Good luck to teachers too!

Loving all the back to school photos… another 48hours to go here!
With all the good lucks to all the kids, let’s not forget a big Good Luck to all of the teachers, who are under immense pressure: 

– from ridiculous curriculum changes and education rules and regulations

– from the kids that they don’t want to fail 

– from the parents that they feel that they can’t please no matter how much they do

– and of course from themselves to do a good job.

A normally thankless job, I want to thank teachers for the hours and hours they spend preparing lessons and marking books. For the time they spend tossing and turning at night because they are worried they haven’t done enough to get their kids through their SATS or catch up those kids that may be falling behind. For the time they stress about the children with additional needs that they can’t dedicate enough time to because they don’t have the capacity for more 1-1 attention. For the time they spend worrying a child may be being neglected at home, and even though they have done everything in their power to help, it hasn’t made a difference. For all the stress, the worry and the frustration the year will bring – thank you.
Teacher’s today are so much more than just teachers. They are helping to raise and shape a new generation too. Good luck guys. I’ve tagged a few of you I know here.
If you are thankful for our teachers, please feel free to share this post to let them know. xxx

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Early Pregnancy Tests: How early is too early?

I keep seeing an advert on television where two friends are sitting chatting together when one says that she is two weeks pregnant. Her friend asks her if she has been to the doctor yet, and the pregnant lady replies “no, I took this new Clearblue test” .. and sure enough, she holds up the test and it states “Pregnant 1-2 weeks”.

Now I know I may not be very popular for expressing this opinion… particularly as I have not had a miscarriage myself. However I did bleed multiple times during the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy with my oldest child, and know the fear of miscarriage that accompanied every stomach cramp and every occasion of bleeding. I also know plenty of women that have had early miscarriages – literally in the first 6 weeks within finding out that they were pregnant. These friends have naturally and understandably been devastated and my heart goes out to them.

But it has also got me thinking about pregnancy tests. Science and technology has allowed us to find out we are pregnant earlier than ever before. If you think back less than a century, detecting pregnancy was based on old wives tales. In the 1920’s the urine of women who were suspected to be pregnant was injected into immature rats and mice, who would prematurely come into heat if the hormone hCG (which we know to be the hormone detected in current at home tests) was present. Thankfully testing has evolved a lot since then!

In fact it wasn’t until the 1970s that the first proper pregnancy tests came about, no doubt a by-product of the sexual revolution. However, these tests were still performed in laboratories. The first home EPT (Early Pregnancy Test) was launched in the U.S. in 1977.

Research has proven the importance of pre-natal care, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy when the foetus is rapidly forming. So I can see why some people may feel that detecting pregnancy as early as possible is vital. However, I can’t help but think about the heartache that may be saved in those very early weeks if women simply didn’t know they were pregnant.

As I say, I haven’t had a miscarriage myself – but I remember clearly the first time I started bleeding with my eldest daughter. I was petrified, I cried constantly just waiting for it to be over, convinced I had miscarried. And the sporadic bleeding continued right the way through my first trimester – each time bringing with it a fresh wave of fear and heartbreak.

I have to wonder how many women could be spared that trauma, just by finding out that they were pregnant just a few weeks later. The NHS website states that “A miscarriage in the first few weeks can start like a period, with spotting or bleeding and mild cramps or backache”. If a woman didn’t know she was pregnant, surely she would just assume she was having a late period – as is so common anyway. Emotionally, wouldn’t it be far easier to accept a late period than a miscarriage?

Miscarriages are an unfortunate but common occurrence in early pregnancy, and almost always happen due to there being something wrong with the development of the foetus or another medical reason, and they cannot be prevented. However, if I was given the choice of knowing I was pregnant early and then suffering a miscarriage, or not knowing I was pregnant and then suffering a miscarriage – I know which I would prefer. For me, I would prefer to save the heartache that accompanies miscarriage.

Unfortunately I believe that these ultra-early detection pregnancy tests have the potential to increase the number of recognised miscarriages among women today, and personally I’m just not convinced that the benefit of knowing you are pregnant a couple of weeks earlier is really a benefit at all.

I would be interested to know your thoughts too. Would you rather know you had a miscarriage in the very first weeks of pregnancy, or would you prefer to avoid the heartbreak? How early is too early?

With Love

Dee

xoxox

A star is born! 

Well technically she was born in 2006, but still… That’s right, our 9yr old is a star!

Tonight was her drama school’s latest production, and her second time performing with them. All of the kids were outstanding. Flawless lines, hilarious and convincing acting, maturity beyond their years. 

Absolutely proud as anything tonight. So lovely to see the confidence and personality oozing out of them!

