Giving birth in the broom cupboard


I guess if you’ve read my posts before (thank you fabulous people!) you’ll know quite a bit about Hannah and our life by now….but I’ve hardly mentioned what happened before she came along, have I?

Well, aside from the birds and bee’s thing happening – I’ll spare you that, you’re welcome! – Hannah’s daddy and I happily skipped off (actually, I waddled) to a series of parent-craft classes; in which we were to learn everything there was to know about babies and childbirth and whatnot.

We didn’t learn everything, that’s for sure!  But, nevertheless, it was interesting.

In one of the sessions, prospective new mums and dads were split into respective gender groups and invited to scribble down on a flipchart their ‘expectations’ of impending parenthood.  Hannah’s daddy returned from his session pretty rattled and on the drive back home, he told me why.  It seemed the consensus of his group was that ‘as long as the baby was healthy’ then the dads weren’t really that bothered about anything else….other than ensuring their kid supported the same football team!

“But what if the baby isn’t healthy?” Hannah’s daddy asked…whilst, undoubtedly looking grumpy (he’s good at that!).  “Would you love it any less?”.  Apparently no-one answered and I bet a pin could probably be heard dropping somewhere.  He’d put a ‘bit of a downer’ on the groups conviviality (he’s got the knack of doing that too!).   So, needless to say, he became a bit of an outcast after that.


(Btw, just giving you a heads up, I’ll be exploring this comment in my next post)

I too have heard many people making that comment and, at some point, I probably did too. Like the rest of the group, we thought we had nothing to worry about.  Little did we know what was ahead for our miracle baby!  My pregnancy was pretty great, aside from a few niggles here and there, albeit with raging anaemia later. All the scans (I had a few extra…being a ‘geriatric mother’ – thanks for the label NHS! *shakes fist*) were allegedly absolutely fine.  How they could’ve missed what they did baffles me…but that’s another story.  All I’ll say on the matter now is ‘should’ve gone to specsavers!’.

Anyway, life was looking pretty rosy for us…or so we thought.

We watched (wide eyed) the demonstration of the toy baby being stuffed through the plastic pelvis and then the obligatory DVD of a woman giving birth…where many of the prospective mothers turn 50 shades of green (not grey!) and Dads giggle a bit and mutter witticisms.

…and then we all had juice and biscuits.  How very British!

At a later session, you find us all gathered at the hospital, awaiting “The Tour” and we’re all a bit giddy by this point.  Reality is setting in.  Gulp!

I suspect the midwife would’ve made a rather excellent Estate Agent (Realtor – for my lovely chums across the pond “Hello!” *waves vigorously*) as the first stop was the brand spanking new, multi million pound birthing ‘suite’.  Oh, it was all very posh and lovely (and clean!)…and BIG…and sparkly…and it was clear that, from what the midwife was saying, this would be THE place to have your baby…if you were lucky.

There was even access to a (free!) TV so that dads could watch the football.  How thoughtful.

I suspect we all assumed we’d be in there, when the time came.

We then huddled around some scratched, insipid looking swing doors.  “So, mums and dads, here’s the central delivery suite” she bellowed jovially, perhaps attempting to distract us from hearing the screams of agony (or “GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS YOU’VE GOT” or ”DON’T EVER COME NEAR ME AGAIN!!”) threatening to resonate through the other side of the doors.

“Knowing my luck, I’ll end up in there” I said to Hannah’s daddy, gesturing backwards towards a tired looking cupboard door.

Oh how we laughed.  Then!


broom .jpg

Here’s my interpretation of the broom cupboard! 


We were then guided down the corridor to the final stop – SCBU (The Special Care Baby Unit).

“…and that’s where some babies have to go if they’re poorly”.  Silence ensued.  If this’d been a Western, you’d have seen tumbleweed rolling down the corridor.

And that was that.  Nothing else was said on the matter.  So we all got into our cars and drove home.

Fast forward several weeks later and I’m in hospital, cranking my TENS machine up to the max.  I’d been ‘checked out’ the previous day after bleeding, but discharged a couple of hours later and advised (firmly) that baby was definitely not coming any time soon and to return if the bleeding got worse.

Obviously, it got worse immediately on returning home! *sigh*

The car engine hadn’t even had time to cool down before we did an ‘about turn’.  Several hours later, my waters had broken (whilst watching Big Brother Live – I was bored, everyone was sleeping!) and Hannah had done a bit of a dirty protest in-utero, so I was stuffed in a wheelchair and whisked away.  “Oooh!  Are we off to the birthing suite?” I asked the nursing auxillary in the lift (elevator).  “Oh no” she said apathetically.  “Delivery”.  Great.  Typical.  Just my sodding luck, as always!  No sparkly ‘flagship’ birthing suite for me, then.

And whilst the room wasn’t exactly the broom cupboard, it really wasn’t far off resembling one!

This place could never be mistaken for The Portland Hospital and I certainly wouldn’t be offered canapes and champagne post childbirth!  Still, it was free.  So perhaps I ought not to complain.

However, the bars on the tired looking window (I kid you not!) didn’t particularly help set the ambience and, at one point, there were six of us in that room and despite me having ‘centre stage’ (so to speak) it was a bit of a tight squeeze.

So after a relatively easy birth – I’ll spare you that too, you’re welcome  – the fancy lavender room spray Hannah’s daddy squirted in my face (he didn’t read the label, he thought it’d relax me! *rolls eyes*) helped take my mind off what was going on for a while, lots of gas and air (love, love, LOVE that stuff!) and Hannah’s daddy moaning about his back hurting whilst holding my leg up in the air (Oh, we had words!!!) our tiny, vulnerable, bundle of scrumptiousness quietly arrived…and was subsequently whisked off to an incubator in SCBU….which was a bit of a shocker (total understatement!).

…and then, well, you probably know quite a bit about the rest already.

…erm…aside from the bit about me thinking Hannah was dead.  Not nice.

…oh, and the maternity unit fire alarms going off most of the night – I discharged myself the following morning!

…and holding onto Hannahs daddy whilst taking a first post childbirth wee because I feared all of my internal organs would fall down the loo.  Probably TMI there, huh? Apologies.

…and startling the lady at the checkout in M&S food hall the following day as I waddled forth to pay, tentatively (with stitches), looking like a zombie with pasty face and bloodshot eyes.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!



So, I guess that’s all for now, my lovelies.

Ah, well, not quite.  You see there’s this very special awards thingy that I’d really appreciate nominations for.  Here’s the link:

If you’d like to vote for My Kid Loves Broccoli, just pick whichever category you feel is apt for the blog….we probably fit ‘The truth about SEND” and maybe, if you’ve found my posts funny “SEND with a side dish of humour”.  You can even vote in several categories if you want…and then it takes a couple of clicks and Bobs your Uncle!🙂

Thanks (as always) for stopping by.

Until next time

Annie xoxo

This post is dedicated to Leila, the student midwife who delivered Hannah❤ and to the lady in M&S!

p.s. Expectant mummies (and daddies)…if you’re reading this, PLEASE don’t get all paranoid about your baby and start googling stuff – you’ll scare yourself silly.  Enjoy your pregnancy.  Whilst we didn’t know what was to come, our case is rare.  Very rare.  xx

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Spinning plates

Him:  (Says cheerily) “Hello.  What can I do for you?”

Me:  “Hi.  Well, I’ve got this lump that I’d like you to take a look at” (show’s him the lump)

Him:  (Looks at lump.  Frowns.  Gives it a bit of a prod and a squeeze) “Hmmm….I’m not sure what it is”

Me: “Oh” (slumps in chair and looks a bit disgruntled at the ‘not sure’ remark)

Him:  “How long have you had it?”

Me: (looks a tad sheepish) “Well, I’ve had it for quite a while and just ignored it, hoping it’d go away…but it’s got bigger and more painful recently”

Him:  (undoubtedly mentally rolling his eyes in his head at the ignoring lumps comment and thinking ‘idiot’) “Well, erm…it’s probably a cyst or maybe a ganglion”

Me: “Probably or definitely?” (Raises right eyebrow and gives him one of ‘those looks’ that says “I’m not leaving here with a ‘probably’, Mister!”)

Him: (taps on keyboard, scratches head, then has a Eureka moment) “Yes, see, it’s a ganglion (prints off a medical sheet and hands it to me)  “I’ll make a referral to have it surgically removed, if you like?”.

Me: (flinches at the word ‘surgically’) “Erm”

So then he talks to me about options and risks and whatnot and I politely decline any invasive medical intervention for now – thoughts flash through my mind about how I’d look after Hannah or, worse case scenario, who else would/could if I was out of action for any length of time.   We then discuss the alternative ‘traditional cure’ of hitting it hard with the family Bible…but then both agreed that wouldn’t be prudent…for my lump…or our Bible!

