Thursday, 3 January 2013

A review of 2012

Another year has come to an end, another birthday has passed and I am now 36 and getting older by the second. Things could not be more different at the end of 2012 than I had expected. Life has not necessarily panned out the way I had planned. But with all the unexpected, or the stressful, comes great gain and precious lessons, if one is simply willing to learn from life.

I thought it would be worth sitting for a while and just thinking over the year. It should be a therapeutic exercise at least.  What am I grateful for? What have I learned? How have I grown? What can I change?

I'm going to start by writing a list of things that happened in 2012. Things that (good, bad, or just plain funny) made it a year worth living.... (in date order) ((There are links to photos where relevant))

  • We adopted our newest member of the family ... Basil 
  • I remembered the one year anniversary of the execution of my death row friend
  • I organised a successful singer/songwriter gig night for charity which went really well and raised a respectable amount of money
  • I managed to get 6 burly firemen to arrive at my house, sirens blaring, to save a child in distress, then fed them cake in my kitchen
  • Several local newspapers wrote articles about my doula work and training
  • I completed my doula training with Nurturing Birth and became one of the few qualified working doulas in NI.
  • I had surgery on my poor broken nose and can now breath again
  • The kids and I went on a fun and fabulous weekend break to Ballycastle and stayed in a mobile home, and had just the best time ever. 
  • I made my doula website.
  • I had my heart broken.
  • I lost 2 stone and went down two dress sizes
  • I had my first doula client
  • Had a weekend away in Derry which resulted in the start of a great friendship
  • Saw Gomez in concert and met the band members :)
  • Saw Newton Faulkner & Imelda May in concert in Derry with some good friends.
  • I trained and qualified as NI's very first placenta encapsulation specialist and set up my website
  • The Irish Times did a 3 page article about my placenta work, and various other papers also wrote features, plus I was interviewed on countless radio stations. 
  • I encapsulated my first placenta as a specialist :)
  • I made another good friend in the town I live in who proved to be a goodun :)
  • I went on a series of hilarious and hellish internet dates (and was asked out in tesco carpark by a mad man)
  • The two little kids and I went on the best holiday ever! Yurting in Ireland. We had the best week of our lives and awesome sunshine too.
  • Completed the first two parts of my antental course getting over 98% in every single assignment. Bit proud :)
  • I saw Ministry in concert
  • I was diagnosed with heamochromatosis 
  • I finally got to see the Foo Fighters in concert! (And The Black Keys)
  • My beautiful grandmother passed away and I travelled to England for her funeral with my eldest son.
  • Took my older two kids on a holiday to Portugal where we had a lovely relaxing week! 
  • My baby girl started her first day at nursery school.
  • A good friend became an even better friend :)
  • I saw Jack White in concert!
  • I walked through  the streets of Belfast dressed as a sexy beer wench!
  • Saw Newton Faulkner in both Belfast and Dublin and suffered the mortifying embarrassment of spelling his name wrong on our banner! (NOT MY FAULT!)
  • I started belly casting
  • I finally went on a first date that wasn't a complete waste of time and met a new fella :) 
  • I cast three faces and six bellies
  • Hosted a fun belly dancing and Moroccan food night at my house
  • Saw Thin Lizzy in concert
  • Got given two guitars!
So, all in all its been a good year. There have been some hard times and I've not listed them all. But no matter how painful a thing seems, it also brings positives with it. I feel stronger, more independent, wiser... I trust myself more. I am damn proud of myself for all that I have achieved this year with my work.  I am most grateful for the new and old friendships that have become stronger this year, and for the people who offered love and support when things were tough. It's been a year of serious giggles that culminated in a grand finale of me falling butt first into a bands set on my birthday. What a way to finish the year, eh. I am grateful for a year of good health for both myself and my babies. They are all growing into beautiful young people who I know will make me proud. 

Three Good Things...

I've been really slack with blogging the last few years. I simply don't have the time to do what needs to be done every day, nevermind extra luxuries such as blogging. But I really like the idea that my kids and I can look back on these blogs in years to come. When I'm gone I hope that they will be of some value to my children.

So in an attempt to get back into the swing of things I am going to attempt to write three good things about each day. We will see if it lasts or not!

Todays three good things;

1) I got to eat left over cauliflower cheese for the third day running. Nomm.

