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“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I decided when having coffee with a friend earlier this year as she talked about the summer holiday she had just booked in Spain that I’d had enough of giving into to my Cancer and letting it hold me back it was my turn. As much as I have had some great holidays in the UK, this year no more unreliable weather, no caravans, no self-catering packing the car full with half the house, we needed to travel further than the UK, somewhere hot. Our weekend away in Whitstable staying in a gorgeous chalet on Seasalter beach turns out gave us just the taste we needed we had managed to book one of very few heatwave weekends this year, sitting on our deck with friends overlooking the beach into the warm evening, watching the sunset with a bbq for our dinner we needed more of this. Last time I went abroad on holiday my daughter was 8 months old she is now 12, years of not being allowed to fly due to treatments and higher risks of complications from Breast Cancer has taken its toll. I’d like a Facebook worthy foreign holiday, proud to show off my photos of gorgeous sunsets, sunshine, warm evenings, eating outside, relaxing in the pool. Something about making wonderful memories and a luxurious treat and true escape from all the dramas and stresses in my life back in the UK.

“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved”

Winnie the Pooh

This year I have been lucky to start the clinical trial my oncologist spent all last year fighting for, its a new type of gene therapy called a parp inhibitor targeted at those with a double positive secondary Breast Cancer and BRCA2 mutation. It has different side effects to the other chemotherapy drugs I’ve taken, I am still high risk of blood clots like previous drug treatments but not quite as much, flying now more an option than previously.  CT Scans have so far remained stable so this gave me the green light I needed, time to hit the internet. Where to go was easy I’ve had a wish list for years, so I booked myself and my daughter 10 days in a gorgeous hotel in Croatia, staying in Rovinj, a place one of the school mums has been recommending for literally years and top of my list.

I started from scratch, with nothing for a holiday abroad, if it still fitted it was horribly dated, or it had disintegrated to dust in the loft not being used for so long.  I started with a new smart suitcase with four wheels, then a pair of shorts, sandals, beach towel, and off to Superdrug to buy a factor 30, 50 sun tan cream, an aftersun, job done, or so I thought! I discovered the sunscreen, ‘Chemical or Mineral?’ debate. Having Cancer has made me far more aware of the ingredients in products and the affects they can have on your body, I try to avoid synthetic chemicals where I can and go organic, gradually replacing my shampoo, soap, washing up liquid and I now buy organic milk.  It seems the contents of sunscreen are now being questioned too the subject is even more complicated than finding a flattering Bikini?? Controversial ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone a synthetic oestrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system, a definite no for me.

Factor 50 is always difficult to apply, the Mineral sunscreen, described as a more natural solution with safer content such as titanium dioxide, was no exception it went on like white tar! looking like a ghost, is not a good look. Chemical sunscreen felt more familiar, easier to apply, safer somehow but the ingredients are a bit alarming and I can’t afford to take any risks, especially judging by the bottles of it I would be covered in on holiday. I opted for a slightly more expensive compromise, a Paraben Free, Broad Spectrum which ensures high UVA and UVB cover, Chemical sunscreen. Turns out even using my overly researched high factor sunscreen the skin on my arm still developed an allergic reaction to the sun, just in case for a few moments on holiday I forgot about the C word. Add in the very attractive surgical stockings for our flight in a slightly forgiving nude colour and all the ‘just in case‘ clothes, medication and the hair straighteners my daughter cannot survive a day without and my suitcase was full.

The alarm went off at silly o clock and we fell out of bed into my dads car with our cases for the airport even blurry eyes I still had room for a little adrenaline. The security guards face when he opened my hand luggage at the airport security was priceless he would of been less shocked to see a large meat cleaver. Morphine.. injections.. boxes of tablets filling most of my rucksack the poor guy didn’t know where to look 😂😂 when I showed him my Oncologists letter and explained I had Cancer in my spine he closed the rucksack hurriedly to make a nice joke about my face looking better without my hat. There are few advantages in my world but not having to stand in airport queues was a good one to discover.

