My Sunday Photo from The MAD Blog Awards 2014

September 21, 2014 in #EmmasArmy, Blog Hops / Memes / Linkies, Blogging, Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Family, Friends, My Sunday Photo, Photography, Radioactive mum, Uncategorized, Videos by Emma Day

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This weekend was the prestigious MAD Blog Awards, where I was lucky to be a finalist in the category for Outstanding Contribution. I was in this category for all the work I’ve done to raise awareness of different cancers, supporting and promoting different campaigns, fundraising, and launching my own campaign, #EmmasArmy against Cancer which has so far raised just shy of £3000. This campaign saw some amazing people, walking between 10 and 104 miles each, for Cancer Research. I told my story, no details spared, whilst battling Cancer last year and aim to continue raising money and awareness.

Thank you so much to everyone who got involved in any of these campaigns, shared my posts, RT’d my tweets, walked in #EmmasArmy, sponsored, wrote a blog post, nominated me for an award or voted for me for an award.

I didn’t win at the awards this year, but all of the Outstanding Contribution finalists were called up on stage after watching a lovely tribute video of us, and presented with winner trophies. Massive congratulations to the overall winners, Team Honk, who raised a staggering £33,000.00 for Comic Relief.

You can watch the video made by Tots100 and the MAD Blog Awards, which we were presented with at the awards here – and hear a little about the incredible women I was up against, and honoured to stand on stage, hand in hand with…

I would be hugely grateful if any of you who haven’t yet sponsored my campaign, could help us get to that £3000 milestone, by sponsoring one of the team here.

OneDad3Girls

Lost keys, locked out, flat tyre, hurty leg and lots of kind village people!

September 17, 2014 in Childhood, Home and Garden, Uncategorized by Emma Day

Last weekend, Hubs went away to teach percussion to a drum corps (his hobby and his passion). He took the car, so we knew we had a weekend of travelling by foot, whatever we wanted to do. As it turned out, I had a rather bizarre weekend, where the kindness of strangers, meant I didn’t crack under the pressure of a trio of unfortunate events.

Bunny had FINALLY agreed (aged 7) to let me take the stabilisers off of her bicycle, so we went to the park so she could practice riding her bike like a big girl.

September 2014 (13)

Whilst I was videoing her and taking photos (in true blogger style), the twins were happily playing, about five feet away from me. I thought to myself, “I really need to take the house keys away from Fluffy before she loses them”. As quickly as it fleeted through my brain, that thought left me. It wasn’t until an hour later, when we started walking home, that I realised I never took the keys back. And that Fluffy hadn’t had them in her squidgy little hand, for a really long time.

After retracing our steps, and triple checking underneath the buggy, I approached some parents in the park and asked if anyone had seen a bunch of keys. Within minutes, there were five adults and about fifteen children looking for our keys… for TWO HOURS. Those kind-hearted strangers stayed in the park all that time, scouring it up and down, kicking away piles of mown grass and pushing back stinging nettles with sticks. Eventually I knew I had to give up, but with nobody owning a spare key, my phone at home on charge, Hubs a three hour drive away (with the car) and no windows left open in the house, I was starting to panic. The twins needed clean nappies, we needed a drink and some dinner. Where would we sleep?

I tried to think where I would take the keys, if I’d found a set, and decided to leave my phone number at the local co-op. It was a long shot, but it was in the centre of the village and had the longest opening hours of any other shop over a weekend. The shop assistant looked at me as though it was my mind I had lost.

On the way back home, the tyre burst on our Mountain Buggy. I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it is to push a pushchair that heavy, with twins in it, with a tyre gone. Before I had time to wonder what else might go wrong, Bunny lost concentration, cycled into a hedge and went crashing to the pavement. There were tears galore, but after a few minutes cuddle, she was okay. I was now left, not only pushing a buggy with a flat tyre, to a house I couldn’t get into, but also carrying a bike and trying to soothe a daughter with a hurty leg. “Welcome to Motherhood”, I thought to myself, “Did you think it would always be easy?”

