ernaleon_4

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

10616332_734299336626169_767370568_n

 

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. 

ernaleon_4

Mr Eli’s Quarters | Lion Print by Ingela P Arrhenius.

INGELA P ARRHENIUS - LION PRINT, £20.00. Archie's Boutique.
INGELA P ARRHENIUS – LION PRINT, £20.00; Archie’s Boutique.

We’re still yet to properly decorate and sort out Mr Eli’s stomping ground, otherwise known as his quarters bedroom. But that doesn’t stop me trawling the internet for neat finds like this one!

I just LOVE this 50’s inspired print by Ingela P Arrhenius. Mr Eli is a Leo the Lion himself, so I thought this would be quite fitting for his bedroom. (Not that we’re a family of the zodiac I might add!).

I found this print on Archie’s Boutique and here is what they say about it:

This lovely chap has so much character and personality!

Ingela P Arrhenius’ Lion poster is full of vibrant colours that are guaranteed to brighten up any room, whether it be a child’s or adults.

Stockholm based artist Ingela Arrhenius designs the most wonderful cartoon-like illustrations that are inspired by work from the 50s and 60s.

50 x 70 cm

There are several other prints available online too – such as a Tiger print and Alphabet print. Just so cool.

MM.

 

ernaleon_4

BRAND IN FOCUS | Little Bird, by Jools Oliver at Mothercare.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.26.22

We’re HUGE fan’s of the Oliver’s in our house. Most food I cook, on a daily basis, is a recipe derived from one of our many Jamie Oliver cookbooks.

When I heard about Jools, Jamie’s better  other half, designing the Little Bird collection for Mothercare I just KNEW it was going to be amazing. (I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while!) I’ve always loved the quirky, cool and relaxed way Jools dresses her beautiful 3 girls and little boy. The Little Bird collection is reminiscent of just that – the fun, but trendy, way Jools dresses her own children – plus some harping back to the 1970’s and her own childhood memories for good measure too.

I thought I’d share my favourite Boy’s pieces from the latest collection for A/W 13.  Albeit, Jools has cleverly made some of the pieces unisex – so great if you do have more than one child, the clothing can be passed on and around.

——————————————————————————————————————–

 

little-bird-4
Little Bird by Jools, Long Sleeved Graphic Print T-Shirt, £7.00 – £8.00
We do have a penchant for 70’s design and interiors. Have to say, we’ve not yet really dressed Mr Eli is anything 70’s related as yet. Aside from his Converse, Fred Perry, dinosaur print tee’s,  oxford shirts and skinny jeans. Things like that just look like modern-day as fashion’s are always revived like that. But I LOVE this 1974 long sleeve tee. Lovely and bright and will go with everything.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Desert Boots, £16.00.
These mock suede boots are just amazing – such a classic style. Just like what Daddy wears! You can choose between the red or yellow laces – which is great for outfit matching. Wear these boots with chino’s or jeans for a comfortable, smart or casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Dark Wash Jeans, £10.00 – £11.00.
A lovely pair of unisex jeans in a nice dark denim colourway. I’ve seen Buddy Oliver sporting these and he looks super cool. These dark wash jeans feature a classic design which can be worn in many seasons to come. They have a mock leather back pocket patch and contrasting stitching inside. Team with colourful tees and shirts for a cool and casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird By Jools Brown Cord Trousers, £10.00
A MUST for the 70’s wardrobe – the humble brown corduroy trouser. These soft cord trousers have a straight leg, so perfect for Mr Eli keeping that skinny-fit silhouette going. These trousers will look incredible with Eli’s classic Converse Low-Tops and a bright print top – or with a smart shirt tucked in!

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Socks- 5 Pack, £6.00 – £6.50.
How cute are these socks? Love the way they’ve been displayed in the campaign imagery too. You can’t go wrong with a bright and playful pair to jazz up an outfit. They’re great value in a pack of 5, to be washed and worn during the week. Each pair has contrasting toe and heel colours and ‘Little Bird’ stitched onto the bottom.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Cool Pyjamas, £12.00.
Saving the best till last… I love, love, LOVE these pyjama’s. They’re so, well, COOL! With Eli wearing his Boots & Bar on a nighttime, we have to cut holes into his baby grow’s so that we can fit the bar through. It makes it a little easier for us if we need to remove the bar – and I think it makes it a little bit more comfortable for him too. I’m thinking now might be the time to switch baby grow’s for PJ’s! No more messing about with cutting holes into lovely baby grow’s, that can’t be used again. But my oh my, how adorable does the little chap in the campaign shot look here? Love the styling!

