How Felicity left one behind...

Gosh i can't believe how quickly the holidays have passed!  Although our six weeks school holidays were very helpfully broken up by 2 weeks in the middle with a very exciting road trip to Austria...

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The packing was done, the car was serviced, cleaned and ready and we were all set, just to make sure all the paperwork and passports were packed together in my bag.  Always love having a look at the passport photos, especially the boys as they've changed so much!  It was at that point that my heart sank, I started to shake, surely that couldn't be right, because if it was then we had a big, big problem.  I sank to the floor and just stared at Henry's passport... It had run out the previous month.

There's not many times in my life where I've felt utterly sick and totally helpless, I won't go into all the detail, but it included the OH driving with Hen to Durham passport office at 7 in the morning the next day in the hope we could get a one day turnaround.  Unfortunately he's 10 and needed to be 12 to get a one day.  Only option, turnaround of a week but we'd need an appointment the next day, and by the time we got, we'd have to fly him out at a cost of at least £700 (half the cost of the whole holiday!!!) to then spend probably 3 days and come home.

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I was at work whilst all of this was going on and by 11:30 i couldn't stand it anymore (well to be fair i couldn't stop crying so wasn't much use to anyone) and came home.  It gave me the chance to sit with Hen and he quickly explained that he really wanted to go spend the two weeks with grandma and grandpa (who'd offered immediately) and that he was absolutely fine with not going.  Now i could go into detail of why i finally decided that the best option was to leave Henry with his grandparents but it would take to long and actually what does it matter because i know that people will judge no matter what, and we've already had a few comments directed towards us.  It hurts, it always will and especially to me as I feel it's totally my fault.  I don't need to hear others tell me it's not, or that it's one of those things, so easily done, because I did it, it was my fault and I will have to live with it.

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The holiday itself wasn't free of issues.  As we were driving over our apartment had to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up in a huge apartment that slept 9-11 people with only 4 of us LOL, with no washing machine (we'd packed for having one) and faulty WiFi which wouldn't have been such an issue if we didn't want/need to face-time Hen daily! However the boys loved it and i have to say it was very beautiful, but i could never truly enjoy as I missed Hen too much, occasionally when i did find myself relaxing and enjoying I'd then feel truly guilty and that would set me off again.  There were a lot of tears on my part, I didn't really want to be there but i had to do what was best for my kids not me.

What the holiday did do was teach me an awful lot about myself and my boys.  Hen for example immediately made the decision himself that he was happy to stay at home.  He didn't falter once and had a whale of a time with all his grandparents (spent time with my mum too), he messaged us (usually when he wanted to buy something) and face-timed us, but was also quite happy if we had a day where WiFi failed us and we couldn't talk face to face. Fred admitted a couple of days into the holiday that if it had been him, he wouldn't have coped without us bless.  But he was the one that thrived on holiday, he quickly picked up the basics of German and loved any opportunity to use.  I saw several occasions where he'd wait patiently to ask for something in German, being ignored initially by adults.  If that had been Hen he'd have given up after the first minute and asked us to deal with.  My kids strengths were definitely put in the right area this holiday.

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I was very wary of taking pics with just Fred and Samuel in all the time as didn't want that to be Hen's first memory of Austria and a constant reminder. So instead what we did was take lots of picture with our little friends Raven & Snow on their adventures.  Not only is that what they do anyway, just check out their IG account; but it means we can produce a fab book about Austria for Hen with everywhere that they visited, for when we go back next time.

So I'll await the judgement and deal with any when it comes, but yes our holidays have certainly been eventful.  I hope no-one as a parent ever has to go through that experience so please go check your passports! I've posted off Hen's now and set reminders in my phone for the others - actually the passport office would make a fortune if they did a text message reminder service, i'd certainly pay for that!

Back to normality now with orders, samples and Samuel's new room to keep me busy.  Remember to follow me on Facebook, IG and/or Twitter for updates and if you fancy meeting me in person - and belittling me for abandoning my child ;-) - and seeing my stuff then I'll be at the Baby & Toddler Show, Manchester from Oct 7th - 9th.

Much Love,

Fay x


How Felicity packs for 3 boys and a driving holiday!

Yep you heard me right we are going on holiday - to Austria - and we are driving!!!! With 3 boys it's gonna be a tight squeeze especially with everything they want to take and making sure we have enough for 2 weeks.

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Now don't get me wrong I can't wait to get to Austria, Tschaggun to be precise, as it looks just beautiful. However with everything that has been going on recently I can't say the drive is filling me with excitement... Dover here we come!