So I said my adieus, clutching my sheet of ganglion paper, promising weakly to come back if there were any changes, oozing or bleeding (great!) and then my lump and I skipped out of the door of the trainee GP’s room.  I’ll tell you what, that young man was FAR too good looking to be a doctor…and, consequently, I won’t be discussing MY peri-menopause with HIM any time soon, that’s for sure!

A couple of days later you find me in bed, looking ‘pale and uninteresting’ (an old term of endearment my mums GP friend often used to describe my pallor), intermittently sweating like a pig (do pigs really sweat that much?) and shivering and feeling very, very sorry for myself.

“I knew I shouldn’t have gone to the doctors.  I’ve picked this up sat in that waiting room” I feebly barked at Hannah’s daddy as he plonked a cup of tea on my bedside table.  Which telepathically REALLY meant was “I blame YOU for this.  If you hadn’t pestered me to get that lump checked out, I wouldn’t have been crammed into that sitting area, inhaling other people’s germs…IT’S.  ALL.  YOUR.  FAULT.  Thanks a bunch!”

But I didn’t say that.


Because, clearly, it wasn’t his fault at all.  He was entirely right to pester me.  I am a fool.  I am a self-confessed (former, now) lump ignorer *flails self for being a complete idiot*.

So, for 3 days, I was a useless, limp lump of viral infection….with an extra lump.  In fact, I’m still simmering with bugs *sigh* My immune system had had enough of me running around spinning plates, thinking I was Superwoman and decided to stop me in my tracks.  Which it did, rather successfully.  Banished to my bed for fear of contaminating the whole of Broccoli HQ…but most importantly, for fear of giving Hannah ‘the lurgy’, Hannah’s daddy held the fort as best he could.   And whilst Hannah enjoyed the attention of someone else, I huddled under the duvet in my fevered state, ‘paracetamol-led’ up to the eyeballs, intermittently and with disinterest flicking through the TV channels and the web.

I was bored out of my skull and feeling impatient; I had things to do and a child to look after, I couldn’t be wasting time, festering in bed!  This was rubbish.

Oh, hang on, a re-run of The Real Housewives is on.  I’ll have a look at that.  Several minutes later I was tempted (if I’d had the energy!) to forcefully chuck my hot water bottle, jar of vicks vaporub and half a bottle of Lucozade at the screen.

“I do everything for everyone else.  It’s time I did something for myself” she said, following the offer of a trip to Vegas with her friends.  This is after watching her playing tennis (almost semi–naked *tuts*), going out with friends, lunching, shopping (for fun, FUN!!!…not for toilet paper or washing up liquid!), seemingly just schlepping around without a care in the world.  This woman’s’ done more for ‘herself’ in one episode than I’ve done for ‘myself’ since Hannah was born. Grrr!.

Oh and THEN she’s in Hawaii.  Just for a little break…BREAK!!!…because she ‘needs it’…Awh, bless.  “It’s SO hard” she says, whilst cavorting in the sea in her teensy bikini.  “I have so many responsibilities” she says – as if it’s all just so torturous.  This is after the camera has panned to her two nannies.  TWO!  And her house manager.  A MANAGER TO MANAGE HER HOUSES.  HOUSES!  PLURAL!

And then we see one of the other mommies, buying thousands of dollars’ worth of jewellery for her daughter’s birthday present.  Lovely!…except the child is four years old.  FOUR!  Now, if I’d have bought Hannah any jewellery (even plastic stuff) at that age (or her current age), it’d have been snapped immediately and then swallowed.  FACT!

Dear God above.  I know a few people who’d kill for this kind of lifestyle, but I truly am SO thankful that I don’t live that kind of life (see footnote)…or have those attitudes*shudders* – although, probably like most Special Parents, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a cleaner, an occasional baby sitter/some respite or having the opportunity of flying a physician in on a personal jet…rather than sitting in a grotty waiting room…OR having to change my child’s nappy on the floor of a fetid public toilet.

What another world we live in, eh?

If you’re new to us “Hello!” *waves enthusiastically*.  The star of this blog is Hannah, my daughter, who has a rare genetic syndrome which pretty much affects most aspects of her life.  We don’t have ‘help’ or, let’s be honest here, any substantial support system outside of the support we pay for.   So, basically, Hannah’s reliant on me and/or her daddy for everything.  Which is a little bit (OK, a LOT) scary sometimes.

I won’t harp on about statistics, however, even though I write some pretty daft posts, I like to throw some serious stuff in, now and again, you know, just to help get the message across that our life IS actually pretty tough sometimes.   There’s lots of findings out there that suggest caring for a disabled child, young person or adult can have a significant impact on carers’ emotional and physical wellbeing.  In 2012, 8 National charities surveyed nearly 3,400 carers.  The findings were staggering.  83% of carers said caring had a negative effect on their physical health and 87% on their emotional health.  39% put off medical treatment because of their caring responsibilities.  (Internet Source:  In sickness and in health, Carers UK)  I can pretty much relate as, I suspect, can many other Special Parents.

So, what happens if/when parent carers become unwell – either physically or emotionally?  Well, it’s probably up to the other parent carer to pick up the pieces – like Hannah’s daddy did.  Or, perhaps, other family members – like grandparents.  Employment may be affected…ergo, loss of earnings or, if long term, possible loss of jobs and then subsequently a very limited income and the spiral into debt…and it’s a well-known fact that it’s FAR more expensive to care for a disabled child.  There’s no emergency number or appropriate service that’ll provide the support Special Families really require in an emergency.  Sure, some Local Authorities or charities may be able to provide a little bit of help, but, clearly, it’s not enough.  Not by any means.  The proof is undoubtedly in the statistics!



This is me


Our life, like many others, is a great big spinning plates affair (see picture) – far more so than an average parent…and it’s challenging sometimes too. Occasionally, people will (very kindly) point out to me that I ‘must look after myself’.  Which I try to do.  However, my rapid riposte (albeit tongue in cheek) at the suggestion of them having Hannah for a couple of weeks whilst I have a rest, has them recoil like a freshly salted slug.

The support just isn’t there.  Anywhere.  *gets violins out*

So what’s the point of this post (i.e. my ramblings)? Erm…let me think…

Well, aside from having a grump in my (still) mildly infected state, I suppose it’s a message for my lovely Special parents NOT to ignore lumps or any other illness.  Our kids need us.  We need to get checked out every now and again.  Look after ourselves *groans* – yeah, I know.  If you’re lucky enough to have a support system, occasional duvet days are OK…and sometimes rather necessary.  We need to recharge.  Constantly spinning those numerous plates is tricky and sometimes, just sometimes, WE need to come first; to pace ourselves (maybe a little better than I’ve done recently)

…and maybe give a big thumbs up to Hannah’s daddy for looking after Hannah…even though he did put her knickers on a bit ‘skew-whiff’ (bless).  Oh, and I don’t recommend throwing a hot water bottle at the TV.  Water and electrics don’t mix!  Just sayin’.

So, again, that’s all for now my lovelies.

Apologies for the ramblings.  I blame my virus!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time

Annie xoxo


Footnote thing:  No, if I had that wealth, you’d find me in a field, in Cornwall (Derek, DEREK, she’s going to go on about Cornwall again….get the sherry out of the top cupboard – it’s going to be another long one!), in my flip flops, running around after my alpacas or tending to my organic garden or ensuring my Special families were enjoying their holiday of a lifetime with me.  Now THAT, for me, would be a perfect, perfect life.

(Btw, Derek, no need to get the sherry out…I won’t go on about Cornwall…for now *wink*)

This post is dedicated to all the slugs I salted (in the past).  Really, really, sorry guys.  Really!

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I have such fond memories of my grandparents:

Grandma, always smiling, with her perfect bouffant, ever changing in all manner of muted candy floss colours and always referring to me as “chucky egg”.

Summer holidays at their seaside homes, mooching around in rock pools and returning with all kinds of obscure ‘gifts’ just for them.  The once cherished plaque glinting in the sunroom, now lost – a commemoration of her Irish father’s tragic demise during her early childhood in WW1.  Poring through photographs of treasured trips to their beloved Switzerland.  Izal toilet paper – the distinct medicinal smell, the scratchiness!  *winces*

The quintessentially English breakfast table; toast slathered with honey, lace tablecloth, bone china tea pot, matching cups and saucers.  The tea time burgers in gravy, congealing for hours in the ovens warming tray.  Intended as a treat but consumed reluctantly and solely out of politeness.  Oh, those burgers!  *shudders*

Gentle grandpa always humming a nameless tune.   The packet of Fishermen’s friends. Daily walks on the seafront, no matter what the weather, little hand safe in big hand.   Confident, astute grandpa, dapper in suit and trilby. The grandpa who said “blood and stomach pills” in preference to cursing.

Fishing in the lake at the back of grandpa’s house.  Bowling greens.  Huge bouquets of knitbone (comfrey), dried and applied as a herbal remedy.

