Bras, Boobs and You!

This weekend  I had the wonderful job of going to M&S to get our teen re-fitted for a new bra.  She will not thank me in the slightest for telling you that! What fascinates me is that there are just so many there to chose from… Underwire, balcony, plunge, minimiser, T-shirt, sports, strapless, backless, multiway… and that’s just the few off the top of my head!

The money stats surrounding the bra industry are pretty jaw dropping too…

The UK lingerie market is now valued at $3.18bn (£2.47bn), according to the latest industry figures from Euromonitor’s Passport database.  The market has grown 0.7% on last year and accounts for 22% of the women’s underwear market in Western Europe, which grew 1.3% in 2016 to exceed $14.3bn (£11bn).

This got me thinking about the whole fascination with boobs!  Just go back to the 70’s… when every other joke on Benny Hill revolved around how well endowed the women were… or little Babs Windsor with her well endowed chest in the Carry On films. How different it was back then huh?!

However you view them, boobs play a big part in a woman’s life… big or small!  Even at the early development of those little rosebuds, that would kill when a little dickhead at school would accidentally on purpose elbow you in them.  This would be shortly followed by the excitement of getting your first bra and believing you had now entered the big world of womanhood!

Then there’s the amazing job they do in feeding our babies.  From swelling up during pregnancy to having your milk come in and feeling like you could easily pass as Dolly Parton’s niece… or great niece even! How old is Dolly these days?

If you are able to breastfeed, that is a different story for everyone.  Some women could literally feed a village with the amount of milk they express, others find it impossible to get a bottle’s worth out!  And then there’s the tremendous amount of pain and anxiety they can cause new mothers too.  Not everyone has a great time of it when they decide to breastfeed and difficulties with feeding can lead to painful mastitis.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious side when it comes to our boobies.

We also have to be mindful of checking our boobs regularly for signs of any changes.  Hands up who does this monthly without fail? I wish I could confidently put my hand up, but I am guilty of just having a prod and a poke every now and then when I remember! Whilst I know about the visual changes I should look for, I’m not so good at checking what’s going on underneath the skin!

As I was stood in the changing room with Ellie, I couldn’t help but think about my mum.  It’s pretty obvious that my daughter has been blessed… or cursed (whichever way you want to look at it) with the genes of her Nan which seemed to skip straight past me and right onto her.  Being in an adult’s bra’s (the ones with nine hooks at the back!) at age 13 is a bit shocking, both physically for her and on the wallet for me! No more 2 for £20 offer on here!  She also has such a slight frame (being blessed with a figure like her paternal Nan) that getting her boob scaffolding right at this developmental age is vital.

My mum, being small in stature suffered with sore shoulders and backache due to the weight she had to carry up front! In 1994, her GP referred her to Bristol and after consultation, she underwent a bust reduction.  What transpired was not expected.

They had found pre-cancerous cells in her left breast in what they had taken away.  This was back in 1994, and what they had to offer then was probably very different to what would happen now.  Mum was offered what was effectively be a tummy tuck, and what they took away from her tummy would be put inside her left breast.  Long story short, this operation didn’t work.  The stomach muscle rejected and mum was in hospital for a total of five weeks following a blood clot complication.

This happened at a crazy time of my life. I was 18, at the end of college completing my exams and about to go straight into the local hospital as a trainee medical secretary. I remember swotting for exams on daily trips up to Bristol to visit Mum.

I don’t remember seeing Mum get upset, she kept that to herself behind her bedroom door.  I can’t even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt. She would’ve been 45 at the time, only a few years older than I am now and even though this hadn’t developed into cancer cells, the 10% chance they gave her was enough for her to decide she didn’t want to take the risk for the sake of her family.

Instead, what I do remember is my Mum being the crazy, lovable, life loving lady, who would now and again get her chicken fillet prosthesis out at parties and make everyone laugh with her wicked wit!

I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

For advice on checking your breasts for cancer, visit: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/checking-your-breasts

For information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer, visit  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/

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Soul Searching & Taking Action!

