Saturday, 14 April 2018

How can a year seem as short as it has seemed long?



A year ago today one of the things that I always dreaded came true. My dad died. It was completely unexpected.

This past year has been filled with big events - including some that would be stressful under normal circumstances - house extensions, husband starting a new job,  an 18th birthday and passing of a driving test, a new member of the household in the form of a big doofus called Apollo and an acceptance for said 18 year old into university.

The literal heart ache that I feel when I know I can't pick up the phone to share any news with my dad has at times been unbearable.

My grandad died when I was about 5 years old and I remember the phone call from the hospital coming through to my  Nan and Grandad's house as we  were staying there at the time.  I remember being told that grandad had  died and I was very concerned that he was going to be flushed down the toilet like the fish from the fun fair had been when it died.
Of course, my dad, who I'd whispered my concerns to, put his arms around me and told me that wouldn't happen and that Grandad would be in heaven with God.

God, in my mind, was the fella that used to do grandstand - Frank Bough. And who, on stormy days always seemed to want to be moving his furniture about (thunder). This made me feel so much better. Grandad would probably give him a hand moving stuff around.  They could even sit and watch football together.

But I think it stayed with me from that very young age as the first person that I loved and had laughed with wasn't going to be with me anymore.



After that and throughout my childhood I remember getting massively upset to ever think of loved ones dying. Laying in my bed some nights crying quietly at the thought that one day  certain other people wouldn't be with me anymore.
As I got older I would sometimes have to make a real conscious effort to not think about it. And I'm still the same now.

Having come close to death myself on a couple of occasions and watching my 4month old son fight for his life too, I'm so very aware of that fear of losing people.

My dad was right up there as (for most of my life) the one person I really thought I would never manage in life without. My hours of conversation most days with him was always filled with us sharing our complaints, fears, advice and laughter.  He always made sure that I came away from the conversation feeling better about things than I had started.  And I know that it meant so much to him when I would call.  He told me many times how I'd made his day.

I struggle at least once a day to not get upset about him not being here.  To not wish I'd done more or visited him more and actually to not drive myself mad thinking that on the day he died, when I was waiting in a side room whilst the medical team worked to keep his heart going, that I should have demanded to see him.  That somehow, me being in the room and telling him not to go would have made any difference to the outcome.

I still talk to my dad every single day.  But I don't get to hear him laugh or say something completely politically incorrect.  Or tell me to 'keep my big mouth shut' having told him if I was upset with somebody and determined to go and let them know about it.

But I also don't have to hear the sadness in his voice when he would tell me how he was fed up with feeling unwell and how he never understood why some of his children never bothered with him. That most times, mine and his was the only form of conversation he got for days at a time - so for that I have to be grateful. And I have to keep my faith that he is up there, with his mum and dad, occasionally helping to move God's furniture around and occasionally letting me feel him near ♡ 

This here is a song that I always loved hearing my dad sing along to ♡

Friday, 1 December 2017

Puppy Love


About 5 wks ago, the 2.75kg bundle of Boxer cross Rottweiler named Apollo fell into our lives. 

Regular puppy posts on all of my social media accounts have followed and so most of you will already be familiar with his cute little face. 

I will openly admit that I've struggled with puppy life.  24hrs a day looking after a puppy that at times has his high energy moments (he actually goes flippin nuts!) combined with a fewbouts of 'puppy guts' , an increasingly strong and determined jaw (biting is fun don't you know?) - alongside an ever increasing weight (he's over 10kg now) - is, simply put: exhausting. 

Up at around 5.30am most days and ending up like a zombie snatching snoozes on the couch whilst the puppy sleeps has become the norm.  Housework and ironing have to be fitted in around the precious sleep.

I've turned into someone who appears to have no clothes other than leggings & sweat shirts with lots of holes in. Did I mention the teeth? I've heard the word 'needles' when people talk about puppy teeth.