One of the Daddy’s in the park, who’d been helping us look for the keys, offered to help me get into my house. He took his children home and met me at my house with his van full of tools. Within minutes, this kind man, had chiselled the trim off my living room window and gently lifted out the double glazed pane. He climbed in, opened the patio door from the inside, and put the window back together. I was so lucky to have bumped into this guy and so grateful to him for giving up his afternoon to help me (don’t worry – I bought him a crate of beer to say thank you). He told me his own wife had also lost the house keys in the park before and having little children of his own, he couldn’t leave us stranded.

I was feeling very blessed to be living in a village with such helpful citizens. I know this certainly wouldn’t have happened where I lived before.

On Sunday, as I walked home from the supermarket, I got a phone call from the man at the co-op… another kind honest stranger had come to my rescue, and not only found my keys, but handed them in too. They must have had the same thoughts as me, about where to hand them in.

Having encountered so many selfless and considerate people over the weekend, I am now happier than ever, with our choice to move house and area codes.

Back to school grumbles

September 17, 2014 in Childhood, Parenting, School, Shopping, Uncategorized by Emma Day

It’s no secret… I HATE the school run.

Firstly – I have to actually get up early and attempt to be organised. Hopefully somewhere in the house is enough clean uniform to complete a full outfit. I have to make a packed lunch before I’ve even had breakfast. If the twins are being awkward, it can take ten minutes, just to get us all in the car. Half an hour sat in traffic (No I can’t walk – it’s miles away). Then there’s a fight to find somewhere to park and the five minute walk to school takes a lot longer at the twins pace. The school run, takes two hours out of my day.

School uniform

If we arrive late, I have to decide whether or not we will make the gate if we run, or whether we should just go straight to reception with our heads hung in shame. And why is it, that once people have dropped their offspring at school, they suddenly lose all coordination and just walk into you, as you’re trying to get past?

There’s the fortune, that the school charge for cooked lunches, school trips, and now increasingly commonly – expenses to pay experts to come in and talk to our children for an hour. Oh and you also have to pay for milk at break time, after school clubs and anything else they can think of to charge you.

There’s that stupid first parents evening and report day, when Bunny has only been in school for five weeks and her teachers haven’t even learnt how to pronounce her name yet, but they want to tell me how she’s doing. 

There’s all that fuss, throughout the summer, about panic buying uniforms. This year, I waited until the night before Bunny was due to go back to school and popped into Asda to buy some bits of school uniform from George clothing. The store was quiet, the uniform fully stocked and I was in and out within about 5 minutes.

I realise that most of my school run gripes, could be resolved by moving Bunny to a closer school, but that’s a big decision to make, and one we are struggling with, as our local schools aren’t as good as the one she is in now. I’m doing my research and will be blogging about it soon!

 What do you hate most about the school run?

What does Thyroid Cancer look like?

September 15, 2014 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Health, Medical, Radioactive mum, Videos by Emma Day

What does Thyroid Cancer look like?

Last year I had Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma – a malignant tumour on my thyroid. I was treated with surgery (Hemithyroidectomy followed by a total thyroidectomy) and Radioactive Iodine Treatment (also known as RAI). 

Thyroid Cancer often has few or no symptoms, unless you also have an underlying thyroid disorder, such as an under-active or over-active thyroid.

My tumour was 6cm in size and I had ignored the lump for two years, before I saw a doctor and got my diagnosis. If I had seen a doctor sooner, I might not have need the radioactive iodine treatment, and could have been treated with surgery alone. My only symptoms for the most part of those two years, was a lump. For the last few months, I also developed a hoarse voice and had difficulty swallowing.

I am now doing what I can to raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer and help other people get a speedy diagnosis and treatment.

Here is a short video showing what my tumour looked like, before the surgeons cut it out. Despite the tumour being 6cm in size, you will see in the video, that it was not really visible until I swallowed. I am publishing the video to raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer, in the hope that other people with similar lumps on their neck, will see their doctor before it reaches this size. You can see the tumour twice in this video – once each from two different angles. There is a short delay between the two, as I found it difficult to swallow at the time.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Having a lump similar to this DOES NOT mean you have Cancer. My mother also had a lump the same and hers was NOT Cancerous. The point is… DON’T PANIC, BUT DON’T IGNORE IT. See a doctor and find out.

