My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Wonderbly has the Golden Ticket!

"Welcome my friends, welcome to my chocolate factory"
Willy Wonka

Have you heard of Wonderbly? If you haven't, I'm sure you've heard of Lost My Name? The wonderfully creative company that brought us the personalised, immersive and intricately illustrated The Little Girl who Lost her Name and The Little Boy who Lost his Name?

In 2012, four friends combined their ideas, their endless talents and every spare minute of their day to creating something special. They made a personalised book that was like no other, and were behind the launch of the company we knew as Lost My Name. With the perfect mix of imaginative rhyme and attractive illustration, these four friends soon realised that they had brought something to the market that people wanted. People in their hundreds, their thousands ... their millions! Fast forward to 2017, a mere five years later, and the company has grown so much, a rebrand was needed.

And so we have Wonderbly!

Boasting a total of 6 captivating story books, Milestone cards, a Snap! game and an alphabet poster, all personalised, of course, Wonderbly, for now, cater for a young audience between the ages of 0-12 years.

"Come with me, And you'll be
In a world of pure imagination ..."

Now, just when we thought their books couldn't get any more beautiful, they go and bring out something extra amazing. Brilliant in anyone's eyes, I'd say, but Munch is such a huge fan of Roald Dahl and I believe his masterpieces will always have a significant place in her heart.

So, when she is handed a carefully crafted book that promises to take her imagination to places it has never before ventured and offers her a deeper look into the wacky world of Willy Wonka, she couldn't get the front cover open quickly enough!

Introducing My Golden Ticket!

As much as I want to delve into this book in great detail, showing you every page and telling you all about the amazing adventure it offers from cover to cover, I feel that would take away some of the magic that comes from laying eyes on these pages for the first time. The illustrations are, as always, captivating, and the text, design and whole idea behind this creation is something quite special and is sure to be treasured for a lifetime and beyond by any Roald Dahl fan.

Readers, young and old, are treated to a classically exciting introduction when they open the front cover. Anyone that has read the story or watched the film starring the most fantastically eccentric chocolate factory owner ever known, has felt the excitement surrounding the children of the story as they peel back those candy wrappers to reveal a corner of shimmering gold, Wonderbly's Golden Ticket begins this journey with a golden ticket. A ticket that means exclusivity, and gives its holder access to to places never seen before. And that is exactly what Wonderbly offers here.

And a personalised touch to start the adventure ...

From Factory Rules to Floor Plans, Room Tours to a Rock Candy Mine, just as Mr Wonka had done for a little boy many years ago, Wonderbly have managed to create a beautifully bonkers, wonderfully wacky, but spectacularly special book that takes you on a walk deeper and deeper into the world of Wonka, which all leads to something quite amazing at the end.

But I wouldn't spoil that!

The design of every page has been carefully constructed, ensuring that no part of any page is left bare. Illustrations large and small grace every inch of every page, and every single one of them has meaning and a significant place in the book.

Watching Munch's facial expressions as she turns each page has been an adventure in itself, and listening to her reading the words, some of which have been written especially for her, is absolutely magical. The long, Dahlish words that can have a completely different definition each and every time they are read, allow her imagination to venture on an infinite number of adventures.

So far, Munch has read this book a number of times, and she seems to notice something she hadn't noticed before every time, so I'd call that a gift that keeps on giving! One thing I do know though, is that the next time she reads Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it will be through an entirely evolved pair of eyes! After all, she now knows exactly how much magic those stony walls are hiding!

This book is an ideal and unique gift for any Roald Dahl fan, young or old! And ordering a copy could not be easier. The Wonderbly website is incredibly inviting and simple to use, and the step by step instructions guide you through the whole process, making sure that nothing is missed along the way. And with the option to add your own personalised message to the beginning of the book, you really are creating something that will be treasured forever! Available in paperback (£19.99) or hardcover (£25.99), Wonderbly keep you completely up to date on the status of your order and, if you do encounter a problem (which is very unlikely), then their customer service is second to none! 

