the fam

the fam

Monday, 30 January 2012

Friday the 13th : Terrifying & Terrific at The Wedding Ideas Awards 2012

Friday 13th January 2012 The Jury's Inn Bar Islington.
There we were ice cold beer in hand, child-free for the day, having a relaxed chat. We had travelled down to London the day before but now the Wedding Ideas Awards were only hours away and the discussion turned to 'our chances' 
According to Steve we only had a 1% chance of winning so I shouldn't get my hopes up. 'I know' I said 'But what if we actually WON!?We laughed a lot that afternoon and although winning an award would be spectacular I knew it was a long shot...we found it quite amazing that we had once again reached the final of our category. Little old Giddy kipper...surely there had been some mistake??

Back in November after a stressful and upsetting morning at hospital with baby Charlie, I received a phonecall from Lucinda at Wedding Ideas magazine. It was lovely to hear from her but surprised as I was still on maternity leave. She absolutely made my day when she announced that we were finalists in the Best Special Touches category! I couldn't believe it...
So like I said there we were only hours away from the awards, posh dress and sparkly shoes at the ready - I was going to enjoy the party whatever happened!
6.45pm came around quickly and once we had collected the lovely Charlie from Cherry Pie Lane (who had travelled down with her husband and gorgeous little girl) we hopped in a taxi to The Brewery. My stomach was in knots as we entered the building - the magazine staff were waiting to greet everyone and then there were was all very overwhelmingI needed a cocktail!

The reception was over in a flash and we made our way to Table 16 to join the Toastmaster RichardLaura from Lobster LovePhotographer Adele and her mum and Colin from Wedding Ideas Magazine. It's such an exciting atmosphere at the awards and I was able to let my hair down a little this year as last year I had been 20 weeks pregnant! The wine flowedthe meal was delicious and then suddenly it was time for the main event. 

Comedian Rob Deering was our host and he was just brilliant! He did a hilarious routine before the award ceremony began and the atmosphere was fantastic. 
me looking like a lunatic with Rob Deering
The lovely Rachel with Toastmaster Richard

Then it happened....

The first few categories went past in a bit of a blur (was delighted to see the fabulous Emma Case win Best Photographer) but my heart was pounding as they reached Best Special Touches category. Just seeing 'Giddy kipper' up there on the big screen made us so proud. Myself and Steve sat facing the stage with our hands poised ready to applaud the winners..."And the winner is....GIDDY KIPPER"....I almost fell off my chair!! It is the most shocked I have ever been and it took me a minute to actually stand up. Steve said he felt like someone had punched him in the stomach...he was as shocked as I was!

I cannot describe that was so surreal but we were ecstatic! Having to walk up those stairs and give a speech in front of 350+ people from the wedding industry was terrifying!! In my panic I forgot to mention Catherine & Charlotte back at GK HQ! Thankfully I did remember to thank Wedding Ideas (they have been amazingly supportive)..I even included my Mum & Dad but they were definitely worth a mention too!

As you can see from this clip, I was a little under-prepared....

The rest of the night was amazing - so many wonderful people congratulated us and we smiled our faces off and tried to take it all in. We chatted to Mrs Giraffe aka Rachel Southwood who is one of the loveliest people ever! 

We partied with Ellie (from Ellie Sanderson Boutique) and Kirsten (The Little Wedding Helper) We drank and partied with Charlie (Cherry Pie Lane) Laura (Lobster Love) Adele (Blue Lights Photography) and Alison (Plans & Presents). We met the gorgeous boys from Creatiques and the fabulous wedding planner Julie Tooby (love her!!) Big hugs for the super lovely Lucy Ledger (Lucy Ledger Design) and Rebecca (Chez Bec) who both won their categories too.

It was such a fabulous night and we are still smiling! 
Friday the 13th turned out to be a very lucky one indeed!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A little thank you...

I love Twitter (mostly because I never shut up!) and I can witter on to my heart's content when I'm at home working alone and it doesn't matter whether anyone is listening or not. I have (virtually) met the most amazing and inspiring people on Twitter and am constantly astounded by the warmth and willingness to help from people who are essentially complete strangers. I know it's cheesy but I tend to think strangers are potentially friends you've yet to meet and this is so true on Twitter.