I can assure you that needles are a piece of piss when I think of how sharp this little nugget's teeth are.  Seriously.

Toilet training.  If you do not take the little nugget out to the garden every 10-15 minutes he will pee indoors. He will also literally skip over the puppy training pad or newspaper that's been provided, on his way to the area that he'd like to go in.  Night times are usually uneventful. A few accidents in his early weeks here and there but overall he's pretty good. 

Last night was a first poo patrol requirement at an ungodly hour.  3.15am. I was standing in my garden in knee length pj bottoms, a man sized knitted hoody/ jacket thing and White Birkenstocks. No socks. That goes beyond looking like a German tourist.  That's mental patient level right there.  But I think given the choice of enduring the arctic conditions for 5 minutes or having the whole house stinking of dog poo by morning, plus the risk of pup either standing/lying in it or eating it.... the choice is made.



This little guy is hard work for a fair amount of time but he also makes me happy, even when he's trying to hump me.   My dad would have simultaneously adored him and been telling me I shouldn't have got him ♡

I can't wait until my Lolly-pup has got his manners under control and gets to run free in the fields with that tongue and those perfect, velvety ears flapping around. 





Word of the day: 
Cockcrow

  1. daybreak; dawn; the time at which a cockcharacteristically crows - when Kirsty is getting up to deal with the nugget.  

The next song on my playlist:

Billy Ocean ~
Love Really Hurts Without You







Monday, 10 July 2017

Sports Bras for the well endowed

Some of us Ladies are, shall we say, well endowed. .. 

Upon making the decision to (in my case take advantage of being headache/migraine free) - exercise. And I'm not talking about having a wander up the road and then tell myself it was power walking.  Neither am I referring to "dead floating" from one end of a swimming pool to another.  

No.  


Ashley Graham in sports bra

I am referring to, in this instance,  hiit cardio training. (Please see Joe Wicks The Body Coach YouTube channel for demos). 

Jumping/bouncing around for 30 sec intervals with "bazonkers" that are anything bigger than a DD is painful, both physically and for some, no doubt, visually.

This is where "sports bras" come in.  And this is where I have a problem,  or two. 

First of all,  the mission of finding one that fits properly and stops all of the flapping about - but without causing our appendages to be compressed up to our throats so that we are simultaneously smothered/garroted - is a time consuming and angry task in itself. Especially on a hot and sticky day.  This is  all ideally without having to take out a small mortgage to purchase it. 

When you've found one that more or less fits the bill then you may go ahead and commence your chosen exercise. 

This type of sports bra is not a reality for me
However.  Upon said hot and sticky day, getting the f ing thing on is an actual workout in itself.  I openly admit that I  cannot do my bras up by the "reach around method". I'm a "waist it and swivel".... 

The utter rage that this part of my workout preparation evoked the other day  is like none I even knew I possessed. Horrifying.  Truly.  

I cannot describe how sweaty and angry I was before I'd even done the sodding exercise.  

I just thought I would share this little bit of insight into what us larger ladies have to experience sometimes. 
You're welcome 🍉                     


WORD OF THE DAY : Janus-faced
  1. having two contrasting aspects, as the alternation of mood in a capricious person.
  2. having two faces, one looking forward, one looking backward, as the Roman deity Janus.
  3. two-faced; deceitful                     
THE NEXT SONG ON MY PLAYLIST: 
As per one of the classic moments in Dirty Dancing - Cry To Me - Soloman Burke 
*Pic 1 taken from Nike.com & pic 2 from Ashley Graham's Twitter feed

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Gone too soon

As many of you will know, on Good Friday this year, my Dad died very suddenly. I am still struggling on a daily basis to accept that he is gone. I don't believe that i'll ever get over losing him so soon. My Dad had a couple of health issues, but nothing life threatening (that we were aware of until it was too late) and one of those conditions would have got progressively worse as he got older. So, I had fully prepared myself to have to spend more and more time taking care of him - even with the possibility of moving home to be nearer. This I expected to have to do for at least 20 years. He was only 65. What I hadn't prepared for was for him to not be here. Since his death, panic attacks, anxiety and vertigo have returned on a regular basis. This of course is whilst still battling migraines and all that goes with them. So needless to say that i've not been having a very easy time of things these past couple of months.