Oh, writing this brings such nostalgia…and melancholy.  Smells, feelings, memories, regrets of never being old enough or wise enough to express how much I appreciated them.  Sadness of not having the opportunity to know them in my adulthood.

I wished I could go back in time and soak it all up again.  Soak the essence of them up again.  I was so blessed to be so loved.

And now there’s the memories of Hannah’s grandparents:

Tiny baby Hannah, gently cradled on her grandpa’s lap, whilst he softly regaled tales of his youth….and those funny, funny made up stories.

Thursday afternoons after lunch made by mum, lay snoozing on the sofa with my baby at my old family home.  Warm.

Watching Hannah’s grandma take such pleasure bathing, feeding and playing with her….and seeing that glint in Hannah’s eyes – an awareness there of her being so precious that she could probably get away with anything if she wanted to.

Grandpa, spending hours in his garage, tinkering, fixing things, making stuff for her.  An occasional tear, surreptitiously swept away.

grandma 1.docx.jpg

Hannah was, and is, blessed too.  For all four of them, no-one in the family ever did, or ever will, come close to the adoration they had/have for this little girl, their only granddaughter.

I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky that all of these people have been in my life, our life.  Sadly, others aren’t so fortunate, because not everyone who has a child with additional needs has parents who can accept that their grandchild is extra special.  How sad.  How heartbreakingly sad.

Rifts can ensue.  Relationships may break down.  Those memories that could’ve been created are never, ever made.  For me, out of any family member, no-one, but no-one, could come even close to the relationship a grandchild can potentially have with their grandparents.  It’s special.  Unique.

Equally though, in some instances, grandparents take over the primary role or provide the vast majority of care for their grandchildren…and that can come with a number of challenges.

Naturally, most people want the best for their children and grandchildren.  When they see them hurting, they hurt too.  They instinctively want to fix it.  But sometimes, sadly, that hurt can never be fixed, just alleviated a little.

There are undoubtedly many benefits of being a grandparent; having the time to spend with the grandchildren that maybe you didn’t have with your own kids and after enjoying carefree times of trips to the playground, walks and sticky cuddles, you can hand them back at the end of the day and go put your feet up in your own, clean, clutter free, quiet home.  Bliss!

But it’s perhaps much less easy for grandparents of children with additional needs.  Those anticipated days and trips and sleepovers don’t always come to fruition.  There may be feelings of helplessness and despair and grief for the loss of a life and relationship once excitedly anticipated.  The worry may be constant.  The desire to help out as much as possible probably never fades.

So, if you’re a grandparent of a child with additional needs, know this:

You’re probably valued.  Really valued.  Even if we’re so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we don’t always express it.

Thank you for going the extra mile.  For trying to empathise, for trying to understand.  For your research.  For your non-judgemental approach.  For your quiet support without any agenda.  For that unconditional positive regard.  For hiding your own hurt.  For all those caring deeds, like washing the dishes or hanging the laundry out or doing the ironing.  For your prayers.  For sometimes taking the pressure off just that little bit.  For being there in good times and the not so good.  For the phone calls and texts.  For your genuine unwavering concern.  For making that four hour round trip bus ride just to be near your grandchild in the ICU.  For the things you spotted in the shop that may come in handy one day…for all the thoughtfulness.   For celebrating achievements.  For sprinkling a little stardust.  For the fun and overwhelming adoration and love.  For everything.  I know it’s probably not easy for you too.  And whilst those memories you may’ve initially anticipated making may never come to fruition, know that the memories you are making mean everything and more.

So, whilst we may not always say it or show it, thank you!

You are loved ❤


“A grandmas name is little less in love than is the doting title of a mother”

(William Shakespeare)


So, that’s all for this post my lovelies.

Many thanks, as always, for stopping by and reading my ramblings.

Until next time…

Annie   xoxo

This post is dedicated to Hannah’s five grandparents – yes, five, not a typo.  Three gone, but never forgotten.  I hope, that wherever they are, they’re watching over their granddaughter and keeping her in their prayers❤

p.s. Here’s a link to a resource from Contact a Family.  I found it useful when Hannah was born.  I’m sharing in the hope it’s of some use to someone else. xx


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Goodnight Sweetheart

Or, otherwise entitled…

A momentous occasion is upon us!


Patience is a virtue


Life doesn’t always go to plan


I obviously couldn’t make my mind up what to call this post, could I?


I was thinking of just telling you this as a Facebook post, however, given it’s such a momentous occasion, I think it really deserves a post on the blog instead.

(but that would’ve been a long title!)


Ooh, I’ve waited for this for soooooooooo long!

But tonight, will probably feel very strange.

Very strange indeed.

…and I’ve got the collywobbles.

Because tonight……………..wait for it……………………………….don’t worry, it’s not, “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Lady Ga Ga  (like that programme, Stars in their eyes* )…………………………..Oh no! Even better than that!………………………Because, tonight, Hannah will be sleeping in her very own, rather lovely bedroom in her very own big girls bed.


Ok, so, if you’ve not been following us for a while, you may be wondering why a seven year old child hasn’t been sleeping in her own bedroom, in her own grown up bed, for some time already.

So, make yourself a cup of tea [prosecco], get comfy and I’ll waffle on for a bit (you know, like I do).  Verbose is, after all, my middle name *wink*


Here’s where it all began…

All excited at the impending birth of our surprise baby, Hannah’s daddy and I prepared the ‘nursery’ ready for our new arrival.  It was all very exciting, I must say.  The plan was that she’d sleep in her Moses basket for a while in our room and then move into her own bedroom.

Erm, well, that was the plan, anyway.

But sadly, plans don’t always come to fruition, do they?

Then, one morning, seven years ago, the proverbial S.H. One. T hit the metaphorical fan.  Apologies for the ‘alludeness to crudeness’ (I just made that up), however, I’m not going to wrap this up and make it pretty.  Because it wasn’t.

Hannah came into our lives (thankfully!) but a Tsunami followed behind – a great big, massive wave, which washed all our plans and dreams away.

There was no plan B.  We weren’t prepared for any of this.  We just had to wing it and hope for the best.

So then, when we eventually got her home to Broccoli HQ, came around-the-clock naso-gastric feeds, scary nights lying awake listening to Hannah’s breathing pattern (and lots of desperate prayers that she’d keep doing it!), SATS monitors (to check enough oxygen was circulating), congestion, vomiting, reflux.  Nights and nights of reflux.  Damn, I HATE reflux!

Separate bedrooms clearly weren’t an option at this juncture.

Then came the desperate need for a specially adapted ground floor bathroom – annexed to a bedroom.  Our existing bathroom just wasn’t going to ‘cut the mustard’ long term.

So consultations with professionals ensued.  They knew the requirements FAR better than us – like how big it needed to be, where it needed to be, what needed to be in it etc).  Plans were drawn up.  Neighbours protested (well, only 1 lot, the rest were incredibly supportive and understanding) They tried anyway…and failed, miserably! (the NIMBY’s don’t talk to us now) *fist pump*.  Apparently, the local paper took it upon themselves to publish a little article on neighbours disputing plans for a disabled child’s bathroom – which was nice of them.  Then council planners discussed it, boxes were ticked, people in suits and frocks approved it, builders were sourced.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

It was a lengthy process.  But despite the wait, we were (and are) extremely grateful.

So, naturally, yet again, there wasn’t any point settling Hannah in her own bedroom, when it was going to have a great big hole ripped out of it and lots of men traipsing through it.

So she stayed with us.

Then, the builders and electricians and tilers and plumbers and men in suits to check the builders and electricians and plumbers all came.

And after gallons of cups of tea were drunk (each cup containing about 400 spoonful’s of sugar!) and biscuits eaten, the purpose built (and desperately needed by this time) bathroom was ready – with remote controlled ‘disco lights’, courtesy of Hannah’s daddy, because he thought Hannah would like it….bless! (She does, btw)

The disco bathroom was born.  Yay!

But naturally, Hannah’s bedroom now required decorating and re-jigging to make it ‘Hannah friendly’…which all took time, thought, money and consultation.

And then it was ready, phew! and accommodating a brand new toddler bed, chandelier (ooh!) and sparkles on the ceiling.   We were really looking forward to this transition.  A few individuals then took it upon themselves to bring to my attention with a ‘hohoho’ that this’d all be strange, or scary or whatever.  Like I hadn’t considered that already.  Duh!






I DON’T.  NEED.  YOU *points finger in a pointy manner*.  TO.  POINT.  THAT.  OUT….ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!

(That was me shouting, btw.  Sorry about that.  I’ve composed myself now)

But, I’m pretty sure we’ve tackled situations significantly scarier and far stranger than this.  So I suspect we’ll cope.

But, again, plans went awry.  BIG time, this time….

The new plan was, that several weeks prior to the school summer holidays, we’d gradually – through weekend afternoon snoozes – get Hannah used to being in a different room, in a bed, without cot sides *gulp!*

But then, well, if you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know why.  I won’t go on about it.   Life was put on hold for a long, long time.

