• 19 for 2019

    Organiser, flowers and crayons on a white desk
  • The Story of My Heart Warrior

    Elijah after heart surgery
  • The Christmas Tag

    christmas snowflake
  • What My Kid Wore Wednesday #1

    What My Kid Wore Wednesday #1

19 for 2019

Organiser, flowers and crayons on a white desk

Last year I wrote a post about my goals for 2018 and I found it really helpful to keep me on track throughout the year. I didn't put too much pressure on myself to achieve them by a certain date or anything, and it certainly wasn't a "new year, new me" type of thing. It was just a list of things that I hoped to achieve, most of which I thought could be ongoing in years to come. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would do the same thing this year. I've already written down my 19 for 2019 in my bullet journal but I thought I would share them here as well. So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2019:

  1. Continue to drink plenty of water.

    I started making an effort to drink more water last year. Now, most days I drink 2-3 litres of water a day, so I would like to continue doing this in 2019.

  2. Exercise more.

    I was feeling really motivated at the end of last year, just before Christmas. Now I feel ready to get back to that point and get my body moving more. Joel got me a new Fitbit for Christmas so I'm sure it will help keep me on track.

  3. Read more books.

    This was one of my goals last year as well, and I managed to read 13 books which is a lot more than I have read in a while. My goal for this year is to read at least 12 books. It can be so hard to find the time to read, especially if you have little people - I try to go to bed a little bit earlier now so I can spend some time reading and winding down before I go to sleep.

  4. Improve photography & editing.

    This is something I wanted to do last year and I definitely want to continue it this year. I am so passionate about photography and I'd love to spend more time playing with editing so I can learn how to create magical photos.

  5. Write more on my blog and keep a journal.

    I love writing on my blog as it is a wonderful creative outlet for me, and I want to keep a journal for myself as well to write down anything that is on my mind.

  6. Take more time to be creative.

    Whether it's doing hobbies in my spare time or for my shop I want to slow down and take more time to be creative this year.

  7. Practice drawing and painting.

    I used to love drawing, and I would carry a sketch book with me everywhere. I would like to get back to doing this, and also spend some time practising and improving my watercolour skills.

  8. Worry less and learn to be more confident in myself. Enough said.

  9. Get organised.

    This year is going to be a big one for our little family, so I really want to be on top of things. I'm going to continue decluttering the house and go from there.

  10. Start dancing lessons again.

  11. Be more present.

    Recently I have been enjoying taking a few moments to look out the window in the morning to see the sunrise.

  12. Document everything - good and bad.

  13. Grow plants from seedlings.

    I started doing this last year by growing some herbs on our kitchen windowsill. After we move, I'd like to grow a little indoor herb garden and create a little fairy/gnome garden with Elijah.

  14. Get outdoors more.

    I feel like getting outside and getting some fresh air each day is so good for my soul.

  15. Practice hand lettering.

  16. Spend more quality time with my family and friends.

  17. Focus on getting fitter, stronger and healthier on a physical and mental level.

  18. Improve my Italian.

    Again this is something that I started doing last year and I would like to continue in 2019.

  19. Start to get my body ready for another baby.

    I want to make sure I'm getting enough nutrients and work on building up my core strength by doing pilates.

So, those are my 19 goals for 2019. What are your goals for this year? What would you like to achieve? Let me know in the comments and we can all support each other and work towards our goals together.

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The Story of My Heart Warrior

I have been trying to write this post for quite some time now, but I kept putting it off. Partly because I just couldn’t find the words, partly because it was just too painful. Even now, I cry whenever I think about it. Better late than never though, right? I hope that talking about our journey will help others going through the same thing.

It all began on the day my little boy was born, the 2nd of October 2015. After a 23 hour back-to-back labour, we welcomed our son into the world. He was perfect. I was overwhelmed with love and happiness. When he had his newborn check everything seemed fine, until they told us that he had a heart murmur. Neither of us knew what this meant but we didn’t think too much of it at the time because the doctor reassured us that lots of babies are born with them. We were told they often go away by themselves within the first few weeks. Through the sleep deprivation and pain, I didn’t think to ask any more questions at the time.

We went home the day after Elijah was born and spent the next few days trying to settle into life as a family of three. It was hard. I was determined to breastfeed, and I had lots of support from the midwives and the breastfeeding support team in our local area. However, I was still in a lot of pain, I was beyond exhausted and my milk didn’t come in until day 4. I could barely stand or walk by myself and Joel had to help me lift Elijah because I just didn’t have the strength.   

