Monday 31 August 2020

Our weekly meal plan! 31st August - 6th September. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went pretty well. We ate just about everything. The Coconut & Mango Sizzlers went down well. We will be getting them again and despite my youngest saying she didn't like the pineapple in the fried rice she ate it all.

Ellie had a fab birthday and we went way over the top ordering the Chinese takeaway. We ended up with leftovers and had that for lunch on Sunday. It was so good. 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Burgers in buns.
Wednesday - Soup and sandwiches to dip in.
ThursdayHome made pizza.
Friday - Home made fish, chips and mushy peas.
Saturday - A fake KFC. Chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, fries and baked beans..
Sunday - Pie, mash & veg.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 30 August 2020

She loved all of her presents.

Yesterday it was Ellie's birthday and she turned 13! She said it was the best birthday ever. We didn't do much, just had a day at home with lots of presents for her to open, yummy food and a Chinese takeaway.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Week 35 of #Project366 - A photo every day for a year!

A couple of weeks ago I was complaining about being too hot and now it seems like we've jumped to Autumn, it's got rather chilly. So far I am refusing to put the heating on. It's still ruddy August. lol

We have had quite a busy week. Stu had Tuesday off work because of the rain. He mostly works outside and was told not to go in as there was no inside jobs to do so he painted our bedroom. Finally! It's been on our to do list for weeks and I have been preparing for Ellie's 13th birthday which is today.

Now for a photo every day!

My fella and my daughter looking through the memory boxes
A look out of my living room window and a black and orange butterfly
Paint pots and the paint on the walls.
Cosy socks and a wax melt burner.

235/366 - 22nd August
About once a year Stu and the girls always like to have a look through all the memory boxes. Saturday was that day and they spent a good couple of hours looking through everything. I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to things like this and have tons of paintings from them in nursery and reception class, all the hospital letters, first outfits and shoes and of course all the school reports.

236/366 - 23rd August
It was so dark in here on Sunday afternoon.

237/366 - 24th August
There were so many butterflies in the back garden on Monday. They are very camera shy and wouldn't stay still for long so I could get many photos.

238/366 - 25th August
Stu made a start on painting our bedroom using the leftover paint from the hallway and the purple donated from my dad's paint shed. 

239/366 - 26th August
I finished off the glossing and then our bedroom was done! I love it. The only room we have left to decorate in the house is the dining room and we're in no rush to do that yet.

240/366 - 27th August
The cosy socks were out and I even found myself getting a blanket out too later in the evening.

241/366 - 28th August
It felt like a day to burn some wax melts. I lit the candle and it instantly felt cosier in here.

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Happy birthday to my youngest! She's a teenager now!

It doesn't seem that long since my youngest, Ellie turned 12. I say it every year but what a year she has had. This year has been the making of her and she is a totally different person than she was this time last year.

Ellie seems to have been waiting so long to be a teenager and the day is finally here. Today is her 13th birthday.

This time last year Ellie was waiting to start her new school after we had moved house and she settled in quickly and hasn't looked back. She finally got to leave the bullying issues she had behind and they are all a distant memory now.

Ellie has made a ton of new friends and thankfully the majority of them are just lovely. There is one who is practically one of the family now. She is always popping over and is always welcome. She is one of those people who I can imagine Ellie still being friends with in 10 years.

I think making friends has helped Ellie grow in confidence. She is not that girl anymore who worries about what other people think about her which I think is fantastic. She wears what she wants instead of what other people wear and if someone doesn't like her for no real reason she says stuff them!

School went amazingly well for Ellie, well until it closed because of Coronavirus. We had our battles with home schooling, mostly her not wanting to do it and me nagging her. We probably didn't do as much work as some but I do think she learned things at home. By then end of the school year we got into a good routine July came around and it was the end of year 8.

Ellie handled the lockdown well. She had one little blip early on where she was a little afraid of going out because all she seemed to hear was "Stay at home, only go out if necessary" so we started going for daily walks and we enjoyed them.

At the moment Ellie is all for anything Japanese. She loves anime stuff and she has even started to learn Japanese. So of course a lot of her presents are Japanese related things. The other love of her life is anything coloured "Rose Gold". Thankfully like that are more common and cheaper than some of the Japanese things she wanted. lol I think she will be happy with all of her presents.

We don't have many plans for today apart from Ellie opening her presents, my dad and his partner are popping around this morning and Ellie's best friend this afternoon. She's chosen a Chinese takeaway for her tea and there of course will be cake!

