Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poem oblivion

Severe M.E

Heart thumping, beating far too fast to count
Sensation of slow rotating in your head like an old carousel
Jerks hitting your limp body with the impact of lightening bolts
Spasms rippling up and down legs like waves bobbing on the open sea
An oblivion is opening, you start to descend

Oblivion, nothing, darkness

A moment of clarity returns, fleeting like a spark in the night
Heart slower but poison courses through veins
Light sequences dance over your eyes like a firework display
Awareness of limbs grow, odd positions which you can't change
How long was I out for?

My mind returns

Questions start emerging, where am I?
What time and day is it, early or late?
Is the oblivion closing or waiting for my next decent?
Sudden thirst, could I manage a sip of water?
The oblivion is opening, you start to descend.

It's going to be a long night

New Years resolutions

New Years resolutions
-Improve my diet, especially less sugar
-Write more
-Wasteless time and energy online
-Try and see more people but over do it less when I see them
-Continue to declutter with Mum and Dad
-Do more creative things/craft
-Send a card to everyone for their birthday instead of enclosing it with their Christmas gift
-The biggest is 'Hannah-Esquing', you know how some over weight people have a 'diet buddy' to encourage each other, well my fab friend Jessica (click her name to see the Daily Mail article about her) to rest rest rest and pace pace pace. The name inspired by the very inspiring
(click on her name then scroll) who achieved what we want more than anything- to get better, for pain and suffering to become a distant memory rather than a torturous reality.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hiding Christmas presents

Kids are notorious for snooping and finding Christmas presents and it's easy for adults to accidentally come across a present stashed away.

One simple solution is to put them in a box and then in the loft/attic. Unless kids can get the heavy step ladder, climb it and pull themselves up through the hatch then the presents are safe, just don't forget you put them there!

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This is an entry into Hudl Christmas Cheer Competition

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Very severe M.E, seeing an invisible illness is believing

ME (Myalgic encephalomyelitis or Myalgic encephalopathy, mistakenly called chronic fatigue syndrome (Cfs)) is a neurological condition that is poorly understood by the medical profession and the general public. It can vary from people who work full time to those who are bedridden for decades, sometimes it is fatal.

As some of you know I have Severe ME, it has varied over the years as to quite how severe, from being able to go downstairs (on a stairlift) and lay on the sofa for an hour to completely paralysed. People only ever see me on that good moment on the sofa as very severe ME is invisible.

 Many people don't realise how severe ME can be due to people being stuck in bed unable to be part of the outside world. It's an invisible condition on the whole but one brave friend has spent months putting this together to show some of what she goes through.

Please please take a moment to look, reflect on what it must be like for that to of been your life for over a decade (the person is still classed as 'young') and then share it with friends. She rarely has a voice but you can give her one by sharing this.

 Visible ME #1: an actual pic of my room when the lights are out. I live in total darkness.
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Visible ME #2: my room with lights on for carers; a soft red glow (less red than in pic).
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Visible ME #3: Smartphone: Window on world; saves energy; aids communication.
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Visible ME #4: some of my cooling equipment for hot flushes and sweats.
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Visible ME #5: all sound is very painful and exhausting. I need earplugs 24-7.
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Visible ME #6: Draught excluder. Can't bear even a crack of light.
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Visible ME #7: red and amber bulbs; cannot tolerate any bright light.
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Visible ME #8: too poorly to use mug, everything is administered by syringe
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Visible ME #9: Even dim light very painful and exhausting. Need eye protection at all times.
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Visible ME #10: I use pads due to double urge-incontinence and being too poorly to use a bedpan.
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Visible ME #11: Tube-fed as too much pain and exhaustion to eat and drink.
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Visible ME #12: vital advice, support and awareness, which is hard to come by
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Visible ME #13: bed cradle to keep the duvet off my bent feet and prevent further damage.
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Visible ME #14: Smell and chemical sensitivity makes me very ill and severely limits me
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Visible ME #15: ME causes many types of constant, severe pain all over the body.
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Visible ME #16: soft, loose clothing, bedding etc, due to pain, discomfort, touch-sensitivity
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Visible ME #17: daily cocktails of drugs, though doctors are uneducated about appropriate symptom-relief
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Visible ME #18: profile bed required to assist carers due to my severe lack of mobility
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Visible ME #20: baby spoons required for very occasional oral feeding as they they are small
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Visible ME #21: weakened body and immune-system means more susceptible to infections
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Visible ME #22: all products have to be completely non-scented (inc no chemical smell). They are hard to find!
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Visible ME #23: communication is so difficult. Special aides are needed for when I can't speak at all
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Visible ME #24: Nausea and vomiting can be a big part of everyday life with ME
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If you would like to leave a message for my friend who did this then please leave a comment and I will pass it on.