I swear to God, my head has been a crazy frenzy since the weekend!

Soul Searching…

Sunday of last week, the day after I attended ‘The Scaling Summit’, I had a long hard think about what I wanted to do on this new path of self employment.  I’d had thoughts the day before about re-igniting my blog that I’d set up last summer, and the workshop certainly gave me some inner belief to follow my dream.

So, taking the bull by the horns, on Sunday night I sat and wrote a blog all about my experience on Saturday… of how these three women I have never met before managed to get into my soul and make me think about achievements in my life that I’d buried deep, not really giving them any significance.  There was this huge emotional pull from that day that if you believe it, you can do it.  It was like they could see all my insecurities better than I could… probably because it’s the same insecurities that most of the women in the room had…

Am I good enough?

Can I really do this?

I feel like an imposter.

So, once the blog was complete I decided to post it out.  Admittedly, it was a little late for many people to see it, but figured what the heck!  What I didn’t expect was the wonderful response almost immediately from the hosts from the day Andrea and Emma, who loved what I had done and asked permission to share it.  What also followed was lots of lovely comments from the ladies that attended, saying how well I had articulated the day and put out there exactly how they felt.

My god!  Little old me did that!  To say I was buzzing was an understatement.  Hubby was already in bed asleep, but I made sure I was moving around loud enough that he stirred and I then promptly told him what had happened!

A Renewed Vigour

Come Monday morning, the blog had received even more views and lovely comments.  I was starting to shut up the voices in my head telling me there is no way I should waste my time on developing this blog idea further.

I’ve re-evaluated my business goals and what I want out of my new business as a social media manager (Social in Somerset).  I already have a client that I do business support and social media for and I want to help SME’s with their social media platforms – setting them up, putting together a strategy and consulting them on how to get going.  However, I’ve made the big decision that I want one more long term client and my other big client will be… ME!   I need to treat myself like I would a client in order to make this happen.

The other thing I’ve been doing over this last week is listening to audio book ‘Mum Boss’ by Vicki Psarias.  Her words of wisdom have spurred me on to take make some changes in the way I do things.

So far I have;

  • Created a lovely little desk space for me to work at during the day.  It really helps to have a designated work environment.
  • Joined a local running group to ensure I get some much needed adult interaction now that I’m working from home, and hopefully I will re-discover my love for running while I’m at it!
  • Ensure I listen to my body and practice self-care.  My monthly Reiki sessions started back up this week and I was booked in for first thing Monday morning! It was heaven!
  • I make sure I take regular breaks and don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, it might be a walk with the dog to clear my head, or I have been known to set the alarm on my phone and have a half hour disco nap!
  • I also try and get up before everyone else does to get something done, even if its a peaceful cup of tea.  Usually I would only get up to do a workout, but now on rest days, or days where I’m doing something later, I still get up 40 minutes before the rest of the family – it’s BLISS!

 

Taking Action…

I’m pretty good at the art of procrastinating… I have the good intentions but they are never fully completed… my hubby calls me ‘Half-a-Job Bob’!  Well enough of that!  I have taken some big steps this week.  I have;

  • Booked a new networking event targeted at ladies in business within the county of Somerset. If I want to work with businesses in the ‘well woman’ arena then that’s where I need to be.
  • Booked some training on using mobile video for social media – not just for me, but as part of my social media management business, I want to be able to show companies how to do this for themselves.
  • Met with a graphic designer who is going to re-invigorate my website and logo to make it look kick-ass!

I find if I don’t overthink it and just do it, it will get done! Putting it all out here for you to read is also a big push… cause I really don’t want to come back in one or two year’s time in the same position as I am right now!

The time has come to stop thinking and start doing!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

💗📖

Yesterday, three women changed my life!

Attending the ‘Scaling The Summit’ workshop opened up my mind to the possible!

woman with blonde hair at the top of the mountain raising her hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a day with three business experts and had the benefit of their life experience and advice… me and 59 other women!  We had all been invited to be part of a ‘test group’ for this new dynamic trio of Linda Davis-Carr, Andrea Callanan and Emma Van Heusen presenting their take on how to upscale our businesses.