Friday 28 August 2020

This week my Word of the Week is: Preparations! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is: 

This week I have been busy planning and preparing. We have a busy few weeks coming up Two big birthdays and the return to school and college.

Ellie turns 13 tomorrow and she is getting so excited. I've been on the Tesco website and ordered some yummy treats for her breakfast, sushi for lunch and of course her cake. Then we're having a Chinese takeaway for tea, her choice!

I spent a good few hours wrapping Ellie's presents. A lot of them were odd shapes or small things so took some time to wrap. I hate wrapping presents but they're done now. At least when it comes to wrapping Becky's for her birthday in a couple of weeks hers are more straightforward and mostly square or rectangular boxes.

At the beginning of the week we had heard nothing about Ellie returning to school but they have slowly been adding things to the website and making preparations for the new school year. The biggest difference in school life will be that all the year groups will be kept together and not allowed to mix. They all have separate places to hang out at break. There will be a staggered lunch break and a one way route around the school. 

The best bit of news came in the letter which we received yesterday. As they are keeping the year groups together it means the tutor groups will be changing. Each tutor group used to be a mixture of year groups but now they're all being kept together in the classes they learn in. It means Ellie has a new form tutor and she couldn't have asked for a better one. It's the woodwork teacher who she gets on really well with.

Becky is all set to go back to college. We did have to fill some forms in a couple of weeks ago but it's all been pretty straightforward so far. We are waiting to hear about the bus pass because she is panicking about getting there on the first day. I've told her just pay with her bank card and sort it out when she gets to college. They're not having the induction day where you pick up bus passes, sign forms, get the timetable, etc before the start of the term because of social distancing which I understand. Last years induction day was chaos. 

I made preparations weeks ago to decorate mine & Stu's bedroom but never got around to it so Stu had an extra day off work this week because of the bad weather and he cracked on with it. He got all the paint on the walls and did half the glossing which I finished off. It looks so much better. Now we only have the dining room left to decorate but there is no rush for that. 

Thursday 27 August 2020

Desert Island Flicks! What would you choose?

BBC’s Desert Island Discs looks at the eight music tracks celebrities would take with them if cast away on a desert island but what about films?

What films would you take with you to a desert island to watch for the rest of your life?

New research by SpareRoom reveals the eight films Brit's would take with them if cast away to a desert island:

The Shawshank Redemption.
Pretty Woman.
Dirty Dancing.
Pulp Fiction.
About Time.
The Matrix.

I would take a couple of them. Dirty Dancing, one of my all time favourite films and Titanic because it is on forever and I do love it.

I think the other six I would choose would be:

Avengers: Endgame.
After Thanos, an intergalactic warlord, disintegrates half of the universe, the Avengers must reunite and assemble again to reinvigorate their trounced allies and restore balance. This is one of my go to films when I want to watch a film but don't know what to watch. I don't think I would ever get sick of it.

Love Actually.
Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are David, the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer, Sarah, a graphic designer whose devotion to her mentally ill brother complicates her love life and Harry a married man tempted by his attractive new secretary. This isn't just a Christmas film. I love the story and all the people in it.

The Greatest Showman.
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. I love this film for the music. I can happily listen to the soundtrack over and over.

Mary Poppins.
When Jane and Michael, the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family are faced with the prospect of a new nanny they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins. Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert, the siblings try to pass on some of their nanny's sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents. This is an oldie but a goodie. It's one of the first films I remember watching as a child and I have never got sick of it. My girls love it too.

A caper involving a boxing promoter who is introduced to match fixing by a ruthless, pig-breeding gangster. Thrust into the fray are a street fighting gypsy and his family, and a vicious pitbull. This isn't my usual type of film but it is so funny.

The Lord Of The Rings triology.
(I'm cheating with this one.)
Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and the Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring to ensure the destruction of its maker the Dark Lord Sauron. The Fellowship eventually splits up and Frodo continues the quest with his loyal companion Sam and the treacherous Gollum. Meanwhile, Aragorn, heir in exile to the throne of Gondor, along with Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Merry, Pippin and the wizard Gandalf unite to rally the Free Peoples of Middle-earth in the War of the Ring in order to aid Frodo by weakening Sauron's forces.

These are films I have watched over and over again and could carry on watching them over and over. I know I've seen Mary Poppins at 35 times, every year at Christmas and a few times inbetween. All of the films I've chose are comforting and familiar. I don't think I will ever get sick of them!

What films could you watch over and over? What would you choose as your Desert Island Flicks?