When I joined I had absolutely no idea where it would lead or who I would meet. I waffled on and slowly started to gain followers. Funny, I thought, they're sticking around too so I carried on waffling some more. I started to meet fantastic people up and down the country and beyond - small business owners, designers, journalists, normal everyday hard working mums and dads, photographers, musicians, editors, bloggers....just lovely interesting chatty people from all walks of life sharing the good the bad and sometimes the very sad. The support is sometimes overwhelming - through difficult times there are always lovely words of comfort and compassion and there is so much love at times of celebration!
some of the cards we received when Charlie was born
It's one of those times that I would like to thank a few of my Twitter friends for as I never had the chance before. Having our 2nd baby boy was a beautiful yet terrifying event and one that I thought may never happen. The months and days leading up to his birth were very difficult for me and peppered with frightening appointments - all of which I had shared with the Twitter community. There were lots of tears and sleepless nights so when he arrived we couldn't wait to share the news. Well apart from the astounding number of congratulatory tweets (thank you for ALL of those, we were truly touched) we also received cards and presents from people we have never met.

Firstly there's Zoe (@zoeanddrew) - lovely, generous, a joy to chat to and one of the most supportive people on Twitter. She also has 5 children, is a freelance writer and blog editor for @lesenfantsparty (an all round wonder woman)
Zoe & family sent a gorgeous card, a card game for big brother Alfie and a beautiful personalised print for Charlie by the very talented @isa_noisette from Noisette kids

Next there's the fabulous, bubbly, Gabs from @MooBaaCluck. An extremely talented illustrator (never gives herself enough credit for her gorgeous work) who sent a lovely bunny baby card, a gorgeous 'little brother' heart for Charlie and a 'big brother' star for Alfie.

Not only this, she also sent us a beautiful new home card and one of her Home Sweet Home teatowels...what a star!

Next, there's the delightful, wonderfully witty Alex and her equally lovely Mum Christine from Ruby & Betty's Attic (@Rubybettboo & @SoShabbyChic) who sent new home and new baby cards and the most beautiful sage green knitted jumper and booties set and again, big brother Alfie wasn't forgotten and got a book as a present too!

Our next thank you has to go to the super talented Becky from DotsandSpots (@dotsandspotsbiz) who works flat out, writes her blog, attends trade fairs, is a mother of 2 lovely kids, and still manages to send out gifts! Our parcel arrived beautifully wrapped in dotsandspots wrapping paper and tags and inside was a gorgeous red gingham teddy bear for Charlie and stickers and tape for Alfie.

(Becky also did the design for our 'We Have Moved' cards last May and they were brilliant!)

Last (but by no means least) there's the brilliant Jane from Snapdragon (@snapdragonjane) who produces the most amazing textile designs and sent Alfie a super poster for his new room (sadly we've not had chance for any decorating yet but it's being saved!!)

We were bowled over by everyone's generosity and as you can see, Charlie was very grateful too...well once he'd had his nap!
Charlie in an outfit knitted by his wonderful Nanny (@winnibriggs)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What a Year That Was!

I have sadly neglected this blog for far too long so thought it was about time I made the effort for a little update. Why I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog with a newborn baby last Summer is beyond me...I blame the hormones!
I thought my first 'proper' post of 2012 should be looking back on 2011...a year that turned out to be a totally insane one for me and my family. All manner of highs and lows starting (obviously) in JANUARY....

By now I had quite a sizeable bump and having been nominated for a Wedding Ideas Award for the first time, the frantic search began for a suitable dress and pair of shoes that wouldn't make me fall on my face (actually, my face wouldn't have even touched the floor...I would have simply rolled around)
me and Adele at Blue Lights Photography

FEBRUARY brought a very tearful visit to my new anaesthetist who insisted I should be awake for my 2nd classical c-section...something I really didn't want to think about. We also had our offer accepted on the house we wanted and were overjoyed that we could finally make plans for our move. Our darling son turned 4 at the end of the month too so there were celebrations all round
Alfie's 4th birthday cake 
By the time MARCH came around I was growing literally by the minute (ok in my head that's what it felt like!) and making preparations for baby's arrival as well as packing boxes - no mean feat when you can't even see your own toes. I was also becoming a human pin cushion due to the amount of blood tests I was having. I also had a terrifying MRI scan at a hospital Sheffield where I was wedged into a huge tube for over 45 minutes. It was noisy uncomfortable and claustrophobic but necessary to find out just how big my fibroid had become. They were also checking for a medical condition called placenta accreta...well the fibroid was bigger than the baby at this stage (28 weeks) but thankfully everything else was fine. I could breathe again.
APRIL came around we enjoyed a lovely Easter break and watched the Royal Wedding plonked on the sofa lie a big marshmallow wearing a very silly patriotic hat...I loved every minute of it!

