Think 20 Think HEART Helping To Protect Your Baby’s Heart


Think 20 Think HEART Helping To Protect Your Baby’s Heart

What’s the most exciting thing about the 20 week scan? Hearing your baby’s heart beat and seeing them on the big screen? Finding out whether you are having a boy or a girl so you can start narrowing down names and painting the nursery? You wouldn’t be alone if that’s what you’re most excited about.


Mason was born with Tetralogy of the Fallot, a heart defect, which was thankfully detected during mum, Lauren’s, pregnancy. He had surgery at just 4 weeks old to fix his heart and is now an outgoing and adventurous 2-year-old, blissfully unaware of his dramatic start.

Lauren says: “If Mason’s condition had not been picked up during my scan, he would have lived only a matter of hours at the most. Early detection saved his life.”

Knowing the diagnosis at the 20-week scan means that doctors are ready to make sure that your baby has the right treatment and support as soon as they are born.

One in every 125 babies is born with a heart problem – that’s more than 5,000 newborns each year in the UK. The baby heart’s charity, Tiny Tickers, wants to make sure that every baby is given the best possible start by increasing understanding of the real purpose of the 20-week scan.

Early diagnosis of heart defects gives babies a better chance of survival and long term quality of life. Detection during pregnancy means the right medical experts can be on hand at birth, treatment can begin as soon as possible and parents can start getting the support they need – from the start.

Test your knowledge on what the 20 week scan is really for

The 20-week scan is one of the most in-depth health checks a baby will have during pregnancy. And it’s the very best opportunity to spot heart defects before birth. If you are pregnant, you can test just how much you know about it through an online quiz – – developed by Tiny Tickers.

At the end of the quiz you can also request an information pack which will give mums to be a check list on what questions to ask the sonographer at your 20-week scan giving you the confidence to protect your tiny ticker.

Tiny Tickers are aiming to reach all pregnant women with practical information which could save their baby’s life.

Please take a moment to take part in the Think 20. Think HEART quiz and then share it on your Facebook or Twitter. Together we can build vital awareness and reach the 1,000 babies sent home every year from UK hospitals with a heart condition that nobody knows about.

This is not a sponsored post but a cause I choose to support. 

The Family Pet Show A Fantastic Dog Day Out

Family Pet Show Manchester

The Family Pet Show A Fantastic Dog Day Out

On Saturday after a week unwell in bed, I managed to muster up the strength to visit The Family Pet Show in Manchester with my daughter Sylvia, my brother James, My Parents from New Zealand and our beloved Bichon dogs Yoda and Casper.

Family Pet Show Manchester

Boy were we in for a treat. We had never been to a Pet show before and this was one wonderful experience which both Sylvia and I loved.

family with Yoda and casper Bichons

We had an amazing time and I am so excited to share our adventures with you. Sylvia wore her favourite Dog Dress from House of Fraser and we were all ready to have a fantastic day.

Yumi Dog Dress

We were invited to attend the Family Pet Show by Frontline Plus who have been on their #FleaTickTour around the country promoting a Flea and Tick Treatment to help Dogs and pets stay safe.

Flea Tick Tour

My daughter Sylvia loves Dogs as do I and it was wonderful to see many Dogs and their owners filling the car park as we arrived at the Expo.

Sylvia and a dog

We took Yoda and Casper our dogs to visit a Vet. They had 5 minute check ups and we were assured their teeth, gums and ears are healthy. The Vet listened to our dogs heart rates and gave them both a quick once over. It was great to hear our dogs are doing well especially after poor Yoda was attacked last year and injured.

visiting the vet

One of the highlights of the day for Sylvia was to watch the North West Scruffs Heat and see all the lovely talented and gorgeous dogs that had entered the show.

Yoda in a Dog Kennel

We also loved meeting a gorgeous Pug named Sylvia. Sylvia’s owner has a brilliant website called Doggie Places where you can search for beaches, accommodation, cafes and places throughout the country which are dog friendly. That’s a fantastic idea for dog loving families like us who enjoy travelling and going places with Yoda and Casper.

Sylvia the pug from Doggie Places

My daughter Sylvia loves Pugs, her ultimate number one celebrity is Doug The Pug from the USA and we are really hoping to be able to meet “the infamous Doug” in the near future when he visits Manchester for his book signing. Fingers crossed.

Sylvia with Sylvia the pug

I have to be honest, I really was not very well and did a lot of sitting down during our visit but I made the most of the time and enjoyed checking out some of the stalls. I especially loved the fashion accessories stall and seeing the baked goods and treats for dogs.

dog treats

We bought a treat for Yoda and Casper and received some lovely goodie bags full of tasty treats to try out. Casper and Yoda had a fantastic time. They loved meeting all the other dogs and sniffing and smelling each other.

Casper the bichon Frise

One of the funniest moments was when Casper saw an owner feeding her dogs and he ran up and joined in. It was quite hilarious and he managed to sneak in some more dog treats.

Casper bichon

We did have a wonderful visit to the Family pet show. It was great to meet so many beautiful and wonderful dogs especially Sylvia the Pug. We love pugs, we love dogs and we loved the Family Pet Show. We will certainly be going to more fun dog loving events in the future.

This is not sponsored nor a requested post but a day out I chose to write about.

The Precious Moments Between Mother and Child

picking flowers

A few weeks ago we went to Blackpool after school. I had an appointment in the area and we wanted to enjoy our visit to the seaside. I have not been to the sea this year. This was my first visit and it was only for a few hours but a nice moment with my daughter.

mother and child

Before my appointment we went to the Seafront. Sylvia was so excited. She just wanted to get to the sand and have a bit of fun. It was an unusual experience for me. I don’t get out much but I had rested for two days and had the strength to walk down to the beach with a few rests in between.

blackpool beach

It was a windy and wet day. In fact it in the evening when it got dark there was a massive thunder storm with thunder and lightening and flash floods in some areas in the UK. I loved being at the seaside and smelling the fresh salt air. It was fabulous.

Sylvia walking

Moments like these are precious to me. I guess before chronic illness I took things for granted a lot more and popping to the shop or going out for the day was just normal. Now I pace and rest and reserve strength for our special moments and it is so worth it.

mother and child

I wasn’t planning on having any photos and didn’t dress fancy or do any makeup but John got out his camera and so we ended up having some lovely mother and daughter pictures which really made me day.

Sylvia close up

Sylvia wore her new furry cardigan and it kept her lovely and warm. I get hot naturally so although the air was cold, I didn’t need any other layers. We did find some puddles and Sylvia had a good old jump in them. I think in the past I may have been reluctant to let her do this but when are we going to be in Blackpool again and have the chance to splash in the water?

splashing in a puddle

The Seaside was lovely. We only stayed there a short time and then I had to go to my appointment. After we took Sylvia for food and waited till dark to see the Blackpool Illuminations. It was a fantastic sight, one I didn’t expect to see this year.

sitting on fence

Moments with my daughter out and about are so special to me. We even found and picked some daisies and I taught Sylvia the trick, “he loves me, he loves me not” where you pull all the petals off the flower to find out if someone loves you.

mother and child

We both had a go and the “subject” was John my husband and Sylvia’s Dad. Luckily the last petal was “He loves me”. Of course we discussed the real way of knowing if someone loves you is by the way they treat you. Having been in an abusive marriage previously I want to teach my daughter about healthy relationships to ensure she does not fall into a similar situation. I love her too much to let that happen.

picking flowers

What It’s Like Using An Adrenal Pump 12 Week Update


What It’s Like Using An Adrenal Pump 12 Week Update

Today I’ve been on the Adrenal Pump for my Adrenal Insufficiency for almost 3 months. It’s not been an easy ride and I’ve had ups and downs but I wanted to share how things are going as I’ve not written about it in a while.


I’ll start by saying I always knew the pump would not heal or cure me, I just wanted a better quality of life and the pump so far has given me this. Before the pump I was having adrenal crisis episodes regular, hospital visits, low blood pressure every morning and trips to A and E.

Since going on the Adrenal Pump, where my cortisol is delivered continuously over 24 hours, my Adrenal health has become more stable. I did have struggles with Oral Hydrocortisone medication and am so so happy I no longer need to rely on those tablets to live.

I’ve not been to hospital for an adrenal episode since May and I’ve been able to manage my condition at home which means, more time with my family. I am still very unwell but have been able to do more than I used to do and for that I’m truly grateful.

Every experience is different and whilst today I am sharing my own personal experience, it wont be the same for everyone with my condition and as always I recommend any advice is sought from your own personal Endocrinologist. I’m not a doctor, just a patient sharing how my health is at the moment.

So I’ll start with the occasions when I’ve been very unwell.