Elijah one month old

On day 5, everything changed. Elijah had jaundice, he had lost more than 10% of his birth weight and the lovely midwife that came to visit us that day wasn’t happy with the way I looked either. I remember laying on the sofa barely being able to speak without getting breathless and having pain in my chest and back. And so, we were readmitted to the hospital. They did lots of tests on both me and Elijah. They were kind enough to let Joel stay with me, which I really needed. Elijah was very dehydrated so we started giving him top ups of formula. They were going to give him light therapy for his jaundice but he didn’t need it in the end. I had developed an infection from leftover pregnancy tissue in my womb and I had to have a D&C to have it removed. I had a high temperature, very heavy bleeding (sorry for TMI) and I couldn’t stop shaking. We spent a few days in the hospital to make sure we were both ok before we were allowed to go home again.

When we were discharged from the hospital for the second time, Elijah was almost two weeks old. I continued to breastfeed and top him up with expressed milk and formula but his weight gain was very slow. We had lots of trips to the doctor and visits from the health visitor over the following weeks.

We got a referral from the doctor to see a pediatrician, but our appointment got cancelled and we had to wait a few weeks before another appointment was available. He was about 8 weeks old at this point. The pediatrician did a scan of Elijah’s heart and told us it looked like he had a hole in it. He didn’t explain what this meant, just said that we would need to go for further tests and scans at a specialist hospital.

It was about 3 weeks later that we had it confirmed – our baby boy had a Large Ventricular Septal Defect (Large VSD). From this point, everything moved fairly quickly. They explained that the reason Elijah wasn’t gaining weight because he was in heart failure. His tiny body was working so hard to try to pump enough blood through it, but it couldn’t and he was failing to thrive. They told us he would need surgery and they hoped to do it within the next three months or so. We were given a prescription for a high-calorie formula that would help Elijah to gain enough weight for the surgery. We signed consent forms and that was that. It was just a waiting game.

We had a phone call from the hospital just before Christmas saying that they might have space for us to go in that weekend, but they couldn’t confirm it until closer to the time. So our first Christmas as a family of three came and went, and we received a phone call that weekend. They asked us to come in the following afternoon for Elijah to have some tests done so he could go into surgery the following day. I cried, a lot. I wondered whether this was all my fault. Could I have done something to stop this? Should I have done something differently? We packed a few bags and set off for the hospital the next day.

We arrived at the hospital on the 3rd of January 2016 in the afternoon, allowing plenty of time for the doctors to come around to do some tests and observations on Elijah. They didn’t come until midnight when Elijah was asleep. We had to wake him up and he screamed as they poked and prodded him. He was allowed one last feed at around 4 am.

Elijah the night before heart surgery

We got up at 6 am the next morning and waited to be taken down to the theatre. We didn’t have to wait too long because Elijah was first on the list. Elijah has his surgery on the 4th of January 2016. He was such a good boy, he cuddled up to me as they wheeled us through to the waiting area on a hospital bed. He didn’t cry at all. I kissed him and told him how much I love him. I told him to be brave and strong and that we would see him soon. Joel and I both took him into the theatre, and I laid him on the operating table. We held his little hands and gave him one last kiss as he went to sleep. When we left the room Joel held me and I cried harder tha I have ever cried in my life. I knew I had to be strong for my baby boy but I was so scared. A lot of people had sent us messages to see how we were doing which was very kind, but I really didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I don’t remember eating breakfast but I know we did go to get food at some point. I honestly don’t know how I got through those 5 hours that we were away from him, it felt like a lifetime.

We didn’t take a lot of photos while we were in hospital. Looking back, do I wish we had taken more? Maybe. But at the time, I felt sad and scared and I wasn’t sure I wanted to remember my baby boy like that.

Elijah after heart surgery
Elijah after heart surgery
Elijah after heart surgery
Elijah after heart surgery
Elijah in hospital after heart surgery
Elijah recovering after heart surgery

Following Elijah’s surgery we stayed in the hospital for about a week, and during this time I was also made redundant from my job. Elijah then took a further 6 weeks or so to recover from the surgery. He has had many follow-ups, doctors appointments, and reviews since then but I am pleased to say he is doing really well now. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not cured. His heart has been mended. One thing I think people tend to assume is that once someone with CHD has had surgery, they are “cured” or “fixed”. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I think we have been fortunate given Elijah’s CHD was not as severe as other children who may require multiple surgeries at a very young age. We don’t know whether our little boy will need further surgery in the future, all we know is that our little heart warrior is here with us now. And for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.

The Me & Mine Project – December 2018

Our family - December 2018

December has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I’ve been working hard to get all my orders for my shop finished so I could have a few days off with my boys before getting back into the swing of things and going into the New Year.

I’m still reading the same book I was last month but I’ve also started reading One Day in December by Josie Silver which seems really good so far. And Joel and I have just started watching Riverdale on Netflix. So far, we are hooked.