The Works, didn't work and won't be buying anything from them again

In the past I've spent a lot of money with The Works both from myself and my charity. Every Christmas there are several gifts under the tree from The Works website. Or that should say there was and there won't be this year or again.

Last year I ordered lots of cuddly toys on a bogof offer. I ordered lots in the same range but apparently that doesn't count so I didn't get the discount. Add to this I would of got 4 of each but they only 1 or 3 in stock of each item thus meaning you never got your free one. I've noticed this before and been suspicious. Low and behold the offer ended and the very next day they were back in stock. Very dodgy!

Still I went and did a big Christmas order, lots of different things, some better value than others, or rather they would of been if half ever turned up! Seriously 50% if not more of the items were never received (but I was charged). I patiently waited for my other items but aside my tub of candyfloss arriving around 2 weeks later, the rest never turned up, nor was a refund issues.

When the candyfloss did arrive it was in a huge box with lots of packaging holding it completely secure, I found this odd seeing as I had ordered 4 garden candles (glass candle holder on a long stick), and they decided to packaging them with just one small layer of bubble wrap and brown paper, who thinks that is enough to protect glass? As soon as they arrived you could hear at least one was broken, upon opening (and showering little bits of glass everywhere while doing so) I found all 4 were completely smashed, they weren't at all repairable and had to be thrown.

I emailed but my items were never sent or refunded and a year on of course nothing has been done. I would of rung head office or written to them but as some of you know I had just come home from a really long hospital stay and wasn't well enough to be doing so (which is why it tired to do all my Christmas shopping in one place, shame I chose The Works).

In conclusion I won't be giving another penny to The Works and good luck with getting discount offers or your items, let alone items in one piece!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Seeing Father Christmas

Every year Father Christmas comes down our road to raise money for local causes. I have always loved this and as a child thought he was the only real Father Christmas. Quite why the real Father Christmas sits in a trailer being pulled by a car with a wooden reindeer I don't know but I did think that!

Even as an adult I love seeing it and every year I watch from my bedroom window. Every year one of the helpers shines his torch up to my window knowing I will be there. Last year I had had a big relapse and it was a huge struggle to get me the one meter from my bed to the window to see out. This year however for the first time in 12 or 13 years I went out to him!! I was probably the oldest 'child' he saw that night but it was fantastic and got me in the Christmas spirit!

 Waiting Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
With the man himself (who gave me a sweet!) Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A welcoming living room

We like our house to feel welcoming, where guests can put their feet up on the sofa and help themselves to drinks.

This Christmas we will make our living room festive and welcoming.

Firstly people would walk over the Deer Forest Turtle Mat so they know they are going into a Christmas loving household and also to protect our carpet (they do a much better job than all the 'novelty' mats I've seen). When the door to the living room is open the first thing they see is the big 7 foot Christmas tree we have every year. They will be invited to take a seat on the sofa which is jazzed up with beautiful gingerbread men cushions and given a festive throw to snuggle under before being served hot chocolate in snowmen mugs. The lighting will be soft, a mixture of tree lights and candles. If talk turns to the tree we will ask our guests to try and find the chocolate baubles to eat, with a 7 foot tree and hundreds and decorations it's not easy! When it's time to go they will be given a small gift from under the tree, a token gift to pass on the Christmas spirit.

