Monday, 9 April 2012

Oh dear, I think I need to buy a caravan!

We've just spent a fabulous couple of days at a dear friend's family caravan. To say that the kids enjoyed it would be an absolute understatement.

From the moment I told Sophie that we were going she was counting down the days.

'That's not long' she would reply every time I told her how long it was until we set off on our mini holiday. For some reason the weather was in our favour - the road closing snow had cleared over night and there wasn't a cloud in the sky as we arrived at the pretty tea rooms and farm for ice creams.

We even managed to visit the new spring lambs and expectant mothers. I felt nothing but pity for the poor ewes trying to stay on their feet as the lambs kicked and jerked inside their swollen tummies - I remember that feeling!

We stayed on a site just oust side of Keswick in the Lake District - it was beautiful. So quiet and nestled upon a tranquil river flooded with wildlife. The perfect setting for 3 toddlers, 1 baby and 2 Mummies hoping for a couple of stress free days.

We made it to Keswick for the day - did the usual things; visited the lake, ran away from the geese, had lunch in a tea room, listened to the busker in the subway but we were pleased to return to our little quiet spot, ready for an evening of movies, popcorn and wine (for the mummies)

Now, I never thought that I'd be one for buying a caravan but how lovely it would be to have somewhere to disappear to when life at home is getting a bit boring/stressful/mundane. Who knows, maybe next time I'll be taking people to stay in my own home from home.

I wish I was 4....

Sophie - 'Mummy, why are you looking at your phone and the computer at the same time?'

Me - 'erm, I don't know, I just am'

Sophie - 'well it's just as well you have 2 eyes isn't it!'

If only I could look at 2 different things at the same time - now that would be extremely useful!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

5 years on...

Another year has passed since I had to say my last goodbye to my Mum - 5 in total now. I don't want to say that it gets easier as that isn't the right word. Somehow things just seem different, almost as if they never really happened.

My Mum was one of those people whom everybody loved. She was happy, fun, intelligent, beautiful, clever, charming, the list goes on. As a teenager I had the Mum everyone thought was cool. She seemed to understand what we were going through and I could tell her anything. I remember telling her when I first had sex - she was amazing! She asked how it was, was I happy, were we being careful - all of the things you need to be asked and none of the bad stuff. She rarely got angry and the only time I knew that I'd really disappointed her was when I felt like I couldn't tell her the truth. She was happy if I was happy and vice versa. We were like best friends - told each other everything, shared everything, relied on each other for everything. As a 15 year old this was the perfect relationship. She trusted me to make my own decisions, live my life and be happy. My friends lived by strict rules set by their parents, unable to tell them their deepest secrets whereas I could come home and chat to my Mum as if she were my friend. I felt so lucky. What I would give to have that now.

My Mum was quite a troubled soul. I've typed and deleted so many paragraphs going into details of our past, of the events leading up to her death but it just felt irrelevant. She never seem settled, always worried about being on her own. I always knew she liked to drink but didn't realise it was a problem until I was 17 and she was admitted to hospital with cirrhosis of the liver due to excessive alcohol intake. We were told it was unlikely that she'd be coming home due to the damage the alcohol had done to her liver. In true form though, my Mum was home within 4 weeks, celebrating Christmas and my 18th birthday as if nothing had happened.

After 7 years of stints in and out of hospital my Mum's body finally gave up. No longer able to undo the damage she had caused. I can still remember it all as if it were yesterday. I got the call 2nd January 2007 at my desk at work. She'd been admitted on boxing day with a burst ulcer. I'd only spoken to her on Christmas day from my skiing holiday and she hadn't mentioned anything about stomach pains, not wanting to ruin my first family holiday with B - her final selfless act. After spending 4 long weeks in hospital she'd had enough, gradually drifting in and out of consciousness until the point where the hospital called and said that we really needed to get there now (not an easy task when you're over 200 miles away) My brother and I jumped in the car with B and dashed to the hospital. I was so shocked to see her in those last few hours. Her body working so hard for each breath. I felt as if she had already gone. It was the worst moment of my life. How could she leave me, I needed her but it was too late. I was left in the room alone. Just me and my Mum, like it used to be so often. I didn't know what to do, what to say. I had to leave, needed some air, a rest from the heartache. I didn't last long, 20 minutes in the cafe trying to make sense of it all and I knew that I had to get back to her. Had to spend every last second I could with her. As I approached her room I knew that she was gone. The ward was eerily silent, no laboured breathing coming from her private room. Instead it was quiet, calm, peaceful even. We had to call the nurses who confirmed that she had passed. They took us to a private room and B left to get my brother. I sat alone in the nurses station staring at the clock. I can still see the clock now - exactly 7pm it was. I can't get that stupid clock out of head.