MM.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Want To Know More?
The Little Bird clothing range from Jools Oliver has been developed to reflect the unique and modern approach to motherhood that Jools enjoys with her wonderful family. From gorgeous newborn baby clothes to stylish and fun boys and girls clothes, this exciting clothing range is easily mixed and matched, the Little Bird range really is great value for money.

Inspired by Jools’ own childhood memories of growing up in the Seventies, this boutique collection is not about short-lived trends, but an eclectic mix of iconic, timeless pieces, that every child between six months to five years will want to wear.

You pick, they mix!

Loved by Jools, designed to be mixed and matched by you and your brood.

Don’t Forget…
Take a look at the rest of the fantastic Little Bird by Jools collection, exclusive to Mothercare.

ernaleon_4

Mumsnet: This Is My Child | Mr Eli has Talipes and Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis.

581802_782874513808_1198543399_n

I have been looking, with interest, at some of the posts that have been published during the This Is My Child awareness campaign via Mumsnet. We live our life day-to-day as normal. Because THIS is our ‘normal’. Eli is our first born and we know no different. But I suppose, our story is different. I’ve not really highlighted Eli’s Talipes or (recently diagnosed) Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis on my blog before. I have mentioned in a few posts about his Talipes. But nothing in depth. So here it goes!

Everything stems back to when I was pregnant. I had a very tough first few weeks, after a bleed we were told that the pregnancy might not be viable at a 5 week early-pregnancy scan and told to return in 3 weeks time; where we saw the most amazing and incredibly tiny flickering – a heartbeat! PHEW!

We so looked forward to that 12 week scan. The sonographer was lovely, but seemed concerned. Eli was jumping ALL OVER, I thought she was just having difficulty measuring up dates because he wouldn’t keep still. She then turned the machines off and said she was sorry to tell us that our bundle of joy had a “nuchal fold measurement on the cusp of high”. The exact measurement was 3.5 mm. This was indeed the cusp before they offer you further investigation. We needed to know. We were informed that a high NT measurement could mean a multitude of conditions, including Down Syndrome. This was heartbreaking. This baby was so wanted – we needed to know what we were facing. We had ‘counselling’ and I had bloods taken. The nurse then called University College Hospital London and told us they had a referral for the the very next day. We were told we could have a more in-depth scan at the Fetal Medicine Unit; where we would also be offered the option of CVS – which would indeed confirm any anomalies, through a horrendously invasive procedure. After the lengthy scan with several specialists, we were advised that we could either go ahead with CVS there and then, or wait… It had been picked up that there was a lack of nasal bone; another marker for Down Syndrome. Our world shattered. HOW WOULD WE COPE?! We went ahead with the CVS there and then. It was like a whirlwind.

The procedure was horrible. Just horrible. I had soreness and tenderness for a few days after. Not to mention the constant worry and stress of the risk of miscarriage. It was a very very hard time for both of us, waiting for the results. 3 weeks passed and we received a letter confirming that everything was spot on with Eli. He didn’t have any of the common anomalies that CVS tests for.  We were over the moon to say the very least. PHEW!

But this was not the end of our hospital visits. To cut the (very!) long story short – we had a total of 9 scans. Because of the NT measurement, Eli’s heart, organs and growth was routinely monitored. He developed fantastically. At the 25 week scan, it was found our baby had a degree of Bilateral Talipes.  But it was “extremely mild”. PHEW! It was corrective. We were happy. In the grand scheme of things.

Fast forward to almost 42 weeks pregnant, I was just a HUGE pregnant ball; unable to move, pretty much. That little boy was so so squashed up inside my petite 5 ft nothing 1″ frame. I was eventually induced. Which, shock horror was just the WORST thing ever. (Incidentally, I would never recommend an induction. Just bloody wait till the baby wants to arrive!). After 30 hours of labour, Eli was pulled out of me in an emergency situation using Ventouse. He was out, safe, at long last. PHEW.

Or so we thought.

We both immediately looked at his feets. Yes, they turned in, but probably weren’t half as badly affected as we were imagining.

