Author Archives: The Red Head Diaries

About The Red Head Diaries

Mama to five beautiful red heads. With a love of sharing our memories and adventures.

flash fiction

Flash Fiction – Clowns

flash fiction clowns

 

He sat down at the table, head in his hands. Jake wanted to quit yesterday, but if he did he’d have no job, then he’d lose his home. He knew no other job role. He’d done this line of work for so long, he now felt stuck. He couldn’t re-train, not now.

Jake used to work the party shift, but with new laws surrounding hours, he had to do nights occasionally so that the others could take the right amount of break in between night shifts. This was his seventh night shift; he already hated it. Jake hoped this shift change would only be temporary, he knew the others weren’t fans of the party shifts; it just didn’t make any sense making each worker do the shift they hated the most.

It wasn’t as if he slept or rested well in between the shifts, fear and dread overwhelmed him in the hours where he waited to return to work. He was tired, too tired to fight his own corner.

He sat at his work desk, looked at all his tools which lay in front of him. Pills which always sat to the side, he picked them up, shook them. He’d never contemplated taking them so much as he did recently. Ending his pain; not yet – but he knew there was more to life than what lay ahead of him.

Putting the pills back onto the desk, he moved his head to face the mirror in front of him, hating what he’d become.

“I have to do this.” He said to his reflection.

He picked up his make-up brushes and began to paint his face. No tears could fall now he was almost ready.

Sliding his feet into his big black boots; fastening the final few buttons on his jacket. Jake collects his keys and heads to his shift.

Clocking in via his GPS watch he took his place.

 

In his unusual grainy voice, he begins.

“I’m watching you…”

 

flash fiction

International Cat Day – Narla and Porridge

International Cat Day

4 AM

“Meow.”

It is time to wake the humans. It feels like days since we have seen any humans.

“Meow.”

4.30 AM

They have left us. Why have they left us?

“Meow, meow”

I wonder if I took a walk they would notice that I wasn’t there.

6 AM

The door of the big house finally opens. As always Porridge just has to push in. I don’t know where she spends her nights; she really annoys me – most of the time.

6.10 AM

Why do they insist on giving me these biscuits?

I’m off…

6.15 AM

Okay, I am hungry I will just have to eat them. But one day I will just stand my ground and not eat them. One day I will teach them; for now, I am hungry.

6.20 AM

That Porridge is always trying to eat ALL the food, she makes me so cross; she has lived here longer than me. However, I do like to remind her who I boss from time to time. These scatty younger ones get on my nerves sometimes.

6.30 AM

Oh, I think the tiny humans are awake. They are so noisy sometimes. But now that they are awake, it means I can go to bed.

Their beds are so unbelievably comfortable.

8.30 AM

I think I should go and take a wander, the house appears slightly quieter, everyone must have left. Good!

I’m going to check out my bowl. Still the biscuits; they’re okay but I much prefer the meat. It’s time to get some fresh air. I love this neighbourhood; most of the others are friendly enough. Not many socialise with me very often. I like that, I like that they all usually keep themselves to themselves I don’t like the drama.

9.30 AM

I’m going to make my way back to the house, I am tired I could do with a nap; feeling too tired to walk the stairs I’ll just nap on the sofa – or at least until someone moves me.

2 PM

Well, I guess I had better venture out, go to the toilet the humans get mad if I attempt to toilet somewhere in the house. I have seen them shout at Porridge, not fun. She is a pain at times though.

3 PM

The weather has cooled a little; I think I am going to sunbathe. My humans tell people I am lazy, but also tell people how adorable I am, that I already know.

3.30 PM

The tiny humans are home, the smallest one is very for cuddles; I don’t mind sometimes but she does get a little rough. Porridge doesn’t like it so much, she’s a funny one she doesn’t seem to love the tiny humans as much as me – which is great for me as I get more cuddles!

I loved it when they were babies, there was a smell of milk and warmth everywhere, snuggling into the Mama were my favourite times of the day.

Purr

4 PM

It’s time for another nap. It is actually fairly exhausting being a cat.

4.15 PM

Urgh. Porridge always has to try and annoy me, all of the time. I don’t agree with violence, but when she brushes past me when I am trying to get the humans’ attention, just grates on me.

So I swipe her, not enough to cause her pain, but enough for her to get out of my face. I don’t know why she does it. Stupid cat.