I wrote the eulogy for my Dad and I wanted to share it with you. It can give some of you a little glimpse of who he was and what he meant to me. Although in adult life our relationship was somewhat different, we were even closer and had a very good understanding of each other - especially as we were so alike in personality. I truly felt like he was one of the only people in my life who always had my back - no matter what. I cannot begin to describe what he meant to me and how much I miss him. 

                                                 


                                             Ted Crawford Aug 1951 - April 2017
I truly never imagined that writing a Eulogy for my Dad would come so soon. But without a doubt, it is my honour to do so. This is just a small reminder of the things that made him who he was… and I hope that it will help you to remember the part that he played in your life, however small. Most of you knew him as Ted and as a kid he was Teddy. For 5 of us he was Dad and he did get to be Grandad too – 16 times to be precise!

In 1999 Dad moved to start a new life in Germany with Jackie and in 2004 they were married.  

We were very happy to have him back in England this past year. Despite his riding days being over due to health issues, he never lost his passion for all things cycling, often spending hours in his garage building his own bikes from specialist frames and parts. 
As a kid, Dad had a little foray into the world of Football. His father had played as a professional and Dad felt it only right to give his football talent a test with try-outs for teams such as West Ham and Arsenal. He played for the Arsenal youth team for a while, before deciding to settle down and have his family. He always stayed active though, marching us kids (and his beloved dog Buffy) around on walks for hours and then, when we were older, he would go off cycling for miles and miles in full Tour de France mode. 
Dad was “King of Nicknames” – none of us kids ever got referred to by our given names, we were Peanut, Pugsley, Rim, Skippy Cheese and Frog. Even in later, adult life, this is who we still were as far as he was concerned. Even his son in law had the privilege of being named “Gadget” and one of his eldest Grandsons became “Lightning”. In Dad’s mind, there was always a perfectly valid reason and thought process for his invention of your nickname, which I believe, made you feel even more special. Dad also gave himself aliases on occasion, like the time he was approached by a window salesman outside B&Q. He was, on that occasion, Mr Jacobs.  
Dad was always joking around and causing mischief when we were kids. He always had time for us, whether it was sitting there for hours getting his hair done in a make shift hair salon, playing sleeping giants, chasing us round like an ape, or tickling us till the tears ran down our faces. One of his favourite games was catching you right in the face with his smelly sock that he’d launched from his position on his couch and declaring with glee “Bullseye!” 
Catchphrases were a regular feature. If you decided to try and play him at his own game, with tickling or sock throwing, he would announce that “you’re gonna regret that”…  Inevitably, a counter attack was launched and you were then reminded that you were simply a “little pune”…
When we were sick, he took care of us. He disciplined us and brought us up to have manners, respect and good old fashioned human kindness. You usually never repeated the behaviour that got you a clip round the ear, but we never felt that he didn’t show us how much he loved us.  
Lifesaving events included a rescue from the deep end of a swimming pool and on more than one occasion, crashing through the water to reach the blow-up boat we had fallen asleep in, before we drifted out to sea.

Working from early morning with plenty of late nights too as a self-employed Plumber, Dad always made sure we enjoyed a Summer Holiday on the West Coast of France every year. Weekends and half terms usually involved visits down to Portland in Dorset.
Music was a huge part of what brought happiness to Dad. Hours of driving with us kids in the van was always done with the likes of Bob Segar, The Drifters and many others playing at full blast with us all singing along. Friday nights at home, especially if he’d had a couple of pints at The Mill Pub, Dad cracked out his vinyl and got playing on his Bass Guitar.
One thing that Dad was never great at was his fashion sense. There were so many attempts to help steer him in the right direction but he was convinced that his slip on, tassled shoes from Freeman Hardy Willis were “cool”.  That may be so Dad. But not with white sports socks and cut off combat trousers.  I think this was another thing that made him his own person. He just wore whatever he felt comfortable in, it was as simple as that.
One of Dad’s favourtie sayings was “to cut a long story short” . He never did cut those stories short though. Until now. 

