About Me

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This is a 'tea and chat' style blog where I blog about whatever fills my head each day. Many posts are about my experiences as mummy to my little boy born 16 weeks early :)

Monday, 29 August 2011

I miss my Grandad

The man in the photo above is my grandad. I miss him all the time. I miss his smile. I miss his cuddle that was the biggest squeeze imaginable. I miss seeing him.

I am so lucky to have had my grandad all through my childhood into my adulthood. I am so thankful that he was able to see me marry but so sad that he never met my baby Blaine. The night I went into labour with Blaine his photo, this photo, feel from the top of my wardrobe. I know he watched over Blaine.

One of my earliest memories is of my grandad walking me to and from lower school. It seemed to forever be summer and I would skip through the allotments, him skipping not too far behind me. I remember sitting on his bike while he pushed it and told me stories and asked me about my day.

I remember grandad in the kitchen making the family a 'grill', tea towel over his shoulder, singing a happy tune.

I remember grandad entertaining us grandkiddies on our Pontin's holidays while the ladies played bingo. I remember loving it.

I remember my little brother calling him 'Grandad Bud' and him calling my little brother 'Bud'. 

He was a true gentleman and had the warmest heart. I remember my grandad.

I only wish I could have one of his cuddle squeezes right now ...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Not so anti private school anymore ...

A few years ago I would have been completely against private schooling. I would have gone as far as to say it was against my morals.

When I visited a small private school in Bedford during my teacher training, it was reluctantly. I had to visit a school to observe teaching in the key stage below what I was training in. Being me, I didn't organise my visit in plently of time. I've always been a last-minute type of person but thought 'oh there's loads of middle schools in Bedford, it'll be fine.'

Literally the Friday afternoon before the Monday we were supposed to complete our visit I wrote down a list of phone numbers for middle schools in the town. I started with my favourites and made my way down the list. 'We already have a couple of students in. Sorry.' 'We have OFSTED in. Sorry.' 'We have blah, blah, blah going on. Sorry.' Uh, oh.

So. There was no other option. I had to get the numbers for the private schools. I looked carefully at the list and again started with the school I thought I might like best. 'Yes, no problem at all. See you Monday.'

My God, I was nervous! I, like many I'm sure, had preconceived ideas about private schools. But I am glad to say that at this school I was proved wrong. Yes, many of the pupils come from wealthy families but so what? I realised on that visit that kids are kids no matter what. And I also found that many of the pupils weren't from particularly wealthy families; their parents just work extremely hard and budget and prioritise their money to be able to pay the fees.

When the time came to apply for a job, as my training was coming to an end, two very different schools were advertising. One being the local sate school to me and the other being the private school I had visited. I had completed part of my training at the local state school and must say I loved it. It felt like a 'proper' school. I applied for both. To my surprise I was called for interview at both schools just two days apart. The private school was up first.

I went to the interview and honestly thought to myself I had no chance of actually getting the job. Although I had visited I had not met the senior staff that would be interviewing me and I just thought 'they won't like me.' I went home feeling fairly confident but had such mixed feelings. I knew that if they rang me that evening to offer me the position I would have to give my decision there and then. It's what's expected. I deliberated all evening; wanting the phone to ring but also wishing it not to.

When I accepted the job I was thrilled. What a confidence boost! But, had I gone against my 'morals'?  Did I go into teaching to teach 'privileged, rich kids'. I was brought up living in council houses and had a state school education. I believed all kids should have the same chances, no matter what. Couldn't I make more of a difference at the local state school?

I struggled with this debate and still do a bit. For the most part though, I'm glad I went against my 'morals'. I learned of a culture of reverse snobbery, to which I had bought into. Certainly the kids at this particular private school showed me that kids are kids. There are testing, challenging and cheeky ones and keen, willing and enthusiastic ones in all schools.

Don't get me wrong. I still believe all children should have equal opportunities and money should not play a factor but I'm certainly not totally anti private schooling anymore ... I think the school should be considered carefully for the child. If the local state is the only option - so be it. State schools are full of brilliant teachers and equally as brilliant children :)

Another truly remarkable story to share


Friday, 26 August 2011

Cherish every moment

I heard some truly awful news today. The loss of a life is always so terrible, shocking and sad ... and it makes you think.