Screen-Shot-2012-11-05-at-16.10.33

Again, fast forward to 8 weeks old. We’d not been seen by a specialist. Not even had a referral. At Eli’s 8 week check the GP who was head of the surgery, told me that his feet would ‘correct themselves when he learns to walk’. I wasn’t happy with that. We’d been massaging, manipulating and exercising Eli’s feets since birth, but at about 8-10 weeks had hit that brick wall. They weren’t getting any better. With the encouragement from @BexandMic on Twitter, who’s beautiful son Hugo was also born with Talipes, I kicked off at the Health Visitor. I got a referral to see a Physio about his feet. At the very first appointment our lovely Physio, Jenny, pointed out that Eli’s head was tilted to the left. I couldn’t understand what she was referring to, he just couldn’t hold his head up yet… She explained it looked like he had something called Torticollis. Possibly from being so squashed up during pregnancy, possibly from the trauma of being pulled out so quickly. I was given exercises to do with his neck regularly, after a week, his head was straight! I still to this day can’t believe we didn’t notice it. Looking back at photos, his neck is completely to his shoulder on every single one. There was still tightness after a few sessions with the Physio and more manipulation on our part. We eventually saw our consultant, Mr Tuite at Broomfield Hospital on 31st October. Eli was almost 14 weeks old. Worryingly, most children with Talipes begin their treatment shortly after birth.

We were devastated when Mr Tuite said that Eli would in fact require plaster casts to begin the correction process. Mr Eli was pretty mobile at 14 weeks old! He was used to his bedtime routine and his bath. We knew the casts were for the best though. We had to do it. We were told Eli had really mild Talipes, again, so would require 2 weeks worth of casts…

997_716883754818_663660996_n

6 weeks later Eli was still in casts. It was incredibly tough.

Being the age Eli was, we got a lot of stares. You could just tell people must have thought he’d been dropped and had broken legs. When people asked what had happened, they didn’t understand. They made me feel like the story I was telling was a pack of lies. It was just a horrendous feeling. We did however have luck on our side, in the fact that it was Winter when Eli was in casts. It wasn’t hot, he would have been so much more uncomfortable if it was! He spent a lot of time in long socks and snow suits! In hindsight, I wish I’d been more confident with his casts. Embraced them more. Decorated them, even. The casts did not hinder Eli in any way, he was rolling over in them and they were SO heavy and awkward. He kicked his legs up and down and bashed the casts to bits! He was so brave – he didn’t sleep at night, but hey, he doesn’t now either!

The Torticollis would occur when Eli seemed to meet new milestones. It wasn’t constant. It was irregular. His neck tilted for around a week when he started rolling, sitting up and crawling. But also seemed to coincide with teething too. We continued to repeat the exercises and manipulations.

Mid-December 2012 and Eli went into Ponseti Boots and Bars 23 hours a day. He got an hour “free” where we gave him his bath and he had a kick about afterwards. This was a huge relief. We could get back to normality somewhat. We hadn’t even thought about the visual  impact the Boots and Bar contraption would have on other people. After our journey, we had just accepted what we had to go through.

487915_754559711898_1625268688_n

In the coming weeks, I had an array of comments and conversations about his B & B’s.

“They’re funky boots” “Thanks! They’re to straighten his feet” “ohh… I thought they were just fashion accessories! I’m so sorry. Didn’t realise your son was ill”. “He’s not ill?”

“Does he have broken legs?”

“Does he have broken hips?”

“Is that a contraption to stop him wriggling away from you?”

“Do they make him taller?” “WHAT?!”

 Etc. Etc. Etc.

We had a lot of nasty glances. A lot of nasty sniggers. I’m REALLY not thick-skinned at all. Like I say, I’d completely accepted that this was his treatment. It did not bother me. This was normal to us now – this was part of our every day lives! Until someone pointed his feet out, or made that eye contact, that’s when I’d think. Then it would upset me. But, I needed to get through that for him. It was in his very best interests. He wouldn’t be able to walk without it! Had we just been too blasé about the entire thing?!

