Thursday, 27 March 2014

My Disability Journey: Physical & Mental Recovery

When bones are broken it is visibly clear to everyone that something is wrong.  It can be labelled and is tangible - people understand instantly - "Oh... you broke your hip.  How awful".  It is somewhat sad to acknowledge that the same cannot be said for mental illness.  This kind of illness is not visible, you cannot undergo an operation or be put in a plaster cast to heal and many, many people do not understand the suffering and isolation that such illness can cause.

SAMe for depression

For me the physical trauma was instant.  A cause and effect could be identified.  I find the anxiety and mental illness that I experienced a much harder illness to quantify.  It was a gradual, silent thief which stole my identity and my spirit.  I have always been a perfectionist character - an achiever by nature - I set goals and did my best to achieve them.  But my illness exaggerated this personality type until I became ridiculously self critical.  The expectations I set on myself I believe were a major part of my downfall.  To 'make up' for the fact I couldn't walk I over compensated enormously - I gave every bit of myself to motherhood.  Months in to my physical 'recovery' I couldn't understand why I was happy in so many ways yet something beyond the physical just wasn't right...

We were  isolated from family.  My mother was AMAZING - but was she going to live with us for the next few years? No.  She had her own life to live - and I had reassured her endlessly that I would be fine. Friends?  Well, you certainly find out the people who are important in life.  Those that will be there for you. Many others dropped away as things became hard.  On reflection this was a hard but invaluable life lesson. I was unable to drive - I'm still not legally able to drive a manual car (which we had at the time).  Now of course I drive an automatic but it was a good 8 months before we were able to replace our car.

Consider - you cannot walk... you cannot drive...  you have two children under two.  Four precious friends picked me up and gave me lifts to toddler groups or play dates when I was able.  And when I got my car the freedom was liberating!

When asked how I was I responded, "I've got two wonderful, healthy children, I'll be alright".  Other mums would say "I don't know how you manage".  That phrase would come out on automatic pilot hoping that that would end the conversation about me as anything deeper would promote an emotional response which I so wanted to conceal from the outside and because what would happen if I admitted I wasn't alright?  I wasn't thinking about how I felt - I always responded about my physical symptoms and how I was expected to be getting better.  So even though I wasn't I could still behave like I was.

When Little Man failed his health checks my heart and my mind broke.  I'm not prepared to talk about the details of Little Man's illness but it did involve his brain - a form of hydrocephalus, and at 18 months we nearly lost him.  So much pain and fear... yet running alongside wonder and love in the miracle of life.  He was only 8 weeks old when he was diagnosed.  [Thankfully, LM's condition improved once his skull fused and after some tough times he overcame the challenges of the first 2 years of his life.]

I put myself under too much pressure to 'soldier on' and I felt enormous [self inflicted] guilt about the trauma I put my family through and what I was causing them to miss out on in life.  But if I'm completely honest, without my family I would not have survived.  I am a mother first and foremost.  I had children to get up for and a reason to keep fighting for things to get better.  My children needed me and I was doing well in fulfilling their needs.  But on reflection, my anxiety had become an obstacle in my recovery (compounded by very real health concerns for my boy) meaning I lost perspective and worried excessively.

As the weeks went by we started to question...why wasn't my condition improving?  Why wasn't I able to walk without help or pain?  Why were none of the treatments working?  I'll always remember one consultant stating dismissively over a year after the accident, "These are long and painful things".  Yep, got that.  Just tell me when it's going to end.  Yet we continued to search for answers.  It felt like our adult life was solely about finding that answer.  It seemed to consume every [non-mothering] waking moment.  Do I feel less pain today?  Can I walk a bit easier? Is the physio, acupuncture, medication, hydrotherapy helping?  What else can I do?  Whilst our family life was happy and content my physical condition was terrible - and was having devastating effects on my mental health and many aspects of my relationship.  I was diagnosed with depression and exhaustion in large part because my body could no longer function in the extreme level of pain I'd be trying to cope with.

so very true. be kind.