Life is so precious and too short. We're really only here for a short length of time and can never really know when it will be taken from us. I know for a fact I take so many things, and people, for granted. Not intentionally but I do. If we're honest we probably all do.

When Blaine was first born he was staying in a hospital about half an hour away from home. That drive every morning seemed so much longer. I would stare from the car window and notice people just walking the dog or popping into a shop for a paper. I so wished I was not in that car, on that journey, and was just nipping out for a paper. I longed for the mundane, the normal, the usual. I would say in my head 'Please let my baby be ok. Please let us get home and have the mundane. I promise I'll never, ever moan or complain about the small things again. I promise I won't take anything for granted.' But, of course, life does slip back to normal and I do moan.

News like today's makes me remember. Don't take anything for granted. It's not that I forget, life just takes over and I am so grateful it does. That's what I begged for. So, when I walk to the shops with my little boy, when I watch him playing in the park, even when I peg out a row of his jim jams I smile a little smile to myself.

Life is precious. Let's make the most of every minute we have together.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

All in it's own sweet time ...

When you're in your late teens, and even early twenties, thirty seems forever away. It seems like you have ages. There are certain things that I had in mind that I wanted to have done by the time I was thirty:

1. Be married
2. Be a mum
3. Qualify as a teacher
4. Passed my driving test

Now, I was in no rush for these things to happen and would never force them, but I wanted them to be in place. I reckon a lot of girls do, a Bridget Jones type thing.

I always knew I didn't want children until I was heading towards thirty. To me, that seemed right: not too young and not too old. So when I had Blaine at 29 it was perfect timing for me.

I had married at 26. Perhaps sounds young these days but not for us. I was lucky. When you've found the right person you just know and it was the perfect wedding; we loved every minute of it.

I ditched my admin job at the court to embark on teacher training a year later. I already had a degree and wanted to teach but had just got stuck working so I took the plunge. So glad I did; I love my job.

So, the driving test. Hmmm. It just didn't happen. Maybe down to me. Maybe down to circumstance. But I have never even taken a test. I have had a serious amount of driving lessons - one lot when I was 17 and another lot only last year. Technically I have learned to drive. I just don't have the piece of paper.

I'm now 32 (and a bit). But hey, I heard forty is now the new thirty ;)


Chips and Chat ...

Blaine and I fancied a naughty treat for lunch so off to the chippy we went on his trike. Blaine loves his trike and we go out and about with it most days. He also loves the chip shop and was very excited! While we waited for our chips Blaine was pottering about exploring the shop and I chatted with the lady behind the counter.

'How old is he?' she asked.
Not an uncommon question for any parent I'm sure but we get it a lot as Blaine is still fairly petite for his age but as loud and boisterous and inquisitive as any boy his age.
'Almost three' I reply, waiting for the usual 'oh, isn't he small' or somthing similar. Only, it didn't come.
'My grand daughter is almost 4 and she's probably about his size ...' I listen.
'She's really petite and she'll start school soon ...she was only a little dot when she was born though - she was a tiny little thing, she was only 4lb something, so she's always been small ...'

Of course, I thought I could add in now that Blaine was 1lb 10oz, 16 weeks early etc. etc. but it just didn't seem neccessary. It was clear she wasn't really looking for advice or reassurance; she just wanted to tell me about her grand daughter. So that's just what I let her do.

All at once the chips were wrapped up, we said bye, and we were off down the road on the trike again.

It felt good to just be the listener for once :) And the chips were delicious :) 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Friendship - Miss Nicole

Today I went to visit my friend Nicole. She is one of my very best friends. She's witty, funny, sweet and caring.

I've known Nicole for about 11 years and our days working together in Superdrug and nights out are forever shared, funny memories. In the past 11 years we've moved on to new jobs, moved houses, got married, had babies and made new friends ... and all with the other one not to far away.

