What Winning the Mumpreneuruk Voice Award Means to Me

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On Saturday I attended the MumpreneurUK Conference and Awards. I was a finalist in the Voice Category and although I had successfully been chosen out of thousands of entrants, I honestly did not think I could win the award.

When Caprice the Supermodel turned Mum, called my name out I was in shock! I looked left, then right, then left again. That was my name Angela Milnes and my blog Daysinbed on the big screen.

I had won a National Award and could not believe it.  I couldn’t even hear what was read out about me over all the clapping. What I did get was the words “Adrenal Insufficiency” and “Life-threatening”.

Winning this award brought a lot of emotions to my mind and after having my photo taken I welled up and cried. I felt shocked and excited, happy and overwhelmed, however the strongest emotion I felt was pain and heartache.

Why would I feel heartache? It’s because of the journey I’ve been on. It’s not been an easy path in my life.

There is so much I plan to share in the future and I have plenty of time to blog about my experiences but in a nutshell, my whole life was turned upside down at 16 when I was sexually abused.

I lost my confidence and kind of went off the rails. I felt confused and no one really understood what was going on. I blocked everything off and used my education and studies as an escape.

My traumatic experiences at 16 lead to me entering an abusive and controlling relationship. At the age of twenty, I found myself married to a man who was both psychologically abusive and violent. I became miserable.

I had done really well at school and won a scholarship to study Law at University. However, due to the difficulties, I was having I felt I couldn’t cope. I was continuously told I was rubbish and I began to believe this. I dropped out of Law School and tried another subject instead.

I eventually settled studying English and Education. I studied and worked and studied and worked. Focussing on my education again helped me to forget the abuse I was suffering in the home.

I learnt how to write, studied literature, creative writing, I even studied how to write reviews. I majored in Education and specialised in teaching via the internet and teaching literacy to children.

I fought through two years of horrendous abuse and got through by telling myself when I get my degree I will leave.

I don’t know how or why it happened but the week before my final exams, I bought the husband a ticket to Australia. He took the ticket, I finished my exams and Disappeared.

I was a divorced University Graduate at 22 years old with an amazing education but no confidence and no self-esteem. I began teaching English at a second language school when I met a wonderful man.

This time he was different, he boosted my self-esteem and made me feel wonderful and before I knew it I was married and living in the Pacific Island of Tonga.

Tonga was a beautiful place and life was great. However, when we returned to New Zealand I found myself back in the cycle of abuse. It’s so wondering I returned to University.

I studied Early Childhood Education and came out with my Teaching Qualifications. Although my self-esteem was at an all-time low and I was very confused, my knowledge and skills on the CV looked fabulous.

I attended an interview and found myself working as a Head Teacher- the equivalent to a British Head of Nursery and boy was I in over my head!

I had always wanted to be a mother and now I was in work and providing the abuse had calmed down.

My husband and I decided to have a child. I’d had issues my whole life and we were given assisted fertility treatment.

I fell pregnant with my daughter Sylvia and went on Maternity leave.

After the birth of my daughter, I became unwell physically. I had hoped to return to work and take my baby with me but I could not cope with the workload and the exhaustion I felt.

When I decided to be a stay at home mum, the abuse returned but this time it was much worse.

My Tongan Mother in Law had come to live in the family home and I was being abused by both my Mother in law and Husband.

I was forced to work and my mother in law continuously took my baby from me.

When my baby was six months old, things got dangerous and I left with my baby. The family went to a Rugby game, I packed a suitcase and left. I travelled to Auckland city in New Zealand.

I took out a protection order, spent six weeks in a women’s refuge house and applied for full custody of my daughter. Despite having a protection order, it was not working.

The family followed me to Auckland, they continually broke the protection order and even went to my child’s daycare to try and take her out.

It was at this point, I decided enough was enough. I needed to keep my daughter safe. I needed a fresh start. I loved my parents and would miss them but I had to put my baby first.

I booked a one-way ticket to the UK and arrived in England, my birth country in February 2010. I stayed with my grandparents in the UK for two months and then found my own home.

My health, however, was continued to be poor. I was continuously exhausted and felt unwell. In December 2011, my whole life was turned upside down when Family Services took my little girl off me and put her into the foster care system.