Two operations later with little improvement (each with additional pain and lengthy recovery) we sought a second opinion privately.  This was my epiphany. When the endless search for things to change ended. And it was not a miracle cure or a magical drug... 

Acceptance was the key.

Of course, acceptance was a process.  Probably a two year transformation.  It took time to come to terms with this new normal.  I mourned the loss of my mobility and this took time.  I mourned the loss of the life I was going to have, the woman and mother I was going to be and this too, took time.  I underwent counselling as part of a Pain Management Programme, which was life changing in how I view and value myself.  And after that grief came acceptance.

Acceptance: that my central nervous system is damaged and my pain receptors having received acute pain for so long are frazzled and stuck on high.  They feel extreme pain even when they shouldn't.  There is no miracle cure.

Acceptance: that my pelvis, left hip and soft tissues are damaged and cannot be mended.  A replacement will be required at some point anatomically but this will likely not improve pain levels due to acceptance of #1.  There is no miracle cure.

Acceptance: that life has changed beyond all recognition.  My career is no longer an option.  Financially we are markedly worse off. We have been through an awful trauma which has taken its toll on us all and this cannot be undone.  But our life continues, I can give more quality time to my children and we are grateful for that.  Why should it follow that our life should be unhappy because of some unhappy and challenging elements in it.  We choose how we respond, challenge ourselves and grow.

Acceptance: that the accident was no-one's fault.  No-one is to blame or should feel guilty.  Life happens in the blink of an eye.  Many, many people are in far worse situations and we are thankful for being able to live our simple life.  That we need to rebuild our lives, be kind to ourselves and slowly things must improve.  Guilt is a waste of energy.

Acceptance: that love prevails.  My best friend...  yes we love each other.  He sees past my physical incapacity.  Everything has changed and yet the important things remain - our love and the essence of who we are as people, how we want to be as parents.  It is a deeper love to be nurtured, beyond the physical or surface.  It embodies how we live now in a far greater way than it would have done had the accident not happened.  Our minds have been refocused on what is truly important and what brings happiness in life.

Acceptance: that I am a good mum.  That throughout my illness and recovery despite it all, I was and am a good mum.  I always loved and fought for my children.  I failed for a while to look after myself.  I have learnt from that and am a better mother because of it.

Acceptance: that we must look after ourselves in order to be best placed to look after others.  We must be kind to ourselves.  This is not the same as being selfish.  But consciously thinking you did something well, or you deserve a cup of tea in the sunshine, or will buy that magazine you've been craving - all contribute enormously to our mental well-being.

You deserve to take care of yourself. #edrecovery #selfcare #heal

Acceptance: that worry does not make you better.  It does not change things.  It saps energy and drains mood.  It makes you ill.  Try to let it go and only consider the things you can influence and change - anything else is a waste of time and energy.  Making a conscious effort to do this can break this habit and lead to more positive behaviour.  This was a break through for me.

It literally felt like I had been given the key to my emotional freedom.  To enable me to stop searching for a cure or for something that was going to make me better.  In fact, the message was much more basic than that - to accept my physical condition, medicate my pain and to try to make the best of our life.  It is only in the journey to recovery that I have come to accept each of these factors.

And that was the beginning of consciously appreciating the Simple Things.


Nearly seven years on we have lots of joy in our lives.  I am thankful for the changes that experiencing those years have stimulated.  Yes - I suffer from crippling pain.  I am and will continue to be physically disabled. We manage our life - what we do, how we do it with this in mind and of course it places enormous limitations on us.  But. There is so much good in my life and I am free to really SEE and embrace it.

It's not always easy... sometimes I need to refocus and remind myself what is important in life. Sometimes how other people are able to live makes me question the choices we make - but that would happen anyway. I have time... So I love with all my heart and I am loved completely in return... and I do feel blessed.

