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BABYLOSS AWARENESS WEEK // BREAK THE SILENCE

Break the silence

I can’t quite get my head around the fact that I’m STILL going through this Miscarriage. I never would have imagined it would be such a long process, drawn out process. Ok, for some, it is quite a shockingly quick and robust experience – but for others, it is marred with several medical intervention attempts and a hell of a lot of limbo.

As I’m currently going through this heartbreak – many other women, couples, families are also going through it too. Around the world. As I’ve mentioned many times, 1 in 4 of us will go through it at some point. 1 in 4 of you have been there. You know the physical pain, the emotional pain. So, I wanted to write a blog post dedicated to you, as today marks the beginning of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017; which is held annually, globally, to remember those very tiny lives lost in pregnancy and soon after birth. The week will culminate with a Wave of Light on Sunday (15th October) at 7pm. See further details below.

Firstly, thank you. I’m not sure how else to say it – but thank you for all the kindness.  It’s overwhelmed me and I’ll never forget it.

Secondly, I’ve shared so much of my journey; I’m an over-sharer by nature. But mostly,  apart from this whole process being cathartic for me, I also wanted to share because thats how we learn. We learn from others’ experiences. What I found, was that Pregnancy & Baby Loss was exceptionally untalked about. It’s seen as taboo and very private – is that a British thing, or is that the situation worldwide? In general, I’m ridiculously British about things – I’m pretty naive, I’m pretty prudish. I get bashful at the mention of S-E-X. But THIS, this, I NEED to talk about. I also need you to talk out too. Let’s get together to break the silence of miscarriage & baby loss during this, Baby Loss Awareness Month.

I’d like to propose that my blog serves as a platform for you to be able to share with me. If your experience has proven too difficult to talk about openly, I am more than happy to publish stories anonymously. Whatever works for you – just PLEASE talk. Though I’m not known for being concise, this doesn’t have to be lengthy – just a few words from the heart to help yourself and others heal. It serves as such comfort and support – whilst also being therapeutic for yourself. Personally? I have found true solace in these online realms. I can’t be the only one?!

You can contact me via the comments below, FB & IG private direct messages or via email: claire[at]clairebriston.com

C
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Charities such as the following also have ways to get involved this week, in support for Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Tommy’s

1 in 4 parents will have to go through the heartbreak of losing a child during pregnancy or birth. We need your help to stop these tragic deaths. Please join Team Tommy’s and help us find answers and cures.

Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is a devastating experience. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, up to one in four women will lose a baby during pregnancy or birth.

Tommy’s exists to change the unacceptable statistics connected to baby loss.

Thanks to the support of our incredible community, our research has lead to a reduced stillbirth rate of 22% in Greater Manchester between 2010 and 2014 and a 23% reduction in premature births in high risk women attending our London clinic during 2014-15.

Learn more about the impact of our work here: http://bit.ly/2we9Cvk#Babyloss

DONATE >> Make a donation to Tommy’s, The Baby Charity.

The Miscarriage Association

Stories of good care
During Babyloss Awareness Week this year, the 40 participating charities and groups are calling for improved care following the loss of a baby during pregnancy, or during or shortly after birth.

As part of this campaign, we are asking people to share their experiences of good care they have received, perhaps from a midwife, sonographer, friend or colleague. If you would like to get involved, please email a story of less than 150 words to babyloss@sands.org.uk, copying us in on awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

You can find more details on the Babyloss Awareness Week website.

Wave of light this Sunday
Last year we made a special video slideshow using hundreds of candles that lit up our Facebook page in memory of babies lost far too soon. If you’d like yours included this year, please add a note ‘For the video’ when you upload a picture.

While Baby Loss Awareness Week can be a special time of remembering and speaking about loss, we understand that it can also evoke painful memories. If you need to talk, please feel free to call our helpline on on 01924 200 799 (Monday – Friday9 a.m – 4 p.m) or see our website for other ways we offer support.