Each of these women have been incredibly successful in their careers, faced difficulties along the way, made huge changes and sacrifices and after a lot of hard work, carved out their own successful businesses.

Andrea was our MC for the day as well as leading on the ‘Mindset’ section. Andrea did an amazing job of building the energy in the room with her infectious passion.  Even the shrinking violets succumbed to her demands for us to shout “Hell Yeah” to her motivational questions.

Three sections were covered during the day… Linda was on ‘Business’, Andrea on ‘Mindset’ and Emma on ‘Marketing’.  This blog isn’t an account of what they talked about… you’ll have to book up on their workshop to find out!  What I will say, is that the women in that room had the opportunity to assess how far they have come and start to believe that they can achieve their dreams for the future.

‘The Triple Threat’, that is Linda, Andrea and Emma, talked candidly about their own experiences in business, their fears, worries and the good old ‘impostor syndrome’ that so many of us seem to suffer from.

One of the most poignant parts of the day was during Andrea’s Mindset section. Now, I’m a very open minded person when it comes to ‘the mind’ so I was looking forward to this, but I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  We were asked to stand up and put our hands by our sides.  When then did some breathing in time to Andrea clicking her fingers.  The energy in the room shifted and we were all receptive to her every word.  As she clicked 1,2,3,4… 1,2,3,4, Andrea started to talk about our memories, asking us to go back to a time when something amazing happened.  A memory that made you feel like you could do anything, a memory that we could see, a memory that we could feel.

As I stood there breathing in and out, a few visions flashed in and out of my mind, but there was one memory that came back to me, so I went with it.  It wasn’t anything to do with the kids, or my husband, or my job… it was just me.  I thought of the day when I had made a massive decision in what was undoubtedly the biggest crossroads in my life.  You know the one, where which ever decision you make, you know your life will never be the same again.  I won’t go into what it was about, that would take all day, but the overwhelming feelings I had was that I could do anything I put my mind to.  I did it once and I can again.

As Andrea continued to talk us through the exercise, I was unable to stop the tears from pouring from out of my closed eyes, it really was that powerful.  As we came out of the meditation, I looked around to see that so many of the other ladies were feeling the same!  Tissues were passed around as we gathered ourselves together and it was clear to see that Andrea was also clearly affected by what she had just witnessed… lots of women in one room connecting with their emotions.

We did many other tasks during the day that made us think about how amazing we are… and if we didn’t think it at the beginning of the day,  by the end, we were starting to believe it.  It’s not something that will happen overnight, it has to be worked at but undoubtedly, having a tribe of women to support you like the ladies in the room is only going to help.  Sometimes, just having somebody else saying that you are capable, you are valuable and you can do whatever you want to do is all you need to give you the push to do it.

What I came away with at the end of the day, was the thoughts that I had been playing around with the last few days were now confirmed. I want to get back to blogging, and build this little corner of the internet called ‘Tales of a Mother’s Daughter’.  I want to create a place that shares information on all the things I like to talk about and feel passionate about.  I want to work with companies that support women in all things ‘wellbeing’ or produce amazing products that make women feel good – shoes, bags and make up are obviously top of my list!  This is all going to take time and hard work, but other people do it, so why shouldn’t I?  If you have the drive, you can do anything.

The blog I started last June about our little girl’s Autism story had already started to evolve and despite being neglected for the past nine months while I up-skilled as a Social Media Manager, it’s time to get back to it.  Time to get a re-brand and create an awesome website and go with it.  It will take time and I’m not going to pressure myself into doing everything tomorrow (which is usually how I think)… I need to plan, make shit loads of lists… but I can make this happen.

As women, we are all daughters, and a lot of us are mothers too… and what was highlighted yesterday is that we all have our tale to tell, so lets tell it!

Until next time….

 

Love and hugs xxx

 

 

 

 

Sorry I’m late… I’ve been a little busy changing careers!! 😳

apple computer cup desk

Hello! Long time no see!  Today I noted that it’s been almost three months since my last blog which is unreal… where do the months go? Considering this time last year I was bashing out at least two per week, you could say it’s been a little neglected!

