Monday, 30 November 2009

Children Craft Showcase Advent Angels

Week one advent is for the ascension when the angel gabriel came and told Mary that she was to have Gods child.  So this week we made card angels.


Coloured card

Draw around a plate on a piece of coloured card and cut out.  Then cut the circle in to a semi circle.

Spread one half of the card with glue and sprinkle on slitter or decorations and leave to dry

make a pattern with glue a long the curved edge of your remaining semicircle and add glitter or other decorations and leave to dry

Draw a head (a smaller circle) on another piece of card (paler coloured) and cut up some wool for her hair.

Glue the hair on to the face and allow to dry.  Small children might find it easy to draw the face, then add the hair and then you cut the face out for them

Bend the dress around to make a cone shape and tape together and then glue or tape the face on too.

Fold the other semicircle and cut into a wings shape unfold and tape them on the back of the dress

Discussion The Annunciation:

A Child will be Born adapted from Luke 1:26-38 for young children 3

In the city of Nazareth, in Galilee, there lived a young woman named Mary. Mary was soon to marry a carpenter named Joseph.

One day Gabriel, an angel, visited Mary and said: "Greetings, most favored one, and do not be afraid. God has chosen you among all women. Very soon you will have a baby, you must call him Jesus"

This would be a very special baby. He would be great, and his kingdom would last forever and ever. He told her that the child would be called the Son of God.

Mary bowed before the angel Gabriel and told him she would be obedient to God and that she wanted to do as God wished. When she got up the angel had gone.


This is the perfect song to play whilst making your angels, I so remember singing this in school and it is one on my most favorite christmas songs, so melancology, just wonderful and well Aled Jones, just perfect.

If you make any angels, please, please link back to me.  I love looking through them.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Spiritual Sunday

Advent for a Reluctant Worshiper

Yep that is me, I dont really fit in to a box when it comes to religion, I was raised C of E, in a church school.  I went to Sunday school, my younger brother was a choir boy, who became a Mormon.  I married an Atheist (in a church) and when my dad died, I became much more agnostic.

When MaxiMad was born, I went back to church, we went to a church toddlers group and also a children in church group.  Then I fell pregnant with MiniMad and visiting a church with two babies, well that wasn't going to happen.

As the boys have got older, I just havent found the right church for us, one that encourages children, has an active creche/Sunday school and also I just dont feel comfortable at the moment in a church environment.

So I class myself as spiritual, but also as a reluctant worshipper!!

So what is Advent for me and the children, well it is a time to talk through what Christmas means, what is stands for and to build traditions.  It is a time of hope, anticipation and preparation.  It gives me the opportunity of introducing a time of family devotion and discussion at meal times.

We have made our advent wreath, on which we will light a candle each Sunday, in addition to this we also have a candle to light each evening. 

Instead of a traditional chocolate calender we have a calender that I won in Sunday school as a child, which discusses the story of the nativity each day.  This gives me the opportunity to teach the children the significance of the time and remind myself too.

MadDad also agrees that it is important that the boys learn about what Christmas means rather than just the commercial aspect of it.  We feel that it is not too soon to teach compassion or understanding.

So advent for me is exciting, in fact more so that Christmas Day itself.  It is a real family time.  A time to reinforce our family values.

To read more of what advent means to other bloggers then visit Floss' "A Pause in Advent" over at Troc, Broc and Recup.

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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Home Start - A valuable helping hand

Knowing that I was going to be going in to hospital, this time last year I swallowed my pride and wrote an e-mail to home start asking if I fitted their criteria for a home start helper

Pressing the send button on that e-mail was one of the best things I did for us as a family, it started a chain of events that led us to Wendy.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives, but first let me tell you a little of Home Start and the things they do.

Home start are the UK's leading family support charity, they help parents with at least one child under 5 in their own homes by providing a support, friendly and practical assistance in their own home.

What they did for me was come and have a chat with me in the comfort of my home, meet with the boys and find out what was going on in our lives and how they could help.  What this meant was that they matched us with Wendy, it is and was a perfect match, she is a retired primary school teacher.

She is the most wonderful person I have ever met and she fitted us like an old pair of shoes.  She complimented me and she brings out a calmness and joy in the boys.

