Monday, 28 March 2016

Mad Blog Awards-Nomination!!

My phone beeped at me this morning and I thought it was just my facebook business page notification going off as I'd just joined in, in some networking.

 But it was a lovely surprise to have a tweet saying my blog had been nominated in the lifestyle category!!

 It's the first time I have ever been nominated for anything blog wise so thank you to who ever it was, it's brightened my morning up after a couple of crappy weeks!

Blogger Tricks

Monday, 14 March 2016

Mother's Day 2016

I had such a wonderful Mother's day last week. I think it was the first one where I REALLY felt spoilt. 
Where I REALLY didn't have to lift a finger at all really. So well done to James for finally getting it right after 6 years ;)

The boy's popped to the shop with James to get some breakfast and they came back with a lovely bunch of daffodils which are still sat proudly on the windowsill so they have lasted well.

 The boy's actually had no patience with their cards and had given them to me on Friday after preschool and Alex on the Saturday morning after panicking it was still at school! So it was a nice surprise to receive another big Mother's day card off them too, our secret written in too-the only thin I'll ever have of it's existence.

We went to the local zoo, Cotswold Wildlife park, it's somewhere we can gone to before on Mother's day and it's somewhere we will visit a lot this year as we bought a season pass. 

We were joined by my parents and one of my brother's, and later also by James's parents, Nan and some of his brothers and sister and fiancée, so it was a right family affair!

It was very cold but we were well wrapped up, the boys have behaved the best I think they ever had, which made the day so much more enjoyable for us all-definitely the best Mother's day treat. 

We got around to most of the animals, and the boys loved it, there is a really fun park there which was fun for both the boys and the big kids! Although I don't think Sam liked his first trip down the tube slide as he sort of turned over whilst in there and came out the wrong way-my little trouper didn't let it deter him though as he went straight back on it!

I think it is honestly the happiest day I have had in a long time, no arguments, no whining kids and lots of fun. I am so glad that this past weeks events didn't happen sooner, as it was nice to be so happy that Mother's day and so unaware of what would happen this week
I needed that day, and now I can look back on it and smile, at least I had one Mother's day with all my babies. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Early Miscarriage

I didn't know whether to post this, but it has helped me this morning, and it may help other's please don't continue to read on if it will upset you. 

This morning the weather was foggy just like my head.

My breasts no longer swollen and sore, just cramps and pain where my baby should be.

It is still so raw, so new, I'm not quite sure what to do.

It is so hard to grieve for something you only saw at first as two lines, and then in a horrible bloody mass. Last night when it eventually happened (I say eventually as I knew it was inevitable and wanted the waiting to end) I paused, I freaked out, how could I just flush what would eventually been our baby away? It made it so, final.

It sounds silly, you know it is common, but you always think 'it will never happen to me', we have been lucky- all our pregnancies we have got pregnant first time, I was lucky in both the boy's pregnancies that I didn't have complications apart from bad sickness and one small scare with Sam, their births have been, dare I say it easy in the sense it was pretty much 'textbook'. So when I fell pregnant this time, of course we thought the same would happen. Naive? Maybe.

As much as you try not to get too excited, or plan ahead too much, you can't help but do it, think of what the future may be, what it holds for them, how it will change your family.

I stupidly thought things felt different this pregnancy and my only thought was perhaps it's a girl, perhaps she won't make me so sick like the boys did. I didn't once think that it could have been because things weren't as they should be, I had all the signs, swollen sore boobs, tiredness that is only felt when pregnant (although not as much as when with the boy's looking back now), and eating everything, I could have had shares in Malteasers the past few weeks.

I felt ill Tuesday morning but it wasn't pregnancy related, I could tell. Then when wiping (TMI sorry) I saw a streak of blood in discharge, barely anything but like any pregnant mother I worried, I googled, and read anything I could, I thought it was probably spotting, although had never had it with the boy's so that was stuck at the back of my head. But gradually throughout Wednesday the blood was more, still barely anything but changing to red colour, the warning colour for bleeding in pregnancy. Wednesday evening James went out to a comedy gig with my brother's and Dad as it was their Christmas present, I put the boys to bed and went for my shower, and then I knew. Alone in the bathroom, I knew the end was starting, a red streak in my knickers.

When James came home he knew something was wrong, we embraced in the longest, tightest cuddle we have had whilst I burst into tears, at that point I was still hoping I was just 'spotting', I would be in that small group of people that bleed but still go on to have healthy babies, but I think deep down I knew, I knew.

I thought if I was miscarrying that it would have happened quicker, over night I would have woken with pains and cramps, but I didn't, I slept great, felt great when my eyes opened. So it was a kick to the stomach to find darker blood, clots, and lots more of it than the night before in the bathroom that morning. I walked the school run in a daze, popped to Asda with Sam for essentials, trying to avoid my eyes from the newborn nappy packets on the end of the isles, the newborns in the trolleys and the pregnant bumps, we got home and I spent a lazy day on the sofa, with Sam giving me cuddles and behaving so well, he has no idea how much that helped.

The cramps started around lunch time, not really painful, but there, I still wasn't sure if it was just my mind playing tricks like it does sometimes when googling your symptoms. But come 4-5 o'clock it there was no hiding from it any more. I somehow ate dinner, whilst having bad pains, whilst the boys looked on saying "Mummy isn't well". We finished off watching a film in our bed with the boys that night, us four snuggled, I grabbed James' hand and flinched, this was it, I waited for the boys to do their teeth before I went to the bathroom where the worst of it happened.

I thought that would be it, I thought miscarriage was quick, I thought it would be one big loss of blood and pain and it would be over like it is on the telly. I didn't think it would be days of it, days of constant reminders of what could have been.