I hope Wonderbly continue to grow, as the magic they provide to their audience is truly enchanting. I honestly believe, with Wonderbly, anything is possible if you just unleash a little imagination!

The joy in those eyes ...? 
That's the wonder of Wonka ...
That's the wonder of Wonderbly!

Keep up to date with news, offers and upcoming titles by following Wonderbly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and see how to order any of the Wonderbly range & keep an eye on updates on their website.

We were sent a copy of My Golden Ticket for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are 100% our own. No other payment was received.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The 5 hottest budget-friendly Christmas toys of 2017

Dear Santa ...

Christmas is for kids and each child deserves to feel the magic of the season. What a better way to do that than giving them something really nice, such as a toy? With so many toys available on the market, it can be overwhelming to shop especially if you have several dozen on your list. Looking for a toy that will not break the bank? Here are the hottest items we found, that the kids, and even the kids at heart, will love:

1. Luvabella Doll, RRP £99.99

These life-like dolls are selling like hotcakes and it's easy to understand why. Just like a real and breathing baby, the Luvabella doll expresses herself by crying, smiling, and laughing. She giggles when tickled, reacts when spoon-fed and takes a nap when you lull her to sleep. What's unique about this doll is that Luvabella is capable of learning over 100 words and phrases. There is also a boy version, the Luvabeau.

2. Fisher Price ‘Teach n Tag Movi’, RRP £49.99

This new offering from Fisher-Price is your best bet when you are on a hunt for educational toys for toddlers. Give your little one an awesome robot buddy that can help him learn important skills such as following directions. Aside from taking direction, the Teach n Tag Movi also teaches toddlers critical thinking and movement. This interactive toy lets children show their dance moves and practice their listening skills. 

3. Thomas & Friends: Thomas Minis Super Station playset, RRP £96.99

Does your child love Thomas & Friends? Keep him entertained for hours with this biggest Thomas & Friends playset ever. This fantastic toy also keeps the imagination going as it can be built into different setups. It comes with four toy trains and features the main areas of Sodor. Ideal for kids ages three and up, the Super Station playset is equipped with 10 meters of train track that can hold as many as 100 engines. 

4. Lego Boost, RRP £149.99

Lego has been around for decades yet it will never be out of trend. But if you're looking for something a little different from the usual and want to level things up, there's the Lego Boost. It combines the good old favourite brick we all know and love, and technology, as it needs programmable coding for you to build the robots. Let your kids' imagination fly and improve their creativity as they build the robot designs using the app. 

5. Airhogs DR1 Official Race Drone, RRP £99.99

This year is the year of drone. Business and consumers alike are flying drones and it's not hard to understand why. They are used for different purposes but on a consumer level, drones give a racing experience that is nothing but entertaining. This drone is lightweight and easy to use, making it an ideal gift for young ones. It also allows for outdoor play. 

As you might have noticed, the hottest toys these days are not just entertaining. They are also educational! For more suggestions on the best toys that you can give your loved ones this Christmas, view here

This is a collaborative guest post

Swago: Shopping Edition is Back!

Start saving the pennies for Christmas!

With the festive season upon us, many are starting to pull the presents in. It can be a pricey business, as we all know, however 'worth it' it may be. No one wants to be paying off Christmas debts several months into the new year. This is why I have kept up my Swagbucks account now for the past 12 months. It paid for last Christmas, and I am hoping it will be just as beneficial for me and my family this year!

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly. 

Here’s what you need to know to get your 50 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

Shop Swago will begin on Monday, October 23rd at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.

Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.

Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.

The game ends Friday, October 27th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Take a look for yourself. There is nothing to lose. If you search the web and make online purchases anyway, you could be getting paid in popular vouchers just for doing so!

This post has been written, as an Influencer, in collaboration with Swagbucks and I have been compensated for my time in SB (Swagbucks virtual payment points) only.

Friday, 6 October 2017

#Blogtober17 Day 6: Flowers

Let your dreams blossom!