I designed a mood board, I hope you like it, what do you do to make a place feel welcoming?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My favourite Christmas app

My all time favourite Christmas app has to be Elf Yourself! Simply add a photo of you and friends or family and click play. Before you know it your strutting around an office, doing the splits and the funky chicken! All ages love it from little kids to my very elderly neighbour, you can't help but laugh and start doing jazz hands!

Ann Summers underneath LBD competition- my outfit

Ann Summers are holding a blog competition asking people to style an outfit to complete a great LBD look this Christmas. I knew I had to enter as I love nothing more than a LBD. I own way too many and try not to look at new ones on websites but the competition is a great excuse to do some virtual shopping (chances are it will fall into my basket though).

First up is the dress itself, I headed straight to ASOS as they have so many beautiful dresses. In the end I went for this beautiful dress. I love the lace detailing on it, attracting your eye to your upper chest (rather than wobbly bits) and I think the skirt will move beautifully when on the dance floor.

We all know that we feel more confident when wearing beautiful undies. The lace detailing on the dress means a strapless bra is needed and if I'm honest I associate strapless bras with being plain and rather ugly. After looking through all the beautiful lingerie Ann Summers has on their website I realised how wrong I had been! I selected this beautiful strapless bra. I love the black lace over the red, classy and far from boring! I really like bras that give you a good shape and that's something it does as well as being multiway so I could wear it under various other LBDs hanging in my wardrobe without the need for different underwear.

Ann  Summers has matching knickers (plus a suspenders belt), the front is really pretty but they are a thong which I personally don't like wearing. Instead I would go for these nice plain black briefs, they are my favourite style and I think being plain black would actually really show the bra detail off very well. Plus they have £17 off right now- bargain!

I would normally reach straight for my usual thick black tights but when putting this outfit together I decided to try hold ups instead. Again Ann Summers have a great range, I really love the fishnets with a bow design up the back but with the lace on the skirt I don't think they would go well (although I'm tempted to buy them for another outfit!). I selected these glossy black hold ups with lace (which won't be seen under the dress).

I can never understand how girls can fit everything they need into a regular clutch bag, I probably could fill a suitcase every time I leave the house but for the sake of fashion and practicality I will buy this over sized gem covered clutch from Accessorize.

I wouldn't wear a necklace but I would wear diamond solitaire earrings (a girl can dream, if not I shall wear my fake ones!) and team it with my Swarovski tennis bracelet which I was lucky enough to be given for my birthday. I also have a few twist in diamant├ęs to add a little sparkle to my hair.

Last but far from least are the shoes. I LOVE heels, I don't think I have ever worn a LBD with flats! I think these gem peep toes would tie all the assesoriese and outfit together.

Now my outfit is planned, where to go??

This is my entry into the Ann Summers Underneath the Little Black Dress competition

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cut coins, a unique gift

My Grandpa collects coins so when I came across cut coins for the first time I was excited to of found something for him (he insists every year he wants 'an empty box'.

If like me you have never heard of them then they are normal coins which someone has taken a very fine drill too. You can get ones with lovely designs cut into them but by far my favourite are the ones that stick to the design of the coin. I went for the ship £1 coin.

From some sellers you can choose which year you would like so I went for 1951, the year my Grandparents got married. The little loop on the top is so cord can be threaded through and the coin worn. My grandpa doesn't aspire to be Del Boy so won't be wearing it but he can hang it up to display. After I brought it my Dad pointed out how similar it is to the symbol for our village, I shall pretend I thought of this all along!

There are lots of people on Facebook, Ebay and Etsy doing them, I am told they are quite common now at Christmas markets too.

I got mine from here for £21 including postage, to my surprise it arrived in a matter of days and I'm very pleased with the quality.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sweet tress and magnetic pegs finished

I posted before about the trees and magnetic pegs I was making, here are the finished results.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Buying gifts for the ungrateful this Christmas.

Buying gifts for the ungrateful this Christmas.