Wednesday 26 August 2020

(Ad - Gifted) Rainy day colouring & back to school supplies from STABILO!

The weather has not been great, where has the summer gone? which means I have started to hear "I'm bored" more and more. Over the weekend Ellie was at a loose end but thankfully we had been sent a little package of STABILO colouring pens and pencils to try out and I printed off some colouring sheets to give Ellie something to do.

STABILO is a brand which has been around for nearly 100 years. I remember using their products as a child and I remember thinking that people who had the classic STABILO highlighter pens were so fancy. hehehe Over the years my girls have used their pens and pencils but the sets we were sent to try were new to us.

STABILO woody 3 in 1 is multi talented as it combines a colouring pencil, watercolour and wax crayon all in one. With its high opacity and colour intensity even on dark paper it is a favourite for every child. Its XXL lead is perfect for large areas and suited for children's hands as the chunky pencil allows a good grip. 

The STABILO woody 3 in 1 is water soluble and perfect for decorating windows, cups or any smooth surfaces. Don't worry it is easy to remove with a damp cloth.

 We think these are fantastic. So much more than just a colouring pencil. Dip them in water and they become a watercolour but without all the mess of getting the paints out. I love that it comes with a sharpener as we would have struggled to sharpen these with the small one's we have. These are a lot of fun and at the moment I have about 30 pictures which Ellie has drawn with them. She really does like them.

The STABILO Trio DECO fibre-tip metallic pens makes drawing and colouring truly exciting. The sparkling metallic colours brings works of art to life and are available in 8 colours. Ergonomic triangular grip zone makes the product suitable for children encouraging them to hold the pen with the dynamic tripod grip and are also CE-certified. 

The metallic fibre-tip pens are perfect for colouring and are also great for do it yourself projects. The pens create magical glitter effects on paper, cardboard, wood and other absorbent surfaces. Great for decorating gifts and designing cards, letters and photo albums.

Ellie loves anything shiny and sparkly so she saw these and instantly fell in love with them. These are something special and has said she won't use them for every day colouring and will keep them for special occasions. 

STABILO Cappi is a unique felt tip pen with a cap ring to thread the caps together so it's almost impossible to lose them! Plus the pen can be left uncapped for up to 24 hours without drying out and has washable ink. Its ergonomic grip zone is ideally designed for children's hands and is perfect for finding the right grip while colouring. It's also good for learning to write in the early stages. The unique tube design prevents the pens from rolling off the table too.

We think these are just genius! I have lost count of the times the kids have lost the lids of pens and they have dried up but with these the chances of that happening are very slim. Ellie thought these pens were lovely to colour in with and loved the colours in the set.

Ellie has said that she can't wait to take these to school. We already know that at Ellie's school they have to take in everything they could possibly need as there will be no sharing of equipment so these will come in very handy and with the cap ring there should be no lost pens.

You can buy STABILO pens, pencils and supplies from most places which sell stationery.

We were sent these STABILO free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Having the kids friends over is the thing I dread the most!

With the summer holidays in full swing, researchers polled British parents around the pitfalls of keeping kids entertained and found hosting play dates is the thing we usually dread the most. Overall, 84 percent of parents claim having other people’s children over to play is an “extremely stressful” experience.

I have always hated my girls having play dates, especially when they were younger. I hated having to organise something for them to do and keep them under control. It is much easier now the girls are older and I am quite glad that Coronavirus happening and only one of my girls can have one friend over at a time. hehehe There is a silver lining to the pandemic.

Before lockdown when Becky had her girlfriend over and Ellie had her best friend over and maybe a couple of other friends it was a little chaotic. There is 5 or 6 years between the 2 groups but they do get on. Phew! I think Ellie & her friends look up to Becky and her girlfriend & they think Ellie and her friends are cute. lol

The age my girls are now I don't have to worry about toys being all over the place and the house being trashed, my biggest worry is making sure that I have enough batteries for the xbox controllers and enough food in the fridge. 