Today's prompt for #Blogtober17 is 'Flowers' - an easy one, right? I could talk about my favourite flowers, but that's pretty dull for a blog post. I could write about the flowers I have chosen to adorn our upcoming wedding ceremony, but that post would probably be over before it's started. So I thought about it for a while and then kicked myself for even thinking about it! After all, when it comes to flowers, my angle is pretty obvious!

Before babies started filling our lives, The Man would frequently come home from work with a bunch of flowers. He'd walk through the door, clutching the pretty bouquet and would approach me with a smile. "Here ..." he'd say ...

"I saw these and ..."

Before he could say much more, those flowers were straight into a vase (no time for stem snipping or proper arranging) and the camera was poised. The colours, the shapes - he just couldn't (and still can't) walk past a florist without something catching his eye. He wouldn't just see beautiful flowers, he would see angles, light & shade, composition. Now, don't get me wrong, I did get flowers from him ... I just got them second hand! The camera lens got to see every inch of those beauties before I could even get my hands on them to give them water!

It may sound as though I am complaining. Far from it!
Do you know why?
Because the man didn't just give me flowers ... he didn't hand me beautiful, mortal stems that would last a week or so before withering. He made sure that those flowers would last forever, and his attention to detail and the angles he observed meant that I would remember every single one of those blooms in their most stunning form.

The Man has had an interest in photography since long before we met. It made me smile when I found out he had this love. I had grown up surrounded by everything photography. Dad was a professional throughout my childhood, and, until I was 9 years old, we lived in a 2 storey flat above his studio and shop. I remember so much. I remember the long hours he would work as he would get booked up for important events, back-to-back. I remember the smells - from the strong odour of the chemicals in his dark room, to the smell of the drawer that stored old, unused photographs, film capsules and everything else that was no longer needed but was always kept (by the way, I loved the smell of that drawer!) So, finding someone to share my life with that also shares a lifelong passion with the #1 man in my life was a bit of a win!

The Man started to take more photos and slowly upgraded the important parts of his equipment. He started to be creative with household objects and discovered that he had a real talent for macro photography - especially when it included water droplets. As the years passes, more opportunities came along, including family photo shoots, promotional work for a local hotel and something that is becoming a favourite, weddings.

Today sees him and my dad in the early stages of starting their own photography business. I will write again soon with more details about that. I want to shout their business name from the rooftops and entice you all to follow their new social media channels, but I'm not allowed to yet as they haven't uploaded enough material yet, but soon ...

But for now, I will come back to how this post is related to flowers.
Well, flowers is where it all really began, and with all the flower topics I could have written about, with an Instagram account like this, there is not a more appropriate angle ... for me!

So, as the quote I have chosen to use above says, "All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today", and in the case of The Man and my dad, this couldn't be more true! Today, a little seed ... tomorrow, a full garden in bloom!


This post has been written as part of the Blogtober17 linky. See more posts by clicking the badge above.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A nice little Christmas Earner!

It's been a while since I last wrote about Swagbucks. Not because I've stopped using it or have lost faith in it -far from it. I still use Swagbucks every day and I am still building up a nice little amount in preparation for Christmas. Knowing how much it helped last year, I would have been mad not to keep it going! If you haven't caught any of my previous posts about Swagbucks, allow me to explain briefly what it is about. 

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash. 

All throughout October you can earn large bonuses from Swagbucks. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 500 SB bonus! Here's how: 

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/11/17. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it! 

3. If you spend at least £25 through Swagbucks Shop* you'll get another 200 SB bonus on top of the cash back you'll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but you'll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)! 

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned enough to make birthdays and Christmas much less stressful for the past year!

Good Luck!

*You must receive your shopping SB before 1 December

This post is in collaboration with Swagbucks, but I am a genuine user of the site. For promoting this information, I receive a very small SB payment (virtual points) No other payment has been received.

#Blogtober17 Day 5: Education

I loved school ... but ...

As a child, I loved school. I have very fond memories of Primary School and I think back to Secondary with a smile. I may not have always realised how much I enjoyed it, and certainly wouldn't have admitted it at the time, but I liked being at school. The High School years brought with them their tough times, but I still get an excited feeling in my tummy and a head full of flashbacks if ever I pass my old schools! In fact, I loved it that much, I stayed in full time education until my 20's and then chose Education as my career. 