So, subsequently, childhoods and love and memories and two whole lives were packed into boxes and Hannah’s bedroom – the only room with any space at Broccoli HQ – accommodated some of it.

And then, to top it all off, we deemed the toddler bed too small for our little poppet, who appeared to have had a bit of a growth spurt when we weren’t looking.

So a new, grown up, big girls’ bed needed to be sourced.

Special beds for kids with disabilities were considered.  However, (a) they looked like/were like cages and (b) on establishing a small family car was comparable on price (I kid you not!), we looked elsewhere.

I trawled the internet for the right one and, surprisingly, John Lewis came up trumps, albeit after several weeks wait as the bed was out of stock.  Just our luck, eh?  *Tuts and rolls eyes*

And now Hannah’s ready.  She’s fed up of her cot, she’s fed up of looking at me first thing in a morning across the bedroom with my bed head and, despite being non-verbal, is able to make her feelings known on this one.  She wants out.  We’re ready too – I want my bedroom back, it’s in dire need of a makeover and, actually, one weekend evening, I’d like to get my jammies on, watch telly and eat crisps and, maybe, drink wine in bed – how utterly ostentatious!  We’re not waiting any longer.  We’re not making any more plans, because plans are just rubbish.  We’re commencing ‘Operation Big Girls Bedroom’ FROM TONIGHT!

Oh my days!

…and, after a night of impending reflux or a tummy bug, it will come to pass that Hannah’s daddy will finally realise that the weeks wages he paid for the beautiful White Company bedding, was, perhaps, not such a good idea, after all! (he meant well though)

So, let’s wrap this up, shall we?  But before I go, I’ll leave you with a quote from Homer, The Oddysey:

“There is a time for many words and there is also a time for sleep”

I’ve done the many words bit (see above)….so it’s PJ’s on and then off to bed we go…let’s hope we do all get some sleep!

Goodnight my darlings.

Wish us luck.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed for many restful slumbers, please.  I’ll keep you posted via facebook, but if my posts look anything like “lkjhbdijn dhj& o—?lkjhnba”, you’ll probably be correct in thinking that I have a little bit of sleep deprivation!

Until next time.

Annie   xoxo


This post is dedicated to all the night owls.  No offence guys, but hopefully we won’t be joining you!

p.s. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for the AMAZING response to our last post “Did I just hear that?”.  I’m totally overwhelmed❤


*Hello, lovely friends across the globe!  ‘Stars in their eyes’ was a British TV talent programme, where members of the general public dressed up and impersonated showbiz stars – like Elvis or Madonna or Liberace et al.  Apparently it was incredibly popular.  I wasn’t too keen, tbh!

Posted in Parenting, Silly stuff, Syndromes/Special Needs | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did I just hear that?

Or, otherwise entitled…

Oh M G!…


I’ve been itching to tell you…


It’s time to partaay!



Hello my lovelies.

Quick post…

I have news.  Exciting news.  Rather MAHOOSIVE news, actually….

So, if you follow us on Facebook, you’ll know we’ve just arrived home from a (much needed) break away.

It was, as always, blissful.

Fear not, I’m not going to go on about Cornwall…although I will do…if you want me to! *wink*


My Kid Loves Broccoli…and Cornwall❤


But, whilst there, we had to go and see a man about a dog.  Well, actually, we had to go and see a very nice man, a two and a bit hour drive away in a beautiful, but rather remote, part of Devon, for Hannah to have a review of her Snowdrop programme.

To spare you from me rattling on too much about the programme, here’s the link just in case you’re interested in reading more.

Basically, Snowdrop provides neurodevelopment stimulation programmes for children with a wide variety of diagnoses.  It’s not something you can get on the NHS – as far as I’m aware.  We’ve listened to and nodded politely at the odd critic here and there, who’ve voiced their scepticism about Snowdrop.  But, you know what?  I know, hands down, that this is working for Hannah, so, as long as we can continue to afford it, we’ll continue to participate.

Anyway, I’m not going to have a grump about sceptics in this post.  Like I mentioned, I have news to share with you.

Our Facebook family may have read (and celebrated with us…thank you, my darlings!) that Hannah had said her name to her lovely teacher <3  last school year.  Sadly, this hasn’t happened again.

But I’ve always lived in hope. Because if it’s happened once, it can happen again.

I’ve never heard Hannah’s voice, apart from her lovely sing song noises (Snowdrop call this verbal scribbling – LOVE that term!) although, I have to admit,  it’s not so great in the middle of the night…more like rather annoying!

So, whilst at Snowdrop, Hannah was being observed playing and doing her own thing by Andrew, the founder.  It was clear that Hannah had been sussing him out (as she does) for quite a while….often using her peripheral vision.  Whilst she may not acknowledge someone’s existence, she certainly knows what’s going on around her…she doesn’t miss a trick…especially when a bag of crisps is being opened!

Anyway, enough of the crisps…back to our news…

Hannah was mooching around, playing with toys and sometimes approaching Andrew and then moving away.  Andrew then walked up beside Hannah and said “Hello”.

Hannah replied, saying……


As clear as a bell!

I HEARD HER SPEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



…and the most beautiful sound I’ve ever, ever, EVER heard.

And guess what I did?  I kind of froze.  Astonished.  “Did I just hear that Andrew?” I asked.

“Yes, you did” replied a smiling Andrew.

And whilst I anticipated all kinds of wonderful things happening when this FINALLY happened; no mariachi band burst through the door playing some jolly celebratory music, no-one jumped out of a cake, no streamers and balloons came floating down from the ceiling…there was just stunned silence and I stood, stock still, probably with my mouth open….and Hannah happily continued to play with the toys, blissfully nonchalant, as if a miracle hadn’t happened.

But it just had.

So, there you have it.

I heard my girl speak!

In my post ‘Expletive on a cake’, I promised that whatever word I heard her say, it’d go on a cake…even if it was an expletive!  So “Hello” is going on a cake and we’ll have a little party to celebrate too.


Photo credit: Photofunia.

But now I’m feeling greedy.  Now I hope that one word might join another and another and another and make a sentence one day.  We just need to get her the right support to enable her to do it.


Never say never, eh?

Right, who fancies a piece of cake? *grins from ear to ear*

Until next time


An incredibly happy bunny (Annie)  xoxo


This post is dedicated to Snowdrop…providing another little glimmer of hope and support, completely outside of a system that isn’t really working for us right now. 

Posted in Speech, language and communication, Syndromes/Special Needs, Therapy | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Don’t put me on that pedestal


This is not a pedestal.  Just sayin’


We don’t have a swanky pedestal here at Broccoli HQ.  Sorry about that.  So, as an alternative, I thought a picture of our old step ladders might suffice.

Fear not, I’m not giving out DIY tips in this post.  Although I must say, I’m actually a bit of a ‘dab hand’ at assembling flat pack furniture and do quite enjoy slapping a drop or two of emulsion around….when I get the time/muster the energy/have the inclination to…which is, erm…actually, quite rare, these days.

I digress, as always.  Sorry.

So, what’s the step ladder/pedestal reference for then?

Well, I’ll tell you….

(Warning, I may get a bit Mrs Ranty McRantypants in this post…I think the hormones are playing up!)

Sometimes, on meeting new people, we may get the “It must be difficult” line – the “It” being reference to caring for Hannah –  Or (worse) “I couldn’t do what you do”.  This may be followed by a solemn face and a bit of a head tilt…the subliminal message sent to me being:  Blimey, you’re an absolute Saint for doing ‘what you do’.   The sincerity/attempted empathy/compassion/thoughtlessness is really quite overwhelming sometimes.

However, I have news…

The Pope and his Vatican are certainly not going to beatify me when I pop off this mortal coil.  The general public will not be weeping profusely and queuing up to take selfies of themselves stood beside my rose adorned casket in Westminster Cathedral.  My tombstone will not be engraved with the words ‘Here lies the body of Saint Annie:  Patron Saint of Special Mothers’.

Oh no.  No Siree!

I’m no Martyr.

Nor have I ever claimed to be, either.

Now, whilst I wouldn’t want anyone to feel they couldn’t express their opinions or thoughts (I live in a kingdom of free speech, thankfully!) It’s time to put the record straight…

I’m not some kind of ethereal being that rides around on a floating unicorn happily going about my day.  I’m not an exceptional creature from another planet.  I’m not some Boudicca-esque figure who gallops through the streets on her white charger, putting the world to rights (although I quite fancy a bash at that).  I’m me – made of history and experiences (pre and post Hannah) and lots of other stuff – some good, some not so good.  I mess up sometimes.  I have faults.  Lots of them.  I’m actually human, believe it or not.  Fancy that, eh?