Sadly the drama school is taking s break until the summer due to funding problems, but Liv can’t wait to go back as soon as they start up again!

I’ll leave you with a picture of our Liv (left) and her best friend Lillie 

Dee xoxo 

  

Book your f**cking smear test!

It seems very fitting that I am writing this blog post on World Cancer Day. It is also a strange coincidence that it was today that I had my smear test done. I’ve titled this blog post after something I say to so many women both in my friendship groups and on social media where I try and help spread the word about the importance of cervical screening.

For anyone that didn’t know, last month was Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

FACT: 8 people every day are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

FACT: In 2012 I was one of them.

FACT: Because it was picked up early, I was able to have it removed with no need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

FACT: Cervical cancer screening can save lives. I’m proof.

So yes, it seems rather apt that I booked my smear test for today.

I keep hearing and reading so many statistics about the number of women that put off their smear tests. Yes it can be embarrassing – particularly if you’ve not had kids and you aren’t used to getting your foof out for all to see. Yes it can hurt – I wont lie (more in that in a minute), but so do tattoos, piercing and a whole host of other things people choose to do to their body. I love tattoos as much as the next ink freak, but they don’t save lives and they take a hell of a lot longer.

So back to me. I had a routine smear test in 2012 which came back with Cin3 changes. This is pretty much the next level of “abnormality” before cervical cancer. I had no clue anything was wrong other than cramps and some irregular bleeding, which I later found out *could* be symptoms of cervical-related problems. I was referred for a LLETZ treatment during which the cells are removed, and they are then sent for biopsy. A few days later I had a phone call telling me to go back and see the consultant who told me that they had found a very small amount of cancerous cells. As you can imagine my jaw hit the floor. However, the consultant was positive that they had removed it all, although they chose to take further biopsies to be sure. That is, as they say, a whole ‘nother story, but the upshot is that there was no more cancer and they had caught it before it had grown or spread.

I was incredibly lucky. I didn’t need any chemotherapy, any radiotherapy, any drugs or further treatment at all. All I had was a follow up colposcopy 6 and 12 months later, and now I have to have annual smear tests until 2022 – 10 years after the diagnosis.

Going for a smear test is emotionally and physically painful for me. It brings back bad memories, I suffer from anxiety in the weeks before and after whilst waiting for the results as I am statistically more likely to develop it again than someone who hasn’t had cancerous cells. And the actual procedure – for me – is something akin to a nurse shoving a red hot poker up my foof and wiggling it around for 30 seconds. I need to stress though – this ISN’T the norm. Most women don’t find it nearly as painful and some don’t really feel a thing. The reason that I do is because I had the majority of my cervix removed after my diagnosis, making what is left extremely difficult to reach. I’ve also had 2 children, 2 episiotomies and as such I affectionately refer to my lady bits as “frankenfanny”.

My nurse at my doctors, Caroline, is amazing. She lets me holler, swear, cry, whatever I need to do and always gives me a big hug after. She totally gets how difficult it is for me, and supports me throughout. I’m dropping in some flowers for her next week, as I really don’t know how I would get through it without her and she is the only reason I stay with my, quite frankly crappy, surgery.

But the point of this blog post it this: if I can go through the intense pain and stress it causes me on an annual basis then you can woman the hell up and have your 3-yearly smear test. You’ll be in there 10 minutes, less time than it takes you to blow dry your hair or apply your nail varnish. It could save your life and as such, it could be the most worthwhile 10 minutes of your life.

If you choose not to get your smear test done I would love to say you’ll live to regret it, but statistically many of you wont.

Please, for the sakes of your parents, your partners, your kids…. book your f**cking smear test!!!

Dee xoxox

 

#5in5

So recently I overheard a conversation that basically went, if you could achieve 5 things in the next 5 years what would they be? I thought it would be a great topic for a blog post.

So I thought about it… and thought about it and thought about it. I’m the sort of person that is always looking forwards. I want to do and see so much, and whilst I am happy and grateful for my life I can’t help but think about the other things that I haven’t done yet.

Since I had my kids though, the majority of the things that I want to see and do involve the small but oh so important people in my life. I want them to have as many opportunities and experiences as possible. Which leads me nicely onto the first thing on my #5in5 list.

 

1. Take my kids to Florida

Easily at the top spot for me is a trip to see Mickey and friends in the Florida sunshine. I am lucky enough to have been to Disneyland Paris already. I went as a teenager and single adult, we took the kids back in 2014 and we have booked a surprise trip for them this year too. But there is SO much more at Florida that goes alongside Disney – Epcot, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Wet n Wild…. the list is extensive, and it would be a .. well I don’t want to say once in a lifetime as I’ve heard you need to go at least twice to really do EVERYTHING.. but an incredible experience that I would love to have with my kids whilst they are still young enough to appreciate the magic. If I had to pick one holiday to have with my kids, that would be it!