I had not done anything wrong. There had been a huge misunderstanding. I was falsely accused of being in a mental hospital in New Zealand and having my daughter removed from my care for 6 months.

It was not true! I denied it and so I was taken to court in an attempt to have my child adopted out forever.

As unbelievable as it was, the social worker who would not believe me when I said I had never been in a psychiatric unit refused to believe me.

Instead, she wrote a report riddled with lies about me and painted a picture of a crazy, mentally unstable woman with special needs. I had no choice but to fight in the courts.

What Judge would give a mother a child if the things recorded against me were true? The only thing is, the things I was accused of were not true. They were lies, exaggerations and twisted truths.

I was labelled delusional for calling my child a princess.

A court case to have a child permanently removed generally takes 9 months.

I spent every single day fighting. I got copies of records, got government letters and argued every single lie written against me.

I found ways to prove these things were not true. I worked from morning to night, fighting my own case.

I had a lawyer but I did everything myself. I wrote my own statements, found all the evidence and errors in family services records and underwent court-ordered psychological and psychiatric assessments.

I missed my little girl. I was heartbroken. I cried myself to sleep. I cried through Christmas, mothers day, my child’s birthday. I was under so much stress to prove the untruths put into court against me.

When I finally gathered my evidence together and got a letter from New Zealand stating I had never been in psychiatric care everything changed.

Family Services changed their position and the Judge ordered my child be returned home! I had finally won. I was given my daughter back but it was not the same.

Life had changed and there was a lot of emotional damage. I spent the next two years rebuilding and strengthening the bond between me and my child.

I also started a crusade to get an apology from the council for the injustice we had faced.

I worked night and day once more to build my complaint. The complaints process like the court process was very stressful and took two years.

During that time I met a man (non-abusive) who I married in July 2013. He became my daughter’s stepdad and supported me as I fought for Justice.

Sadly due to all the stress, I had suffered, my Adrenal glands which deal with the stress hormone failed me. One week after my wedding, I collapsed and was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency.

I spent the next two years sick and unwell, in bed, fighting my case and doing my best as a mother. At the end of 2014, I finally completed the complaints process and got my apology.

I got a letter stating we had indeed faced a grave injustice and over 58 individual complaints were upheld.

I could finally close the door on a horrific 10 years and move on with life with my beautiful daughter and supportive husband, but there was one problem- My adrenal failure. I could not get well.

My good health was gone and I had spent one and a half years in bed. I decided to do the one thing I could- try and get well.

I built an online blog called daysinbed. This blog! I blogged and blogged. I wrote about family and life, I began to get followers and built friendships online. Although I was very ill, I felt I had a life once more.

Of course, when I began my blog, my confidence was at an all-time low. It still is very shaky but I have shared stories and experiences, raised awareness for my condition and fought hard with my voice to one day get the correct medication to make me well.

It has been a battle. It has been hard work. Anyone who blogs will know just how much work you have to put in to become a professional blogger.

I put in the hours, I am still putting in the hours and I am now a professional blogger. I love it! My English degree has come in handy. I love to write. I review children’s books along with many other products.

Blogging has brought many opportunities, like attending the ballet, reviewing hotels, books, toys, clothes, writing sponsored posts, taking part in blogger workshops, going to conferences and going to Buckingham Palace.

It has all been wonderful but has been done with a purpose. My goal is to get well, so I can do all the things I want to do with my daughter. I also want to earn a full time living despite my life-threatening illness and to inspire and help those around me.

A few weeks ago I was nominated a finalist for the VOICE category of the MumpreneurUK Awards.

I was contacted by a journalist and was asked to share my story and so I have. i have shared my story of how I have overcome obstacles to get to this point in my life. I also shared my story in the hope that it will in some way lead to the correct medical treatment.

Winning the VOICE Award at the MumpreneurUK was bittersweet. I am so grateful and happy and although my confidence is still growing, I actually feel I deserve it!

I am an amazing Mother. I’m a Mumpreneur, I’m a Survivor. All I have been through has made me stronger, the injustices I’ve faced have cost me my health but I have a fighting spirit and will do all I can until I get the treatment I need to be well once more.

So what does winning the MumpreneurUK Voice Award me to me! It means everything.

I am Mother, Hear me Roar!

About Angela Milnes

Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!