And guess what? I have flaws.  I’m not perfect – as a mother or as a human being!  *puts hand to mouth and gasps in absolute horror*

Yes folks, breathe, keep calm, I know it’s a bit of a shocker, but it’s 100% true.

It seems to be a bit of an unwritten rule that you’re not supposed to have a good old moan about parenting (in general) and how difficult it is.  We seem to be bombarded through social media, magazines and the telly with perfect mums doing perfect things with their perfect children in their perfect homes or gardens with their perfect dogs, waiting for their perfect husband to drive home in his perfect car from his perfect job.  It feels like we’re all supposed to aspire to this concept and, don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not knocking anyone who wants to aspire to that.  Please feel free to aspire for whatever perfection is.  You SO don’t need my permission.

But this Mama (i.e. Me) don’t ‘do’ conformity.  Oh no!  This Mama isn’t afraid of wearing her heart on her sleeve and pronouncing to the world that yes, life is hard and this ‘Special Life’ IS incredibly hard.  It’s overwhelmingly bloody hard sometimes (sorry for swearing…I could’ve easily put a stronger expletive in there too, but I’d better not!) and occasionally, it’s absolutely rubbish and quite stressful.

Now, before anyone jumps on the keyboard and tries to give me a telling off about this. Don’t.  Don’t bother.  If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know fully how very blessed I think I am.  But really, some days are just rubbish.  Fact.

So, Dear Reader, here’s just a few of the milder examples (there’s lots more) of why I, Annie, Special Mama to an incredibly Special Child, am far from perfect and must never, ever be put on a pedestal…unless you want me to change a lightbulb for you, that is:

  • Sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief as I wave Hannah off on the school bus.  But equally (let’s get some perspective here!) I’m more often than not – unless I’m feeling ill – excited to see her again at the end of the day.   Sometimes we need our own space/do other things and that’s OK.
  • I snore.  Allegedly.  I know, I agree, I think he’s lying too!  Saints, Martyrs et al probably don’t snore, so that clearly rules me out for being put on that pedestal.
  • I deny my child sweets (candy).  Bad, BAD mother that I am! However, you may occasionally find a packet of fruit pastilles/wine gums in the glove compartment of my car.  Just for emergencies.  Obviously!  I’m a walking contradiction.
  • Sometimes I don’t answer the phone or the door.  How rude!
  • Sometimes I don’t forgive…sometimes I forget, sometimes I’ll never forget.
  • Sometimes, I don’t want to get out of bed (but I do, obviously).  Occasionally, I dread the prospect of the potential monotony of the day ahead – the constant personal care, nappy changes, feeding, dressing, lifting, carrying, having to be constantly on guard in the quest to try and keep Hannah safe – the list is endless.  But I have to and I want to and (perspective again) I’m blessed to….even though I’m utterly exhausted at the end of the day.
  • I sigh far too much and at lots of things.  I sigh at reports that come through the door addressed to “The parent/carer of” because someone’s far too lazy to look up my name on a database.  I sigh at people who’re just far too lazy to return their shopping trolley in the supermarket car park and leave it in the next vacant bay.  I sigh at the people who park in Parent and Child bays WITHOUT. A. CHILD. IN. THE. CAR!!!! I sigh at the washing up…the relentless pile of washing up (yes, we do have a dishwasher, no we don’t use it…let’s not go there)….and ironing.  Oh dear Lord, the ironing and don’t even get me started on the dusting.  I also sigh at thoughtless drivers….especially the ones in white vans.
  • Oh, the drivers.  Where do I start?  Well, whilst I haven’t got road rage, I have been known to shout at them – despite the fact that they can’t hear me, because they’ve sped off or are sat up my backside – the car’s backside, that is.  And I have been known to use some rather colourful and interesting expletives! Oh, the shame of it.
  • Sometimes/often now I stare back at the starers.
  • I get fed up at the lack of support we receive.  But (perspective again) equally grateful for the support we DO receive and blessed to have met some AMAZING people, who love and care for Hannah as if she was a member of their own family.  They know who they are.  Thank you❤
  • As much as I love spending time with the kid, I dread school holidays.  Period.  Before Hannah came along, I never quite understood what parents were going on about.  Now I get it, totally.  I’ve especially unloved this summer holiday with a passion and I’m probably going to dislike next year’s holiday and all the other subsequent ones….because they’re getting harder and I’m not getting any younger – no matter how much ‘rejuvenating’ cream I slap on my face!
  • I love social media, but sometimes I don’t like it.  I don’t like pouting selfies, photos of someone’s tea they’ve just put on the table for when ‘hubby’ gets home (‘hubby’ – argh!), everything they’ve bought, the attempted bragging and the ‘perfect’ lives they try to portray – when everyone around them knows it’s far from that.  It’s so false.   Oh, and whilst I’m on a mini roll, what about the ‘celebrities’ who bleat on about their ‘near death experiences’ – like grazing their knee after they’ve fallen off their heels or broken a nail.  IF YOU WANT A DESCRIPTION OF A REAL NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE, COME TALK TO ME!!!!!!!!!! *grits teeth and pulls at hair in extremely frustrated manner*

*coughs* Sorry, just had a bit of a moment there.

  • Sometimes I tell Hannah off *draws breath*.  YES, I DO!  Of course I do.  Sometimes, I catch people looking a little surprised at this admission.  As if I ought not to correct her.  Well, let’s get a little reality check here – Yes, she’s classed as having significant disabilities, but she completely understands when I say ‘no’ (even if she chooses to ignore me) and she knows sometimes when she ought not to do something.  So, if she’s about to do something that puts her or someone else at risk of harm, would it be better to have her learn the hard way by hurting herself or someone else (but would she learn, is the question?), or would it be better to teach her? I can’t reason with her, I can’t have an in-depth conversation with her about the pro’s and con’s of her actions and choices, but she knows that my no means NO.  Hannah’s getting older and bigger and one day that cuteness will disappear and then it won’t be OK for her to do some of the things she does – throwing things, biting or nipping people etc.  People won’t like it then…but when is ‘then’?  When will the timescale end?  So, is it better to try and ‘teach’ her, as early as I can, what’s OK and not OK, or leave it until it’s too late? So, before you think about tutting or judging the mother telling off the cute kid, just stop.  Stop and have a think.
  • I get grumpy, really grumpy sometimes…can you tell? *cheesy grin*


So, have I made my case successfully?  I do hope so.

Whilst I have lots and lots of things to juggle and worry about and co-ordinate, that doesn’t make me any better (or worse) than anyone else.  I’m Annie:  Mama to Hannah.  Jack of all trades, master of none.  I’m human (I think).  Completely and utterly imperfect.  Just like you are.  And I’m winging my way through life and motherhood with a child with significant disabilities and doing the very best that I can for her, because I want to…but undoubtedly making mistakes as I go along.  Just like we all do.

I don’t want that pedestal.  But thanks anyway.

So, that’s all for this post, my lovelies.

Many thanks, as always, for stopping by,

Until next time

Annie xoxo

This post is dedicated to all the imperfect people out there.   So, erm, I guess that’s all of us then!   


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Step into my shoes


I think I’ll just do a quick post today.



OK, so, given my track record for winning Gold at the ‘Waffle Olympics’, I’ll let you off for being a bit cynical.  You’re thinking I’m kidding, right?

No, seriously, this WILL be a quick post as one eye is currently watching the Olympics (women’s diving, just in case you’re curious and very soon to watch Jade Jones in the Taekwondo semi’s) and my other is on the screen, whilst typing this! (I CAN multitask, yeah!)

It may not make any sense, mind.  But I’ll do my best.

Right, let’s get on with it, shall we?….

Scrolling though Facebook the other day, I saw a picture quote on one of the many disability/special needs sites I follow and it got me thinking.  You know, like you do.

The quote went something like:  “Before you start to judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I’m living and if you get as far as I am, just maybe, you will see how strong I am”.

There’s other, similar quotes I’ve seen that’re just as good, but I especially liked this one (it was accompanied by a nice picture) and Oh, I DO like shoes!

Well, it’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

So, where am I going with this?…

Well, living in this ‘Special’ world of ours i.e. being the parent/carer of a child with significant additional needs, means (as well as being judged, but we’ll refrain from giving the judgers a mention here) I may often change my shoes (metaphorically speaking) several times throughout the day.

Erm, point of fact is I may actually, change my un-metaphorical (no such word, I’m sure!) real shoes.  But we’ll stick to the metaphorical stuff for now.  This IS a short post, after all *wink*

I think it needs to be said though that whilst it’d be pretty difficult for anyone, including a parent who has a child without additional needs to understand my/our world, equally, it’s often difficult for me to understand completely what other parents of children with additional needs may go through and step into their shoes.  I can empathise, of course, that goes without saying.  I can even grasp some of those feelings and fears and anxieties and challenges life constantly throws at us, but we’re all different – even if our children share the same diagnoses.

