Friday 13th – my original birthday and my birthday today.

Says it all you might think.

Original birthday – an unwanted baby already destined for children’s homes and “farming out” as a school peer once described my adoption.

Then lots of lovely birthdays with my adoptive Mum and Dad.  I was with them just in time for my 1st birthday and I imagine they went totally over the top because they saw me as very special.

An amazing 18th – a tape mixed by the DJ brother of a good friend.  Wish I could find her on social networks.  I would like to know that life treated her well.  A big pink teddy bear, a pub crawl and an Ode to Kate written by another friend’s sister.  Happy times.

A brilliant 21st in that wonderful place that is Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.  A place that wanted me and accepted me in all senses of the word.  Posh drinks party followed by a sweaty bop.  A sign on my door saying “Cambridge students head to the best party ever” from my lovely friend Chris.  I miss him.  Back to my room in the early hours.  Waking up the next day to find my dress dropped on the floor where I must have crashed at some point.  Midnight blue and encrusted with jewels and a bustle on the back.  Those were the days. My school friend H came along for it.  We don’t see each other any more.   A wok from the boy I adored which I kept for years and years.  Gold and silver balloons put up by my friend.  Pink champagne crate delivered to college from my brother.

The real 21st back home with my friend Rachel going round charity jobs and giggling in that way that you do when you are young and daft and life seems full of hope.

A joint birthday with my landlord in my early twenties drinking Castlemaine 4x and listening to Queen into the early hours of the morning.  Happy Birthday Ian wherever you are.

Waking up in my mid-twenties with my then boyfriend and him delivering one present after another from the drawer under the bed.  Seeing me as a woman – jewels and the like.  It turned out he was a cheat but he did romance well.

Birthdays in recent years with my Dad coming in and singing.  A present that would be just right because he would have actively found out what I would like best of all.  Miss you Dad – you knew how to love.

Today –  a wife and mother.  No cards or presents from my husband or children.  No singing, no cake, no nothing.  A tearful birthday.

I hope you can see from some of the former birthdays that I once did matter.

I wish I still did.

And yes, I know I should be a big brave girl and accept things more but right now I feel undervalued and mildly miffed (understatement)

Happy Birthday to Me!  It’s a dirty job but someone has to give me a nice day and it looks like that is down to me.

 

 

As a mum to a 9 year old daughter, I am so pleased she in hanging on to childhood and not wanting to grow up too quickly.  I like to think this means that we have got the balance right between encouraging her to be more independent but also to enjoy the magic of childhood.

It is a funny age to buy for at Christmas.  She is more choosy about what toys she would like to have.  She is more interested in her appearance and her want her to enjoy that whilst not becoming stressed or obsessive about it.

I was delighted to be sent some Minnie Mouse Must Haves to inform this post.

I really like the Minnie Mouse Must Haves Collection.  It is stocked exclusively in Boots so easy enough to obtain for most of us.  I love the products and the styling in particular with that vintage feel and the iconic Minnie Mouse ears.

Minnie’s Must Haves Polka Dot Pamper Bag

Available at Boots, RRP £14.00 (suitable for 10-12 years)
Time to get perfectly pampered with these polka dot print pressie ideas. This stylish, on trend toiletry bag, complete with a trio of shower gel, shower crème and body butter, will add a little fun into any tween’s pamper routine!

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Minnie’s Must Haves Minnie’s Minis

Available at Boots, RRP £10.00 (suitable for 10-12 years)

It’s Minnie Minis! A selection of must have mini bath and body treats, with a cute Minnie Mouse twist. The set includes bubble bath, shower gel, body butter, body polisher, and body spritz, all in a keepsake box complete with Minnie ears. It’s ideal for storing everything that a young girl needs, long after the toiletries have disappeared.

