Monday 16 September 2013


Once again, I have been very quiet.  I'm not ignoring you, its just I needed to think, and space to make some changes.  And I have made alot of changes.

The thing with change is it is necessary, but not always welcome.  When someone dies, you experience change, and others support you through it, but when you make changes yourself, this is your own decision and not necessarily one that others will like.  So, what have I changed?  Everything!

Having got together with Mr X, we decided to make a go of it and live together.  This is a big step for all, and therefore needed to work for us all.  Mr X is changing his lifestyle considerably by going from being a man about town, to a family man, and therefore needed some space to help him, and so we changed our place, school, job etc.

This may seem quite drastic, but I have a long past in St Albans, and therefore we decided to start somewhere new, to give us all a fresh start, so The Menace and I have moved into the big smoke and started a new adventure with Mr X.

This meant a new school for The Menace, he wasn't happy about that at first, but we did alot of looking around, found a school he liked and he joined the last week of the term.  We didn't move until the beginning of this term, but I wanted him to have knowledge of where he was going and something to look forwards to.

I also got a new job, and we have taken on a "project house" best way to describe it, so we can all literally and symbolically build our lives together.

Its all quite exciting but also very scary at the same time.

At the moment it feels like I threw everything I knew into the air, and have started from scratch with a whole new set of ideas, which sounds fun, and is, but is also quite stressful.  I will keep you posted as to how it all goes.  Here's to taking a deep breath and stepping forward...

That sounds really dramatic, but I hadn't realised how scared my experiences had made me, but I wasn't going to be beaten by it. It is easy to become crippled by worry and "what if's", there is a whole new adventure to be had, if you are willing to take it.  So I am the "new kid on the block", the "new mum in the playground", the "new person at work", do smile and say hi!  And yes, I am ready to come back to you all, and be chatty again.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Reflections of 2012

I know its nearly the end of January, but I take a while to get round to things.  I just wanted to reflect on mine and the Menace's journey in 2012.  It was a big change (again) for both of us.  As I said, I started dating someone (Mr X) just before the marathon, and its still going strong.

At first I didn't tell the Menace, but we have always been close and I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it from him for long, nor did I want to.  When I told him Mr X was a special friend he wanted to know more about him, but he was suspicious.  I can understand why, he had had my undivided attention for 14 months.  He also started talking about Kevin an awful lot, something that hadn't been so apparent for a while.  I went to see the family counsellor at the Hospice of Saint Francis, I was worried that I was tipping him over the edge.  She explained to me, that he was a "very powerful little boy" that he and I had been equals and there was little reason for him to want to accept someone new.  It was made clear to me by the staff at the Hospice I needed to disempower him and get back my little boy, not let him be a little man.

This was very hard to do, I had spent 14 months wanting to empower him.  I wanted him to think that although he had no power about his dad dying, that life was good and that there was much to look forward to.  However inadvertently, spending my birthday with him and his friends at Pizza Express etc, made him feel that he was the centre of everything, which whilst true, is not a healthy view to have on life.   The analogy put to me was "you have both been paddling along in this boat, and you have swum off to another boat, he is trying to get you back."

So I worked hard to set some rules and explain what was "normal", and over time it has been really nice to watch him turn back into a little boy.  He is more relaxed and also looks forward to when Mr X comes over, and thinks of things for them to do together, although this is mainly watching films (something Mr X loves!)  Next weekend he wants them to make me a birthday cake together! (although he is having second thoughts on this, as Mr X doesn't eat cake).

The analogy of the boat, became very apparent after I went away for two nights with Mr X, for his birthday.  Up until then the Menace had been quite subtle about it, but he said "Mummy, you went away and had fun without me!"  I can see his dilemma, I am all he has and he doesn't want to lose that, but we were in danger of having a exploitative relationship before Mr X came along, it was all about what I could do for him.  However this outburst gave me a chance to talk about what is normal, and to focus on the long term.

He still misses his dad, but I love watching him get closer to Mr X, it is nice to see the Menace accepting the situation and moving forward.  A crucial moment for him was Mr X making a photo frame for his room, with lots of pictures of his dad in.  I think it helped him realise that there is room for memories and room for the present.  It is nice to see him recognise that change can be a good thing.  Mr X has also been to family events with the Bolams (Kevin's side of the family) and again, I think that helps the Menace to see that it is okay to accept a new person into our lives.