Also I will have to do some of the driving which is fine over here, but even then I'm no good at long distance as just not used to it, so we'll be stopping a lot! And what about abroad, never done that before, slightly apprehensive...

 

Anyway have taken my mind of that part by a little retail therapy for the boys.  How gorgeous are these purchases...

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Baby Dee and Me are offering FREE shipping today only by quoting code MONYAY1 at checkout.

 

 

 

 

Order you Tee from Cribstar Official before Thursday when their turnaround will move increase to 7-10 days, FREE shipping as standard.

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And then I just couldn't resist this tee from Kidult & Co, along with some caps to keep them safe in the sun (or dry in the rain, you never know with Austria!)

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Now I just need to figure out how to fit mine and 3 boys clothing and footwear into 2 suitcases... #funtimes I have become very good at packing light over the years!

We go at the end of next week and I'm wondering if I'll have time to get Henry's / Samuel's room cleared so it can maybe be painted whilst we are away ready for our return... I've a few orders left to complete and obviously pack, but hoping I might just have enough time to clear his room aswell, we'll see!

Wish me luck,

Fay x

P.S Blueberry Boo Kids are offering 25% off their short sleeve stock, another one i couldn't resist!


How Felicity plans ahead in 3 easy steps...

Well that's the plan, but as we know the reality (especially with kids involved) isn't always as straightforward! The boys break up next Tuesday and the plan is to:

  1. Move our eldest up to the playroom (also poses as spare room with a bed and bathroom) in the attic whilst the decorating takes place.  Samuel and Henry are swapping rooms anyway, so it means Henry's room is empty for me to decorate from scratch.
  2. Paint the walls. The walls will be pretty simple; one black (blackboard paint so we can chalk on the walls), the rest white although i might source some black wall stickers to use also! *Rushes to Pinterest*

Four hours later...

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Love this idea! And the great things with wall stickers is they can be removed when you want a change or to update (just don't tell Samuel!)

3. Decorate & Furnish the room...

I've had a few new purchases from fellow small businesses arrive this week, and i'm sure you'll agree they are just perfect...

13754331_10154282226648563_9123721869797880601_nI saw this print on Monty & Moosh's Instagram feed and knew i needed it for my wee man's room.  It's exactly what i want for all my kids, i'm a great believer in encouragement and want my kids to know that no matter what they want to do as long as they work hard and put their mind to it then they can achieve it, and i will support them every step of the way!

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The second purchase to arrive is my (sorry his) beautiful monochrome unicorn! Isn't she beautiful...

From KATShandmadeitems all the way in Greece, this gorgeous little lady has very quickly settled in to her new home alongside some of Samuel's other new friends...

Keep an eye on her IG feed for some beautiful posts and all of her lovely makes.

In the meantime we need to come up with a name for her, she has made really good friends with Raven & Snow, but they are keen to call her 'Hairy' (they are monkey's!) and I'm not sure that is the best name we can come up with, so head over to my Instagram and watch out for my next post, to let me know your name ideas!

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Can't wait to hear your ideas...

Fay x

P.S Couple more to check out this week coming are Oso Twee Prints & Daisy Mooo


Who said it was Pay Day?

and so it starts...

The first of many purchases have been made towards Samuel's room.  Actually this is one i'm really excited about as there were a limited amount released and I managed to buy a pair.  I'm so excited as Tiny Jax haven't even officially launched yet, owned by the awesome @carterandus and available exclusively from Jaxon James, I cannot wait for their official launch.  So please welcome Raven & Snow as the first guests to Sammie's room...

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Aren't they just gorgeous, no two are the same, please follow Tiny Jax IG feed to see more of their amazing products!

Next was another piece that I knew would sit perfectly alongside these little guys, a hand painted name wedge from the adorable Sweet Little Tinkers, this is my second purchase from Louise as I originally purchased a really cute wooden rainbow to use in my product images (you may have seen).  I remembered seeing these name blocks at the time, so as soon as I decided I was doing Sammie's room then I knew I had to purchase.

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A lot of Louise's items are limited runs and specials, so she is definitely worth a follow on IG to make sure you don't miss out on new products, as well as their exclusive blankets and prints.

My last purchase (so far) was an awesome light box from Monty & Moosh, I've been coveting one for a while.  Again not my first purchase from these guys;  I had previously purchased the confetti balloons for Sammie's baptism last month and they were awesome, great table decoration and awesome fun for the kids after.  I must admit I have to control myself on their website as with all the above there are so many beautiful things to choose from, so I have no doubt i'll be visiting again soon...

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With 3 different colours of light box and 3 different choices of lettering including symbols, hand drawnpastel (oh yeah might have ordered them for myself while i was there... can you blame me!).  I can't wait for the holidays so I can get started on his room, so exciting and i hope you'll follow our journey! Lots more to discover, buy and make...

Fay x


How Felicity realises Samuel needs a big boy room...

Considering i'm pretty creative you'd be surprised to hear that my kids rooms aren't that creative!  Some canvases and that's about it, sssshhhh don't tell anyone! However the more and more i delve into the world of interior design and expand my creative offerings then I really feel sorry for my boys as I've been promising them awesome rooms for a long time now.

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So, the OH and I have been discussing swapping the boys rooms about for a month or so now.  Their rooms take up the back of the 1st floor of the house.  They are essentially all the same size with 2 sharing a Jack & Jill and 1 with its own en-suite.  Logic dictated that as H & F are only 14 months apart and Samuel is 5 yrs younger, that H & F share the Jack & Jill and Samuel had his own bathroom.  HOWEVER... turns out that Fred and Samuel are really good together, whilst Hen likes a bit of 'space', so we've decided that in the Summer holidays we'll look at swapping Henry and Samuel's rooms.  This gives me the perfect opportunity to decorate their rooms as we go.

With Samuel starting school in Sept and still in his cot bed, I feel it's only fair that I do his room first and give him that 'big boy' room he will love and he and his friends can happily spend time in.  So over the next few months I'll be collecting inspiration and goodies from all my favourite (and hopefully some new finds) small businesses in the UK and across the world, as well as a few high street purchases in there to create a truly unique room.  Here are a few of my pics so far...

I'd love if you could join me as i design Samuel's room, follow my mood board on Pinterest to see the look I am going for, and subscribe to follow me as i work through each of the boys rooms over the next year.

 

Thanks,

Fay x


How Felicity Rocks Half Term!

It's been a mad week, half term for the kids last week but i still had to work a couple of days at the day job, then it was a case of balancing orders with entertaining the kids.  I managed to get the majority of my orders finished by the end of last week (my best week of orders yet #happydays) just as the weather started to get a little better so it meant we could spend some well earned time playing in the garden, just nice to be out enjoying the fresh air with the boys and family.

BBQ season has officially begun (we will now proceed to BBQ approx 2-3 times a week - the OH is slightly obsessed by it, well that along with Squash and Golf!) and I do love a good BBQ.  Although during my first pregnancy this wasn't a great season, i didn't have any cravings but could not stand the smell of barbecue food, he still insisted on BBQ'ing nearly every week *cue nausea* but anyway that's a distant memory now (that i drag up at opportune moment every now and then to make a point).  It also means the OH spends a lot of the time cutting the lawn with a small person in tow, which i love to watch.


As i said biggest week of orders yet and got them out on Monday, but more about that in my next post!  Because this is all about some pretty fabulous items i'd ordered from fellow Etsy sellers...

 How amazing are these motivational cards from the fabulous Laura @ Ip Dip Design, We share a total love of everything bright and fun and being incredibly insecure and self-doubting then i need something just like these to look at and remind myself it might not be easy, but it's worth it and I am enough. They are perfect for sharing on IG, Twitter and Facebook to motivate others and to brighten up a dull day.  So go on, why not pop over to her Etsy shop and buy some for yourself! Her packaging and little extras are bob on! Samuel says it all #yourock

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My next purchase was from Erica @ Ditsy Dot, I've known Erica for sometime now and absolutely love what she is doing, but having no little ladies of my own I never really considered her awesome hair accessories as something for me, but as soon as I saw the Hero Girls range I knew I had to have! Oh and then the woodland collection, and then... too much choice, needless to say I'm a happy lady.  I quite often plait my hair anyway so couldn't wait to use...

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My last purchase I'd waited sometime to order as I had to save my pennies (everything is going back into the business at the moment), but it was well worth it as we are all absolutely in love with it, and had so many compliments/comments on it.  My friend even liked so much she ordered her own!

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It's from another lovely Laura @ Laura A Fisher Art and is quite possibly the most cutest piece of artwork I've got, but don't let that make you think it's teeny small, quite the opposite.  I'd been looking for something at the top of the stairs in our hall for some time and as soon as I saw Laura's work I knew it would be perfect.

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She was delightful to work with and we had a lot of convo's over the months i saved up, she was extremely patient and I could tell just how much she enjoyed her work, which is such a lovely thing.  I think you'll agree it's damn perfect and I made an awesome choice, i would definitely recommend having a look at her store for ideas for your own home or for some beautiful gift ideas!
Anyway that's my week, now it's back to the grind.  Fingers crossed my Superhero comic fabrics should arrive this week so I can get on with making more fab & fun cushions and super soft blankets for you all!

So what did you guys do for half term? Did you go away and have a beautifully relaxing time in the sun? Did you go on a staycation? Or maybe you were the same as me and you kinda muddled through with days here and there.  Would love to hear what you got up to!

Signing off for the night, well maybe after a glass of bubbles...

Fay x

 

 


How Felicity finds fitting it all in is not that easy!

So it's 10:30 in the evening and i'm just getting to sit down and blog now, there are so many other things i need to do too, but i haven't written for ages and actually that half the reason i am writing, where the hell does all the time go?

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Image by Chick Writes Stuff (you need to read her blog, spooky and much funnier!)

So this is generally how my days go when i'm at the day job:

7-7:30    Wake Up

7:30-8:30  Get myself and the boys ready for work/school.  The two eldest can do it all themselves, they just need a lot of 'motivation' if you know what i mean!

8:30-8:45  Shout at the boys to get ready till I've developed a sore throat and my face is going a lovely shade of purple.

8:45-9:00  School Run

9:00-9:15  Grab breakfast & lunch and drive to work (so lazy, I do need to get the bike out, but i'm so crap on it it's laughable.  I can't even get my leg over -oh er!- as we still have the baby seat on it - used eh... never!- so i generally end up flat on my face or falling into the wall at work, trying not to let everyone see)

9:15-9:30   Arrive at work, eat breakfast and make a cup of HOT tea - woohoo

9:30-5:30   Proceed to sit at a computer for the next 8 hours, intermittently checking social media (when i say intermittently, i mean frequently #ssshhh don't tell anyone).  I rarely take a lunch and if i do it's only half an hour and i use it to do something at my desk - grocery shop, write to inland revenue, scour Etsy for loads of lovely things i want to buy).

5:30-7:30  Arrive home, have quick chat with mum a.k.a Granny Bling before she goes home to lie in a darkened room for the evening, then I proceed with a selection of the following:

Wash dishes, dry dishes, put dishes away, fill dishwasher, empty dishwasher, empty dryer, fold washing, empty washing machine, fill dryer, fill washing machine, fill baskets with clothes, take baskets upstairs, put ironing away, pick up toys, put out recycling, put out bins, discuss what boys want for tea for approx 10 mins,, make boys tea, realise after 2 hours that you haven't had a drink since you got home, pick up school bags, school coats, try and tidy everyone's shoes up in the hall, fail miserably, realise you've done enough not to feel guilty about sitting down and actually getting on with your real work!

It's really up to you what you pick, but generally about half of this list i do daily and i still feel guilty when i sit down to paint or sew, is that normal, is that what other mumpreneurs/dadpreneurs do?

7:30-8:00  Put little man to bed (he's at that stage where quite often he falls asleep very late afternoon so consequently bedtime is a little later and a struggle), persuade older two to get changed for bed and make sure everything is in order for the next day.

8:00-9:00  Sit down to paint and/or sew. Woohoo #happyplace oh and persuade the older two to go to bed with a good book, or just 'a' book, as long as they are reading...

9:00-9:30  Eat tea (which generally I've cooked for us), converse about our day.

9:30-12:00  Work on computer, generally split between updating m,y Etsy shop, writing my blog, trying to watch training webinars (made more difficult when a small person keeps nicking your headphones and 'storing' them for you - 3 sets and counting), designing fabric for soft furnishings collection, social media posts, updating my website and general networking.

Pretty easy day really LMAO. It's not much different when i'm not at the day job.  Friday just means extra house stuff, food shopping, and occasional personal time - you know exciting stuff like dentist and optician, but it does mean an afternoon of peace and quiet to paint and sew, heaven!  Sat & Sun has a no housework rule (unless desperate), but it is replaced with tennis lessons, football matches and swimming lessons, so...

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Image by Ms Tidy Owl

I feel like i am slowly beginning to lose the plot, I've let my organisation slip and it shows.  When you have as little time as I/we do trying to build a business alongside bringing up kids and/or a day job, then you need to be clever with your time, really clever and I have a few peeps who can help you do that:

  1. Devenia Desant - Be Visible, Be Social, Be You!  Devenia completely gets it, as a mother of 3 herself she knows what a hustle and juggle life is most of the time, and it's her mission to ensure we all have the confidence to achieve our goals and just as importantly in ourselves.
  2. Nicola Lawrie - Ms Tidy Owl.  Nicola trains people on how to structure, measure and utilise their business information for profit and growth.  Her best tip ever to me was to time block and it's worked so well for me (need to do again as my priorities have changed which is why my time has gone to pot) In fact pop over to her page for a free planner to help you take control of your week.
  3. Alex Tooby - Instagram Marketer (@menandcoffee, @instawithalex) What this lady doesn't know about Insta probably isn't worth knowing, so if you are looking to grow your account then you really want to sign up to Instagram Marketing Mastermind with Alex, it's FREE and pretty darn awesome!
  4. Good friends - These guys are the ones you know you can turn to anytime, to cry, to rant, to laugh and generally just to support.  I have some amazing friends, some of whom i won't mention as totally personal but also some who I have become friends with through my mumpreneur journey and who's support means an awful lot to me; Ditsy Dot Shop, Carter and Us, Imagine Sew Beautiful, Sweet Little Tinkers, Holistic Health Surrey and Ip Dip Design, you guys rock!  Not only do you all have awesome blogs / businesses, but most of you have a young family/day job too and you still find time to support other small businesses and be a great friend to me and others, so i thank you!

So this week my plan is to sit down and re-organise my time, I need to download my planner from Ms tidy Owl, get myself more visable with Devenia and keep working on my Instagram account as I'm loving Insta at the moment.  I'm gonna catch up with my friends and see what they are all up to, I really think you guys should do the same!

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Let me know what your biggest struggle is and lets see if we can't work it out together,

Fay x


How Felicity finally got to say thanks!

I can't remember if I have shared previously or not but my eldest boy Henry was born premature. At 34 weeks I developed pre-eclampsia and was taken into hospital, I remember feeling just not quite right on the Sunday evening and thought I beat check with the doc on the Monday morning, the next thing I know an ambulance is being blue lighted to the doctors to take me to hospital.

They managed to control my blood pressure well until the Thursday morning when I woke very early with such a headache it was unbearable, the nurses gave me some painkillers but it didn't touch it, when they checked my blood pressure it was off the chart, and rising so the decision was made to emergency section me ASAP. I apologise now if anyone 'lost their slot' because of me x


At 12:31 that lunchtime Henry Douglas Stephenson was brought into this world at 3lb 8oz, I think I got to hold him but I can't really remember much if I'm honest.  I remember before when the anesthetist played 'the first cut is the deepest' as he was prepping me for surgery.  I remember being more worried that my husband would faint when I got my spinal block and I remember him and the anesthetist comically arguing over what to call Henry! But after that I don't remember much...

Normally with pre-eclampsia, once baby is out then your blood pressure drops and you are fine, but that didn't happen with me, I'm still not quite sure what was wrong but I spent two days in labour ward in and out of consciousness with very little memory of that time.  I didn't see Henry, he was perfect and healthy in every way, just small so he had to go to SCBU (special care baby unit) so it was Matthew that did the first nappies, the sitting by the incubator and it wasn't till the end of day two when they actually brought Henry to me, in his incubator.


After day 2 I was well enough to move to the antinatal ward and spent the next two weeks there before I persuaded them I could go home, so I could then spend my days with Henry in SCBU rather than sat in my hospital bed waiting for doctors to come and check me etc.  Henry thrived and despite us having massive issues breastfeeding as he had no sucking reflex he did well an 4 weeks after he was born (1 week before he was due) and just before Christmas we got to bring our tiny little bundle of love home.


It's been a roller coaster since then with 2 more boys (both healthy pregnancies) and Henry is now a very happy and healthy 10 year old.  


I've always wanted to be able to say thanks to SCBU for everything they did for Henry and I.  Not only did they love and care for my boy, but they taught me an awful lot, were there for me at some pretty hard times.  These guys are amazing nurses but more than that they are amazing people, loving and caring beyond the call of duty. So with the support of some friends I contacted York SCBU and asked if there was any chance I would be allowed to make a canvas for the unit and they very kindly said yes...


So here it is, I can't wait to present it to them and say thank you for everything they've done for Henry and I, forever in their debt,

Fay x