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  • InBella, Hugo

    Gift Ideas For Hugo’s Second Birthday

    Hugo’s second birthday is fast approaching so I have started to think about what gifts we might get him. I always found it so easy buying for Bella but I really struggle with ideas for Hugo. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a boy or if it’s just a second child thing. His favourite things to play with at home at the moment are the play kitchen, shopping basket, babies and cars. He loves the playmobil at his childminders too! The garden slide that Bella got for her third birthday is a big hit with him too. He is also Peppa Pig obsessed but I try to avoid too many character things as children change their mind so frequently!

    So I have been scouring online and have come up with a handful of bits that I think he would love. I’ve tried to keep everything fairly unisex too so these ideas should suit everyone.

    Bella has a scooter similar to this and Hugo is obsessed with it. This lovely yellow one also comes with a folding seat which I think will be so handy for his age. This will be Hugo’s main present along with a helmet too!

    I love personalised gifts and there is almost always something personalised on my own birthday list. I think this breakfast set would make a lovely birthday gift for Hugo! The Gift Co had loads of fab ideas for both children and adults.

    Toddler vans are just super cute and I think they’ll be great shoes for the summer as they’ll go with both leggings and shorts.

    As Hugo’s a summer baby it’s nice to be able to buy him garden toys for his birthday. I think he would love this little lawn mower!

    This water table would be great for both the children to play with together during the warmer weather! I’m a big fan of little tikes toys, they’re always so well made.

    It’s a bit of a tradition in our house that we always buy the children a top and/or some pjs with their age on! This 2 stripy tee is ADORABLE.

    Hugo has just got over his fear of the bath so I thought a new bath toy featuring his favourite little pig would be a hit!

    And last but not least is this diggers magnet book! Hugo has a Peppa one of these already and loves it. He’ll sit for ages playing with it so I think he’ll enjoy this one too.

    *This is a Sponsored Post but all opinions and words are of course my own*

  • InFamily

    ‘But Sepsis Kills You’

    On the Fourteenth of March 2019, in the early hours of the morning, my darling Dad passed away. He was just 61. And it has turned my whole world completely and utterly upside down. It’s been seven weeks now and it still doesn’t feel real. This is an incredibly personal post to share but it feels almost cathartic to write all the details down. And I also hope that it might just help spread a little awareness too.

    Rewind to a few days before and I arrived at my Dad’s with Hugo in tow to be informed by his carer that Dad had been throwing up and had a suspected sickness bug. This continued for a few days. I made sure to go and check on him daily and to call him regularly to check on him and remind him to keep a close eye on his blood sugar levels as he was diabetic.

    By day four I insisted Dad asked his GP to come out to see him, which she did. His Doctor said it was just a vomiting and diarrhoea bug and prescribed some anti sickness medication to help ease the nausea. The next day I convinced Dad to eat something and made him some scrambled eggs which he only managed half of. He kept them down so I figured he was probably over the worst of the virus now and he would hopefully improve.

    The next day Dad called me at work mid morning and told me he was struggling to catch his breath. I told him to stay put and called him an ambulance before jumping straight in my car and driving to his. The paramedics arrived and did their usual checks while I reeled off Dad’s medical history to them. I knew it better than even he did. I expressed my concerns to them but they didn’t seem overly worried but agreed they would take him in for some extra checks. I got out his holdall and chucked in his toiletries, medication and some fresh clothes.

    I then returned to work and called the hospital as soon as I got home with the children at about 4.15pm. The A&E Doctor I spoke to told me they thought Dad had Sepsis and stressed I needed to understand the seriousness of the matter. I obviously knew Sepsis wasn’t good news but I didn’t know all that much about it. I hung up the phone and sobbed. I called my sister who came straight over and drove us both to the hospital.

    When we arrived Dad was hooked up to a bag of fluids and was sat up eating some soup. His skin already looked brighter than when I had seen him a few hours before. We spoke to a different Doctor who seemed much less worried than the one I spoke to on the phone. He told us that they were taking all the precautions of Sepsis but they wouldn’t know for sure if that’s what it was until they had blood tests back. He said that it was a good sign that Dad’s blood sugars were stable and he didn’t have a temperature.

