It’s All About Me! 11 Random Facts

Any Human Heart, What's Happening?

A reader messaged me saying they love the blog (thank you) but felt they didn’t really know anything about me. Interesting!  I had never thought anyone would want to know about me in general but there is slightly more to me than cancer and colostomy’s – so here are 11 random facts about me.

  • 1.  I live in Hertfordshire which is just outside London but being born and bred in ‘Norf’ London, I struggle slightly with not living in London and still consider myself a Londoner.  The realisation a few months ago that I no longer know the whole tube map by heart actually made me cry inside.  Having said that I do love my town and would be surprised if we left, but I did say I would never leave London so, who knows?
  • 2.  Even at 34 I’m a complete daddy’s girl and have no problems with it – that man is my hero.  Am mildly obsessed with all my family.
  • 3.  I’m half American.  And not just half American, I’m half Texan!  This fact surprises everyone as nothing about me suggests I am anything other than English.  My mother moved here as a child and actually, nothing about her suggested she was anything apart from English either.  Except her passport which she never changed.
  • 4.  Growing up I wanted to be either a writer or a dancer & spent everyday after school in some sort of performing arts class & did a BTEC in Performing Arts at college.
  • 5.  In my worst nightmare I would be stuck in some sort of dark pit with rats.  It is actually making my skin crawl just thinking about it!
  • 6.  I have three tattoos but I have actually been tattooed five times – two were to cover up what was already there.  You would think on that basis I would have learnt my lesson but I would like one more re-done and then one final one which will be the date I found out I had cancer.  Sounds morbid but I want it as a reminder that life is to short not to be living the life you want to lead.
  • 7.  I change my mind about things – you may have worked that out?!
  • 8. I love making things, in particular jewellery and gifts.  I would much rather give (and receive) something heartfelt that has had effort and thought put into it.  It made my day this summer when a friend wore a necklace I had made her as part of her wedding jewellery – very cool.
  • 9.  Mexico is my favourite country.  I love the language, the people, the culture, the food, the architecture, I could go on and on but basically, its flaming fabulous.  I spent a month travelling there when I was 19 and went back travelling for three months when I was 24.  I will return soon, but there are just so many new places to explore and I am obsessive about visiting new places.
  • 10.  I love shite TV.  Reality shows like Big Brother, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, they are all complete guilty pleasures of mine.  My husband can’t abide them so I only get to watch them sneakily on catch-up.  By then my twitter feed is full of all the gossip so I know what is coming which sort of defeats the point.
  • 11.  If I could give some advice to my teenage self it would be to worry less and do more that made me happy.  I was always so worried of what people thought and I think at times I really let it hold me back.  Of course hindsight makes everything seem so black and white but I wish I’d had the confidence I have now at 15.

So there you have it.  11 very random facts about me.  If there is anything that you would like to know, leave a comment, let me know and I if it is something I want to share I may do a similar sort of thing soon…

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Why My Blog Is My Blog

What's Happening?

Why Inner Haven?

So much of what we focus on can be on the outside – how we look, how we dress, where we live, what we have.  I fall into that trap all the time, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for nice things, but I wanted my blog to be about what was happening within you.  A place to reflect on your inner self and to create a haven that is within. And for me, that’s my own Inner Haven.

Why Live the Life You Want to Live?

In a nutshell, that’s what I want to do! I know it is a cliché (but most clichés are clichés because they are true), but ce78b8e695667a6af844f4063f7d2801after surviving an advanced colorectal cancer I knew I had to finally do the things that nerves, fear of failure or circumstance had stopped me doing before.

I always wanted to write, to study, to blog, to help people by talking & writing about my journey & experiences (Cancer and Colostomy related or not).  Life may not be perfect but I love what I have achieved since having cancer & realise more than ever that you have to at least strive to live the life you want to lead.

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The Mature Students Guide to Starting University

Goals, Journey Back to Health, Uncategorized, What's Happening?

It seems strange that this time last year I was tentatively finding out if I would finally be able to fulfil the dream of going to University to read Literature and Writing.  Here I am going into my second year (as I’m part time this is the second part of my first year).  I love uni; learning, reading, writing, heaven!  That’s not to say there aren’t points when it’s overwhelming, tiring and difficult to balance with small children, but here are a few things I have learnt….

images-8Prepare

In my experience, the one evening I need to get my head down, will be the evening one of my children get’s ill, won’t go to bed or launches a nuclear missile – all resulting in me needing to tend to my little darlings.  So, my tip…

Do as much preparation as possible.  Try and spend your time between now and starting uni working your way through your reading list.  If possible find out which areas you will be studying in order so you can read accordingly.  Once term starts you have so much additional work, squeezing it all in can become difficult so the more reading you can do before, the better.

Read All The Information

Expect a lot of information, try and read it all and pick out the relevant parts.  Most of it is online nowadays so keep an eye on your email and for links.  As with everything there is a lot of red-tape, Uni’s have to keep tabs on all students so there is lots of singing in, swiping ID cards so get up to speed on what you need to do and get into the habit of doing it from the very beginning.