DONATE >> Make a donation to The Miscarriage Association

Baby Loss Awareness

Share your experience – this could be by telling a friend about Baby Loss Awareness Week, talking about your experience or wearing a Baby Loss Awareness pin badge. You could also use our specially designed social media images on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, work intranet or noticeboard.

DONATE >> Make a donation to Babyloss Awareness.

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Miscarriage & Me // An update

Sharing my recent “bump” which was approx 11/12 weeks for #BumpDay in support of #MaternityHealth

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I just wanted to give a brief update since my post last week: Miscarriage & Me. 

First off, I have to just say a big huge THANK YOU. Thank you to every single one of you who has commented or messaged or emailed or called me. I can’t tell you how grateful we are for the support and kind words. Once again, never ever underestimate the kindness of strangers. I’ve had so many messages of support for me sharing the post. For encouraging discussion. For highlighting what will/can/might/might not happen.

Miscarriage happens because of science. It’s not something you can stop from happening – I hope those who have experienced this horrendous plight know that.  Also, Miscarriage is more common than people realise. It happens to at least 1 in 4 pregnancies. Many miscarriages are unreported and some go unnoticed as it happens so soon. Experts think that the real figure might be 1 in 3*.

Miscarriage is not taboo. It is so important that we discuss this. To help others understand… to help yourself to understand. Without sharing stories, how can we learn? How can the medical professionals learn and continue their research into Pregnancy Loss? So sharing experiences, that is my biggest take away from this whole thing.

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Just over a week on, how am I doing?

I’m going down the “Expectant Miscarriage” route with hope I have/am miscarrying naturally.

Well, I count myself as very lucky. So far, I haven’t bled anywhere near as much as I anticipated. As I touched on in my original post I have Endometriosis. So have been awaiting just the worst pain and the worst bleeding/tissue loss imaginable. I’ve had the back aches and extreme tiredness but again, nothing as bad as I’ve been expecting. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m going through a slow miscarriage – or whether its building up to some kind of cruel crescendo. I guess I’ll know more when I head back to the hospital next Tuesday for my re-scan and review.

So for now, I’m stuck in limbo. Not knowing whether its started, ended/ending or if it’s not even begun (properly). And this is the worst feeling – the not knowing. Just as bad as not knowing if you’re ok in the first place – before the bad news.

The entire pregnancy journey is basically just a whole load of anxiety and stress and endless knots in the stomach, isn’t it?

I feel like I need to do something good out of all of this. I know charities such as Tommy’s & The Miscarriage Association have a few ways to get involved. But if anyone does have any ideas that I can support, please let me know.

In the meantime, please do continue to share your stories. You can comment, message, email or bloody carrier pigeon your experiences or words to me. Always remember, sharing is caring.

All my love,
C
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*Statistics taken from Tommy’s // The Baby Charity. Information on Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss >> More details, here. 

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Miscarriage & Me.

So here is a blog post that I never thought I’d be writing.

In fact, for the past 12 weeks I’ve been keeping a diary, a log, if you will, of pregnancy symptoms & the experience so far, the second time round. I was anticipating the publish of that blog post this week (I’d tied in lots of information about Pregnancy & Endometriosis). (After of course, we’d gone up North and surprised our families!).

Yes, you heard read right. I was pregnant. Kind of.  No, I was definitely pregnant. Or at least my body thought I was… and had began the fruition of our second pregnancy. I had alllllllll the symptoms: extreme fatigue, nausea, sickness & diarrhea, runny nose, cough, lightheadedness,  headaches, body aches, hot flushes, scattiness (god, the scattiness was insane), I’d gone up at least two cup sizes and had that lovely bright blue vein swooping across my left breast; just like I did with Eli. I had it all, in abundance. I was around 5/6 weeks when I finally got a positive pregnancy test result.

I’d had a big, scary, bright red bleed during our holiday last week in St. Ives. The first rule of Instagram? Don’t give the honest, real life view! Why would you ever do that?! Except, I really wanted to be honest. Believe me. To me,  honesty is the best policy, I try to be as honest and real as possible across all social media – so here is what’s happened since.