J9 x

To read the first in this series My Disability Journey click here

Monday, 24 March 2014

Simple Pleasures - A Perspective in Poetry

Little Lady wrote some poetry recently - alone, without help.  The pride and love in my heart while I read it felt overwhelming.  I know my children are incredibly intuitive.  I know that we try to be good role models and share values and morals which we hope will add to their future happiness.

At certain times though, it is important to identify that it is the children that have the insight of what is to be valued in life.  They know the truth and wonder in the world - certainly the world they have access to.  Reading this poem encouraged me to recognise this and to look at these simple pleasures and take joy from seeing things through a child's eyes.

My Heart Soars

The beauty of a sunny, daisy filled hill,
The softness of the fluffy, white clouds on a summers day.
The fragrance of the colourful flowers,
The taste of creamy chocolate.
The sound of calming music 
They speak to me 
And my heart soars.

Age 8

Stock image of 'daisy flowers on sunny blue sky'

I hope you find your own 'daisy filled hill' or some other Simple Thing to make your heart soar this week.
J9 x

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

My Disability Journey: The Accident

I've tried to keep emotion out of this and relay the impacts fairly factually.   I hope it will position the accident and the emotional / physical responses I want to discuss in the next part of this series.  I hope it briefly explains what happened (and how it continues to affect me) and most importantly in the reflection element (third in this series of posts) I'll talk about tools I've found to help me cope.

On 19th June 2007 I slipped on the decking in my back garden.  I was 38 weeks pregnant with my Little Man at the time.  My left leg slipped out unnaturally to the side at speed and although I did not fall to the ground, the force of my legs doing the splits horizontally (literally the way your hip doesn't extend) combined with a heavy baby / pregnancy hormones resulted in significant injuries.

A freak accident, taking only seconds but it changed my life forever

I knew immediately something bad had happened.  Little Lady was 20 months at the time and was by my side when I slipped and I managed to stay calm and tried to call out to my neighbours over the fence.  I was admitted to A & E at the local hospital where I was examined, the baby was confirmed well and unscathed and I was given a bit of gas and air to deal with the pain.  I was unable to walk or stand and any movement (of myself or the baby) was agony.

Later that day I was transferred to a larger city hospital for an immediate cesarean section.  For whatever reason, by the time I arrived the Doctors had decided not to undertake those steps.  I was examined but was not x-rayed as baby was inside so it was a judgement call as to what was best.  I was placed in a side room with a bed and commode.  This was to be my prison for the next week.  I was in immeasurable pain - every movement was agony and this was compounded by baby moving inside me.  I moved only inches during those days - having injections to avoid clotting.  I fainted through pain alone twice and plea'd for them to give me a cesarean every day.  The hospital was well over an hour each way away from our home and so I only had a visit once a day.  It truly felt like a torturous prison cell yet the wonderful baby moving inside me, my glorious girl and my best friend gave me hope.

Seven days later I had a C section and my beautiful boy was born - a gorgeous blessing.  It was also the first time I could be pain relieved properly and in the short term this was a huge relief.  I was then x-rayed and the Doctors realised the true extent of my injuries.  I had broken my pelvis and my hip and ruptured my symphis pubis so nothing was holding either side of my pelvis together.  I had only had paracetamol to treat the pain until this point and still could not put any weight on my left leg.

The next four days passed in a blur in that same room... but were far happier.  Little Man slept in my hospital bed between my legs as I was still unable to walk to get him from the bassonette and we were very hopeful for full recovery thinking that the nightmare would soon be over.  I was then transferred back to the local hospital and although physically I was struggling I was closer to home and that made visiting easier for everyone.

However, I then had a number of further health complications after his birth which meant that my lovely boy was discharged home while I stayed in hospital with a super bug unable to have any visitors for a further 5 days - including my lovely children.  I was so ill I genuinely thought I would die.  After the peak of this illness my milk came in and baby was miles from me.  Gladly though, I recovered from the super bug and was allowed home after a full occupational health assessment.