Education is today's prompt for #Blogtober17, and whilst I could write a long winded post about my own education memories or present you with stories of my time spent teaching, I feel they might be for another time.

Munch is in Year 3 now. She just turned 8 years old, and we honestly couldn't be prouder of how she has progressed during the last 3 years. She really is a little Mini-Me as she adores going to school. She complains every morning about having to drag herself out of bed (apart from at weekends!), but never ever complains about having to go to school. She skips in every morning with a smile on her face, and can frequently be found expanding on the things she has done at school when she gets home. However, as much as I was a fan of the daily education routine, I was so incredibly unprepared when it came to Munch's time to start. In my plight to try and wrap my head around my first born being plunged into the education system, I wrote some of my thoughts down (standard!) in the form of an open letter style post to her new teacher. I felt it was an appropriate time to share these words again. I know many of you reading this will be able to relate to that first day feeling ...

Dear Mrs O ...

Dear Mrs O, as the new term begins,
I felt I should write you a letter.
I'm not really sure what I want it to say,
But writing stuff makes me feel better!

September of the year 2014,
Has no real importance to some.
But here, there are emotions all over the place,
Some which are leaving me quite numb.

Monday the 8th is a very big day,
It's the day that I bring you my Munch!
She'll stay with you all by herself for some time,
And I'll leave her with you until lunch.

I'm feeling a little bit nervous now,
Between excitement and dread I feel torn.
I knew I would struggle, but never this much,
As i get ready to share my first born!

Munch and I have always been close,
A mummy's girl right from the start.
We have always done everything together you see,
She's our original 'Mini Me' Hart!

Whenever she's sick or full of a cold,
If she falls and grazes her knee ...
At times when she's sad and just needs a hug,
She always comes straight to me!

Days when she's tired and just wants to chill,
On those mornings following a bad night.
She knows we can curl up and watch some TV,
Or read a book until she's feeling alright.

Now what will happen if she's feeling sad?
Will you promise to notice her tears?
Will you be there to lift her when she falls down?
Will you hug her to soothe any fears?

I know she's excited, I know she is scared,
Anxious and quite worried too.
I smile and tell her she's going to be fine,
Because I know that is totally true.

But it's hard to keep smiling and urging her on,
Some tell me to stop being a fool.
We grew so comfortable in the safety net,
That we lived in with nursery school.

So uniform is bought and new shoes are clean,
She's told me how she wants her hair!
She's written her holiday diary,
Ready to take in and share.

Mrs O, please will you promise,
To take our Munch under your wing?
Will you care for her just like I do?
Do you have my number so you can ring?

Will you hug her if she feels frightened?
Will you laugh with her when she's a clown?
Will you stop her when she takes jokes a little too far,
And know how to calm her right down?

I know now's the time to loosen my grip,
To untangle the old apron strings.
The first step to letting her find her own way,
And helping her spread her wings.

I'm finding it hard to let go here, you see,
My feelings are all in a whirl!
I'm handing you something so precious to me,
As I hand you my big baby girl!

She grew fond of you on the very first day,
When she met you on her trial session.
When you showed all the apprehensive parents and kids,
How we could await our child's great progression.

I know that she will have fun with you,
I'm sure you will see she's alright.
Please send her home to me in one beautiful piece,
So I can hug her and kiss her goodnight?!

So I think what I am trying to say,
As I bring this note to the punch ...
Is please take care of our big baby girl,
And enjoy sharing our special Munch!

This was back in 2014, and now both girls are there full time. I still miss her like crazy every day when she is at school. I still have to give her at least 3 kisses at the classroom door (or I don't feel as though I've said goodbye properly!) One day, she won't want to kiss me at the classroom door any more, she won't want me taking her to school at all, so for today, I'm getting all the mummy/daughter classroom PDAs that I can!


This post has been written as part of the Blogtober17 linky. See more posts by clicking the badge above.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

#Blogtober17 Day 4: Date

We all have Dates ...