I wanted to scream about how bloody marvellous it was to be pregnant. To be sat on the this beautiful beach, with my little bump! But the reality? I was indeed sat on the beach cradling my little baby bump, but it was upon a maternity pad, and I was silently crying while my boy’s went rock-pooling. I knew deep down that a bleed of this amount was bad news. I was 11 weeks. But I had a proper full-on baby-bump. I still had some symptoms going on. I was feeling pretty good! So, I spent the majority of our little ‘break’ Googling. Oh wonderful Google…

“Can you still have a baby after a bright red  bleed?”

“Does a bright red bleed really mean miscarriage?”

“Symptoms of endometriosis during early pregnancy”

“Can endometriosis cause bleeding? 11 weeks pregnant”

“11 weeks pregnant symptoms”

“Symptoms of miscarriage”

“Baby moving or miscarriage?”

“What to expect miscarriage 11 weeks pregnant”

I read SO MANY positive outcomes across forums, blogs, in the press and via medical case studies. I’d almost convinced myself that it was fine. I was fine. The baby was fine. I’d had terrible cramps with Eli and spotting at around 6 weeks. In a lot of cases, women who experience bleeds in early pregnancy do go on to have a healthy baby. Heck, sometimes women bleed throughout the WHOLE pregnancy. Which I imagine is both frustrating and worrying in equal measure.

On Tuesday 5th September, Eli went back to school – as a big Year One boy. Super proud parents, we went from the school drop off to Broomfield Hospital for what would have been our 12 week scan. I’d felt a pang of excitement – the secrets we’d been harbouring for 12 weeks could finally come out. We could finally announce our bloody brilliant and exciting news, our darling boy was going to be a BIG BROTHER! (I’d even bought him a tee… did I jinx it?!). Doubtfully.

As we drove along that over-familiar route to Broomfield Hospital,  I was getting closer to the feeling of doubt. My stomach was in knots and I felt lightheaded and sick.I definitely knew in my heart of hearts, this wasn’t meant to be.  But that certainly does not deflect from the shock of having a Sonographer say “Are you sure your dates are correct as the sac measures 7 weeks, 1 day…. unfortunately this isn’t going to be a viable pregnancy I’m afraid”.

We’d had so much trouble with Eli during pregnancy, that anything I could do to help make this pregnancy ‘smoother’, I was doing. Including zero intimacy (hoping my Ma ain’t reading this!).  I had my last alcoholic drink (I so need to do a review of non-alcoholic drinks, because we’ve had the best time trying so many out!) and caffeinated drink on my birthday, 1st June. I’ve not eaten anything you shouldn’t. I’d been taking Pregnacare for a few weeks even before that too. My dates were beyond correct. I would have been 12 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

With tears streaming down my face, I somehow managed “the baby has gone, hasn’t it?”. She then went on to confirm that I’d suffered an Anembryonic Pregnancy and showed us my full uterus with a very obviously empty sac.  An Anembryonic Gestation (anembryonic pregnancy, blighted ovum, or empty sac) is a pregnancy in which the very early pregnancy appears normal on an ultrasound scan, but as the pregnancy progresses a visible embryo never develops or develops and is reabsorbed. How utterly batshit is that? REALLY? The cells of the embryo are “reabsorbed”. I still can’t fathom it. But I know it’s nothing that I could have possibly done or could have avoided. Medically speaking? It’s “one of those things”.

After being spoken to in the dreaded, ‘Quiet Room’, James & I were then transferred from the Antenatal Ultrasound department to an Early Pregnancy ward a few floors down. By the way, these ‘Quiet Rooms’, although decorated in a nice colour scheme and VERY clean, really do just look like 4 walls of bad news. Like, it felt like a funeral home, with a gushing waterfall print on one wall and a totally psychedelic bright mash up of randomness on the other wall. Obviously,  boxes of tissues all around for good measure.

I felt numb. Surreal. Like I was in a bubble and was crying and felt an ache in my chest…. but couldn’t quite digest words. James was speaking but it was like a blurry mumble of nothing. Likewise, when we met with Liz, the Staff Nurse on the EPU ward, she was AMAZING – and went through every step of the process. Answered questions with ease. Was very knowledgable. Incredibly sympathetic and open and supportive. But what she actually spoke about, I have no idea. It’s like I wasn’t even there. An out of body experience? Maybe.