A short flight and that moment soon came when the plane doors opened and the heat hit our faces and we knew our holiday had started, it’s silly but its a feel I have dreamed about a long time. Sitting in the back of our taxi heading for our hotel driving down wider emptier motorways with different language signs above our heads, looking out the window at the Croatian countryside and local buildings, the roads lined with mediterranean ‘Oleander‘ bushes covered in hot pink flowers. We were all ready to discover our new home for the next ten days.

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Cancer wasn’t too much of an issue on holiday, mainly because I didn’t do much, the heatwave ensuring we did less during the day and relaxed. It mean’t more taxis than usual, laying on a sunbed with our ice creams and soaking in the sun, enjoying the warm crystal clear sea, not cooking a single meal or having to think about chores, looking at gorgeous sunsets and no hospital appointments, it was definitely what the doctored ordered. It was not a sandy beach but us and many others had come fully prepared with our aqua shoes, great for my daughter who has now decided on a phobia of anything in the sea. The hotel was excellent, scenery stunning and food gorgeous, grilled fish, fresh pizzas and not an english fry up in sight, we took pictures of it all even the funny moth with bunny ears on our hotel room wall. My daughter happily spent as much time as she could in the pool with her new gang of German and Croatian friends and the Primark flamingo which it turns out has travelled very well this summer on many other family holidays along with its Unicorn cousin. I read my book under the huge trees that surrounded our pool part of the 100 year old pine forest next door.. Rovinj is a beautiful place, only a handful of hotels along the large bay front surrounded by the forest discovered by walking along the limestone tiled promenade past the marina and on to the old town which sits at the end of the bay on a mount of its own topped by the Clock Tower. Walking in the evening through the cobbled streets of the old town in and out of the independent gift shops for my daughter to spend her pocket money was just how it should be.

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A record heatwave with temperatures of 42 degrees last seen in 1981 ensured drama found us even on holiday, getting off the ferry from Katarina Island back in Rovinj there was a little lightning in the distance. Within a few minutes of our feet touching the ground strong winds suddenly arrived, and we saw the locals running down the street, we did the same and quickly fell into the nearest restaurant as an intense tropical storm hit, hurricane strength winds and rain battered and flooded the restaurant for about 45 mins. Like a scene from the Wizard of Oz we expected to come back up the stairs from our hiding place to see the restaurant gone. Scattered chairs, trees down, branches all over the promenade the heatwave had broken. Returning to our hotel we arrived to pick up my daughters bikini and find my shirt on the floor blown down by the storm from our fourth floor balcony, left there to dry out in the sun…

Laying back in my own bed happily shattered the holiday was over so quickly I could easily have dreamt it all. Our first morning back and torrential rain hits the windows outside and we know we are back in the uk. We had an amazing time and it was a much needed break from our everyday life and cancer treatments for both myself and my daughter to spend time together. Appreciating every small part so much more because it has been denied to us for so long and making amazing memories is so important.

We have some great times to remember and fantastic photos which of course my daughter will claim responsibility for even though a lot she appears to star in. Over 60 likes and several lovely comments on Facebook, and that completes mission holiday sun until next year

I hope you’ve all had a great summer too

Lots of Love

Angela

xx

 

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Life can be cruel, it seems that only half of all relationships survive a cancer diagnosis, with a man being more likely to leave than a woman. The longer the relationship before diagnosis the higher the chances are you will survive.

Last time ‘we were only together because you had cancer’ this time ‘I’m not happy with our situation’ yes my heart has been broken again. It’s not quite the end of a 22yeR relationship this time but the thought of being lonely is not a nice one.

Mr h was very caring in the beginning which I loved and the strong bond he had with his daughter has definitely rubbed off on me and my daughter. He showed me that love is possible, and how to use Netflix! and I thank you for that. Looking back there were quite a few times that were not good but I won’t be wasting my time on anger it’s not what I do, I take the best parts with me (including the PlayStation) and learn from the broken bits and hit the road again… if it’s not meant to be, as they say life’s too short.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Can I blame him for this cancer kiss off? Of course, I’m disappointed we didn’t work out and there are parts I miss, but in the end this wasn’t what he signed up for. I understand It could also just of been simply we didn’t get along? His profile accurately stated he was a ‘hopeless romantic’ I like to describe myself more a ‘hopeful romantic’