I’ve had 4 infections (I get skin infections easily and other infections) and so I’ve had to increase my steroid dose to cover these times when I’ve been extra unwell, feeling dizzy and sick the same as I would be were I on tablets Hydrocortisone.

Before the pump I would have struggled to manage these situations, even with double dosing I would most likely have ended up in hospital as I have on many occasions in the past 3 years. Therefore, I can clearly state that having a pump where I can give myself an emergency bolus of medication and instantly double up my dose makes a huge difference for me.

Health wise I still have exhaustion and fatigue and struggle to do the things I’d like to do, where I used to stay in the home most days, I am managing to get out one-two times a week for about 1-2 hours. My blog shows our time out and it may appear I do a lot but the reality is I spend a lot of time sleeping and resting still. There is so much more I want to do but I’m not able yet.

Someone emailed me and asked how on earth I can blog and go out and about all the time with Adrenal Insufficiency. I can’t. Yes I went to a spa day a few weeks ago but I was incredibly unwell and spent a week afterwards still unwell. This week I went with my daughter to the Family Pet Show which I cant wait to write about but I was not able to stand for very long and had to sit on a sofa feeling dizzy and sick whilst my family looked around. The reality is I’ve had my mum visiting and helping out with everything and were she not here I would not have even made it to the pet show.

I am still cancelling plans and not able to go to many things I want to even with my pump. This week I had to turn down an invitation to a London fashion show and an invite to a movie screening in London. I simply cant go. It’s not just the blog events I cant do though, I’ve not even been able to get to the supermarket with my mum this week which would have been nice and I still cant make it to take Sylvia to school. I am too unwell to do many of the basics as a Mother.

I have some home help and my husband is helping me. I guess the difference from tablets to the pump is firstly that I’m not going into hospital and that I can do more such as walk around the house. I’ve not needed the wheelchair in a while which is great but I still get so so tired and need to pace and cant do what everyday healthy people do.

I think it will take time for my body to heal even more from 3 years of unstable health. I am still at risk of crisis but I can manage it much better with a pump. Also I don’t have the stress of worrying have I remembered to take my meds. My brain fog from when I had tablets has improved a lot and it’s no way near as bad as before.

Because of a run of infections I’ve been double dosing a lot and have not lost much weight in the past 7 weeks. It’s a little discouraging but I am hoping to get through and keep at my weight loss.

I think the biggest difference which is certainly adrenal related for me is the pain I was in. I was in chronic pain, which I was told was nerve pain or fibromyalgia type pain but it disappeared the week I began the adrenal pump and has not returned. I still have back pain which Ive had many years even before Sylvia was born but not the aching severe pain I had each day on cortisol tablets.

During the first 8 weeks of my adrenal pump I had no headaches but they came back 4 weeks ago and are really affecting my ability to concentrate and do things. I think this may be related to a vitamin deficiency following Gastric Bypass rather than the pump though and I will be getting all my vitamin levels rechecked this week.

So, the pump is great for me as it’s made me more stable. It has allowed me to spend more time with Sylvia in the home, (if I pace myself) and to go out once or twice in a week which is fabulous. If I do more than this I suffer chronic fatigue symptoms and it can take a long time to recover.

I’m much happier being able to do more. My quality of life has improved, although I am still chronically unwell and saving up and going to London to get the help I needed was certainly worth every penny.

I’d like to thank the 22 people who donated to my Adrenal pump fund. I appreciate your support. John and I sacrificed so much to save and pay for the rest of the treatment I’ve been undergoing but it was a sacrifice worth making.

I am still saving for a new adrenal pump of my own, one I can get guaranteed and Insured. I will be two thirds of the way there by the end of this month. Until then I will be handing back the pump I’ve borrowed as it is due to go back and  I’ll be using my “new second hand pump” which I have managed to acquire from the USA. Exciting!

I’m really happy to be able to continue using the adrenal pump now my trial period is over and that I don’t have to go back onto tablets. It was a real worry trying to get the money together over the past three months. I am funding my own medications and supplies monthly which is not easy and in time as I demonstrate that the pump is keeping me out of hospital, I may be able to get the medication funded by the NHS. That is my hope. Pump medication is 4 times cheaper than the tablets the NHS prescribe me anyway and as the pump will help prevent many hospital stays I think eventually I will be able to sway the NHS although it could take many months.

I just have to be patient and pay my own way for now. The pump is so worth it and I hope it can help others too in the future.

adrenal pump

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

This month Sylvia and I were jumping up and down in excitement after learning we were to review the new My Little Pony Crystal Empire Castle. We had seen the Castle advertised on a children’s TV channel and Sylvia had commented that would be her dream toy. Little did I know a week letter we would be chosen to review this amazing Hasbro product.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

Having a fabulous gift such as a My Little Pony Castle was not going to come to Sylvia for free. We discussed how she could earn this lovely reward and so we created a star chart and Sylvia went to bed on time every night for 3 weeks. She did amazing and certainly deserved the castle when it arrived.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

We were so excited to open the My Little Pony Equestria Castle but it arrived in the morning and so Sylvia had to spend the day at school with great excitement and eagerness in anticipation of opening her new gift.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

After school we got to work opening the Castle. The Castle came in many pieces and was quite easy to build using the Instructions. The Castle is a lovely shade of blue with glitter and sparkles.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

The gorgeous My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle playset has a rotating light-up feature and also reflects 3 cutie marks at the press of a heart-shaped button. Cutie marks are just that, cute marks on each pony and my daughter seems to have an obsession with My Little Pony cutie marks.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

This magical castle comes with sixteen fabulous accessories that include a dress, crystal vanity, cradle, throne and jewels. There is also a baby pony swing and 2 wardrobes with spinning shelves which are pretty fabulous.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

The best part, well the part Sylvia really loved was the two My Little Pony characters that come with the Equestria Castle. There is Princess Cadence who comes with a princess cloak, jewels and two tiaras as well as Baby Flurry Heart a little pony who fits perfectly into the swing on the castle.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

Sylvia is absolutely over the moon with her new castle. It is amazing and has already had quite a few hours of fun. We are so excited to have had the opportunity to review the castle. When thinking of the pros and cons I honestly could not think of any negatives. We love the castle, the size, the way it looks, the rotating lights and the ease of building.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

I guess the only thing we need now are more My Little Pony characters to make the castle even more fun to play with. I really do love My Little Pony Crystal Empire Castle as does Sylvia and we made a little video of her playing with her Castle for the first time. We hope you enjoy it.

My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

We are clearly huge fans of My Little Pony and this fantastic castle is a brilliant product which I would certainly recommend this for any child girl or boy. I think it would make a fantastic Christmas Gift idea and yes I’m super excited Sylvia has a fantastic new toy.

The toy is recommended for age 3 years and upwards and retails around £42.99 You can purchase from the Hasbro website or places such as Argos, SmythsToys, ToysRUs and Amazon.


Disclosure: We were sent the My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle with the option to review. All words and opinions are my own.


My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle

When the Eye Cant See Disability


When the Eye Cant See Disability

In July 2013 I was given a diagnosis of Adrenal Insufficiency. Adrenal Insufficiency is an illness which affects the adrenal glands ability to produce Cortisol an essential and life saving hormone. Since becoming unwell, my life has taken on new meaning. I have gone from being labelled able to disabled, however I am often judged and give the evil eye because I do not look disabled and today I wanted to speak out about this.


In 2014 I was assessed and given a disability badge. This badge made life so much easier for me. When I felt weak and dizzy, I could barely walk anywhere. Going to the supermarket to choose my own food was a real treat and being able to park close to the entrance meant I could make it to the scooter in the entrance without collapsing.

Parking closer to the entrance at hospital made it easier to make it to the wheelchair bay and often when leaving a building or appointment I was so relieved to be able to sit down in the car quickly without having to walk the extra distance. The disability badge helped me with my health problems and was certainly needed.

Recently my health has improved a small fraction. I can walk a little further and do a little more than before. I still have chronic fatigue and still get dizzy. I still have moments I really need that disabled bay and times I am really grateful for it.

I remember parking up with my husband and daughter and walking into Pound land. I wanted a few crafty items for Sylvia. I felt well enough that day to make it around the store. My husband carried the basket but by the time we got to the second aisle I began to feel ill. This happens a lot. I walked back out the store and into the car to wait for my family.

I felt so unwell and dizzy, but I looked okay. An elderly woman getting out of her car stared at me and gave me the evil eye, a look which has no words but clearly says, “You don’t look disabled”. I just ignored it, it happens all the time.

Again, a few weeks ago we parked up to take Sylvia for her very first swimming lesson. We parked in the disabled bay. I was wearing trainers and sports clothing. I am not well enough to exercise but I had made an effort to dress sporty and was excited to watch Sylvia’s swimming lesson.