I was given 3 options and it was emphasised that I didn’t have to make a decision straight away:

  • Expectant management – wait for the tissue to pass naturally out of your womb.
  • Medical management – take medication that causes the tissue to pass out of your womb.
  • Surgical management – have the tissue surgically removed.

As I’m particularly phobic of hospitals following my labour with Eli, if I can avoid being near one, I will do my damned best! Without  even a hint of  consideration, I wanted to be at home, in my own bed and I’m keeping my fingers crossed this will all pass naturally. I’m so far, going through the Expectant Management route. I do have a lot of tissue build up and the empty sac to pass. I have been advised to expect a lot of blood loss, tissue loss, the sac and all accompanied by proper contractions. I was given the details of all emergency contacts should I lose too much blood or be in too much pain – if that’s the case, I’ll end up on the EPU ward.

I am currently losing a small amount of blood. WAY less than a normal period, so I don’t even know if this is the start. I hope it’s the start anyway. I just want this whole thing to be over with. I think I’ll feel relief then.

I have waves of feeling completely fine. Like none of this is even happening. Happy, even. But then I notice my tummy… and its soft and squidgy again. I have the “WHY ME?” and “WHAT DID I DO WRONG” scenario’s. Then I have the feelings of what it could have been. Us Mama’s have a very easy way of getting carried away – we have excellent imaginations. Too good even. We imagine the nursery. The feeding schedules. The cuddles. The bathtime routine. The newborn smell. The ooh’s and ahhh’s. ALLLLLLL the stuff we need to buy. (I’m all over that Sleepyhead Grand btw).  Is it weird that I’m then grieving the loss of a baby… that didn’t actually exist? It’s like, the house was there, fully furnished, but there was nobody renting. I then feel all strange  – how could I even have this intense amount of grief? The baby hadn’t formed. It was cells. Cells that were absorbed. How am I this upset and feeling so devastated? I guess it’s because it took us 5 years to get to this point. A point where I felt ready. I’d dreamed so many dreams about that baba-to-be and me. And us.  And in between all this, I’m just in absolute awe of the human body – the female form. The things us women go through – its quite extraordinary. I mean, most of us can grow a baby in our tummy from nothingness (well, scientifically, no not nothingness, but you get me). And then when it doesn’t work, your body knows to expel it. It knows the drill. Just utterly bewildering and odd and funny and crazy and bloody brilliant – but also, so cruel. So although, in some ways, I feel like I’ve failed, I also know that my body is pretty epic too.

So to finish up, what has been quite a cathartic blog post, I have 2 weeks for my body to try and pass all that remains. I will have a scan on 19th September to see if the process is complete and we’ll take it from there. If it isn’t, then I guess I’ll have to have some kind of hospital management.

I want to give a shoutout to my darling James. It’s been a tough few days for him too. I know it is just as difficult a situation for a partner – I know he has felt just complete helplessness. I imagine he’s also quite scared about what can/could happen to me (he was told to monitor excess blood loss and symptoms of infection – we live 30 mins away from the hospital and in either case, he might need to call for an ambulance). I also know he is filled with sadness and grief too. This baby was tried for and very much wanted. We were both super excited. But him just being here, to hold my hand, means the world. (Thanks also, FEED family).

Have you been affected by Miscarriage? Please get in touch. I’d love to be able to speak to people now I’m able to. I just feel like I need to talk to others about their experiences and what happens and what doesn’t happen – because all I have in my mind is sheer horror. And even if it is as horrific as I’m imagining, I’m sure words of experience would be very comforting right now.