2) A friend made my day by offering to come over tomorrow for a girlie natter & nibbles.

3) I took the little ones to McDonalds for breakfast and delighted in watching wee Rosie run around excitedly exploring every nook and cranny of the restaurant. It made me smile to see her happy, carefree excitement.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Grandma. Rest In Peace.

I've been quite sad this week. I've been thinking for the last few weeks about visiting my Grandma. To say goodbye really. Not that she was really unwell. But I wanted to just see her before it was too late. It turns out that it is too late.

I was half way through an encapsulation when I got a call to say that my Grandma had passed away. It was quite a shock, as although elderly, I didn't realise she was unwell. I am glad to hear that her passing was at least peaceful, and that she wasn't alone.

I've not really lost a family member before that I've considered myself close to. I lost two other grandparents but we weren't close. But my Grandma took me in as a teenager and I lived with her for a few years. She was the single only adult in my life at the time that seemed to actually like me and enjoy my company.  Every day when I got home from school she would have a cup of tea and a snack waiting on the kitchen table and I would sit and chat with her. She always wanted to know about my day and to tell me about hers. She used to tell me that she liked having me there and that I was good company for her.

I was going through my weird independent, alternative phase at the time (ok, admittedly I am still going through it.... perhaps its not a phase?) and she always encouraged it. I'd quite often get grief from people in the 'church' who didn't like my weirdness and wanted me to be like everyone else. She would always stick up for me and told me to take no notice of them. I remember her telling me not to be a boring sheep like everyone else, and that she liked my creativity and difference. She was impressed that I managed to go into charity shops and buy old lady clothes, then cut them up and reshape them to make my own style and saw this as thriftiness and creativeness.  I remember her getting very cross with the pastor when he complained about my clothes and she pointed out to him that half the girls in the church were almost naked and looked like prostitutes, whilst I was covered down to my feet!

I used to get a lot of grief from the bus driver that took us to and from school. I lived at the very last stop in Grafty Green which was over an hour in the bus from Maidstone. If I went to an after school club then I'd have to get the last bus home and he didn't like this. If there was no one on the bus at Kingswood he could skip the rest of the route and get home early. So, consequently when I got onto the bus he would get annoyed that he wouldn't be getting home for tea early.  He spent a few weeks moaning at me about it and telling me I wasn't allowed to get that bus. When I continued to do so he started avoiding me at bus stops and refusing to pick me up.... pretending he hadn't seen me!  A few times I got stranded in Maidstone with no way of getting home. Well, Grandma was furious about this and was straight onto the phone to the bus people. She made a formal complaint about him leaving poor teenage girls stranded in town at night.... and he got fired! Well, she was my heroine at this point! The grouchy arse of a bus driver was replaced with a really lovely guy and all was good again :)

As a young child I remember many visits to Grandma and Granddads house. I remember staying there for about two weeks over Christmas whilst we waited for our baby sister to be born. Grandma used to make us these lunches.... bits and bobs from the fridge or cupboards. We came to call them Grandma lunches and to this day my own kids (and I think my sisters too) will request Grandma lunches even though they probably don't realise where the term came from.

When I lived there she used to buy me a pomegranate with every weekly shop as I had never had one before. The first time she bought it simply because I had never had one before and didn't know what they were. Then every week when she did the shop she bought me another one and I'd have to sit and pick through all the pips and try to enjoy it! Sometimes we would go for walks through the country lanes in grafty green, and one time I remember going to a WI meeting with her! She took me on a huge long walk once, when I was about 15, that near killed me, and she spent the whole time telling me how unfit I was for my age. She was way fitter than me!

My Grandma has had a special place in my heart since I lived there. I have found it quite hard over the years seeing her getting old and declining. But it is nice to think back and remember her as she was. She said what she meant and she was good hearted. One Christmas she took an old lady from the church in to stay with us because she would be spending that Christmas alone otherwise, even though this woman would put anyones head away. Grandma (and I think Granddad at one point) ended up coming up to my bedroom and asking "can I sit and listen to your horrible music with you" just to get her head showered!

What I remember most fondly about my Grandma during my teenage years living with them, was that she fiercely stood up for me during times of upset or stress when others were being judgmental or controlling. She made sure I believed in myself and ignored them, which is something I have continued to do until this day, and for that I am very thankful. She was a bit ahead of her time I think!

I remember that as a young child, at primary school, I joined a sewing club.   I made this pink furry heart shaped cushion for Grandma. She had this sort of stone cat that sat on her fireplace and she put the cat on the heart cushion. It was there for all the years I was growing up and living with them. I wonder what happened to the heart cushion, and the stone cat. It always made me smile as an adult to see that cat still sitting on my pathetic pink heart cushion that I made as a little girl.

Rest in peace Grandma. You will be missed by those that loved you. I hope that where ever you are, you have all your happy memories back and know how much you were loved. I'll miss you.

Doing what I love to do...

My life always seems to be changing. Nothing stays the same for long. I'm always readjusting. I reckon I'd probably get bored if life was just the same every day.

This year has brought changes too. Especially in the last few months. I've found myself unexpectedly single again and that gave me a good kick up the arse to do what I actually wanted to do with my life. In the last few years I've trained as a nutritionist, as a doula and more recently as a placenta encapsulation specialist. I felt that it was time to do something with all of this.

So the last few months I've been working myself silly getting my businesses up and running and am now working self employed. It's scary, but exciting. Take a look at my doula website and also my placenta website and let me know what you think.  I'm starting to get busy now and work is coming in. I've completed a few encapsulations and have more booked in for the coming months. I also have a fair bit of postnatal doula work booked in too.  It feels so good to be working.... but not only working, but working in a job that I absolutely love. I am loving every minute of it and feel really empowered and self reliant. It does however mean that the house is messier than usual and I've far less time for other pursuits, but it's totally worth it.

I feel a bit proud of myself really. I've done this myself, off my own back. I've worked really damn hard (and still am.... half way through my ante natal teachers course). I've done radio interviews, heaps of newspaper articles, written a guest article for a parenting magazine and am going to be on the TV soon.


Yurting with the little ones

It's hard to believe that the summer holidays are almost over. It has flown past. Although we have done so much and had such a lovely time.

A few weeks back I took the little two on holiday. I plan to take the big two on a holiday soon as well. The idea being that I can really spend some quality time in an environment suited to their ages. It was bliss to get away with them. I was a little worried at first.... how would I cope for a whole week without adult conversation? But it was grand and I relished being able to enjoy their company without constant pulls towards work or chores.

We stayed at a cute place called Teapot Lane Luxury Yurt camp, by the sea in Ireland. It was gorgeous, and we managed to pick a week of pretty awesome weather too. Beach and swimming in the sea weather! We stayed in a yurt, which the kids absolutely loved. It was lovely in the evenings, all lit by candles. Every night there was a group bonfire and the kids sat around making friends and roasting mashmallows together.

The week was just great and a holiday they will always remember. The stuff childhoods are made from. We spent days at the beach and Rosie discovered a love for paddling in the sea. We had BBQ's, bonfires, went bowling, to the cinema, visited an organic centre, went to the funfair, played in the amusements and ate far too much bad food.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Summer holidays

The summer holidays are here again, although you wouldn't know it as it's been the wettest July on record. But it's really nice to be a bit more chillaxed and not have to stick to school routines.  I took the three youngest to the aquarium last week. Rosie has never been before so she was mega excited. I bought her some travel sickness tablets to use on the way and they seemed to really help her with the journey. She loved seeing all the fish and couldn't wait to move from one bit to the next with the excitement of it all. She also really enjoyed the excitement of getting the ferry across to the aquarium.  After a few hours she got overtired and over stimulated by it all and got really cross and teary, but she was a star really. Here are some photos...

Thursday, 5 July 2012


I have a new phone and have been messing around with one of the photo aps on it....


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Mad As A Hatter....

I just had to post a few photos from my wee nieces birthday party. She had a Hatters Tea Party at my Mums house and it was a great event.  I really just want to load some of the pics on here to remember in the future as everyone looked class :)

Getting the party ready.

Most of the clan ready to feast. 

Aunty H and the birthday girl.

Rosie enjoying a proper cup of good English tea from a miniature china cup that actually looks the right size when she holds it!

Aunty M

Tarja, aged 15

Sisters :-) All mad as hatters.

Best photo ever.

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