As we approach the second anniversary of his death, I can't help but think how far we have come, and how different I feel about life now, than I did two years ago.  I am at peace with my emotions, something I had not been, for a long time.  Kevin was ill for 6 years, we supported each other and grieved together, and I will always be amazed by the strength that he showed towards his situation and his imminent death. He really helped me to accept the deal, and it is nice now to move forward with love and hope for the future.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

New beginnings

I didn't really know what to call this post, but I feel I should really update my blog, as I am aware that I have been very quiet.  The truth is I have been busy, as ever, but this time I've been busy enjoying myself and being happy.

Tomorrow will be the six month anniversary for myself and my new boyfriend, who I shall call Mr X.  Its a long story, in fact, we have known each other for about 20 years.  We were at Polytechnic together (I want to be pretentious and put University, but he will snigger at me for that!)

It all started just before the marathon...

I was talking to a joint friend of ours, saying that I thought I ought to think about moving on, dating, joining a website or some such monstrous idea, and she piped up with, "You should go on a practice date with Mr X!"  I just looked at her, and said "Pardon?" "Yes, he likes you." She said.  I didn't really know what to make of this, so instead I went round to another friends house (again a joint friend) with the other said friend and together they helped me get set up on a dating website.  It all felt a bit weird and strange (I've never quite known what to make of internet dating).

So over the next few days I looked at my profile and the offers coming in, it was quite exciting, but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "I could go out with him...or Mr X"  In the end I had to admit to myself that I also liked Mr X, and the awkwardness I felt was that it was someone I had known for years, someone who knew me, came to my wedding party, I went to his etc (he is now divorced) and I wasn't quite sure how to get out of the "friend zone".

Some friends (the ones mentioned earlier) had been trying to organise a Come Dine with Me evening, and we had been paired up (me and Mr X), but this seemed to be fizzling out, and not sure how to "go on a practice date" I decided to text him and discuss our team tactics, these involved, well, going out for dinner!

I was at a conference when I texted him and he didn't reply until the middle of the night!  I didn't sleep well that night!  Anyway after a few texts about tactics, we were going out for dinner to discuss menus (A DATE!!!!)

And that will be six months tomorrow.  They have been a lovely six months.  I don't want to turn this into a Barbara Cartland novel, so I shall leave it at that.

But whilst I have been happy, it has taken the Menace some time to get used to it.  Thankfully they do get on, but he was very jealous at first, he was used to my undivided attention, and within all the enjoyment of dating, its been a period of adjustment for us all.  Mr X is used to peace and quiet, and control over his environment, not chaos and lots of children (there is often others around), and the Menace has had to learn to share his mum, not as easy as he thought.  And I have to say dating AND being a mum is different than dating in your twenties, although I have really enjoyed it, but I have had to learn to put myself first sometimes, not always the Menace.  (Its quite nice though)

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Running myself ragged!!

Since the ball I have concentrated in running training and also on well .... work. The marathon happens to fall in my busiest semester and it is hard (but I am determined to do it) to fit in the work, the childcare, the running and the dog. I multitask and combine the dog and running!! I have been pushing myself to get everything done, and to some extent have also neglected myself!

I ran a 17 mile run the other weekend while a friend looked after the Menace, and other than one little run, I haven't run since. I have got pain in my back from having not stretched enough, so I have taken a week out to recover and I am indulging in sports massage. Slowly it is getting better, then it will be back to the training. I realised that on the 17 mile run my iPhone "tunes for running" runs out at about 14 miles, so I need to build up some more. Music helps to keep me going and to pace myself.

So I have a proposition for you. I suggest you sponsor me £3 a song, go into the link attached it is my fundraising page, pledge your money and suggest a song (thanks to Susan Lewis, who did this before and gave me the idea!). These are the songs I have in my running playlist so far:

