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.
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.
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.
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...
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!
So much has changed lately. As always, life is never dull, and I find myself entering yet another new phase in life. I feel optimistic and excited.
In March I completed training as a birth and post natal doula and have been part of a doula charity since then. I'm also a quarter of the way through my training as a birth preparation (ante-natal) teacher. I've lots more work to do on that yet and it'll be a good few months before I finish the course, but I am learning so much and enjoying the process. But what I am most excited about at the moment is that I recently trained and qualified as Northern Ireland's very first Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. Yep, I'm gonna be turning placentas into tablets. Yay! It's not every ones cup of tea, I grant you that, but I am excited to be able to offer this service to women in NI. If you want to read more about it you can visit my new website.
So, I've been down to citizens advice and found out what I have to do to get working. I need to write to the benefits office and write to the Inland Revenue and then I will be ready to go. Part time at first, as my life doesn't have many free hours as it is!
In other news.... I joined slimming world, and in 5 weeks I've lost 18lbs and gone down two jean sizes. So that is good and I have legs to die for now (although I still have a wobbly tummy, but after 4 kids I don't think thats gonna change too quickly!)
Now that I'm single again I've gotta make sure I look a million dollars at all times, so I'm losing weight and I dyed my hair red. Not so that I can get a man (I'm sick of men!) but so that I can feel good about myself and build my confidence up. I have been on a few dates but nothings really caught my fancy. I don't think theres many decent fish left in the sea. Plenty of perverts and lunatics from what I can tell.
I took a weekend trip to Derry recently with a very good friend. We stayed in a travel lodge hotel for two nights and spent literally the entire weekend talking. We didn't see very much of Derry, apart from a brief walk across the Peace Bridge, but we talked non stop. It was so nice to spend time with her and catch up and I can't wait to do it again. Although next time we might venture a little further and drink a little less gin.
The kids are all growing up way too fast. No blog post would be complete without some photos of them, of course.
Here we have young Barney dressed up as a King for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at school, with his little sister who is his best friend at the moment, and simply adores him. She can't wait until 3pm each day when he finishes school. He's a good big brother.
Rosie will be starting nursery school in September and has suddenly grown up so fast. She is very like Barney in her personality and behaviour. She's a hilarious little madam and great company. Her vocabulary is brilliant, just like Barneys was at that age. She sounds like a little professor at times.
Badger will be turning 17 next week. I know! Seventeen! As you can see Rosie loves him to bits too. She is so lucky to have so many people around that adore her. I am sure to write a blog post about his birthday. He wants a laptop but he's saved up a lot of money towards it as there's no way I could afford to buy him one.
And here are the girls with a cake they made their Daddy for Fathers Day. Aren't they both so beautiful? Tarja is like a second Mummy to little Rosie.
So, just to finish this is a family photo we took a few days ago on Fathers Day. The girls made Daddy the cake and the boys helped me cook Daddy a roast. He was spoiled with presents and drawings and the usual stuff. The kids had a great day spoiling their Daddy and he didn't seem to mind either.