe the feelings that go through your mind when those lines show:-
Euphoria, relief, happiness, love, nervousness, giddiness, apprehension, ……

It’s hard to believe it’s highly likely I’ll never have that feeling again.

2. Visit Dubai – ✔️

My first tick can now go on my 40 things before 40 list.

On 13th March 2014 we flew from Manchester to Dubai and spent the most amazing two weeks there with our friend.

We explored almost everything we had wanted to before we went and have a long list of things we want to do on our next visit. We are not normally people who would visit the same destination more than once but we will definitely go back to Dubai.

We went to Dubai Mall on our first day there. I will never be satisfied by a visit to Meadowhall again now I have been there! Inside they have an Aquarium part of which you can look at as you pass whilst wandering around.

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It was full of rays, sharks and various other fish. The girls were amazed by the sight of it as were we. We visited the Dubai Mall three times during our trip (and didn’t cover all the mall!) and each time we would visit the tank and stand in front enthralled by what we saw.

Outside the Dubai Mall is the World’s Tallest Building – the Burj Khalifa. It was dark the first time we set foot outside the Mall and craned our necks to look up into the night sky to see how tall it actually is. It was quite a weird concept for me to be in awe of a building but it was totally mind baffling thinking how these people designed this structure knowing it would work, but then wondering about the builders brave enough to put those final pieces right at the top.  We have many photos from various different views in and around the city of the Burj Khalifa. It wasn’t until our final day that we got to go up to Level 124 and be 452m up in the sky – above the clouds! And unfortunately on the day we did go it had been raining and cloud cover was thick. We still saw a hell of a lot and it just means that we have to go back and do it all over again on a sunny day!! My husband and eldest daughter went out on to the outside observation deck but I couldn’t do it and had palpitations at them being out there as there were gaps in the windows! Obviously no one could fall through but it turns my stomach even thinking about it now!

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At the foot of the Burj Khalifa lies the Dubai Fountains. Starting at 6pm each day the fountains dance to music every half hour up until 11pm.  The crowds that gather then disperse every half hour is quite incredible. The crowds here gave me quite a good insight into how busy the city actually was. We visited the fountains on all three occasions we visited the Dubai Mall, and on one occasion we went on the boat ride of the fountain lake ……you are out of the way as the fountains perform though so don’t get drenched!

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Our first weekend in Dubai was out of this world thanks to our wonderful friend. We were lucky enough to be guests at the Atlantis The Palm hotel which is situated on The Palm which is manmade island.  From the moment you walk in to reception you know things are just incredible. We arrived at 11.15am – check in wasn’t until 3pm but we were able to use the facilities at the hotel from 10am on check in day until 6pm on the day we check out so we wanted to make the most of our stay.  There was absolutely no fuss and we were immediately given a room and allowed in it despite being almost 4 hours early!
We spent the afternoon at Aquaventure – the hotel’s waterpark which can be accessed by anyone for a fee but is free to hotel guests. There were plenty of sunbeds available and many areas of various different slides and pools.  Dinner and breakfast were also included in our stay, so we ate at the Kaleidoscope restaurant then visited the other hotel attraction free to us as guests – The Lost Chambers Aquarium.  Again they haven’t done things by halves and have a huge fish tank as well as lots of smaller ones with all the fish you could think of (including Nemo and Dory much to our eldest’s delight!)

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Day 2 at Atlantis included our treat at Dolphin Bay. Due to the girls’ ages we weren’t allowed in the water with the dolphins so our experience was titled “Dolphin Photo Fun”  We were stood at the edge of the pool and in turn we kneeled down to first kiss the dolphin, then dance with her. Unfortunately neither of the girls were overly keen at the dolphin popped out the water to greet us, but typically our eldest tells people how much she loved it! We got a photo each of us included.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at Aquaventure and Damian and I both braved the Leap of Faith slide that is shown on most TV programmes and magazine pictures when the Atlantis is shown. You fall 9 storeys in a second!  Now I hate being splashed in the swimming pool, so doing this was quite incredible for me but boy am I glad I did it!! Even though my eyes were kept firmly shut throughout I had the biggest smile on my face when I was getting out the pool!