I know I can talk to her about anything, tell her everything without shame or judgement. I know time can pass without us seeing each other and we'll simply pick up where we left off.

We can laugh and cry and know each others faults. I think we could talk forever!

I was honoured to be her bridesmaid when she got married last summer and look forward to what the next 11 years hold for us both.

I watched her today with her 3 year old son and newborn baby girl and she makes it look easy. She's a natural mummy and looked relaxed and happy.

We get to choose our friends and I'm so happy to choose Nicole and even happier that she's picked me :)

Birth story

I am honoured to be mummy to an amazing little boy called Blaine. He is my first child and probably my only.

When I found out I was pregnant both my husband and myself were over-joyed. We had planned to start a family and it had happened quite quickly. I can honestly say that I loved every second of being pregnant - yep, even the sickness everytime I put my toothbrush anywhere near my mouth! It made me feel special and I embraced every moment.

I was the type of pregnant lady that followed each week, step by step; I knew the weekly size of the baby and every little development occuring. I read lots of books and showed off my bump with pride. However, something I could not have known was that my pregnancy would end at 24 weeks and 5 days.

I remember that night vividly. I remember sitting in the bath and feeling overwhelmingly happy. As I washed my tummy I giggled and called to my husband from the bathroom 'I'm really loving being pregnant!' An hour or so later I was settled on the sofa watching a film and felt an almighty twinge in my lower back. It was so strong that I actually moved off the sofa onto the floor. It passed in a second and we both laughed at my 'dramatics'.

That night in bed I just could not get comfortable; I had a dull back ache and it would not allow me to settle. I drifted in and out of short snoozes until about half eleven when I could not settle to the point that I was pacing the bedroom hunched over. I knew this could not just be 'baby growing and moving'. Something was not right. I woke my husband and said I would go to the bathroom 'to check'. Now, don't ask me what I was checking for as I had no clue but when I went to the bathroom and saw a show of blood on the tissue I just screamed ... 'there's blood!!'

The next thing I knew we were at the maternity unit doors buzzing the night bell ... 'My wife's 6 months pregnant and she's bleeding!' And the doors opened.

I'm lying on a bed in the delivery suite and the doctor examines me '...blah, blah, blah, labour, blah, blah, blah ...' 'You have to stop it!' I plead. 'It's too early!'

The labour could not be stopped and 5 hours and 19 minutes later my amazing little boy was born weighing 1lb 10oz. He was taken straight to the Neonatal Unit and I was offered a shower and a cup of tea. No chance for cuddles, not even a glimpse.

A couple of hours later we were given a photo. I knew it was a photo handed to me saying 'this is your baby. He's going to die.' I found it difficult to look at that photo for a long while. We then had the chance to see our baby. It was a strange sight. I had never seen a baby in an icubator before. I had never seen a ventilator or so many wires before. I had never seen a baby so small before. I peered from afar, not wanting to allow myself too close, not wanting to see what I had done.

The rest of the day was hell. Sent straight home waiting for the phone to ring saying Blaine was being transferred to another hospital that looks after such early babies. That night in the bath I couldn't bare to look at my empty, saggy tummy - the same tummy that I had lovingly washed just 24 hours earlier. I bathed in my top.

Despite this start I had no problem bonding with my baby. In fact it made the bond stronger and I longed for him. I watched him grow everyday and feel incredibly proud that this amazing person is my son. And he continues to amaze me every day :)

Sunday, 21 August 2011


So. I decided I would like to write a blog. I've been enjoying a few others the last few weeks and am finding it quite addictive reading and each day I've been thinking 'I could do this' and 'ooh, think I'd quite enjoy this'. So here I am. Hello!

I've entitiled my blog 'One lump or two' because I'm a reknowned for enjoying a good old cup of tea. I hopinh this blog will be a place to simply muse and ramble and chat, and share anecdotes and memories. I hope it'll be an enjoyable read as well as enjoyable to write ... I'm planning to make a cup of tea and ... blog.

Now, if only I could figure out the technical bit and pieces of setting this thing up it could be fun ... chat soon!