Over the past few years, I have not been able to do many things with my daughter. I have missed assemblies, school plays and sports days. I did not want to miss her first swimming lesson and so I rested up to be able to attend.

As I got out of the car, I again got the evil eye. Why would a mother with a young child, wearing sports clothing and entering the swimming pools need to park in the disabled bay? Well I did and although I only walked Sylvia through to her lesson and sat to watch, I began to get dizzy and unwell when it was time for her to get dressed. I felt burnt out and unwell but it was okay, I had seen Sylvia’s lesson and that had made my day.

I made it back to the car and we set off on our way home. I get “the look” or “the evil eye” more than fifty percent of the time when I get out of the car in a disabled bay. People don’t say anything most of the time but sometimes I’m challenged and I show my badge displayed in the window.

I hate the look you get, the eyebrows and the screwed up face and then the words, your not disabled, or “look at her” she doesn’t need to park there. Yes people do say these things and yes it bugs me. Most of the time I ignore it but today I want to speak out.

Today I want to say, Disability is not always visible. Disability is not limited to being in a wheelchair although I do use one when needed. Disability comes in many forms and sometimes it is an invisible illness.

Yes some people will abuse the disabled bay system and park there when they should not but not everyone does and just because I look able and healthy it does not mean I am. I have an invisible illness and to those that judge me and give me that look of disapproval, why not smile instead and assume I am genuine rather than jumping to conclusions and judging me on the way I look.


Great Days Out In The UK

Days out in the UK

Great Days Out In The UK

One thing my family loves more than anything else is a good family day out. Sylvia and I love nature, visiting wildlife, parks and fun filled places of adventure. Today on the blog, we are sharing four fantastic ideas for days out in the UK.

Days out in the UK

Thorpe park

If you are a thrill seeker or looking for the ideal place to entertain the children, Thorpe park is the place for you. On the outskirts of London near Staines this theme park, situated in a swampy marshland has a whopping 27 rides and 7 roller coasters including Europe’s first winged roller coaster as well as the fasted and the highest in the UK.

Before deciding to visit two top tips are firstly to try and go off-peak, as with over 1.85 million visitors per year, you can end up spending a lot of time queuing at peak times. Secondly book online to get offers and save money on admission price.


Longleat is a beautiful stately home situated in Wiltshire, surrounded by stunning countryside. The grounds offer a great day out for all the family. There is a breath taking Elizabethan country house to tour around, a maze to get lost in and landscaped parkland to stroll and relax in. Furthermore, if you want to experience a safari but do not have the time or money to fly all the way to Africa, then fear not, Longleat brings the safari experience to the UK.

Drive pass tigers, lions, elephants, wolves, cheetahs and many more exotic animals. Top tip, be sure not to leave roof racks loose or pieces dangling off your car because the cheeky monkeys will steel your stuff! Unlike many zoos around the country at Longleat there is the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the animals.

Flying experience

Have you ever wanted to experience being a pilot or wondered what it must have been like to fly a spitfire in the war? Maybe you are an adrenaline junky or fancy a romantic cruise above the clouds. Well look no further, all across the country companies offer flying experience which cater for all these needs. These flying experience companies offer a range of services from small airports all over the country.

Such experiences may include flying lessons, a fighter jet or helicopter experience, parachuting, skydiving or if this all seems a little too action packed, you can seamlessly drift over the countryside with a hot air balloon ride.

Natural history museum London

The natural history museum in west London which pays tribute to Charles Darwin, has one of the most spectacular and varied collections of life and earth science in the world. Swim to the depths with the life size blue whale model or go back in time to the Jurassic period with the robotic T-rex. With over 80 million items to feast your eyes on, there is never enough to see in this marvellous collection, and the best part about it all is it Free of charge!

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Countryside Magic Chambray Sylvias Style

spotty dress

Countryside Magic Chambray Sylvias Style

Sylvia and I are back with our latest Sylvia’s Style post, Countryside Magic Chambray. Today Sylvia is wearing a gorgeous Girls Chambray Polka Dot Print Dress from Love The Sales and this dress is an absolute stunner.

spotty dress

I am a huge lace fan. In fact a few years back when we went to Belgium I loved visiting all the lace stores. I added lace to the bottom of my own wedding dress with the help of a friend and so I am naturally a fan of the Chambray Look.

spotty dress

Chambray pronounced “Sham bra” is an interesting and unique style. In short Chambray is a light fabric woven with a white thread onto coloured material. Almost a kind of embroidery of sorts, the Chambray on Sylvia’s dress is to me absolutely stunning.

spotty dress

The Chambray woven cloth technique first originated Mesopotamia around 5000 BC” During the Bronze age, Mesopotamia included the Sumer and the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires, empires which are all native to the area of modern-day Iraq. I wanted to share the history behind the Chambray technique as I found it very interesting. 

spotty dress

So for this photo shoot we visited the local countryside. The day was magical. An autumn afternoon with grass and trees, brick walls and benches.

spotty dress

Sylvia brought along her bubbles and had a lot of fun catching them in the afternoon sun.

spotty dress

I love the contrast of the blue spotty dress, white Chambray and the brown belt. I think this adds a traditional feel to the dress and really makes it the perfect countryside dress.

spotty dress

My husband John took the photos of Sylvia during this walk. They found some lovely places to shoot pictures and I absolutely love the image below. It is one of my all time favourites.

spotty dress

There were plenty of creepy crawlies and Autumn bugs out and about. Sylvia found a ladybird on a stone. It was more an orange tone than a typical red ladybird or ladybug.

spotty dress

We actually call ladybirds Ladybugs in New Zealand, where I spent many years of my life. Just like swimming costumes are togs and hair bobbles are hair ties. It’s funny how words are different but the object is still the same.

spotty dress

Each week I teach Sylvia the difference between those things which are British and those things which are Kiwi. We are a mixture of both with ancestors from the UK, Tonga and New Zealand. It’s great to have a multicultural heritage and I embrace this and and try to teach Sylvia to do the same.

spotty dress

It was great getting out in nature and something I’d love to do in future is take Sylvia to New Zealand, the place she was born to see the beauty of her native country.

spotty dress

I really love this dress and to me it was the perfect country outfit to take my daughter on a little adventure.

spotty dress

We had a fun afternoon learning and talking about history, nature and culture. The dress is beautiful yet Sylvia will always be the most beautiful on the inside. Well that’s how I feel.

spotty dress

Brilliant blog posts on

Caprice My Boys My Body My Business

Caprice Bourret

Caprice My Boys My Body My Buisiness

Last year I had the pleasure of reading the autobiography of Caprice Bourett. I met Caprice at the 2015 MumpreneurUK Conference and Awards after being nominated as a finalist in the Voice Category.

I have to say Caprice’s keynote speech was awe inspiring and when it was announced that she was signing copies of her new autobiography, I had to get a copy, I wanted to learn more about this amazing woman’s life.

At the end of the night I came away not only with the winning trophy as the 2015 MumpreneurUK Voice Winner but I also had a signed copy of the Autobiography which was fantastic.

After all the hype and celebrations had died down, I began reading the autobiography and I was blown away by the work ethic, life lessons and experiences shared.


Caprice starts out by sharing details of her earlier years followed by her Journey towards becoming a Supermodel. The early years clearly demonstrate that life was not always easy and that in order to realise her dreams she had to work hard and sacrifice a lot including living close to family, something I can certainly relate to.

Working as a model was not always smooth sailing. There were times when Caprice considered packing up and going home, yet she endured so much, following her dreams and eventually found herself modelling in the United Kingdom. The Autobiography shares  life as a model and her experiences in the public eye. What I love the most is that from day one Caprice was financially savvy. She saved hard and invested in property developments, a real business woman from the get go.

I really enjoyed reading about Caprice’s love life. She shares her experiences with men, from innocently dating the captain of the High School football team, to dating high profile men, having fun, being cheated on and eventually falling in love with Ty the love of her life and father of her two sons Jett and Jax.

Caprice Bourret

What really struck a chord with me, and something I could really identify with was Caprice’s experience with chronic illness. She suffered from and overcame Chronic fatigue syndrome, something I struggle with and then went on to have difficulties trying to conceive

After suffering a heartbreaking miscarriage, and several unsuccessful IVF attempts Caprice and Ty made the brave decision to use a gestational carrier or surrogate to carry her child.

I loved reading about surrogacy from a Mother’s perspective and that of the surrogate whose own story is also recorded in the book. Brilliantly Caprice discovered she had conceived naturally within weeks of the surrogate falling pregnant and 9 months later she was the mother to two gorgeous little baby boys.

