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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mummy Must Have Review | Caroch Minnie Chocolate Boots

I think its safe to assume that you're all probably well aware of my addiction to Tiptoe & Co shoes by now {well those who follow me on Instagram definitely are}. So it probably comes as no surprise that we've added to our collection again. To be honest I add to her collection every month, but these ones are extra special so I'm sharing them with you guys. Bub got her first pair of little boots this month and the cuteness is overwhelming.

She's been growing up so quickly lately that every day she looks a little bit more like a little girl, especially now that her hair is getting so long. Seeing her in these boots takes it to a whole other level. She looks like a real "big girl" now which is both exciting and bitter sweet, but so freakin adorable.


Her new boots are the chocolate Minnie boots by Caroch. They're leather and are lined with faux fur to make them extra comfy and warm. They're warm enough for her to wear in the cool weather that's just reared its head, but the lining is also thin enough that they're ok for QLD. Its always hard to find good boots for QLD because a lot of them are usually lined too much that they're just too hot for up here. These ones have just the right amount of lining and its super soft {which is probably why she grabs the shoes and puts them on herself when we're at home}. 

The Minnie boots also have cute ruffle and bow detailing on the outer side which gives a nice little age appropriate feminine touch. The inner side has a velcro opening the height of the boots which makes it really easy to get them on and off. So easy infact that she quickly discovered she could put them on herself {I think she worked that out the day after we got them}, now we just have to work on getting the right shoe on the right foot. Even when she doesn't get them on the right foot its so cute watching her run around so proud of herself for putting her shoes on.
Caroch Minnie Chocolate Girls Boots by Tiptoe & Co
They also have squeakers in the soles so I know exactly where she is at all times. I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with squeaky soles lately, but they've proven to be quite useful when we're out. At the hospital the other day she kept trying to dart off and everyone was giving me looks because of her shoes and then one lovely lady said she thought all toddlers should have squeaky shoes so everyone could tell where they were incase they tried to hide or run away. Its so true. When we're at home though I sometimes swap them over with the non squeaky valves just to give my ears a break. Because she likes to stomp really hard to make them squeak really loud and it can get old really quickly when we're at home {thankgod they come with spare non-squeaky valves}.

Minnie leather chocolate toddler boots

The Caroch Minnie boots can be purchased via Tiptoe & Co in both chocolate. The RRP is $45, but like all their shoes, Tiptoe & Co sell them for below the RRP at only $39.95. I think $39.95 is a great price for leather boots as I know Caroch are good quality and will last. I got them in the next size up that's about 10mm bigger than her foot size now so she'll be able to wear them all through winter.

Tiptoe and co girls toddler sandals and mary janes

Tiptoe & Co is an online children's shoe boutique started in 2013 by a fellow mum to offer high quality shoes at affordable prices. She hand picks quality leather boys and girls shoes for babies, toddlers and children. Tiptoe & Co stock a large range of shoes from popular brands Caroch, Freycoo, Little Blue Lamb, Skeanie and Vans as well as Shoezooz kids shoe labels. Trust me you need to check out their shoes, but be warned you'll probably get addicted to them. We have so many pairs, they're the only shoes I buy for bub {even T approves of my Tiptoe & Co addiction, so that says something}. For those who really want the Minnie boots, or just want to add some Tiptoe & Co shoes to your child's wardrobe, I have an awesome giveaway so you can do just that :)


TIPTOE & CO GIVEAWAY

Win a $40 Tiptoe and Co voucher
Tiptoe & Co are generously offering one Finding Myself Young reader the chance to win a $40 voucher. That means you can get your own pair of Minnie boots too {or one of the other gorgeous pairs of shoes available on Tiptoe & Co}.

To be in the running simply follow the rafflecopter prompts in the widget below and remember to leave a comment letting me know which shoes from Tiptoe & Co are your favourite pair and why?

Good luck!