Create ‘Uni Time’

How you work is unique to you and your situation but I found it easier to have dedicated university days.  If I’m in university for lectures, then I go straight to the library and work for as long as possible staying in that ‘uni headspace’.  Otherwise you know what it’s like, you get home think you will quickly put a wash on, make a coffee butUnknown-1 whilst getting a mug out the dishwasher you quickly unload it and before you know it you are totally out of your uni headspace and need to get the kids / go to work.  Plus you aren’t constantly trying to pickup where you left off as you are already there.

Give Yourself a Chance

There are skills that come with being at university and studying.  It takes time to become good at anything, including being a student.  If like me you have been out of formal education FOREVER, it is going to take time to get into the swing of it.  Thankfully that is what the first year is all about, finding your feet, learning skills and building your confidence.

Keep Going

Sometimes the hardest thing to do but keep going, allow yourself some flexibility, suddenly you will be at the end of the year and not believe how quickly it has gone.  You will be pleased of the summer break but then find you are even more excited to get back to it and into your 2nd year in September!

Happy Studying x

Beginners Guide to Blogging

What's Happening?, Writing & Blogging

I am so completely and beyond thrilled that my little blog has inspired others to start blogging.  My blog really is still a baby, recently having it’s typewritter blog 21st birthday.  There are a few things that I have learnt over the last year that I thought I would share with my newbie bloggers…

Tweet Tweet

If you haven’t used Twitter before it can seem a touch overwhelming but it is honestly easy once you get the hang of it and if I can do it, anyone can.  Most importantly it is amazing for bloggers as you can easily interact with people interested in what you are saying.

  • ALWAYS tweet a link to your latest post.
  • Make sure you use a #hashtag when tweeting about whatever your blog post is about so people can easily search for the content.
  • Follow others and reply to their tweets.  The more your name starting flashing up over twitter the more chance of people reading your blog.

Find Your Voice

There is so much information available on the internet that what people are looking for when reading blogs is a bit of personality, to really hear someone’s voice and understand their  experience.  A lot of my blog is about my experience with cancer and a colostomy, books I have read, places I have been, tips I can pass on through my knowledge or experience – not just a generic, this is what I researched and this is what I found.  I do incorporate those posts (although very much in my style) but it is the personal ones that people always relate and respond too.

vintage cameraPictures!

When faced with a long piece of writing, can look a bit drab, chuck in some pictures and it gives it some spark.  Using photo’s you have taken is always easiest, saves the whole copyright debacle but there are websites that supply free pictures should you so wish.

No Waffling

Attention spans are much shorter when reading online than in-print so keep blog posts much more specific and to the point.  I personally set an 1000 word limit on a bulky topic like cancer, 500 for a review type post.  Anything longer, people will switch off before they get to the end.

Keep Writing

Sounds obviously but with life / work / kids all getting in the way….  If you want to keep your stats up and readership high, then you need to keep posting.  When I have been quiet (like over the summer) the posts that I do post, don’t get anywhere near as much attention as the ones that I post when I am posting all the time – does that make sense?!  Having said that, don’t just be throwing out rubbish.  People will only keep reading, and you will only produce something you are truly proud of, if the posts are high quality contact.

photo copy 3Give Yourself a Chance

It takes time to build a blog, readership, followers, it wont happen over night, but that’s fine.  It takes time to experienced at anything, including blogging.  I would say it took a year before I felt my blog was really moving in the direction I wanted and getting recognition from it.  Use that time to keep posting, get together some great content and build your confidence anmd don’t worry about how quickly other blogs are growing.  I recently read on twitter,

Weeds grow faster than tree’s, it doesn’t make them better

Love this quote and seriously, how true?

Happy blogging and comment below with your blog links x

 

Are there any tips that you would share?  Please pop them in the comment box (right at the very very bottom of the post page… keep scrolling, it is down there I promise)

My 100th Post & 1st Birthday!

Any Human Heart, What's Happening?

f403950fceb189c91fc58ffa65c60472This is my 100th post and it was also the 1st birthday of this Blog last week so pretty exciting in the world of this, my lovely little blog.

I love this blog, I love the opportunity to write, the opportunity to share my story and the opportunity to do anything I can to help anyone who may be experiencing the same thing or something similar or know someone who is.

Most of all I love hearing back from you guys.  Everyone’s stories and thoughts have meant so much to me, so I sincerely say thank you to you all.

I am not sure that I would ever go as fas as saying I am pleased I had cancer, but the way I have managed to take something so negative and from it gain the confidence to find my voice and create something I am really proud of.

In all honesty, if I can do it, anyone can do it, get through something they think may kill them and come out the other side stronger for it and I hope this blog continues to show that.

My dream for the next year of this Blog is that it continues to grow, build momentum and share more.