The truth is, my life has been overtaken by social media… literally, as it’s about to become my job and my source of income from September 1st!

So, let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to these last few weeks and how my decision to do a course last September has ended up becoming my new career.

Have you ever got to a point in your life where you fancy doing something a little different in your career?  Or maybe you would like to do something that could earn you a bit of extra cash alongside your employed job?   Well, I was in both of those camps. I’ve always wanted to work for myself but have never been creative enough to do something that I could sell. Being a PA for 20+ years is all I know!

Then a friend of mine suggested doing something with social media.  She figured I’d be good at being a Social Media Manager given that I have my phone permanently glued to my hand (rude!).   I hadn’t realised this was even a thing!  She suggested a course run by Digital Mums; a six month course learning all the skills required by doing lessons remotely and learning the practical elements by running your own community campaign, across three social media platforms.

I sat on the idea for a good eight months, not sure if I had the balls to get back into education.  It had been 14 years since I had done any kind of learning and following the kids, I seriously doubted that my brain could hold any kind of information!

Then in June of last year, I once again found myself Googling about the Digital Mums course.  I chatted it over with friends and family who all reassured me that I could do it. So, during the Summer, I did it… I signed up! I can’t lie, it was the most busy, stressful six months of my life, but it was so totally worth it.   I’ll write a separate blog about what its like to go through the training… but for now, let’s skip forward eight months…

It’s May…  I have graduated as a fully fledged Social Media Manager,  just returned from a two week holiday in Florida (that’s for another blog!) and I have a gut feeling that I will soon be made redundant! Holy shit… this could get real!

So, once I got over my post holiday blues, I decided to start making strides in what I was going to do as my new business.  Thankfully, a very well timed workshop held by Digital Mums was booked for mid-May, about utilising your LinkedIn profile to help you promote your business.  I also got to meet all the lovely ladies who had been learning alongside me, especially those within my close cohort – my Frida K girls (more on that the blog).

I then played around with some ideas for a brand name.  First of all, I tried out ‘Tales of Social Media’ trying to tie it in with this blog… but after a few weeks, it didn’t feel right.  I knew I wanted to keep my brand local to Somerset, so I decided to re-brand my Digital Mums community campaign which was ‘Somerset State of Mind’ to become my new business… ‘Social in Somerset’.

Mid-June, a few days after I’d put my new logo together, guess what happened?  I got told I was ‘at risk of redundancy’ due to a huge restructure.  However, being the PA to the Regional Director, it’s pretty much a done deal and I now leave on August 31st.  I have been with the same colleagues for 15 years so it’s going to be very strange to leave, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet!

So, shit just got real! I now need to make this work as my new career!  It was at that point that I decided to add Virtual Assistant services to my offerings as I have more than a little experience in that field… I suppose you could say it’s my comfort zone!

As you can imagine, with this new self-employment adventure, my head is full of so many things I don’t know a whole lot about… Business plans, HRMC, insurances, business bank accounts, business cards, to name a few!  Luckily, I have secured some funding from TDA (Torbay Development Agency) who run the ‘Growth Support Project’ to support small businesses, so I have a little bit of hand-holding as I go through this process.

One big recommendation from the meeting with Phil at TDA was to start networking.  Networking!  Since leaving college, my working life has been sat behind a desk. I’ve never been worried about talking to anyone, but this is a whole different ball game… I now need to sell myself and what I can do! I started to doubt myself and everything I had learnt in the past eight months!

Thankfully, I found a networking group that was right up my street.  ‘Letstalkbiz’ is a less presenting, more connecting networking group and as soon as I walked into the meeting I felt at ease and ready to chat about how I could help people.  I felt relaxed and able to be myself, there was no pretentious business bullshit, which is just how I like it.

From that event, I’ve already got a couple of meetings lined up with people that want to know more about what I can do, and I’m also delighted that I have secured my first client doing VA work for his new business.