That brings me on to feeding other peoples kids. I do stress about that. Becky's girlfriend is the fussiest eater I have ever know. Who doesn't have mash and gravy on a roast dinner? lol Usually I stick with food that I know all kids/teenagers love. Cheese & tomato pizza, spaghetti bolognese or fajitas. One day Becky was late in telling me that "A" was stopping for tea and I was making chicken fajitas, her being the fussy eater I was worried. She'd never eaten fajitas before but was willing to give them a try, she did and she loved them. She made me write down the ingredients and how to make them and has became obsessed with them. She now makes them at home at least once a week. lol

Becky has got to the point where she is asking if "A", her girlfriend can stay the night. When I was a teenager I wasn't allowed a boy to sleep over until I was about Becky's age and then I certainly wasn't allowed to share a bed with them or even a room which Becky is wanting. The only time I could get away with sleeping in the same room as a boyfriend in my parents house is when we took duvets downstairs and slept in the living room. There is an upside to Becky having the smallest bedroom and a single bed, there is no way they could sleep in there comfortably so I am thinking about suggesting they do what I did as a teen and camp out downstairs. There is always that fear that someone will come downstairs in the night and hopefully that will put them off you know what. 

I love my girls friends but I do always breath a sigh of relief when they go home and I can relax, fart in peace and spill food down my top like I do when it's just me and my family here. hehehe

Do you dread your children's friends coming over?

Monday 24 August 2020

Our weekly meal plan! 24th - 30th August. #MealPlanningMonday

This is the last full week of August! How did that happen? It won't be long now until the kids are back at school and college. I am trying not to let it worry me but it certainly will be a big change after them being at home for so long.

Last weeks meal plan went well. We ate everything but did swap a couple of meals around. We got the shopping delivered on Friday and as much as I do like weeks where we give it a miss and eat what we have in like last week I do prefer having more of a choice of fresh food and treats. 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Chicken fajitas (again).
Tuesday - Pork & apple sausages with potato wedges.
ThursdaySpaghetti bolognese and garlic bread.
Friday - Leftover bolognese in wraps.
Saturday - A Chinese takeaway for Ellie's birthday.
Sunday - Toad in the hole, mash & veg.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday 23 August 2020

The pears have fallen.

This time last month I shared some photos of the fruit on my dad's trees. Apples and pears which we were waiting to ripen before we picked them. We only had to wait a few weeks and the wind helped up out. 

On Friday we had some crazy winds here which blew a lot of the fruit off the trees. My dad went around and collected a bag full and brought some to me. The pears are still hard at the moment but they are softening a little. I am planning to put some in a crumble along with the blackberries which we will be picking from the back of our garden.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Week 34 of #Project366 - A photo every day for a year!

Another week has flown over despite us not doing much at all for most of the week. We've been out for a couple of walks and all the usual housework and the kids playing on their electronics but that's about it. We have had a few things to celebrate. Stu's birthday, Becky getting her results from college. A C in her English GCSE and a C in the Health & Social Care course and of course 11 years since the girls had their heart surgeries.

Now for a photo every day!

My girls wrapping some presents and my fellas birthday cards
A lunch bag in the shape of an orange slice
My youngest playing on Fortnite and my teen with her back to the camera showing her long hair
A can of ant and cockroach killer and an Oreo doughnut.

228/366 - 15th August
The kids had the job of wrapping all of Stu's birthday presents. They did well but did use a little too much sellotape. Stu had quite the job of opening them. He will get his revenge with the girls birthdays coming up. hehehe

229/366 - 16th August
Some of Stu's cards for his birthday. He had a lovely day despite not doing much. 

230/366 - 17th August
The fantastic lunch bag we were sent to review.

231/366 - 18th August
Ellie playing Fortnite on her computer. She was playing with her friend in a team and having a good old shout even though her friend was at her home and couldn't hear her. lol

232/366 - 19th August
I think this is the longest Becky has ever had her hair. The red dye she had on is just about all washed out and now she's thinking about going purple.

233/366 - 20th August
The ant spray was my friend on Thursday. We were invaded by flying ants. I did start by catching them in a plastic cup and throwing them out of the window but more and more kept coming. It turns out they were coming in from a vent under the radiator. I sprayed all over the vent and out ant powder down. There was about 30 in here at one point. Eek! Since I sprayed there has been no more. Phew!

234/366 - 21st August
When we get the food shopping delivered I always buy us some treats and I got us all an Oreo doughnut. They are so good!

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Friday 21 August 2020

This week my Word of the Week is: Celebrating! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

It has been a good week! After a few weeks of struggling to come up with a word for my Word of the Week post this week was slightly easier!

Last weekend was all about Stu's birthday. It wasn't a big one but it was a bit of excitement after a boring few weeks. On Saturday Ellie and I made a the cake which you can see on my Sunday photo post. What a job. We made a half and half cake. Half chocolate with buttercream icing and half vanilla sponge with chocolate butter cream icing. Never again! It took hours because we only had one cake tin in the size we wanted. I am quite glad we used packet mixes instead of making it from scratch, the hand food mixer finally gave up and broke so I had to get the big food mixer out. What a faff but it was worth it. The cake ended up being amazing, it was huge and tasted so good!