When I returned home I was only able to walk a few slow and painful steps on a frame with the pain medicated by lots of meds including oral morphine.  Of course, I could not feed baby from myself due to potential health implications for Little Man and subsequent opiate withdrawal.  We put a bed in the lounge.  My mum came to stay for 2 months to help me with the children [and my supposed recovery] for which I will remain eternally grateful.  The hubby had used all his paternity leave during the time I was in hospital - so without Mum and his help - I don't know what would have happened.  Little Man had his own health problems highlighted at the 8 week check and it was at this point that my emotions took a set back.  It was the last straw on a very heavily laden camel.

After the first month I began to feel pressured to recover.  I was asked daily - if I was feeling better, were my movements easier, and this combined with helpful suggestions from well meaning friends of 'needing to get out' meant I forced myself to do the baby groups, soft play...  The more I did this, the worse my pain became and the lower my mood sank.  I became terrified my children would be taken from me and so channeled Super Mum.  I masked my symptoms from all but my closest friends and family and would return home to collapse sobbing in a chair - unable to walk for the next few days and emotionally exhausted.  When people asked after my improvements I used to say "I've got two wonderful, healthy children, I'll be alright" like a mantra - a phrase to live by.  Then as the implications of Little Man's health became clear and suddenly one of my babies was not healthy my heart and my mind broke.  Not right there and then but little by little over the next year.

Around 2 months after the accident, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and continued to have flashbacks to that hospital bed where I'd lain in agony for months afterwards.

Of course, I prioritised Little Man's health above mine and the numerous trips to Bristol Children's Hospital combined with both of our Doctor appointments it felt like we lived at the Doctors.  Slowly I became engulfed by worry.  Who I was as a person became lost.  I knew something was wrong with me mentally but kept trying to think my way out of it - to rationalise myself well.  But of course that didn't work.  I was unwell mentally and physically and finally accepted treatment for anxiety and depression.
After that first year...

... I was diagnosed with early onset Rheumatoid Arthritis in many of my small joints as a result of the trauma that my body went through.

Between age 3 and 4 Little Man's condition thankfully became less acute and the fear could start to subside.

Six years on I am unable to stand on my left leg without medication and take a prescribed cocktail of drugs to help manage the pain including slow release morphine and oral morphine.  My physical condition will not improve in future but I have learnt to live with my new capabilities.

I have replayed that fateful day in my head so many times.  I had huge guilt and regret associated with the memory - "If only" and "what if" were all consuming sticking points in my emotional recovery for a long, long time.   This is probably the biggest element of my healing in my road to recovery and I'll talk about that in the next part of this series: My Physical & Mental Journey.

I guess if I wanted someone to take anything away from these revelations it would be to smile at the stranger who looks a bit distracted; show kindness to people at the park or on your street; send that text or make that call you've been meaning to.  It may just be that little thing that makes life for that person that bit brighter and make a small difference.

I'll continue with the next post on My Disability Journey next week.  I've relayed these events fairly factually and avoided adding emotion to it - apologies if it reads a bit like a time line of events.  The next post fully encompasses my recovery journey and I'd rather focus on this but you need the facts to be able to make sense of the rest!  Take care for now,

J9 x

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Date Day: Taunton

A very simple Friday morning satisfied the need for grown up time this month.  We took a trip to Taunton - a lovely market town within half an hour of us.

We stopped for coffee in a gorgeous old building - a Tudor Tavern - with wonderfully textured beams dating back to 1578 now leased by Caffe Nero!

It was dark inside and it was so cosy.  We sat and talked about lots of changes going on in our home - the job change (started 2 weeks ago) my medication adjustments/ condition, family, money...  It felt good to reconnect and reassure each other that despite all the ongoing changes there are still some comforting constants in our little world.

We only walked a short distance through the main streets as I wasn't on good form physically but as we walked I found it most interesting to look towards the tops of the buildings.  It struck me that here the building facades literally demonstrate the architectural trends passing over time.

