Surgery Advice From One Parent to Another

Monday, 23 February 2015

Harry gowned up and ready to go!

Your child needing to have an operation whether they are a baby or a teenager is completely daunting and a scary thought. It could be the smallest of surgeries but you will still be filled with dread about the day and what it involves.  Just a couple of weeks ago my son Harry had a 6 hour long operation to have a cochlear implant, it was the most terrifying day of our lives but we got through it and surprisingly coped with it a lot better than we imagined we would!  These are the reasons why…


Harry in the recovery area straight after his operation

Knowledge
We knew exactly what was going to happen to Harry before, during and after the surgery and we had tons of information about expectations on the day.  We knew what to expect when he came round from the anaesthetic and there were no shocks or surprises.  Even though he looked such a swollen mess afterwards I knew that is what he would look like so I was prepared for it at least!
Make sure you have been provided absolutely everything you need to know about your childs operation, if you know everything good and bad you will automatically feel more confident about the whole process.  Questions to ask would usually be – how long will it take?  How long will the hospital stay be?  Can I stay with my child? What happens in the operating room? Whats the average recovery time? What extra precautions do I need to take after surgery?


In recovery and having his first sip of water!

Friends and Family
For me, having our family there to support us was so important and I’m so glad they came.  We were able to take it in turns to entertain Harry - who wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything and didn’t actually go down to theatre until 2.30pm!!  It also helped having them there to talk about something other than the operation and to help take our minds on what was about to happen.  If you have someone who can come along with you to keep you company and help out where possible then take them up on their offer, trust me you will be grateful to have them there!


Back on the ward and downing all the water!

Look After Yourself
We made sure we had a bag jam packed with food and drink as we weren’t sure if we would be able to get access to anything whilst Harry was waiting for his surgery or when he was in recovery. This turned out to be pretty true after surgery, he was of course very clingey and I didn’t really want to leave his side either. Its really important you look after yourself during this time so you can deal with your little one as and when they need you! Things like crisps, biscuits, breakfast bars and energy drinks are good things to pack


Sucking on a biscuit the morning after the night before!

Fresh Air
As I mentioned Harrys surgery was 6 hours long and cochlear implant surgery is often up to 8 hours so once he had gone down to thatre, we actually took ourselves away from the hospital and went for lunch and a browse round the shops before heading back to be near our boy.  It felt really weird leaving him in the hands of surgeons but it did us the world of good to get some fresh air, fill our tummies and it made the time go a lot faster.  By the time we were back in the hospital he was pretty much back in my arms right away.  Even if you just go for a walk outside, get out there and breathe!
 

Just after having his bandages removed - look at his sticky out ears!

All the Medicine
We made sure we were super stocked up at home with Calpol and Nurofen as well as the antibiotics prescribed after his operation.  Its handy to have pain relief to hand if its really needed, Harry was dosed up for a good 4 or 5 days after his surgery and it was a lifesaver having it all at home ready without us having to drag ourselves to the chemist!
 
If your little one is due an operation, I wish you all the best and hope my tips help you to “keep calm and carry on” as they say!!

Afternoon Tea at Sketch London

Friday, 13 February 2015





Often Afternoon Tea can be more about the location than the actual food and drink and you could be left with a caffeine headache and a less than full tummy. However if you decide to take your tea at Sketch in the heart of Mayfair, London this will certainly not be the case! The savouries are bottomless - that's right, you can literally gobble as many finger sandwiches as you dare!






Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start), where my friend Sarah and I settled ourselves into The Gallery, a beautiful pink clad dining hall with walls adorned with artwork by David Shringlry. The pieces are cartoon like doodles which had us in stitches! A couple of our faves are below



The atmosphere felt so cosy for such a large room, unlike some other "posh" high teas we've been to, we felt at ease and relaxed into our comfy seats! The staff were ridiculously friendly and on top form immediately realising we were ladies in need of champers, and pronto! We of course sipped these like absolute ladies guzzled them down and moved swiftly on to filling our bellies with the sweet delights we could see around us! 



We weren't disappointed.. First off we tried the most delicious toasted cheese sarnie that's ever passed my lips! So delicious in fact that we ordered a second round! There was also amazing smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches all just as tasty, not a dry bit of crust in sight! Next was scones, 2 types of jam and of course lashings of clotted cream on top Nom Nom! This was followed by various miniature pastries and something in a shot glass (no idea what but it was sweet, fruity and oh sooooo good!) Oh and I mustn't forget to tell you about the tiny bowl of raspberry filled macaroon marshmallow goodness that literally melted in our mouths!



Our teapots were filled with good old British tea but the selection is vast if you're after something more exotic (I hear their chai is amazing) These weren't just any old tea sets though, each one had little hand written messages on them which has inspired me to "DIY Sharpie" onto some of my own cups and saucers!