Despite the sadness that we might feel without him here, we can be thankful for the life that we did have with him and hold onto our precious memories until we can be reunited.


Some of Dad's favourite music:









Friday, 17 March 2017

Still Plodding Along

Hello!

Life has continued in much the same vein since my last post but I have managed to get a bit more productive with regards to my beauty related website.  Even though there's not a massive amount of content on there so far, I built the site myself and it took me daaayyyyyyyyys  - so please have a look.

I am still no further forward with finding any solutions to finding a prevention miracle for my migraines but I am slowly learning to manage them better. 

A few weeks ago I started online Cognitive Therapy and i think I'm doing ok with it so far. Although, to be fair, i do talk the hind legs off a donkey so I suspect the therapist feels like we should be a bit further forward in the plan. 

I have to go on web cam to attend my sessions and on days when I'm struggling with my head, the fact that my therapist is unbelievably good looking doesn't help when you see yourself on screen next to her looking  like a cross between a roly poly and a boiled egg. 😳 
She is very lovely though I might add!

Anyhoo.. I've made small steps with regards to my anxiety when it comes to certain situations so i'm really pleased to have been given the chance to have these sessions. I've got quite a few more left so I fully intend to make the most of it. 

As usual, I am very blessed to have such amazing support from my Maff and Max, as well as my Dad, little sister and Mother & Father In Law. They always help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though it's a bloody long one!



The Next Song on My Playlist 





Word for the day...

 effulgence

n the quality of being bright and sending out rays of light
Effulgence is brightness taken to the extreme. You may be dazzled by it, stunned by it, or even overcome by it. Usually used to refer to the sun or some other mega-star, effulgence can also be used more figuratively. 
 
If you're met with the mega-watt effulgence of my friend Mai -  take a moment to marvel at the rays of light shooting from her perfect smile  💖







 


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Migraine or just a headache?

With the start of a new year, like many, I do try and hope that it will bring brighter days when it comes to my health struggles.

So far, it really hasn't.

I think I managed to get approx 10 days from just after boxing day, without a major migraine.

As much as I hate to go on about it , I have recently experienced several instances where people use the word migraine when they simply have a worse than normal headache. And quite frankly, it pisses me off.

Last week, I had a particularly bad migraine. It left me bed bound, up to my eyes in medication (which mainly didn't work), head covered in ice packs, eye mask to block even the tiniest bit of light, sick bucket to hand, and physically unable to even sit up unaided to have a drink.

These times are completely debilitating for me. Thank God that I had Matt here to look after me, otherwise I would not have even had a sip of water all day.

When I see comments on facebook or instagram etc where the person is "having such a bad migraine", I think: Bollocks! I can guarantee that you would not be looking at a screen typing about it if you had a migraine.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that we all have our different pain levels/tolerances etc, but seriously, you cannot assume that a bad headache is the same as having a migraine. Have a look here on the website for The Migraine Trust for a detailed description.

I think what bothers me the most is that the use of the word migraine gets bandied around when people actually only have a headache, and so I feel like it detracts from the severity of what a migraine actually entails for most of us sufferers. Then, for those of us who are genuinely unable to work because of the frequency and severity of them, it makes it just seem like we're just moaners and spongers.

The feelings of low self esteem and self worth, sometimes utter despair, depression and anxiety, for me, go hand in hand with my migraines too. Those feelings are a battle on their own. When you have days on end that you are unable to even perform the simplest of tasks within the home without making yourself physically sick, or to be able to provide your family with a meal at the end of their working day leave you wracked with guilt and upset.

