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

Don't 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



Spring leaves

Green, spiky, delicate

Reaching, growing



Autumn leaves

Red, crispy, veiny

Flying smoothly



Written by my son when he was 6 years old.

    Festive Spiced Cranberry Muffins


    These lovely light muffins have a deliciously festive flavour. They even smell of Christmas as you take them from the oven!



     Preparation: 20 minutes

    Cooking: 25 minutes

    Makes: 8

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable for vegetarians




    100g (4oz) Jordans Super 3 Seeds Granola

    125g (5oz) butter, melted and cooled slightly

    2 tablespoons milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2 large eggs, beaten

    100g (4oz) self-raising flour

    1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

    75g (3oz) light muscovado sugar

    75g (3oz) dried cranberries

    1 banana, mashed


    75g (3oz) dried cranberries

    Finely grated juice and rind of 1 small orange

    200g (7oz) medium-fat soft cheese

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract



    1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4. Line 8 holes of a muffin tin with squares of baking paper or paper muffin cases

    2 Mix together the cooled melted butter, milk, vanilla extract and eggs

    3 In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, mixed spice, sugar, cranberries and Jordans Super 3 Seeds Granola, breaking up any large clusters

    4 Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with the mashed banana, taking care that you don’t over-mix. Don’t beat the mixture! Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until firm and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack

    5 Meanwhile, make the topping. Put the cranberries into a saucepan with the orange juice and simmer gently until the liquid has evaporated. Cool completely, then stir them into the soft cheese with the vanilla extract. Use to top the cranberry Christmas muffins, then decorate with the orange zest


    Cook’s tips:

    ·      The secret of successful Christmas muffins is to make sure that you don’t over-mix the wet and dry ingredients

    ·      You could serve the Christmas muffins without the topping, if you prefer

    ·      Another time, use dried cherries instead of cranberries, though you’ll need to chop them in half


    Roast turkey is delicious and the addition of shallot stuffing with fresh sage makes it sensational especially at Christmas.



    You’ll need:

    5kg free-range Totally Traditional Turkey

    4 tbsp rapeseed oil

    Sea salt and black pepper


    For the stuffing:

    75g butter

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    8 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

    3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

    250g dried figs, chopped into small cubes

    2 small eating apples

    250g fresh breadcrumbs

    3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped

    750g sausage meat

    3tbsp of parsley, chopped

    1 large egg beaten

    Sea salt and black pepper


    What to do:


    Preheat oven to 230°C/Gas Mark 8


    Remove turkey giblets and reserve. Rinse the turkey inside and out and dry well.

    Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, brush the turkey generously with rapeseed oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and cover with foil.


    Place the prepared turkey in the pre-heated oven and cook at this temperature for the first 30 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for approximately 30 minutes per kilo, basting every hour.


    To prepare the stuffing, heat the butter and rapeseed oil until the butter has melted. Add the shallot and fry gently until well softened but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl, leave to cool.


    Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core and cut into small cubes. Mix the figs, apples, breadcrumbs, sage, sausage meat and parsley with the shallots, season well with sea salt and black pepper using clean hands and then mix in the beaten egg. The mixture should be quite firm, with wet hands, mould the stuffing into balls the size of a golf ball.


    Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Alternatively you can use the mixture to stuff an onion, per person, and place the rest of the mixture into an ovenproof dish to cook.


    Take one small onion per person and peel, leaving the top of the onion intact and the base root in place. Peel and boil, whole, in salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until just soft, drain and cool in cold water. Drain and cut the top off the onion, about three quarters of the way up, so as to make a lid. Using a sharp knife, hollow out the onion and stuff with the stuffing mixture, replace the lid and brush all over with rape seed oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven alongside the turkey until cooked through and slightly caramelised.


    When the turkey is approximately 35 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil, drain off any of the excess fat and cook for a further 35 minutes or until golden brown.


    Transfer the turkey to a platter and cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.



    Serve the turkey carved with stuffing balls or stuffed onions and gravy.


    Recipe supplied by

    How do you prepare your roast turkey?