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  1. Wow!! What a harrowing but ultimately triumphant story. Huge, huge congratulations to you. A truly well deserved award. x

    1. Thankyou. I’m thrilled to be over the huge hurdles and now I’ve just got to get medical treatment to get more energy and better daily health. We can still be ahppy as i fight for this. It’s just hard work thats all!

  2. Wow, Angela, what a life story! Your strength to overcome so much is really amazing & commendable. Congratulations on your award, it’s so well deserved! I hope you can feel pride, happiness & fulfillment now although I understand why you’d feel heartache. It will probably take awhile for all of this to sink in! Visiting from Anything Goes x

    1. I do feel happy and complete. I finally have a fabulous family and we are happy, it’s just the health issues to overcome and this blog to continue to build and things will be even more better, It is sinking in and I’m so pleased for the opportunities i’ve had. I want my thirties to be the best years so far!

  3. This post gave me goosebumps. To hear how much you’ve been through and overcome in your life is astounding. You are an incredible person and I wish you all the health and happiness in the world. Thank you for sharing your story. #anythinggoes

  4. Wonderful news Angela, you so deserve this putting together a wonderful parenting blog and fighting such a horrid illness, I hope your blog leads to the publicity for your illness and ultimately the treatment you need to live the life you deserve. This great award can only help along the way.

  5. First of all congratulations!! Wonderful news. I bet it was an emotional experience receiving the award but you truly deserve it. I honestly cannot believe how much you have been through in the last 10 years. You are a very strong, brave woman and I have so much admiration for you. Keep your head held high where it should be. You’ve been fantastic xx

  6. Yay congratulations!! I’m thrilled for you winning the award. You’re inspirational and strong – I had no idea about what an awful few years you have had x

  7. Well done honey it’s brilliant news and you undoubted deserve it! I had no idea that you had been through so much to get to this point. You poor thing no wonder your health failed. I hope you get the medical equipment you need xx

    1. I wasn’t ready to share everything until now. It’s great to only have one battle left and that is health…. we are happy and despite the struggles i’m loving blogging and writing when I can.

  8. Well done Angela! After all you’ve overcome you absolutely deserve it. This is what I love about blogs and blogging, it gives a voice and allows us to share our experiences. You are right to be very proud!

    1. Yes i have a voice and can stand up against abuse, against injustice, against chronic illness and hopefully inspire others to keep going through the hard times! Thanks for reading! – Angela

  9. Oh my goodness, you have been through so, so much! Well done on coming through it all and speaking about it. You deserve that award, well done! Amazing!! xx

  10. Congratulations. I know how hard it is to be a blogger and a parent at the same time and I’m not even doing it professionally. You should be very proud x

    1. oh yes…blogging is full on isn’t it! It’s the only thing I can do in between feeling ill at random times and in between all the appointments, and other things we have to do so I’m pleased to have found this option to do something great!

  11. Well done Angela. Blogging is great indeed. We have just been talking about it in work today. I am the only one blogging so I told them all about it.

  12. Wow well done my lovely, how fab is that. I love it when you honestly don’t expect to win and then you get your name called out and its total and utter shock. Fantastic and really really well done.

  13. Well done, Angela, on winning the award, but most importantly, on getting your life back and working so hard at raising awareness about your condition and improving your health! You deserve that award and many more!xx

    1. Thanks so much! I think we all have our own mountains to climb and experiences to overcome. It makes us all better and shapes us just like coal is pressured into a diamond. The pressure has made me a better person.

  14. Oh wow, what a powerful story! You have had some life and all so young too. Congratulations on getting your award, well done, delighted for you! Are you writing a book about it all??

    1. I do plan to write a book one day..I have written my first book which is all about understanding and recognising the warning signs of abuse but i’m yet to publish it. I do plan to write my autobiography though- it is one crazy story but as my life long friends tell me they think it would be a best seller!

  15. Words cannot even describe how much you have been through, you are a warrior and brave beyond many. What you have been through is harrowing but rather than be stuck in the past you are positive and that is a truly magical tale. I was abused too and like you I am an advocate, I was bullied, have severe depression and anxiety among other things but I don’t let it define me. We are both fighters x

    1. Yes it’s so true. I really relate to your posts too Ana as I know what it’s like to be treated very bad. We don’t have to let the past define us and we can do our best to raise awareness and help others as we write ad share our experiences. We are both fighters!