5 PM

The humans are about to have their dinner, I wonder what they are having. I need to remind them that I have to eat too.

5.10 PM

I may as well go outside for a bit, it’ll be a while I am sure before I can get some dinner. I do need to get to the bowl before Porridge, although we do eat the same amount, she has his habit of putting her mouth all over my food before eating her own, when I attempt the same to her she hisses. She doesn’t like the taste of her own medicine.

6.30 PM

It’s getting a little darker and quieter out here; I wish they would hurry up and give us dinner. I’m on the neighbourhood watch. We get the odd stranger in our midst; they need to be kept an eye on.

7 PM

Finally, meat time and I am first in – for once. She’s not far behind, my turn to grumble at her. I like her sometimes, she isn’t all that bad; just annoying.

7.15 PM

Off I go into the night; I like my evenings out and about,  I do sleep in the house when it is super cold though. I can hear the humans telling Porridge she should go out too, she tried to push her luck every single night, I wonder when she will learn?

9 PM

There’s a ginger Tom cat always hovering, he can keep away from me (and Porridge); he’s always so overly friendly. I don’t even know where he is from. I wish he would just return there.

11 PM

I have found myself a place to rest my head in the wooden Wendy house; I can hear most things from here. No idea where Porridge goes, never far – I do care about her, believe it or not.

 1 AM

It’s time for another check of the neighbourhood. It is reasonably quiet here, not many humans or strange cat visitors. I’m glad really. I don’t like wandering too far from the house. I am a home cat.

3.30 AM

There’s something on the ground, maybe if I can catch it I can take it home, my humans will be so pleased. It’s a mouse! A mouse, I cannot wait to see their faces. I’ll have to leave it on the ground for now, while I try to get their attention; Porridge had better not pretend it is her gift!

It’s time to wake them up. It’s been days since we have seen them.

3.45 AM

“Meow!”

 

International Cat Day

International Cat Day is a great way to celebrate our furry friends. They really are wonderful creatures, lots of fun and make the best companions

Breastfeeding Celebration Week.

First Time Mum Hopes

Right from when I fell pregnant with my first daughter, breastfeeding was definitely something I wanted to try, even if I couldn’t do it for long, I knew I needed to have a go. Early induction, due to Pre-Eclampsia, a very slow labour ending in an emergency caesarean section, nothing was going according to the plan in which I wanted.

She was whisked into NICU and I was introduced to a breast pump. Unfortunately days after birth was when my breastfeeding journey with her went downhill. I was made to have bed rest for 24 hours, where I couldn’t see my baby, it was difficult being inexperienced figuring out how to pump. There was the odd nice midwife who took their time to try and help. But I ended up getting mixed messages from the Antenatal Ward and NICU, it was terribly confusing. At six days old she was allowed to come to the ward with me. Being tube fed for the days she was in NICU, it was also difficult for her, head moving from side to side, we were both getting frustrated.

Short Progress

 

A stern midwife, old school I guess came and thought she was helping, yet actually, she triggered the final switch for me to end. She picked up my daughter, held her by the back of the head, grabbed my breast, and roughly pushed us together, no chance of her (who was 4lb 8oz born but had, of course, dropped weight too), ever being able to latch, looking back now, it was impossible.

Going home on day eight feeling deflated and drained, my body had been through a lot, by day nine our breastfeeding journey stopped. It is something I will always deeply regret, particularly as I look back from where I am now to back then.

Next Baby

Just under three years later, I had my son. Once again I really wanted to try breastfeeding again. This time I was left to my own mind. It was an elective caesarean that time, he was able to stay with me, rather than be taken to NICU, which of course was a huge relief. I was numb and unable to move, I couldn’t quite reach my bell by my bed, so it gave me the opportunity to have a go at latching him by myself. Thankfully he took to it, a complete natural, he fed beautifully and a lot. I was soon advised by family members and health visitors to top him up with formula because he seemed to be feeding “too much”. But we continued, even when I returned to work, he’d have a feed at breakfast, then at bedtime and overnight.

The relationship between his Dad and I broke down, I continued to feed a little while longer but made the decision with a new relationship forming, that around two years old was enough for both of us. (My son and I). I felt so pleased to have gotten that far with him, he mostly weaned himself; he’d go days where he wouldn’t want a feed. But it was the perfect end to how I’d wanted.