One of my favourite parts of the experience was going to the toilet - and not in a TMI sort of way! In fact Meg from told me "make sure you go to the toilets at LEAST 3 times!!" Which I did. 
I don't want to ruin it for any of you who haven't had the chance to go to Sketch yet so I will leave most of my photos out and let you experience it yourself!! It's so fun!



Sarah and I spent a good few hours in Sketch and we felt under no pressure to order more drinks, food or to leave even though I'm pretty sure they were fully booked! We then tottered over to Libertys to try on some adorable hats and sniff out the latest Diptyque fragrance!

If you're looking for an Afternoon Tea with a difference and a relaxed but quirky atmosphere then Sketch is the place to go! I would love to hear all about it if you take a trip there!! Xx



DIY Birthday Chalkboard

Monday, 26 January 2015



If you saw my post a️bout Harry's first birthday party you would have seen the birthday "chalkboard" I made all by myself *smiles a big chuffed smile*! It was actually super easy to make but took some planning and careful calligraphy!
If you would like to make your own birthday chalkboard, rather than paying the £25+ that Etsy demands, then keep reading!


You will need:

*a black foam board (mine is an A1 from Hobbycraft)
*metallic pens (mine are Papermania Fluid Metallic Pens that are specifically for writing on dark backgrounds)
*a ruler
*a pencil
*a rubber
*some scrap paper for drafting




Firstly you want to jot down some ideas for your board, things like what your little one is loving right now, how many teeth they have, favourite book, what they weigh or measure, what they dislike, things that they can do etc etc etc..

Secondly you want to draft your design on a plain piece of paper. Use a pencil and rubber as you will need to play around a bit to see which bits you can fit where


Font styles from DaFont.com
I used a website called da font to copy various fonts onto my board although you can just make up your own or doodle it in your own handwriting!

Once you are happy with your layout transfer it carefully into your foam board, again with pencil so you can correct any mistakes - unless you are brave enough to go straight in with your pens!!!
Then go over your wording with your metallics adding little drawings, stars, hearts, crowns or whatever fits with your theme! Use a ruler to section off your writing but be careful making sure its straight!


 It really is as easy as that! I plan to do one every year until Harry is like 21.... Hmmm!



I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Will you be making a birthday chalkboard??!

What is a Cochlear Implant?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015



If you've seen my latest vlog you will have seen that I did a short video about so BIG EXCITING news! Harry finally has a date for his cochlear implant surgery - Tuesday 3rd Feb 2015!  But what even is a cochlear implant...


What is a cochlear implant?!
A cochlear implant is a tiny and very complex electronic device, that can help to provide sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing (Harry is profoundly deaf which means he has no natural hearing) The implant consists of an internal part that is surgically placed under the skin and attaches to an external part via magnets.
The Cochlear Implant is made up of the following componants:
·         A microphone, which picks up sound from the environment.
·         A speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
·         A transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
·         An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.
An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
At present around 10,000 people in the UK are fitted with a cochlear implant and the number is increasing each year.  You see a lot of cochlear implants around where the external part sits behind the ear, much like a hearing aid, however for the first 5 years Harry won’t have the behind the ear part and instead that part will clip onto his clothing.  We mainly chose this option because we felt his ears and head were too small to have that sort of hardware and also because the brand we have gone for is waterproof!
Advanced Bionics Neptune  |  Source

How does a cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant is VERY different from a hearing aid – which simply amplifies sound so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants however bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.
Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and enjoy a conversation in person or by telephone

Surgery..
During the operation the surgeon makes an incision behind the ear being treated in order to gain access into the middle ear and cochlear. The operation lasts between 3 and 4 hours per ear - Harry will be having both done at the same time so a mega long operation
The operation is delicate and intricate rather than dangerous because no vital organs are disturbed. There are no serious attendant risks with the operation beyond those normally associated with major surgery

What does the future hold for someone with a cochlear implant?
With advancements in technology and continued follow-up studies with people who already have received implants, researchers are evaluating how cochlear implants might be used for other types of hearing loss.
Other studies are exploring ways to make a cochlear implant convey the sounds of speech more clearly. Researchers also are looking at the potential benefits of pairing a cochlear implant in one ear with either another cochlear implant or a hearing aid in the other ear

So there you go I hope that answers any questions you may have or improves your understanding of what Harry's going to have done! Here's my latest vlog if you fancy seeing a little snippet of Harry and to hear my thoughts and feelings on him undergoing this massive operation..




A Royal First Birthday

Friday, 2 January 2015

Invitations by Forever Your Prints | Etsy
I can't believe this past November my little baby turned into a toddler and celebrated his very first birthday! Where on earth does the time go?   If you have a stationary newborn hold on to them tightly guys!!!
For his borthday we threw him a Prince themed birthday party at The Tea Bar in our home town and it was PERFECT!


Firstly I had to get invitations printed and handed out so I went with a pre-made template from a company on Etsy called Forever Your Prints, who were amazing and tweaked it to perfection! I would highly recommend them for invitations



I decided to get a bit creative and made a few felt crowns and a first birthday "chalkboard" (a tutorial will be up soon for both of these if you want one?!)