We were walking down the main high street lined with modern shopping fronts with different building facades of varying architectural styles above.  One street literally ended with a beautiful church with such intricate stone work.  

When we got home I found out that this was St Mary Magdalene Church and that:

"The sandstone church of St Mary Magdalene in Taunton was completed in 1508. The 163 feet (50 m) tall tower is considered the finest example of a Somerset tower and one of the 'noblest' parish towers in England. 
During construction of the tower a pulley was used to lift the stone with a donkey pulling the rope. It is said that on completion the donkey was hoisted to the top to admire the view it had helped create!"

And what else should we find down another side alley but a castle...

 ...with its very own portcullis?!

Again, on our return home I looked it up and wikipedia states:

"It has origins in the Anglo Saxon period and was later the site of a priory. The Normans then built a stone structured castle, which belonged to the Bishops of Winchester." 

I can't quite believe that I have visited the town twice before and never noticed this huge castle.  I do love that about my blogging journey - in taking more frequent photographs I look more carefully, up alleys or towards the skies.  We will definitely go back with the children and look around the castle - it houses a museum now which should also be fascinating to peruse when we have more time.

Neither of us grew up in this area and our original homes / family live over 2 hours away in separate directions.  Whilst we know our home counties well we are still exploring Somerset.  We made a pledge at the beginning of the year to spend more time exploring the county and finding our new favourite places rather than spending most of our time visiting our 'old' homes.  Whilst Cornwall will always feel like home to me, I'm enjoying the process of making this county feel like home for our family; developing a fondness for the surrounding landscapes and exploring more widely this beautiful part of the world.

J9 x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Late February Forays

Not many words - just a catch up...

:: Our Family Valentine's Party Tea

::  The best cake (Victoria Sandwich) I've made this year with love hearts decorating the top!

::  I attempted cake pops for the first... and last time!  So much faff for a mouth full of cake!!

::  Baked alaska - a flan base, ice cream sealed in with meringue and cooked in the oven - the ice cream stays solid.  Proud moment when I presented this to the kids.

::  Beanie Babies are still a favourite in this house.  They get played with every day and cuddled even more...

::  Little Man was awarded Man of the Match - how happy can a little boy be with a bit of plastic on loan for a week?  Love it.

::  Our Christmas present from Granny - we went to see the West End show of The Lion King which is touring the West Country.  What a fantastic opportunity for the kids.  Thank you Granny!!

::  Our family day out @Bristol.  Little Lady and I are amazed by this exhibit - a huge interactive pumping system which you can control.  Locks, water wheels, pumps and pulley systems - all good hands on learning!

Simple things and happy times...

J9 x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sew Distracted

I'm sure many readers living in the UK are enjoying the fabulous series The Great British Sewing Bee.  I'm really loving it again this year.  It's wonderfully inspiring like the Bake Off - I watch an episode and it literally makes me want to get the sewing machine out and Make instead of Bake!!  I wish I had free access to their haberdashery!

I've been doing quite a bit of sewing lately - re-establishing my love of the sewing machine - my first creative outlet.  You may remember that I decorated Little Lady's bedroom last year.  I knew that her pastel blind would need changing and chose some gorgeous teal butterfly fabric from John Lewis.  I have had the fabric around 6 months (procrastination is a weakness) but after the Sewing Bee last week I finally felt motivated to make a new blind!!  It is a basic manual roll up design backed in blackout lining.  It has a simple pole sewn into the top seam and hooks hold it in place at the window.  I think it is a simple yet pretty solution - unique and very cost effective too as it is a large window!

The photos aren't fabulous as I'm taking them into the light but it does look sweet and coordinates well with the decor.  Of course the main critic - my lovely girl, cast her eye over it - and success, she was delighted! It looks a little gathered along the pole in the photos but you can just pull this out to the sides - then it lays straight - I just didn't realise while I was taking the photos!

