Live Out Your Dreams

Today I am thrilled to be introducing to you a genuinely lovely lady who is a true inspiration to me. Jenni is the owner of Charlie’s Toy shop, a fabulous company offering high quality educational and developmental toys. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jenni, firstly through my own business and then as a customer and what instantly struck me about her was her passion for what she does, her determination and her love for life. Jenni’s journey towards Charlie’s Toy shop has been anything but straightforward but she has taken strength from these hard times and created her own path.  In this brilliant article by Jenni, she highlights just how fragile life is and how important it is that we chase happiness. Here is her story… 

"I'm Jenni, a 38 Year old Mum to Charlie and owner of Charlie’s Toy Shop. I have been given this fabulous opportunity by Rice cakes and Raisins to share my story about how and why Charlie’s Toy Shop exists. I am very excited by my first ‘blog’ and really appreciative of the support of a fellow local business Mum. When I left school (quite a few years ago!) my chosen career path was in Nursery Nursing, a job I found incredibly fulfilling, really hard work and very enjoyable. I worked as a Nanny and within a private day nursery before taking a year out to travel. On my return to this country, I changed my job and took on a customer service and sales support role. It was during this time that I suffered with my first blood clot (in 2008) At the time of diagnosis and during my treatment to get better I had no idea how poorly I was or how bad the outcome could of been if I had not got myself to hospital for the diagnosis when I did. But I did and I lived to tell the tale. I clotted on the 5th August 2008 and later that year I found out I was pregnant, 2 weeks after that I found out I had a genetic condition that meant my blood was 80% more likely to clot than the average persons. My pregnancy was instantly classed as high risk and I was told I would need to self inject with a blood thinning medicine throughout my pregnancy. Charlie was born on the 6th August 2009 exactly a year and a day after my clot. To me that was his way of telling me that this was the start of a new chapter and it certainly was. We bobbled along nicely for ages, well I say nicely, obviously there was the sleepless nights, the looking like I'd been dragged through a bush backwards, the colic, the dirty nappies galore to deal with on a daily basis, the teething process and not forgetting the start of the terrible two's, but we managed to survive for 2 years 3 months without much drama....until I clotted again! I had always been told it could happen, but I don't think anyone expected it to happen quite so soon. Once again the amazing team at the DVT suite at Russell's Hall stepped in, stepped up and put me on the road to recovery. It was during this recovery that I started to re-evaluate my life (that tends to happen when you have to look a 2 year old in the face genuinely not knowing if you are going to be ok) and I started to wonder if I could run my own business combining the skills and love for children that I have. In between Christmas and New Year, the idea for CTS came into my mind and on New Years Day I woke up declaring 'This year will be my year' forward to 29th March that year when I sold my first lot of toys. The ethos behind the company is to support as many children in the community and beyond, by supplying fabulous quality, great value toys, all with an educational/development aspect so that our next generation can learn through play. I didn't just want to sell on a website and there were no funds for a shop, so going out into the community to show people the toys, to chat to people, to see what their needs were and how I could help them became my priority...this business was and always will be more than just making money. Everything I do, I do because I genuinely care and value every child as much as I value my own. I appreciate that not everyone's financial situation is the same, so as part of my work I approach playgroups, baby groups and other support groups that focus on the family to offer my toys through them so that at least children are given the opportunity to play with them at some point during their early years. I started this company to make a difference, one step at a time, one day at a time and slowly I can see that happening. It has been a steep learning curve, often with mistakes made but boy do I love what I do. This job, this passion, allows me to be 'Mum' to Charlie, whilst making a difference on a professional level and that makes me very happy. Charlie is an integral part of the business (if you ask him who the boss is, he will tell you it's him!!!!) and without him by my side it wouldn't be half as much fun and nowhere near as rewarding. He was really too young to understand the severity of my second clot when it happened and the implications of the medicine I am now on for life...but I have always been open with him about my condition (because as I am oh so aware, he could have it too) and tried to show him that no matter what life throws at you, you can still live life, have goals and achieve whatever you put your mind to if you are prepared to work hard and believe in yourself. I know he gets what I am trying to teach him as he is growing into a kind, caring young man who often talks about my clots, my legs and my medication and not forgetting the references to the surgical stockings that were such a big part of my life for so long!!! I want to show him that there is so much out there to do, to see, to experience and that sometimes you just have to go 'Sod it, I'm going to try this and hope for the best'...maybe not the most eloquent of life plans but it seems to of worked for me so far. I have no idea how long this adventure will last (lets face it, if I'm honest, it's lasted about 4 years longer than I thought it would!) but I am loving every minute of it. That's thanks to Charlie, my customers and to every single person who has believed in me and who has had my back when I haven't believed in myself. 

son mother

 So that's me and that's how CTS came to be. I'm not suggesting that you should all go out there and get yourself a blood clot to make you live out your dreams ;) but maybe, just maybe, you can see from this story that if you really want something you can get it if you are the right amount of crazy, like the idea of not sleeping much and are willing to work hard for your dreams!!!! This has been hard to write, mentioning my clots and genetic condition is always an emotional process but that is balanced by knowing without them, the person I am today and the company I have nurtured would not exist. Never in a million years did I think I would say thank you to a blood clot for attempting to kill me...but it's a funny old world and that's just how it worked out for me."


  1. What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing :)

  2. What a strong lady! You never know what's around the corner, it's so scary. We have had a tough few years and it definitely makes you stronger and appreciate life so much! Keep fighting xxx

    1. I'm sorry to hear you have had a tough few years but so glad you have come out stronger :) xxx

    2. I'm sorry to hear you have had a tough few years but so glad you have come out stronger :) xxx