Elijah loved visiting Santa and Mrs Claus this month, he was very keen to go although he was a bit shy when we got there! On Christmas day we went to my mother-in-law’s house in the morning so Elijah could open some presents, then we came home and had a lovely quiet day with just the three of us together. Elijah was very excited to get Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, some new pyjamas, books, clothes and crafty things. Joel very generously got me a new Fitbit so I’m looking forward to using it and looking after myself in 2019.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas, what did you get up to? Let me know in the comments. Thank you so much for all your support this year, I really appreciate it when people take the time to read and comment on my posts, and get in touch with me on social media.

2019 is set to be a big year for our little family, and I look forward to sharing our adventures with you.

The Christmas Tag

christmas snowflake

I can’t quite believe Christmas is right around the corner (can you?). I was tagged by the lovely Rachel from Mummy in Training to join in with the Christmas Tag, and of course I wanted to get involved and spread some Christmas Joy.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

It’s so hard to choose just one because there are so many good ones! Love Actually has always been a favouite, but more recently have been loving Elf. My little boy loves it! The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix is amazing too, it’s well worth watching if you haven’t already.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

Last year we spent Christmas with my family in Australia, but this year it’s just going to be hubby, Little Monkey and I at home. Hopefully, it will be lovely, quiet and cosy.

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

I think New York would be amazing to visit in December!

Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

We open our presents on Christmas morning.

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

Some of you may already know that I’m from Australia, and I’ve been living in the UK with my husband for the last 4 years. When I was little my family and I used to visit my grandparent’s beach house over Christmas and New Years. We always had so much fun and I have many fond memories of spending Christmas all together there.

Be honest: do you like giving gifts of receiving gifts better?

Definitely giving. Especially now that my little boy is getting a bit older and he is beginning to understand what it is all about, seeing his little face light up with excitement is the best thing in the world.

Favourite festive food?

Can I say Baileys? Haha! My Nonna always used to make lasagne for us at Christmas so I have to say lasagne.

Favourite Christmas scents?

The smell of a Christmas tree, Christmas candles, candy canes and gingerbread.

Do you have any Christmas eve traditions?

Little Monkey gets a Christmas eve box with new pyjamas, a book and a dvd. So we get into our pjs, watch a film together with yummy snacks then read in bed.

What tops your tree?

A red glittery star.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Nope I haven’t. I wonder if we’ll have one this year?

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Any of Michael Buble’s Christmas songs always make me feel super festive!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

We have a fake tree this year but I would love to have a real one when Little Monkey is a bit older.

Are you a professional present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?

I like to give it a good go…so maybe I’m a present wrapping enthusiast?

What makes the holidays special for you?

Being with my little family – as long as we are together nothing else matters.

I’d like to tag Lucy from Mrs H’s Favourite Things, Elle from Elle May, Nikki from Nikki’s Notebook and Staci from 3 Plus a Bunny if you’d like to join in.

The Me & Mine Project – November 2018

Our family - November 2018

I can’t believe it’s already November and 2018 is almost over. I know I say it all the time but this year seems to have gone so quickly.

This month I read The Little House by Philippa Gregory. It wasn’t the sort of book that I would normally read but I pushed myself to keep on reading it. After finishing it I wanted something a bit shorter to read, so after a recommendation by Joel I started reading The Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams. I’m really enjoying it so far, although I haven’t had all that much time to read lately.

Hubby and I have still been watching Scrubs on Amazon prime, and my shop has been quite busy with it being so close to Christmas, which has been amazing but also challenging at times.

Elijah had fun decorating some gingerbread biscuits towards the end of November, so we’re starting to get into the Christmas spirit.

What have you all been up to this month? Have you got anything fun & festive planned for December?

The Me & Mine Project – October 2018

Our family - October 2018

At the beginning of October, we celebrated Little Monkey's 3rd Birthday. I feel so emotional seeing how quickly he is growing up. It seems like 5 minutes since he was born...and now all of a sudden he's 3. How did that happen?

I have done lots of reading this month and I have loved it so much. I've read How to Be Happy by Eva Woods, The Martian by Andy Weir, The Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas and The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPhartlin. I've also started a new book, Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner.

Hubby and I have still been watching the Great British Bake off and we've also started on Scrubs.

We took a trip into Newcastle this month, partly to celebrate Elijah's birthday but also to have a nice day out together. We went to Build a Bear and Elijah picked out Chase who he absolutely loves. He has barely left Elijah's side since we brought him home. We also went to a Chinese supermarket to get some new things to try, and had some lunch at Nudo Sushi. Sushi is one of my favourite foods, and I know Joel loves it too. We went to Waterstones so Elijah could pick out some books with a voucher that he got for his birthday - he went for two dinosaur books and a robot book. We also popped into Boots and Primark for a few bits a bobs, including some leopard print shoes for me that I fell in love with!