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So now I continue watching life through my fingers awaiting the next instalment of my life whilst falling asleep mid film on the sofa. Christmas is looming, Strictly is now the TV of choice and I’m going to spend that money saved on an extra Christmas present on  a rather gorgeous molten brown advent calendar I’ve been coveting. That dating site is looking very tempting, maybe just a little look…😀

Goodbye

Angela

xx

 

 

 

 

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The experience of living with cancer the past 10 years has taught me not to try and control my life or the situations that may arise only my reactions to it. How are you? Is the question that I’m asked everyday. My life has changed completely, I cannot see into the future or give you any answers as to if or when I will be better, I can only focus on what is around me and how I feel at the moment. Life does not always deal us what we expect but it is how we deal with it that makes us. There are positives to be found in every situation when we remember who we are…

No more is this true than this morning, I have woke to hear we are leaving the EU. The media has gone into meltdown, the Prime Minister has put forward his resignation. Panic is starting to set in, is it the end of a life as we know it? Things may get worse before we get better? So today the question is How are we?

“We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign – and to focus on that which unites us, rather than that which divides us.” London Mayor

I do love the fact the topic has been much discussed by all, igniting passions on both sides of the argument.  At a recent kids party while off to play laser tag the children were oblivious to the fact their mums were sitting around discussing which way to vote, an intelligent and civilised debate with most of us undecided or not wanting to commit, but we are all united in caring about the result, with a 70% turnout emotions are running high nationally too. I remember my mum every time a vote happened would tell the story of the suffrogettes and burning bras and how lucky a girl is to have a vote so yes mum I did vote yesterday, only deciding though as I put the pencil to paper.

The result to leave the EU is a brave and bold one, and one that most of us did not expect, rather amusingly including The Sun newspaper’s early first edition paper this morning with the wrong result. It seems it is time to leave the comfort and security of the Parents house and go it alone, to be independent, saying goodbye to our old life in exchange for a new challenge, only time will tell if this is the right thing to do.

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” Socrates

Learning lessons from my own life receiving changing news you do not expect, I will be looking to the positives and hoping that we will not be defined by this result but as a nation continue to be united and recognised as the compassionate, intelligent and creative country we have become. In the same way that I wish not to be seen as ‘Cancer’ but for my strength of personality and compassion and of course my gorgeous looks (ok I may be pushing it a little bit!!). We cannot change the decision, see into the future or have any answers as to if life will be better or worse. We can love all those around us while we focus on our strengths and negotiate the road ahead. To use a popular phrase in my house… ‘Hopefully we will be fine’

Love always

Angela xx

 

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Mr H would be amused by the fact 6 girls spent 4 hours fighting for the air space to tell their stories in so little time. I met up with all the girls last week at a new smart Turkish restaurant I’ve wanted to go to for ages. The place was great, quite a few Towie guests with trademark 4 inch heels and polished appearances but also normal crowds like us. As an excited mum allowed out for the night and one that can’t drink any alcohol right now, whilst chatting I managed to knock my mocktail flying across the table smashing all over the floor and narrowly missing the waitress, luckily she was very gracious about it. We covered many subjects good and bad through the evening finishing on the subject of our friend’s new car and her ‘posho’ (as my daughter says) mum with a 4×4 status. Bringing out the can’t drive, can’t park, should walk on the school run jokes. She didn’t stand a chance as we left when her car sat amusingly over the white lines of her parking space.

Sharing our lives together, the ‘C’ subject tends to be a big part, from my perspective it makes it possible for me to process things clearly, to be positive, the same reason I write this blog I suppose, its a therapeutic process. Whether conversation is between friends, with loved ones, a meeting at work, watching a tv chat show or even to yourself in the mirror (although I felt very stupid when I tried this one…) talking is a major part of our lives.