The Autobiography is one of humility and life lessons. The most empowering parts for me being a mother and becoming financially independent. I loved reading the details of how Caprice started up her business from scratch. I learnt some valuable advice. My favourite quote being, “You have to live and breath your business and you’ve got to educate yourself throughly about your trade”.

This Autobiography is one I’d highly recommend. I’ve discovered more about an amazing woman and feel inspired to become a business woman in my own right. I love how Caprice is now running her own successful brand By Caprice and that she is able to support great causes such as The Woman’s Trust, an organisation supporting women who have suffered abuse.

You truly are an Inspiration!

By Caprice Bedding


Images kindly provided by Caprice
My Boys, My Body, My Business’ is out now through Amazon.

What to Do When Your Loved One Has An Addiction


What to Do When Your Loved One Has An Addiction

Invisible illnesses are one of the hardest things for people to talk about, and there is still so much stigma around certain ones. For example, mental health. One in four people will suffer with a mental health condition at some point in their lives, yet we still find it so hard to talk about. One of the worst stigmatised mental health conditions is an addiction. When a friend or family member suffers with an addiction, it can be hard to know what to do. This guide will help you when a loved one has an addiction.


Recognising the Problem

One of the hardest things to come to terms with is the issue itself. Both for the person with an addiction and their loved ones. You may find yourself excusing their odd behaviour or telling others that it’s just a “phase.” However, the first step to your loved one finding help is for everyone to recognise the problem. This could be a lot easier for you to do than the person with the addiction. Don’t push this issue with them, however. It’s important that they recognise that there is a problem in their own time and on their own terms.

Talking Things Through

It’s important to remember that addiction is a mental health illness; an invisible illness. The reason your loved one may not be talking about it is because they fear the tuts and mutters under the breath – the stigma. You need to make sure that you become a safe place for them to talk about what is going on in their lives, without fear of judgement. Let your loved one know that you’re there for them to talk about anything. Open up a dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to talk. They may not tell you everything right away, but just knowing you’re there is the first step. Soon, they will come to you and talk about things.

Seeking Help

You may be tempted to seek out help for your loved one before they’re ready. When someone is living through an addiction, they are the only people who can get themselves help. Pushing them too far in the wrong direction could break the trust that you’ve built up by talking to them. Broach the subject gently and ask them if they have considered talking to a professional about things. You may also want to seek support for yourself, especially if the person suffering with an addiction is a very close friend or family member. It’s important to remember that you may be suffering too – and you need to talk to someone yourself.

Important Helplines

The three biggest addictions in the UK are alcohol, drugs and gambling. Below you will find important helplines and charities that can help you with these three issues. However, if your loved one is dealing with something more specific, there are plenty of other organisations that can help. Make sure you talk to someone as soon as you can, to find out if there is anything they can do to help.
Alcohol Addiction Charities and Helplines
Drug Addiction Charities and Helplines
Gambling Addiction Charities and Helplines

You and your loved one will get through this, but it’s not going to be an easy journey. Make sure that you’re there for your friend or family member the whole way through. But also remember to take some time out to care for yourself, too.

Featured image source

*Collaborative Post

addiction image

My Struggle to Blog with Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness

My Struggle to Blog with Chronic Illness

I first started blogging when I was really unwell. I was struggling with my health, my Adrenal Insufficiency, I still do struggle but I wanted a way to document and record the good times as well as the difficult so I created

I wanted to share my experiences with others to raise awareness and help understanding as well as record my life as a Mother.

Chronic Illness


A lot has happened since I wrote my first blog post. My blog has evolved over time. The quality of my posts, the way I feel about blogging, the images and photography. When I first began I had no idea if the blog could become successful. I has a simple template and no designs. Things have really changed and evolved.

I did not know I would build over 22 thousand followers across social media, that I would have so many people contacting me about health issues and life problems. I had no idea we would become part of a toy testing team and review fabulous kids products. I had no idea we would get sponsored work involving our Dogs Yoda and Casper and I certainly had no idea I would fall in love with writing fashion posts- something I love and still am in shock about. I love it!

I feel my blog has been very random over the months. I have written about so many topics and subjects all within the realm of my lifestyle.  I’m trying to be more consistent. I’m trying to be consistent in my engagement, in the blog promotion work I do to share my blog posts and the type of posts I write.

I’m making a really big effort to share a Sylvia’s Style post every Friday and find opportunities to review clothing which I find really fun. However being chronically unwell makes this difficult, luckily I have John to help with Photography – although we do take in turns and my photos are getting much better too.

My health is more stable now I am using an Adrenal pump however I still am chronically tired and exhausted and have days I cant do much and it’s a real struggle. I have days when I need to do work or I feel I need to and just don’t have the strength. I’ve spent a lot of the past week in bed yet again.

Being exhausted sometimes leads me to feeling like a failure. I feel rubbish and frustrated I cant achieve all that I would like. Being unwell also gives me a “stressed out” feeling and I guess it can cause me to worry more about things than I usually would were I not so exhausted and fatigued.

I do struggle with knowing what I want at times. I make goals and I make plans. I know it’s so important to have goals and plans to work towards but then I get sick and have to stop for a few days or hours and it gets tough. I wont give up though. I won’t stop blogging. I love it. I love writing and sharing and engaging on social media. It’s just hard to be consistent when my health is not consistent but I will keep on trying to do my best and do all I can.

It’s hard having chronic illness. It stops plans, plans for life, careers, for family and goals but I will keep on fighting through and find a way to live my dreams and learn to adapt and do my best. After all that is all I can do.


The Jurni Suitcase For Tweens and Teenagers

Jurni Suitcase

The Jurni Suitcase For Tweens and Teenagers

Last week Sylvia received a fabulous new Jurni Suitcase to review and today we’d love to share out thoughts.

Jurni Suitcase

I’d like to begin by saying that Sylvia often goes to visit her Grandparents and has always borrowed my suitcase. Now she has her own and she is really super excited and I’m really pleased for her.

Jurni Suitcase

We opted to choose a blue Jurni Suitcase. There are a variety of colours to choose from Red, Blue and Pink. The Jurni case was created by the team who make children’s Trunki Suitcases and these are the perfect size for the tween or teenager.

Jurni Suitcase

The Jurni Suitcase is perfect for the younger generation. We love the different features which include a pop-out pod which is quick to access, in line wheels for gliding the suitcase, flexible storage and the really cool part is you can use the suitcase has a seat.

Jurni Suitcase

The pop out lid is a great feature. It means you can pop small easy to access items into the top of the suitcase and access items you need quickly. That’s really useful when travelling. We have been to many different countries including travelling the Pacific, Europe and through Japan and having a quick and easy space to access can be really handy.

Jurni Suitcase

Another feature of the Jurni Suitcase which I really do like is the flexible storage inside and the fact there is a shelf which can be used when on holiday. We have not been on a overseas holiday in a few years due to focussing on Medical expenses but we are hoping in the future to visit Europe as a family and we quite fancy going to Italy or Spain.

Jurni Suitcase

We really do like the Jurni Suitcase and I’m pleased to announce a fabulous Giveaway competition for you to win your own Jurni Suitcase and a £50 Clickstay Voucher. The giveaway is open for one week and can be entered below.

Entry is open to UK and Ireland residents only and closes at Midnight on the 2nd October 2016.

In order to enter all you have to do is comment below and answer the following question.

Which Clickstay Villa would you love to visit?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Collaborative Post

My Top 5 Disney Songs

Disney Songs

Today I decided to write a fun post about my top 5 Disney songs. For as long as I can remember I have always loved Disney. My first ever Disney movie was The Little Mermaid. I loved the music and the songs. I have a love for Disney Music. It really brings happiness and joy into my life. I also remember going to watch The Lion King when I was ten and seeing new movies as they have come out over the years.

Disney Songs

I have passed my love for Disney onto my daughter and she is a huge Disney Princess fan. There are so many songs andI have passed my love for Disney onto my daughter and she is a huge Disney Princess fan. There are so many movies we love to sing along to and Disney music really is something we both love.

Of course my daughter’s favourite song is Frozen’s Song “Let It go”. Sylvia loves this and there was a time she would dress up as Elsa and sing the song over and over. I love the movie Frozen but my favourite Frozen song is “In Summer” sung by Olaf the snowman. However my all time favourite Disney songs tend to be from older movies and I’ll now share these today.


My Top 5 Disney Songs


The Colours of the Wind- Pocahontas

This is by far one of my favourite Disney songs of all time. I love the tune and the words. The song reminds me of the beauty of the world and reminds me of the beauty of nature.

Reflection- Mulan 

this is a great song sung by Mulan about finding the courage to be her true self and it’s one that again resonates with me as I’ve been on a journey for many years trying to find my true self.