We all have a relative who makes Ebenezer Scrooge look positively cheerful at Christmas and it can cause lots of stress. We had a relative who was never happy with any gift and my Mum spent 30 years trying to get her a gift she would be pleased with. All gifts would get a smile, then be placed back into the half undone wrapping paper never to be seen again, they would either reside in the back bedroom, be given away or quite often, wrapped up and given back to us years later! She always wanted what others got, a good example was she used torches all the time and had a big fear of power cuts, she used little naff ones which didn't give much light so my parents brought her an expensive torch which had different settings including one which lights up the whole room. She moaned that a friend got a security light for Christmas and that would of been better, Dad lost his temper and said 'but there's a bloody lamppost outside your house, how much more light do you want'. In the end we finally gave up trying to please her with nice gifts and our lives became happier for it. We just gave socks, something food related, trousers identical to her normal ones, a pair of socks and ginger wine. Her last Christmas was spent in a nursing home with dementia, we gave her some biscuits and a box of tissues as she seemed to like pulling them out of a box.

Most of us want to please our grumpy relatives but if they are determined never to enjoy something then it's an impossible task that takes both time and enjoyment which could be better spent on enjoying Christmas. Why do we feel guilty though when it's the person who takes it upon themselves not to enjoy things?

In the end we finally cast our guilt aside, she doesn't want any main gift? Fine, just buy her a few things we know she needs. She doesn't want to join in the family activities? Fine, it's her choice, as long as you have invited then there's no reason to feel bad if they have chosen to isolate themselves. They just want a sandwich after looking at what your cooking? Fine, let them have a sandwich.

Cast your guilt aside and spend your time and energy on those who actively want to enjoy Christmas. After all, if someone doesn't care about it then it is just another day on the calendar.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sweet Christmas trees

I've had a bad week M.E wise so no Christmas crafting has been done except for making a sweet tree yesterday. I had the idea ages ago but never got around to trying it out. As a very quick attempt I was quite pleased, I used Tesco fizzy belts (£1 for 3 packs) and Haribo Stars which also happened to be fizzy (60p a pack). I think a mini gem would make a good 'pot' but I'm just going to cellophane them.
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crafty gifts, making presents and finishing abandoned projects

I'm having a crafty week and trying to finish lots of things I've started over the past couple of years but never got that far. First up is peg magnets, I've stuck ribbon along the peg with PVA and once dried I've added an embellishment of some kind (what ever I have, I've not brought anything new) and then have stuck a strong magnet on the back with glossy accents. The magnets were very cheap on ebay. When finished I plan to clip some on a piece of card (maybe with a message on) and then in cellophane for gifts. It's an easy thing to make but I'm surprised at how much time and energy they have taken. Next I've been sewing cute little bells onto ribbon. Studio 24 sell nice bauble storage boxes (£3.99 this year, last year they were £2.27 so I'm hanging on to see if they reduce), they do the job but are very plain, just green with red trim. I've taken some red gingham ribbon I already had and brought some tiny bells from ebay (£1 for 100 multicoloured) and have sewn them on. Once I've got the storage boxes I will glue the ribbon across it. I did this last year and was pleasantly surprised how it turned out. I've also been doing some painting this week. Painting is not a skill I have, that's an understatement! A family friend works for the local disabled children's respite centre and made clay shapes for the kids to paint and be sold but they ran out of time. I offered to paint as they only have to be at the standard of a young child, now that is something I can do (although I'm sure a lot of 3 year olds can do better than me!). I painted them with glaze so hopefully the colours will be prettier and shiny once out of the kiln. So that's my crafty week, Christmas is fast approaching so it's time to get prepared to avoid last minute stress (and last minute relapses in my case).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Some Christmas gift ideas

Now it's November people are thinking about Christmas. I'm a bit of a Christmas nutter and aside my love of Christmas decorations, one of my favourite things is presents! Not in the greedy 'give me gifts' way, I just love coming up with ideas and searching out the perfect gift for everyone. I entered a gift idea competition last year and 3 of my entries were selected, I won the year before too, probably as I think of ideas year round!