Even typing this I can't believe it actually happened, that she's really gone. Surely that was someone else, not me. Not my Mum. The saddest thing in all of this is what we have all missed out on. My Mum being a Grandma, being an amazing Grandma, cool, fun and completely inappropriate. Sophie often talks about Grandma Susie. My Grandmother (my Mum's Mum) died when I was 6 weeks old yet I always felt as though she was a part of our lives and that's what I am trying to do for my Mum. I talk about her to whoever will listen. I never want her memory to disappear. I accept it'll fade, they all do but as far as I'm concerned she's still an integral part of my life.

Sophie once said 'Mummy, did your Mummy die?'
'yes, she did' I replied
'well, that's okay' she said
'you don't need a Mummy because you've got me and Tom'

At the tender old age of 3 she's right. I have my own family now, my own life to lead and I will forever be devastated by the fact that my Mum isn't here to share that with me but I also know, deep down, that she's finally at rest. No more pain, no more torment, no more addiction, no more trying to make sense of her own life. My Mum will always be my Mum. She was an amazing woman with an illness which finally got the better of her. There's still a stigma surrounding mental illness. Our stiff upper lip prevents us from talking about it openly. If there's one thing that I've learned through all of this is that it can happen to anyone and it's all about awareness. No one believes that alcohol can really kill. Surely you can just stop drinking, but it doesn't work like that. We've discovered that the hard way.

I'm so proud of what my Mum achieved in her life. When it came to the heartbreaking task of emptying her flat of all of her possessions - a lifetime worth of things - I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that there was not one bottle of alcohol. She had been telling me for months that she'd kicked it and finally I had the proof. I was so proud of her. Sadly the damage had already been done. I brought home as much of her stuff as I could. It's all still sitting in the loft until I feel ready to sort through it. Her handbag still filled with the usual rubbish she hoarded - her letters, purse, hairbrush, lipstick, everything! I haven't even deleted her number from my phone. I suppose it's that part of me that can't fully let go.

I don't know why I've written this post today. Somehow it helps me to make sense of it all. You never know what people are going through behind closed doors and if it helps to make more people aware of the dangers of alcohol and mental illness then I'll be happy. I never believed all those years ago when I watched my Mum hide her bottle of cider in the washing machine that I'd be sitting here crying into the laptop, longing for the chance to speak with her again.

Memories fade but she'll always be a part of me and a part of my children. I still hear her when I speak to my brother and my Uncle David (my Mum's little brother) She's a part of each of us and no matter what has happened she will always be with us. I'm so proud to be able to say that I'm Susan Ridden's daughter. Anyone who knew her knows what an amazing person she was despite her troubles.

I love and miss her so much xxxxx

Sunday, 15 January 2012

30 is the new 20

Apologies for my sheer laziness this last week. My online presence has been lacking slightly due to the fact that on Tuesday I waved farewell to my 20s and started a whole new decade...

It's fair to say that I've been thrown off track and am feeling a tad disorientated. One minute I feel completely happy, settled and overall accepting of the fact that I am a grown up with responsibilities and a face that resembles that of my Mother. Then without warning nostalgia, regret, sadness and fear sets in! 30 years have gone and they aren't coming back.  I still can't speak french, play the piano, run 10k, make a pair of curtains, bake a decent cake, pole dance, hang wallpaper, complete a crossword......the list goes on and on and on!

On the plus side I have bought 2 houses, got engaged, given birth twice

been an air hostess, booked a wedding, met Richard Branson, been scuba diving, learned how to crochet, come 2nd in a Jamaican dancing competition, had a pixie hair cut, been to New York, climbed a waterfall, spent a week crying on a pair of skis, played hockey dressed as The Stig and lots of other things I'd rather not mention!

Ahhhhhhhhh *exhales* I feel better already :)

So here I am in, throwing myself into the next stage of my life. Yes I'm a stay at home Mum spending hours dashing to school, cleaning, cooking, crying, shouting and generally feeling frazzled but that doesn't mean that I can't start on that still to accomplish list.