We also had a takeaway on Saturday night instead of Stu's actual birthday on the Sunday. We enjoy a takeaway more on a Saturday so it made sense. Stu had a quiet birthday, we didn't do much apart from leaving him alone to play on his computer. hehehe He loved all of his presents and cards and had a great day. Ellie's friend also popped round with a card and some chocolate for him. How sweet. 

This past week marked 11 years since my girls both had open heart surgery to fix holes in their hearts. It is a hard week even 11 years later. Early on in the week I felt quite low but yesterday I pulled myself around, felt much happier and positive. It is something worth celebrating, the fact that we got through the worst week ever and the girls are fit and well now.

Another reason we had to celebrate was yesterday when Becky got her results from college. After all the news stories we've read about the results recently we were slightly worried but my girl did well.

I always seemed to forget that Becky was resitting her English GCSE at college as she only got a D last year. She never really talked much about the English lessons or the mock exam she took early this year. All she ever mentioned was the speaking part of the GCSE and how she was so glad she didn't have to resit that as she had passed it at school. It turns out she did well and got a grade 4 which is an old school C.

Becky also got her results from the Health and Social Care course that she's been doing for the last year. She got a C for that too! I am of course very proud of her. It hasn't have been the easiest year with Coronavirus shutting her college in March and having to do her coursework at home. The support from the college has been amazing and there was always someone on hand to answer questions and offer advice about the work. Everyone did well in a difficult situation. 

Ellie is on a countdown to her birthday. It's a week tomorrow and she is very excited. She'll be 13 so officially a teenager and she can't wait to celebrate. I still have her presents to wrap, I think I will rope in Becky to help. I have a delivery slot booked on Friday with Tesco and fingers crossed her cake is delivered so we can do some more celebrating!

Thursday 20 August 2020

5 tips for parents that are worried about their children’s scars.

As parents we know that young skin is sensitive and precious and it is natural for parents to worry that any damage will leave a visible scar.

From babies exploring their new world to school children in the playground accidents happen. More than two million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year and sadly some children will also suffer from significant trauma caused by surgery, burns or serious accidents.

Both of my girls have been left with scars down the middle of their chest and the top of their stomachs from the drains when they had their open heart surgery to repair the holes in their hearts.  

5 tips for parents worried about their children’s scars:

Acceptance - If your child is injured or needs surgery you are obviously going to be worried about what sort of scar it might leave. The reality is that if you have a burn or graze and it hasn’t healed in 10 to 14 days or a surgical or traumatic wound that cuts through the deep layers of the skin then a scar will form. The sooner that you can accept this the more able you are to move on to protecting and treating the scar.

Encourage body confidence -  The children who cope well with scars are those who are encouraged to talk about it. Whether it’s a small scar or a larger area it can have a psychological impact on children. So giving young people and yourself the confidence to talk about their scar and to answer other people’s questions is vital.

For years Becky has been really self conscious about the scar on her chest. She is still not 100% confident but over the summer she wore lower cut tops and you could see the top of it. Being a teenager is hard when all you see in the media is all those pretty, air brushed people with not a mark on them. I think with age she will gain confidence.

Stay sun safe - Scar tissue has poorly functioning melanocytes, the body’s natural protection against UV so it very important that you protect a scar from the sun’s rays at home or abroad. 

TLC - For the first 12 or18 months a scar is still in the maturation phase but there are steps you can take to help your child’s scar to heal well. For example, regularly apply moisturiser to help hydrate the tissue and massage the area. 

Don’t let it hold you back - It’s so important for children of any age to be outside and active so a scar shouldn’t stop them from enjoying life. While you will naturally feel cautious of any further injury you need to encourage your child to return to their normal routines. If you’re on holiday as long as you follow sun protection guidelines and protect the scar from over exposure to UV, children can play on the beach, swim in the sea and enjoy outdoor activities.

Have you had to manage any scars your children have gained or do you have any on yourself?

Wednesday 19 August 2020

(Ad - Gifted) Washable lunch bags from Bibetta - Review!

Ellie, my youngest has already decided that when she goes back to school she will be taking a packed lunch for at least a couple of days a week. From what we've heard the school won't be serving hot food for the time being so she might as well take a packed lunch.

We had been looking at lunchboxes and bags and nothing had taken our fancy but then we were asked if we would like to be sent one to review. 