14056_753038485448_1729049193_n

Eli wore his B & B’s for 23 hours a day, for 6 months. Most children wear them for 23 hours a day for just 3 months, then hours are dropped throughout the day until they eventually just wear them at night time. To our surprise, Eli went straight down to just nights at our next review. This was just insanely cool. It was just magical seeing him so free. His feet look PERFECT! We’re so so pleased. We’re also convinced though, that Eli struggles at night time because of his boots and bar. He’s free all day long, then come bedtime he’s confined. He can’t move with ease. It’s uncomfortable and heavy. He will sleep for 2-4 hours at a time. Then I will need to settle him. There has been nights where I have taken his bar or both his boots and bar off, and he’s slept soundly. I’m sacrificing my sleep so he can walk. Easy decision. I do worry it’s not good for him, the broken sleep. But what can I do?!

At 10 months, he started pulling himself up and cruising around his play pen. I can’t tell you how proud we both were. It was just so special; still is! SUPER PROUD PARENTS!

988667_767454266108_335060209_n

Not long after Eli started standing up, there was an afternoon where Eli was particularly miserable. Anyone who knows Eli knows he is a jolly boy. Barely cries. He’s only ever grumpy in the night! He was super grizzly. I put it down to teething. Then he projectile vomited. His neck was tilted. He went floppy in my arms, the colour drained from usual his rosy cheeks, his eyes rolled back and he seemed to pass out. I was beside myself. Naturally. I rang my OH who calmed me down. I’ve never been so frightened, it was seriously scary. This had happened previously, but I wasn’t there. Another bout of sickness and drowsiness and I let Eli sleep. We then recalled another time when he projectile vomited (he was never a sicky baby so could recall these occasions clearly). Within in a few hours, his neck was back to its mid-line straight position. Without any manipulation. We worked out that they all coincided with his neck tilting. Could the Torticollis be causing this?

I took Eli to the doctors – who were, USELESS. He googled Torticollis and told me what Wikipedia says… He said he’d seen just one other case of this and to go back to the Physio if I was concerned. Hell yeah I was concerned. We didn’t know if it was underlining with something else. I went to Portugal for 4 days. Eli had another bout of the sickness and drowsiness with the Torticollis. Again, his neck had straightened up itself by the next morning. It was all definitely linked.

I went to the Physio again after my trip. She was lovely, she explained that the condition was Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. This variation of Torticollis comes in waves, or ‘attacks’. The attacks can last anywhere from minutes, to hours, to days and is accompanied by vomiting, pallorataxia, agitation, infantile migraine, unsteadiness of gait upon learning to walk, general malaise and nystagmus. All sounded about right. The periods in which the child’s head is tilted and other symptoms appear can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, with a frequency of anywhere from two per year to two per month. Looking back at the frequency of the attacks, we’ve found they seem to happen at the beginning of the month – every month, so far. It seems to surround teething, more than milestones now.

So now we know.

But what to do about it. Well, we’ve been told my several doctors and the physio (as well as Google) that Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis is something that Eli will grow out of, probably by school age.

His most recent attack was on 6th August, his 1st birthday. His neck didn’t straighten up quickly this time though, it’s taken a good 10 days this time.

The additional care that Eli requires surrounds his Talipes and his Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. We don’t know when he’ll be out of his boots and bar, could be at his next appointment (28th August), could be when he’s 3 or 4 or 5. We also worry about relapse; there’s also cases where the feet have been over-corrected so they point outwards. We also do not know when he will have another attack of Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis, or the severity. I have to carry dozens of muslins with me, just incase he projectile vomits. I often worry it’s just going to come out of nowhere. I also worry about when he goes to nursery – are there people who are going to be able to look after him if he has an attack? Luckily, at the minute, I can work from home. But he will need to go into nursery sooner rather than later, for him to be able to socialise with children his age, more than anything else.

We currently do not receive any help, support or funding. I do know of people who have been granted Disability Living Allowance for their children with Talipes.

I’d absolutely LOVE to hear from others who have experiences with Talipes or Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. The latter being quite rare, so not heard or seen anyone else who has had a child with BPT.

Would we have had it any other way? Ideally, I’d love to have Eli without all the discomfort and challenges he’s faced – of course I would. But my goodness me, he’s a brave boy. He’s SUCH a character. And frankly, it’s made me and my OH better people. We’re stronger. We understand.

Worry, worry worry – isn’t that what all parents do?

MM.

ernaleon_4

Brands: Summer savings at Kiddicare.com!

 

Ooooh, look what I just spied! Save yourself up to 15% off purchases at www.Kiddicare.com! Perfect timing for other prospective parents-to-be… and it’s the Summer holidays for those already (lucky!) parents!