Go The Distance- Hercules

This is another great song again about finding your path and finding where you belong. I’ve finally figured this out about myself. I was never comfortable in New Zealand. I always missed the UK and when I returned home I felt I had come home.

Tale as Old as Time – Beauty and The Beast

I love this song. It’s one that I’ve always enjoyed singing. When my daughter was wrongly taken away from me and I was only able to see her in a Children’s centre, we would play this song and dance together over and over and as upsetting and emotional as it was, it was a comfort to us as it was a song we both enjoyed and I got to hold my little girl. It’s upsetting thinking about it now but it is one of my favourites.

The Circle of Life – The Lion King

I love the song the circle of life. As a teenager, I took part in a performance to this song. I was an Antelope. I like the song and it was brilliant watching it sung and performed on stage in Manchester at the Palace Theatre in 2013.

So these are my Top 5 Disney Songs of all time. Do you love Disney Songs? I’d love to hear which is your favourite and why. Please drop a line in the comments below and let me know.


A New Dress From Love The Sales

yumi dress

A New Dress From Love The Sales

Sylvia’s Style is fast becoming one of my favourite blog posts of the week. I absolutely love it. What is there not to love about finding stylish, modest and gorgeous clothing for your child to wear? I find this fun and therapeutic. Retail therapy can be wonderful and being chronically unwell, I have the option to shop online when I don’t have the energy to get out.

yumi dress

That’s why I love the online company Love The Sales. I really do. Love The Sales have the latest clothing both for adults and kids which are on sale all at one place and so I find it a fun and easy place to visit when I want to find something on sale.

yumi dress

From stores such as Debenhams and Ted Baker there are plenty of brands and plenty of bargain items to choose from. Of course my favourite item is the Dress. Sylvia loves dresses and so do I and so whilst visiting Love the Sales, I took a look at the Lacoste Sale and the House of Fraser sales and found this lovely Yumi Girls Girls Polka Dot Lace Dress.

yumi dress

Yumi is one of my favourite brands. I think I love the fact the dresses have sleeves and they cover my daughter in a way I prefer. This dress is particular is gorgeous. It has a lacy outer layer and the sleeves are really cute.

yumi dress

I do like spots and I also love stripes. I picked out this dress for my daughter and she loved it. Sylvia was super pleased and eager to go out in her lovely new dress. We visited Haigh Hall in Wigan. They have a fantastic area and the park is brilliant.

yumi dress

I love taking photos of Sylvia and to be honest she is getting better at letting me do this. Sylvia does not always want her picture taken. Who would, but she does enjoy going out on adventures and wearing her lovely outfits and having fun.

yumi dress

The key to taking lovely shots is to make the activity fun. If we just went out to take pictures of a dress then that would be no fun at all, but Sylvia got to dress up, explore, play in the park and have fun and she loved that.

yumi dress

I’m always looking for the next Sylvia’s Style item to feature on the blog and to be honest, I will for sure be returning to Love the sales. We are going to need some winter warmers soon and so I’m putting a little money away for the Black Friday Deals. You never know what fabulous items may be available.

yumi dress

Shopping is fun. Getting things on sale is even better and beautiful dresses are awesome. I do hope you like this dress. It’s really pretty in my opinion and the material is lovely and soft.

yumi dress

I look forward to sharing more items from the Love The Sales site at a future date. What do you think? Are you a fan of the spotty dress? I am.

yumi dress

Via Love The Sales

My Cancer Scare When The Smear Test Came Back Positive

My Cancer Scare When The Smear Test Came Back Positive

Two years back I experienced the type of heart wrenching panic when you hear news you’re not expecting.

I’d turned 25 years old and so the obligatory cervical smear loomed. The nurse was fantastic and put me at straight at ease. I looked healthy, the test would come back clear and everything would go on as normal. There was no other possibility in my mind either. Getting to the age where you have smears was, for me, focused on the embarrassment on the day rather than the test results afterwards.

smear test

The results of my smear test 

Unfortunately they instead found that I had fairly severe dysplasia of the cells on my cervix (CIN 3), the results indicated that I needed to be seen urgently and was referred to the hospital for a colposcopy within 2 weeks.

Hearing this news was shocking to say the least. My parents were equally worried which frightened me more. The thought that I could possibly have cancer or be so close to having cancer was awful. Not knowing really where to turn to I scoured the net which both healed and intensified my worries.

The Colposcopy

The colposcopy involved a more detailed look at my cervix as well as snipping a small chunk from my cervix to be inspected further under the microscope. The procedure confirmed that I did indeed have CIN 3 caused by HPV and was recommended for the LLETZ procedure.

The LLETZ treatment

LLETZ, or large loop excision of the transformation zone uses a small wire loop and an electrical current running through it to cut away the affected area of tissue and seal the wound at the same time. I was put under local anaesthetic for the procedure and warned that I would need a follow up treatment to double check all of the CIN3 had been cut away. My follow up check brought me some good news – I finally had the all clear.

The after-effects

The serious and evasive nature of my procedure left me with a sizeable hole in my cervix. LLETZ treatments in general increase the risk of miscarriage when trying for a baby and so this is something I’ve had to come to terms with.

However, I’m extremely lucky. I was tested and treated before it could develop to cancer. I’ve since had the all clear on my yearly smear tests and it has made me care for my body and myself much more.

Breaking the smear test stigma

Smear tests have an odd place in conversation between 20 somethings I feel. We might mention them in passing, but never in detail and certainly not if there’s been any form of unfavourable result. Perhaps it’s because smear tests are still so new to us in our 20’s? Or perhaps we are embarrassed by how abnormal results are caused – HPV? All the same, I want to share my experience to shout out about the importance of having your smear test and to show support to any young woman who may be frantically be searching the net for hope… just like I did when I found out my results.

Check out Jo’s trust at for more information of cervical cancer. It’s a brilliant, easy to understand and friendly source that goes into the detail of each stage of your smear, colposcopy and LLETZ.


from a London-based beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog.
Lucky Pretty

Having An Allergic Reaction and Adrenal Insufficiency

alergic reaction

Having An Allergic Reaction and Adrenal Insufficiency

Well, this morning I woke up with an itchy body. My ears are itching, my neck, my face and my arms. I have developed a rash and I really have no idea why.

So, I made an urgent appointment to see the Doctor. Maybe he can figure it out or at least prescribe the correct medication to help reduce the itch. I’ve not had an allergic reaction in years, maybe about ten years and this is very unusual for me.

alergic reaction

Since starting the adrenal pump my pain has improved and my nausea gone. The dizziness faded and I was gaining my strength back. Then suddenly about two weeks ago I started to go backwards in a different way.

I’m now exhausted again with no energy or strength but it’s not adrenal. I have issues with my Iron levels and since having a gastric bypass my zinc and folate has been out of wack quite a bit so my super exhaustion and inability to do much is currently most likely to do with low Iron levels.

I know low Zinc could give a rash so that may be part of the reason for my reaction or it could be something totally different. I’m not doubling any meds but if I start to feel unwell adrenally I may need to bolus my pump or take some extra steroids but I will monitor the situation and see how things go.

I have had a major headache for about 5 days and its not related to how much i’m drinking. I guess getting well takes time and as frustrating as it is, I need to go and have a load of blood tests to see whats out of wack and get the correct treatment.

I am going to see my Endocrinology Nurse this afternoon at the local hospital. I will be chasing up any progress on my request to get adrenal pump medication via the NHS (public health system) and should have an idea of what is required or is happening by the end of the day.

I’m also going to the Bariatric team in two weeks for a six month review and they will test all my blood levels and check for any vitamin deficiencies which I am clearly suffering from.

It’s not nice feeling absolutely shattered and going back to how I was needing to rest in bed an awful lot- but I am stable. I am not going into hospital and collapsing or about to enter an adrenal crisis each day and that is a major stressor gone. Of course I have to monitor my health from hour to hour and these vitamin issues are making me feel so so unwell but it’s not as bad as I was feeling when the adrenal Insufficiency is unstable.

I guess all of these things will take time to get under control and sort out. I do hope I can get the itching under control as it’s really bothering me. I also want my energy levels to increase. I’m tired of being stuck in bed a lot of the time. I also hope my Iron tablets will start working soon as I am simply exhausted with no energy or strength and I really do need it.

Do you have vitamin Deficiencies? How do you manage allergic reactions with or without adrenal insufficiency? I’d love to hear from you.

allergic reaction

Pass The Pen Review With Wicked Uncle

pass the pen

Pass The Pen Review With Wicked Uncle

This week we got a fantastic new game in the mail called Pass the Pen from the children’s gift store Wicked Uncle. I was not sure what to expect as we have never purchased a gift or game from Wicked Uncle before but this game was fabulous and Sylvia really does love it.

pass the pen

Sylvia was so excited to play she took her game into the garden to play with her school friends. The game is for children aged 8 plus and was an instant hit. There are four basic items, cards, a pen, paper and a dice.

pass the pen

The game is simple and easy to play. You roll the dice and then whatever colour you get, you have to draw the item on the back of the card connected to that colour. For example if you roll yellow, you draw the words written in yellow.