So all in all, its exciting times ahead… but I am going to make a plan to start blogging again. The six weeks holidays are coming up and tapping thoughts out on the laptop helps to keep me sane… along with a large G&T… of course!

Until next time,

Tales of a Mother’s Daughter

xxx

Ps… if you are a business looking for social media or VA support, you can check me out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under @social_somerset and ‘Social in Somerset’ … or just drop me an email at socialinsomerset@gmail.com

Autism Vs Social Media… The ongoing battle!

I’m sure you’ll agree, teenagers and social media are not a great mix.  I don’t know what they get up to on their phones at that age, but with all the trolling and the ‘haters gonna hate’ mentality, it’s a brutal world online for a young, impressional teenager.  Add into the mix the Autism (Aspergers) aspect and it can be a recipe for disaster.

For months and months, I was debating whether letting my daughter have social media on her phone was a good thing or not.  Up until just before Christmas we’d had a few occasions where she was not using the phone appropriately.

This wasn’t anything really bad at the beginning, mainly over messaging people, declaring her undying love to her best friends (who aren’t actually her best friends) and asking people to say ‘ilysm’…  (that’s ‘I Love You So Much’ to anyone not down with the lingo!).

However, Ellie had also put out a couple of posts asking if people would miss her ‘if she died’.  This upset me so much, as not only is she opening up herself to piss take, but worse still, showing everyone how vulnerable she is and leaving herself wide open to bullying and, it’s too horrifying to think about, but also ‘grooming’.

I had a strong word with her about what doing this could result in with negative comments from people etc and asked if her friends write this sort of thing. Not surprisingly, the answer was NO.   We had tears, apologies galore and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again.

Well, guess what, it did happen again.  Several times!  Dressed up slightly differently but the tone was the same. Thankfully, I have friends with sensible children who keep an eye out and let them know if something like this goes out.

At Christmas time enough was enough.  It didn’t seem to matter how many times I explained that she must not do this, it wasn’t going in… so the phone was taken away until further notice.

Things plodded along as they normally do (hormones plunging up and down like a rollercoaster) but without the phone Ellie got even obsessed with her other love… Coronation Street! Watching old episodes from the past, over and over! I’ve really not got a problem with this – maybe it’s her connection to my Mum (I’ve not watched it for a few years now since the Hayley cancer storyline). So most conversations at the start of the year involved the names Carla Conner and David & Kylie Platt… but if it keeps her happy and calm, I’m was going with it.

We got to the end of February and had a weekend away visiting friends over in Wales, so we decided that Ellie would be allowed her phone back (purely for selfish reasons – the ability to drink Gin in relative peace) with strict instructions not to post stuff on Instagram like she did before.

Well, we had a brilliant weekend away… a lot of Gin was consumed (there’s a drunk video somewhere on Facebook), George played with his two buddies and Ellie kept herself entertained on her phone.

Having said I would be checking her phone, I didn’t get around to doing it after our weekend away and it wasn’t until the following Friday that I got a phone call from a friend who had been given the heads up that Ellie was putting ‘what if I died’ messages on again.

We were devastated, and bloody fuming!  I looked up her account on Instagram and saw what she had been putting. I went up to her room and frankly, lost my shit!  More tears, more sorry (not sorry).  The phone and the Kindle (which I’d forgotten had IG on) was taken away…. again!

All was going well until the following weekend when she had gotten devious.  I’d asked a dozen times for Ellie to pick up her stuff on her bedroom floor, like you do when you have a messy teenager, and in the end I went up to make her bed and pick up her crap. On pulling back her duvet back, there was the bloody Kindle! WTF!  Not only that, but she had been on IG, changed her username and continued using it. Sneaky cow!

Thinking that I would hit her where it hurts (not literally), but in terms of consequences, it was time to get real!  I was going to take away… CORONATION STREET!… along with The Ingham Family (her other obsession).  This meant a weeks TV ban in her room and no ‘Corrie’ or ‘Ifam’ downstairs.  I also told her that if I caught her watching it,the ban would increase to two weeks, then three weeks!