 



Seeing as there would be a whole age range we decided to hire a small soft play area for them littluns to get stuck into and it was a huge hit! We hired ours from Little Softies who have suppliers in various areas of the UK




The cake was handmade by my beautiful friend Jennie (she also organised my fabulous baby shower!) it was huge and oh soooooo chocolatey!!  She used a crown shaped cake tin to bake it and i think its totally GBBO-worthy! I got totally emotional when we all sang AND signed Happy Birthday around it!!

We were so overwhelmed and delighted at how many people turned up to celebrate Harry turning one, it was hectic but in a good way!!







Thank you to everyone who came to Harry's party and to all of you who sent gifts and left him birthday wishes!! He had the most amazing day!
OH and thank you to Sarah for taking such gorgeous photos for us!!!
xx




Baby and Toddler Christmas Gift Guide

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Unbelievably Harry just had his first birthday and Christmas is just around corner.. He's recently started to be a little more interested in toys but none of his are very stimulating anymore so I feel bright garish coloured toys are going to be dominating his wishlist this year!  
Heres some first birthday and Christmas ideas for your very own 1 year old..




1.  Sockette Hand Puppet from £12.95 on Amazon - These super brightly coloured hand puppets are absolutly perfect for babies and toddlers! Harry gets so excited by puppets and will imitate their mouths opening - so cute!

2.  My First Gadget Set £20 from ELC - If your little one is anything like mine he or she LOVES remotes, phones and keys.. basically anything important that we don't want them to touch and break!  This gadget set is the perfect thing to help distract them from the real thing - I think the remote looks pretty realistic, don't you!?

3.  Jellycat FuddleWuddle Polar Bear* £17 from Jellycat - Its no secret that I am a huge fan of Jellycat soft toys! The quality of them really makes them stand out for me from the average cuddly bear and the FuddleWuddle Polar Bear is no exception!  Harry was kindly gifted this one from JC themselves and he can often be found giving him a loving cuddle whilst watching his fave telly programmes!

4.  Dance and Shout Mickey £31.99 from Argos - This was a present we actually bought Harry for his first birthday! Yes its very bright and loud and annoying but the boy is head over heels for it!  With the push of a button Mickey bursts into song and dances about like a nut case, and who doesn't love Mickey Mouse?!

5.  Alphabet Fridge Magnets from £4.98 on Amazon - I find these come in really handy when i'm in the kitchen as a distraction for Harry away from the hot oven!  He spends ages taking them on and off the fridge and as he gets older they will help with teaching him his alphabet!  (They are also great for leaving funny messages for your other half on the fridge!) 

6.  Zara Baby Clothing - This one isn't based on one particular item but if you are looking for gorgeous quality and nice boys clothing then head to Zara baby!  Its not just stripes and checks like every other little boys section and is quite reasonably priced

7.  Baby Bjorn Cup £7.90 from PreciousLittleOne - This one is more of a practical present and another one that we have bought for Harry ourselves. The Baby Bjorn cup is the perfect starter cup for toddlers and helps to teach them to make the transition from beakers. Its really tiny but enough to hold a good drink for your little one - Harry adores sipping out of his!

What are you getting your toddler for their Birthday or Christmas??!

Harry is One!!

Friday, 28 November 2014


I never knew unconditional love until I met my son Harry. It's the kind of love that you would put your life on the line for without a second of hesitation. 
Today Harry turns one - probably the biggest milestone we've accomplished so far! It's got me reflecting on this past year which has been a crazy crazy ride of tears, laughter, exhaustion and adventures! I feel I owe you lot a little big thanks for your words, encouragement and most of all friendships along the way.. I couldn't have made it through this year without you!



Right, I'm off to continue spoiling my lad with cuddles, cake and toys galore! Happy 1st Birthday Harry, I wouldn't change you for the world 

Smiley Print Photo Strips

Monday, 24 November 2014

Smiley Print Photo Strips $10
I spent a large portion of my teenage years in those old school 90's photo booths pouting, peace signing and sticking my tongue out to create ridiculous strips of memories with my best friends! So when i received these gorgeous photo strips from Smiley Print* I was overjoyed that photobooth'esque is coming back!!

Smiley Print collated my fave snaps of Harry from my instagram collection (there's quite a few of course #harryspam) into these gorgeous 4x17cm columns which are perfect size for keeping in my purse or popping into little frames.  They could also be used as bookmarks or for scrapbooking!

They offer a whole range of printing options including whether you want your photos in matte or glossy (i adore the matte look), you can adjust and resize using their super simple website and the best bit is the price is ridiculously reasonable...  These photo strips are $10 for 12 strips!!

You can get your hands on these photo strips as well as loads of other photo printing goodies on the Smiley Print website, I've got my eye on their photo sticker books!!

Did you love a photobooth photo when you were younger??

*Thank you Smiley Print for sending us these beautiful prints!


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