Since last December she has come to spend at least a couple of hours with us each week.  She plays with the boys, she does jigsaws, reads books, sits and helps with homework, gets beaten at monopoly and is more than a Grandma to my children.

When I was at my worst she visited more often, fitting in with when MadDad needed support and assistance.  She listened to my mum when she was upset and worrying, she supported the boys and talked through what was happening and why.

She has been there for me at the end of a phone, in times of crisis (she even collected the boys when I had a flat tyre) and just when I wanted a friendly impartial ear.

The last time I went in to hospital she collected the boys from school. She is wonderful in every way.

I was asked this week if I would speak to someone about what home start did for me and I didn't hesitate.  When they asked how I felt about my worker, I replied "I trust her with my children, they are the most important things in my life and I let her look after them without me around, what more can I say".

She now comes every week as a friend to spend time with me and the boys.  The boys light up as soon as the door bell rings and they hold on tight as she is about to leave.  I am proud to say that she is my friend, that she is am amazing person and we are all the better off for knowing her and blessed for her being in our lives.

Now I know that I am not what people would class as a typical person needing help from Home start, but appearances can be deceiving.  My mother suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and my Mother in Law suffers from Lupus, which means that they can not be as hands on with the children as they would like.  I was looking for some stability and consistency in the boys life.  It was so so hard to say I need some help, but we have gained so much more than I could have ever imagined.

So anyone out there that thinks that home start could make the difference in their life, then please give them a chance, but also anyone out there that feels that they have what it takes to be a home start supporter, then please, please give them a call.  It is such a worthwhile cause and once I can I would like to become a helper and give back some of the karma we have received.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes you need to swallow your pride and take a look at what you think you need, evaluate the situation, take a deep breath and do what is best for your family as a whole. Sometimes serendipity just happens and life gets all the better for it.

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Things to be thankful for

I am feeling a little down at the moment.  Month left over at the end of the money thing going on yet again and the realisation that next month is going to be even worse, so I though I would take a leaf out of our American Cousins book and list some things I am truly thankful for.  The thinking is if I am full of gratitude then the negative thoughts can not get in..

I am thankful for my funny boys, my Dark Vader MiniMad and my "I dont want to dress up and be in the school play" MaxiMad.
I am thankful for my den making capabilities!!!
I am thankful for MadDad the main man, my rock, my soul mate and my forever friend.
I am thankful for my super kingsize bed, allowing the whole family Mad to sleep soundly, even when we are joined by two little people during the night.
I am thankful for living by the sea, there is something so calming about watching the waves lap the shore.
I am thankful for heating, this time last year our boiler was broke and we spent all of November and the first week of December without hot water or heating.
I am thankful for my Farther in Law who dropped in a sack of home grown potatoes for us.
I am thankful for having an extra large blanket to all snuggle under and watch TV.
I am thankful for having parsnips, leaks and sprouts still in the garden.

So care to join me......

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Writing Workshop on a Wednesday

Everything doesn't need to be Perfect

I used to be a professional who gave 110% to my work.  I was good at my job, some would even say great.  I won commendations from our CEO in the US.  I relocated 600 people without one of them losing a single item in to a brand new building of 160000 square feet over 5 weekends.  I was a perfectionist, I did what I need to get a job done perfectly.

Enter being pregnant and motherhood.  I struggled at being pregnant, I didn't do it well, I didn't bloom, I didn't enjoy it, I was very ill indeed.  I was pants at giving birth too and managed to end up with a crash section.  Breast feeding, yes you guessed it failed at that too.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

MaxiMad was a trying baby, he suffered really badly from colic, the other mums in my NCT group would look smugly at me and him, thankful that there children didn't cry all the time like maximad.  Initially they offered to hold him in the hope of soothing, but soon stopped offering when he didn't stop crying even for them.  We tried everything colief, new bottles, new formula, baby massage and finally cranial osteopathy, which seemed to do the trick,

He didn't sleep for more than 4 hours at a time and that was a record, he was a challenge, but when he smiled at me it made it all worth while.  Then he got very ill, so ill he was hospitalised and ventilated and transferred to ICU at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  I felt a total failure.  I had failed my child, I had failed to pick up on his condition, could it be my fault, could it have been down to the medication I had to take to get through the pregnancy, could it have been from the general anesthetic I had to have at 20 weeks pregnant, was he starved of oxygen at birth, had I compromised his immune system from not breast feeding.  I worried, I felt guilty, I felt I had failed at being a mother.