In the end, the ban went on for four weeks!  From sneaking the TV on, pinching her brother’s remote, and going through my drawers looking for her phone, the TV ended up coming off the wall!  She literally had m no sense of consequence for her actions.

I suppose that’s how it is though. If you think teenagers think the world revolves around them, an Autistic teenager, well certainly mine, thinks the entire Universe begins and starts with them! If she wants to do something, then why shouldn’t she do it?!

So, four weeks without TV upstairs and no social media!  Pure Hell?  Actually no.  It was really nice to have her company and the Easter holidays were so much calmer than any other holiday we’ve had, plus I didn’t have any conversations about how missed Deirdre Barlow is!

From last weekend, the four weeks were up! The phone reluctantly came back, but the only thing on it now is messages and YouTube so she can watch her Ingham Family.  The parental lock has been put on and social media apps removed.

I felt a little mean doing this, but amazingly, Ellie has said that she is much happier not having Social Media in her life.  I don’t know if this is lip service but I’m going with it.  I just need to remember to check that bloody phone each night!

The ironic thing in all this, is that I have just completed a six month course to become a Social Media Manager, so its so hard for me to practice what I preach! I’ve constantly got my phone in my hand!  Difference is, “this is for work”!! 😬🤥

Like with most things in life, it’s a case of do what I say, not do as I do!

I’m sure the social media will make its way back in the future, but for now, I’m loving her not having it!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

Some pics from us visiting our Welshie buddies! The kids didn’t know until we went over the bridge!

Remembering Mum… Performing Dusty Springfield from her hospital bed and showing Cancer a f***ing good fight.

img_0599-1Last night was the first night in a long time that I had a period of not being able to sleep… normally, once I’m out… I’m out!  Last night however, was different.  Two years ago at almost the exact time I woke up, I was on my way to the hospital to pick up my Dad.  He’d made the call an hour earlier to say that my Mum was now at peace and had passed away.  I was now reliving it all instead of sleeping.

This phone call wasn’t a shock . A month previous, Mum was admitted to The Beacon Ward at Musgrove Park Hospital as she was losing a lot of blood. Mum had been fighting ovarian cancer for five years, having multiple rounds of chemotherapy, but we had reached the point where nothing further could be done, and in the last few months, it was clear to see her body was getting weaker and weaker.

After being admitted to the ward during the night, we went over to the hospital the next day. When the consultant visited, she told us that Mum’s blood pressure would keep dropping with each loss of blood and that they would keep Mum comfortable and pain-free over the next few days (the time they now expected her to live).  As you can imagine, this was completely devastating.  I couldn’t believe that in a couple of days, we would lose her forever.  Even though I knew this day would come eventually, please, not yet.

I called my brother and he came straight up to Somerset from Dorset with his family.  That night the grandchildren had to say their goodbyes to their Nanny – it wasn’t fair to put them through the final days as they were all still so young (aged 10 and under).   That was one of the hardest nights of my life.

Little did we know, Mum had other plans.  Two days later, the huge blood loss she was experiencing had stopped.  What was to be a couple of days was now going to be a little longer.  Mum was still completely bed-bound, and it was clear to see that her body was starting to give up on her.  The consultant agreed that they would keep her at The Beacon Ward instead of moving her to the local hospice and Dad stayed with her the whole time, sleeping on the chair in the room.  My brother and his family stayed with us with the children staying at their grandparents when they visited whilst our children went to school.

Mum’s room for the next week was a hive of activity with visitors coming to see her – and we basically took over the family room and took it in turns each day to bring in lunch and treats from the supermarket on the way in.  I remember a lot of laughs that first week.  Mum could still chat here and there, she took pleasure in hearing us all talking and laughing together.  Humour is the only way we know how to get through crap times in our family… we’re a bit sick like that!

There were some evenings where Mum’s breathing got really shallow and the inevitable felt very close indeed.  We would all sit around her, holding her hands, and trying not to cry. We would sit for an hour just listening for her breathing which would be so erratic that sometimes it felt like the next breath would never come.