” Attention is the purest form of generosity.” Weil

This week myself and three other friends went up to the ITV studios in London to see Loose Women being filmed. We arrived early to get in the queue for our seats, the mention of Cancer in my spine and suddenly I was given Priority status by the production staff. The celebrity guest, as he walked in the door saw me seated outside in my chair with two other fragile ladies, said hello and then genuinely asked if I was ok with a look of not expecting to see me sitting there. I am very grateful that I currently look well but I’m sure it can make me look a bit of a fraud.

The VIP experience continued as the lovely production lady seated us first in the front row then we were chosen to sit on the panel to do the screen check, a cheeky chance to pretend how the other half live. Filming starts and out come the real four Loose Women ready to discuss much more everyday topics and contribute different stories from their lives. Heading off on various different tangents tackling personal subjects such as relationships, stress and shaving your legs! Giving away our female secrets, and yes I have also rushed out the door only to shave the parts of my legs that are showing. The experience is a good giggle and great fun as women talking is definitely a pastime we enjoy.

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Christian Partridge of Eastenders fame comes on to talk about his current projects and also explains his reason for taking part in Big Brother being to pay for the £46k a year bill to have his mum with Parkinson’s cared for in a nursing home. A very touching story about another tragic disease affecting a loved one, the emotion and pain clearly showed in his face as he told us. Life is not always easy not even for those with celebrity status, somehow we don’t expect these sort of dramas to affect their lives off screen. Obviously I am not the only one who realises you can’t have the sunshine without the rain.

“In the end it’s not the years in your life it’s the life in your years that count.”

Abraham Lincoln

There are so many subjects out there we can talk about, Cancer is just one of them and I am just another topic among many. Hearing about other people’s lives makes me realise how many people are affected by a chronic illness and how important their lives are too. I was comparing notes with a mum the other day who is also on a similar path to me about everyday subjects you still have to deal with and how multilayered life becomes when your health changes. The conversation obviously had a big impact on her as she surprised me with a lovely bouquet of flowers later that day for my ’40th’ birthday.

Change throughout our lives mean we are forever finding our new ‘normal’. Part of this rebalancing process are the conversations that surround us, Trivial or deep I love a good conversation it’s amazing what you find out about others and yourself.

Yours chatty as always…

Angela xxx

Well I’ve been 40 for exactly two weeks now and I’m really not sure how I am supposed to feel about this. If the weather was any kind of sign with the hurricane style winds and rain then bright  sunshine in between I have a feeling it’s going to be dramatic, with lots of ups and downs. I don’t feel much different and lots of people are genuinely shocked, they say I look younger than 40. I have no crows feet or grey hairs,  I’m not the size 10 I was at the age of thirty but I look ok. If so many say it they can’t be lying right???

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. – Aldous Huxley

I would embark on my mid-life crisis but I think that began when I got cancer ten years ago! I started my second course of chemo tabs today and Along with a cocktail of other drugs It’s no surprise I’m not ageing, I think I am being preserved for the future (hopefully).

10 years on from my original cancer diagnosis I am very excited to reach this milestone. One fab big 40 balloon from my daughter, bunting, birthday cards, too many presents to mention, flowers, dinner, amazing cake, disco lights and a party full of friends and family tick, tick, tick.

I love the chance to be spoilt, Birthday’s, Christmas, Mother’s Day but I also realise the most important part, the thing we remember most is the love of our friends and family. The thoughtful gestures and experiences, big hugs with childhood friends I haven’t seen for ages, blowing out candles while everyone sings Happy Birthday.

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Thick stripes, no thin, maybe one thick and two thin everything in three’s. Spots on the top layer, no stars to match the forty cake topper and ribbon around the bottom of each cake alternating with the mid-pink and the brown. Start with white icing at the top and then light pink with a mid pink at the bottom keeping the colours in the right order. I have to say a 10-year-old with access to google images makes for an ambitious cake. One perfectionist, a creative daughter and the helper also with a scary eye for attention to detail and my 40th birthday cake is born.

Birthday’s are natures way of telling us to eat more cake” Jo Brand

Where has the time gone, I’m not cured but am surviving and of course celebrating… I use the ‘life’s too short’ excuse but that’s not very mindful in my case and you can see people’s faces drop when I say it as they think my life may be just that. My bank balance does not appreciate my less careful attitude towards spending these days either, it’s a no go for our plans to fly due to the chemo and stubborn progress of my health so that’s one saving. Other exciting birthday plans do however need enjoying for now and ‘you only live once!’ Oh no there I go again….