Toni x

*If you're having trouble leaving a comment choose the anonymous option and change "anonymous" to your name when you leave your comment so I can match your entry.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS 
Competition commences 12:00am April 28th 2015 and ends 12:00am May 12th 2015. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. One reader will win a $40 voucher from Tiptoe & Co to be spent online at www.tiptoeandco.com.au. Prize is not transferable. Prize will be delivered by Tiptoe & Co, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for prize delivery. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

Disclosure - I was gifted the Minnie boots for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own as per my disclosure policy. As mentioned above I'm a bit addicted to Tiptoe & Co shoes and we have far too many pairs, but we do love them A LOT.

Linking with Jess
Monday, April 27, 2015

A new direction

Since I was 16 I've worked in retail in various capacities from a casual right through to being a store manager of multiple stores. I've only ever worked for 3 different retail companies because I pretty much fear change. Most of the change in my life has been unwanted and uncontrollable so I cling to the things I can control. I stayed working in retail because it was familiar. I was comfortable and I knew I was good at it. My job has always been one of the areas in my life I've felt most confident in and I let that confidence dictate my career path.

Before I had bub I was starting to get bored though. There were only two directions my job could take from where I already was, either going to work in the city {which meant a 2+hr commute each day} or waiting and hoping I'd one day be made state manager. Deep down I knew I didn't want to be state manager though because I didn't want to be driving all over town and essentially working out of my car. I knew there wasn't much left for me at my job, but I wasn't ready to leave yet.

quote - sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction.

Getting pregnant with bub in 2012 really came at the perfect time in my life {even though I'd tried for years to get pregnant}. It gave my life an entirely new direction, one that I'd desperately wanted for years. I was absolutely petrified to essentially be unemployed while on maternity leave though. I've always earned my own income and paid my own way since I was 15 so even though I haven't been getting paid, I've clung to the security of still being technically employed for almost 2 years of extended maternity leave. Until today.

Today I finally wrote my letter of resignation. I've known for ages that I wasn't going to go back to work full time. With all her allergies there's no way I'm putting her in childcare yet, I just don't want her exposed to situations where she could eat food she's allergic to {although I'm sure they'd do everything to ensure it wouldn't happen, I've heard of it happening to others}. Without family available to babysit on a regular basis and with T doing shift work there wasn't really any option except for me to stay home. To be honest its what I've always wanted anyway and I'm thankful that we're in a position where I can do that.

Being mum isn't all I'm doing though. Over the last two years I've put a lot more effort into this space here {*cough* incase you hadn't noticed} and have subsequently landed freelance work with Mother's Joint Magazine, The Huffington Post UK, Brisbane Kids and have recently started doing articles for Her Collective. Only some of its paid and its only enough to support my sonny angel addiction at the moment, but its great to be able to do what I love. Writing has always been a passion of mine, but working full time meant it was always put on the back burner. I feel like maternity leave has finally allowed me to indulge my passion and reignited my love of writing. So that's what I want to focus on going forward, as well as raising a happy little girl and hopefully having some more babies.

Its a new direction, but its the right direction.

Toni x

Linking with Raychael, Alicia & Eva.
Friday, April 24, 2015

How the Bananas in Pyjamas have traumatised my child

Now don't get me wrong, we're huge fans of the Bananas in Pyjamas here. In fact it was one of the shows I was looking forward to watching the most when I had bub because it reminds me of my childhood {even though they've somehow managed to morph from "real people" into cartoon characters at some point during the last 25 years}. At 10am and 4pm each day we're at home we can usually be found in front of the tv waiting for our daily doses of B1 and B2. While I normally welcome these two into my home on a daily basis with open arms, right now I have a big bone to pick with them. It appears they've unintentionally traumatised my child.

Bananas in Pyjamas B1 & B2
No guys, its not Bananatastic!

A few months ago bub all of a sudden became petrified of the vacuum cleaner, for no apparent reason. Which kind of sucks because having a toddler is like having a mini tornado rip through your house every day which = a lot of mess. Most of which could be cleaned up by a vacuum cleaner, however my child now has an inconsolable breakdown when she even sees me go and pick it up, long before I actually turn it on. It gets a million times worse if I try and use it.