 

2. Grow my business

It is still less than a year since I started freelance writing and my business has already taken off quicker than I could have imagined. I am lucky enough to have a regular network of great clients, fantastic referral rates and have worked on some really interesting projects. I have also had the opportunity to diversify into other areas. However I would love to be able to continue to grow and develop my business in the next 5 years and perhaps get into the realms of expanding? Who knows!

 

3. Learn to swim

You may or may not know that I still can’t swim and I am absolutely petrified of the water. Countless people have offered to teach me and countless people have failed. Part of me thinks, you know what, I’ve got to 33 without being able to swim I’ll just not bother, but part of me would really like to learn. I think this is a pipeline dream though, I honestly don’t think I will get over my fear enough to achieve it!

 

4. Move house

It would definitely have to be right at the end of the 5 years, but I would like to think about moving to a nicer area and get a house with a proper study – which may be vital is my business does grow! I do love a lot of things about my house now, and I absolutely hate moving, but it would be nice to be in a safer area so I’m less worried about when the time comes for the kids to get the bus to secondary school and go out with their mates and stuff!

 

5. Have another baby

I really want to expand my family again…. Kidding! Sorry had to put that in case my mother-in-law or hubby reads this… love to keep them on their toes! No that ship has well and truly sailed! My real number 5 however…

5. I would like to do more for charity

We put our hands in our pockets quite regularly when it comes to supporting various charities, but I would definitely like to start making a more hands-on effort, starting this year.  In July I plan to run the Race for Life: Pretty Muddy  as part of a team of girls who want to raise money for Cancer Research – a cause particularly close to my heart since once of my best friends was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at the end of 2015.

The R4L:PM is going to be the first in what I intend to become regular fundraising efforts that I make over the coming years.

 

 

So that about sums it up, my #5in5. I’m interested to hear yours?!

Dee xoxox

Bargain Hunting 

so I popped in primark this morning to pick Roman up new boxers, and I can never resist a bargain so I had a little wander around the reduced stuff.

Anyone that knows me well will tell you that I’m never seen indoors – in my house or anyone else’s – without a pair of slippers, but I’m incredibly fussy. I don’t care what the pattern is, but I only like certain styles and because they are the soft-sole type I go through them very quickly, on average a pair every 8-12 weeks!

So I was well chuffed today to go into Primark and see my favourite style of slippers reduced from £2.50 a pair to £1 a pair, and promptly nabbed three pairs in my size! That’s a whole 6-9 months of slippers for only £3 and a saving of £4.50!!

It’s the simple things that make me happy! Bargains should never be underestimated!

Anyway, here is a pic of my bargain slippers!

Why I hate being a parent #1

Today I hate being a parent. In fact, the truth is there are lots of days I hate being a parent and anyone that isn’t full of bullshit will attest to the fact that there are lots of days that the bad parts of parenting outweigh the good. That’s why I have titled this one #1… I fully expect there to be many more to follow.

So why do I hate being a parent today I hear you ask. Simply because, I feel like shit. This morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, but generally didn’t feel too bad. And this morning was great, I took the kids and my friends daughter to the cinema. The kids were brilliantly behaved and enjoyed the film. Life was grand.

However since coming home my sore throat has turned into a throat full of razor blades, a painful head full of cotton wool, a stiff neck, aching legs and a desire to curl up on the sofa under a blanket and sleep. However I am mum, and mum is not allowed to be sick.

To be honest I don’t feel like this often. Do you know how I know? Because when I ask my kids to sit quietly this afternoon and either read/play on tech/watch a film, they look at me like I have an alien crawling out of my head. At this point I don’t have the energy to check if I actually have.

I hate being a parent because you aren’t allowed to be ill. Within the last 5 minutes alone I have asked the kids to keep the noise down no less than 14 times. Yes they are sitting down playing together but do they have to shriek like a banshee whilst they are doing it? Invariably one of them will annoy the other and I will have to intervene and stretch my already breaking voice to shout at them to leave eachother the hell alone.

Worse still, I am a self-employed parent, which means I can’t take time off work when I am sick either. I have multiple deadlines to meet within the next few days, and I am currently harnessing the creativity and motivation of a dung beetle.

So that, ladies, gentlemen and fellow owners of small, feral creatures (aka kids), is why I hate being a parent today. hey, at least I’m honest about it!