A million people can tell you how great you are for getting through 3 open brain surgeries without any real disabilities, but I am more and more feeling like I actually have been left with a disability.  Yes, I've tried keeping a food diary to see what might trigger the migraines. The trouble is, that the general consensus from the various Neurologists I have seen, is that my migraines are trauma related. From having the surgery basically.

 I have recently just started logging all the headaches and migraines again as I feel that I've come to a stale mate with the Neuro team and am seriously considering paying to see a private headache specialist.

So for now, at least, the battle continues. Meanwhile. Do me a favour please.  If you or anyone you know are having a bad headache,  please just describe it as such.  Please don't belittle what some of us have to endure on a very regular basis.  Cheers ♡

WORD FOR THE DAY:


troglodyte

noun
noun: troglodyte; plural noun: troglodytes
  1. (especially in prehistoric times) a person who lived in a cave.
    • a hermit.
    • a person who is regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.
      THE NEXT SONG ON MY PLAYLIST: BEYONCE - HALO



Thursday, 8 December 2016

Just a little update

I've not posted for a while and so I thought I had better get typing something.

When I think about what I'm going to write about I often worry that I 'm going to be writing about the same old things and as such will end up boring you all to tears. Assuming I haven't already done so, of course. It's difficult to know what to write about that doesn't involve my headaches and migraine news to  be honest. 

I have recently been trying to do more exploring with regards to the beauty and skincare stuff. And some of you will already know that I recently posted my first attempt at a review on my youtube channel. (Click here if you'd like to see it). I received a fair amount of feedback which was really helpful and constructive, so I aim to be producing better things very soon. Thank you to those who messaged me with ideas. 

I seem to be in the midst of a "manageable run" with my headaches which allows me to behave a little bit more like a human wich is always nice. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts a while longer, if not forever!

With Christmas fast approaching I am beginning to feel the tension that this time of year seems to create for me - but instead of going on about that, I am going to leave it alone. Not give it (too much) "life".

I started CBT sessions a few weeks ago and so far,I've found it pretty helpful with certain aspects. I generally will get bouts of depression following migaines that have lasted more than 24hours. The depression can last sometimes up to the best part of a week. During those times i have zero motivation to even try and do anything and actually this ends up with me just going round in circles. My CBT therapist suggested a technique called pacing which has actually really helped me out. I won't go into the details of it, i'm sure there is plenty of info online about it, and actually the name of it is pretty self-explanatory.

With regards to my panic episodes, so far i'm managing them quite well. I seem to be on a bit of a break from the big ones.The problem i have is that i'm never just able to accept that i feel alright, whether it's  anxiety or headaches. It's  like I'm  constantly  waiting for them to happen. Maybe I actually trigger things myself by the continuous expectation of them? I dunno..... but this is all stuff i am gradually working through with my therapist.

So all in all, things are good this end. How are you? Are you looking forward to Christmas etc? 

Here is the next song on my playlist: Click & have a listen

Multiplied - By Needtobreathe


I will leave you with my word of the day which immediately made me think of Mrs Mangel on Neighbours hahahahaha.

stickybeak

Australian/NZinformal
noun
noun: stickybeak; plural noun: stickybeaks; noun: sticky-beak; plural noun: sticky-beaks
  1. 1.
    an inquisitive and prying person.
    • an inquisitive or prying look or investigation.

      "guests were invited to have a good old stickybeak around"
verb
verb: stickybeak; 3rd person present: stickybeaks; past tense: stickybeaked; past participle: stickybeaked; gerund or present participle: stickybeaking; verb: sticky-beak; 3rd person present: sticky-beaks; past tense: sticky-beaked; past participle: sticky-beaked; gerund or present participle: sticky-beaking
  1. 1.
    pry into other people's affairs.

    "I don't mean to stickybeak, but when is he going to leave?"