Some examples were, Starwars, Swordfish, Grand Piano and Apple Pie. I think the age range for the game is appropriate as some of the words are more trickier than others. Sylvia knew most of the words but some she is learning which is not a bad thing. It’s an opportunity for her to increase her vocabulary.

pass the pen

The Pen is on a timer and the tip of the pen disappears very quickly. You have to draw the item on the paper before the tip runs out. It is really fast and we found this aspect of the game made it fun and exciting. Sylvia had fun and I enjoyed the game too. Some children’s games I don’t enjoy and find a little boring but I really enjoyed this one.

pass the pen

Sylvia enjoyed playing the game for the first time with her school friends outside and then played with me later on in the evening. We had a lot of fun and Pass the pen was a big hit for everyone. We will be keeping this game in the games cupboard and I suspect we will be playing it quite a lot in the coming days.

pass the pen

We made a video of our game and had a lot of fun. You may enjoy watching us playing pass the pen. Why not take a look.


Disclosure: We were gifted this game for the purpose of review. 

My Relaxing Spa Experience At Volair Spa in Knowsley

volair spa day

My Relaxing Spa Experience At Volair Spa in Knowsley

Yesterday I attended a fantastic Spa Pamper Day at the Volair Spa located at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park in Merseyside. I have to admit I had never been to a thermal Spa before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I even considered cancelling as I wasn’t feeling very energetic however I didn’t want to miss the opportunity and boy am I glad I went. It was the best decision ever.

volair spa day

When I arrived at Volair Spa, I was met by Hayley who welcomed me and gave me a robe and slippers to change into. I went to the changing room and slipped on my swimming costume and the luxurious brown robe which felt soft and smooth against my skin.

Volair spa

My first experience was to go downstairs into the thermal spa area. Here there were a selection of Lycon exfoliation scrubs. I got to smell them all and choose the Sugar Scrub treatment I wanted. I loved the smell of the Pink Grapefruit and the Apple and Cranberry scrubs but I went with my favourite smell Coconut and Vanilla.

spa products

Those who have visited the blog before will know that I have an electronic adrenal pump for my condition Adrenal Insufficiency. I could not wear my pump in the thermal spa area as I did not want to risk getting it wet. I gave myself an extra 5mg of medication to cover the time period in the spa and removed my pump. I then showered to wet my body before using the exfoliating scrub.

Volair Spa

After covering my body in the Coconut scrub, (which smelt delicious) I washed the scrub off in the shower and once my body was rinsed I went into the Jaccuzi hot tub. This was wonderful. I smelt great and was joined by 3 other bloggers. We had a lovely relaxing rest in the water and chatted. It really was an enjoyable experience.


I didn’t want to get out of the Jacuzzi, It was so nice. The Volair Thermal Spa has an Alpine Herbal Sauna and a Salt Crystal Steam Room and so I eventually left the hot tub to try out the Sauna. The Sauna was really hot and relaxing as was the Steam room. I preferred the steam room as it was less dry for me and the steam did a great job of helping remove my dead skin.

volair spa day

After the Sauna and steam room I chilled out in the resting area and then went back into the jacuzzi for round two. It was a lovely experience and very relaxing. The warmth of the water and steam also helped with my general aches and pains which was really great.

volair spa day

The Volair Spa have a great deal where two people can visit the thermal spa for £15 and I am planning to go back with my husband John for my Birthday in November. I can’t wait for us to experience this together.

volair spa day

After my time in the water I dried off and used a Lycon Moisturising lotion on my body. This time I went for the Pink Grapefruit and I returned upstairs dry and smelling so good. I loved the grapefruit smell and was excited to find a sample of Pink Grapefruit scrub in my goodie bag.

volair spa day

After the Thermal Spa session we had a wonderful lunch with the option of Bubbles or Juice. I had a glass of orange juice. I loved the tasty wraps. Since having my Gastric Bypass I need to fill up on protein and the chicken and beef wraps were the perfect refreshment for me.

Volair Spa Buffet

Following Lunch I had a really special facial session. This was so educational and just what I needed. Hayley was fantastic and funny. She taught us about the importance of cleansing and toning. I learnt why you should cleanse your face and how to help prevent the skin ageing sooner than it needs to. This was new to me and something I found fascinating.

volair spa day

We used the Aroma Works Purity Eye cleanser and then used a toner and moisturising oils designed specifically for our skin types. My skin was dry and a little dehydrated so I used a Nourish oil which smelt absolutely gorgeous. We were shown how to cleanse and learnt about the different pressure points around the eyes and sinus areas. I really did get an education and came home with lots of lovely samples to use.

volair treatment room

The final part of the day was to watch and learn all about Micro-dermabrasion facial treatments. I did not really know much about this before today but now I do and I am excited as I have a voucher to go and have a treatment of my choice in the coming weeks.

microdermabrasion CRYSTALS

The beautician used Crystal Clear Micro-dermabrasion to give one of the bloggers a facial which I watched. We also had small amount of crystals placed on our hands and got to feel the sensation of the microdermabrasion tool so we could know what it feels like. The treatment worked well and afterwards I could see a definite glow and difference to the one having the Crystal Clear  treatment.

volair spa gifts

On the way home I got to check out the goodie bag which was fantastic. I have a voucher for a treatment, lots of sample oils and the Grapefruit exfoliation product. I got quite a few things and cant wait to start using them. The Volair Spa was fantastic. It was better than I imagined and I really enjoyed telling my husband and now you the reader about my day. I really do look forward to going back.

Thank you to the ladies at Volair Spa for such a wonderful day. It’s one I don’t think I will forget.

Disclosure: I was invited to the event and the writing of this post is optional.

A Fabulous Living Room For Any Home

Lounge Mood Board

A Fabulous Living Room For Any Home

Summer crept upon us and we were able to open the doors and windows in the lounge and let a lot more light and air in. I love Summer time and enjoyed spending more time in the lounge on the sofa rather than in bed upstairs.

With the change in weather there are some little things I could do in the lounge to spruce up the place and create a more light and bright atmosphere. As I’m saving for medical costs, we wont be buying any new furniture this season, but just like I did as a child, I decided to create a Mood board of ideas and wishes. After all a girl can wish.

If I could create a mood board I would choose a new sofa and cushions, lights, ornaments and a stool.

Lounge Mood Board

So first of all, I would remove our broken Sofa and replace it with the Alicia 5 Seat Corner Sofa from Fishpools. I love the look of a corner sofa big enough to seat the whole family.

I would buy some saffron yellow Topsy cushions with Elephants. They are so cute and would look fabulous on the new sofa.

I would buy a Vintage style wooden fabric poufs to place in the lounge. The striking yellow would complement the new Elephant cushions.

For lighting I’d purchase two Albert pendant Lamps in Duck Egg colour and for finishing touches I’d buy 3 Giraffe Safari Vase from MiaFleur. They are simply gorgeous.

I think all of these great pieces could help create a wonderful Lounge look, even a Safari style look and it would be one room, I’d want to hang out in.

How would you decorate your room? I hope to share some more ideas in the coming months. I am looking forward to creating a mood board for my daughters room too.


This is a Collaborative Post

Stripes Bows and Boots Sylvias Style

Stripy Dress

Stripes Bows and Boots Sylvias Style

Welcome back to another episode of Sylvias Style. We recently discovered an online store called Sammy Dress which sells some lovely items for both adults and kids. I went to the girls section with Sylvia and together we chose a new dress.

Stripy Dress

I am a huge fan of stripes. You may have noticed that in many photos I wear stripy tops. It’s one of my favourites. I don’t know why but I feel good in stripes, horizontal not vertical. So I naturally fell in love with the Striped Mesh Spliced Dress For Girls.


Sylvia loves pretty. She loves skirts and dresses. She likes organza, and puffy skirts and bows. So together we felt this dress would be a great one for her to order. For under seven pounds I thought it was a brilliant price.


I’ve never really ordered clothes from a Chinese store before. Sammy Dress has warehouses in China, USA and Europe and our parcel arrived super fast in two days. The quality of the dress is really good. I was waiting to see if the materials were good or not but they really are similar quality to the items we buy from Asda and Tesco and I was really pleased with this dress.

Stripy Dress

Most importantly Sylvia loves the dress and could not wait to try it out. Usually my husband takes photos but for this photo shoot I really wanted to have a turn behind the camera. I did pretty good and the photos with a little editing came out perfect.