Today's prompt for #Blogtober17 is 'Date'. I thought long and hard about the most personal angle I could take, and I decided, what better date to write about than the very one that is looming over me right now. The one date everything is revolving around and that date that we are drawing closer to with each day that passes ... This one is about a date that will change things around here quite a bit.

Throughout our lives we often find,
A number of 'special' days.
Days where memories fill the mind,
As we 'celebrate' in different ways.

Wedding anniversaries, days of birth,
New jobs and a brand new pet.
All have dates that hold much worth,
And in stone, those dates are set.

We're no different - we have date upon date,
Just the same as any other.
Some dates we love and some that we hate,
Especially since becoming a mother.

My purpose here is to speak of one,
A day that I've tried to ignore.
A day that involves our only son,
A mix of emotions leave me feeling unsure.

For eight years I've had a small person here,
At least one, that consumes my whole day.
Each day's routine has been very clear,
Helping 3 little ones along their way.

Munch started school and then Beastie too,
And we miss them so much when they're not home.
But with Plumlet here, each day one thing was true,
That neither of us was ever alone.

But here comes the date that's important today,
The one that keeps me awake in my bed.
The day that urges so many to say,
"He'll be fine - the worry's all in your head!"

I know all that, it's the best thing for Plum,
Of this I am well aware!
And now that day has finally come,
When my time with him now I must share.

It's time to start nursery, (in fact that time has long passed),
And I'm finding things really quite tough.
It's just that they're growing up way too fast,
And the time never seems like enough.

11th October - this is our day,
Another to be etched in my mind.
For this day you take a step to making your way,
With the adventures I'm sure you will find.

First it was your sisters, now you're next in line,
Watching you grow brings us both so much joy.
Enjoy your time at nursery (mummy will be fine ...!)
My last born - my beautiful boy!


This post has been written as part of the Blogtober17 linky. See more posts by clicking the badge above.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

#Blogtober17 Day 3: Car

Driving Miss Munchkin - The First Step

Today's #Blogtober17 topic is Car. I struggled to think of what to write for this one, as I don't drive and have never shown any passionate interest in cars. In fact, when I think of cars, the only thoughts that fill my head are the ones I share with you below. This was a post I originally wrote a couple of years ago, but it was one I kept very quiet as I published it and moved on. Today, I take a bigger step towards making a change by publishing it all over again, sharing it on the #Blogtober17 Linky and putting it well and truly out there!

Well, the time has come and I have to face up to things now. I need to let go of the demons I've been holding on to for so many years. I have to face my fears and stop ignoring them in the hope that they will disappear and that their damaging and restricting results will never affect me or my family ...

I need to learn to drive!!

Many of you reading this may laugh as you consider this to be something so minor, or smile as you tell me that driving is the easiest thing in the world and the convenience it brings is an amazing thing. I know all this. I've heard all the lines ...

You will have so much more freedom!
It will be so much easier to pop the kids in the car when you want to take them out for the day.
It will change your life for the better ... Forever ...

I know, I know, I KNOW!!!!

But it's not that easy for everyone. However, this week I decided, enough is enough. I need to do this! And this is where I would like to keep a record of my progress. I hope that with my lovely readers behind me, I might find the encouragement I feel I need in order to see the whole ordeal process through to the end. 

I wanted to share my story with you all, and I want to start with this post that I hope will explain a little of the background behind the fears, untangle a bit of the mess of emotions that I feel when I think about driving and put a bit of order in whatever madness that always stops me from doing this one thing that, for millions of people, is an essential part of everyday life.

Summer, 2000. I lived a pretty carefree life. I was a student at University in London and was really enjoying it. I had made some amazing friends through my course, but I commuted home each weekend so I could see the friends I had left back at home. I was drawing quite close to the end of my 4 year course and was looking for a small place to rent near my family. My best friends, D & L were a couple, and I spent every single weekend with them and the guy I was in a relationship with at the time. We were pretty inseparable. They lived in a small studio flat within the same road as my parents and were moving out. D made sure I was the next to move into their flat. Knowing how much I wanted to find a place, he spoke to the landlord who agreed to let the property to me. 