Premature Breastfeeding

With a new relationship, we started to add to our family, fell pregnant with my next daughter. After a difficult pregnancy, she was born via emergency caesarean section at just 26+6 weeks, the point of delivery I had no idea as to whether she’d survive let alone breastfeeding her, at the point of birth I didn’t think it would happen.

But it did, but not direct.

As soon as I was back in recovery, I had an amazing midwife (definitely a lot more hands-on than the earlier one), who came to my room, armed with syringes, and a knitted boob. My arms were full of needles and BP equipment, I could barely move, numb, but also in pain and very anxious, she was determined to get the best start for our girl, who I didn’t even know how she was doing.

She patiently showed me how to hand express, used the knitted boob, helped show me the position for my hands to be in, she even showed my husband – that was amusing. After some movement, I had expressed 1.5ml. I wasn’t overly impressed, I guess I was expecting it to just flow out. But the Midwife was thrilled; even 1.5 ml would at that stage be far too much for our tiny little girl. (1.5lb of tiny). It was a start. It was the start of my pumping journey for our micro premature baby.

 

Expressing

Although my eldest was born early, and there were pumps involved, this level of prematurity was really a whole new level of difficulty.

I’d still have to pump around the clock as if I had a baby with me, it was hard when all I had was a picture or a Muslim square for her scent, but in reality, it really is not the same.

I’d walk into the unit, with my little bottles of expressed milk, placed in the freezer, it was my routine, it was a special walk knowing that I was feeding her.

There were times where they would give her formula, it certainly wasn’t ideal, would have rather donor milk, but of course, it wasn’t available. I just wanted her to have the best start for someone so early. I’d have domperidone to help bring in my supply, to keep up with her demands.

I was able to express by her cot, where I would shoot my husband in the backside with the milk which had missed the bottle. Him being surprised that my milk was warm, is one of my favourite memories.

Unfortunately, our pumping journey came to an abrupt end, when she passed away at five weeks old.

My freshly pumped milk and breast pump, I threw in the bin, swapping my domperidone for tablets to make the milk which had come in on the day she died, to stop.

I’m afraid I wasn’t the person to donate my unused milk; it was the last thing on my mind. I found it incredibly hard to have milk, and absolutely no baby.

 

Determination

Our baby after our daughter arrived 13 months later. Not only was I determined for her not to enter NICU, but to never have a drop of formula. I’d developed a fear of it, it wasn’t the cause of death, of course, it wasn’t but my brain had somehow associated it with our lost daughter, it was something I just didn’t want for our new baby.

Again she took to the breast instantly, she dropped weight, and there were talks of formula and NICU trips, things that were definitely off the list of things we wanted.

With sheer determination, and a supportive husband, we were able to stay home, avoid NICU and we avoided formula, for six months she was exclusively breastfed, carrying on her feeding until a little over three. (Although has had a sneaky overnight boob with her sister, and I  expressed some when she was really ill, at four years old).

We tandem fed for a while, once her little sister was born, and we fed through my very difficult pregnancy with her, suffering from severe Hyperemesis, it was the only thing I could cope with.

 

The final baby

My fifth and final pregnancy, as I mentioned above was very challenging, many, many hospital trips, vomiting so many times a day. Our youngest was born via my fifth caesarean section. She took to feeding sooner than any of them before her, wanted a breast before I had finished being stitched back together.

She has pretty much stayed on the breast ever since!

She has just turned two, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. She has had to deal with allergies, which meant I have had to go product free. Starting with gluten, wheat, celery, milk free. She has come out of the gluten, wheat and celery intolerances, but we’re still working on the dairy.

So, for me, this was another new challenge, but removing these from my diet, was so worth it, as I have been able to continue to feed her through tummy pains and reflux.

I will be sad once the feeding has ended, as she is my final baby. But I really am proud of what we have achieved together.

 

Support

This brings me to my Best Breast Friend – my husband.

He has been my rock through all the difficult times of feeding.

From getting up at 4 am for pumping sessions, making me a cup of tea, putting the pump together, even when at times I would fall back to sleep!

Providing me with a mountain of flapjack or oaty products, letting me take baby moons with the youngest two.