I’ve found a lot of useful practical information on The Miscarriage Association website – and also Tommy’s Baby Charity, who work tirelessly to obtain funding for the crucial research into pregnancy loss. I haven’t contacted either of them directly, yet, but just wanted to highlight their websites as theres a huge amount of information about the different types of miscarriage (I definitely didn’t know how many different types there are), also details about how to approach your work, how pregnancy loss affects your partner and a shed-load of additional research. Though, I am feeling overwhelmed with all this information, just glancing at paragraphs here and there is easy enough as and when I need to access it. I’ve also read so many stories that families affected by pregnancy loss have shared using the hashtags #SimplySay (The Miscarriage Association) and #misCOURAGE (Tommy’s).

Thank you for reading.

The Briston-Hill’s
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BACK | TO | BLIGHTY.

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The first weekend back in England and we had a forage in our new back garden, where we found the most marvellous rhubarb! 

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…and just like that, we’re back in Blighty.

For me, our secondment to Berlin feels like such a whirlwind. A total blur. We were there 9 months, and for the most part, I loved it. Loved being at work, loved the people, the culture, the places to see and the things to do. Berlin was incredible for kids. Which I had never anticipated! Even restaurants will go out of their way for children. It’s a highly child-friendly City.

But the truth is, England is home. And in Essex, we’ve found a county that I’m not sure I could ever move away from again.

Also, just wanted to shout out to some new friends. I felt majorly disconnected and really quite lonely when we were living out in Berlin. Whilst this may, or may not, come as a surprise, I found the Insta-Community to be ERRRRRRRRYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the chatter and support helped me. Even if I wasn’t mustering the energies to join in – just keeping abreast of how everyone else was getting on, also helped. Never underestimate the power of a Digital-shoulder, and how it can impact on others! I look forward to meeting you all IRL soon.

It feels good to be back.

I have started writing a Things I Missed list, in true Mother Of All Lists (aka and/or Clemmie @Peckham_Mamma) style! Might be helpful for prospective/current Ex-Pat’s living in all different corners of this lovely globe of ours.

So here is to being back in Blighty. I’ve missed you, you gorgeous thing.

MM.

 

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CALLING ALL > Music-Loving Mama’s!

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After having Eli my go-to daily outfit was a pair of wet-look leggings and the baggiest top I could find. I’d worked in Fashion since leaving Uni and had completely lost my way with getting dressed when King Eli arrived. 18 months later I had become so lazy and boring with my day-to-day outfits and didn’t feel like ME anymore. My excuse for everything was my 18 month old toddler, I didn’t need to dress up for him…

I had an epiphany when I stopped working from home and ventured back into the office. I started grabbing for those sacred pieces in my wardrobe that I’d kept “for best” and I started to wear them as everyday clothes. (Considering we rarely go dancing or even for meals anymore!). I became ME again. Dressing for YOU, makes YOU so much happier. (Gotta say here though, since moving to Berlin, 70% of my wardrobe is in storage, so I don’t really have a “for best” section anymore… I’m fairly happy with my wardrobe. Despite the constant stream DHL deliveries from Topshop, Zara and ASOS… (I send back more than I keep 😉 ). I’m more or less me though, depending on how much sleep I’ve had… ). But what’s important is these changes make YOU, YOU again.

I hadn’t realised until only recently, but I’d forgotten about MUSIC. Actual MUSIC. I’d always been an avid gig-goer from my teens; going to a gig every week (at least) whilst at Uni. We did the Festivals and the more intimate gig’s. Music was my EVERYTHING, just like my dressing up; from growing up, getting ready and going out, to my daily London commute! Even with my work, I had musicians come in weekly, sometimes daily, doing a session that I’d be posting across the HQ Social channels, or just help out with picking clothing from the shop-floor. Music was always with me. How had I forgotten about it? How had I forgotten how good music can be, how good it can make you feel?