My Dad said jokingly one of these evenings, “Give us a song Else” … and with that Mum quietly started to sing ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ by Dusty Springfield.  We sat, jaws dropped as Mum gave us a rendition of Dusty, complete with facial expressions  (eyes still closed) and an air grab that frightened the life out of us all!  Even in the face of death, Mum was still making us laugh.

Mum amazingly went on a little more than a couple of days. My brother had to go back to Dorset during the week so could come up and visit on the weekends.

I swear, every time a nurse finished their run of shifts, they were amazed to come back to see Mum still occupying the room!  Even my friends, were being asked by their work colleagues “How’s your friend’s Mum?”  “Still here”, they’d reply.  It was just unbelievable.  The kids would ask me every day, ‘Is Nanny an Angel yet?’.

It was a Sunday morning and I was getting ready to go to the hospital. Mum had now been there for three weeks and five days.  My brother was up for the weekend visiting and was at the hospital.  Mum had been asleep for most of the week and had now not eaten anything for several days and even fluids were next to nothing.

However, today was different.  I had the call to get over to the hospital quickly.  Mum had woken up for the first time in days and was chatting.  “I don’t want you to miss this, come over now” my brother had said.  I’d read about this (I was a bloody expert on the process of dying by now) when a patient has a huge surge of energy just before they pass away.  All I kept thinking all the way there, was that I can’t miss her.  I sprinted across the car park, my legs were like jelly, my head willing them to move quicker.

When I got there, she was awake.  “You made it” she said.  I’ll never forget it.  I managed to show her the infinity ring I had bought with their birthday money for my 40th, promised I would buy a beautiful leather biker jacket with the rest so that she’d always have my back, told her how much I loved her and that she must not worry, we were all going to be ok, we had each other, we would be fine.

She managed to talk a little, see  some family and was more alive in the those few hours than she had been in the last two weeks.  It was wonderful, even if it was shortlived.

Once Mum had drifted back to wherever you go when you’re pumped full of morphine (which she told me was wonderful btw) my brother and I decided that we wouldn’t visit anymore.  He was about to go back to Dorset so wouldn’t be around and I felt awful being there without him… just as he did when he thought I was going to miss the ‘final moment’ as I made my way over to the hospital.

This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Watching this amazing woman deteriorate the way she did was just heartbreaking, but I was really struggling to watch it anymore.  She had no food or drink now for several days, this disease truly is evil.  I kept thinking that back in the day, someone would have helped things along by now, administering just a little more morphine than required.  You wouldn’t put an animal through this, so why do we do we let our fellow humans suffer in this way?

My Dad agreed that he didn’t want us seeing Mum deteriorate anymore and I couldn’t bear for my everlasting memory of her to be this shell of a woman, even though she already was.  After nearly four weeks, I just couldn’t take anymore.  It’s funny, but even though I was a 40-year-old woman, I felt very much like a small child at that time and Dad just wanted to protect us.

I know there will be people thinking, ‘I could never do that’, but I’ve learned, that unless you’ve walked down the same path as someone, you don’t know how you’d feel. Believe me, I have wrestled with that decision so many times.

Astonishingly, Mum remained in the hospital for a further five days, passing away in the early hours of Saturday morning, 20th February whilst my Dad sat sleeping in the chair.  She was The Beacon Wards ‘longest resident’ with her stay from 20th January to 20th February.

The day Mum passed, my wonderful friends came round and cooked for us, we drank wine, we played music loud and relived our memories. I don’t know how we would’ve got through everything without our friends and family.

As I sit and type this, I have ‘The Best of Dusty Springfield’ playing over the speakers, with our little cockapoo puppy, Dusty sat next to me.   The tears have flowed which have been locked away for too long, but getting it down on paper – or typed on screen… may be just what I needed to do to let it go.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you.

Tonight I will raise a glass to my wonderful, crazy, brave, beautiful Mum, who is always remembered and in our hearts forever.

img_6564-2This was our last picture together at my surprise 40th birthday bash- 10 days before she was admitted to hospital.

Until next time.