If you would like to help raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer, feel free to share this video (you can also find it on YouTube) or this blog post.

You can also raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer by taking part in the #Scarfies4Thyca campaign by taking a selfie in a scarf and nominating friends to check their necks and post a scarfie too. You can find out more about the #Scarfies4Thyca campaign by clicking here.

 

 

Please note: I am a patient, not a doctor. I cannot give people advice on their own health. Please see your doctor.

My Sunday Photo

September 14, 2014 in Baby development, Blog Hops / Memes / Linkies, Childhood, My Sunday Photo, Photography, Silent Sunday by Emma Day

Diva Toddler

OneDad3Girls

MumKind Giveaway

September 11, 2014 in Food, Giveaways, Health, Pregnancy, Women by Emma Day

Last year I wrote a review of the MumKind range of products, designed especially for pregnant ladies and new mum’s. Their range of products are designed to be healthy, packed with vitamins and nutrients and give their lovely mummy consumers a nice energy boost at the same time.

My sister, my friend and I, all tried the products and absolutely loved them. The “Water Our Way” even helped me get through Race for Life last year!

You can read my full review of MumKind products here.

Thanks to MumKind, I am now giving away some of these fab products to one lucky reader of my blog.

The winner will receive:
2 bottles of Water Our Way
2 pots of Ginger Me Baby Lozenges
Ginge Me Baby Lozenges

WaterOurWay

To enter, just complete entries on the rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As listed on: ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/nutritional-energy-boosting-mumkind-goodies-pregnant-ladies-and-new-mums#sthash.KpCrTtbo.dpuf

Terrible Two’s with Twins

September 10, 2014 in Baby development, Childhood, Family, Humour, Parenting, Twins by Emma Day

I was lucky to never experience the “terrible two’s” with Bunny. She was an angelic two-year-old. I’m paying for that now she’s seven though and seems to think she is seventeen! The twins however, are another story. They are now two years and four months old (almost) and serious troublemakers.

terrible two's with twins

“Double the trouble and double the love” is most definitely true. The love definitely makes up for it though. One look, and I melt, no matter how naughty they have been. They are still babies to me!

crazywithtwins

Here are some of the things my adorable but “terrible two” have been getting up to lately…

Filling a bucket with stones and dirt from the garden, then emptying it all over the sofa and the brand new carpet, whilst Mummy makes lunch. Then doing it again, whilst Mummy is washing her hands, having just picked it all up and vacuumed. 

crazywithtwins crazywithtwins

Climbing over the safety gate, to get to the kitchen/bathroom/stairs. Mummy and Daddy spend an extortionate amount of money, which they really don’t have, on taller safety gates (the ones designed for large dogs). Then Fluffy gymnasts herself over those, just as easily.

Randomly sitting on the pavement, when we are walking together. Particularly if we are in a hurry. Then refusing to get up until they are ready. It is worse when they take turns, as this takes even longer.

Squirming out of their harnesses (no matter how tight they are) and standing up in the pushchair, or worse, getting out!

Throwing a car seat tantrum and refusing to sit down, so it takes ten times longer to get in the car. 

Hearing Mummy say “No”, then doing it anyway.

Tipping the contents of their plates, all over the carpet. 

Tipping the contents of their cup or bottle all over the carpet.

Dialling random numbers on any phone they can get hold of.

Saying “Mummy did it” every time they are naughty.

Flinging poo. (I kid you not!).

 

 

Check your Neck #Scarfies4Thyca Campaign

September 9, 2014 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Health, Medical, Radioactive mum by Emma Day

As many of you know, last year I had Thyroid Cancer, AKA Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month and a new campaign has started called #Scarfies4Thyca . The idea is to take a selfie, wearing a scarf, (selfie + scarf = scarfie) to encourage people to check their necks for abnormal lumps and bumps that shouldn’t be there and get them checked out.