  16. Congratulations with the awards. You really deserved it. Hearing your background stories made me tear a little bit. I’m speechless… you’re amazing and a great role model.

    1. Thanks so much Ana. It’s not been an easy life but I’m looking forward to a new year. It’s my birthday today and hopefully this will be the best year ever!


  17. Wow Angela. What an amazing life you’ve led! The difficulties you’ve faced have been nothing short of harrowing and horrifying, but look at that smile on your face there – what an incredible achievement in the face of so much adversity. You’re an inspirational woman. So many congratulations xx

    1. It truly is a long story and I’m happy to finally be settled down with a career plan (pro blogging) and a loving family and a nice permanent home. Thanks for your lovely comments!

  18. Firstly, another huge congratulations on winning lovely!!

    Secondly, wow!I have been getting to know you more over the last few weeks but now I have such an insight into what you have been through. What a journey and what a woman you are! You are amazing you really are. You have never given up, you have remained strong and you now deserve nothing but happiness.

    Well done lovely, you deserve all the success in the world.

    Gemma xx

    1. Thankyou for this Gemma! i’m really pleased to have come this far and i could not have gotten through the last three years without my hubby! He has been there for me through the really hard times! He helps me to be amazing! Ang

  19. Oh Angela – so heart breaking to read this (crying at my kitchen table right now). SO proud of what you have achieved and continue to achieve. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mum who has literally given everything for her. Sending you so much love and good wishes for your continuing health battle.

    1. Thanks. I’m just feeling over the moon. Its like a new chapter or lease of life and although I’ll still have my struggles- I can honestly close the door on this and don’t look tot he future with happiness and excitement!

  20. Wow, what a journey you’ve been on. I’m so glad you are through the other side and away from all the negativity and abuse. Massive congratulations to you on the award, it’s truly well deserved. x

    1. Thanks… It does feel free to be living a emotionally healthy happy life with a respectful hubby/partner and no abuse whatsoever! It’s brilliant! I’ve learnt a lot from it too!

  21. What a story you have! I am so happy for you – not only for your awards but to see how you took control and made yourself the life you wanted! X

    1. Thanks. I’m really pleased too. I’ve always wanted to work from home/build a business and although this for me is the start – and i’ve still a way to go..i am so excited! Angela

  22. Wow Angela, you be certainly overcome a lot in your lifetime to reach where you are today. I’m so impressed that you continue to stand up and use your voice to help those who may be in the position you once we’re to show them what you can get too if you have the courage to take it. An award well deserved x

    1. Its been one big adventure which some not so great moments but I’m moving onto a much brighter future and doing it as a mother with my beautiful child and wonderful hubby and i’m so happy about that!

  23. Oh Angela what a story, what a fighter you are and you deserve success, happiness and peace. I am so thrilled for you at your award. I am glad you have got your justice and escaped your harrowing past. I wish you the best of health for the future and I am pleased to call you my friend who I met through blogging ๐Ÿ™‚ xxxx

    1. Thats Laura! I’m pleased to be able to say I’m over it all and although sometimes I have moments when the pain of certain experiences pop into my mind, I am able to move on quickly and not dwell on it. It’s great to have met you through blogging too and be your friend as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Angela…I don’t even know where to begin! Firstly, i currently have tears streaming down my face, not in pity but of sheer admiration. From things I have read previously I knew you had had a tough time but never to this extent. Although you have an illness now that effects life everyday, you have come out fighting and I have so much respect for you! You deserved your moment on Saturday and every other single day! A huge congratulations from the bottom of my heart! Cherish every little bit of joy lady, its exactly what you deserve! Lots of love! I cannot wait to meet you for real, coz you’re getting a damn big hug! xx

  25. Wow, what an incredible post Angela. You are amazing and truly inspirational. I am so sorry for everything you went through and you must be so proud of all you have achieved. Just wow. Oh, and massive congratulations on the award!xx

  26. You are truly inspiring. The difficulties you’ve overcome to do so amazingly well are so inspirational, that award is well and truly deserved.