He got better and we learned to deal with his condition and I started to feel sick and dizzy.  I put it down to the lack of sleep, but no it was MiniMad, we were shocked, but delighted.

I would love to say I found my second pregnancy and birth easy, but if anything it was as traumatic and eventful my first.  MiniMad was born with a bowl condition and this ensured lots of sleepless nights and worry too.

I now felt a total failure, I had a 50% chance of having a healthy baby and I failed at that too.  So I over compensated.  I cleaned, I made sure we were all dressed, I ironed at 2 in the morning.  MaxiMad and MiniMad only every had home cooked food, no nasties, no sweets, no tins, no  salt, no sweetners.  I did every everything to make it look like we were getting along swimmingly, when in all honesty I might have looked effortless, the fact was I was drowning.

In the end I gave up, both mentally and physically and MadDad sought some help for me.

During my bleak dark times, I was repeatedly told to stop being a perfectionist.  It is not a perfect world, to relax, to enjoy being a mum and take things as they come.  Stop trying to control every event and you know what, when it finally sunk in they were right.  You can not control children's behaviour 100% of the time, but you can control yours.

So some quotes, which sum this up for me:

You cry the same amount of tears over a children lifetime,
Some people shed more in the beginning, others in the end.

Being happy, Inst about everything being perfect,
Its about learning to look beyond the imperfections

There is no one way to be a perfect mother,
but there is a million ways to be a good one.

I finally understand that we dont live in a perfect world, I was being to hard on myself and had unrealistic expectations of parenting (but that is another post altogether) and I needed to just do the best I could at the time.  It was OK to not be perfect at everything, in fact by not being perfect I was doing a really good job of preparing my children to live in the imperfect world.

This post was written for Sleep is for the weak's Wednesday Writing Workshop.  I chose prompt number 5. Write about the best piece of advice you have ever been given.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Advent Crown or Wreath


OK to start our traditions at Advent we are going to make a child friendly advent wreath or crown.  This is one of the many things I remember doing as a child, however, I remember the Blue Peter version of wire coat hangers, tinsel and open flames!!

What I have tried to do here is design one that all the family can join in making and can be burnt at the dinner table each Sunday with supervision.


Circle of card/I have used a cake tray under it as it is solid
Salt dough
Cookie cutter in a star shape
Green Paint
Gold paint
4 tea light or votive holders and candles (my holders were 89p for four from Ikea) and the candles (£1.99 for 12 from Ikea)
Pine Cones
Gold spray (£1.00 at Poundworld)


Make a batch of salt dough

Basic recipe

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of warm water
I also add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make the final decoration harder.

Mix the flour, salt and lemon juice adding water until you get a firm dough. Then knead the dough. The more you kneed the more pliable the dough will become.

We roll out the dough and cut out our decorations with a cookie cutter.  You can keep any the remaining dough in a bag in the fridge to make Christmas Decorations.

Using some cookie cutter in star shapes cut out a some and bake, we used two different sizes.  I bake our dough at the lowest oven temperature for 3 hours, then leave overnight before we paint and decorate them.

When completely dry paint them gold and cover one side in glitter.

Paint the base dark green and allow to dry - I used cardboard glued to a cake board

I also covered the card in PVA glue once the pain had dried.

Stick your stars to the base allow room for your 4 tea light or votive holders.

I used three purple and one pink candle, but you could always paint your votive holders or alternatively use coloured ribbon round the outside.

Place your candle holders on the base and add some greenery around it.  I put mine on a cake stand on the table. 

You can also add a white candle in the centre on Christmas Day.  I have just added a couple of pine cones sprayed lightly in gold spray from the poundshop and added any left over salt dough stars we had.


I have used the time making the wreath to discuss with the minimads the significance of an advent crown, so thought I would add it here:

A advent wreath is traditionally made of evergreen material to signify eternal life and of renewal. 

The circle is to remind us of God, of his endless mercy and eternity with no beginning or no end.