You just need to enter the below codes, respectively.

• Save an extra 10% off when you spend £75 at www.Kiddicare.com or in store: ‘summer10’

• Save an extra 15% off when you spend £150 at www.Kiddicare.com or in store:  ‘summer15’

Enjoy! And tell me what you purchase!

MM.

 

Terms and conditions: 
10% off is only available on purchases of £75 (excluding delivery) or more online at www.Kiddicare.com. 15% off is only available on purchases of £150 (excluding delivery) online at www.Kiddicare.com or in store (Peterborough, Hampton). The discount codes must be entered to receive the discount. Discounts cannot be applied retrospectively. The voucher is not transferable. Offer ends at 11am on Tuesday 31st July 2012. Kiddicare have the right to amend or withdraw the promotion at any time.

Don’t forget the Kiddicare Big summer Sale is still on and New Lines have been added.

 

ernaleon_4

Guest Post for Wriggly Rascals: Ligament pain during pregnancy.

 

When the lovely ladies from Wriggly Rascals approached me about doing this guest post I knew that it was something I could definitely discuss at length… I’d had ligament pain since the very early weeks of my pregnancy…

To read my full blog post, head over to www.wrigglyrascals.com and straight to Ligament Pain During Pregnancy ! Please do tell us all about your experiences with Ligament Pain during Pregnancy. What helped you out the most? How was your birth and recovery? Did you encounter the pain in subsequent pregnancies?

And don’t forget to sign up to the website to join the conversation!

MM.

—-

If you need any #pregnancy reassurance, ask @wrigglyrascals for help. www.wrigglyrascals.com

@wrigglyrascals is a new community to help #newmums, join in. www.wrigglyrascals.com
About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com

ernaleon_4

Surprises from my best friends!

Table at Babylon restaurant, Kensington Roof Gardens.

On Saturday of last week (9th June), I was whisked off to Kensington for lunch with my best friends at Babylon, Kensington Roof Gardens. The restaurant and garden’s were absolutely amazing… there were real-life flamingo’s in the gardens! On the ROOF, in Kensington! Crazy!

When I arrived at the restaurant I called my friends and they came and met me at the reception and lead me to our table. They’d decked the table out with ‘Baby Shower’ banners and presents! What a lovely surprise!

I thought I’d share the lovely gifts that they got us 😀

Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.
Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.

 

We're massive fans of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", so this amazing box has taken pride of place in the nursery!

 

Lots of presents! Lots of essentials 🙂

 

Beautiful gifts from The Little White Company.

 

Absolutely adore this super-soft bunny rabbit and elephant rattle from The Little White Company!

MM.

ernaleon_4

Book worm: Which books do you recommend?

Both OH and I are avid readers and we want to start building up our library for the little one now. We’d like to actually start reading to the massive baby boy bump too – so wanted to get books that are suitable from Newborn upwards… thing is, there are SO MANY books out there, we just don’t know where to start! We can remember a few popular books from when we were kids (The Hungry Caterpillar, The Jolly Postman, that kind of thing…) but books do you recommend? Which books did you buy for Newborn and older? Which books did you ‘swear’ by?

Would love to hear your recommendations! We’re really excited to get buying!

MM.

ernaleon_4

Our Baby Boy’s first bedroom.

We’ ve been super organised during this pregnancy – despite all the scares and the tests and the anxiety. I think the being organised has been therapeutic in a way; and has given us something to keep our minds focussed 🙂

Here are the first picture’s of Baby Boy’s first bedroom – he’s going to be in our bedroom for around the first six months however! I did say I was organised, didn’t I?

We painted the walls first – ‘Willow Tree’ by Dulux. We must have painted the room at around 12 weeks. We needed something to do while awaiting CVS results.

We then went to IKEA at around 18 weeks and bought all the furniture! Check out the little dog-bum hooks!

This is OH putting together the cot. All very exciting!

Then putting the shelves up! He very much enjoyed using his new drill and fancy spirit level 🙂

I’m particularly enjoying my curtains, which I hemmed and put up myself. It’s quite a small room, but feels so cosy and nice. We just need July to hurry up now!

MM.

 

ernaleon_4

Today I’m making…

…Curtains! These are for our nursery.

What do you think of the IKEA bunting print that we’ve chosen?

 

MM.