Life was good!

Autumn, 2000 ... D & L separated. It was a messy break-up. I had also had my relationship break down so it seemed only natural that D and I be each other's support through the emotions. We were fine, and saw each other most days. 

Winter, 2000, and everything was set to change. I was sitting at home, working my way through an English assignment for Uni when I received the call. The call was from L, D's ex girlfriend. She started with the small talk, but I knew something was wrong. She was stalling. And then the words spilled out. I'll never forget it. As she spoke, I was listening hard, but the words she was saying to me stopped at my ears. I could not digest the things she was saying. I dropped the phone and just sobbed. 

"D is dead", these words kept ringing in my ears, but that was just it. The words stopped at my ears. I could not process the information. The moment was so surreal, and the next hour is very much a confused blur. He had been driving. He had picked up one of our other friends from work as his car was temporarily off the road. They were probably going too fast. They were probably talking, laughing, fooling around. They probably had the music on loud. D probably wasn't concentrating. The car collided with a tree. It had then spun on impact and met another tree, and another. They say D was dead at the scene. They couldn't even try to save him. G, his passenger, survived with serious injuries and was taken to hospital. We never saw G again. Unable to deal with what had happened, he discharged himself from hospital and disappeared. He couldn't provide the answers to the questions that so many people were asking him. He couldn't decipher the mess of events for himself, let alone anyone else. I like to think he is out there somewhere, happy, with a beautiful family of his own. I'll never know. I attended D's funeral on 27th December, 2000. A day I'll never forget. He was 25 years old and had everything to live for. 

From this day, the thought of driving terrified me!

2002, and as I had moved and now lived 30 miles away from my family, I decided I needed to get over this fear of driving. I needed to be mobile as I was slowly falling out of the family loop. I was in another relationship, and it wasn't a nice one. He was the reason I moved away from my home town, exciting me with the idea of living next to the beach and amongst the nightlife. The relationship soon turned ugly. He worked as a nightclub/pub doorman, and was a complete control freak. This was one of the forces behind me wanting to learn to drive. Without being mobile, I seemed to have no freedom. I had to work where he said, when he said and he wasn't keen on me having a relationship with my family. If I made new friends, they quickly became a 'bad influence' on me and I wasn't to spend time with them any more. He made my work life difficult, he made my social life impossible. I felt trapped and was convinced I couldn't leave. I decided to try some driving lessons. Of course, he had to choose the instructor. 

He chose an independent teacher - a man in his late 60s. Now, all would have been great, but he seemed more nervous than I was! He avoided roundabouts, he stayed away from dual carriageways, he wasn't much help. If I screwed up, he would avoid repeating that exercise instead of practising it until I had perfected it. 

This wasn't working. 

After 10 weeks of perseverance, I didn't book any more lessons with him. I was getting nowhere, and let's face it, I didn't need much of an excuse to give up! I left it a year and then started looking again. And once again, the instructor was selected for me. 

This time, I was to learn with a 'friend of a friend' (a friend of HIS friend, naturally!) He was an ex driving instructor. He was still in the profession, but now taught at an advanced level as he was an instructor for those training to be instructors. I felt much safer with him. He was a wonderful teacher. He made me feel both at ease and confident on the road. My lessons were progressing really really well. I was excited. He started to discuss my theory with me and we discussed how many more lessons he predicted I would need before finally taking my test. After learning with him, weekly, for nearly 5 months, I was bubbling at the thought of getting close to test level. I was then faced with a break in my lessons. My teacher, C, was going abroad for a month. He was getting married in Cyprus and Honeymooning there too. He promised me we would pick up our lessons on his return. However, someone didn't want this to happen. Someone could obviously see how close I was getting to taking my test and winning back some of my independence. He would tell me daily that I would be slowly forgetting everything I was taught in my lessons, that C was a bad teacher for going away and that I shouldn't trust him any more. 

I never had another lesson with C. 