    We sat with Dad for a while, relaying to him what the Doctor has told us. As soon as I mentioned the word Sepsis, my Dad looked terrified and muttered ‘but Sepsis kills you‘. I reassured him and told him he’d be okay, that he was in the best place and he needed to rest. I kissed him on the cheek and told him I would be straight back up the next day. He was nodding off to sleep as we pulled the curtain round him.

    As my Sister and I walked back to the car we both said how we felt that perhaps it wasn’t as bad as we’d originally feared and that he’d hopefully bounce back like he always did.

    I was feeling pretty drained so headed up to bed for an early night. But I woke with a start thinking Josh’s alarm was going off, when in fact it was my phone ringing on my bedside table. It was 1.45am.

    No Caller ID

    I answered sleepily and a lovely male Doctor quickly and gently explained that he had been called to my Dad’s bedside half an hour before because he had suddenly deteriorated. I knew what was coming but I willed him not to say the words.

    ‘By the time I got to him, his heart had already stopped beating. We did everything we could. I’m sorry’ 

    And just like that, it was like my world stopped spinning.

    After I hung up the phone I ran to the toilet because I thought I was going to throw up. I was in total shock. I returned to bed and Josh held me while we both just sobbed for hours until the sun came up. I tried to call my sister but she was sleeping. It felt like I was trapped in some horrific nightmare and nothing made sense.

    The days that followed are a bit of a blur. I felt numb and was on autopilot. Josh made lots of phone calls, we collected my Dad’s wheelchair and personal belongings from the hospital and I cried a lot of tears. Telling Bella her Grandpa had died was honestly the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to do.

    We were informed that the coroner wanted to do a post mortum as Dad’s death was sudden and unexpected. We had to wait over a week for this to be done which was horrible. And when my phone rang again ‘No Caller ID’ with the results, my heart sank once more.

    They confirmed my Dad died from Septic Shock. Which had been caused by severe ulcerative gastroenteritis with peritonitis.

    I have spent a lot of time researching Sepsis over the past few weeks and I naively didn’t properly know the signs. I will always carry guilt with me and wish I had got my Dad to the hospital sooner. But I took reassurance from the Doctor that came out to visit Dad at home who clearly never suspected Sepsis either.

    I was shocked to read that every 3.5 seconds, someone in the world dies of sepsis. In the UK alone, 52,000 people lose their lives to sepsis every year. This is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Globally, sepsis claims 6 million lives a year. Yet with early diagnosis it is easily treatable. Please have a look on the Sepsis Trust website and get yourself clued up on which symptoms to look out for.

    It could save somebodies life.  

  • InBrand Collaborations, Family

    For The Easter Basket

    I’ve been playing Easter Bunny and putting together a little basket of goodies every year since Bella was born. I think Josh thought I was nuts going through the effort when she was just 5 months old but it’s just as much for me as it is for the children. Things like Easter, Birthdays and Christmas were never really a big deal in our family when I was growing up and I am determined for that not to be the case for my children. I love any excuse to celebrate and do something special for them.

    So I thought I would share some ideas for filling an Easter Basket. I did share a similar post a few years back here. As I have done this a few times before now, I actually already has most of the bits around the house. It certainly does not need to cost the earth or be super extravagant. This year I have kept it simple and just put a couple of Easter books in, a stuffed toy each, some bunny ears, a bag of Easter themed marshmallows and lastly some Kinder chocolate goodies from their Easter range which is available in all major supermarkets (apart from the Giant Eggs which are exclusive to Tesco and Ocado).

    Other good non chocolate items to include are things like hair clips/bows, play doh, craft supplies, bubbles, stickers and even clothes. In the first one I ever did for Bella I put a little Easter romper in there.

    We have some lovely plans with both family and friends this year and I can’t wait to celebrate Easter with our loved ones. There will be roast lamb, Easter egg hunts, my annual Easter cheesecake and lots of country dog walks I’m sure!