Being in the office in Berlin, we have a communal Sonos system, which is great on a good day! But the majority of the time, the music can be, let’s say, eclectic (to be polite).  Which is fine, not everyone has to agree on everything, all of the time! I also work from a very old laptop that doesn’t even connect to the Sonos system, so rarely, if ever, do I input to the playlist. I have resorted to listening to Radio 1 through my headphones during work hours. But the music is pretty dire from Radio 1, it’s repetitive and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy the laughs from Grimmy in the morning, Scott & Chris after 1pm and then Greg in the afternoon. But I dislike the 10am-1pm slot. A lot. Not to be rude about it. But I switch off. It’s certainly not the music that I liked to listen to. I either then grin & bare the Sonos playlist or put my Apple Music catalogue, consisting of mostly 2004, on shuffle. Last week I realised I hadn’t really listened to any new music since having Eli. I turn to The Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie and The Lib’s for continued listening or we have shuffle on when we’re cooking or tidying up.

I’m eager to find out what other Mama’s enjoy… and what you’re listening to, right now. Basically, I want to know what exactly is ace of base! Or are you like me? Had you forgotten that music actually existed outside of that annoying Nursery Rhymes CD, the Peppa Pig theme tune or the Disney Top 100 tracks ? (Or indeed outside of Radio 1?). If you are stuck in a musical-rut then I propose a new hashtag!

 

#MamaMusicMonday

 

Going forward, I want to start my new Monday-week with some new listening. So Mama’s, let’s get sharing! What are you listening to in work, at the gym, on the school run, on the commute? What do you listen to when you’re doing a tidy up with the kids at the end of the day? What do you dance around to in the kitchen? (Or prance around to when you’ve poured that so-needed Gin when the kids are eventually asleep?!).  Share absolutely anything and everything with the hashtag #MamaMusicMonday – at any time in the week. From easy-listening to fast-paced! Any genre. Old or new! Just something with a beat that can set the tone for a new week – perhaps something none of us have listened to before – and definitely nothing remotely toddler related (please!). Music can help us in a million ways – it can do so much more than make your feet tap. And I’d so sadly forgotten that bit too. It wasn’t until darling Bowie passed away that I remembered how much music can mean, for so many. The emotions and memories you can feel from hearing one of your favourites…

SO with all that, I’m ready to resuscitate my musical education. I’m ready to regain that old ME who loved music so much. And you never know, you might spy me at a gig near you again soon 😉

MM.

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Hello 2016…

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YESMUM Cards, by Hollie de Cruz, available in her shop,  here.


Better late, than never, right? Happy New Year.

2016: The dawn of a new age for me. 2016 is all about positive vibes only.

I ended the year on a not so good note, I’ll be honest. I’ll go into further details when I get round to blogging about my wonderful YESMUM Cards. But that aside, I wanted to bring the old blog up to date now we’re in 2016.  So what’s happened so far in 2016? Well, we’ve had the coldest of January days we’ve ever had, ever, a flight back to our Motherland in the North of England, the death of the incredible David Bowie – which has left me somewhat broken hearted, amazing snow-filled fun, a cough, a cold, a stomach bug and Tonsillitis. The past few weeks have also cemented the fact that I need to step back and CHILL – for someone with anxiety, this is obviously a bigger thing than just ‘chilling out’. I’m taking steps to indeed ‘chill the hell out’, and I feel much happier stepping into February. Onwards and upwards, eh!

Here are a few snaps from January and into February:
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Our first flight of 2016, at 10am on 01/01/2016 – start the year as you mean to go on?!

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Haupstr. 155, Schöneberg, Berlin – the apartment where the wonderful David Bowie lived during his Berlin years. Myself and Mr Memoirs were always Bowie fans, but something really struck us about his shock passing. Perhaps it was because we’re in Berlin and he did so much for this incredible city? We genuinely felt heartbroken and haven’t stopped listening to his back catalogue since. We found the trip to his apartment so emotional – albeit, Eli referring to Bowie as ‘The Starman’ and picking yellow flowers for him definitely didn’t help things! We’re so sad he’s gone, but so happy he existed. Wonderful Starman, we will be forever indebted to you for the musical education and creativity. Our son will live in a happier place for your music and choice-looks, and for that we will be eternally grateful. 

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We hope Berlin does change the street permanently! 

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Winter MOTHER – Jewels by the absolute SuperMum that is Kelly Seymour of Cult Of Youth.

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FINALLY! The schnee arrived!

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Wanna build a schneemann?