I've got a long list of sewing projects to complete around the home and am hoping this new motivation will help me tick some of them off!  In all honesty though I'm struggling a bit this past week with my pain levels. I've decided today to listen to my body and give in, in order to help it rest a bit.  Hopefully this flare will then calm down and my pain levels will become more manageable.  I often use craft as a way to distract my mind from the pain I'm experiencing but the last couple days I've just covered the chores and could find no energy for anything more.

A couple of readers have contacted me about the accident that I sometimes refer to, progress on my on-going pain management and how I manage my family life.  I've stayed away from discussing this too much as I'm sure you understand this is a difficult topic for me and I don't want this space to become negative and heavy.  This blog after all came into being after journal-ling Project Gratitude to help with my emotional recovery.

However, I feel that it is really important to discuss disability so that it does not remain a taboo subject or that negative misconceptions on ability continue to prevail.  I think it's important to stress at the outset that I would be talking about my own experience and situation - disabilities are wide ranging and specific to the individual so by no means am I seeking to be an expert on anything but my own impairment.

Over the coming weeks, I have decided to break the subject of my 'disability story' into three elements:
  • My Accident - Injuries and their Impact
  • My Physical and Mental Journey 
  • A Reflection on Things I've Learnt
In so doing I will not exaggerate, will keep medical details minimal, factual and concise focusing mainly on the road to recovery rather than dwelling on things that cannot be changed.  These posts will be interspersed with my normal crafty / homey posts as I don't want to overload any readers who do not wish to read this type of post.  Please do bear with me if this does include you - I don't wish to alienate anyone but on the other hand I would have appreciated this type of post if I'd found it when I did need it.

Finally, welcome to my new followers - it is wonderful to have you here.  I hope you have a fabulous week,
J9 x

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Gruffalo... at Garden World

The story of The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson has long been a favourite story to share in our house.  Little Man often chooses it to be read at bedtime and Little Lady usually casually joins us - just for a cuddle of course because she feels she is too old for such a story now - although I firmly believe you're never too old for the Gruffalo!!

I've loved the gentle nature and rhythm of this author's writing for some time and would choose any of her stories to read to my children at the end of the day.  Whilst I was looking at information in putting this post together I was interested to read that the book has won many awards, including the Nestle Smarties prize and the Blue Peter Award for the Best Book to Read Aloud - and in 2009 was voted the UK's favourite bedtime story!  That really demonstrates how much it's LoVED by so many children and parents alike!

This winter there was a wonderful Gruffalo exhibition at the entrance to the local Garden Centre and it felt magically appropriate to share here. The display managed to encapture the simple beauty of this book and in my opinion, the adults enjoyed it just as much as the children.

Of course the story starts with a mouse who takes a stroll through the deep, dark wood...

...then the fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good...

In the story, as the mouse walked further through the wood the Owl saw the mouse...

The Owl was fantastic in that children (or adults alike) could push a button to start some 'animatronics' - the Owl moved its wings and its head and continued to tell the story in the most wonderfully gentle manner.  All that witnessed it were completely spell bound.

As he continued on his journey, the mouse turned down an offer from the snake to have tea in his log pile house...

...because after all, the mouse was having a feast with the Gruffalo!

During peak times the Gruffalo was able to stroll around (with help from a staff member of course) and this enormous cuddly lay in a den to rest once it had done enough walking!  

Billy's first World Book day dress up outfit was a homemade Gruffalo costume - which I failed to get a picture of that morning.  I remembered it when writing this post and I asked him to put it on again - so obligingly, he did.  I'm glad I've got the opportunity to picture the gorgeousness of my Gruffalo.  It is a tad small for him now but I think he still looks cute.

I remember he decided on the Gruffalo very late - I cut up an old throw from the lounge and used some felt, a purple towel, buttons and funky foam to add the full characteristics on a zero budget!!  Such a lovely memory.  I don't think I shall ever out grow the story or 'give up' the book!