Stripy Dress

I was going to get Sylvia to wear some pretty ballet pump style shoes but she wanted to wear her black boots. I wasn’t going to say no and the boots do bring out the bow in the middle. An interesting pick but it worked well.

Stripy Dress

So we took photos just outside our home. It took five minutes, the editing took a few hours but it was fun. I loved every moment and Sylvia now has a great new item for her wardrobe. Seriously….we need a second wardrobe, there is no space for all her clothes.

Stripy Dress

We also got a new coat in the mail from Sammy Dress which we will be featuring in the coming weeks. I’m loving writing these blog posts and hope you the reader are enjoying it too.

Stripy Dress

Next year, I plan to create a fantastic photo book of Sylvia in all her outfits. It’s a fun project I want to work on and will be a nice keepsake for us. Fashion really is fun and I really like this dress. What do you think?

Stripy Dress

Sausages and Chips In Space We Love Dogs and Cats

Sausages and chips

Sausages and Chips In Space We Love Dogs and Cats

Last week Sylvia received a lovely book in the mail called Sausages and Chips In Space. The book is the first in a series of ten, written by Rick Joyce and illustrated by Cassie Gregory.

Sausages and Chips

My daughter Sylvia is a huge fan of animals. She currently wants to be a vet when she grows up and she is particularly fond of dogs and cats. In the series Chips is a Siamese Cat who is always ready to learn new things while on adventures with her Dog pal Sausage.

Sausages and chips

In the book Sausages and Chips In Space, the siamese cat and dachshund dog travel in their space ship to outer space. They go on a lovely adventure meeting strange creatures, including a giant mouse.

Sausages and chips

After school Sylvia can choose to read her reading book or a book of her own choice. As soon as she saw her new book she was very excited and willing to read. The pages are well illustrated and the storyline interesting enough they kept her reading the whole way through.

Sausages and chips

I do think the book is at the right level for Sylvia to read on her own and great for younger kids if read by the parent. The words are simple enough to understand and the story has a good flow to it.

Sausages and chips

We really do enjoy reading new books especially ones we can keep and add to our collection and this Sausage and Chips book does not disappoint. Sylvia enjoyed reading the book out loud and I enjoyed hearing the story too.

Sausages and chips

We did like the first book in the Sausage and Chips series and look forward to the next book, Sausages and Chips in the jungle coming out soon. Thanks for the opportunity to review the book.

*We were gifted this book in return for an honest review

KLTR Linky and The Lost Smile


KLTR Linky and The Lost Smile

Welcome to the KLTR Linky that I co-host with the lovely Laura from Laura’s Lovely BlogThis is a Linky dedicated to something after both of our hearts, for Laura as a bookworm and English graduate and for me as a previous Early Years Teacher, encouraging and sharing the love of reading.

On the third Monday of every month, we will host a blog Linky for you to link up anything related to encouraging children to read, be it book reviews, activities or phonics we want to hear about them.

 All you need to do to join is: 

– Write about reading with children, share your love and your children’s love of books, what do you love to read together, how do you encouraging reading and books with your little or not so little ones? Books you love or book reviews.

 – This Linky is open every 3rd Monday of the month for one week.

– Grab the Kids Love to Read badge and pop it in your post.

– Use the #KLTR hashtag on Twitter and Instagram

– Share the love – try and read & comment the host’s posts and on 2 other blogs listed on the Linky

Laura and I love to read the posts linked up and last month we had some fantastic reads.

Laura’s favourite was and my favourite was from Ups and Downs Smiles and Frowns

My favourite post was by The Night Pirates by Diary of an Imperfect Mum

Well done Ladies on fantastic posts. 

Laura and Angela x

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Kids Love To Read |

The giveaway book for September  is called The Lost Smile by Joseph Coelho and Sheena Dempsey. We have one copy to giveaway.

*Entrants must reside in the UK or Ireland. The competition closes on the 2nd October 2016. One winner will be randomly chosen. You can Enter Below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Introducing Our Pawfect Photos Hashtag on Instagram


For some time I have wanted to find a way to share my love of dogs, in particular our loveable Bichon’s Yoda and Casper. I often write in our category A Dogs Life and many people say they enjoy reading about the antics of our dogs.

John loves photography as do I and Sylvia loves the Dogs. After much thinking and discussion, we have come up with the idea of #PawfectPhotos.

The PawfectPhotos Instagram page will share our favourite images of Yoda, Casper and other dogs throughout the world. I’m really excited about this and hope to have people join in on a regular basis and build a fun and fabulous dog loving community.



So this is how PawfectPhotos will work. We will share regular photos over on our Instagram Feed both of Yoda and Casper going about their daily lives.

I will visit the images others link up via the hashtag #PawfectPhotos and am looking forward to seeing some adorable photos.

So whether you own a dog or not, we would love you to follow our new Instagram page and if you have a dog please do link up via our hashtag.

Until then, Happy Pawtography.

Bichon Love- The Portrait Project


Bichon Love- The Portrait Project

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” Kahlil Gibran

sylvia cuddling Yoda the dog

As of this week, I will be starting a new project called “The Portrait Project”. I plan to share a portrait picture of my daughter each week and will be linking it up to the Living Arrows Linky.

I hope you like this Sunday Series.

We recently went on a dog walk to Yarrow Valley Park. Sylvia has a fantastic time running around the lake with Yoda and Casper. This is Sylvia giving Yoda a big cuddle. We also took photos of Sylvia modelling her Autumn Clothes if you would like to pop over and read the post.


Living Arrows

24 weeks after Gastric Bypass Surgery

gastric bypass surgery

24 weeks after Gastric Bypass Surgery

I cannot believe it has been 24 weeks since my Gastric Bypass Surgery. It feels like only yesterday that I was preparing myself and waiting for the operation to come. It has been a battle of ups and downs and still is at times but I’m feeling a lot happier where I am than many weeks earlier.

bariatric surgery

So I am officially 6 months out and am currently weighing in at 15 Stone and 7 pounds. I cannot believe it. I stood on the scales today and after 4 weeks of very little movement I am finally weighing less than before. I am on track for my goal of 15 Stone in time for my 34th birthday in November. I think I may be able to do this if I don’t have another big stall.

Last week I was afraid the weight loss had stopped for good but it must have just taken a month for my body to adjust and I am so happy to have lost 3 lbs after so long. Losing weight before and after gastirc bypass is never easy. To be honest it is very similar emotionally and mentally to when I did weight watchers a few years back.

I still have to make big choices and do my part. The bypass is a tool to assist me in eating less at a time. I am making better choices. One benefit is I cannot stand foods or the smell of foods like Macdonalds. My daughter can have a happy meal and John have his favourite big tasty and I have no desire to have any of it. I’m happy to eat soup or cheese and tomato crackers or something more tasty.

I feel like i’m making a little progress again and so that is a good feeling. I’m even excited. My next official weigh in at hospital is at the start of October and I will then find out if I’m on track. Yesterday I made protein balls for the first time.

You see I can eat chocolate but I don’t want to. It’s not good for the body and not part of the bariatric diet. I still have a sweet tooth and feel cravings for sweet food everyday, especially after a meal in the evening. So I decided to make a batch of almond and date protein balls and they turned out fabulous.

I’m limiting myself to one in the day and one in the evening and thats my sweet fix for the day and some extra protein which I need as a bariatric patient. I totally went off porridge after my operation and any sloppy cereal to the point I was not enjoying cereal anymore and struggling with breakfast. This week I had porridge again and it went down okay. I am mixing things up and having a slice of bacon with beans and tomato or egg and beans or something high in protein for breakfast. I prefer to eat a protein breakfast to cereal but glad I like porridge again. I plan to grate apple into my porridge to add some natural sweetness.

For lunch I’m eating crackers with cheese and tomato or cucumber or tuna. I’m having half a jacket potato with some salad or baked beans and protein such as chicken or tuna or cottage cheese. I’m so glad I can finally eat certain foods again.

I have still never had dumping syndrome and am yet to suffer from that. I simply don’t think my body gets it. Drink wise, I’m having Milk, water and Barleycup which is a nice non caffeinated hot drink.

I’m trying to eat healthy in the evenings, which is the hardest time for me. If John and Sylvia have something which is not for me, I will have soup or a shepherds pie. I am cooking slow cooker meals once a week for the weekends and they usually have tons of veg, beans and chicken in them. The whole family love that.

I like fish fingers and strangely enough I crave potato waffles with bake beans. Waffles are not the best option but I have had one a week as a treat and it goes down okay. I rang my dietician and she said to eat 1200-1500 calories per day. I am not eating over that ever.