Tubthumping by Chumbawumba (I have to say, I love this one, to run to)
Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People
Loca People by Sak Noel
Jerk it Out by Caesars
Don't Stop Me Now by Queen (the song we had for Kevin, at his funeral)
Changed the Way You Kissed Me by Example
A-Punk by Vampire Weekend
The Adventures of Rain Dance by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
All in White by the Vaccines
Blow It Up by the Vaccines
Buck Rogers by Feeder
Closing Time by Semisonic
Down with the Trumpets by The Rizzle Kicks (they are a secret pleasure)
Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by Coldplay
Family Friend by the Vaccines
Fluorescent Adolescent by the Arctic Monkeys
Forget you by Ceelo Green
Give It All Back - by Noah and the Whale
Heart Skips a Beat - by Olli Murs and the Rizzle Kicks (Sorry, I know)
Hey there Delilah by The Plain White T's
If you wanna by the Vaccines
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N by Noah and the Whale
A Lack of Understanding by the Vaccines
Life is Life - Noah and the Whale
Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons
Long Distance by Nizlopi (always makes me laugh in long runs)
My Favourite Game by The Cardigans
The Only Exception by Paramore
Post Break-Up Sex by the Vaccines
The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene
Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes
Shake Me Down by Cage the Elephant
Thinking of Me by Olly Murs (slightly embarrassed)
Tonight's the Kind of Night by Noah and the Whale
Wetsuit by the Vaccines
Wreckin' Bar by the Vaccines

So the only thing I ask is, make it a good tune to run to. Opera is not that easy to run to, choose classical with care and one other thing (please) not heavy metal. So I leave the music to you. Please sponsor me and help me build up the running tunes to keep me going!!

£3 a tune, I will buy the music, just suggest a tune, all the money goes to the charity!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

The ball

I have been meaning to update the blog for ages, wanted to let you all know how the ball went. It was brilliant. I arrived early set up the last minute things, panicked as I didn't have enough table decorations, then realised that I had left three in the box outside. I then calmed down and finished off all the arranging and stood there, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. People started to arrive quite quickly, took their drink, wondered through, and before long we were ushering them to sit down and eat. We got the eating out of the way so we could have more of the band. Raffle tickets were sold after the first course, and then the raffle was done before dessert was served. I had a little speech all prepared (well, in my head), but things moved so well I never need to use it. (phew!)

The band was brilliant, I had a great night, in fact, suffice to say I had a ball. And I raised £4503 for Beating Bowel Cancer. I would like to attach my thank you presentation, but I can't, it won't let me. So a massive thanks to all who donated raffle prizes, they have been mentioned before. And also a huge thanks to the staff at OA's rugby club who are so unflappable. And one last thanks, to Fuchsia Pink, the florist in Wheathamsptead, who did all the table decorations. If anyone would like to tell me how I can attach the powerpoint presentation, I would be really grateful. Instead I attach some pictures (badly, I am not good at this formatting thing) taken by the lovely Stephanie Belton, who came and took valentine shots, and also some others, helping to raise some of the money. They are both pictures I love, they are of my friends having fun.

Friday 27 January 2012

The Run Up

This title works for me on so many levels! I shall explain! I have been working on the ball, and also the running, and it is nearly the one year anniversary of Kevin's death. Organising the ball was such a stress at first, then it went so well that I was really excited and really positive about the start of 2012, being so much better than the start of 2011.

I also entered a 10 mile race, as a training run for the marathon. It went well, I decided not to do my usual ( try too hard, go too fast and not be able to complete it well), I didn't treat it as anything but a training run, and I completed it in 1 hour and 39 minutes, thus managing the 10 minute miles I had planned, and whats more, I felt good at the end. I ran using my iPod, this is something I never do, mainly because I am always combining taking the dog out and a run, and as the dog is so prone to distraction I make sure that I am concentrating on what he is up to, so that needs my full concentration. I really enjoyed running to some "tunes", however I forgot that I had put on "Monster Halloween Hits" for the Menace, so when the "Adam's family" snuck in there it made me giggle. And I should mention my Catherine Tate moment when I car tooted me to get out of the way and I screamed very loudly, much to the amusement of the other runners!

So the ball arrangements were going well, and the running was going well, but for some reason I just hit an emotional wall! I had a lot to look forward to, but had put off allowing myself to be emotional for so long. I exploded at work one day, I was in tears, fed up and I wanted some support. I work in an environment where you are mainly on your own, and suddenly I wanted to be part of a team, not always on my own. I have asked for some meetings, I need to get my enthusiasm back, and feel motivated to want to do things again. Right now I find it hard to maintain my momentum, and I feel tired and well.... depressed.