Do you have a favourite character that pulls at your heart strings...or prompts memories of quiet, snuggles with loved ones?  I just wish I could freeze my littlies in time as they are growing so fast.  I must make a conscious effort to be fully present in each moment and savour each precious passing of their childhood.  In so doing I'll be sure to make memories to last a lifetime.

J9 x

Friday, 7 March 2014

World Book Day 2014

Yesterday saw the children participating in World Book Day by dressing once again as a character from a favourite book.  Little Lady knew instantly which book she wanted to take in - 'Fairy Dust' about a fairy called "Star" from a series of books by the author Gwyneth Rees, which she has thoroughly enjoyed.

Fairy Dreams

I picked up a very frilly skirt from the charity shop that was perfect for Star (the one on the left) and made some silver cardboard stars to go on her bunches which combined with some fairy wings from the dress up box and some other pink clothes from her drawers made her costume nice and easy!

Little Man however was much less decided.  His first instinct was Horrid Henry - but both his bestie's were already going in their 'proper' Henry costumes so he decided against that.  Options of monsters, crocodiles, dinosaurs were mulled over (in fact a pin board was created with this in mind) until an astronaut and space book were selected.  I looked at this on pinterest and thought that any little boy - especially my little boy, would LoVE this.  So I set about making him a jet pack inspired by the original image I found.  I added a circuit board type front so that he could control his jet pack!

It also helped to balance out the weight across his body and it felt more securely held in place.  I'll take a picture of him wearing it and share it with you another time!

The project was finished late the night before the big day...  At six AM the next morning, Little Man entered my bedroom and quietly asked if he could not wear his jet pack.  He didn't want it to get damaged throughout the day and was worried someone would break it...  Despite many reassurances that I could make another or we could mend any damage, his mind was made up.

So Batman from our dress up box was selected and his favourite book of Lego Batman was the accompanying text.
LEGO Batman Visual Dictionary - Hardback - 9781409377504

He much prefers information books of all varieties as opposed to the novels that his sister prefers.  An interesting but very noticeable difference between them.  I know my sister successfully encouraged her boys to continue reading through using comics and annuals instead of story books after a certain age - any reading is good after all!

I've made all his other costumes for World Book day so far and so felt a little reticent that we had succumbed to such a character but to be honest, when he ran around the playground with his cape flying in the wind behind him I couldn't help but smile.  It was completely big Boyness.

The jet pack has been worn around the house this morning before school and will undoubtedly have some good play value too - so everyone's a winner!  I hope you had some positive experiences of World Book day wherever you are.  If you are interested last year's World Book day post is here.

Have a good weekend lovely readers - we're off to stay with my mum for the weekend.  Hectic but happy. It looks like sunshine too so maybe a trip to the sea could be in order!  Fingers crossed!
J9 x

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Drum Roll Please...

The time has come to announce the winner of my Grow Your Blog Giveaway!  I have been delighted to be part of this fabulous Bloggy party and look forward to getting to know all the new readers of my blog.

Here's a little reminder about the things that were included in the Giveaway - 
a jolly little bundle I think you agree!!

Well, many of you did as I had a good number of entries and so I tried to do something more official than pulling names out of a hat like I have done to announce previous Giveaway Winners.  I entered 35 names into the List Randomizer (although some of this number were double entries as a result of comments on the original GYB post and the Giveaway post meaning those people were entitled to two entries).

So without further delay, the selected number is:

List Randomizer

There were 35 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Sowing Stitches

Sorry I couldn't get this to appear as a funky widget - I had to do a straight copy and paste after many failed attempts to edit HTML (certainly not a strength)!

The winner is the creative Carol of Sowing Stitches.  Carol has a lovely blog which I have discovered through the GYB party so it is very evident that the party has been successful in introducing us to a wonderful diversity of Blogs! 

Congratulations Carol - I shall send you an email very shortly!

Apologies to all for my absence from Blogland recently.  Both littlies have been very poorly and off school.  Once they recovered, I went down with the nasty germs so time management has not been in my favour!!  Hope to catch up with you all over the next week!! 

J9 x