I applied the same attention to detail to my cake as I did choosing my birthday present with Mr H and took ages…. With the matching earrings to complete the look I say?? How could he possibly say no 😘. We got our ‘Love Actually‘ moment and our very own Rowan Atkinson style assistant at the jewellery counter with special gift wrapping And a bow, but instead of the lavender this time I got a bottle of champagne! Which annoyingly I cannot drink right now but my sister-in-law bought me a chocolate champagne bottle instead and this certainly is allowed.

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As we sat outside in the gorgeous warm sunshine the morning after my party eating pancakes on my new birthday patio furniture watching the girls enjoy the last hour on the bouncy castle from the night before I remember thinking I like the way this decade is starting. Now life is getting back to reality, the flowers are past there best, the decorations need to come down and a parking ticket landed on my doorstep yesterday.

But what am I saying ‘life begins at….’ I’m 40 for a whole year and the sun is shining, the Isle of Wight is calling and I need to have my friend over for lunch in return for making my cake and enjoy another spa night with my daughter 😀😀.

Thank you for all making me feel indulged, spoilt and loved.

Love always

Angela

xxx

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I am reminded of that song that says ‘the DJ saved my life’. After my recent dramatic brush with a&e (which was ok in the end) I was left feeling very bruised emotionally, like those around me. Love does funny things to you when it’s given something heavy to deal with especially when you add in the ‘c’ word. I needed an escape, a distraction something good.

I’m laying here in my usual writing spot, in bed at silly hours listening to Adele. She is my ‘Dj that saved my life’. December last year I spent hours via the iPad/phone and computer in an online waiting room trying to get tickets to see Adele at the o2, and I was lucky to. After what seems like forever the date finally arrived last week and typically Mr H had man flu and I was 3 days out of hospital. There was no question hit the drugs cupboard we were on the train and not missing this under any circumstances.

Sitting in the audience waiting the sense of excitement and anticipation is infectious, 2 lighting engineers are abseiled up to their spotlights high up in the gods above our heads and I have no idea how anyone could do that job. The audience falls silent someone has spotted something, a head starts to appear coming up from the middle of the stage, she starts with ‘Hello‘ and the crowd roars, me included. We have amazing seats only 10 rows from the front, I have waited so long to get here I sit on the edge of my seat with wide eyes and love every second.

There is so much emotion in her singing it feels personal, she finds a cancer survivor in the audience and invites her on stage for a big hug and a selfie. Another young girl has made a big poster and everyone laughs when she says can I keep this and the young girl says no, Time for another selfie. Stories continue between songs about her pink thong and lots of her trademark colourful language to go with it, her personality shines through she connects with her audiences and is clearly relaxed. We are told her glass of wine is ready backstage to celebrate her last night, meanwhile on stage she stands there with her mug of hot honey and lemon.

The production is equally impressive especially when ‘set fire to the rain’ Is sung inside a cage of falling rain.

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Her voice is faultless and powerful throughout, the night went too quickly every song a new favourite, the night ends on a climax with ‘Rolling in the deep’ and paper confetti released over our heads. Like a kid at a wedding I’m grabbing the air to catch as many as I can each one is printed with a handwritten message.

‘ throw your soul through every open door’

and ‘thank you for coming’ no thank you for inspiring me, the last few weeks is definitely, ‘water under the bridge’. It’s my new bedtime favourite to remind me to brush life off and move on. Part one of 40th birthday celebrations done.

Enjoy the sunshine

Love always

Angela xx


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I’ve been struggling to write my blog this last month, how to pitch it, what to share, what I say? Until I saw a recent blog titled ‘write like no one’s watching’ when I realised this blog is my thoughts and feelings whatever they are, not always funny or thoughtful sometimes grumpy and just the way they are. Don’t be too selective or worry about what image I portray just tell it how it is, chat as though I am talking to a friend.