Love and hugs. xxxx

What on earth is Reiki? Turning to Reiki to get away from it all…

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Last week was a bit of a tough week, so I decided to take some time out for some pure relaxation by booking myself a 90 minute Reiki & Massage session with Michelle at Fairy Heart Therapies.  This treatment was called ‘Luxury Healing Heaven’. Already I was sold!

Michelle practices her Reiki, Massage and Hynotherapy sessions from a pretty little cabin at the bottom of her garden.  It’s décor and warmth as you enter, is so welcoming and perfect for the treatment she delivers.

I had no idea what to expect, but I always go into these sorts of things with an open mind. I’ve tried a couple of ‘things before… Kinesiology & Aromatherapy – back in the day when it was really trendy!

The first half of my treatment was the massage, and boy, it really was ‘heavenly’!  I think I started to relax within a couple of minutes – I’ve never been so quiet! This was a gentle, relaxing back, neck and head massage using coconut oil, slowly rubbing away any tension I might be storing up.  Definitely a far cry from the sports massages I have had in the past where I spend most of the appointment cursing very loudly! Don’t expect a relaxing experience if you ever go for one of those!

After my back and neck, Michelle moved onto my facial using some beautiful smelling products such as Palmarose Facial Wash, Calendula Cleanser, Rose Facial Polish, Facial Mask, Rose Toner, White Tea Eye Gel and Palmarsoa Moisturiser.

Once I had my face mask slathered on, Michelle began to start the Reiki practice. I thought I was already completely relaxed, but I was about to chill out even more!

So, what on earth is Reiki?

Our bodies experience different energies and emotions both positive and negative. However, our body has a much harder job of freeing negative feelings which can create ‘blockages’ – this is where Reiki can help.  When in deep relaxation, the healing powers of Reiki allow the body to release those heavy energies such as grief, fear, anxiety and feelings of depression – to name just a few.  Healing hands are placed over a Chakra on the body to allow energy to flow in and out of the body.

What’s a Chakra?

How I understand it (and in very simple terms), your body is made up of energy sources called Chakras.  There are seven Chakras running through the body from the crown of the head to the base of the spine.  Each Chakra has its own a function within its part of the body.

Still sounds weird?  Well, think about what you do when you’re in pain. I’m betting that you instinctively hold onto the part of the body that is hurting, whether that be holding your head to soothe a headache or maybe rubbing your tummy because it is sore.  You are practicing self-healing on yourself without even knowing it!

So, in a nutshell, Reiki is the transfer of energy from one person to another to promote healing and well-being in your spirit, body and mind.  There is so much more information available about the practice, but here is as far as my understanding needs to go – I just trust the process!

During the Reiki,  I felt like I was on the edge of sleep, but not quite asleep.  I did that thing where your body moves involuntarily (like you’ve fallen off a pavement) and I even snorted a couple of times!  My mind felt free of thought and from what I can remember, I could just see colours behind my eyelids and could hear the relaxing music.  I could feel heat from Michelle’s hands as she moved down my Chakras.  I could feel and hear what was going on, but couldn’t quite pull myself from this dreamlike state.  It was glorious!

Once Michelle had finished the Reiki part, she gently removed my face mask using warm flannels down each of my face to soothe and smooth away the mask. This was finished with toner and moisturiser.

By the time I was asked to sit up slowly, I was so calm and relaxed, I never wanted to leave the warmth of the cabin!

Michelle talked me through what she had picked up from my session, some of which was spookily correct. Michelle also picked up a very strong spiritual energy from my ‘third eye’ Chakra, which she suspected was my Mum’s presence, which was very reassuring to hear.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this type of treatment, whatever state of mind or health you may be in, but especially if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, in pain or maybe not ‘quite right’.

Since my treatment, I have certainly felt more grounded, calm and feel like I have more clarity of thought. I’ve already booked another session with Michelle, and I can’t wait.

You can find out about Michelle at Fairy Heart Therapies by visiting: http://www.FairyHeartTherapies.co.uk

Much love,

Tales of a Mother’s Daughter