We're talking inconsolable screaming, not just crying, actual screaming. But there are tears, lots and lots of tears that stream all down her face til she gets so choked up she cant breathe properly. She does this while literally shaking in fear. And all of that happens within about 2 minutes of me walking to the vacuum cleaner and turning it on. So my vacuuming attempts while she's awake usually last for 2 minutes. Then I have to spend the next 30 minutes trying to calm her down. So needless to say I don't really vacuum when she's awake.

I've spent months trying to work out what made her so scared to no avail. Then finally this week I worked it out, purely by chance. It was the bloody Bananas in Pyjamas! The most unlikely culprits ever. They're usually bringing joy into our home, not unleashing psychological warfare {as T called it the other night}. It turns out there's an episode called jobs galore where the Bananas use the vacuum to try and clean up all the mess in the teddies front yard, however it ends up going very, very wrong. It came on tv again this week and she was shaking and crying the whole time they were using the vacuum. For those who couldn't be bothered youtubing the episode, I've included a run down and some screenshots for you below {courtesy of bub's abc kids iview app}.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1? I think I am B2. Lets scare the bejeezus out of all the kids by flinging ourselves around on this crazy out of control vacuum cleaner turned rocket ship.

Oh no B1 its out of control. I think you're right B2. Ooooopsie!

Uh, Oh!!!

There's lots more flinging around in the air being dragged along by the vacuum cleaner, but I gave up trying to screenshot it. Ultimately it all comes to an end...


Phew I'm glad that's over B1. Me too B2. Thanks Amy!

Cue screaming petrified and permanently traumatised children all over the country. Ok it probably wasn't that bad, but there's at least one traumatised little girl in this house and now that I know the cause I'm still no closer to knowing how to rectify it. Has anyone else had a child petrified of the vacuum cleaner? It appears she's not scared of the noise, but the fact that it might start going out of control and fling us around everywhere.... how the hell do I get rid of this fear?

Please tell me some of you know the solution because right now I have no idea what to do.


Toni x

P.S. We still love the Bananas in Pyjamas, but if that episode comes on tv again I'll be taking evasive action and changing the channel.
Friday, April 17, 2015

Why brands should work with bloggers to promote their business

Why brands should work with bloggers to promote their business


Are you considering working with bloggers but don't know where to start? Maybe you're just not sure why working with bloggers would be valuable for your business... Allow me to show you how working with bloggers can help to grow your business and increase your customer base.

Firslty let me say that most bloggers, like myself, don't open up their blog to working with brands without properly considering all the pros and cons beforehand. Those who offer brand collaborations have weighed up the value it can bring to their readers and the value they can bring to the brand. Most bloggers will be interested in creating ongoing mutually beneficial brand collaborations, rather than just earning a quick buck, which means long-term benefits for the brand.

WHY YOU SHOULD WORK WITH BLOGGERS


Bloggers offer a unique way to market your business directly to your target market as they already have an engaged and captive audience {both on their blog and social media channels}. Bloggers offer the virtual equivalent of word of mouth marketing, being able to promote your products in a conversational tone with an engaged audience. In a lot of cases bloggers can offer a more measurable and cost-effective return on investment than traditional advertising channels, especially for small businesses.


HOW TO CHOOSE A BLOG THAT FITS WITH YOUR BRAND


It's important to find a blog that's going to align well with your brand. Its worthwhile considering the following points to ensure you partner with a blogger who will meet your needs and be the right fit for your brand.

Stick to your niche
Campaigns will work best with bloggers who target the same niche as your business because you'll get your brand message across to potential customers who are already receptive to it and likely to take action. Instead of spreading the word across a broad spectrum, the majority of the time its best to use more targeted campaigns to reach the right customers for your business. For example if you sell kids clothing it would be best to align with a parenting blogger or a fashion blogger who specialises in kids fashion as they're already communicating with your niche market.