So, anyway, here’s my theory on what some of my metaphorical shoes are as a Special parent….and what I may (metaphorically, perhaps) wear during the course of the day:


Handy for wading through the mire of red tape, bureaucratic nonsense and general rubbishness of the ‘system’ (erm, what system?) us Special parents/carers face on (what can often feel like!) a daily/weekly/constant basis.


Flip flops

For those sunny, ‘life is good’ times….best worn in Cornwall, obvs!  Enough said. (Oh, Lordy, she’s harping on about Cornwall….yet again!)


Those sock things with sticky bobbles on the bottom that stop you slipping (no idea what their proper name is.  Technically, not shoes per se…but, well, just go with me on this)

Worn on ‘meh’ days, when you just need to give your feet [self] a bit of a warm hug and have a duvet day….not recommended when you have to put the bins out on a rainy collection day, mind….or if the dog needs walking.


Wooden clogs

When ‘one of those days’ occurs.  Thankfully, they’re less so, recently.  Excellent choice for kicking inanimate objects (like doors and such like)….when crying just isn’t sufficient enough to quell the frustration.  (I AM kidding, btw!…violence is not condoned.  Ever)



High, pointy, sharp (but breathtakingly beautiful) – these babies mean business.  Shoes that shout ‘don’t even think about messing with the mama’.  Required for meetings – usually complaints *sigh*, EHCP’s etc when much seriousness or a stern face is required.  Note: mustn’t be worn with baggy leggings sporting traces of your child’s lunchtime yoghurt smeared on one knee (not a good look!)


Big clompy work boots with steel toe caps (and maybe a pair of shin pads too)

Safety wear most apt when any piece of equipment is being handled.  We Special parents often have a plethora of this stuff knocking about.  Bruises/injuries are common.  Well, they are at Broccoli HQ!


Lead soled diving boots

OK, so, there’ve been the odd days here and there (hopefully now mostly in the past, never to return *fingers crossed*), when no matter what shoes I was wearing, I felt like I was drowning (metaphorically speaking, again!) and would never come up for air.  These little big beauts come with an oxygen tank.  Time to take control of those feelings, get the boots on, acknowledge those feelings and let them flow over me, have a gentle wander around the ocean floor for a little while and be fully aware of the ‘here and now’ stuff.  Refocus.  See the beauty around me.   Then whip ‘em off sharpish (Oi!  shoes only, mind!) get back on terra firma and face the world head on.

Oooh, what a random analogy type thing, eh?


Red sparkly ones (just like Dorothy’s in the Wizard of Oz)

For teleportation purposes.  The only classy means of making a sharp exit and quicker than catching the bus!  Reserved for any event I’d rather chew my leg off than attend, but have committed to during a mad moment e.g. Parties with clowns looking like they’re in need of anti-depressant medication or events with magicians seemingly with an alcohol dependency.  In fact, just general parties and gatherings where small talk with actual people is required etc etc etc (Yes, Mi Lord, guilty as charged.  I AM, more often than not, socially inept)


shoes .jpg

Not Dorothy’s.  Not sparkly.  Nor are they equipped for teleportation, sadly!


Running spikes 

My preferred foot apparel when late.  For anything.  Which is usually for everything. Please refer to my last post which also refers to my lateness.  It happens a lot.  Apologies in advance if you’re due to meet me.  It’s unavoidable.


Ballet shoes

For twizzing around, in a vague pirouette/celebratory style.  Usually following a ‘battle’ won in the quest to get the things your child needs.  Hoorah!



It was a relatively short post, after all….although I could’ve waffled on about shoes forever.  There’s tons of shoes for tons of different situations…or hats, in fact.  Oooh, I like metaphorical hats too!…and real ones.

Anyway, feel free to add in the comments box if you have any metaphorical shoes in your closet….or hats.

So, that’s all for this post my lovelies.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Until next time

Annie xoxo

This post is dedicated to Christian Louboutin – who may or (more than likely) may not (like, ever!) read this post, but who (If he did read it) may wish to donate a teensy, weensy pair of his beautiful, delicious, coveted shoes to the author of this post….i.e. ME!  *stares into space and dreams of wearing beautiful shoes whilst actually scrubbing a greasy pan in the kitchen sink*



p.s. Apologies for the repeated use of the word metaphorical! *cheesy grin*

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The Mama-lympics


Oh, I’m really enjoying the 2016 Rio Olympics at the mo.

I must note, however, just for the record, that my enthusiasm has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with all those taut (male!) gluteals in lycra hovering around on my 40 inch plasma.

Nothing at all.

I’m being forced to watch it!


(Am I protesting too much?)

But you know what?  Whilst I’m genuinely in complete awe of ALL athletes and sports people AND their families who dedicate years of their lives to their chosen sport, I think us parents could probably hold our own Olympics..

(Btw, just so you know, please don’t take any part of this post too seriously)

Oh, and whilst I named this post ‘Mama-lympics’ I’m not excluding the gents or other people who may play a huge caring role; like dads, grandparents etc.  Never would discount, never will do either.  It’s just that I couldn’t come up with a better title….the Special Olympics has already been nabbed….so Mama-lympics will have to do.

Sorry about that.

However, unlike our Olympians and other sports people, us parents/carers of children with additional needs don’t have physio on hand, there’s no dieticians, ice baths, masseurs (drat!) or even coaches.  It’s just us and we simply get on with it, without any training whatsoever and learning as we go along.

And we most certainly have no sport enhancing substances….aside from the odd Lucozade (breakfast) and the magic weekend juice (aka prosecco!).  Obviously!

So I’ve come up with a few events for the Mama-lympics and here they are….


The “Oof”

This must be accomplished innumerable times throughout the day.

The rules being that “Oof’s” must be mumbled whilst lugging the kid in and out of the car, in the bath, out of the bath, up the stairs, down the stairs, over the bars of the cot, on and off the changing bed, out of the pram/wheelchair, into the pram/wheelchair etc etc etc.

There must be no warm up.  The competitor must bend their knees whilst each ‘Oof’ is being completed.

Marks are given out of 10, per individual “Oof”.  The louder, the better.


The sprint

Self-explanatory, really.

…just running as fast as you can over a short distance.

Usain Bolt ain’t got nothin’ on me for this one! I’ve smashed his 100m world records on a regular basis whilst sprinting across the room when Hannah’s just about to slip something inedible into her mouth.  I don’t need running spikes and a starting block either.  Slippers, wellies, flip flops or 6 inch heels – you name it, I’ve sprinted in them all, baby!


100m hurdles

As above.  However, competitor must jump over a number of hazardous obstacles to reach the finishing line (child) e.g. lego, Mr Tumble books (slippy!), VTech dogs or fire engines or, in fact, anything with VTech on the front, Crayola doodle magic mat with pens and eraser, mobility equipment, bean bags, heathfield chairs.

There are no restrictions on competitors’ choice of footwear for this event.


Shot put

This event entails chucking the special buggy/wheelchair into the boot of the car with as much force as possible.  The rule being that it must be preceded by aforementioned perambulator refusing to fold up properly (usually whilst it’s raining cats and dogs) and the competitor must trap at least one finger within said equipment.

Extra points awarded if accompanied by several expletives.  The choice of words are optional.

Hannah’s daddy excels in this event….and get’s Gold every time!



Competitors must navigate a variety of obstacles and chicanes – stationary people, moving people, just generally ignorant people, speeding cars, pavements, revolving doors, very narrow aisles in department stores and supermarkets.

Equipment required:  Mahoosive special buggy or wheelchair…and a small person.

Competitor must ensure small person does not pull a plethora of lacy knickers off the racks whilst perusing lingerie in M&S (I won’t get a medal then!) or covertly deposit a packet of pickled onion monster munch about their person whilst navigating the aisles in Sainsbury’s.

Points massively deducted if the security machines bleep on exiting the store.


Wrestling freestyle

This sport entails putting child’s clothes on, keeping child’s clothes on (especially in public places when said child – Hannah – enjoys being semi-naked in the Hobbycraft store…or anywhere else, actually *sigh*).  Ensuring child does not crack their head open on something sharp or catch something nasty, whilst lay on the floor of a filthy public toilet during a nappy change.  Putting child’s shoes and splints on.  Keeping child’s shoes and splints on.  Putting coats on, keeping coats on.

(I think you get the gist!)



As per freestyle wrestling.  However, whilst completing the above tasks, competitor must undertake  backwards roll to pike, cartwheel, backbend kickover and a straddle jump on at least four separate occasions within a 24 hour period.

Easy peasy!


The lob

Letters/reports etc marked “To the parent/guardian of…” must be lobbed following immediate delivery through the letterbox.

Competitor must ensure the envelope skids as far as possible across the floor.  Distance is key in this sport.

Again, athlete must curse (extra points will be awarded dependent on strength of profanity) whilst stating “I. HAVE. A. NAME.  I wished they’d put MY (add expletive here) NAME on it…arghhhh!!!!!!”