There comes a point in life when you have to stop reading other people’s books and write your own” Albert Einstein
The last month I have been surviving at home without a boiler in a kind of camping stay cation, with our blankets, hot water bottles and lots of heaters. Laying on the rug in front of the log burner with blankets watching the flames with Mr H and the girls wrapped up on the sofa watching films and even the cat finding her hot spot too,has been an opportunity to spend cosy times together and warm each other. We have at one point even toasted marshmallow’s on it. There has been some competition over who starts the best fire, turn’s out it’s quite the natural instinct to want to create fire.

The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses” Edith Sodergran

When the first engineer came out, I answered the door to be greeted by a jolly , ‘it’s chilly out here today!’ I knew then my sense of humour was not going to last long as I stood their in 4 layers of clothes. Thanks to the lovely girl at Npower who spoke to her manager for me a grant helped us to quickly defrost with a brand new boiler. It’s amazing how cold your walls can get with no heating for 6 weeks and how long it takes to get them warm again (about 4 days for future reference).

Watching my daughter’s school play about World War II It does make you realise our generation are so lucky in this country not to be living during Wartime, I can’t even remember the last time there was a power cut. It puts my comments about my boiler into some perspective, not to mention having to evacuate my daughter on a two day school trip. I cannot imagine how parents did it back then for even longer? I wouldn’t fancy living on rations either but I have just had a hospital lunch and I don’t think there’s was much difference.

My cancer was feeling left out it had become more settled even improved a little, it was no longer the centre of my attention. I lay here writing this in Queen’s hospital my neck has hurt a lot the last two days and my oncologist doesn’t like it she has brought me in overnight for an urgent scan to check it. My daughter came in to see me with the little best mum teddy I love along with my partner and his daughter they all packed me an overnight bag with a cheeky flake in their too! Love and Chocolate fixes everything. Sleeping here would of been ok except for the noises through the night from the other three beds which can only compare to the noises in “The Walking Dead” I know I’m being mean, they are are elderly but no sleep makes you really grumpy. I’ve had a lovely chat with Bertha next to me this morning from Wales who turns out also has cancer and is clearly worse off than me so now I feel guilty thinking that.

Some results are back no immediate emergencies and I can go home, just something else causing trouble this month. Cancer is not a fun process it brings out all different emotions in people and lots of questions there are not always answers to.

This angel has lost some of her sparkle this month for sure but it’s the beginning of April and the sun is shining again. Spring has always been my favourite season with the new tulips and daffodils, the clocks have gone forward, the evenings are getting lighter and leaves are starting to grow on the trees, positive is coming back. Even more positive I turn 40 at the end of the month, it’s a chance to regain some fun and i have much celebrating to do. Unlike many others who dread turning 40 and look back at a past decade I cannot wait to reach a new one. It’s will be 10 years ago I started my cancer journey, another big milestone to be thankful for.

I decided last year to mark this by embarking on 40 random acts of kindness of all different sizes to complete by the time I am 40. A chance to give back and brighten someone’s day. Only I am running out of time now it Looks like I’m gonna be very caring in the next few weeks… I still have 18 to go!

But I make no promises my time keeping has never been the best. 😜

Love Always

Angela xx

 

 

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After a busy day I walk into his office leave my shoes in the corridor and throw my coat over the first chair I come to and then wander over to his desk to sit in the comfy office chair and lean back, then I’m keen to find out what’s been happening today? As soon as he sees me he smiles its good to see each other after a long day at work. I notice lots of paperwork over his desk, you really should tidy these up I say, putting them alphabetically in a new in-tray perhaps? I don’t get any response which is strange I would expect this idea to be helpful? Realising it’s nearly 6pm I’m keen to eat something, I’m starving, I have no idea what we are doing for dinner? With any luck he has been to the new trendy bakery on the south bank in his break to get one of my favourite cupcakes.

I can see out of the corner of my eye the flat screen TV on the wall of the office which has the news on it. As I walk closer I can see on the way inside the small office kitchen, all the dirty washing up is all piled up on the side. What have they been doing all day? I proceed to the cupboard to find a wine glass and then pour from the cheeky bottle of pink bubbles in my bag… It’s been a long day.