Today I thought I would post a few ideas Incase your stuck for inspiration.

To start here are some gifts I've made in the past for friends and family

Name- Colouring book for adults and older children
Cost-£7.99 on Amazon

'Secret Garden- an inky treasure hunt and colouring book', it's the most beautiful colouring book I have ever seen. The artist was inspired by The Secret Garden and the level of details in her drawings are mind blowing, there are also sections to doodle, mazes to complete and little things to hunt and find. I first brought a copy for a friend (adult) who was very stressed and loves children's literature, so as soon as I saw it I had to get a copy for her. Colouring is such a fantastic way of relaxing and doesn't take much energy. I ended up buying one for myself and my friend liked it so much she brought one for a friend.

Name- Chimney magic
No extra cost, just extra magic

If you have a chimney that Santa comes down then add some magic to the day by him dropping a present. Take any little gift (either for the purpose or one you had brought anyway) and wrap in a box about the width of the chimney then jam the box into it. When the kids wake up see if they spot it or direct them to the gift that Santa dropped!

Name- Santa hot chocolate cones

Cost- under £1 when making several

You will need red and white candy canes, mini white marshmallows, hot chocolate and some clear cellophane cones (cones are cheapest on ebay, you need 2 per finished hot chocolate cone).

Take one mini marshmallow and squash into the very tip of a cone (this is the bobble on the end of the hat), then add small chunks of crushed candy canes until it's the size of 'hat' that you want. Twist cone, cut off all excess and tape down. Slip this hat into another cone and add hot chocolate powder. When it's the size you want it to be twist the cone and tie very tightly with some ribbon, make sure it's very tight so no powder can leek out, add a bit more ribbon and curl. Trim off most of the cone leaving just a few cm under the ribbon. Turn around and you will now have Father Christmas, draw on some eyes with a marker or add wiggly eyes and draw a smile.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alternative to Operation Christmas Child, make a sick child smile


 We know it is early but Post Pals is doing the Elf and Reindeer schemes again this Christmas as they create lots of smiles, but we need YOUR help. Could you use your imagination, send a Christmas card or do a 'shoe box' of smiles?

 Maria is being the “Head Reindeer”. A Reindeer is someone who is assigned a Pal and their siblings and sends 9 cards during the month of December, one from each reindeer, talking from the reindeers perspective i.e. talking about the sleigh getting full, getting ready for the big night, loving carrots being left out etc. It is not only fun for the children receiving the cards, but also for the volunteers getting to do imaginative writing. In the past one girl believed the reindeer wrote to them as she helped look after her disabled brother. Another little boy was very relieved as Father Christmas definitely knew he was in hospital so wouldn’t be missed out. If you would like to volunteer to be a reindeer please send an email to Maria at

 Kim is being our “Head Elf”. She will assign an Elf (volunteer) to every child and the elf then gathers gifts up to the value of £15 and sends them in December. It is a little like the Christmas shoe box appeals we are all familiar with. Anyone of any age can be an elf, whether it’s little children picking gifts which they think someone their age would like, or adults who now have a good excuse to buy that pink fluffy present! We like to assign 2 Elves to every child as in the past people have committed to being an Elf but then not sent anything (or let us know they couldn’t continue) so that means we have 240 volunteers to find! If you would like to volunteer to be an Elf please send an email to Kim at and include how many children you would like to be an Elf to, and any requirements i.e. a young girl. We have a particular problem finding volunteers for teenage boys so if you would be happy to take one on please let Kim know.

You can of course send Christmas cards or gifts (of any size or value) to individual children by following the “5 Easy Steps” on the home page.

After writing this I will post an email, please consider forwarding it to friends, family, posting on blogs, message boards etc. Hopefully we can bring lots of sparkle to families who have had a very difficult year. I will sign off with a little poem which I like,
I heard a little Christmas in the laughter of a child,
I saw a little Christmas in a snowman’s jolly smile,
I felt a little Christmas when I have a gift away…
Just little things…
An yet they filled my heart with joy today
Nikita with a bear from her elf, (Nikita passed away on Christmas Eve)
Email to send. Hello, this Christmas I’m planning on making some sick children smile simply by sending some post. Post Pals brightens the lives of seriously ill children (most of whom are fighting cancer or going through transplants) and their siblings by featuring them on the website with their own page, with their story, interests and a forwarding address. Members of the public from around the world can log on and send cards, letters, emails and small gifts to brighten the child’s day and let them know someone cares. Post Pals does this all year around but at Christmas they run some special schemes. Reindeers (volunteers) are assigned to a young child and their siblings and during December they send a card from each of Santa’s reindeer, talking about anything from loving it when carrots are left out or how full the sleigh is getting. It is great fun to use your imagination and the children really enjoy it, one boy was so relieved as it meant santa definitely knew he was in hospital at Christmas and another girl thought the reindeer wrote to them as she was good in helping her mum look after her disabled brother. The elf scheme is another project, a little like the Shoe Box appeal we all know. You’re assigned a child and you have a read their page to get to know them. Then you gather up gifts to the value of £15 and send them off to the child in December. Post Pals needs to find 240 volunteers for this so please spread the world about how to make a difference this Christmas. You can also send christmas cards or little gifts to any child, just log onto click on “News” to find out how to volunteer and see how a simple gesture can make a big difference. About Post Pals; – Post a Smile on a Sick Child’s Face Winner of Queens Award for Voluntary Services 2008 Supported by Princes Trust and Children in Need Patron Fearne Cotton Post Pals on the BBC

A tribute to my Nan

Last week would of been my Nans 88th birthday but she passed away last September. I wasn't able to go to her funeral or her 'sprinkling' as I call it (scattering of her ashes) as I was stuck in hospital and too unwell. If I had been well enough I would of wanted to say something during the funeral so thanks to technology I was able to record what I wanted to say on my iPad and it was played at the service.

As a tribute I thought I would share what I said, I've changed names except mine though ie granddaughter instead of Vikki

"I searched the Internet for a nice reading or poem, there are thousands to choose from but none of them felt right to me. I saw one written as a letter sent down from heaven and instantly remembered the stacks upon stacks of letters and cards that my nan proudly received from penpals, many of whom she kept in contact with for decades. It got me thinking, if Madaline could send a letter down, what do I think she would say and how would I reply, how do you fit a life time into words on just a page. I think she would say.

Dear Son, Daughter-in-law and Vikki
I got to heaven safely and peacefully, I was instantly reunited with daughterand Husband like I had dreamed of doing for 40 years, I am sorry that I can't also be with you on earth too.

 I had some hard times in life but I also had many more happy times, especially socially with friends, most of whom are with me here and of course with my family, 2 young children and husband and later as a mother to a grown up son and as a grandmother.

You always looked out for me Son and although I was confused at the time I am happy I got to spend my last months near to you, DIL and Vikki. I sometimes struggled to express my love and pride in you although I told lots of other people about how good you were to me.

I used to be scared of dying but now I know it's a peaceful release, I believed my whole life I would be with God one day and live forever in a heaven that has no sadness or pain. Time has no meaning here but I do spend it with everyone ive loved and lost, looking down on you and here a little drop of brandy is recommended, it medicinal for the soul.

Today is my funeral, a day to be sad, shred tears and feel the loss but day by day I want you all to become happy once more. Feel no guilt as you did all you could and more for me all your life.
 I am at peace with myself in heaven and want you all to be at peace on earth.
Lots of love mum (Madeleine)

My reply would be
Dear Nanny Maddy, I miss you but know you are where you need to be. I've been reflecting on your life a lot since you passed away.

