Write like no-one’s watching – a year on


I realised just the other day that I have been writing for a whole year now.  To be precise, a year on the 22nd of May.  I remember thinking quite clearly – where on earth do I begin?  So I began at the start.  Just like that.

I suppose in a way it does not really matter when, but more importantly the reasons why I began to write.

It all started with a nod to another young lass who I have great admiration for, Lisa Lynch.  Lisa was yet another young girl who found herself slap bang in the middle of the dreaded ‘C Word’, and she wrote about it – and she swore about it – and she joked about it.  Even more importantly in my eyes she asked the same questions that I did.

Where are all the other young women with breast cancer, surely I can’t be the only one?

Of course I was not the only one* and neither was she, but at the time I was diagnosed it very much felt like I was.

I had no idea what a blog was but as soon as I realised that it was just like a diary, I made my peace with it.  I reasoned that the importance of raising awareness in young people far outweighed any shyness on my part.  I decided that if just one other person checked themselves after reading my rambling thoughts then it would all have been worth it – one thousand times over.


In the beginning I wrote for myself, as a kind of therapeutic way in which to clear my head from all of the jumbled thoughts I was having.  They stopped me from sleeping at night and carried on into the day.  And so I wrote it exactly how I found it to be, exactly like me I suppose – honest and real.  I was determined that I would say how it really feels, because after all that is what I myself so desperately needed to know (and I suspect as do many others too).

Along the way it became oh so clear that I wrote for somebody else too.  Well actually, two other little people.  My husband would sigh at this point as the tears roll down my cheeks.  It seems that I cry at the slightest little thing nowadays.

You see, whilst I have always wanted to ‘share my story’ or explain the emotional side of breast cancer, what I have really found myself doing is writing a memoir for my children.  If I am being honest there has always been that niggling doubt at the back of my mind that I may not see this one through for whatever reason.  Of course I am positive and I do not take for granted a single day anymore, but no one truly knows what the future holds.

So I write for my not so little Noah, my Peter Pan.  It makes me smile to think that he would roll his eyes at me calling him that as he gets older, because I am doing the embarrassing ‘mum thing’.  He even noticed my Pinterest board about him the other day and he got so excited to see all of his favourite things in one place.  The boy who loved adventure and his ever so slight obsession with football.

I also write for my little Isla, my Wendybird (and I know that she won’t roll her eyes, because she loves Peter Pan).  I hope that she will remember standing in her nightie brandishing a sword at her brother, pretending that Captain Hook is about to capture them both.  I hope she will treasure the bedtime stories, and not take the straighteners to those beautiful blonde ringlets of hers when she hits her teenage years.

It is very important to me as a mum that my children understand how I think and feel right now in this moment, and how we all got through this together as a family.  Bit by bit.

Of course you do get on, life has a funny way of making you.  There is no time for looking back over your shoulder.  Woken at the crack of dawn, someone always needs breakfast straight away, or there is a wet bed, or we slept through the alarm.  No time to dwell when there are no clean socks or the washing up is calling.  And while I moan about it all, I shouldn’t really because getting on with normal everyday things is a blessing.

The ‘C Word’ touches everybody in one way or another, and it is so important that we talk about it and write about it because ignoring it won’t make it go away.

And so I will carry on writing as if no one’s watching.

I will write about all of the things that make me happy or sad.  The nice things we do as a family, and even the days where it all goes abit wrong. I will write about it all openly and honestly, because I know that if there comes a day that my children ever do read this, they will pore over every last word and cling to each one as if they are the most valuable treasures of all.


*The Young Breast Cancer Network provide a place to go for young people to get in touch with others. Also Coppa Feel, The Haven and Breast Cancer Care to name but a few.

I would just like to say thank you for all your support, for reading and  sharing & helping me through this year.

Thank you, Dee x

The thing about Isla Mary..


Fridays have become synonymous as mother and daughter days in our house.  I have the beginning and end of each week off work, and more often than not, the beginning of the week starts with all of the obligatory chores that need to be done to keep everything ‘ticking over’ nicely.  As the week draws to an end (along with my energy) I tend to let things sort themselves out.  There is no plan, the day just happens the way it happens.

I can tell Isla looks forward to spending the day with me and I am finding more and more as she gets older that I look forward to spending quality time with her too.  I think it is really sweet how she chatters away in the back of the car to me, telling me about this or that and asking me very random questions as a I attempt to concentrate on driving, like – ‘Mum, does bean rhyme with cream?’ – ‘Urm, yes darling it does’.

When I look at my little girl many things spring to mind.  Usually I hear her before I see her in the mornings singing a little song and smiling her big wide smile.  Sometimes she is grumpy and hides her head back under the covers just like her daddy does when I go in to wake her.  I think she is more like her daddy than she will ever know.

And yet it is a rarity that we get some real quality time together, usually because there are so many other things going on.  Just recently we have been able to wave off her brother as he goes to his football training on a Friday evening as we run a warm bath and hop into our jammies.  We snuggle up on the sofa to watch a movie because it is what we like to do when no-one else is around.  The choice of movie is invariably Disney and one particular evening she chose Disney’s Brave.  Brave is the story of a Scottish Princess with wild curly hair, who clashes with her mother as she refuses to conform to the way she is supposed to be.  As we watch the movie her little eyes get brighter and brighter and I know why (other than the fact she turns her mother into a bear).

Isla Mary is a free spirit. 


She knows very much what she likes and what she does not like.  She has always watched the other Disney Princess films, and although she likes the adventures, her favourite characters are often the best friends or the animals who have a bit more about them.  There have been countless incidents of her pulling faces at people she doesn’t like the look of, or point blank refusing to use her manners when we are out and about, or singing at the top of her voice (much to my teenage niece’s embarrassment) in fact, there are more incidents than I would care to mention.

The truth is though, that I admire all this about her (not the rudeness, obviously) but the single mindedness and the spirit.  She may be small, but she is truly fearless and she often lets me know that as she insists on doing everything herself.  ‘Mummy, I can do it mine own self’ is a remark that I hear numerous times a day as I attempt to help her.  And you know what? she can do it herself, and if she can’t she teaches herself to much to my amazement as I am reminded that I should not ever underestimate her.

Some days I honestly find myself wondering how I am ever going to guide this young lady into adulthood.  Some days I wish I could ask other mums what they would do, because I am sure that I don’t always react in the way that I should do in order to get the best out of her.  The thing is that I know that I am the person that she aspires to be – that in itself is quite some burden, as I don’t always know what to do in a given situation.  Sometimes when she hurts herself, but doesn’t want others to know that she is hurt, she runs and hides so that nobody can see her tears.  Sometimes she puts her two middle fingers in her mouth when she is unsure and uncertain about something (I used to suck my thumb too), and I can almost read her eyes as she weighs up a situation.


I truly hope that we don’t clash too much as she gets older, but it is inevitable I think.  For now though I have decided to spend as much time as I possibly can with her.  I hug her when she is sad or angry, I scold her when she is rude and I explain to her why we use manners wherever I can.  Only this morning she broke her Frozen locket that is very similar to my own necklace and she was heartbroken.  Of course we can mend the chain, and she will be happy that she has something once again that is just like her best friend’s.

The thing about Isla Mary is, well, that she is just like me…






A Dream Come True

If you knew Noah Geoffrey Matthews like I know Noah Geoffrey Matthews then you would know that he is very special indeed.

Of course I would say that as his mummy, but I truly believe that there is something special inside of this little boy.  A little sparkle inside of him that you sometimes catch a glimpse of in his smile.

I never knew how he would be when he made his arrival into the world, six years ago to the day in fact.  He was such a tiny little thing, only 5lbs 11oz with a full head of hair and giant blue eyes.

If you knew Noah Geoffrey Matthews like I know Noah Geoffrey Matthews you would be very lucky indeed.

He is shy, yet outgoing.  He is sensitive, yet bold.  He is easygoing, yet passionate about the things that he loves.  All of these things make him very difficult to parent because in an instant he can switch from one to the other.

He likes everything in its place.  He likes to know what is coming next.  Surprises or an upset in routine only serve to worry him because something inside him means that he needs to know.

So just recently we wondered what to get this little boy for his 6th birthday to make all of his dreams come true?

He never asks for much a football kit or some football stickers.. the theme invariably follows a football theme.  His daddy and his uncles decided to try to get him tickets to see his favourite team play.  Not just any team but Liverpool FC at their home stadium, Anfield.

If you knew Noah Geoffrey Matthews, he would tell you that Liverpool are the best team in the world.  His eyes would light up as he told you this and that about each match and who they are to play next.

Even at his young age they have made him cheer and sing and laugh and cry – he truly loves the team that he supports just like his daddy.  Every night he asks for a made up story, and most evenings I hear his dad tell him a tale of a little boy who went to Anfield road to watch his favourite players – sometimes he even plays with them too and scores the winning goal.

And so, on the morning of his birthday he opened a small pile of presents and finally opened a very special birthday card with a special note in it.

Dear Noah,

On Sunday you will be going to watch Liverpool vs Stoke at Anfield..

lots of love,

Daddy & Mummy xxx

The look of delight on his face and the disbelief was worth every single penny.  You can’t buy happiness (although these tickets did cost a lot of money) but the experience and the memories will stay with him forever, and that in itself is priceless.


In a way I wish that I was going along too – just to see the look on his little face and experience it all with him.  I wish I could hold his hand and feel the nerves and excitement as the noise of the stadium hit him.

This experience is an important ‘father son’ moment though, and even I can see that.  My husband has loved that club since he was a little boy and it is only right that they should go together.  It’s almost like a rite of passage in a way.

As a mum it is such a privilege to watch your children grow up and have things that they truly love to do.  Of course Noah loves other things too.  He loves numbers and counting, he loves eating, and above all he loves his family.

He told me the other day that when he grows up he never wants to leave home and he wants to live with us forever.  I am sure he will change his tune as he grows older, but for now it is nice to see how much of a ‘home-bird’ he is.

If you knew Noah Geoffrey Matthews like I know Noah Geoffrey Matthews, you would know that he has a heart of gold and this will always be so I am sure.

I know that we should have called him Stanley as we intended to, after the great footballing legend Stanley Matthews and then the visit to Anfield would be all the more fitting (my husband wouldn’t let me).

Happy Birthday Noah Geoffrey (Stanley) Matthews. The boy who changed my life forever with his cheeky smile and kind heart.