The candles signify the light of God coming in to the world through his son Jesus Christ.

I am deliberately keeping things simple as the boys are only 3 and 4 and we will expand on this year upon year.  I want advent to be a time of reflection and preparation for the arrival of Jesus on Christmas Day.

So if I have inspired you to make an advent wreath or you make one yourself, please link to it below.  I would love to see it.

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Monday, 23 November 2009

Rules for a Perfect Family Christmas

John Lewis is asking parent bloggers to share their ‘Rules for a Perfect Family Christmas’, so not to feel left out, I though I would add my rules too.


Christmas is a time for children.  So we make it as magical as we can for them.
We dress them up to take lots of Photographs (that is MaxiMad above)
We make reindeer food and sprinkle it outside.
A Carrot, mince pie and milk (no drinking and driving) are all left out for Father Christmas
We hand a special key so Father Christmas can get in as we have no chimney
The Christmas Elves leave new night wear for everyone on Christmas eve.
Stocking can be opened before breakfast.
Children must not fall out of bed Christmas night - MaxiMad broke his collar bone last Christmas Night!

The Christmas Meal

OK if we are having Christmas at home, we have a very relaxed  and modest meal of Turkey and all the trimmings, but this year we are going to the outlaws - I am already preparing myself and the mini's for what we will receive.

Now my MIL is not the best of cooks, she is a fantastic baker, but cooking well that is another matter.  My Father in Law takes control of the meat, so the turkey will be wonderful, infact it will be one he has plucked himself (he is a farmer), we will also have pork too and Yorkshire puddings.  But the veg, urgggg.  The cauliflower will be so overcooked it will be pink, we will have processed peas,  soggy sprouts and salty carrots.  This will be followed by a delicious Christmas pudding (I know this as I make it)! 

The In  Laws

Or the Outlaws as we call them.......  My inlaws are of farming stock and milking doesn't stop for Christmas, so Christmas's day is run like a well oiled machine.  Lunch is served at noon on the dot, with dinner at 6.00pm.  The pots must be washed as soon as you have eaten and then they retire to the sitting room to watch TV.

My Family are a little less rigid, but we have our foibles too.  We are having Boxing Day at my mothers, so it will be steak and chips for all and this will be followed by family game time, boggle, domino's and now that my mother has a wii, we are taking along some games for that too.  My brother, sister in law and niece will also be spending the afternoon at my mums, so it will be a real family affair.


Entertainment starts early in TheMadHouse, there is usually "Carols on the Green" in early December, which the residents association put on.
The Nativity play in school (Maximad refused to dress up, so is not in a staring role again!)
Then Christmas Eve comes, where we string popcorn and eat most of it which watching a children's Christmas film.
The entertainment on Christmas day comes from watching MadDad wrestling with all the packaging on the children's toys!


I am a Christmas Baby myself (20 December) and the rule used to be no decorations until after my birthday, but now I have my own children we start decorating around the 1st December.

We collect a new bauble for the tree every year.

Many of our decorations are home made by the MiniMads

White lights outside only - now yes outside lights are a contentious issue.  I come from an area that made the national news about 6 years ago due to hate mail sent on an estate staying that the Christmas Decorations on houses were "lowering the tone".  So we only have white, but the minimads take great joy walking and driving around the local area gawping at other peoples!!

The older the better - I have a plastic 1960's Father Christmas that is from my mums and I love it, he brings back so many memories.

We have an artificial tree, as we wouldn't want poor Mr Smudge to get needles in his paw, as he did the year we had a real one!

To read more about our family tradition see here

This is a sponsored post

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Crafting with Children - Make your own wrapping paper

This is another really simple, but fun childrens craft, which will save you some pennies over the Chrstmas period and also over the year to come.


Paper - we have a roll of white paper from Ikea £2.99
Washable paints
Paper plates
Washing up bowl filled with soapy water

Now I am not going to pretend this is a clean craft, no sir, it is a messey, fun and wonderful craft and if you are feeling up to it then why not join in too.  If you have a fine day then you can always go outside for this one.

Now I do not have images of this work in progress, I was was too busy joining in and helping out!!