The key thing is to eat as healthy as I can and not have too many treats or “less healthy” options. It can be hard and I find it difficult now I can eat bread again. For example, I feel like eating pizza and potato a lot. I guess it’s the body wanting carbs. So, instead of buying pizza, we have created home made healthy pizza on flat bread and even then I can only manage a slice or two and it’s full of veg.

Sylvia had fun making pizzas with me too so thats really cool. I went to the library to look up slow cooker recipes and I also looked up healthy treats, non processed and healthy fats. I am going to try and bake/make something extra healthy each week such as the protein balls so it will help me avoid chocolate which I think is the one thing I am fighting so hard not to eat.

Well that’s my progress for the week. I am also doing little arm exercises each day and walking for a minute and resting. It’s small steps for me but I think these things are helping. My confidence is also growing a little. I got myself a nice bag and purse and when I lose enough weight to move down a dress size, I am going to buy some sports wear from the supermarket. I like leggings and sports tops so thats the plan.


I’m beginning to feel more beautiful, not as fat as I was and like I deserve to be and feel happy about my body. I am still a little scared I wont ever be or get to the healthy BMi range. I worry the weight loss will stop eventually and it will but I will see what happens.

I am planning to join most likely weight watchers once I reach my 15 stone mark. It’s not really in the family budget so i’m putting it off for a while but will join up soon.

bariatric surgery

Walking The Dogs Sylvia’s Style Girls Autumn Fashion

Autumn  fashion header

Walking The Dogs Sylvia’s Style Girls Autumn Fashion

Last week, Sylvia got a new Autumn outfit which I absolutely adore. She wore her new top, cardigan and hat out as we walked our dogs Yoda and Casper and we used it as an opportunity to take some fantastic photos.

Autumn haT

We bought the 3 clothing items from Tesco’s FnF range. I have to admit, living in Yorkshire, In a town with no Tescos, I was unaware of the FnF brand for a few years. Once we moved to Lancashire we discovered a Tesco Extra just down the road and I fell in love with their FnF dresses and outfits.

girl and bichon dog

It was quite chilly out walking our Bichon Dogs and the outfit Sylvia chose was really just right for the weather and the upcoming season. I was so impressed with her choice.

girl and bichon dog

So we went to Yarrow Valley Park one of our all time favourite places to walk our dogs. John took the photos and I went part of the way but also sat down at a bench to rest as I wouldn’t have been able to do the whole walk.

girl and bichon dog on stairs

Yoda and Casper loved their adventure at the Park and took in turns to run around, climb stairs and wonder about with Sylvia.


The Dogs had a fantastic time and even ran around the smaller lake with Sylvia, the whole way around. I was so impressed.

sylvia cuddling Yoda the dog

Yoda got a big cuddle. I just loved this shot and had to share as I think it is adorable. Both our dogs love to have cuddles and are such lovable little dogs. We love them to bits.

girl and bichon dog

So I love the new cardigan we got Sylvia. It has a lovely pattern and a fluffy collar which can be buttoned on or taken off. She matched this with a Autumn t-shirt and her black skinny Jeans.

sylvia walking dog

The hat to me is just adorable and so gorgeous. I love the pom pom’s on the top and it’s the perfect colour for the upcoming season.


We had a lovely time out. Sylvia and the boys (Yoda and Casper) had an amazing time. They really had a work out. The dogs were exhausted after all the exercise and so was Sylvy. Running around and posing for some lovely photos. I think she did a fantastic job. The style suits her and the pictures turned out wonderful. I look forward to going out again with Sylvia and the dogs and hopefully I can walk a little further next time.

sylvia holding bichon dog

Thanks to John Milnes my husband for the photography. The items were purchased and not gifted.



Brilliant blog posts on

Falling in Love With Kids Fashion How It All Began


Falling in Love With Kids Fashion How It All Began

I have never really been into adult or kids fashion. As a child I wore what I was given. As a teenager I did find the style I loved which was black trousers a fitted t-shirt and a jumper. I love girls hoodies and exercise clothes. I never really got into style but managed to look and feel good in the clothes I wore.


After my first marriage, which was filled with abuse I gained weight. I comfort ate and ate my feelings. I also had PCOS, Polycistic ovarian syndrome which does not help with weight issues. My x husband would buy me food to say sorry for abuse and neglect- it was a cultural thing. It really was the start of my weight issues and the bigger I got the less “nice” clothes I could find.

I ended up wearing rubbish, clothing I did not like which did not flatter me. It’s been that way for a long long time to be honest. But something changed. When Sylvia was about 5, (three years ago) she started to have an interest in dressing up, in looking pretty and she seemed to have a little talent for co-ordinating her clothes.

I wasn’t too fussed but being a “previous teacher” I have a philosophy of allowing a child to develop based on their interests. So I gave Sylvia opportunities to choose her own clothes and pick out what she wanted to wear. We didn’t have much money so we would visit charity shops and car boot sales looking for bargain items.

After becoming unwell in 2013 I didn’t really have an opportunity to look for clothes as I used to. However we were fortunate to be given some gorgeous hand me downs from stores like Next and Monsoon. We also had friends buy Sylvia gifts from time to time.

In fact, when I was a struggling single mother my best friend Esther another blogger at Inside Out and About worked an interesting job. This was before Otto, Win and Ru were born. Esther is very kind and every year she would bring Sylvia a brand new coat from Marks and Spencers. This became an annual thing and Sylvia had the most gorgeous new coat each winter. Something I will forever be grateful for.


Back in 2010 and 2011 I loved taking photos of Sylvia. I had a little camera and took it everywhere I went. I have many pictures from the younger years although the quality is not go great compared to today. I started taking pictures of Sylvia in her different outfits but never really shared them. I just uploaded them all onto my computer.

After I began blogging, near the end of 2015, I decided to start a category called My Sunday Style which later evolved into Sylvia’s Style. We started out just taking photos in different outfits Sylvia had been given. Sylvia visited Primark and bought four lovely t-shirts. I planned to share these on the blog and we took photos but with all that was going on with my health and life, the photos never got onto the blog. We took tons of pictures and many many pictures remained on my desk top unused.

I didn’t feel very confident and  although I was writing this category in the blog I was inconsistent. I think I doubted myself because my knowledge of fashion and British clothing stores was limited. I did not have much confidence and so I didn’t put in the effort to really build that category.

But then we were contacted by Debenhams. We were asked to collaborate on a blog post and so I ordered some really pretty dresses, one’s I’d never afford to go out and buy. We were then contacted by House of Fraser and then other companies and over time I have become more confident writing posts about Sylvia’s Style is our way.

Earlier this year I decided to take the Sylvia’s Style Category more serious. Sylvia started to really enjoy modelling clothes and I realised that this is something we can do. I’m still not a fashion expert and I’m not trying to be but I figured if we just have fun with outfits and mix it up with adventures and stories and share on the blog then maybe we can eventually review more clothes and collaborate with children’s clothing brands.

Well things are going well and the more effort I put in, the more opportunities we are getting. I really am trying hard and feel excited about where this could lead. Sylvia is enjoying trying new clothes and we are having fun. It’s a lovely feeling. I’m happy, my daughter is happy and I have developed a new passion. One I never expected. A passion for fashion.

I’m excited about our up and coming collaborations. We have a few lined up as well as Sylvia’s Autumn Fashion Picks. I look forward to sharing these on the blog and hope to build a following of people who enjoy reading our #SylviasStyle posts.

Sylvias Style

A Masters In Motherhood

A masters in Motherhood

I was recently gifted a copy of the book Masters In Motherhood (From the University Of Life) by Gill Arthey. I really enjoy reading about people’s experiences and this book is certainly one to read.

A masters in Motherhood

At 14 weeks Eddie and Gill discover they are to become parents of not one, not two but three children. The book shares how the family learn they are to have triplets and then goes on to share the experience of raising three little triplets.

I really enjoyed reading the book from the start to the end. I found it really interesting and fun. Gill takes you through the early years and shares the mischievous nature of the triplets. They grew up exploring the outside and having fun. I enjoyed reading about the antics of the children, the difficulties and problems faced when having triplets.

You really don’t need to be a mother of triplets to enjoy the book, it is a great read and really enjoyable. I think having just one child I can relate to the things in the book and the fact that no mother has a degree in parenting. Motherhood is in deed a learn as you go adventure and you do learn to run with the curve balls of life you receive.

a masters in motherhood

The great news is I have one copy of A Masters in Motherhood to give away to one of my blog readers. If you would like to enter the competition then please do so using the Gleam Ap below. The competition ends on the 25th September and one winner will be announced on twitter and facebook.

This giveaway is open to UK and Ireland residents only.

You can also order your own book over on Amazon
Win a Copy of Masters In Motherhood By Gill Arthey


*The giveaway item was gifted by the Author Gill Arthey

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