If you have any thoughts on things you would like to hear about or questions you would like me to answer, don’t be shy!  Get in touch.  Comment, Facebook, Tweet, Message me, whatever you like.

Thank you for reading, supporting and encouraging me.  Big hugs and kisses, thanks and love xxx

This Too Shall Pass

Any Human Heart, Colosto-ME, Family Matters, Journey Back to Health, What's Happening?

I am having a tough day.  I have hay-fever so bad it is making my head foggy and I am struggling to write this post as just looking down is making my nose run.  My kids are doing everything they know they shouldn’t and completely ignoring me when I try to retain some semblance of control.  Worst of all, I had a horrendous leak from my colostomy bag.  Had I been out and about, I would have classed as one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, thankfully I was home so able to sort myself out.

Why am I telling you all this, it’s not for an outpour of sympathy I promise but for a couple of reasons;

  • Firstly – If I am going to write about my life and experiences, I think it should be an honest representation.  There are days when I handle everything that has happened to me and my toddlers terrible two’s with (what I hope is) a positive grace, but there are other days when its hard, I want to give up and wish I didn’t have to deal with any of it.  This is one of those days.
  • Secondly – This must happen to others so I want them to know they aren’t alone, it happens to all of us.  Negative emotions are a part of life and an inability to talk about them can leave people feeling isolated and like they are the only one.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years of cancer, treatment, aftershock, child-rearing and just life in general, it’s that, these feelings do pass, life will go on and another day (another hour in some cases) things will be easier.  In essence – this too shall pass.

The fantastic thing I have found by thinking ‘this too shall pass’ when things are rough, is that it stops me falling into to much of a downward spiral.  It reminds me to try and accept my emotions for what they are.  Sometimes tricky, sometimes difficult but I try to let them wash over me and move on and help myself where I can.  Like this morning…. a trip to Boots to buy a million Loperamide’s (which helps to take water out of the colon and should stop another leak) and bought the kids to an indoor play place to burn off some hyperactivity and I can try to get my head together through writing.

Hopefully missions accomplished but if not, don’t worry about me, this too shall pass.

Anything you think that helps when feeling blue?  If so please click on ‘leave a comment’ above and let me know, may help others too.

Nx

UPDATE

Firstly thank you to everyone who sent such sweet supportive messages, you are all so kind.  I also wanted to let you all know that ‘this too HAS passed’.  I already feel back to my normal self, thanks in large to my wonderful friend ordering Fish & Chips for tea and getting them delivered to the park where we were playing with the kids – genius!

But I also know this this too will pass and I may feel blue again another day but when it does I will be able to think to myself again – this too shall pass x

photo

 

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The Darling Buds of May

What's Happening?
"The world's favourite season is the Spring All things seem possible in May" - Edwin Way Teale

“The world’s favourite season is the Spring
All things seem possible in May”
– Edwin Way Teale

Luton Hoo Children's Book Fest Sunday  11th May, 2014  10.30am - 5pm 
 Tickets available from  1st April at
www.hoosbookfest.org
 WH Smith Harpenden
, WH Smith Luton, 
WH Smith Hitchin
, Oxfam St Albans News and the full line up is now available on the new website www.hoosbookfest.org
 and on Twitter @hoobookfest

Luton Hoo Children’s Book Fest Sunday
11th May, 2014
10.30am – 5pm

Tickets available from
1st April at
www.hoosbookfest.org

WH Smith Harpenden
, WH Smith Luton, 
WH Smith Hitchin
, Oxfam St Albans
News and the full line up is now available on the new website
http://www.hoosbookfest.org

and on Twitter @hoobookfest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When was the last time you climbed a tree for fun?       You can this month at Ally Pally park, 3-31 May www.alexandrapalace.com

When was the last time you climbed a tree for fun? You can this month at Ally Pally park, 3-31 May http://www.alexandrapalace.com

Crab is in season this month Packed with protein and Omega 3 which helps brain power & protects against heart condition

Crab is in season this month
Packed with protein and Omega 3 which helps brain power & protects against heart condition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lily of the Valley May's Birth Flower

Lily of the Valley
May’s Birth Flower

Emeralds  May’s birth stone Emeralds symbolise hope and the future, renewal and growth

Emeralds
May’s birth stone
Symbolising hope and the future, renewal and growth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Ageing Health & Beauty Show is happening 10-11 May at London Olympia For more information and tickets  anti-ageingshow.com

The Anti-Ageing Health & Beauty Show
is happening 10-11 May
at London Olympia
For more information and tickets
anti-ageingshow.com

The Chelsea Flower Show A must for all garden lovers 20-24 May  at Royal Hospital, Chelsea For more information and tickets rhs.org.uk/chelsea

The Chelsea Flower Show
A must for all garden lovers
20-24 May
at Royal Hospital, Chelsea
For more information and tickets
rhs.org.uk/chelsea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What will you be going this May?  Leave a comment and let us know if there is anything else you think everyone should know about or be doing…. Happy May x