Of course that's just the physical pain, I think it will take a while for us to get over this loss, our baby may only have been 6 weeks, but we will mourn the loss of another child, another sibling for our son's, grandchild for our parents, a niece or nephew for our siblings. But of course in time we will.

We will move on, hug our boys that bit tighter and closer and carry on.

Life, you never know what it is going to throw at you, but you have to come through the other side stronger.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Sometimes life gives you a kick in the stomach

Two lines,  
Our little secret. 
Smiles upon our faces 
Hopes, dreams, wishes. 
Planning ahead for what may be. 


Hopes, dreams, wishes turn to fear, sadness and pain. 
Smiles turn to tears. 
Thoughts to what could have been. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Handmade valentine's gift ideas

With Valentine's just around the corner I thought I'd show a few of my makes which would be perfect for the occasion!

Here is one of my personal favourites, hand stitched love heart on an embroidery hoop.

If you just like saying it with a card then I have three designs this year:

Do you celebrate Valentine's day, or do you just treat it like any other day. I know this year James is working all day and into the evening so no celebrating at all here, but as some say who needs a day to show someone you love them!

Monday, 1 February 2016

You know your a cyclist when...

So up until recently I had not ridden a bike in over 8 years, in fact that was only just on a week's holiday at a centre parcs in Holland, so I really haven't ridden properly since I was a teen.

That's had to change recently as some of you will be aware that I do not drive and Sam has now started preschool-which is by our house, not by Alex's school which is about a 20min walk away. So the only way to get between the two is by bike.

So we got my old bike from my parent's house (a boy's bike so my brother's could have it after me!) and bought a child seat for the back, I am about 3 weeks in and finally getting my balance and can finally go around the chicane at the end of the path!

Since becoming a part time, path cycling, cyclist I have noticed these things:

  • People don't smile at you any more, even if it's another cyclist.
  • You're not often let across the road unless unless someone if feeling particularly nice or you have another child with you.
  • People like to judge and assume you're going too zoom past them when in actual fact I would always hold back and wait until there is room as I am just like that.
  • People assume you to be rude and impatient.
  • People see it fit to be rude to you: just this morning I was heading through the park by our house on the way to drop Sam off at preschool, I saw a mother and daughter with their dog in front of me, and a mum and pushchair coming the other way (who always smiles to me when I am walking-never even gives me a second glance on the bike). I slowed down and was happy just basically balancing behind the mother and daughter when a big gust of wind came and I said to Sam "wow that was windy wasn't it" to which the Mum heard me behind and got her daughter to try and move over, I was polite and said thank you and her reply "would help if you had a bell" and giving me a really filthy look. I was not zooming past, I was not rude, I was more than happy going slow until we would reach the end of the main path a mere 10M away, little does she know I have actually looked for a bell twice in our local Asda when the bike section has been near to empty. Little does she know, I actually wouldn't like coming up behind someone and ringing the bell, I'm happy just going slow for a bit. 
Argh sorry rant over, I just find it weird how people perceive you when you are on two wheels rather than on two feet. I'm just a mum getting my child to school like anyone else, there is no way I am confident enough to cycle on the road, and to be honest I wouldn't want to with a 3 year old on the back anyway, and anyhow it was a suitable bike path too! I just know that, that one comment said in the tone it was said in will play over in my mind all day now!

Do you cycle at all? Do you find that people see you differently than when you walk?

Anyway after a few weeks at preschool Sam is really enjoying himself which is fantastic, we only had tears once and that was more tiredness than anything else. I really hope he comes out of his shell a bit as he is very much like me in the sense of being shy with new people, but he seems to be getting on well and my fridge is now home to many paintings and drawings :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to gain orders in small business? And a special offer on Danielle Louise Designs

That is one question I have been asking myself recently.

I set up Danielle Louise Designs almost a year ago, now I knew that it would be slow going and hard work to get seen etc, I just had no idea quite how much!

Apart from a couple of small orders I have still only sold to friends and family. A lot of the things made on my page have been for gifts for us to give-in hope that those that see it will either order that thing, or those who see the gift in it's new home will like it enough to check out my work.

It's so disheartening to see other pages do so well, so quickly, I have had a lot of feedback from networking that has been really positive, but my 'like' counter doesn't move up much compared to other pages, and I am lucky to get an order or two a month. I'm not really sure what I am doing differently.

Towards the end of last year I set up an Etsy page in hope that, that too would boost my sales a bit, but had no views for months. Etsy has been a HUGE learning curve, I have realised it is very hard to be seen, that selecting the right category probably makes a huge difference to views, keywords and SEO are something I need to learn more about! With that in mind I have recently joined a facebook page Etsy resolution which is full of hints and tips, this week it was photography.

When I look at my pages I know my photography isn't the best, not the worst, but not stand out enough, a lovely lady messaged me with lots of help for photographing my frames and yesterday I put this into practice!

I know real photographers would probably still pick problems with these but I am really pleased with them, it took some time but now I know what to do it should be easier in the future!

Now when people see my items in the Etsy search the thumbnail photos will hopefully stand out more-at least they look more professional now!

Now that I have changed these photos in the listings I am wanting to update the photos of my other listings. So I have an offer on my page 10% off the items I have listed in my facebook post, it's 1st come 1st serve as only 1 of each available.

For the full details please look here but these are the items I'd like to make so that I can photograph them better (personalised to your colour/names):

If you like my makes please do visit me on facebook or Etsy (or both!) and please share with anyone you think may like it.

If anyone has any tips on trying to make it 'bigger' and more 'successful' I'd love to hear it :)
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