Choose a blog with the same target audience
In addition to choosing a blog within your target niche, you can go even further and refine your promotion by choosing a blog with the same target audience. Again coming back to the kids clothing example, your niche would be parents and your target market would be parents with young children so a parenting blog that is read by 25-45yr old women with children is going to be the best fit. This way you know your campaign is going to reach the exact people who you want to see it. You can usually find audience demographics in a bloggers media kit, or request specific statistics via email.

Quality over Quantity
It's easy to get caught up in the numbers and want to go with the blog that has the biggest following, that's natural, but take a moment to consider those numbers further. Its just as important to look at the level of engagement a blog {and its relevant social media channels} gets rather than just taking the follower numbers at face value. A smaller blog with an active, engaged and targeted audience will deliver a better result than one with large numbers, but no engagement.

A few ways to gauge a blog's engagement level is to look at the number of comments left on recent blog posts. Likewise, the number of likes and comments left on social media platforms {some readers feel more comfortable interacting via social media than on an actual blog post}. Check whether the blogger actively responds to comments left by readers to encourage conversations. If you want specific stats regarding engagement you could request Facebook insights or blog post statistics which most bloggers will be happy to provide upon request.

Consider your campaign objectives
If your objective is simply to create brand awareness, without a specific call to action, then a blog with a large following could be the best way to go as it has the potential to get your brand "seen" by a lot of people. However, if your objective is more specific like selling a certain product then its best to choose a blog with a more targeted audience who are likely to be potential customers and take action.

Read testimonials
Bloggers often have testimonials available either on their work with me pages or via their media kit. These give you an idea of other businesses they have previously worked with and how happy they were to collaborate with them. They also give you an insight into what the blogger is like to work with, which can all help you decide if they would be a good fit with your brand.
"I have been very happy to work with Toni. She has done a couple of reviews of our personalised products in a very honest and professional way. She was very good to keep in contact all the way via e-mails as to update on how things were going. I can highly recommend working with Toni – and hope to do some more work with her in the future" - Tea, Name My Stuff
"FMY has been a great fit for our brand Tiptoe & Co. Toni really understands the delicate balance between what people like to read and see, and what a brand likes people to know about their products. Her reviews are well written, she uses great photos and she takes the time to tell a story - that is why other parents can relate so well to her blog and one of the reasons for the success of FMY. We are looking forward to working with Toni again very soon!" - Chelsea, TipToe & Co

Contact the blogger
If you've found a blogger you think will be a good fit with your brand then contact them. Most bloggers prefer to be contacted via email, which should be easily found on their blog {usually on a work with me or contact me page}. Bloggers are a friendly bunch and we're happy to answer any questions you may have.

Most bloggers have a relationship with their readers based on trust and in order to maintain that trust will not promote products they don't truly believe in so don't be discouraged if some bloggers are not interested in partnering with your brand. Its better in the long run to partner with bloggers who truly believe in the brand and can convey this to their readership without damaging their valuable relationship with their readers. Honesty and transparency between a blogger and their readers plays a huge part in building a loyal readership, so working with a blogger who will honour that relationship built on trust will deliver a better result.

>> To find out if your brand would be a good fit with Finding Myself Young, please visit my Work With Me page.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Self imposed hibernation

So it may seem odd that we're hibernating, given its not winter and we're not bears. But a 1yrd old recovering from an eye operation {and a subsequent staph infection} will do that to you. 

Although we weren't officially told to stay at home, I'm still too paranoid to take her out {unless its completely necessary, like grocery shopping yesterday}. And we're both going bat shit crazy being holed up at home everyday. So perhaps it isn't the best thing for us, but we're dealing with it.

At the moment my days are filled trying to administer 16 eye drops per day to a toddler who DOES NOT want anything to do with that. If you want an insight into the difficulties of parenting come to my place and try to give her eye drops. Its not fun, but you're guaranteed to get a cardio workout.