The apology

Two competitors are required –  one big one, one small (ish) i.e. a child.  All athletes will undoubtedly excel in this event.  However, mini/junior competitors will unquestionably receive a gold medal every time.

The aim of the game being that Mini/junior competitors must do everything in their power to ensure their opponent DOES NOT arrive on time.  ANYWHERE.  EVER!

Tactics can and may involve:

  • An untimely poop, usually 1 minute prior to departure – the messier the better
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Rubbing pasta with tomato sauce into their hair
  • Stiffening the whole of the body and pretending to be a starfish whilst navigating out of the door/being strapped into the car seat
  • Hiding competitors car/door keys in the bin or toilet
  • Taking all clothes and shoes off immediately after being dressed
  • Rolling around on the floor
  • Demanding a nap
  • Being sick down the big competitors clothes.  Extra points awarded if this also involves their hair.
  • Just generally mucking around and being a bit wild.

The loser (which, naturally, WILL be the grown up competitor) must be made to humbly apologise on arrival at the final destination and be a bag of nerves for at least 30 minutes after the event concluding.

Mini competitor must subsequently retain a completely calm composure and use total charm offensive in the company of others – ensuring loser looks like a liar/complete numpty.


The hospital/doctor dash

Mini competitor MUST present as desperately ill and in dire need of immediate medical attention.  Grown up competitor must panic and probably risk a speeding ticket to seek intervention.

Mini competitor must then, on arrival at A&E or the doctor’s surgery regain complete composure.  They must laugh, resume a rosy cheeked complexion and present as perfectly healthy.  Again, thus, ensuring loser looks like a complete numpty/liar.

Extra points awarded for crying inconsolably, eyes rolling to the back of the head, vague rashes.

(Hannah is exceptionally good at this event!)


…and finally….

The arm curl

(n.b. For grown up competitors only)

Competitor must apply a gentle hand to mouth action whilst gripping a large glass of prosecco (other alcoholic beverages are available, apparently!).  No liquid must be spilled in this event.  This must only (usually) be conducted on a Friday/Saturday night – unless competitor is in desperate need of relief during the week due to a particularly stressful aforementioned event (see above).

n.b. Whilst I did mention at the beginning of this post not to take it seriously, I don’t, in any way whatsoever, condone hitting the bottle in an attempt to get through stressful events.  Please seek help if this is becoming problematic.  Alcohol is not the cure.  Just sayin’


So, my lovelies, that’s me done for this post.

I’m sure many of you could add a few more events to this!  Feel free to add in the comments box below.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by

Until next time

Annie xoxo

P.s. Oh, just before I go, I want to say thanks SO much for that overwhelming response to my last post (for Hannah’s birthday).  Alongside all your good wishes, the 115 Facebook shares were ABSOLUTELY BONKERS!

Guys, you’re amazing.  Thank you. xx

This post is dedicated to all the Paralympians and athletes with a disability – you really are awesome! #NeverSayNever  ❤  


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Happy Birthday Hannah – 2016

Hi Guys!

OK, so, if you hadn’t already guessed the theme of this post, the clue’s in the title.  This post’s for the kid…because it’s her birthday!….but please don’t let that deter you from reading on….only if you want to though, obvs!

Annie  xoxo


Well Tiger, it’s your 7th Birthday.


You won’t know this yet, but throughout the years I’ve written you letters and kept them in a special box just for you to read.  I’d like to think that one day you’ll have the ability to read them.  I’d like to think we could even read them together one day…and you can have a good old laugh at your mama, roll your eyes and call me a schmuck for being so slushy.  But, whilst none of us can predict what the future holds for any of us, I’ll always live in hope – even about you calling me a schmuck!  However, regardless, they’ll be kept safe…for you and you alone.

I did contemplate writing you something a bit daft, including giving you some advice for the future, like – never pluck any stray hairs on your chin or you’ll eventually end up with a beard…just like your mummy *sigh*…or don’t eat ice cream near a Cornish seagull, because they’ll swoop, steal it out of your hand, whilst also attempting to take your fingers with it…the evil little buggers!  But really, you deserve much more than that.  Especially on this, your very special day.

But maybe I will write you something like that in the near future, just for fun.  However, today, I want to write to you straight from the heart…

Seven years, huh? Where did those years go?  Sometimes it feels like those years have passed in the blink of an eye.


Hannah’s very first Christmas

Naturally, you won’t remember the times when we celebrated your first Christmas together or your first birthday, but they were incredibly special days – as each and every single day has been since the day you were born.

I’ve never taken a day with you for granted!

I’ll never forget your first smile.  That first delightful hug – I waited a very long time for that (four years, in fact!), but it was simply perfect when it happened!  I’ll always remember the first time you rolled over on your own (after daddy and I spent what felt like forever tirelessly trying to help you do it) and when you were able to sit up all on your own (you’d turned two by this time) I knew we were moving in the right direction, I felt like we’d been given a little hope.  Real hope that we could help you to do other things too.  And, oh, that first, long awaited, direct eye contact you gave me was a sign we’d finally connected *melt*.  There’s a line in a song by James – one of mine and daddy’s favourite bands – that reminds me of you.  It goes “sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul”.  And whether people think that’s completely bonkers or not (I don’t care!), sometimes I do.  I really do!.   And I think you have a very beautiful soul, Hannah.  You’re magnetic and magical and sparkly and have an aura about you that’s incredibly powerful.  You don’t blend in, you were definitely born to shine! Not everyone has that, but lots of people desire it…and it can’t be bought or manufactured.  You’re a very lucky little girl!

And how could I ever forget those glorious first steps which was suggested might never come?.  Just utterly Heavenly!

Through this, I’ve learned not to believe anything that anyone says, not to allow anyone to predict the future and to never say never.  Ever!

(btw, apparently a young chap called Justin Bieber has done a song with the same title…our motto seems to be catching on!)

Anyway, let’s hope that we have LOTS more wonderful firsts!

Hannah, watching you grow and flourish truly is a blessing.  But if I’m honest, a part of me wants time to stand still, for lots of reasons.  I adore that zest for life you have and your independent, feisty spirit (YEAH!)…and I certainly wished I had your energy!


Happy days in Cornwall


Right now it seems like you still have no awareness of your birthday and I really wished with all my heart that I knew what you were thinking or what you understood.  Wouldn’t it be amazing though if you could decide what you wanted to do on your birthday or what you’d like for a present?

But I know you take pleasure in everything you receive and I know you love going out and having fun…so that’s just what we’ll do.

Last year was a tragic one.  We lost your beloved grandpa and I know exactly how much you loved him – I could see it clearly in your eyes – and he absolutely adored you, Hannah.  And then, thirteen weeks later and just two days before your birthday, we lost your grandma too; my mummy.  They loved and adored you so much sweetheart.  In fact, I can’t actually articulate exactly just how much love and pride they had for you – their only granddaughter.  It’s my belief that they’re together and I believe they’re looking out for you and I know, for a fact, that they’d want you to have a wonderful day and an incredibly happy life.

Of course, you’ll get gifts for your birthday and whilst it’s quite nice to receive presents, we mustn’t ever forget that they’re just ‘things’ that probably won’t last too long.    So, as well as buying you some things, here’s what I most wish for you on your birthday and for always….




  • Feel loved…now and forever!
  • Never stop smiling. 
  • Never stop loving life and having fun. 
  • Have at least one true friend who’ll be there for you, no matter what.
  • Never stop learning new things. 
  • Never stop loving the things you love…including broccoli!🙂
  • Stay healthy…please stay healthy, precious girl. 
  • Feel safe…always!
  • Embrace every new day as magical and exciting.
  • Never feel lonely or sad.  But if you do, put your hand on your heart and feel your heart beating.  Remember those people you love and who love you?  Well, they’re inside there and even if you can’t see them or speak to them, they’re with you.  Constantly!
  • Have everything you need in life.  But remember, whilst people need money to get by, there’s lots of things they don’t need, but rather they want.  There’s a huge difference between the two.  There’s nothing wrong with having aspirations, but don’t ever become one of those people who perpetually want – it’s an ugly trait.  And don’t forget that no-one, but no-one, is wealthier than you if you have your health and feel loved.  That’s priceless!
  • Appreciate the beauty that’s all around you – from the stars in the sky, to the sun glittering on a calm sea, to the flowering weeds that grow in the cracks of the pavement.  Beauty is all around us. Try, every day, to just take the time to look, just like grandpa taught me to do.
  • Are always kind and compassionate.     
  • Can forgive the mean people, the manipulators, the ones who snigger, the people who judge, the ignorant ones or those with their own agendas – rise above them,  stay away from them, ignore them my darling and trust in Karma.  Karma is a wonderful thing!
  • Are ALWAYS proud of who you are and your achievements.  Never, EVER be ashamed of your uniqueness, never be afraid of being YOU.  Hold your head up high and keep it there. 