In fact, it was 2007 before I took another lesson. By this time, I had managed to escape the life I had been living and had since met The Man. A loosely attached and since estranged family member had trained to become a driving instructor and had agreed to teach me in his spare time. 2 hours a week I paid for, and all was good for the first few weeks. But then I found he started to snap if I did something wrong and his once calm exterior was becoming more stressed and uneasy. Maybe the job was beginning to get to him, maybe I was, I don't know. But I didn't feel comfortable in the driving seat of the car with him there any more. He and his wife had a baby, and whilst he was on paternity leave, I made the decision not to continue my lessons with him any longer. 

Since then, a number of factors have stopped me from starting up my lessons again. Financial hardship, work strain, having the children, but now, one of these very reasons is now the main reason for me wanting to do this again. The children spend the majority of their free time with me. Now the girls are in full time school, and soon, Charlie will be too. All of their leisure time is spent with me. They rely on me to do the fun things with them, to take them to exciting places, to fill their days with memories. Which is fine, but without driving, I have my limits! I don't want limits any more. The Man is so supportive of me learning to drive. He has promised I will have free access to a car once I have my licence and I know, where possible, he will take me out in between lessons to practise, as he did before. 

So this is where it will all change. I need to conquer the fears of the road that have held me back for so many years. I have to turn the things that frighten me to push me forward to do this once and for all, and focus on how different life will be if I can succeed in this and I must be stronger and stop allowing small set backs to act as excuses for me to give up. I need to stop letting what happened to D all those years ago affect me today. He wouldn't want it, and my babies don't deserve it!

This post was published at an earlier date, but once again, I lost my confidence and put off learning to drive again. I felt this would be a good opportunity to get it out there again, as I am definitely going to do it this time! And I thought that this post fit in perfectly with today's #Blogtober17 topic!

So, do you drive? How long did it take you to learn and pass? Did or do you share any of my fears at the wheel? If so, how did you tackle them?

Thanks for reading ... if you still are!


This post has been written as part of the Blogtober17 linky. See more posts by clicking the badge above.

Monday, 2 October 2017

#Blogtober17 Day 2: Babies

So ... when's the next one ...?

"Babies", they say. "Will you have any more?"
And as I get myself prepped to explain,
"Three's an odd number, you must go for four!"
"Forget the practicalities and the pain!"

I love having babies, I can't tell you how much,
The sight of a newborn makes my ovaries jump.
Everything about babies, their smell, their touch,
Then reality hits home with a bump.

There will be no more babies, of this I am sure,
The Man can explain it better than me ...
Without getting sentimental, he'll tell you why,
We will definitely be stopping at three.

But for the now, this is my chance to say,
To put it down here in print,
Why our little family, a five will stay,
The reality version, not the rose tint!

Plumlet was born nearly three years ago,
To say he was a shock would be mild!
We weren't sure of much but hell, did we know,
Our world was about to get wild!

Having our Beastie saw me risking my life
They recommended I made her my last
Medical complications and all sorts of strife
The panic and worry was vast.

"No more babies" we said at that time,
And happy as a family of four,
Next, appointments and visits and yeah ... cut out the wine ...
We were about to grow by one more.

The Man turned white - paler than pale,
The worst of fears haunting his head.
Having recently lived through such a terrifying tale,
And hearing all that the doctors had said.

We didn't know what to do, whether we should,
The panic was setting in fast.
The biggest of fears was whether we could,
Or if all of our luck had long passed.

Our boy came along, and he's surrounded with love,
And now we're a family of five,
Like five perfect fingers on your favourite glove,
Makes me feel so lucky to be alive!

As much as I'd love to go through it once more,
I don't think once more would even be enough.
We were lucky enough to be a healthy family of four,
And one more time may just be too tough.

Just one more pregnancy may just be too much,
It's too big a risk now to take,
The things I could lose are here in my clutch,
And my desires will be halted for their sake.

For the sake of my babies, our family of five,
For the sake of what their tomorrow will be,
For the fact that they need their mummy alive,
They don't need another baby ... 

... They need me!


This post has been written as part of the Blogtober17 linky. See more posts by clicking the badge above.