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Minnie’s Must Haves Fashion Nail Art
Available at Boots, RRP £10.00 (suitable for 10-12 years)

 This gorgeous selection of on-trend nail treats will leave nails looking colourful and perfectly polished. The set includes three nail polishes, a nail art pen, nail sticker sheet, emery board and toe separators, perfect for bedroom pampering.

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Minnie’s Must Haves Lip Balm Trio
Available at Boots, RRP £6.00
(suitable for 10-12 years)

This set of three chic lip balms in iconic Minnie Mouse designs are the perfect stocking filler for young fashionistas. Keep your lips super soft wherever you go with strawberry, cherry and vanilla fragrances, packaged in this cute gift pack.

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The Don’t Quit poem has a powerful message for anyone who is struggling a bit.

Don't Quit Poem

 

Dont-Quit-Poem

 

 

I first came across the “Don’t Quit” poem when I was at college.  I put a poster of it over my fireplace in my room.

What traumas I was facing at the time I do not recall.  Probably something as minor as fancying someone who did not fancy me.  I am an expert in shallow sometimes.

The poem came back to my mind this week.   Since my husband was made redundant, I have worked on blind faith.  As that has not worked so far, I think we probably need a new strategy.  I am not sure what that plan will be and hope Christmas will give us time to work it out.

Funds are certainly low and debts are just starting to show up.  Perhaps applying hundreds and hundreds of pounds to attending interviews was the wrong way to go but it seemed sensible at the time.  It is interesting to note how the don’t quit poem acknowledges rest as something that may well be worth doing.  Like a jigsaw puzzle where you struggle to fit the right piece and then return with fresh eyes and place it immediately, after Christmas we might return to this battle refreshed.

The pace to success seems incredibly slow.  It is disheartening and yet one letter or phone call could change all that.  I recognise the faint and faltering man as my husband gets more down-hearted and tired.  We have to stick it out.  We have children – they need to be looked after.  So we carry on.

I think of how lonely I was and how I felt so useless not that many years ago.  Along came blogging and magical experiences.  I now have imaginary friends who actually exist.  I did not see what a lovely journey this would be – lovely competition wins, exciting things to review, trips at home and overseas and a sense of belonging and acceptance.

2014 may mean I have to take on new challenges and make more use of the skills I have but with the help of the don’t quit poem, I will keep on keeping on.

We may both be nearer than we think to being OK.

One thing is for sure with your amazing support I will not quit!

 



Today, somebody questioned my story-telling skills.

Just one person or possibly two.

And it broke me.

And it made me question why I blog and if there is any point continuing with this journey.  Who am I trying to kid?

I am not very good at much but in the last few years I have started to have faith that I can write and tell a good tale.

I blogged first of all when I was going slowly insane and just wanted to use it to get those feelings out there.  They were overwhelming.  I could not cope.

That blog lasted a matter of weeks.

Then my late Mum told me to write.  She knew it was what I was about.  Deep down, at my very core.  I suspect she knew she was dying and that she needed to make me see sense.  So another blog was born.  I did not put my name to it but people commented and I recognised my feelings were not that strange after all.

I also found out that by blogging all my car crashes in life I could help others.  That meant a lot.

So here is another car crash.  I can’t actually write.

But somewhere deep inside is a voice that want to roar like Katy Perry and says actually I am a bloody good story-teller.

I don’t make this up.  I have awards don’t you know?

A best-selling novelist told me I made her cry and that is unusual so I should not give up writing.

The woman who writes for EastEnders told me me I have real talent.

Real women every day comment and say I make a difference.  I have no idea why or how really but I am very glad I do.

Today I have struggled.  Tomorrow you will hear me ROAR!

It isn’t time to give up, is it?

 

 

Cuddle Fairy

A Leaves poem by my sonWinter leaves

Wet, cold, black

Dying, freezing

Sparkly.

 

Spring leaves

Green, spiky, delicate

Reaching, growing

Beautifully.

 

Autumn leaves

Red, crispy, veiny

Flying smoothly

Slowly

 

Written by my son when he was 6 years old.