Researching the various dairy free options for dieting or treats…

 

flash fiction

Flash Fiction – Alice Saunders

As night fell, I knew I needed to take the dog for one last walk of the day. I’d had such a wonderful day, family had visited, we’d had a barbeque and some drinks. The weather perfect for socialising, and I don’t recall anyone being bitten by the gnats flying around us. One of us usually does.

I said goodbye to Matt my boyfriend – I always felt strange calling him my boyfriend being 25, but I’d gotten used to it by now. William – my golden Labrador waited by the door for me; he didn’t look overly enthusiastic, he looked as I felt. Leaving the house we walked towards the fields behind our house, every night I did this walk; nothing ever changed. I knew it like the back of my hand.

flash fiction Alice saunders

Up ahead I could see a small figure standing alone, their back was facing me; I slowed my pace. Waited for the person to turn and face me, I would soon know who stood in front of me – we knew everyone. As I moved closer they remained still looking into the distance, I could see it was a child-like figure. William made a noise; I’m sure he felt uneasy too. His slight bark made the person jump; they turned to face me – a little girl.

She looked towards me, though not at me. She looked confused; I stepped a little closer, William pulled back against my steps.

“Hello, are you okay?” I whispered, looking for her guardian someone who knew her.

“I want my Mummy, I want my Daddy. Take me please.” She replied, strong and clear, still not making eye contact. I’m a stranger I guess.

“Where are they? What’s your name?” Really hoped she had a rough idea of who she was.

“I want my Mummy, I want my Daddy. Take me please.”

She turned and started to walk. For some reason I looked down at William, I knew in his own way he wanted to tell me not to go. Dogs know more than they let on. I gently tugged on his lead to follow the girl; I needed to return her to her parents.

The little girl walked a little way ahead from us, I tried to catch up closer, but she liked to keep her distance. We left the fields and had now started to walk along a dark main road, but still light enough to see where we were walking.

It wasn’t far, it began to rain. I probably should have turned or phoned the police but this girl seemed to trust me enough to let me take her home. However we had walked quite far from where I had come across her, can’t be far now. We crossed the road and she made her way into another field, I gripped on tight to William, mainly for comfort for me. The rain came down heavy it was more of a storm than a drizzle. How much the weather had changed from as little as thirty minutes ago. Local folklore had once said the field had been a burial ground. It was to return as one soon too

The girl carried on for a short while, it really wasn’t long until I noticed up a head a blossom tree the biggest I had seen in a while. Nearby there were what looked like rocks, some were darker than others some slightly lit. Squinting my eyes a little, I could see figures under the tree. William and I paused.

“I want my Mummy, I want my Daddy. Take me please.”

I wasn’t sure; I really didn’t like this one bit. Now I felt scared, I placed my hand over my jeans pocket, making doubly sure that I hadn’t dropped my phone. Rain trickled down my hair, I could barely see. I walked closer to the figures. The little girl repeated her words.

“I want my Mummy, I want my Daddy. I want a cuddle.”

 

There were two people huddled on the ground, holding each other tightly; I took a deep breath and brushed my hand onto shoulders of one of them. It startled them, making me jump and William bark. The couple jumped to their feet in fear.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. I don’t mean to scare you, but I’ve brought your daughter to you. She was back on the estate. Luckily I did you’d have frozen to your…”

“Is this a joke?” The man, not much taller than me moved fast towards me. William wasn’t happy. The woman next to the man held him back.

“Joke? I don’t see anything funny; I brought your lost daughter here. Now I am going home.” That’s gratitude for you, I thought to myself as I turned to leave.

“You can see her?” The woman replied to me, I could hear the cold and wet sound in her voice.

“Of course, she led me here.” This was getting silly.

“But she is already here, you stupid woman!” the man, became rude again, but moved his hand and body in a way in which he could show me something. I had to step forward to see properly, William still in my grasp.

Alice Saunders

At Peace

Much loved daughter, granddaughter

Friend

Age seven

Written on a tiny cross, not quite ready for a stone.

 

Matt and my father had buried her yesterday, as funeral directors I recall Matt saying it was the saddest day he’d ever done. Her death shook our town, sudden and unexplained. No closure for anyone.

“Your daughter knew you were here, she knew you’d get cold.” I tried desperately not to cry, or show just how scared I felt. There have been far too many strange things recently, this being top of the list.