So work are finding ways of supporting me and I am also trying to find some time for "me"things. I don't mean a project, like the ball or the run, but just relaxing things - these are the things I never do. Why do I feel like this? As I said before, its coming up for the year's anniversary, it was this time last year that Kevin died and whilst we have made it through the year, it just feels like another long year ahead facing the same juggling and constant battle to keep everything afloat. It is like running a race, but not knowing how to pace yourself, its a constant struggle to keep up the momentum. I will find the energy again, I know I will, I won't give in to depression and lethargy, but I think I just need a few days feeling sorry for myself.

However it is not all bad, I am pleased with the ball and looking forwards to it, I am pleased with the run, and just when I was feeling really low (its my birthday at the end of next week and I can't muster up any enthusiasm for it) I got a bag in the post. I thought it was a raffle prize, but no, it was my birthday present from the lovely Gemma, Kevin's niece. Kevin always got me nice new handbags for either birthday or Christmas, she wanted to get me a nice bag, it made me cry, it was such a lovely thing to do.

I know that I feel low, because I miss his love and his thoughtfulness (and knowing that I have to keep going without it can be so hard), it was so nice to think somebody else was thinking of those special things like he did, and I can't think of a better person to do it. He and her were so close, and I know how much she misses him. It will be hard for her to be so far away on the anniversary of his death (she lives on the other side of the world) . I promise to post a picture Gem xx Thank you for reaching out, at just the right moment, with just the right gesture, Kevin would love that! The bag is lovely, but the thought that went into it, is so much more.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Organising the ball

I have got to be honest, I did this because a friend suggested it, and it seemed a unique way to get some money, and also have some fun at the same time, but organising a ball is really hard work. I am not a natural at promotion or selling or PR, and so I was doing my best to get together prizes for a raffle and ask for donations, but it was/is HARD WORK!! Initially things went well, I sold nearly all the tickets, a huge relief, I did spend a few days wondering if I was going to lose money rather than make it!! I now have less than a handful left, of course, I still have to get the money for them. I kept the prices low to make money on the night - this was at the advice of the chairman of OA's rugby club who are hosting it for me. I have to say they have been a huge help, lots of advice and contacts.

I have had some wonderful offers for prizes from some of the lovely twitter folk!

A beautiful red fire engine from @Cuthberts_Toys, St Albans (
A lovely Jo Malone candle from a lovely lady known to me as @gillyjamjar. She is giving up posh coffees and wanted to put the money to good use.
A chocolate making workshop from the Melting Pot, in Hitchin @makechoccies.
Some vouchers from @splashman, otherwise known as Paul.
A massage voucher from @lucindamassage (
A £25 voucher for @allabouttheboys, designer clothing for children. (
A voucher for £350 worth of family photography from @emilyquinton (
A home networking kit from @solwise to help with all your wifi issues.
A free letting service for one year from @RuthPH.(
A cretan villa for one week from @annieqpr. (
Some chocolates from @goneFairtrade (Cadbury's)
A little valentine cupcake for all the guests from @heavensacupcake (
An organic pork pie from @samphireshop (
A case of wine from @CraigLeGrice (
Some Sylvanian Families goodies from @mandyvictory
A singing/acting children's party from @DebotutsNWHerts (
and a couple of other leads from @mattbigg (
not forgetting to say thank you to @mediocre_mum and also @pminthepub for helping me with their Klout!

Offline, I have also got a case of wine from
3 sets of day passes for two at Sopwell House
A Handbag from the Dressing Room
A meal for two with a bottle of wine in the Cock (St Albans)
A meal for two at the Rose and Crown (St Albans)
A meal for two in the White Lion (St Albans)
A party from
£100 to do whatever I like with from Nick Banks a local investment bank consultant (will be used for either wine or chocolates )
A family ticket (for 10 people) from Saracens for a match at Wembley on 31st March Against Harlequins)
A jewellery making workshop from Rachel Jeffrey (
A five course meal for 2 at Manoir aux Quat Saisons (Raymond Blanc's restaurant in Oxfordshire)
The promise of some flowers from Fuchsia Pink, in Wheathampstead.
A week at a mutually convenient time for the winner and the vendor of a caravan in South Wales (
A trip out in the solent or round some of the Isle of Wight for a day in a Yacht (four people can go! - adults)

Not forgetting the loan of a roulette table for a raffle type game (as I don't have a gambling licence), from GCasino's in Luton (

So, once again friends, and friends of friends have been wonderful, and also the virtual friends on twitter. Thank you to you all xx. I am now very excited, looking forwards to it, and thinking that 2012, is so much better than 2011 was!