Wish we were here

I'm really, really missing the beach. I'd love nothing more than to take her down and dunk her in the ocean. I'm sure the salt water and fresh sea air would do her good and help her heal, but I don't want to risk any sand getting in her eyes. Post op already feels like she has sand in her eyes and I can imagine its not pleasant, so I don't want to add to that. Given it manages to get up your butt crack even when you're wearing clothes I assume the stuff would be able to magically make it in her eyes, even with her glasses on.  So for now I'm just sitting here scrolling through the beach photos on my phone and pretending I'm there {its not working very well}.

After her next specialist check up I plan on making up for the hibernation in a big way {provided everything is ok of course}. If you need me I can be found at home repeatedly removing pen off the wall and going nuts watching the same cartoons over and over {thankyou ABC i-view, now she can play the same episode a million times in a row... its just awesome}.

Please tell me you've been doing more exciting things than we have. Seriously please tell me, then I can live vicariously through you...


Toni x

Linking with Jess
Friday, April 10, 2015

The toughest day of my life as a parent.

Before I had kids I thought the hardest day of my life would be the day I gave birth. Granted my birth experience wasn't great and for a long time I have very much thought it was one of the hardest days of my life {apart from the fact that I got bub at the end of it}, but I was wrong. Yesterday was most definitely the toughest day of my life, and everything else pales in comparison.

Yesterday I had to watch my baby be put to sleep. Then I had to watch her endure through hours of pain when she woke up. Her surgery finally happened. We got through it, but its something I hope we never have to do again.

Last week my anxiety was going back and forth between having major internal freakouts and being ok with the operation and accepting that it was going to happen. Its not like I really had a choice, it had to be done, but that didn't stop me freaking out about it.

I was mainly worried about putting her to sleep. I'd heard from other parents how horrible it is watching them go to sleep and I wasn't looking forward to it. Deep down I knew it had to be me to go in as she always wants me when she's upset. I spent the week beforehand trying to convince myself T could take her in and it'd be fine and then I wouldn't be left with the memory of her going to sleep. In the end though I decided I had to do what was best for her and minimise the trauma for her rather than me. 

So I put on my big girl panties and got on with it. In the end she was so tired from being awake and waiting around all day she actually wanted to go to sleep anyway. She was relieved she could finally lay down on a bed and have a sleep. It helps that the surgery was booked for when she'd normally have her day time nap. In the end it wasn't anywhere near as traumatic as I thought it was going to be. 

During the operation I just kept telling myself she was having her nap so I didn't worry as much. I only started clock watching when it got to an hour which was how long the operation should take. Fifteen minutes after that I was getting a bit antsy and posted this photo...

Waiting, waiting, waiting... longest day of my life. #hospitalssuck
Posted by Finding Myself Young on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

About ten minutes after that photo was taken the surgeon called me to tell me everything had gone well {while I was sitting on the toilet, of course, stuff like that only happens to me}.

After that I was relieved and thought the stress and worry was all over. I was so excited to see her in recovery.... until I got there. I was expecting her to be half asleep lying on a hospital bed still groggy. How wrong was I. 

Walking into recovery I could hear her screaming her head off from three aisles away. When I got to her she was bright red and shaking {as well as screaming her head off}. She was beside herself and the poor nurses were super happy to see me because they couldn't console her no matter what they tried. Thankfully mummy cuddles and mummy's voice went a long way towards settling her down, but she was still really unhappy. Once they gave her more pain meds and they finally kicked in she calmed down and went to sleep from utter exhaustion. Poor thing would've been so scared waking in a strange room hurting and not knowing why. I felt worse seeing her like that in recovery than I did watching her go to sleep. I really hope she never experiences pain like that again.

She stayed sleeping on my chest for three hours on the ward. Snoring and whimpering every now and then. Even though I was busting to pee and couldn't feel my right arm, I was exactly where I needed to be. 


The hours on the ward passed surprisingly quickly because we were being thoroughly entertained by the other kids asking the nurses questions - Do you have kids? What's their names? Do you have a husband? Kids really surprise me how upbeat they are even when they're in pain. 

Just before 7pm we were allowed to go home and she was beyond relieved to have her cannula out and the monitor off her foot. And I was more than happy to leave the hospital after ten hours. I sat in the back of the car on the way home to hold her hand and she had another little nap.