MAY was hugely exciting and a little scary too. We got the keys to our new house (no. 5) on 5th May (5th of the 5th) and decided that was definitely now my lucky number. We had 12 fabulous friends & family to help us move on 7th and it all went so smoothly that we were in and settled by teatime with beds made and the kettle on! I can't than everyone enough for making that day so brilliant for us.
 By now things were getting a little uneasy for me and I finally took my maternity leave and spent my days waddling around in our new home. I was so excited but very apprehensive at the same time...I new what was coming this time.
digging part of the new garden with Daddy

JUNE arrived and so did our beautiful new bundle of joy Charlie Noah. Another big op for me and lots of recovery but the relief that we were both ok was immense. Steve and big brother Alfie came to fetch us from the hospital on the 3rd day and our super little family travelled to our new home. This month we also visited Alfie's new school and were given a mountain of paperwork to read before his first day in September.
Daddy & Charlie
Me & my boys
Once we arrived home we were overwhelmed by the amount of cards and presents we received from not only our friends and family but also from the loveliest and most generous people I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting...namely my twitter 'family'

(....more of that in my next post as I want to say belated thanks to so many wonderful people)
some of the cards!

JULY and we were all settling into a routine but the lack of sleep was a killer! Steve was still trying to run the business without me as well as looking after all 3 of us in the evenings. My wonderful Mum was on hand every day for the 1st fortnight and we couldn't have coped without her. When Charlie was 6 weeks old I had a major birthday - one that I had been dreading all year. How could I possibly be 40!! To be honest I felt miserable that day...apart from the pain I was in from the op I just didn't want to be 'that' number. I actually had a lovely day...out for lunch in the sunshine lots of fabulous presents and a family meal at night but I felt so old. 
the dreaded number
with my big brother
 We also managed to get a short break in a great hotel in our favourite county Norfolk. A lovely birthday treat for me and the boys - we had a wonderful time and was just what I needed. Charlie smiled for the 1st time this month and our hearts melted all over again!

trying out the hotel bed
having a wonderful time

AUGUST brought sunshine and showers BBQs and various parties. Alfie left his nursery for the last time and there were tears all round. He had been going there since he was 18 months old and the staff were wonderful. We took presents had photos and hugs...I felt very emotional that my little boy was growing up so fast. As a goodbye from the nursery staff they arranged a 'red carpet prom' for all those children leaving for Big School and Alfie was crowned Prom king for the night!
Prom  king
fun in the waves
In SEPTEMBER our darling little boy started Big School and I thought my heart would break. We were so excited for him to be starting this new chapter but at the same time terribly sad. I couldn't believe my baby would be putting on a uniform...but he did look incredibly cute (and thankfully LOVES school)

We also celebrated being together for 14 years this has flown by. We are as blissfully happy as we ever were and thankful for our lovely little family.

ready for school
OCTOBER was the start of the 'silly season' for Giddy kipper. Poor Steve and the girls at the office were flat out for the next couple of months making painting finishing and dispatching orders - I felt dreadful being at home but was enjoying time with baby Charlie and was always at home to pick Alfie up from school which made home life easier at least. Alfie had his first Harvest Festival which was a joy to watch and his first Parents' evening which made us very proud indeed. Unfortunately this was the month we discovered our beautiful baby boy had developed a 'ranula' in the floor of his mouth and so began rounds of doctors' and hospital appointments to try and figure out what to do next. 
Harvest Festival
a real horror!
our pumpkins
As the weeks flew by and we started NOVEMBER we could no longer do without the extra help at work so with my Mum helping out looking after Charlie I was thrown in at the deep end - the piles of orders weren't going to paint themselves! That was the start of weeks of 2 3 and 4am finishes with an already restless baby...I'm not sure how we managed it! We were getting virtually no sleep up for school at 7am sorting the kids out at teatime bedtime and back to work in the evenings. Exhausting!
autumn berries
DECEMBER came around in a blur of school activities (the Nativity play was fabulous!) more hospital visits parties and orders galore! We had a record-brekaing end to the year...At our Christmas cut-off point (Dec 3rd) we still had 898 orders to make and dispatch by last posting dates. Some nights were hard to carry on but we did it! 
Then finally we could relax and enjoy Charlie's 1st Christmas in our new home. We had a wonderful time and made all the hard work worth all the effort.
2011 was an amazing exhausting terrifying year and one that we will never forget!

Charlie the Elf