But it is super simple, lay out the paper - we laid ours through our lounge/diner and make some patterns on it, we decided to do foot prints and splats.  I placed some of the paint on o the paper plates, so the boys could put their feet in it.  I did warn you it can get messey.  We also opted for multi colour, but as Christmas is coming you could stick to festive colours of red and green or perhaps gold and silver.  You could also add gliter whilst the paint in wet.

This would also look great with a roll of brown paper.

If I have inspired you at all to make your own wrapping paper then please add you link to the McLinky below.

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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Spiritual Sunday

Today is traditionally also know as "Stir it up" Sunday

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people;

That they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


So as you stir three times each (east to west to represent the three wise men) say the prayer and make a wish.

My Christmas Pudding recipe can be found here

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Awards and Link Love

A while back I received an award from Kelly at A Place of My Own - Shining Light: The blogger that receives this award has left a comment or written a post that has helped light the way for the blogger who presents them with the award.

 I also received the honest scrap award for Aingeal over at Mum's Survival Guide

I am ever so proud of this, as it signifies and highlights what blogging means for me.  It is a community of people who I am happy to call my friends.  I am all for offering support, in one way as a mother I find other mothers the first to judge, but also offer great advise and support.  I would rather be positive and offer support.

Kelly say this of the award "Please take this award in the spirit that it is meant and adorn your blogs with it as you see fit. You can keep it, you can pass it on today, you can hold on and pass it on when someone really helps you. You do not need to be on this list to give this award to another blogger, if there is someone that you feel deserves it please just take it. No rules, no meme, just a special way of acknowledging how we help each other. I am sure I will have occasion to pass this on to others in the future".  A perfect sentiment in my book and a great reason for an award.

Now the meme that goes with this is I have to list 10 things that no-one knows about me.  Well I will try, but adding the disclaimer that MadDad knows all there is to know!!

I hate birds, no I really do, their flippy, flappy wings urgggggg.  They give me the creeps
My secret vice is nutella and peanut butter sandwiches
I suffered really serious PND after giving birth to MiniMad and refused to acknowledge it until he was a year old and it was far too advanced.
I am still receive counselling and treatment and he is 3 year old.
I only learned to drive when I was 32 and passed my test when I was 32 weeks pregnant with MiniMad.
I used to have a serious and responsible job, but nothing is more responsible than raising children in my opinion.
I used to be a perfectionist and something of a control freak before the children came along.
I had a dog called raffles
My husband is my hero

I would die for my family

The deal is pass this on to 10 bloggers who blogs I admire, now you may have received this award before, but I wanted to pass it on as a sign that I really love your blog.  I would also like to pass it on to a number of bloggers who I would like to know more about or who are just starting out.

Bad Penny at the HenHouse as she has lived such an interesting life and I want to know more!

Flos at Troc Broc and Recup as I am so envious of where she lives and love all her finds

Geriatric Mummy as I know there is so much more information there waiting to come flooding out as she holds a wealth of information on  Holistic Health and Aromatherapy.

Overflowing Mum at The Overflowing Family as I am in so much admiration that she has six children, is a child psychologist, business woman and still manages to be a great mum

Sew Scrumptious as I love her fabric porn and the fact that she is gathering 70 presents for her mum for her birthday at Christmas!!

Stephanie at Bah! to cancer, this woman is an inspiration, she has and is dancing with cancer in such a way that even Craig Revel Horwood would give her a 10 and also tell her how fab u lous daaaarling she is!

Liz at Violet Posy for all the support she has given me - she is fantastic and made the wonderful Crafting with Children button.

Josie at Sleep is for the weak - she is trying hard to be the best mum she can to Kai, plus she gives me inspiration each week with the Wedensday Weekly Writing Prompts and and she called me the Queen of Creative (I was so happy).

Sandy at Baby Baby - I really identify with Sandy, we both had children close together and her blog just seems so familiar.

New Mummy  - I read her Wednesday Writing post and sat with tears in my eyes.  It is not often that you read such a honest and brutal post.

So a bit of Friday Link love going on, enjoy and thank you from me!

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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cooking with Children - Tarka Dal and Naan Bread

I love cooking and more than that I adore cooking with my children.  I love watching them measure, weight, pour and get excited about the tastes and textures of the food we grow, make and eat.