“Thank you.” The woman touched my hand, the pain in her eyes was unbearable; something I’ll not forget. The way the man stood, like he had the heaviest weight on his shoulders. Neither expression I will forget.

I just wish I really could have returned her child.

Breastfeeding Love

Breastfeeding was something that I had always wanted to try, for me personally it is one of the most natural things you can do for your baby. What I didn’t expect was just how difficult it would be, or that you need to have good support from the people around you. My journey has gotten longer with each child, I am very proud of what we have achieved.

It wasn’t the easiest of roads, but I feel so lucky to have breastfed for the amount of time we have.

I’d like to share some of my favourite things that helped me through breastfeeding my babies.

Anti-Visiting

Every single person is desperate for a glimpse of your new baby, while most are considerate and respectful of new routines and feeding regimes; there are also those who think nothing more than to just sit and cuddle your new baby. This is of course lovely but often they are reluctant to hand the baby back, and try themselves to settle them. Babies aren’t keen on being passed from pillar to post, they’re happy being close to milk and mum. There is plenty of time for cuddles in the weeks after baby has arrived, the first few days and even weeks are so important for bonding. It is a time to help with healing, to readjust to the new surge of hormones. It all takes a great deal of time to settle in. Visitors can wait a little longer.

 

Bringing in the milk

It is a misconception that producing milk is a quick process to happen, many become impatient for it to arrive. Some assume that having a caesarean section can also stop milk production, yes it can be a little slower but it does come. It can take five days for your full milk production to come through. Our bodies are absolutely incredible; when everything works as it should (it is rare to not produce anything at all), our bodies send messages to the supply it connects to our babies. If our babies have a cold, they somehow get the message across to produce the milk needed to help get rid of said cold. The way our bodies communicate with our new babies, is somewhat magical.

 

Baby Moon

There are many ways to help increase or encourage milk production, some are easier than others. One of my personal favourites was to take a baby moon. There was a couple of days when baby number 4 wasn’t gaining enough weight (but she was gaining), there was talks of topping her up with formula, even mention of taking her to special care; there was no way I wanted to do either. I’d done some research whilst carrying her and wanted to be sure of all avenues before I went down other routes; I knew from previous personal experience that topping up with formula can have an effect on milk production.

I was lucky enough to have a very supportive husband who helped me to take a baby moon; which was to place myself on a bed or sofa, stay there and just feed. He brought snacks and plenty of fluids but simply built up my supply to cater for my baby; by the next weigh-in her jaundice had reduced significantly, and she gained weight. It is also a fantastic way to build bonding and a relationship with your baby. It isn’t always possible to have a baby moon, but it is lovely if you can.

Support

It is drummed into you so much about having the right support to help you through what can be some incredibly challenging months or even years if you find yourself going into “extended” breastfeeding. You need to have that support system in place, people to hold you up, to keep you going when it gets really hard. To listen and encourage you, believe it or not there can be some incredibly dark days, when you’re sleep deprived and hormones are in overdrive. It can be so overwhelming at times; you can find yourself questioning what you have done. This is when you need your people around you.

 

Edible Art

Not all these items are a magical helping hand, but for many and for me personally here are a few things which helped my milk production.

  • Oats – Porridge, Flap Jack. Flap Jack is a great snack to pop into your hospital bag.
  • Fenugreek – This one was the most successful for me; you can find it in things like Tikka. I’d have a Tikka in the evening by the next feed, my breasts would be more than ready to feed baby. Nappies are a little questionable though! (Save them for Dad!!)

Different things work (or don’t work) for everyone. The foods which didn’t work for my babies were.

  • Bananas
  • Caramel – which includes things like coke, and Dr Pepper
  • Leafy Veg
  • Coffee

This brings me to…

 

Dairy-Free

My last baby, even before leaving the hospital developed baby acne. She wasn’t ever comfortable and was upset a lot of the time, it was heart-breaking to watch, we all felt helpless. The GP told me that “babies cry”. This wasn’t helpful. So, I asked a friend who helps breastfeeding mums, and she suggested going dairy free, it would take about six weeks for the dairy to leave our system. So I did, I took the steps to make my baby feel better, we had no idea if it would work. Within days the acne had almost gone, I patiently counted the days to weeks while her crying became less and less. She wasn’t 100% comfortable all of the time, but by the 6th week she was a completely different child.