What have you all been up to this month? Have you been on any fun adventures? Let me know in the comments.

The Me & Mine Project – September 2018

Our family - September 2018

We started September with a trip down to London for Elijah's Australian passport interview. I haven't mentioned it on my blog before, but if you follow me on Instagram, you might know that we are planning to move to Australia next year. We are still waiting to hear about Joel's visa but we now have Elijah's Australian passport which is a huge weight off our shoulders. We did LOTS of walking, visited Buckingham Palace, The Natural History Museum, St James's Park, Trafalgar Square and of course, Peggy Porschen. I had a salted caramel cupcake which was absolutely divine. It was so nice to have a few days away together.

It was also my birthday this month, I got a lovely bunch of flowers, some clothes, vouchers, money and cards. Elijah's biggest cousin's birthday is on the same day as mine and unfortunately we couldn't make it to his party because Elijah and I came down with a sickness bug a few days before my birthday. We didn't start to feel better for at least a week afterwards, and luckily Joel didn't catch anything off us.

Joel and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary towards the end of the month, I honestly don't know where the time has gone! We are so happy together, and I would honestly be lost without Joel by my side through good times and bad.

We have finished watching Grimm now and have moved on to The Great British Bake Off. We usually watch it online after it has aired and catch up on a few episodes at a time. If you are watching it too, we're probably not up to date yet - so no spoilers, please!

I finished reading "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" and I absolutely loved it. I would love to know what you thought of it if you've read it too. And I have also started reading "How To Be Happy" By Eva Woods which seems good so far.

What have you been up to this month? I'd love to know, let's chat in the comments.

The Me & Mine Project – August 2018

Our family - August 2018

August has again been very quiet for my business. I've had a couple of orders but still feeling much the same as last month. Tired. Low. Stuck.

After hearing lots of positive reviews, I've been reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I am really enjoying it so far.

I've been trying to get back into doing regular walks, and so far so good. I've had a couple of days off, but I'm aiming to have 6 days a week where I exercise and one rest day. So far I've managed to keep it up for two weeks in a row and I've lost 1 kg. Which isn't much, but at least it's something.

Hubby and I have still been watching Grimm on Netflix, and I really don't want it to end. Unfortunately, I think it was canceled after the 6th season. And we are already on season 5.

We've booked to go down to London for a few days at the beginning of September to submit Elijah's application for his Australian passport and attend an interview. I've been feeling quite nervous about it but I'm hoping it will all go smoothly. As much as I try not to be, I'm a worrier. I honestly don't know how I'd cope without Joel to keep me in check.

What have you been up to this month? Let me know in the comments.

The Me & Mine Project – July 2018

Our family - July 2018

July has been a bit of a difficult month. My business has been quiet and I have been feeling quite low. It's horrible when I feel like this and it seems to last quite a while more often than not. I feel unmotivated, exhausted and stuck. And I can't seem to see a way forward. I did, however, finish making a beautiful blanket for a very dear friend of mine, and when she told me how much she loved it, it brought me so much joy.

I've been trying to be proactive and work on the things that I love doing to distract myself, and one of those things is photography. I finished my Advanced Diploma and have been doing another short course which has been extremely helpful and motivating. I've learned a lot of new techniques and have lots of ideas.

I read Wilde About Me by Louise Pentland this month, and I can't wait to read the next one when it comes out. Hubby and I have started watching Grimm (again) together on Netflix and I am absolutely loving it.

We also planted some herb seedlings in little pots on our kitchen windowsill, I'm really excited to see how they grow.

Let me know what you've been up to this month in the comments. What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down?

The Me & Mine Project – June 2018

Our Family - June 2018

June marks two years since I started my little business, Blue Bunny Boutique. I am so proud of how far it has come and I know if I keep working hard it will keep going from strength to strength. I'm not going to pretend that is has been easy, it has been incredibly difficult and stressful at times, and I often wonder whether I really can keep going with it. But my wonderful husband and family always have my back when I have a wobble and constantly remind me I can do anything I put my mind to.

There seems to be lots of birthdays in June! We celebrated Elijah's littlest cousins 1st Birthday and went to his Mickey mouse birthday party which was lots of fun. It was also my mums and my older brothers birthday this month, so we celebrated with them from afar. We talk to my family on FaceTime often, but I still miss them more than I can explain every day.

I haven't really been watching any TV shows or reading much this month, but I have been playing games on my computer more. I often play the Sims but I've been playing Stardew Valley with Joel which has been a lot of fun!

Elijah has started learning how to ride a tricycle recently which has been so special to watch.

What have you been up to this month? Let me know if you have any TV show or book recommendations as I would love to hear them. I'm always looking for new things to watch/read.