Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Depression, Anxiety and Me

I really don't know where to start with this, I know I have been building up to writing it for a long while but never found the courage. Having read various articles and comments about recent events involving famous people, it has spurred me on to find my voice and speak out. I have been so moved by what I have read that I not only am I moved to write about it but I will be doing some fund raising too. 

I have suffered with depression on and off over the years from the age of around 17 because of various traumatic events that have scarred me for life, those events made me the person I am today. strong, yes but inside screaming and unable to cope with simple daily tasks. One thing I want to say is that this is not being written to get sympathy, nor do I need negative comments, I simply want to let others know they are not alone. At some point everyone that has depression or anxiety will feel alone, lonely, desolate, desperate, weak and maybe suicidal. You can have the most loving and wonderful family and friends around you but at the same time feel like you are on your own because nobody understands or you feel like you can't tell anybody because you feel like a failure or that you don't want to be a burden. 

I know it's not the case for everyone but having people in your life that don't understand can be so hard at times because for me, I have always found it hard to express myself, to find the right words that don't cause an argument or make me sound stupid so its just easier to say nothing is wrong. 

So I put on this fake smile and I got so used to pretending that everything is fine with my fake smile that it became normal, I still do it now and I bet loads of other people do too. Imagine if you were honest every time someone said "Hi, how are you?" people would just start avoiding you and thinking there goes misery guts! So I guess for me, this is a technique that I use not only to mask feelings to others but also to myself. Inside, it's far from ok but pretending for so long that all the feelings of pain and those that caused endless tears for no apparent reason become feelings of numbness and failure and so without realising it, I started to avoid going out so I don't have to see people for fear I may say too much to someone or sound silly. 

I recently got told I also have anxiety, I fidget if I am not busy doing something, another habit that I guess is also me trying to be ignorant to what is really going on, I keep busy because then I don't have to think about things too much. I don't really watch tv because if I sit down and I haven't got my phone then I fidget.  People sometimes ask me how I do it, 4 kids, look after the house (that gets totally neglected!), write a blog, sew, bake or create something... I don't think I am successful in keeping up with everything in my life and I have lost touch with many friends over the years too. I forget everything and I have to put everything in my phone with 2 reminders and paperwork, I used to work in an office and my desk was always tidy, now I lose letters and other important paperwork. Maybe that part is just because I have had children but my baby brain isn't getting any better, is that normal? what is normal? everyone is different so in my opinion you can't be a normal person. 

I have hit rock bottom many times and felt suicidal many times and although we are going through quite a tough time at the moment (that's another post!), I am taking medication and trying my best to make small improvements and get the correct help and support that I need, this is making a massive difference to know that because I spoke up to the right people, there are people out there that care and that will point you in the right direction. Getting help is not easy as I have found out but with my children in mind, it's something I am willing to fight for. 

It has taken me days to write this, coming back to it several times and reading it over and over, deleting bits and just generally faffing over it, I really hope that by writing this it's going to help someone else.
I made a pledge over at Time To Change to help end mental health stigma by sharing my story, I will be writing updates, now that I have made it to the end of this first post I hope that if there is anyone that reads this and feels alone, depressed or just needs some help or support please know that you are not alone. 

If anyone has 2 minutes to spare  to pop over to time to change, you can pledge too, it can be something as small as asking a friend if they are ok, no money is involved so it really is a great way to help this campaign.

Thanks for taking the time to read 

Lucy xx  


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Personalised Book From Penwizard

Now I know Peppa Pig is not everyone's cup of tea and after seeing many many episodes over and over its not my favourite, but my youngest 2 children love it and the youngest, well I am sure she loves it more than life itself. So when the opportunity cam along to personalise a book with her name and a character that looks just like her, well ok a cartoon version, I couldn't wait to see the look on her face.
Little Moo will hopefully be starting nursery very soon and so this is a perfect present to go along side starting nursery or school.

Penwizard create personalised books catered to your needs, you can choose from many different books, not just back to school but other books for many other occasions too.
Not only can you have a first name but a surname or middle name too. Our book was created specifically for nursery but you can also change that to school, playgroup or pre-school. Then you can also design your character to have similar features to your child. 
Our book arrived within 2 days which is a fantastic turn around for something which you expect to take much longer. I am really impressed by the great service and quality of the book and I can highly recommend Penwizard if you have a child who is a bit anxious of starting in their new setting. If you would like to order your own book, you can get 15% discount by adding the code 362589 at the basket. 

We were sent a book from Penwizard free of charge for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Win Business Cards From StressFreePrint

I have had some business cards designed and printed for my craft business through StressFreePrint and I have to say I am very impressed.

You can either give them your pre-existing design, use the online designer to design them yourself or the team will design one specific to your needs. 
I didn't have a design already but had a rough idea of what I wanted mine to look like so I did a quick sketch...