  27. Huge Congratulations on your award. Your story gave me goosebumps and you’ve certainly had a truly difficult time. You’re an inspiration to many others out there who are going through or have gone through such a harrowing experience xx

    1. Thanks so much! I hope this helps others and that those suffering domestic violence and or abuse may be able to feel inspired to get out of the cycle of abuse and heal!

  28. This is the best blog post I have ever read! You are an amazing women, and well deserve the award!

    I can’t believe everything that you have been through, you are truly an inspiration to people who have it hard and a voice to tell them to ‘Never give up’

    1. Thanks Natasha that is a lovely thing to hear! I’m glad you enjoyed my post and appreciate you taking the time to comment. We must never give up- life and family is too important! – Angela

  29. Blimey Angela – you really have been to hell and back haven’t you? I can only say that you absolutely deserve that award – you have clearly worked so hard on everything you’ve done and had to face such massive injustices and challenges. I really hope you have a lovely relationship with your daughter now. Thanks so much for sharing this with #thetruthabout

  30. Congratulations! What an inspirational story and a well deserved winner You have a lucky daughter to have a mama that fights so hard

    1. There is always someone out there who has had it harder and i’m grateful to have not lost someone close like a parent or child. I think we can all inpsire one another in different ways ๐Ÿ™‚ aNgela

  31. I am so thrilled for you. I knew of your illness but I did not know your story of struggle with injustice and abuse. I am so glad you have found a safe place and a man who actually treats you as you deserve. I know personally the struggle of an abusive relationship an the inner struggle to recover from the abuse an self hatred. You are an inspiration, so well deserved this award is. Congrats #happydiaries and it was a happy ending, although I feel it is yet to get even happier for you

  32. What an awe inspiring story! Thank you for sharing some very painful memories. I felt so emotional and tears welled up as I peeped through the window of your life. I am so happy for you that you have triumphed and have come so far! You are amazing…You are an amazing human being and an inspiration to us all.

    1. Your most welcome. It’s great to have overcome so much and be able to look back at this without being hurt and upset and feeling confused. I have a clear mind and am now able to move on with a focus and aim! Angela

  33. What a story! It should be a movie, I was gripped and rooting for you the whole way. I think I have a problem with my adrenal glands but dr won’t believe me.. what tests confirm it? #happydiaries

    1. This is what my friends say, or at least a book! There is so much to tell and I really do want to share my experiences as it can help others! Thanks for stopping by! Angela

  34. Congratulations!!! You deserve it! This is proof that sometimes the bad things we go through and the suffering we are forced to deal with can eventually bring us to a better place. So proud of you Angela! Good for you! Visiting from #happydiary

  35. Angela, your story is both hesrtbreaking and inspirational. You are an increadable woman and you deserve all the success and happiness you are now recieving. I love reading your posts (dispite my lack of comments over previous weeks, stupid tablet) so Inwould like to echo what everyone else has said, congratulations on winning your award, and thank you for sharing this post on #happydiaries xx

  36. OMG Angela! I have literally been crying while reading this!! I can’t imagine all the pain that you have been through all these 10 years!! I didn’t have any idea how much you have suffered!! You are really a survival, a fighter, a loving mother and an amazing human being! I feel so lucky that I’ve learnt to know you more and more every day. I’ll never see you again with the same eyes. You are now someone that I’ll look up for now own. Thank you so much for sharing this story!! And congratulations with the award which was of course well deserved!! I really wish with all my heart that you get a cure for your ilness soon!! ??

  37. Congratulations on the award! You’ve overcome so much to get there and you should feel so proud – proud for what you’ve achieved for yourself, and proud for all the people you’ve helped and inspired along the way. x #happydiaries

  38. This is the perfect example of how not giving up can work miracles. It is ridiculous that you had to go through it all though, but I really admire you for never giving up! Congratulations on your very well deserved award ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

  39. Good gracious me Angela I was reading this with my heart in my mouth. I am so sorry that you have suffered, I can relate to some of what you’ve been through and just want to tell you, you are an inspiration to women. I remember you tweeting about this award and saying you probably wouldn’t win but in my heart I felt sure you would! Wishing you huge congratulations, you did it girl, well done! xx

  40. What a wonderful and yet bittersweet story, congratulations on your award an fighting your inner strength is incredible. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and inspirational story with the #bestandworst ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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