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Eli got a mega bike for Christmas and refused to part ways on the Kita-run, regardless of terrain! 

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CHEEKY SNOW-CHOPS!

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…tea solves everything. Especially a proper cuppa!

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We dressed in lots of red to show our support for the recent British Heart Foundation #WearItBeatIt campaign. See more on my post, here: Our personal account, and #WearItForIvy!

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…and here we are, today. Today saw the bluest of skies and a mild 12c! Spring is certainly in the air, and I for one cannot wait for sunshine filled adventures!

For now, over and out!

 

MM.

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Oh darling, let’s be ADVENTURERS!

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Another year has passed since I opened the dashboard to this blog. And my feet have barely touched the ground.

We’ve had birthday’s and Christmas, losing job’s, starting a new business, starting a new/old job, more birthday’s and the beginning of our biggest adventure yet – a move across the land and water to BERLIN. As most folk know, we love an adventure. We also love a house move (not the actual packing and unpacking bit though!) This time, we packed up our suitcases (x3) and somehow managed to get our entire home into a single storage unit and flew out of London Southend airport on 31st August; marking our 9th house move in the near-12 years we’ve been together. And definitely the most exciting house move to date.

We’ve relocated to Prenzlauer Berg, in central Berlin with work. Having been here a fortnight now, we absolutely love it! We will be registering as Berlin resident’s next week, which has so far hindered a lot of other registrations – such as applying for a Kita-Gutschein (I’ll document this process once we have one in hand!) and applying for a bank account etc. So we’ll be able to start to really settle into Berlin life once all these last hurdles have been overcome. PHEW!

In the meantime, I’ll be getting back into engaging with my blog. I’ve missed it so much. But living literally just around the corner from work and Eli’s prospective nursery, I’ll finally be able to find the time to go back to writing and reviewing – and of course, documenting our adventures along the way. I can’t wait!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with the latest: @JudyPink

Tschüß, bis bald!

MM.

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“Beep beep’m beep beep yeah” | I FINALLY passed!

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This time last week I was plodding about the house… already getting nervous about Thursday. For Thursday I would be having ANOTHER driving test. I hadn’t told anyone when my test was (aside from work). Mr Memoirs didn’t even have a clue. I have a terrible habit of getting myself worked up over things. I’ve always been a worrier. More so since having Eli of course, but still, I worry needlessly. Much to my disadvantage when I have an impending driving test!

After all these years of not driving… and not even wanting to drive, to it becoming such a necessity in my life that I was without. It wasn’t just the umpteenth walk up to the ‘local’ hospital for Eli’s physio appointment, or the walk up to Sainsbury’s for the second time that day, for the million things I’d forgotten (and having to cart it all back on the back of the pram)… or the fact I was trekking 2 HOURS every day to get Eli to nursery and back. It’s so much more than that. It’s the freedom to whisk my family away if need’s be. To be able to do things my friends do; and not miss out because the car seat would be a problem. Of course, I really wanted to be without the trek to the nursery. Nobody want’s to walk 2 hours every day in the howling wind and rain (granted, it was a lovely walk when the sun shone, but since July the path has been treacherous to say the very least – thank you Brentwood Council for making a massive pig’s ear of your roads – which in turn, made a massive pig’s ear of the path!). We’re free – as a family. And that’s so exciting.

I honestly cannot believe it. It feels very surreal.

My first drive was the nursery run. I felt liberated and a nervous wreck. I parked 5 minutes walk away in a pub car park because the nursery forecourt is a driving nightmare. Picking Eli up on Friday felt amazing. I did feel like I was an illegal driver however, and it really felt like all the other drivers KNEW I was new to the roads… it’s like they were all looking at me in my car. So very strange. I know they weren’t looking, at all!

The car still feels very big and I must have stalled about 40 times in the 6 drives I’ve done (mostly trying to get off the drive – it’s a hill). But all in all, I *think* I’m getting there. I CAN drive. I AM a driver. And that feels nice.

MM.