MiniMad and I made dal and naan breads last night, a real store cupboard meal, which is warming, filling, inexpensive and meat free, oh and it is also dead easy too, especially with a little prep work.

Firstly I rinse and soak the lentils, we use split yellow ones (chana dall??), they need at last 40 minutes. I used 200g ish for all four of us.

Then we make the naan bread to prove.

We use a recipe from Anjum Anand and all I will say is once you have made and tasted them there is no going back to shop bought ones.

250g plain flour
2 tsp Sugar
half tsp salt
half tsp baking powder
2 tbsp veg oil (whatever you have to hand)
130 ml of milk.

I basically put all the ingredients in our magimix and then let it do the work, but you could do it by hand kneading for about 8 to 10 minutes.

The turn out in to an oiled bowl, cover with a hot damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

Then roll them out (or get the children to do it, as I do - slave labour is OK) in to naan shapes and prick with a fork (approx 4 or 5) and preheat the grill as hot as it will go with a heavy baking tray under it.  You cook them on the hot baking sheet for 1 - 2 mins each side. 

You can brush the finished naans with butter if required, you can also cover with seeds prior to cooking.

Now for the dal

There is two ways of adding the flavourings to the lentils, cook them separately and add at the end (we do this) or add them whilst the lentils are cooking for the last 10 minutes.  I dont have a fixed recipe, we kind of use what we have, this is a mix of Keith Flloyd and Anjum Anand.

last night we used

Cooked and frozen onions from the freezer (whenever we see inexpensive onions MadDad chops and cooks a load and pops them in to freezer bags for me, as I can not deal with the tears involved), so approx 1 onion chopped, diced and softened.
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
chili (either fresh or dried), we used dried, but only a small amount so was OK for all.
20g of ginger (again fresh or frozen - we have some in the freezer) in small strips
Garlic 2 cloves crushed
3 large tomatoes (we used paste, but you can used tinned or fresh)
three quarters tsp ground turmeric
1 half tsp ground coriander
three quarters tspn Gram Marsala (we batch made it in a coffee grinder, but you can buy premade)

Cook onions, add cumin seeds, ginger, chilli's until golden. 

If using fresh tomatoes puree with the garlic and add with the powder spices and 100ml of water and cook.

If using tinned tomatoes no need to add the additional liquid.

I cook the lentils in about a litre of water and give them a good mix to break them up near the end of cooking (approx 40 mins) and then drain if necessary and add to the curry.

Enjoy, we always do and yes both the minimads cleaned their bowls, they love curry and I am so pleased as it is one of our favorites for using up leftovers!!

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Parsnip Harvest

I pulled our first parsnip from the garden yesterday to add to our sausage casserole.

What a whopper!!

It tasted good too, time to pull the rest I think.

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Writing Workshop on a Wednesday

In an ideal world a hospital for me would focus on healing the mind, in addition to healing the body.  It would be a calm and peaceful place catering for all the needs of the people there.

Now I have been in and out of hospital enough lately to be able to say that the staff are wonderful and do the very best with the resources available to them, so this is not an NHS bashing post, but a far away dream.

On my visit in February this year, I was awarded a single occupancy room and it was fantastic, I had my own bathroom  area, which was in a wet room style, so I could actually sit in the shower, which is perfect after you have had a major surgery.  In fact this room was pretty acceptable for my whole stay in in, but could have been made more comfortable by FREE TV and Internet access or even better a wireless Internet access for mine and MadDads ipod and laptop.  I was very lucky and I had climate control - how swish.

I also have to say that the food was pretty acceptable too, so I am not going to complain about that either.

But when I had to be readmitted due to sepsis, it was a different story, the only bed available on the ward was in a multi occupancy room and this made it very uncomfortable for the lady's I was sharing with.  They had to put up with all the windows open all night on the first night to bring my temperature down, 3 fans going all night too and nursing staff and doctors attending to a delirious me every 15 minutes.  Also MadDad was still there too, so I can imagine that they were pretty uncomfortable.  Now this was only for the first night and they shuffled things around and popped me back in to the single occupancy room the next day and I was too out of it to even know that I was causing people upset!!