Although I am now able to have dairy in my diet – she was two when I was able to do that successfully, she still struggles with direct dairy. But I am glad I went down the dairy free route.

Vegan ice cream is amazing, and we always have dairy and gluten free homemade cakes – far nicer!

Premature/Special Care Babies

Check with your hospital about donor milk; our hospital at the time didn’t have one, and I wasn’t aware that such a thing existed. It is definitely worth enquiring at least while you build your supply up through pumping. Have a photo of your baby nearby; this doesn’t always work if I am honest, because having a baby away from you is incredibly stressful.

Have a couple of muslins, they’re light and can be placed onto of cot sheets, so you can place your milky scent with your baby, and your baby’s scent can be on the square for helping to express.

There are some medicines that can help too, speak to your health care professional about these.

Keep your fluids and snacks up and relax when you can.

Other Bits

Lactation Consultants, peer supporters online support is a great way of getting information and advice to help carry on with your breastfeeding journey.

Buy a sling, if you have no idea find your nearest sling library who can help advise and fit you with a sling to help you both feel comfortable. There are some wonderful slings out there; I wish I had used them with my older two children.

 

international friendship day

International Friendship Day

Today is the International Day of Friendship. It is a day to celebrate friends and how valuable they are.

Not That Easy

I have never found it easy to make friends, when I do I often find it hard to keep that friendship going. My trust has been broken on a few occasions, which isn’t easy to repair, which in turn makes me appear socially awkward. Placing myself away from the rest of the crowd, which makes me feel lonely and the walls in which I build get higher – a form of protection maybe.

Even at school, I found it hard, when “friends” turned and made the final years of school hell; it isn’t something you ever forget, something that has made trusting anyone difficult.

 

Importance of Friendship

Not everyone has a normal relationship with blood relatives, maybe there are no blood relatives at all; making friendships the next best thing. They can be an extension of family and occasionally can be a lot closer than family too.

Having great friendships can also be brilliant therapy, where you can laugh together and cry together too; if you find the right ones you know that whatever life throws at you don’t ever let them go.

 

My Village

It has been a long time since I have really felt comfortable in how my friendships are, they all come from different things I do, they are all equally valuable, and are a huge part of my life. Friends through my children’s hobbies, friends from work. Reacquainted school friends, and those you meet through your children’s friendships. Even online friendships are incredibly important to me too; find out why here.

 

I have learned that over time people do come and go, life moves in different directions, some friendships last the move, while others become a tale to be told. Friendships develop us as people can change the way we see other. The love of friendship is sometimes all you ever need.

I am lucky to have found mine.

The Redhead Diaries

Summer Holidays 2018. Part One

I can’t believe the first week of the Summer Holidays for us is done! It has already gone so quickly.

We have had a pretty packed first week. I hope your week has gone well too.

 

Day One of the Summer Holidays

The children had a majorette display to open a new play park in the village they train in. They really enjoyed that, and were given free Ice Lollies too!

In the afternoon/ evening my Mother in Law came and looked after the children, whilst my husband and I had a very rare and very much needed night out with friends. Our town holds an annual festival; we went there, danced in the street and had a wonderful time. It definitely did us the world of good.

 

Day Two

Part two of the town’s festival and my mother in law came with me to do a stall to raise a little bit of money for Little Daffodils and the children’s majorette troupe. We didn’t make much but was nice to have launched a new package which I will be giving out. It was a very hot day, but lovely to spend the day with my Mother in Law.

 

Day Three

Another warm day, saw us head to the beach for an ice cream and some fresh air. The girls loved it, although our youngest had a reaction to the ice cream, so we have placed her back on a dairy free diet, she has never reached the top of the ladder. It is what it is. As long as she is okay, we’ll do whatever it takes to make her feel well.

 

Summer holidays 2018

Day Four

A very quiet day, making sure we have all camping gear required for a planned camping trip.

 

Day Five

First, of I would imagine many trips to National Trust property Montacute House. It is always very lovely there, we have been lucky so far to have such lovely weather.

 

Day Six

The road to Camping! The children were incredibly excited about this little break, as were we. Car packed, full to the brim of camping stuff and children. We left early enough to pay a visit to Trago Mills; we used to visit Trago a lot as children, but haven’t been for eight years. We will be returning to make a day of it. We spent the evening at our camping home for a few days – Woodlands Grove.