I walk back across the office And I can see he has laid out some dinner on the meeting room table for us to enjoy, he is standing there with a grin of anticipation he knows he has done well. As I walk into the room he pulls out a chair for me to sit down. You look like you’ve had a busy day sit down and relax he says…

So how was your day he asks attentively? I mainly worked on the junior training programme and started implementing my new reward scheme with my boss, i need to raise key questions about the future communications within my team I tell him. We touched base with all the latest playground developments and the research trip to the science museum is now confirmed in the diary. I ask what have you been up to today?

Before I hear his reply there is a noise in the background? ‘Morning its 7.30 on Tuesday‘ the DJ cheerfully announces thanks to my bedroom radio. That heavy feeling on my chest is not work related stress, in fact it’s my cat sitting on my duvet purring away flicking her tail across my face whilst I sleep in a not subtle effort to wake me up and get fed.

Nearly 10 years ago now the relationship with my career in design was overtaken by a new relationship: motherhood. No longer am I that girl running to catch the 8.32 to Fenchurch street that gave me an extra ten minutes in bed and got me to work with minutes to spare. Now we are shortly going to be running with school bags and a scooter to the school gates before the door shuts at 8.55am, somethings don’t change, mornings have never really been my strong point. So every weekday morning the chaos begins, remember the homework, the swimming bag, where are my school shoes? Where’s the form for parent’s evening? I have to bring in a microphone and rap outfit for today mummy? I just need to check is my snow still in the freezer??

If being a mother were a job there’d be a selection process, pay, holidays, a superior to report to, performance assessments, Friday drinks, and you could resign from your job and get another one because you didn’t like the people you were working with. It’s not a vocation either – being a mother is a relationship” Catherine Deveny, The Guardian

Those skills from work are not just needed for business but for life. Particularly parenthood, with new targets, moving boundaries, increasing challenges and short deadlines. Multi-task, listen, negotiate, compromise, patience, leadership and management are just to name a few. I need to think outside the box, play in the box, cut up the box and jump over the box.

“In parenting roles you get a chance to do a lot of the same things you do as a manager,” Ruderman says. “You get to hone your interpersonal skills. You learn how to develop other people. It’s another opportunity to learn from experience.” Marian N. Ruderman, research director at the Center for Creative Leadership www.forbes.com

Its ironic that now I am not working in London anymore and looking after my daughter that I now have the patience of a saint and fantastic negotiation skills, I have to listen daily to the requests for a mobile phone! now it is time to pass on those patience and compromise skills to my daughter because she isn’t getting one yet…

Angela xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 years ago on this very morning I lost the love of my life… My Mum. A life gone, cruelly cut short too soon leaving a big hole in my heart. It’s now 18 years on and my life has changed beyond recognition from that day. My degree, my career, 3 homes, 1 marriage,  1 daughter, 2 cancers, 1 cat, 1 divorce, and much more in between.

She has missed a lot in her life and mine making me realise never take somebody you love for granted, it is not guaranteed they will always be by your side. My memories are happy rather than painful now, a childhood that I felt loved, happy, confident and safe.  The Birthday’s and Christmas times she created, her 40th birthday party and the ants eating her cake on the dining room table the next day.  I remember the note she left in my pack lunch on my first school trip, our first family caravan holiday when myself and my sister spent the two weeks with chicken pox and she swore she would never set foot in a caravan again.

There are certain times in my life that I miss her to talk to, yes all the obvious ones of course but its navigating life and the everyday stuff that you know she would of understood what to do as only mums can. I watch my daughter at 10 as she hits her teenage phase and one minute she loves me, then I’m so embarrassing, why don’t I do exactly what she wants? so then she hates me, how could I possibly understand her? This does make me giggle it’s scary how much she is like me at that age and how much I have turned into my mother, I have learned many lessons from my daughter and carry on to try and understand how children work as other Mums before me.