So in keeping with my desperate plight to fit into my too small wedding dress I'm going to make my first goal to be able to run 10k! I would class myself as a reasonably fit lady, much more so during hockey season but for some reason running is something which I really struggle with. After doing a little research I've discovered that my approach of doing nothing for months and then heading straight out to do 5k isn't the most effective. Apparently it's much better to start with a run/walk regime. Pfft! Would be my normal response to that - if I'm bothering to put my trainers on then I'm going for it. Not this time, this time I'm going to do it properly, no breaking rules, cutting corners or generally doing what I think is right because finally at the grand old age of 30 I can admit that I don't know everything and am wrong majority of the time.

The schedule I have chosen is courtesy of the lovely people at Runnersworld and it aims to get you to be able to continuously run for 30 minutes within 8 weeks.

The Schedule
  • Week 1 Run one min, walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 2 Run two mins, walk one min. Repeat seven times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 3 Run three mins walk one mins. Repeat six times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 4 Run five mins, walk two mins. Repeat four times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 5 Run eight mins, walk two mins. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 6 Run 12 mins, walk one min. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 7 Run 15 mins, walk one min, Run fifteen mins. Do three times a week
  • Week 8 Run 30 mins continuously.

I imagine this will seem easy to some people (especially my bud Stephen) but I already feel nervous. The trainers and kit are out ready for my 6.30am alarm call, blurgh! So wish me luck, oh and of course, if you have any kind words of advise/wisdom then please do comment. Happy running! 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A mouse in the house!

Oh no, I think there's a mouse in the house! Now I'm not very clued up on the old vermon poo but I'm fairly convinced the little brown pellets in one of kitchen drawers is definitely excrement from our little furry friends. Just to make sure I thought I'd do a little google image search (as you do) and yup, these are what I found....thanks to the lovely images at all state animal control

The worst part of this is that initially I thought that Mr Blueswing had simply dropped some coffee granules into the drawer and so I picked one up to smell it *gags* 

Now there wasn't a great deal of them, maybe 20 at the most and since searching every cupboard and drawer I've only found approx 5 more. These were under the kitchen sink which is where I am assuming they have come in. 

Not really thinking too much about it I hoovered the little pellets, emptied the drawer and cleaned it with dettol. It is only since reading more that I think I've made a little boo boo.

Apparently the worst thing to do is sweep or vacuum as this spreads the dust particles thus scattering the germs everywhere. Also mice supposedly wee constantly so chances are wherever there is poo there'll be urine!!! Arggghhhh, this is getting bad. 

So what am supposed to do now:

1. Throw away everything that was in the drawer or disinfect it thoroughly. Thankfully it was the tin foil/cling film drawer so that's not the end of the world

2. Empty the hoover and disinfect throughout!

Disinfect the hoover!!! I'm lucky if I actually clean the filters once in a while!!!! 

I have since stumbled across a great blog entry that has made me feel better. Harry Stadler quite rightly pointed out in his Noticing animals blog that he's been living with a mouse in his house and he hasn't fallen ill yet. 

Although I'm not the greatest of cleaners, the kitchen is always thoroughly cleaned and disinfected so surely the risk of falling ill is minimal?! I hope!

I do remember having mice in the house as a child. We only realised when we found mice prints in the solidified lard in the frying pan (that does make me feel quite queasy just thinking about it) My brother and I used to set little traps for them and take them to the fields to 'free' them. We loved it!
I don't remember my Mum being overly concerned or even scrubbing anything down and there were definitely no nasty illnesses to report.

So, until I have another coffee granule/mice poo incident I'm going to try and relax and if that isn't possible then a midnight kitchen stake out might be in order!

Monday, 2 January 2012

My eagerly awaited invite from Pinterest

Today I received my official invitation to join the Pinterest community, whoop whoop!! If I'm being totally honest I don't really know much about Pinterest and only came across it when a friend starting posting interesting pics onto her Facebook profile. 

Essentially, from what I can gather members create their own virtual pin boards of anything that they find interesting and want to share with the world. Now, this sort of thing wouldn't normally float my boat. I like to read people's thoughts and opinions rather than looking at an image that someone likes or would like to make/own/see.

So, how did Pinterest manage to make themselves appeal to me, make themselves interesting enough to ensure that I requested an invite? They made the club exclusive of course!!! You have to register your interest and then wait to be invited to join the community! Instantly I felt as though I was missing out on something huge and had an overwhelming urge to become a pin boarder!

You can imagine my excitement when I received my invite today! I've got myself pinning straight away and although I am just getting to grips with my new virtual world I can already say that I love it!! Sadly I know that this is going to become something else that takes up far too much of my time, but what the heck! 

Here's my first pin

A must for any parent!!!!

So if you haven't already done so get yourself over there. You can follow me on Pinterest here

Happy pinning!!