 

Day Seven

We spent the whole day at Woodlands Theme park, it was absolutely wonderful to see the children have fun and to spend it with wonderful company, people who we hadn’t met a year ago! Second and final night of camping was a rather scary experience, after weeks of the heatwave, we had gale force winds (which were not forecast), it was frightening to watch our tent move and flap in the wind. My eldest normally has her own tent, but she came in with us. In the morning her tent had blown onto ours! Super scary.

 

Day Eight

We packed up in the winds and made a final visit to the park, spent a good few hours until after lunch, as we reached our car it started a heavy downpour, we really did leave in good time.

 

Finishing the week with a very quiet day at home, listening to the wind and rain hit the house. I hope it doesn’t last.

 

 

blogging burn out

Fighting The Blogging Burn Out. A Break

Blogging Burn Out

Not entirely sure what to name this post, but burnt out was exactly how I was feeling. So I took a break. I needed to step away from blogging for a while; it made me tired and I began to hate it. That’s definitely not what I wanted; I found myself still trying to keep up with all the other bloggers out there, it was hard not to compare myself, whereas before I threw myself into the real blogging world I was literally in my own little bubble. That was how I liked it, and how I am now going to be.
So a few months ago, I took time away from this blog and my niche blog (Melody and Me). At the time it really was the best thing. Things have been hectic since I last spoke to you all.

Sepsis

When I began my break my poor husband had landed himself in hospital with his leg, which was initially thought to be cellulitis, but ended up being Sepsis. It was an incredibly worrying time and was since informed he was close to losing his leg. He is now currently awaiting an operation but is home and keen for the letter.
Sepsis scares me, it can take anyone at any time, since our daughter passed away from it; Sepsis has always played on my mind. It’s crap, and still needs a lot of awareness both in the general public and professionally. I selfishly really struggled with his hospital stay, I am not very trusting when it comes to medical things, watching him be so poorly, made me feel not only very helpless but incredibly anxious too.

Friendships

Which brings me to the power of friendship, the importance of having people in your life who can help pick you up.
With an endless supply of love, babysitting, chocolates and Pimms, these people really helped rally around us, giving us both a chance to talk to someone.
It meant so much.  My beautiful friend from afar paid a visit too, which was so lovely, I do wish we could see each other more often.

Work

I’ve upped my hours in my work life, which has meant that there is less time for writing; however, I am in a job which I have come to really love, working with a lovely bunch, who were also supportive when my lovely husband was poorly.
I’m hoping to eventually further the career one day.

Weight Loss

So, I have been trying hard to get rid of a lot of weight. It has been slow, and I lose than gain. It has been frustrating at times but I am enjoying learning to eat properly.

I had hit a stone during these last couple of months, but then I became poorly after a bug bite, so ended up with excess fluid, and temporarily monitoring my blood pressure. The fluid excess resulted in slight weight gain, so I put a couple of pounds back on.

But no I am back on track, I will be sharing what I can, and how I am attempting my weight loss, having gone back to a 16lb loss this week with losing 3.5lb at this week’s weigh-in; it feels good to be back on track to becoming healthier.

My husband has inspired me to continue this weight loss journey, check out his blog (Shave the Wookiee) for hints and tips of losing weight and getting in the right direction of getting fit and healthy.

Majorettes

As you may well be aware, my children take part in a majorette troupe, they have recently taken part in annual competitions, every other Sunday for a few months. They love it and I am proud to watch them grow in the years they have done it.

 

Making Memories

We have spent more time as a family, more time for friends too. Life shouldn’t be just about work or working towards better things; which is what I felt like I was doing with the blogs. Life flies by incredibly quickly.

 

Tommy’s Campaign

If you have read and remembered I was invited to be a part of the new Tommy’s Campaign, during July the campaign was released, I feel incredibly proud to be part of this. There is more information here and I have included some pieces in my own blog Melody and Me.

 

The Red Head Diaries – Fighting Blogging Burn-Out

Well, I have considered changing the name, but I have no idea to what, if I am quite honest it was such a pain in the arse a year ago to switch over, I will stick with The Red Head Diaries – I do still have red hair!

I probably won’t return to doing My Cheerful Posts, that’s not to say I won’t but it just an added pressure to get something done, when I prefer a more informal approach. However, if anyone knows of fun “Linkys” to join, point me in their direction.