So on my wish list would be:

  • More access to outside areas, especially when you have children visiting you. We made it as easy and secure as possible for the MiniMads, but it still upset them sometimes. How wonderful it would have been if there was a park for the patients children, so I could have sat and watched them play. It would have been me so much more comfortable and not as desperate to escape.

  • Free parking for long term visitors (It costs MadDad a fortune and only when I was due to be discharged was a monthly parking pass mentions)

  • Better food and drink for visitors (MadDad was wither with me or the boys and his eating and drinking suffered massively as he had to eat on the run)

  • Wireless Internet access to help pass the time.

  • FREE television access

  • More holistic treatments available.  I was shattered and became very constipated and unwell due to my medications and their side effects, a massage or hair wash and dry by someone would have been wonderful.  Yes the nursing staff will assist you wash your hair, but it is hardly their priority.  Now I was pretty mobile, but could not stretch to wash my hair, so would have happily visited a hair salon somewhere else in the hospital, if it was free.

  • It would have been nice to have an electric adjustable bed (only so many to go around and others were more needy than me).

  • Someone to come and talk about the mental effects of the operation with me whilst I was in hospital.  The nursing staff were great, but I had issues with all the complications.

  • More doctors and nursing staff, the ones that were on duty were pulled in so many different directions that sometimes you were made to wait what seemed like an unfeasibly long time.

  • Charts filled in correctly and coherently.

  • Pharmacies that delivery drugs punctually, when you are on an antibiotic that has to be given intravenously every 12 hours followed by a blood test 2 hours later, time is of the essence (it was not allowed to be kept on ward).

  • Doctors that can take blood the first time.

  • Doctors that dont say "I have heard that taking blood from your femoral artery is very painful" just as they are about to do it and then keep saying, I am sorry, whilst you scream the ward down.

  • Venflons that dont clog up or tissue when you sleep the "wrong" way

  • Tea on tap served in a t-pot with a cup and a little jug of milk.  I NEED my tea, even when very ill and being sick.  In the end the nursing staff gave me a large mug and knew every time I popped my head out the room in the middle of the night I needed my tea.  I became known as the tea monster.

  • No waiting times to see consultants when you get to hospital.  It is terribly demotivating when you have a 10am appointment, but know you wont be seen until 1pm in most cases.

  • More lovely nurses who are trained to take blood, they have just the knack and manage first time.  I am not afraid of needles, but it was a really good job as in the end I had venflons in my feet and blood taken from my groin and feet.

  • Single sex wards, not just rooms on the ward. 

  • A library, buying magazines and remembering what books you have read is hard work.

Quite a wish list I have there, but as I have said, you couldn't fault the commitment of most of the staff and the care I received was second to none, but there were times when a clear line of communication was lacking and I was left waiting for medications and specialist dressings.

OK so things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, in fact they couldn't have gone much worse, but I am alive and underwent surgery again last week and the staff and Consultant really listened to me.  I was allowed to have quite a large surgery under local anesthetic and to come home.  I was also allowed to wait apart from the other visitors when seeing the dressing team (I am very fearful of infections now).

So were now for me, well I am hoping this last surgery will make it possible for me to wear my lovely sexy silicone prosthetics again and stop the bra running and causing sores and then we will see.

People ask about reconstruction, but at the moment I am content in knowing that I can have one in the future, one that doesn't involve implants for me to reject like last time.  One that involved my own body, but that is in the medium to long term future.

I could not face another major surgery again so soon, neither could my body and much more important neither could my family.  Recovery time would be a complete nightmare.

So maybe I will consider it in a couple of years time, when Mini and Maxi are 5 and 6 and need much less physical help from me.  I haven't wrote it off and neither has the consultant, he will keep seeing me every six months until I have my surgery!

So yes we have been on a journey and one that deviated from the prescribe route, but ultimately we will get to the same destination.  It may tale a little longer, we may use differing modes of transport and walk the untrod path, but I know that with the love and support of my family I will get there.  I will grow old to see them grow up and make their own mistakes.

This post was written with inspiration from the writing prompts over at Sleep is for the Weak for the Writing Workshop on a Wednesday.  It started off  as "What would you like to see in your ideal hospital?" and kind of ended up as my hope for ‘one day’

If you would like to read about the history behind my hospitalisations, then I recently did a guest post over at Bah! to Cancer.

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