Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clothing I simply can't live without

Rare London are asking bloggers to share their 'Clothes I Simply Can’t Live Without'.

This challenge really got me thinking. Clothes are so much more than pieces of fabric, they can reflect your mood, your personality and most importantly your confidence.

I guess though my relationship with clothes is very different though as I so rarely wear them...no I'm not a naturalist!

Just before I turned 17 I became bedbound with severe M.E, a neurological condition and now aged 29 I am still writing this from my bed. One of the symptoms is severe pain and despite the steady dose of morphine in my system everything hurts and is made worse by anything that touches my skin, be that bedding, human touch or clothing. You would never know this if you looked in my wardrobes though, the only hint that might give it away is most things still have their price tag on.

I love clothes and also love a bargain so over the past 13 years I have brought lots of 'for when I'm better clothes', I also have a huge array of nighties to suit every occasion; December-Christmas designs
Easter/spring- light green with a cute duck on
Formal-when seeing professionals of having visitors
Summer-cheerful print
Funny- dog with 'dog tired' on (I was sad when I came across a dog design with the saying 'feeling ruff' on was out of stock)
Winter-snowman as I can't get out to the real snow.

Mostly I just wear these though, they are from M&S and as well as being extremely soft they are very stretchy which makes putting them on and taking them off easier (it was especially handy during the 3 months I spent paralysed in hospital).

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These nighties didn't spring to mind when I read the challenge though, my selection of dresses did. I LOVE dresses, so much so that at the top of my bucket list is 'to twirl in a flowing dress' and I've also said when I get better I will wear a dress every day for a year even if it means going to a supermarket in a ball gown!

This dress was a gift from my Mum. It's from Jane Norman and is plain white at the top with black ruffles on the rest, I love that the ruffles have a slight sparkle to them.

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They say that every girl has a LBD but I have lots! This is one of my favourites, I really like chiffon type materials that lay over a silky lining, giving the dress a slight floaty look which moves beautifully. It's a flattering v neck with ribbon detailing a little way under the bust. I can't remember if I got it from ASOS or ebay.

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The last is a grey jumper dress, it's one piece but looks like a grey and white stripy top under the dress.

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I wore the grey dress with thick black tights on a very rare day out of bed and went to London. In 2009 I seemed to be getting better and I managed to leave the house (and not to just go to a hospital!) and wore the dress. The other 2 I've never worn.

You might ask why these 3 dresses are the items I simply can't live without. I guess it's less to do with the lovely fabric or detailing but what they represent. They represent hope. 2 dresses are promises of better times to come and the other is a reminder of good times in days gone by.

I often hang dresses in my room and enjoy looking at them, who says you need to wear clothes to enjoy them!

Aldi to Harrods

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eulogy to my Nan

Hi, Some of you may know I set up a charity and run it from bed, What you might not know is It would probably of never have come about if it wasn't for the example Nan set.

Some of my earliest memories is out litter picking and visiting various elderly or ill local people with Nan, popping in on them so they felt cared about and doing anything to help. I remember a local lady who was dying of cancer, some people would of felt uncomfortable, what to say to this lady, the embarrassment of her decline and her inability to do things. Of course Nan had none of these issues, she thought nothing of a comforting visit or helping the lady with toileting, what ever was needed, she was there.

My first voluntary job was aged 5 with Nan and Cliff or Grumpy as I call him, it was for a then tiny charity called Rainbow Trust, they would run fundraising stalls at fun events and again do what ever was needed, even if it wasn't a pleasant job. They did this for many years.

There's a song from my favourite musical, I am an appalling singer so won't subject you to that but part of the song says

I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you'll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Nan not only taught me to help others, she taught me one giant thing by example, neither of us were aware of this learning, nor that I would ever need to apply it but she taught me how to fight an illness with dignity and with the tenacity of a bulldog. I've never liked the phrase when someone is ill that they 'are such a fighter' but she really was. She would try and try rather than ask for help, battle against a failing body and for decades woe betide anyone who suggested she wouldn't walk again, she learnt time and time again after relapses. I got to spend a very precious hour with her a couple of days before she passed away, despite her body slowly shutting down you could see that she was still really fighting. I talked to her about memories, nearly all of them involved laughter. Nan had an amazing sense of humour and even paralysed and silent you just had to mention an incident with Doris in church and her whole body and bed would shake with laughter. During that hour I reminisced about the allotment and when I was banned from digging holes after she fell in one and got stuck, our fattening Friday baking sessions and mentioned the time she was in hospital years ago and a song came on the radio. For some reason mum and I were prancing around the room pretending to be riding a horse while Nan was doing the hand actions of a jockey, at one point we caught sight of a nurse standing at the door looking bemused much to our amusement. They say the last sense to go is the hearing, with Nan I am sure it was her sense of humour.

Times weren't only good though, MS can be so cruel and for many years she laid there silent, tube fed and paralysed. When I first heard this song it made me think of Nan, we still want her here with us but knowing how she must of felt trapped inside her body we take comfort that she is now free. I first knew the song under the title 'Flying home', I was later amazed to find it is known by 2 names, the other? Brenda's song!

Its hard to let you go
You've always let me in
And helped with all the endings
And you know where to begin
I need you here for me
Because you always know my heart
I cant believe we'd change
Or have to be apart
But if you've seen the love that's in her eyes
Then everything is good
And if you know the way she felt inside
She's flying where she should

Its good to know your laugh
And you'll always hold my hand
And watch from up in heaven
And always understand
We'll take you down the road
And in everything we do
We'll know how much you love us
A soul that's kind and true.
But if you've seen the love that's in her eyes
Then everything is good
And if you know the way she felt inside
She's flying where she should.

Although we will grieve we are left with a million happy memories of laughter, trips to Norfolk, getting muddy on the allotment, standing at the sink, gin and tonics and much loved holidays.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mark Warner Holiday Travel Challenge

Mark Warner are asking bloggers for their top 5 family holiday tips. I thought I would do my entry slightly differently and share 5 special holiday things my parents did which have formed very happy memories.

1) Journeys made easier by entertaining things not normally used. I never had magazines as a child (and later puzzle books) except when we were traveling, it seemed like a huge treat and helped pass the time. When traveling why not put together a box of activities your child doesn't normally have access too. Even better wrap up each activity and put a time on it, every hour a child gets to open the gift and find out the activity, it stops the child doing everything at the start then getting bored and adds to the excitement.

2) Throw yourself into activities even if you feel self conscious. Your never going to see the other holiday makers again and kids love nothing more than adults being silly and fun!

3) Have a holiday countdown. You can also do activities leading up to the holiday, whether this is painting Mickey Mouse shapes on Tshirts if your going to Disney or learning about the country your going to.

4) Let your child have their own camera. Whether this is an old phone of yours or a disposable one, kids love to take their own photos and feel grown up.

5) Most of all RELAX, now is not the time to worry about bed times or sugar intake, relax and have fun!

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Watching my Dad in his silly fun Bermuda shorts which he would never wear at any other time!