Flash Fiction

There are a  couple of pieces ready to be shared. My aim at the moment is to concentrate more on writing fiction than writing family life; although both will play heavily here.

I just want to enjoy writing again like I once did. To have the people who regularly read my work continue to do so.

I have missed it, and I am glad I took the break.

There is nobody more unique than you.

 

 

 

 

locked in

Locked In

The Screams echoed through the corridors.

Not again Grace thought; as she turned to find where the screams had come from; a figure walked towards her. A baby in the woman’s arms. The woman was distraught. Grace knew better than to try and comfort her; at least not straight away. The woman brushed passed Grace gently, careful not to hurt each other’s’ babies.

Grace held hers too.  She couldn’t put her down, she didn’t want to. Grace carried on walking to as far as the corridor would take her, before turning back to return to her room. She wanted to give the woman space to breath for a moment. This was all new to the woman. Grace paused to take a look at her baby; she still couldn’t believe she had made someone so perfectly beautiful. She knew she wasn’t meant to be wandering around with her, but she couldn’t put her down.

Reaching the woman’s room she could see her talking to her baby, taking in all of his features; kissing his head. She looked up and noticed Grace, but said nothing.

“Hopefully you won’t be waiting too long; they should be here for you soon. Your baby is beautiful.” The woman – Alison, turned with a confused face and looked straight at Grace, no expression. “He’s perfect.” She replied, turning to face her new baby again.

Grace took a deep breath and carried on walking back to her room in silence. Sitting on the empty bed, looking at the empty cot; wanting to put her baby down, but couldn’t – her arms ached.

She pressed the buzzer and waited. Someone came, looked at Grace straight in the eye and switched off the buzzer, walked away. This annoyed Grace, so she pressed it again, then pressed the one in the bed next to her; she repeated this until all the bed buzzers were ringing. She quickly left the room, so she wouldn’t get caught.

Standing in the corridor, she could see Alison leaving with her baby; she was jealous of her. She wanted to leave. But before she could think too much, another scream could be heard, the begging cries to stay. This time, nobody entered the corridor. Grace knew exactly what that meant.

She’d been there nine years, she knew when the screams came but the corridor remained empty, that mother had survived, but her baby didn’t.

Grace knew, because like Alison she stayed with her baby. Unlike Alison she was stuck. Grace could never leave, eternally locked in.

what happened to me? flash fiction

What Happened To Me?

Did they think I couldn’t see them? The pair of them had been stood in the corner, whispering and staring at me for hours. One dressed in white, the other in black. The one in white would step towards me, whilst the one in black tore her back towards him.

What do they want? Why don’t they want to come any closer to me? Who are they?

I can’t move, I have no real idea of where I am. There are people stood close to me, some look familiar, but I couldn’t tell you who they are exactly. My brain is working, but I can’t speak; I don’t know why I can’t talk either. I used to talk, I am sure of it. But why can’t I now? I want to rub my blurry eyes, but I can’t move my hands, I can’t even feel my arms let alone move them.

What had happened to me?

I looked to the corner to the two people stood with their arms crossed, staring. Why had nobody else acknowledged them? Why wasn’t anyone else asking them?

“Miranda!” I can see my wife. I am trying so hard to grab her attention; I need her to talk for me, he looks so sad. But I am okay, I just can’t talk. Why isn’t anyone trying to communicate with me?

I can’t hear anything.

“ARRRGGGGHHHH.” So screaming isn’t working, I need to break free from this state. Miranda stepped away, I can’t see her.

People in uniform surrounded me, they’re touching me. Holding my legs, my hands. I wanted Miranda, where is my Miranda?

The uniformed people stood back, the two strangers stepped forward. One either side of me. I can see their mouths were moving.

The woman in white placed her hands over my chest. The pain, the pain burned through my skin, that skin no longer felt like mine. I could feel myself draining from my veins.

What was happening? I tried to stop her, but of course I can’t move.

The man in black, grabbed my face with his cold bare hands, pressed his lips against mine. Pinning my tongue between his teeth, planting what felt like a sting onto it.

As I leave the body I once knew, I was stood in the corner. So many people stood around watching as my life fades away. The final breath of life taken, the last of the pain felt.

I can’t see anything. Everything has gone black.