When you take the time to actually listen, with humility, to what people have to say, it’s amazing what you can learn. Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be children.”
― Greg Mortenson, Writer

The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds Channel 4 (wk07)..... L-R Oliver and Luke

Photo: Katie Hyams                                                  The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds                            Channel 4

I will do my best, I won’t always get it right but I will try. That unconditional love between a parent and child is always there even if you can’t always be together but is worth it for those times that you are.

In Loving memory of my Mum (1949-1998)

Thank you

Love Angela xx

 

 

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Christmas is done for another year and everyone has gone home, elf has returned and my daughter is now taking full advantage of late to bed and late up.  Six recycling sacks sit in the hallway, I have done the washing up and I’ve moved stuff around the house. Despite my oven blowing up 2 days before Christmas and realising I had 1 teabag left on the morning we pulled it off! The tree, the elf, crackers, turkey, presents, Christmas pudding and party games all get a big tick! My daughter gave me the most loving and thoughtful card I’ve ever had and I’m super pleased with my gorgeous girlfriend one with lots of kisses. The full vision of Christmas was enjoyed as planned.

A friend’s daughter asked for donations of hats and gloves before Christmas so she could hand them out to the homeless in London, inspired by this thoughtful gesture we went yesterday to drop off the food we have also been collecting every week in our food shop to the food bank along with some Christmas goodies we didn’t use for someone else to enjoy. Its just as nice to give as to receive this time of year and is always so gratefully received. Christmas heightens all your feelings, some of those deep personal feelings from present and past have a way of creeping to the surface when we hit post party after Boxing Day. This is because we care and it’s what makes us human, no ones life is perfect but we love it anyway.

I have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. Salvador Dali, Artist and Writer.

Our cupboards are also far from perfect so the January clear out has started early I have filled 5 black sacks just from my daughters room, the advantage of turning ten is she is now too cool for princess outfits and her toys cars,  Topsy and Tim and the Rainbow Fairies have made the cut too. I feel a bit sad remembering her playing with these but 10 is the new 13 we are now making room for the lava lamp, fur coat, knee high heeled boots and make up, she has now after all these years started to discover brand culture, although thankfully lego is still a brand she loves.

After all the indulges of Christmas I have had a few false starts on the detox and health campaign and tonight is New Year’s Eve! I need to stop living on tree chocolates, left over turkey and biscuit selections! This one will have to wait a day though and be a proper New Year’s resolution along with the rest of the country. Mary Portas showed us last night what we have bought this year and yes I have my ‘Deliciously Ella’ cookbook of healthy recipes and now need to update my wardrobe with trendy athleisurewear, my daughter also wants a spiralizer for our vegetables. This has made me think, here are just a few of my discoveries from this year:

  • Give up trying to get my daughter in to bed by 8.30pm.
  • Loom bands are out.
  • Forget normal TV Amazon prime and Netflix is the way to go.. I highly recommend outlander, hunger games and suits.
  • Say yes more.
  • It’s ok to be nice.
  • Everybody should have someone that makes them feel special.
  • Sit down and relax you will feel better for it.
  • Going out to dinner is not good for the waistline.
  • You can run most of your life from bed on your iPhone and it takes better images than your camera.
  • Less butter less sugar… Apple juice is very bad.
  • Life is about balance, good and bad come in equal measure if one is more than the other something will correct this.
  • A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other…

I lay here at 10am in bed writing with my cat purring on top of me, tomorrow is the start of a New Year and we are in a totally different place now. It’s been a tough one to navigate and I have seen new heights and lows in love, motherhood and friendships this year. There have been a few spanners in the works I didn’t expect but they have confirmed how lucky I am to be loved by those around me which I will always be grateful for this. I get it now love conquers all

Thank you and enjoy your adventures next year… I wish everyone a loving and fabulous 2016 and here is a quote from a guilty pleasure, one of several Christmas films I’ve watched:

You have a brain in your head, and feet in your shoes, so go ahead and seek, whatever direction you chose! Chalet Girl 2011

So from your Writer, Designer, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Gorgeous girlfriend, Best friend, Teenage PA, Cook, Shopper, Cleaner, Decorator, talks too much, should exercise more, must do the washing up and so on again next year… Love always xx

 

 

 

 

Help! I'm a stay-at-home mum

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ovaryandout

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

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