We were expecting a sleepless night {well I was because T never hears her during the night}, but she surprised me and slept from 8:30 to 6. It broke my heart when she was trying to cover her head with pillows when she went to sleep to stop the pain. Poor baby.


This morning she's been pretty much back to her normal self already, walking around pointing at everything saying "dere, dere, dere". In the car on the way to the specialist check-up everything was woooooowww and when we went down a hill or over a bump it was wooooooooaahhh. Such a difference to last night when she was dead silent or crying in the car.

It really is amazing us how quickly she's bouncing back. Even though its only day surgery these days, I still remember how painful it was from when I had it done and they only operated on one of my eyes whereas they did both of hers. She's such a little trooper.

Hopefully in 2 weeks when we go back for another post-op check it's improved enough that we won't need to contemplate surgery again in the future. Because I really don't want her or us to go through this again.

Pre kids I never knew just how emotionally challenging it could be.


Toni x


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 14 - EASTER

Easter wasn't really a big event at our place this year. She got a few small non-chocolate gifts but there was no leaving carrot out for the Easter bunny, no Easter egg hunt and unfortunately no chocolates. Ok well the last one was a tiny lie {as you can tell from my photo}. One of our neighbours gave bub a little Easter baskets with a few eggs and a bunny - of course being the responsible CMPA parent I am, I'm taking care of those for her. Next year when she's nearly 3, and possibly overcome her dairy allergy {fingers crossed} we'll start all the Easter traditions. This year the sonny angels had all the fun...

14 | EASTER


If you'd like to play along too, join in with 52 Weeks of Memories and get creative. Feel free to share with your friends on Facebook or Instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos. I've also started a facebook group for the challenge if you feel more comfortable sharing in a group setting. If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is reading.



Also linking with Trish, and Raychael


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

52 weeks of memories





To create a photobook like I did with the 2014 photos visit:


Monday, April 6, 2015

When anxiety takes over

You may remember a few months ago bub was diagnosed with the same eye problem that I had when I was young. I was devastated, but not surprised. Although I expected it would come about at some point, I still didn't really want to accept it when it happened. But its our reality and all we could really do was accept it as reality and move on with life. And we have. 

Adjusting to glasses took her a few months, but she's done incredibly well considering she was only 14 months when she started wearing them. She now wears them all day without taking them off {unless she's having an epic tantrum, then its usually her last ditch effort to be defiant}. Most days if we don't put them on her straight away she'll actually bring them over to us. She's done so well adjusting and taking it all in her stride.

For the last few months I've been blissfully ignoring the fact that at some point she'll need surgery. Until it jumped up and slapped me in the face. They said she'd be on the waiting list for quite a few months {which I was totally fine with} and then BAM there's been a cancellation and now we're headed for surgery this week.

Cue my anxiety going bat shit crazy....


My anxiety went straight to she'll never wake up from the anaesthetic. She'll have a huge allergic reaction to it. Something will go horribly wrong and she'll either die or accidentally be left blind. Yep that's how crazy my anxiety is when I don't feel in control. It stems entirely from my fear that everyone I love is going to be taken away from me at any moment.

Of course my brain chimed in periodically and tried to reason with my anxiety, but for the first few days all I could do was catastrophise every possible outcome. To the point where if I started thinking about it during the day I'd want to cry and if I happened to wake up during the night and it crossed my mind I'd be awake for hours. But then I spoke to Emma, someone who both understands how anxiety works and is very well versed {unfortunately} in dealing with childhood surgeries.

Emma's had to sit through the stress of her girls having numerous operations. She knows the process well. She knows how to manage the anxiety and deal with the stress. She's so well versed in it that hospital visits and operations are just another day. I'm not saying that's a good thing at all, but it did mean that she was able to reassure me that everything will be ok. In a way that my anxiety actually responded to.