Unlike other thyroid conditions, Thyroid Cancer doesn’t very often carry symptoms, other than a lump. In later stages of Thyroid Cancer or if the tumour is large, symptoms can occur, which are developing a hoarse voice and having difficulty swallowing. Usually however, there are no symptoms. This is because, unless you have an underlying thyroid condition as well, the thyroid continues to function, even with a tumour growing on it.  

I had a lump on the left side of my neck, for two years. I assumed it was a gland. Silly, I know. But when my lump suddenly got bigger and I started to find swallowing difficult, I knew I had to see a doctor. People could see my lump, travelling up and down my neck as I swallowed, from the other side of the room!!! I had no issues with tiredness, weight gain or loss or any of the other problems associated with thyroid disorders, so I knew it had to be Cancer. 

I was right. I had a hemithroidectomy, followed by a total thyroidectomy, followed by radioactive iodine treatment. I was coined “Radioactive Mum” by the media. Now I’m not going to pretend that my treatment was pleasant, but I am still here. The thyroid cancer is gone. I lived to tell the tale. I am a survivor.

That is why, I want each and every one of you reading this, to take part in #Scarfies4Thyca to help raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer and encourage people to check their necks.

Here’s how to get involved (no donations necessary)…

1. Check your neck. If you have any unusual lumps – book in to see your doctor.
2. Take a selfie of you wearing a scarf (a scarfie).
3. Post it as your profile picture on Facebook and/or Twitter throughout September using the hashtag #Scarfies4Thyca
4. Nominate 5 friends to do the same

 

Note: If you have the time – Jump onto a photo editor (eg, PicMonkey) and add the hashtag to your picture, to encourage even more people to get involved.
HUGE kisses from me, to everyone who gets involved in this. If you are a friend of mine, you’ll know how much this means to me. And if you are a blogger and choose to blog about it… I’ll love you forever!

Here is my Scarfie for thyroid cancer awareness
– You should just about be able to see my scar above my scarf, where the surgeons cut out my 6cm malignant tumour and my thyroid…

#Scarfies4Thyca

Big thank you to Kate, one of my readers and fellow Thyroid Cancer Survivors, for letting me know about #Scarfies4Thyca

Lloyds Bank – NOT here to help!

September 8, 2014 in Cancer, controversial, Radioactive mum, Working parent by Emma Day

Last year, many of you know, I was diagnosed with Cancer. This meant I was unable to work for much of the year. My husband also had to take quite a lot of time off work, unpaid, to look after me and the children. Unfortunately, I also wasn’t in a position to qualify for any benefits, so we ended up struggling financially and sinking further into debt. This kind of life event, causes a financial strain which lasts a few years and we are still struggling through it now.

Due to a few of my direct debits bouncing, my bank applied charges, as they always do. These charges soon snowballed, until the charges themselves were causing more charges or eating the money meant for other bills, which then also bounced.

As the charges began mounting up, I went to see one of the personal bankers at my local bank. We had a chat and he explained that Lloyds Bank will often help people in financial difficulty, especially in circumstances like mine. He cleared a few of my charges and promised he had “put a note on the system” to prevent any further charges from coming out. He told me to come back in if I have any more charges applied.

So I did… the charges that weren’t supposed to come out, did. I was then told that it was too late and they couldn’t refund any more for a whole year. That I needed to go into the bank BEFORE the charges were taken from my bank account, in order to have them removed.

So I did… I found myself returning to the bank, every month about charges, and every time I was promised that there was “a note on the system”, the charges were still taken from my account.

So I tried a different branch. Two more branches in fact. And in both, I was told that there weren’t ANY “notes on the system” and that nothing could be stopped or refunded.

One customer service assistant, even spent five minutes trying to sell me a loan. Clearly he hadn’t looked at my account, or he would have known I wasn’t eligible. The bank staff seem to constantly promise to help. They are always writing “notes on the system”, which magically disappear by my next visit. Nothing ever actually gets done.

I’m not saying it is my right to have these charges removed – but this was offered to me numerous times. I keep getting told that Lloyds are happy to help long serving customers who suddenly find themselves in financial difficulty. Their TV adverts state that they are “here to help”. Yet they seem to be full of empty promises and don’t ever actually… help! In fact, if I were to add up all the money I spent on petrol and parking to go to the bank every time this happens, I would probably be even more upset.

On my most recent visit, I was told by a very charming young man, that there’s a number I can call, and someone might be able to help me. A premium rate number. When I’ve just moved house and have no phone. Where people will still have no records of all the conversations in branch.

Between my Cancer diagnosis and now (1 year 8 months), I have been charged a whopping £635.00 by Lloyds Bank. To me, that is a huge amount of money. I’d almost go as far as to say a life changing amount of money – because that would pay off a big chunk of our debts.

I wish I could leave Lloyds Bank, but unfortunately I’m too far into my overdraft. I also bank with another high street bank, who I’ve never had a single problem with. They’ve been brilliant. I dread to think how much money Lloyds Bank have made out of me, in charges, in the TEN years I have been a customer.

It’s unfair of a bank, to offer help to a vulnerable customer and then not follow through with that help. To mess that customer around constantly for over a year. To take that amount of money, in charges. Especially a bank whose motto is “here to help”, when clearly they aren’t.

*****UPDATE*****
Just one day after writing this post I received a full apology from Lloyds Bank. They have stated that the service I received was not up to their usual standard. They investigated my case and refunded me all the charges that were taken from me, since 2011, due to seeing evidence of financial hardship on my account. I am very happy with their response and the politeness and professionalism in which the higher level management dealt with my complaint. It is a shame that it had to go this far in the first place, but I will now continue to bank with lloyds.

Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh : Review & Giveaway

September 6, 2014 in Giveaways, Holidays, Reviews, Shopping, Travel by Emma Day

Nivea Sun

One lucky reader, will win a collection of six different Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh products, complete with a lovely washbag to keep them in.

Prize includes:
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Sun Spray SPF20
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Sun Spray SPF50
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF20
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF50
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Refreshing Sun Lotion SPF30
Nivea Sun In-Shower Refreshing After Sun Lotion
Red polka dot washbag

I have tried and tested my own set of all of these products over the summer and hope to continue using them on my Winter Sun holiday to Italy in a few weeks time.

So what did I think of the Nivea Sun products?

Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh

Invisible Cooling Mist

This has got to be, without a doubt, the speediest way of applying sun lotion ever. It comes in a pressurised aerosol, and takes seconds to cover a whole arm or leg. I can protect all my children and myself, in just a minute or two with this. It’s not so good for faces, but then I’d always recommend using a face specific sun cream for your face anyway. It is also, as it says on the tin, cooling! The spray comes out really cold, which feels nice and refreshing on a hot day.

Invisible Cooling Sun Spray

This product comes in a normal spray bottle, but is not greasy like other sprays. It feels a little thicker than the cooling mist, so you know you are protected, but is still easy to apply and rub in.
Refreshing Sun Lotion

This is your more traditional sunscreen. A lotion you can apply as sparingly or as generously as you choose. It’s not too thick and doesn’t feel greasy against the skin. It smells good too.

Refreshing After Sun Lotion

Although I didn’t burn this summer, because all of the above products succeeded in protecting me against sunburn, I still used this product in the shower after a day in the sun. This is one you rub on (after washing) and rinse off. It made my skin feel extremely soft, hydrated and healthy. I’m actually tempted to use it all year round. My favourite Nivea Sun product by far!

 

Nivea (11)

 

Your chance to win Nivea Sun products

So… You want to win a set for your own Winter Sun holiday? Or perhaps just to prepare for Spring? 

Complete entries on the rafflecopter below, for your chance to win…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer 1

As listed on Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/collections-nivea-sun-protect-refresh-products-and-red-polka-dot-washbag-put-it-all#sthash.n5F10Ls3.dpuf

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