Then they very promptly came up with the design below, I wish I had the time to sit and do my own design but having 4 children it would have taken too long, I am terrible for paying too much attention to detail, well that's what my tutor used to tell me at college! 



They were very prompt through the whole process and liaised through email with me at every step of the process. Its not just business cards that they can supply, they do leaflets, posters, menus, brochures, invitations and more.

They were delivered really quickly once the design and print had been done and I am really pleased with the quality of the cards to, I believe business cards are so important as if you have a design that catches someone's eye then they are going to remember you. 

I have teamed up with stress free print to give away 500 business cards to one lucky winner, just complete the form below to enter. Good Luck!



Thursday, 21 August 2014

Back to school with Vosene, Win a Backpack Full of Goodies



Say Hello to Happy Healthy Head Lice Free Hair
with Vosene Kids and Win a Back to school Vosene Set!


Vosene Kids Nitwatch Website has recently relaunched.The website includes an online heat map which tracks head lice outbreaks, allows parents to request samples of the products and has lots of great advice on preventing head lice. 

We have been sent some sample of the products below and I have to say the detangle spray works really well for detangling, the smell is quite strong but it works and I for one will be using these products on the kids come September when they are back at school and nursery. They contain natural products which really work at preventing nits. I have to also say that this is a preventative method which is better to be used before they start back at school. Check the website for some more info and advice.

Vosene Kids 3in1 Conditioning Shampoo and Conditioning Defence Spray work together to clean, condition and detangle your child’s hair, as well as containing natural ingredients to help prevent head lice. Say hello to happy hair!

Vosene Kids 3in1 Conditioning Shampoo (RRP £2.54, 250ml) - gently cleanses and conditions your kids’ hair and scalp leaving naturally healthy shiny hair. Our specially formulated shampoo also contains natural Tea Tree Oil and Lemon Eucalyptus to help keep head lice at bay when used alongside our Conditioning Defence Spray (below).

Vosene Kids Conditioning Defence Spray (RRP £2.54, 150ml) – this fantastic leave-in spray detangles and smooths your child’s hair, instantly taming the worst bed head and the most unruly knots. The clinically proven formula also helps protect against head lice - using natural ingredients such as Eucalyptus Oil, Citronella Oil and Rosemary Oil. Suitable for children aged 3 and over.

Vosene Kids 3in1 Conditioning Shampoo & Conditioning Defence Spray are found in the children's shampoo aisles in high street supermarkets and chemists. For more great advice on helping prevent head lice and keeping hair happy and shiny visit www.vosene.co.uk.

To celebrate the relaunch I have teamed up with Vosene to give away a backpack filled with goodies...



The Vosene Kids back to school back pack prize includes: Vosene Kids 3in1 Conditioning Shampoo and Conditioning Defence Spray with natural head lice repellents, Vosene Kids Back Pack, Pencil Case and a £10 Tesco Voucher. Total value £30. We have one to give away J.ust complete the form below



Monday, 18 August 2014

Our 42 Days of Summer Fun





Summer can seem long and boring if you don't fill it with lots of fun things to do and as we haven't been away on holiday this year I thought I would struggle with finding things to do but as I have been collating all the photos of what we have been up to it seems we have been rather busy and the time has gone so quickly, that must mean we have had lots of fun!


The top photo was a trip to London for little Moo's birthday, then a trip to Nanny and Grandpa's house where we were spoilt with lots of yummy food and went out for a walk where we found an adventure trail and some lovely flowers.

Strawberry picking which was great fun but ended badly when someone drove into the side of my car! A rare trip to the pub after playing in the park where the little ones shared a drink quite happily, also an unusual occurrence. A photo of the teacher gift bags that we made for the kids teachers and of course we have made loom bands - who hasn't?



My most amazing achievement ever! (apart from my Children) I jumped out of a plane at 13000ft for the Lullaby Trust in memory of Matilda Mae. I met some amazing, lovely people and bloggers and so proud of myself for finding a little piece of me again.




We visited Alice Holt Forest and the kids and the dog had a great time exploring.
We played at the splash pool, went for lots of walks with the dog in different places and something which put a smile on the kids faces, we won a sweetie hamper from the fabulous Hampers by Lucy.


We went for a birthday meal, did some crafting, painted a bag and of course went to Lollibop and were lucky enough to meet Fireman Sam.



We also got to try some yummy BN  biscuits from McVities, we love both flavours, the kids preferred the chocolate ones and strangely I favour the raspberry ones, I say strangely because I am a chocoholic! 

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie's BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL. 