Since talking to her I've slept through the night every night. I'm not freaking out that my days with my baby are limited. I'm not seeing surgery day as dooms day. I'm looking at her surgery as a positive thing that'll make her quality of life better. I'm trying to make my mind understand this is a good thing for her, and its finally working. It's still scary and no doubt I'm still going to cry like a baby when the time comes, but for now I'm keeping everything under control.

The good thing is she'll never remember her surgery like I do with mine. Which means hopefully if she's placed in this position with her own children one day, it won't be as stressful for her.

I just want everything to be easier for her x


Toni x
Friday, April 3, 2015

My pets were my first babies

This post is in conjunction with Pet Circle

Going through infertility is a lonely journey. Being full of love you want to give to a baby, but can't, is heartbreaking. I desperately longed to have someone to cuddle and love on for years, so naturally I ended up with a cat. It was inevitable really. I originally had a cat called Phoebe, but we had to give her away when we moved, then later on I ended up with three cats. Yes you read that right, three cats - Shelby, Max & Jasper. In my defence I got them over a two year period, not all at once, so that makes me a bit less of a crazy cat lady right?

| Baby Shelby |

| Baby Max |

| Baby Jasper |


My cats were most definitely my first babies. They gave me something to love and take care of and most importantly snuggle with. They filled the void of not having a real baby and provided me with the unconditional love I was missing. In return I gave them pretty much everything they wanted - special cat food, treats, their own beds, toys - even Christmas presents some years {yea I know that's a bit crazy cat lady}.

The good thing about having cats is that I felt like I had my own babies, but I didn't have to completely overhaul my life the way I would if I had a real baby. I loved that I could still work full time and leave them at home all day knowing they'd be fine without me. The great thing about cats is that they're independent enough to take care of themselves {except food}, but they're also affectionate enough that they'll share cuddles and kisses. And thankfully they're super easy to toilet train, unlike real babies {I'm so not looking forward to that!}.

Each night I would come home from work and be greeted by Shelby waiting for me at the door. I swear she's psychic because she was always there at the window waiting for me regardless of what time I got home. They'd all sit at my feet while I made dinner in the kitchen, begging for their own treats the whole time. I managed to teach them to sit and wait on command for their cat treats {whoever said you can't train cats was wrong}. After dinner we'd have cuddles on the couch - Jasper at the end of my feet, Max on my feet and Shelby on my lap.

For years they truly were my babies. My world {mainly} revolved around them and theirs around me.

I was a bit apprehensive, when I finally got pregnant, about how the family dynamic would change once the baby was here. While I was pregnant they were amazing though. Shelby sat over my belly every night protecting the baby {which was hilarious once she started to kick}. Both Max and Shelby used to follow me into the toilet every time I went - I swear they thought the baby would fall in there. Jasper became a lot more attentive as well. I stopped worrying. Everything was fine. My family was changing, but it was growing so it could only get better.



Nowadays there's one more baby, who keeps growing bigger and bigger each day. Who chases them around for fun. Who gives them cuddles {sometimes a little more overzealous than necessary}. Who kisses them and pats them. And who loves them unconditionally just like me.

Our family has grown and changed, but they're still my babies.

Do you treat your pets like your babies?


Toni x

Disclosure - this is a sponsored post for Pet Circle in accordance with my disclosure policy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 13 - SHARING

So it appears I've come down with the flu in the last 24hrs {and bub is quite snotty too} and that combined with the fact that there hasn't been much sharing going on around here means this post is somewhat late today. My bad! Of course only children + toddlers in general aren't that great when it comes to sharing so this weeks prompt proved to be quite challenging. Last year it was easy because she was still young enough that she wanted to play with everyone and everything. Now shes firmly in the land of its mine and I want it now, and you cant have it! So instead I've taken a photo of something I shared with her. Once I took all my goodies out of it :)

13 | SHARING


If you'd like to play along too, join in with 52 Weeks of Memories and get creative. Feel free to share with your friends on Facebook or Instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos. I've also started a facebook group for the challenge if you feel more comfortable sharing in a group setting. If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is Easter.



Also linking with Trish, and Raychael


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

52 weeks of memories





To create a photobook like I did with the 2014 photos visit: