Monday, 23 May 2016

Come on a Gondola Ride in Venice!

What a change to my last post.  I am pleased to say that I managed to get back on top of my feelings, talk to the right people and make a decision on how I was going to proceed with what had happened.  All that counselling and prayer is working!  It needed to, as last Wednesday May 18th was hubs and mine 20th wedding anniversary and we took ourselves off to Venice to celebrate.  My husbands second mum (step mum sounds so scary) came and looked after our 15 and 16 year olds.  It was the first time we had been away for more than one night since my mum died 3 years ago.

Now just before we went my husband let on that he wasn't intending to take me on a Gondola.  Fortunately for me Granny Liz felt as strongly as I did that it was something we MUST do :) .

After a couple of days watching the madness of the Gondoliers working in the very busy tourist area around St Marks Square, I decided I needed to use Google to find somewhere quiet!  I found some great tips on trip adviser,  they advised going in the evening and suggested going to an area the other side of the Grand Canal from St Marks Square.  This was in the Academia area, where all the students live.  What wonderful advise it was, the only other Gondola's or boats we saw the whole 40 minute trip were the few minutes on the Grand Canal.  The rest of the time we could hear birds singing and the ripple of water made by our skilled Gondolier as we gracefully glided down the 'streets' and under the bridges.

As we turned onto the Grand Canal, we were shown where Casanova was born and another building where Napoleon lived for a couple of years.

You can see that although the Grand Canal is so much bigger than the small street canals, after 7pm even that quietens down.
All too soon, we were came to the end.  It wasn't cheap you pay 20 euros more after 7pm, making it quite expensive at 100 euros for the 40 minute ride.  It is however a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am so pleased we did and I'm very grateful to google for helping us to find somewhere nice and quiet!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Heart wounds.

A phone call ends and blood flows from the gaping wound left in my heart.  Eyes stare at those hopes, those much prayed for hopes as they burn leaving only ashes ahead.  Don't ask me how I feel, I don't know...... Angry? Furious? Tired? Resigned? Mournful? Sadness? oh yes, there is definitely sadness, I can feel it flattening me to the ground.  That is something I suppose, I can identify something correctly, practise makes perfect.

Thirty minutes before the phone call I was walking the dog, laughing out loud at her antics as she first got stuck in a stream and then swirled into madness as the squirrels in front of us suddenly all took off in different directions.

Madness....... I wouldn't have been giving that word any more thought now if the phone call hadn't come.  But it did, Madness, Mental health, Self Harm, Suicide, oh yes, more and more thoughts are tumbling out of their neat little boxes in my mind where I can usually keep them tidy AND under lock and key.

I could of course could just quickly vacuum all those horrid thoughts up, get them back under lock and key, hey! what does it matter if they are not neat and tidy in their little boxes. I'm so tempted, that way would be so quick, so.... I might need to wear a mask again for a while but who cares?

Actually I care.  There is also that gaping wound that needs dealing with.  A wounded heart needs attention.  A quick patch up job will fail, I know this and have some ugly scars to show for it.  What this heart needs right now is a healing touch, I need the hands of my maker to come and hold his hand over this wound.  He will stem the flow of blood.  He won't mind the mess, the redness, the rawness.  His hands will work with such care. His patience will be forever enduring. There will be another scar but it will be different. I'm learning from Him to have patience too. No human can say or do the right thing, right now. I shall just wait and wait some more.

New hopes will come too, in their own time.

Luke 12:7  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Something New.

Hellooooo, anyone still there?  I'm sorry that I have been quiet so long.  Sometimes the busyness of life causes us to have to re-evaluate what is essential in our list of daily tasks and sadly the blogging has been very near to the bottom of the list.  I have tried to keep my Mrs Craftypants site going as this is turning into quite a busy little business but writing for pleasure, that was no longer a pleasure.

Something or rather somethings have got my writing fingers itching again.  Firstly I was asked to be a administrator on a facebook page that my lovely friend Katharine runs ........ for writers! Secondly the death of the music star Prince, just 10 years older than myself.  The significance of this making my writing fingers itch is the sudden realisation that i have a lot of stories inside me and if I don't tell them they will disappear for ever!

The book that longs to come out is one I promised my late mum that I would write a very long time ago.  She had a very interesting and somewhat harrowing start in life as a war baby, born to a German mother in Hamburg, Germany who had a brief affair with an English soldier at the end of the second world war.  I have managed to find a few stories of American soldiers and French soldiers fathering babies with German mothers, however trying to even find statistics for the English fathers is near impossible.  The UK government unlike the American government did not intervene with policies to help German mothers, for example giving them a right to become alien citizens.

So the story must be told and I think the best way to get myself back in the writing habit is to have a go at doing a blog at least once a week!  That is my goal for now and hopefully I can use my time wisely enough to try and commit to at least 10 minutes every day to research and write.  Just 10 minutes, that is all I have at the moment, it's so easy to flitter way 10 minutes on nothing, so at least now I will have something to show for those particular 10 minutes!

So, same time, same place next week, bye for now xxxx

Thursday, 1 October 2015


I have just published a little post about a recent little break I had up in North Yorkshire, here is the link if you would like to go take a look at my Mrs Craftypants post x.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Life with Rex

It's been quiet on here for some time.  Life seemed to be ticking a long nicely.  Life's drama's were all being coped with, all was well.  Then in June we realised that there was a dinosaur living with us.  He had crept in uninvited and was slowly devouring our beloved 14 year old daughter.  How can you miss such a creature coming and living with you?  Hindsight and talking with friends, youth leaders and each other has helped us to recognise some signs that we missed, though they are all so insidious by themselves that maybe we would never have picked up on them at the time.

It was easiest to start by looking back at when he definitely was NOT around.  Christmas is one time I can think back to and know he wasn't here then.  However by Easter he was definitely making himself comfortable.  I should maybe introduce him properly, his name is Anorexia, Rex for short.  We have given him a name as that is the only way we can cope with the voice in my daughters head that shouts and abuses her.  We have learnt that it is very important to recognise when Rex is talking and making her behave in certain ways, she is not choosing to have these thoughts.

So what were the signs?

  • cutting out certain food groups (until there were no acceptable food groups).
  • wanting to make all her own meals. 
  • going out with friends over meal times and saying she would get food while she was out (but not)
  • cutting down portion sizes at meal times.
  • taking a very very long time to eat meals, leaving a lot of mess spread around her plate.
  • wearing baggy clothing all the time.
  • being cold all the time.
  • getting blue lips when she exerted herself physically.
  • not doing things that she usually enjoyed, eg. yoga, drawing
  • becoming more and more withdrawn
  • just taking a piece of fruit to school for lunch when we checked with her what she had got.
How on earth did we miss these things?  It wasn't until my step mother in law came to stay at the beginning of June that she pointed out to us that something seemed wrong.  We then started looking and were appalled to see that she was right.  We talked to my daughter about it and she had already realised that something was very wrong and out of control.  She knew that she had felt in control at the beginning, it probably started by giving up stuff for lent!  It was then that we started to realise that she was not eating food at school at all, it was all going in the bin.  I found ways of getting to see her body, making her a jumper and buying her new underwear.  The sight made me nauseous - how could I not have noticed those bones sticking out!

For a couple of weeks she refused to go and see the Dr or get any proffessional help.  We managed to get her supervision at lunch times at school, however the food that she was taking was still not enough and she was totally resisting increasing it.  Eventually my husband and I went to see our GP by ourselves to talk about her.  It was very hard to talk about, especially as I knew that the only route they would probably suggest was that we returned to CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health services).  We had such a terrible experience with these guys when my niece came to live with us that just the thought of the service gave me mild anxiety attacks.  The GP wanted to see my daughter for herself and I was actually quite surprised when we got home, told her where we had been and that we had made an appointment for her the next day, she was fine about it.  I think she was probably quite releived as she knew how serious this had become.

Our CAMHS appoitment came through in less than 2 weeks and it is only now (8 weeks on) that I realise why they saw her so quickly - she was very close to needing hospitalization.

The good news is we hopefully have got intervention just in time.  She had not gone through to the stage of total denial that there was a problem, she knew there was a problem and she wanted to get rid of it.  We have got a very long road ahead of us.  She is currently on a weight gain programme.  This involves 3 meals a day, two with puddings and 3 calorie rich snacks a day.  She is not allowed to prepare any food for herself (I have found this very hard as she has been making her own breakfast and lunch for years and years!) and all meals have to be supervised for their entirety.  Meals usually take about an hour for her to eat and so it often feels as though every day is one long eating marathon.  Eating in public is excrutiating for her, and therefore has become so for us as well, so even having folks over for meals as a family has had to decrease enormously.

Weeks of family therapy and weigh in appointments seem to be making time rush by.  CAMHS have thankfully changed a lot.  It is a completely new team that is now in, but still going into rooms that I have had to sit in with my niece make me very uncomfortable, thankfully the team are lovely and very sensitive to this.

We have had tremendous support from the youth team at church and friends.  She has still been able to go on 2 camps over the summer holidays with an appointed leader doing the job that I do at home for her.

