After all of my hard work at university, I’ve recently bought myself a little present. I felt I deserved it! Well, this is a guilt free kind of treat. I bought a new bracelet, however the “guilt free” part comes when you understand who I bought it from.
There’s a wonderful little girl who I originally came into contact with while I was running the 3 Yorkshire 10k races in 2011. She very kindly donated her pocket-money for each of the races to sponsor us (she also supported many other fantastic causes by donating her pocket-money).

Her new venture, is to raise money to supply her local women’s refuge with boxes full of the essentials, and some treats for the families who may have to swiftly leave their homes due to domestic violence. She raises the money by making bracelets for a donation of £3.00. I can honestly say that it’s well worth the money. It’s really wonderful to know that my beautiful bracelet is helping someone in a situation that I couldn’t possibly imagine.What’s even more amazing is that this six year old does this anonymously, she doesn’t do this for any other reason than to help others. She’s an inspiration and example to us all.

Now I wonder if any of you guys reading this could help? Please look at the Treasure Boxes website. Treat yourself or a loved one to a beautiful bracelet and in the process, you’ll be helping someone during a very difficult time in their life.

Thank you for reading xxx


Aha, aho, tracks in the snow…

Snow started to fall at about 2pm yesterday and this morning we were welcomed with a fresh crisp blanket of snow just waiting to be spoilt. When we returned home from church (which was an adventure in itself!) we all wrapped up warm and put on our finest snowman shapers (mittens). Holly was a little unsure at first but full of excitement. As we walked down the street, Holly and I said “crunch, crunch, crunch” as we heard the snow compressing and crumbling under our feet. We did find some tracks in the snow. Our initial hopes of finding a big bad mouse were dashed but we met a beautiful golden retriever called Winston who Holly instantly became friends with.

Our neighbours children very kindly allowed Holly to use their sled which she loved whizzing up and down the path on. We definitely need to put one of those on our shopping list. Finally, Holly helped to make her first snowman. When we had finished making him, she proudly said “Mummy, he has a carrot nose” luckily she didn’t realise that he didn’t have any arms!

We hope you enjoy our photos of the fun we had in the snow xx

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Holly’s dolly pram

Christmas 2011 wasn’t fantastic for us. Most of our nearest and dearest with ourselves included, were very unwell and not able to fully enjoy the festivities. The horrendous stormy weather that we experienced this new year has also hindered us from spending  time outdoors in the fresh air.

However, this morning, the wind had died down and the sun was shining. It was a fantastic opportunity to let Holly take her new dolly pram out for a spin. Since Christmas she has happily pushed it up and down the lounge/dining room. It was a christmas present from her Grandma, who had also lovingly crocheted two blankets to make sure that dolly stayed snug and warm.

I would like to say that we had a relaxing walk, took in the scenery and felt fully refreshed. The truth is, after 150 metres, Holly abandoned the pram and became  interested in the stream that runs down the back of our street (I thought this might happen with her being cooped up indoors for a while). She met a little girl who must have been the same age as her and proceeded to play peepo and chase her around the footpath. Holly’s always been a social butterfly. Needless to say, I ended up pushing the pram some of the way.

It was so cute hearing Holly talking to her dolly as if she was real.  As I write this, she is stood behind me putting dolly to bed “you ok baby? Are you cold? Are you tired? It’s bedtime now.” as she tucks her back into the pram.

She’s a toddler mummy, a little doll herself and I can’t quite believe how quickly she’s growing up, and how much she understands already about caring for something/someone else. Such a blessing.

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Holly was an angel, literally!

Today as parents, we could burst with pride. Holly played the role of an angel in our church Nativity/Christingle service. To say that she only had her second birthday last week, we were overwhelmed with how well she  behaved during the hour-long service. It’s wonderful to know that she’s feels at home there. She loved eating our sweets from the Christingles! A worthy treat for such an angelic little girl.

Merry Christmas from us and Holly x.

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Finally an answer: dyslexia

Today was intense. I had an assessment with an educational psychologist who gave me an answer to a long-standing question. Why do I seem to find it so much harder than other people to learn? Today I was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Now I know some people wouldn’t believe this. I’ve had some wonderful comments since I’ve started my MSc. Some of my very kind peers have said, “I’m surprised you’re struggling, out of everyone I thought you’d fly through this course”, “I bet you get top marks!” ” I think you’re a really conscientious student.” The problem is, I really struggle to articulate in the written word what comes out of my mouth!

Reading and writing has always been a struggle. It takes me forever. The diagnosis today helps make sense of the “kindle” post.

If I’m honest, somehow I was shocked. I burst into tears. How could I manage to get onto a MSc degree with this? Why has it taken till I’m 30 years old to be diagnosed with this, why have I struggled for so long, why have I only had 5 nights off from study in the last 9 weeks? This didn’t last long, it gave me the answer, this is why I’ve struggled.

There’s nothing wrong with my noodle, some of the most creative people in the world are or have been dyslexic and to be honest, I’m proud. I’m ever determined to meet my goals and get there in the end (thank goodness my computer has a spell check LOL!!).

It didn’t take long for my silly husband to start with jokes about spelling etc, I quickly reminded him who had the most qualifications ;0)

Two years with Holly Hula

We’ve recently celebrated Holly’s 2nd birthday. It is difficult to believe that two whole years have passed since the amazing presence of “Holly Hula” came into the world. Having said that, we’ve struggled to truly remember what life was like without her.

She has changed so much in twelve months. She’s no longer a baby (although she will always be our baby), but a proper little girl. It’s amazing that this tiny person can speak in full sentences and tell us what she thinks and wants. Just like her first year, we have sometimes bumbled our way through (especially when she became an incredibly fussy eater, thank goodness that’s over!).

The other thing  that remains the same, each night Mark and I check in on her before we go to bed. We look at her, look at each other and smile. We are so incredibly blessed to have her, she constantly puts our lives in perspective.

Enjoy our photos of year two of Holly xx

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Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

A week or two ago, Holly and I took a trip up to North Leeds. We had a dental appointment but thought we’d make the most of the day while we were in the area and show Holly where I’d spent my childhood.

We started our day by visiting Chapel Allerton. We called into the Sunshine Bakery and bought some of their exquisite cupcakes as a little treat.

Following the dentist, we went to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm it is such a wonderful attraction, particularly good if you have small children. The farm is an educational centre for young people who have learning disabilities or who have struggled to engage with the education system.

Holly and I loved our afternoon there. We had a hot meal together which was reasonably priced and delicious. The cafe and farm shop have a relaxed feel about them. However the service was incredibly friendly and efficient.

The farm is very interactive and Holly was able to feed the animals which she really enjoyed. There are gardens and a coppice wood also to explore. It only cost £1 for me to visit and Holly’s admission was free. I’m sure that the farm will be a lovely perk after visiting the dentist in future.

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