My early memories of you coming to stay are more feelings than formed pictures, a great excitement bubbling in my tummy as we waited at the station, frantically seeking your face as the windows go by in a blur, I would guess which carriage you would emerge from and run to door to greet you. When you opened your bag to produce your milk, bread, baternburg cake and woolies pic'n'mix including coconut mushrooms i felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Your stay would be fun, emptying mums cupboards to play shops on the stairs, teddy bears picnics in my bedroom, running around playing trains, you teaching me the snowplough method of tidying up which i still do and not forgetting the time i told you my special strawberry cream was magic wrinkle cream, it wasn't until I was about 20 I realised that maybe you hadn't believed me and had smothered yourself in the sickly sweet cream just to make me giggle. I also thought the way you could make your teeth move was fascinating and no matter how much i tried i just couldnt move mine so I would beg you to do it again and again, it never occurred to me that you had false ones! We would also sing old songs, most of which you had changed the words to, we would walk to the park and buy penny sweets on the way home.  There were also church trips where we would light candles for Amy and others you had lost but you were always careful I didn't get communion by mistake by placing your hand across my mouth when the priest bends down to me. I was always a bit sad when you would pack to leave but knew i had an important job, to hold the sides of the bag together or sit on the suitcase to help zip it up.

I liked visiting you as well, either having waffles, bacon and cheese while sitting on the sofa surrounded by cuddly toys or going out for lunch where we would chat and laugh or going into towm. We would play Dizzy Bugs and Ants in Your Pants, flick marbles on your many rugs or you would tell me stories from when you were younger, i would spend ages looking at all your trinkets and ornaments many of which had been purchased on the holidays you loved so much. I didn't stay with you many times but have lots of fond memories of when I did especially you teaching me how to knit, bus journies and our trip with Fred to SouthEnd.

Of course I could talk all day about the happy times we had together but I don't want to make this letter too long, mostly I will remember 3 things,

Our daily crazy half an hour's, dancing like mad people, swinging teddies around and singing random things, I thought at the time that you did this every day even in my absence!

The frequent response to something as ' ooooh good gracious'

And lastly I will remember you being a fantastic Nanny, who loved unconditionally, always made time to play or talk with me (providing coronation street wasn't of course) and someone who I felt would always be there for the big moments in my adult life. Although both of our Illnesses kept us apart thrmajority of time in recent years we were still connected. Even though your mind and now body has left us we will still be connected, as love never dies.

With all my love, your granddaughter Vikki
Ps)I hope Royal Mail delivers this ok to you

Friday, October 18, 2013

Christmas gift idea - A year of good wishes!

Name- a year of good wishes
Cost- pennies

 Take a strip of paper, write a wish for the recipient on the non patterned side and using these Instructions fold them into a star shape. It's easy and kids can make them, it's a good way of using up strips of paper chain links. You can make them out of lots of types of paper, here is one I did with purple sparkling paper left over from an iris folding kit.

You could just give a small amount in a pretty organza bag, have kids hand them out or you can make 365- a wish for every day of the year and present them in a vase or pretty container that you already have.

A simple, pretty and meaningful gift

Monday, October 14, 2013

Maris Piper comfort food at its best

I'm a big potato fan and love Maris Pipers as they are both lovely and versatile.

It's national potato week and the Potato Council is asking bloggers about our favourite ways to eat them. I love lots of different potato recipes from the fancy dauphinoise to potato salad in the summer and the humble roastie in winter. If I had to pick an all time favourite though it would have to be cheesy mash and it's so simple.

Boil Maris Pipers until they are soft, mash and add a chunk of butter and splash of milk (I only use a splash as I like mine quite thick), add black pepper then stir in grated cheese. It's also nice adding finely diced onion which has been lightly fried first. Plonk onto a plate and enjoy this real comfort food!

This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge sponsored by the Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating Maris Piper potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at

Love your gums with Oral-B

BritMums are working with Oral B to get us thinking about gum health.
I think gums are one of those parts of our bodies that we don't really think about much, we worry about needing a filling in our tooth but not about the things that hold the tooth!

It's ironic I should come across this challenge just after posting the other day about how I'm trying to look after my mouth with coconut oil, there's lots of articles about how it can help your gums and keep plaque (which is causes by bacteria) at bay.

Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste is new and Oral-B want us to think about gum health with a 'Love your gums' campaign. I was very surprised to read that 50% of pregnant women will struggle with swollen or bleeding gums during pregnancy.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge  sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Christmas idea for kids who stop believing in Santa / Father Christmas

Christmas to me is all about the magic, be it the type of magic which gets Father Christmas around the world in one night or the type of magic which brings strangers and families together and when most people go that little bit further than normal to be friendly.

It's sad when kids no longer 'believe' or are at that stage when they know but ask their parents for confirmation. It's awkward and I've seen a letter gain popularity, it's long and very wordy, plus very American. Nothing wrong with American (nearly all the gifts I want to get my family are all on American sites) but it goes on and on about Santa being a spirit and a feeling, I think for things like this short and sweet is best. I saw someone on a forum who said she told her child there are magic believers and magic makers in the world, now as they no longer believed they were instead a maker. I've taken this idea a step further (and will be entering it into MSE Festive Fiver competition if they do it this year).

Here is my idea.....

Name- Your a magic maker.
Cost - Free

For children who no longer believe in Father Christmas, tell them that in the world there are magic believers and magic makers, they used to be a believer but now it's time for them to become a secret magic maker. Give them a little token for becoming a Maker, anything from a little badge to a shiny pebble. Then working together come up with some ideas for creating magic, it could be snowy footsteps from FC for a younger sibling to see when they wake up or doing something anonymously for a stranger. Not only does it take the sting out of no longer believing but it helps keep FC real to younger siblings and makes the older child feel really special.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Benefits of coconut oil and oil pulling experiment

Tomorrow I'm starting oil pulling, it's simply swirling oil around your mouth for a while in the morning. It claims to have all sorts of positive results, detoxing your liver and boosting your metabolism. I confess I'm very sceptic of this, hopefully I'm wrong but I'm certainly not doing it for those 'benefits'. If your interested in the claims then this website is informative

For me though I have problems with my mouth, from lots of tooth decay (thank you 10 years of daily vomiting and being housebound so not able to visit the dentist), one tooth has even broken off and only has the route, currently I have a nice big abscess above it. Aside this my mouth is frequently filled with red sores and ulcers, I've been prescribed steroids to use as a mouthwash but I'm trying to be more natural and after reading the benefits of coconut oil I've decided to give it a go.

There is a brilliant article here which explains the benefits and different ways of using it. I plan to start with a small amount as it's expensive and look for a cheaper supplier of it while still making sure it's good quality. It's meant to be great for cooking with (although high in calories), some people just eat it off the spoon (it's solid at room temperature but melts in the mouth) and my friend starts his day with a spoonful in a cup of coffee to hide the taste. I've ordered mine from Ocado, there's a few different ones which cost between £2-£4 for 100grams.

I'm sure having oil in my mouth will be weird at first but fingers crossed it helps!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Christmas hot chocolate cones - gift idea

My first Christmas idea is hot chocolate cones, they aren't expensive to make but if presented nicely make a fab gift. They can be given to friends, family and kids either as a Christmas present or a 'night before Christmas' gift (making Christmas Eve that little more special).

You need:
Cellophane cones from ebay
Hot chocolate (I use cadburys)
Candy canes or North Poles (the same as candy canes but straight)
Mini Marshmallows
Some ribbon

Take some nice hot choc and spoon it into a cellophane, I like to use around 4 tablespoons so it's just over half full, then twist the top and tape it down before cutting off any excess. Slip this into another cone (of the same size), pour on mini marshmallows (you can add some edible glitter if you have some), this is the secret to a good looking chocolate cone other wise the powder and marshmallows will mix). Twist and tie the top with ribbon. Curl the ribbon and then make a tiny cut in the middle of the ribbon at the bottom and then tare it so you end up with 2 strands of curly ribbon, much prettier than the normal way of doing it. Next you need to cellotape the candy cane to the front of the cone. Print a label with instructions of how much hot chocolate to add to milk/water. An alternative to this is adding a poem called 'snowman soup' (just google it) but I'm not keen on the poems and I prefer the cone to look simple and stylish without having paper with the poem attached.