It has also been an enormous learning curve for both my husband and I.  As an occupational therapist I did a module on eating disorders but did not have any direct contact with anyone, either when I was training or when I was working.  It seems to be that you are forever hearing about anorexia on the tv and I knew it was about not eating and having body dysmorphia where you see fat in the mirror where there is none.  However I had never come across the condemning voice, that the sufferer has no control over.  I have issues with food, but I always feel in control of my over eating and binge eating, from talking with others I know that this is a common issue - the element of choice is definitely still there fore me.  For my daughter it is not.

My niece stopped eating and then starting binging and using diet pills when she was in a children's home, which eventually lead to her last admission into a secure unit where she has now been for two years.  However this was not Anorexia, this was part of her self harming behaviour, she has voices that condemn her and abuse her but it is not a Rex.  Maybe this is why I did not recognise Rex coming to stay, I didn't really understand that he was real, so he could creep in and start his devouring and when you notice the changes, he has already made himself very comfortable and is not going to be easily evicted.

But eviction is what we are now aiming for.  Weight gain is required for physical health, however the main purpose of the treatment plan that we are using is to get Rex evicted.  So onwards and upwards ( or outwards is maybe more apt), now I had better be going and get a snack down her!!!!!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


I thought I'd better check in, it has been quite a while!  As all things have quietened down on the home and health front, we are settling into a nice quiet routine.  I am still swimming, most weeks managing to get to the club 3 times and clocking up 6km swam and lots and lots of repetitions of my hydrotherapy exercises completed.  My weight is slowly (very slowly) coming off, the good thing about this is that it is staying off, even when I have 'naughty' weeks.  I am now the same weight I was about 10 years ago after I had my children, still a long way to go!

When I am not at the club swimming, I have decided to relaunch my crafting shop on folksy, Mrs Craftypants.  In addition to making things for my shop, I have also purchased my domain name, so you can find out a little more about me over at  There has been the purchasing of business cards and getting out and about touting for business.  This is the bit I like least - I wish I could just make and not have to do the selling!  However this hobby needs to fund it self and so I wondered off to a little shop near by armed with a selection of Easter bits and pieces and they have agreed to sell it for me on a sale or return basis.

Another new venture is the start of doing workshops.  I am starting with a crochet workshop first of all on Saturday 7th March, so I am busy this week writing up patterns, taking photo's to go on the patterns and doing things like writing this blog to distract me from doing what I am really supposed to be doing!!!!!!!!

I will try and keep popping by and keeping up to date with other blog posts, maybe if I set myself a few deadlines then I will spend more time prevaricating and do this more often.

Take care for now xxxxxx

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

It Sucks Being a Grown-up

Do you ever have those moments when you want to be able to throw a tantrum and have everyone just leave you alone, or maybe someone just gently distract you with something nice to help you get over it?

That is how I was feeling last week as I put pen to paper to write to my niece - I really didn't want to do it. However taking a big reality check, I knew that if I didn't apologise for getting so angry towards her then I was not really acting like the adult I would like her to grow up to be.

That got me thinking.   As adults/parents we take on the role of teaching the younger generation by how we act/behave, whether we are aware of it or not.  This means we are modelling our good AND our bad behaviour.

If I had made no attempt to get back in touch with my niece, what would have happened.  I may have had one person less making demands on my time and emotions, however it would have been at a cost.  That cost being, not taking the opportunity to model how to 'make up' when things go wrong.

Could I have lived with myself knowing that not only had I been a part in breaking our relationship, but that I had also denied showing her how to make amends in tough situations as well?

Well I'm pleased to say that it has worked okay - so far.  We are communicating again, I am withdrawing a little from the hands on 'caring' stuff.  I shall be visiting less, not looking after her money or doing her shopping, hopefully this means I will not get so worn out.  Sadly it seems her behaviour has gone back to square one again and there is no longer any talk about her being discharged by the time she is 18, instead a transfer to adult in patient services seems likely after she turns 18.  This makes me very sad, but at least I know that I am not going to feel responsible for any failure an earlier discharge may have caused.

Back to the subject of apologies and owning up to mistakes, this whole debacle has made me much more aware of how important it is with my children (and others around me) to make sure I speak up.  If we keep quiet about the mistakes we make how are our children going to ever learn that making mistakes happens.  What has to be the most important thing is that we try and model to them how to deal with mistakes - even if it sucks!

I continue to count my blessings:

980. Communication restored.

981.  Prayers whispered with friends.

982.  Puppy dog keeping my legs warm as she sleeps.

983.  Piles of fabric.

984.  Sorting out advent calenders.

985.  Counting swimming lengths.

986.  No piles of leaves in the back garden.

987.  Chilly evenings.

988.  Browsing books in the library while girls shop.

989.  Making Christmas puddings.

Many Blessings to you xxxxxxxxxxxxxx