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Britax Affinity Review


Being part of the Britax Mumbassador program has been a fantastic experience so far and we have been very lucyk to test out some of their brilliant products. We have recently been testing out the Affinity pushchair, as I have been wanting a purple pushchair for some time I jumped at the chance to have the cool berry colour pack. 
Priced at around £450, the Affinity is a forward or parent facing pushchair, an absolute must in my experience, there is nothing worse when your child is trying to talk to you when you are walking along a busy road and because they are facing away from you, not a word can be heard so communication is compromised and this can lead to your child having a tantrum because lets face it, its hard enough to communicate with them sometimes. I love this feature and the fact that it's so easy to change it around with the handy clips at the side of the seat unit. The multi-recline is something else that I favour with this pushchair as although it can be harder than some others to adjust because you need a hand on either side of the seat whilst adjusting, the whole seat reclines and not just the back part of the seat, this means your child can be reclined without any disturbing at all- winner.

The Affinity comes in a variety of nice colours and if you like you can change the colour by purchasing separate colour packs for around £60. 

So starting from the top, the handle bar is adjustable to suit different heights and handy for when folding as it makes it more compact. The hood has a peep hole for checking on little one and a part that unzips to allow the air to circulate more when the weather is warmer. The hood is something I have had issues with as the clips that hold it in place keep coming out of place on their own and thanks to great customer service from Britax, the hood and seat unit were completely replaced. It is better now but still happens now and then and when you have the mesh part unzipped it doesn't click any further forward to stay in place and it always feels like it should have that extra adjustment because it would then shield your little ones face from the sun a bit more. Just my preference but it is something I feel that Britax will take into consideration as after all that's what these reviews are for and I know as a brand they have been fantastic at listening to the parents needs when updating their products. 

The straps are great as they have extra comfort pads that are held in place with poppers, all easy to remove for cleaning and replace afterwards. The colour packs are padded well too and I really love the colour we chose. 

The seat I feel could be a bit deeper as I find that without much of a footrest the little moo's legs seem to be dangling down much of the time but that's my personal preference and she has never complained or looked fidgety, in fact she rather enjoys being in this pushchair, she especially loves the bumper bar and when she first gets in she pulls it across to clip it in every time.

The basket is a good size, something else I always check out before buying a new pushchair. The wheels have been great too and no problems width wise as I know that sometimes the ones that have bigger wheels at the back can sometimes get caught when walking through shops and I love the fact that this one always seems to fit without getting caught up in a rack of clothes! Its also really easy to remove the wheels if you have a smaller car and want to make it more compact.

Although, in my honest opinion that this pushchair has a few niggles that need attention, it is a lovely looking pushchair and easy to push around, moo is always happy to be in it and out of everything that is the most important factor, my little one is happy so that makes mummy happy :)

We were sent this product free of charge in return for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Skydive for The Lullaby Trust In Memory Of Matilda Mae

The Lullaby trust (formerly known as S.I.D.S) are a charity that help families after experiencing the loss of a baby, they also fund research into finding out why it happens. 

When I read Jennie's blog, Edspire about dear little Matilda Mae who was the same age as my own daughter, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and heart break this causes. So when I heard that a team of amazing people were taking part in a skydive to raise money I decided I wanted to help.

So, I managed to raise enough money to actually take part in the skydive. I always wanted to do this but never actually thought I would ever get to do it. We got the kids and the dog organised and set off for Nottingham. We had a lovely meal with some of the team on the eve of the jump and then the big day came.

Nervous? Me? No! I had been psyching myself up all week for this. I had a good breakfast and we set off for the airfield, the weather looked ok, but not perfect as rain was on the cards at some point. We signed in, got briefed and then waited, watching others do their solo and tandem skydives, and nerves were creeping in a little. 

I was on the second of the planes for our team and so had seen the others do theirs first. It was emotional and exciting at the same time. Then it was time to suit up and board the plane. I was feeling quite nervous but trying not to show it. The plane climbed up to 13000 ft then I was first out and wow, no amount of preparation or nerves made me ready for that free fall. I am not scared of death but what did send me into shock was free falling through thick cloud at 120mph, I felt like I couldn't breath and I couldn't see anything but cloud, then we hit a grey rain cloud and hitting the top of the rain drops is like having lots of needles in your face, it hurts. Then my instructor pulled the cord and free fall was over. It was time we floated the rest of the way down but no, my instructor had other ideas it was raining and I don't think he wanted to get too soaked so we did loads of spins to get to the ground quicker which I have to say really hurt because of the harness and made me feel slightly queasy. We had a safe landing and I felt a little speechless for a bit. After the lovely hugs and realising I was soaked to the skin I felt really ill, must have been all the spins as I love a white knuckle ride but can't stand fairground rides and that's how the spins felt. 


Overall, I don't care that I got ill or that it was scary as hell, I am glad I did it. I wanted to help and I did it for Jennie and her family and for darling Matilda Mae. 

Will I do it again? Maybe, I haven't decided but knowing there is such a fantastic team of people involved I may just be persuaded!





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