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So what else did we get up to?
Shopping, shopping and more shopping at various different malls – all of which make our shopping malls look like a dilapidated town centre. There is a huge mix of UK shops, US shops, European shops and more.  There’s an enormous amount of jewellery shops. And the amount of dessert/ice cream/cake shops and cafes just blew my mind!

Knowing we were going to Dubai, for Christmas my husband bought my eldest daughter and I a Penguin experience at Ski Dubai. Ski Dubai is situated at the Mall of the Emirates and is a huge indoor “real snow” ski centre. For anyone who’s visited XScape here in UK – its like that, but better!  We were given snow suits and snow boots and all children under 13 have to wear helmets whilst in the snow and ice. We first met Gentoo penguin which were told was called Lucifer. He had been taken there from Sea World, Orlando where he was called Devil.  We weren’t able to touch this penguin as they don’t like it, but he waddled about a little and we had photos with him sitting next to us before we moved on to the next enclosure and met a King Penguin. We were able to touch this penguin and it felt rather odd. You can see the feathers but its almost the shiny, non-wet slimy kind of feel that a snake has. Thankfully Taylor was much happier about meeting and touching the penguins than she was the dolphin!

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We visited the beach too. Our friend took us to a hotel beach where you can pay to use the facilities for the day. There are public, free beaches, but having the girls using the hotel beach meant we had easy access to drinks and also had the option of shade. It was a hot day and shade was a must. The girls had a great time building sandcastles and were in and out of the sea and swimming pool. The sea was the warmest I have ever been in and quite clear.

This is turning in to quite a long blurb about our stay so I’ll leave it there. We had the most amazing two weeks ever. Dubai really is an amazing city and I would recommend it to anyone. We’ve had a lot of people say to us that they know how amazing it is from photos, or they’ve been at the airport on a stopover, or they’ve been told……but these things do not do it justice. It is definitely a place that needs visiting to actually feel what it’s like. If you get chance to go – go.  We will definitely be going back.

This trip wouldn’t haven’t been possible without our wonderful friend who was an amazing hostess and tour guide and her levels of kindness and patience (!) were astounding.

So that’s tick number one – Visit Dubai – DONE ✔️;

My March Aims

I didn’t do great on my aims for February. In fact I did pants!!! So I’m going to try stick to a few important ones this month rather than lots

In March I aim to:-

- sort out all my clothes & shoes and get rid of the ones that I decide I don’t wear/want

- stick to my running plan

- give my time with littlest more structure

- sort out all the baby clothes properly & vacuum pack

- do at least 75% of the photo book I’ve ordered

That’s my few this month

When Daddy’s off work…..

Being half term and with a few days holiday to use up before end of next month, Daddy took some time off this week. It was lovely to spend some quality time all four of us, not having to think about preschool or alarm clocks etc. Routine went out the window completely and this is what we got up to:-

On Monday we had all had a haircut! Exciting right?!!!! Tell a lie, we didn’t all, Lauren still hasn’t had her first haircut. Our hairdresser is someone we’ve known a long long time, so we saw her at my mum’s house. Taylor can now see again without peering underneath her fringe. I did contemplate growing it out, but not this time!

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On Tuesday we took a trip to Chester Zoo it’s about an hour and 20 minute journey but worth it! We hadn’t told Taylor where we were going so once she realised it was lovely! She couldn’t wait and ran from enclosure to enclosure “what animal’s next? Let’s see the next one!” Despite the fact it absolutely poured down in the afternoon we all (mum came too!) had an amazing day. I’m still exhausted today from all the walking. I googled and found that there is 11 miles of pathway there and we covered A LOT!

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Wednesday we had a day at home apart from a brief trip to the dentist. This meant a lot of cuddles, reading books, playing imaginary games, lots of laughter and fun. I love watching the girls with their Daddy. I think they are really going to miss him being back at work even if it’s only been a few days together.

We get weekends together but they seem to get caught up with general “life” and household duties. Days off like this are special and create special memories for our little family of four