Bibetta’s new collection of neoprene lunch bags are available in two eye catching shapes and seven different designs. They not only look great, but are soft, stretchy, durable and best of all they’re machine washable.

We opened the box and the lunch bag really did make us smile. It is such a fun bag! It's bright, colourful and something a little different.

Key features include:

Easy to clean - machine and hand washable!
 The clever design means the lunch bags can be turned inside out and cleaned thoroughly. I think this is a great feature. I know how dirty lunch bags can get with spilt yoghurts, squashed fruit and annoying crumbs. The lunch bag can be fully immersed in water, making them both hand and machine washable. They are quick drying too.

They're made to last.
The lunch bags including their handles are made from neoprene, known for its softness and strength. They are flexible and stretchy but keep their shape well and are extremely durable. They are made to last, and this lunch bag is a sound investment.

They are leak proof.
 Neoprene has an absorbent top layer and a waterproof, foam rubber middle layer to insulate the contents and prevent any leaks.

 Designed in-house by Bibetta in Cambridge the lunch bags feature popular fun and friendly Bibetta brand characters, Flamingo, Unicorn, Dinosaur and Tropical Fish as well as the new bold designs, Rainbow, Orange Slice and Watermelon. I think the designs of them are brilliant. The fruit one's would be great for adults as well as children.

Their products have passed UK safety requirements, and are free from BPA, PVC, phthalate and AZO dye.

Both Ellie and I really like this bag and I can see her getting plenty of use out of it. It is not something which is going to break after a few weeks or become smelly because we can't clean it properly. When we first opened the box we didn't think it looked that big but looks can be deceiving. It will fit a lot in than we initially thought and more than enough for Ellie to eat. Ellie can't wait to show her friends. This bag is something a bit different from anything we've seen before.

The Bibetta lunch bags are sold for between £11.99 and £19.99 and you can buy them from the Bibetta website or Amazon.

We were sent this lunch bag free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

11 years since their heart surgeries.

This week marks 11 years since my girls and I spent a week in hospital and they both had open heart surgery and each year I like to write about it to remember how lucky we are and to share our story to raise awareness about heart defects!

If you don't know our heart story you can read the full story here. I was born with a hole in my heart and I didn't need surgery and both of my girls were also born with holes in their hearts which were missed at birth. Becky's I could understand being missed but Ellie's not. A young trainee doctor noticed a murmur but it was dismissed by an older doctor. 

The girls heart defects were only discovered after my youngest jammed her fingers in a door and needed surgery to straighten her fingers. It was a freak accident but that accident saved both of their lives. If Ellie didn't have that accident they could have been dead by now. I have been left with the thought of all the what if's?

Both of the girls had Atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD's). An atrioventricular septal defect results in a is a large hole between the upper filling chambers (atria) and the lower pumping chambers (ventricles) of the heart. The hole allows more blood to flow from the left side of the heart to the right. This increases the pressure of the blood travelling to the lungs, making the right hand-side of the heart work harder and function less well.

We went into the hospital on Sunday the 16th of August, Becky had her open heart surgery on Monday and spent a night on PICU, Ellie had her surgery on Tuesday and took Becky's place on PICU. They both recovered well and quickly. Ellie probably too quickly. She was trying to copy off the Cbebbies show Waybuloo doing yoga a day after major surgery. 

It was honestly the worst time of my life. I did write about the reality of open heart surgery but even that can't get across how I was feeling. Taking one child for surgery is bad enough but taking another less than 24 hours later. I don't know how I did it, I really don't. I have felt plenty of guilt over the years knowing the chances I passed the heart defect to my girls, it has to be me because they both have different fathers. We had basic genetic tests done but it was just put down to bad luck for now. The girls can choose to have tests when they were older but I wasn't going to push them into it now. It is only really going to effect them when they have their own children and then they will be monitored closely.

The girls are fit and well at the moment. Their heart issues don't really effect their day to day life apart from in the winter when Becky feels the cold more and her lips sometimes have a blue tinge to them.

Over the last year they have both had their hearts checked and not much has changed with them but the hospital did say that if there was no more deterioration they might not need surgery again which was good to hear but time will tell. The person who saw Ellie said I should go and get my heart checked. Partly for their research and partly just to keep an eye on me. The last time I had my heart checked was when they discovered Becky's heart defect and that was just to compare our hearts. I had a leaking valve but it wasn't as bad as the girls. I was supposed to have an appointment early this year but Coronavirus happened and I got a letter saying I will be called in when it is safe to do so. That's fine with me.