About Us

Someone suggested I write a short page explaining who we are and why this blog looks the way it does. It seemed like a good way to introduce the family and save any new readers from having to trawl back through endless pages of blogging just to make sense of it all. Life being what it is, most of the pages on here are rather out of date, so a quick round up is probably a good idea. (I’ll add pictures shortly.)

I’m Merry, head blogger of the family and I’m married to Max, who is a quiet chap who doesn’t socialise on the net much at all. We’ve been together a very long time now.

Back in about 2001/2002, I started a website called MuddlePuddle, which was intended to work as a resource site for people home educating young children. It’s been ignored for many years now, save a redesign in early 2010, as blogging took over. MuddlePuddle was a very random name, but it led to us being known as the Puddles and we’ve always used white mummy and daddy duck and a set of chicks, to depict the family. I’ve always associated happiness and family life with sunflowers too, which were our wedding flower – and so this explains the ducks and sunflowers in the header.

In 2003 I tentatively set up an online business, which ran from 3 crates in a cupboard. Now it runs from 3000 sq ft of business unit and Max gave up his job to take it over two years ago. You can find out about Merrily Toys & Crafts Ltd by clicking any of our site links on the right. If you buy from us, we’ll be more than grateful :)

Chick A,

Fran is currently 12 and a dizzy, delicious, quietly confident girl who loves to dance and is a good gymnast. She’s a great big sister, loves to read and play silly games and plans to be a zoo keeper. Fran was born with a cleft lip and palate and this was the reason we decided to home educate as she was very much not ready for school at 4, both in temperament and speech clarity. She has always been home educated, except for a term she tried in Yr 6 as she fancied going on to senior school. However, although she had a huge amount of fun in that term, she decided it was all a bit of a waste of time! Fran play cello and piano and does tap, ballet, freestyle and jazz as well as gym.

Chick B, Maddy is 11 and is quiet, thoughtful, kind and creative. She loves art, singing, drawing, acting and taekwondo. She is always making and doing things, adores Horrid Henry books and cycling, swimming and rugby. Maddy has a mild version of Aspergers and being home educated suits her very well. Maddy plays flute, guitar and piano.

Chick C, Amelie is 8 and our trouble maker! Loud, intelligent, cheeky and boisterous, she is also very sensitive but very capable of wrapping people round her little finger. Amelie has a milk intolerance, which she has largely grown out of now and a nut allergy, annoyingly to things like cashews, almonds, pistachios and coconut :roll: Amelie puts most of her energy in gym, dancing and avoiding doing anything I ask her. She does enjoy violin though and taught herself to read at 6 because I wasn’t teaching her quick enough.

Chick D, Josie is 6. She is quiet, thoughtful, a watcher but creative, clever, articulate and loving. She plays long and complex games and is the most like me of all my girls.

Iphone 2010 April Download 043
Chick E, Freddie, is the reason for the chick beneath the rainbow. Freddie was born in 2010, a last intended baby and our only son (at the time). Following an easy birth, Freddie failed to breath. He lived for 11 days in SCBU but died in mid April after succumbing to pneumonia; he baffled his carers and has left many unanswered questions in our minds. We adored him and miss him dreadfully.

2012 Update


Chick F, Benedict otherwise known as Bene arrived unexpectedly early in 2012 and brought a smile back to the Puddle household. 4 weeks early and initially rather slow to get started and reassure us all of his health and wellness, he’s now a bouncing baby boy with the sunniest temperament in the world. Our blondest baby ,the only blue eyed one among them and everything we could possibly have asked for in a last baby, especially after such a dreadful previous year. He’s very much his own person, laughs all the time and thoroughly possesses us all – and an absolute joy. He does mean I need to update my template though :)


So that is the 7 of us. Since Freddie’s death I have written this blog a little differently and it is no longer just a record of our home educating life, but also of life without a child; infant loss is so all encompassing that it is impossible to separate it from everyday life. Although it is not clear why he died, nothing has been able to point to his death being linked to his VBA3C birth and I hold strongly to all my ideals in that regard as despite everything, Freddie’s was still my only non-traumatic birth. I have included a write up of all their birth stories, both Emergency Caesarean and VBAC, on this website.

One of the things that comforted me after Freddie died was to make models – I’ve done lots of Polymer Clay Tree Pictures and trees of life have become a bit of a theme. So that is the reason for the tree picture and, you can probably see there are 7 stars around it, 5 small and 2 large. There should really be another but I hold that one in the heart of my own star. One thing is for sure, there has been more than enough baby grief here :(  There are also 7 sunflowers, 7 books (I read a lot and am a huge fan of my Kindle!) and knitting is something else that has kept me sane.

I learned to knit (again) while pregnant with Freddie and made him a blanket which I cuddle at night when my arms are too empty without him. But continuing to knit since has been a joy.

So that’s us – a home educating, grieving, knitting, reading, a never quite complete family of 7.

The photos of the girls and I on this page were taken by Josie from Sleep is for the Weak. I am so grateful she allowed me to use them; they are quite wonderful and delighted us very much.