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    ***The lovely people at Kinder very kindly gifted us a hamper of Easter goodies in exchange for a mention in this post. All photos and words are of course my own***

  • InFamily

    Feels Like Spring {The Weekend Diaries}

    One of the main reasons I started this blog back in 2015 was to record our family adventures, both big and small. But lately I haven’t really shared many family posts. So I have decided to create a little series called ‘The Weekend Diaries’. These posts will be exactly that, a diary of our weekend. Somewhere I can ramble about what we got up to and share any photos I took. I won’t commit to doing these every week. Just now and then when I feel like it.

    This weekend we had such beautiful weather here in Sussex. It really did feel like Spring had arrived. The sunshine instantly lifts my mood and makes me want to get outside. We had a slow morning at home, the kids played nicely while Josh prepared a picnic and I got ready. We’re trying to spend less money this year so we decided to utilise our National Trust membership on Saturday and headed to Scotney Castle to eat our picnic and walk the dog.

    As we were getting ready to leave the house, I found myself getting increasingly worked up and anxious. This resulted with me dashing back into the house and having a horrible panic attack sat on the floor of our porch. I won’t go into all the details, and I’m still not entirely sure what triggered it. I suspect it was a build up of a number of small things that were bothering me. But it was really bloody crap. Josh helped me to calm down and eventually managed to coax me back to the car.

    Josh drove the scenic route to Scotney to give me some extra time to get my shit together. And by the time we arrived I was feeling a hell of a lot better. I was determined not to let it ruin our day. We ate our picnic in the car while Hugo was still happily restrained in his car seat, if you have a toddler, you’ll totally understand why 😉 We then had a lovely walk in the glorious sunshine. We’ve done this walk so many times and it’s just such a peaceful place to be. Bella ran ahead with Murphy while Hugo toddled along slowly behind before we bribed him back into the buggy with a biscuit so we could pick up the pace a little! Top parenting always over here, ha! On the way back to the car, we stopped at this lovely swing which overlooks the most beautiful views. Both the kids loved it and were giggling away together.

    On Sunday we got up early so we could head down to the beach while the tide was low. It was Murphy’s first time at the beach and he seemed to really enjoy himself. Bella and Hugo loved splashing in the shallow water and running along the sand. It genuinely felt WARM on my skin which was just so lush. We’re really lucky to live just a short drive from both the countryside and the coast. And now Hugo’s that bit older, I can see us spending a lot of time by the sea over the Spring and Summer months.

    I made a mad dash into a very heaving LIDL on the way home. In hindsight I should have probably let Josh go in by himself as there was waaay too many people and I found myself getting super flustered and panicky again. We then had Josh’s sister Char, her partner Will and their new baby boy Wren over for lunch. Wren was born last weekend but because Bella’s had chicken pox, both her and Hugo hadn’t met him yet. It was definitely the highlight of Bella’s weekend. She adored him and wanted to constantly hold him. It was so sweet. Hugo however, wasn’t too fussed. Our children are so lucky to be surrounded by cousins who all live near by and I just love how close they all are.

    So overall a pretty lovely weekend, apart from my panic attack. But that’s okay. Life is never perfect and that is something I have finally come to accept. After all, there were plenty of highs this weekend that definitely outweighed any lows!


  • InFamily

    Murphy The Cockapoo

    If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that we recently welcomed Murphy the Cockapoo into our family. I wanted to share a bit more about him, hows he’s settled in and how we came to the decision to get another dog.

    This time last year we had to make the very sad decision to have our family dog Ruby put to sleep. She had been diagnosed with a heart murmur the year before and was on medication to keep it under control. But after Christmas she began to deteriorate and sadly in the end, it was the right decision. She was almost thirteen and I’d had her since she was a teeny puppy so naturally I was very upset to say goodbye to her. We were in the middle of our house renovations and decided that we’d have a break from being dog owners for a while.

    I definitely enjoyed the dog free lifestyle, I didn’t quite realise what a tie having a dog was until I suddenly didn’t have to worry about it anymore. Josh however really missed having a dog in the house and was desperate to get another one.

    It wasn’t until Christmas approached that I even thought about getting another dog. We’d looked after a family members dog for a fortnight in November and when she left the house just felt so quiet. Bella mentioned it a lot and my mind started to wander about whether maybe it was the right time to start thinking about getting a new dog.

    During a car journey over the Christmas break I made a passing comment to Josh that I had been swooning over dogs on Instagram (naturally). He jumped on this and pretty much ran with it and wouldn’t stop going on about it. We started to chat about what we did and didn’t want from owning of a dog this time around. I was absolutely adamant I didn’t want a puppy. With the many plates I was already spinning, I certainly didn’t have time for training a puppy.

    Josh suggested re homing a dog that was still fairly young. But I quite naively just assumed that meant going to a rescue centre and I knew that with young children this may be difficult. We had a look online and I was really surprised to see so many adverts for people looking to rehome their pets due to changes in circumstances. We enquired about quite a few different dogs with no luck.

    And then one evening Josh stumbled across Murphy’s advert just minutes after it was posted. I was already asleep and I woke in the morning to Josh excitedly telling me he had found ‘the one’! He basically hounded the poor women until she agreed for us to go and meet him a couple of days later.

    We were told that he had just turned One on the 23rd December and that he was fully house trained, super friendly and great with both children and other dogs. The family were re homing him due to increased work commitments and they knew it wasn’t fair for him to spend the majority of his time at home by himself in his crate.

    As soon as I lay eyes on him, I knew he’d be coming home with us. And he did! We drove him home and then walked him down to school to collect Bella who was so excited!

    It’s been a month since we welcomed Murphy into our family and he has slotted in just perfectly! He’s literally like our third baby and we are all totally besotted with him. He’s a Cockapoo which means he doesn’t malt which is great. Overall he’s such a good boy and so affectionate, we really did get very lucky. He adores the children and absolutely loves to be cuddled. He’s still young so has a lot of energy but we’ve all been really enjoying getting out more to take him for walks. I take him to work with me three days a week where he gets lots of fuss and then he just sleeps in his bed under my desk the rest of the time!

    I’m really glad we made the decision to get another dog and as hectic as it is sometimes, I can’t wait to see the children and Murphy grow up together!

    If you’re considering getting a dog I would really urge you to consider re homing as there are so many dogs just like Murphy that need a new home through no fault of their own!

  • InBella, Family

    Dear Bella, Last Week You Started School!

    Dear Bella,

    Last week was a big one for us all because you my darling girl, started primary school. We’ve had the 4th of September marked in the diary for months now. And it was the day you had been excitedly counting down to and the one I had been secretly dreading for so long.

    It’s not because I wanted to hold you back or even that I wanted to keep you all to myself. It was mainly because I knew just how much I would miss you. And I think there was and still is a part of me that’s so scared that I will lose a part of you now. Five days a week is a lot of time to be away from one another. And I know I’m going to miss out on so much. I can only hope that you’ll be happy to fill me in at the end of your school day. Because i’ll be waiting in the playground Bella boo, ready to hear all about it.

    We are now a whole week in and I already know that there really was no need to worry. You walked into school on that very first day (and every day since!) with such confidence. And seeing you so happy and excited meant that I even managed to hold back the tears. Because I knew in that moment, that you were going to be just fine. I no longer felt sad. Instead I was just excited for you and this new adventure that lies ahead.

    You are so eager to learn and I’m confident you are going to do amazingly at school little one. You come running towards me at pick up time with your arms open wide, bursting with excitement to tell me all about your day. I know it has only been a week, but you already LOVE everything about school. You even asked if you could go at weekends on our walk home this afternoon! You’re soaking it all in like a little sponge and you come home each day filled with new information that you just can’t wait to share. On Friday you were even given ‘star of the week’ and seeing you clutching that certificate with the widest smile on your face, made me so incredibly proud.

    There have been numerous times since you came along and made me a Mama, that I have wondered if I’m actually cut out for motherhood. I have often doubted my abilities as a parent. And I’ve cried so many tears (usually after a particularly difficult day). I have picked myself apart on all the things I felt I should have done better. But I have finally realised, that I think we’ve done just fine. You are healthy, you are happy and my goodness you are so loved Isabella. You’re such a special little girl and I really am very grateful that I get to be your Mama. Even on those difficult days.

    Thank you for making this transition into school SO easy my darling girl. You are going to go on to do such wonderful things, I just know it. And I’ll be there with you, every step of the way.

    All my love, always.