NB: I took 5 driving tests. Proof that you shouldn’t ever give up – if you want something, you will achieve it, eventually. Also, Brentwood Test Centre has a pass rate of 36% – they’re ridiculously harsh; to the point that I was failed on my last test because I wasn’t dramatic enough with how I was making observations – the examiner agreed that during the “incident” in question, I “did look”, it just wasn’t “obvious enough”.  I’d failed my previous tests for similar issues. I knew I was a good driver at heart, I let the nerves get the better of me, but this time I wasn’t going to be beaten! Plus my Provisional License was due to expire in October this year and I sure as hell was not going to get that renewed – I NEEDED that Full License! And I got it! DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP ON PLODDING! And you never know, if you’re taking your driving test as a ‘mature student’ like I was, maybe you might have a nicer test centre who appreciate how difficult it is to not be that ruthless and overly confident 17 year old! I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 

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The Big Feastival 2014 | We’re ACTUALLY going!

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I enter competitions on a whim. I forget about them. I entered The Big Feastival competition via the Jamie Oliver ‘Gold Club’ back in December… at the time, I remember saying to Mr Memoirs, “We should keep that weekend free, just incase!”. His obvious reaction was “No need, we never win anything…”. He’s eating those words right now, because I DID WIN!

We’re so so excited, I can’t even put it into words! And that is saying something.

I’m even excited about the camping part! Which is DEFINITELY saying something.

We’ve always wanted to go to The Big Feastival – as we’re huge fans of Jamie Oliver, and Alex James fan’s to boot (I was always on team BLUR, of course). This is literally the perfect festival for us, especially with Eli in tow too. It’s hugely family-friendly (heck, Justin Fletcher A.K.A Mr Tumble and actual Mr Bloom swoon are there too!). There are dozens of activities and area’s to keep little ones entertained. Plus, and most importantly, this is a foodie festival. With all our favourite chef’s in attendance! You can see the list of who’s-who, here> CHEF’s.

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The marketing team at Jamie Oliver have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve been super swift to reply to any queries we’ve had and have kept me up to date with everything. The tickets landed on my doormat this morning, giving me a new lease of excitement – WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING!

So – what’s the plan when we get there?

Well, we’ll unload the car and get the tent up as soon as possible – and get settled in! We tested the tent a few weekend’s ago and it was super easy to assemble – which is good news because I would get bored so quickly otherwise! For the first time ever, we also have a camp bed; there was no way we could sleep on the actual floor for a few nights (we literally have the bones of elderly people!).

We’ll then head into the festival, which open’s at 11am!

We’re really looking forward to seeing presentations/tasting’s with our favourite Chef’s, as well as joining in all the toddler activities we can feast on! Eli is very, very good with his food, so we’re certain he’ll get stuck into munching whatever he can. As reader’s of my blog, and friends of mine IRL, will know, I’m massively mildly obsessed with Little Bird by Jools. Basically, there is little else that I will dress Mr Eli in, other than Little Bird. It is my imaginary children’s fashion made reality (and probably better than my imagination to be honest!). And guess what? Little Bird will be at The Big Feastival too! Last year there was even a catwalk (I can’t cope!), which I’ll so be FROW of with Eli. Hoping he doesn’t gatecrash though – I know he has a soft spot for Jools and her design’s too! I’m literally so excited I can’t even contain myself!

Just look how adorable these kids are man! LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bird!

So the countdown is officially on, now that tickets are in hand! T-minus 13 day’s! This weekend we’ve bought Eli some new threads to keep him cool or warm and dry across the Big Feastival weekend. That’s the only trouble with a British festival, you really need to pack for ALL weather! I’m certain we’ll have an amazing time whatever the weather will be. There are adventures and memories to be made… and that’s the main thing.

 

MM.

 

PS – any tips you have for camping with a 2 year old would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the line-up (in full, more or less).

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Me & Mine | Me and my shadow.

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This is me and my shadow. My darling boy.

We were walking back from an afternoon at the local park. Eli was obsessed with the big boat, that is on springs, kind of bouncy-see-saw-thing. It doesn’t do an awful lot, but it definitely captured Eli’s imagination.

MM.