Oh, there’s a million and one things I wish for you, Princess.  I especially wish right now for you to have the ability to speak or communicate effectively in some way.  Any way in fact.  But we can’t have that.  Not just yet, anyway.  But we’ll get by.  We always do.

Hannah, you’ve given me so much happiness and taught me a great deal since you came into my life and, through you, I’ve learned what unconditional love was really all about…what a perfect gift you gave me…thank you!

P1000125 (2).JPG

Love this photo! ❤


Whilst our journey isn’t the one I wanted for you, I feel humbled and honoured and really blessed to have been entrusted to care for and protect you and overwhelmingly proud that you’re my daughter; the child I was once told I’d never have.

Forgive me if I get it wrong sometimes.  To be perfectly honest, I’m just winging this mummy role and learning as I go along!  But know, always, that I’m trying my very best…and I wish the very best for you.

The world is a much better place with you in it Hannah and there are many people out there who could learn a lot from you!  I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Happy, happy, happy birthday, my perfect, precious girl.

Wishing you a wonderful day.




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Girl meets boy

Hello my lovelies!

Our lovely friends across the globe…”Hello!” *waves vigorously on tip toes*…probably won’t know that it’s been a bit of a scorcher (hot!) for the last couple of days at Broccoli HQ and all around the UK.  So extreme has it been, that many of us aren’t used to this crazy, crazy weather…including me.  Last week it was so cold that I was contemplating putting the central heating on.  This week, I’m praying for rain.  LOTS and LOTS of rain!

There’s no satisfying some people (me) and, apparently, us lot in the UK are renowned for moaning about the weather.

So, I’m moaning about the weather…

Right, moan over.

Actually, I blame Brexit for this weather.

Kidding! (and being a bit controversial…oooh!) *sucks teeth*

Mind you, it absolutely wouldn’t surprise me if someone, somewhere, has blamed Brexit for the weather!

*sigh* and *yawn*

Anyway, as it’s been SO hot in the night and I’ve been a tad pre-occupied with ‘stuff’, sleep has evaded me somewhat.  So, late at night, after reading an extremely funny mummy blog in attempt to cheer me up– which it did, as it included drawings and lots of swearing and alcohol and general mummy malaise and despair – I thought I’d have a bit of fun with a new post.  However, there will be no swearing (drat!), no mummy malaise or despair (well, not in this post anyway) and maybe a tiny drop of alcohol.  Cheers!  *raises a toast*

So, in order to do some drawing, I raided Hannah’s art box and got cracking.  Initially, I wasn’t sure what to write about or draw.  But then I had an idea…

So, here it is…

Drawings and life are all my own, btw.  Feel free to nominate me for a Turner Prize or some other fantastic, famous artistic accolade.  I won’t mind.  *wink*



Once upon a time, this girl met this boy.

He was handsome and muscly and had nice teeth and, just looking at him, made the girl feel all fuzzy inside.  The girl told her friend that he was the spits of (i.e. spitting image/looked like) Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans….but without the loincloth and spear thing.  Ooh, or that John Corbett bloke…the one that did Northern exposure, Sex and the city, My big fat Greek wedding, etc etc etc (but without the accent, wealth and fame)

The girl’s friend thought she’d gone completely bonkers.

She may’ve had a point!

Because, the first thing the boy ever said to the girl was…

“Don’t come sweating near me” (fact!)

She thought that was THE most romantic thing anyone had ever said to her (erm…not so factual)

And even though they were in the gym at the time, the girl made sure she didn’t sweat all over the boy.  Anyway, girlies don’t sweat; they ‘effervesce’ or ‘bloom’ or something more feminine-like.

But the boy did lots of sweating, as he’d already done his usual extensive work out before the girl arrived to do hers…but he hung around and did a second work out just to be near her, because he liked her too.



They went on lots of dates and drank some wine, then decided it was time to settle down.

So they lived together for years and years and years and had lots of crazy fun.

People were expecting a baby to come.  But the baby never came and the doctors told them the baby would never come.

Whilst a bit sad about this, they just got on with their life and had lots more crazy fun.  They didn’t have much choice, really.

After more years and years and years their friend Kevin told them they were rubbish and it was about time they got married.

So they got married.

No-one was allowed to stick their nose in and spoil the day.  The girl didn’t wear a meringue.  Not a quiche, boiled egg, sausage on a stick or vol-au-vent was in sight. There were no bridesmaids and no ‘oops up side your head’ to muck your frock up on the dance floor to.

It was a perfect, perfect day.


Then, one day, the girl felt a bit funny, so she bought a stick from the chemist and the stick told her a baby was coming.

The boy and girl had lots of dreams about how life was going to be.

A man in the hospital squished some cold goo on the girls tummy and the television screen said the baby was a girl.


The girl and boy were very happy about this and they saved all their money up for the perfect life they were going to have.

After a while, a stork flew over the hospital and the baby arrived (well, not exactly.  Ladies, I am SO not going to minimise the overwhelming, excruciating pain of childbirth….oh no! no siree!!).

Anyway, the girl and boy now had to change their names to mummy and daddy.

The hospital people swarmed around like bees and said the baby was very poorly and would have to live in a (grotty) plastic box and have a tube that went into her tummy to put milk in.

IMAG0513 (2).jpg

The doctors tested the baby for lots of things and told the mummy and daddy that life would probably be very rubbish in the future.

Mummy and daddy were very worried and scared.

After a few weeks, mummy and daddy were allowed to take their baby home.

The baby needed milk in her tummy 24/7 and there were lots of appointments and more tests, so mummy and daddy didn’t get much rest at all.

At the time, it felt like the doctors were right all along.  Life was quite rubbish!

Mummy and daddy were really fed up with stupid people saying stupid things AND the ones who had eyes on sticks when they went outside, but they just got on with it and made the most of everything.

They loved their baby very much and decided to make sure that things would be less rubbish than the doctors said.

Some people didn’t know what to do or say when the baby came, so they went away.


Mummy and daddy weren’t bothered at all about this.  They had more important things to think about.

Daddy went to work and got money for food and stuff and mummy and baby went to appointments to see the ‘important’ people.

Mummy got grumpy at many of these appointments (and wanted to swear a lot) as most of these important people just ticked boxes on pieces of paper and didn’t do much, other than make her very sad and stressed and worried.

Then when daddy came home from work, mummy would sometimes cry a bit or moan a lot and complain that she was tired and really, really, REALLY fed up.  So daddy went to the supermarket and bought her some fizzy weekend juice that made her feel lots better.


(N.B. Just for the record, I am NOT alcohol dependent!)

Baby was growing up now.  Baby liked to eat broccoli but nothing much else was happening.


The books kept telling mummy that baby was now a toddler and should be doing more stuff, like sitting up.  But no matter what mummy did to try and help, the toddler just couldn’t do it.

So mummy phoned some special people who she thought could help.

The special people were miles away, but mummy didn’t care.  She’d have gone to the moon if she thought it’d help the toddler.


They said bring the toddler, we’ll have a look at her.

So mummy took the toddler to the special people and they had a look at her and said they’d have a go at helping.

The toddler had lots of fun there and started to sit up on her own.

Mummy met lots of other mummys there who were in the same boat.  They said “me too” a lot and they also used to cry and were really fed up…and this made mummy feel much better and less alone.  Mummy suspected some of them also drank magic fizzy juice at the weekends too!

Then on Christmas Day, when the kid was almost three and a half years old, she took her first steps.

Mummy and daddy were euphoric.  They stuck two fingers up at the important people who said this’d never happen, then they cried a lot, said “Hip Hip Hoorah” and drank champagne (very expensive magic juice!) to celebrate – once the kid had gone to bed (obvs!)

Mummy, especially, has learned a lot on this journey.  She is now rather adept at lots of things: like dodging flying plastic missiles disguised as ‘toys’ that the kid aims at her head, writing reports, being grumpy with/ignoring stupid people who say or do stupid things, juggling an incredibly busy and stressful life.  Daddy is still very good at buying special magic juice for mummy, preparing dinner, cleaning and ironing, getting up to much mischief with the kid and patting mummy on the back when she’s feeling grumpy or sad.

But whilst the kid can’t do tons of stuff like other kids can do just right now, mummy and daddy love the kid more than anything, have learned that life isn’t as rubbish as they’d been led to believe, will do their best to help her learn new things and will #NeverSayNever.  Ever!

And whilst their ‘Happy Ever After’ wasn’t exactly how they’d anticipated, they feel very blessed.  Very blessed indeed.

The End.

Actually, it’s not the end…not at all.  Just the end of this post.



Right my lovelies, that’s all from me right now.

Thanks, as always,  for stopping by.

Look out for next week’s post…It’s Hannah’s birthday – Yippee!

Until next time

Annie xoxo

This post is dedicated to that girl and boy all those years ago.  Who’d have thought, eh?


Posted in Parenting, Silly stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments