A Yorkshire Rose


Something happened in our community this afternoon that has shocked us all.  Something so barbaric and full of hatred that it has made us all stop and think, truly think about how we live our lives.

Jo Cox, a local mum and wife was brutally murdered while carrying out her job as a local MP.  As an MP she was tireless in her campaign of values that she believed in, both internationally on the Syrian crisis and locally in recognising the true values of our community.  As she travelled around her community she noted the closeness and harmony of all race and religions throughout Yorkshire and that really is the greatest testament that anyone could ever tell.

I am not a political person, but I know kindness and honesty when I see it.  And yet as the hours go by after the news of this event reached me, I cannot seem to get this out of my mind – it has been playing over and over ever since I heard the news.  Jo was a Yorkshire lass through and through it seems (I did not know her) and she was going about her daily job, as we all do.  She was not murdered for any reason, just some deluded individual who wanted to make her a reason for his own hatred- and that is the saddest thing of all.

In my eyes, Jo was a mother first and foremost, and a wife. Tonight her babies will be going off to sleep without her for the very first time.  How cruel and unfair life can be.  That thought made me string out bedtime for that little bit longer tonight, and cast my eyes over my own children, taking everything in about them for as long as I could.

What world am I bringing them up in?  Should I be fearful of the hatred that we seem to have in certain sections of our society?  Any questions that came to mind were answered with a statement made by Jo’s husband Brendan,

“I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.  Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it everyday of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”

When I read that I thought to myself – bloody hell I would be so proud if my husband had made a statement with such powerful words of determination.  What a way to honour somebody you love than to promise to take care of the two things she loved the most in the world.  Not only that, but to add a defiant rejection of hatred, surely must teach us all a lesson?

Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.

There have been many times over the past year when I have wondered what important life lessons I would like to teach my own children and I think Jo’s husband just summed up what every parent in Yorkshire, or indeed the country is probably thinking this evening.

Teach our own children tolerance of all race and religion and stand up to the fear brought about by such terrible acts.  There will no doubt be plenty of aspersions and comments cast over the next few days with a view to denote blame, but I believe that it is important that we all come together after such a terrible day, as it has no place here.

Perhaps my children will never remember this day as they innocently carry on with their own little lives of school and nursery – but they certainly will grow up in the very same city as Jo’s children will.   I hope that one day no matter what they all become, that they emulate the love and kindness taught to them and learn to stand up against the things in the world that look to do them harm.

From one local mum to another I am giving a nod to that special lady and the legacy that she has undoubtedly left behind.  I know that her family will be as proud of her as we all are in Leeds – a true Yorkshire Rose.


My condolences to Jo’s family this evening.

A Smile of Recognition


There have been many people who have held my hand over the past year or so, metaphorically speaking, and they know who they are without me needing to say. (the indicator here is if your heart skips a little as you read this – then yes, I am talking about you)

I remember during my recovery watching the drama The C Word, and wondering how Lisa Lynch could have possibly mustered up the courage to meet the girls she befriended during her illness?

These were girls that she had never even met in real life before.

I recall the scene set so clearly on the sea front as she stood there waiting for them with nervous anticipation & then the smile of recognition when they all finally met each other.  The three of them sat on the pebble beach and made a toast to the one who had not made it. They chatted and laughed like old friends, as if they had known each other for many many years.

I could never do that, I thought.

I had avoided the offers of group sessions at all costs, as the idea of talking to people I did not know was just ‘not my cup of tea’.  And yet somehow or other through the wonders of social media I have been lucky enough to have met two other ladies who wrote just like me.  They wrote about their own stories in their own way, each with their own individual style. Rosemary and Allie.

Rosemary’s blog Cystaract [cystaract.wordpress.com] caught my attention on the day that her own mum wrote a post about how she had felt throughout her illness.  It made me sit back and think of everything from a differing point of view.  She writes of her family, her husband, her son and her parents.  Rosemary’s writing is clever and thoughtful – while at the same time searingly honest, just as she is. #TeamPositive is the overriding theme (as much as it can possibly be when writing of something so difficult)

Allie’s blog AllieMoonJourney [alliemoonjourney.wordpress.com] also caught my attention the day that she read a post I had angrily written about IVF choices (tentatively hoping that it would not offend anyone). Allie writes about her beloved Pats and their friends and family too. I went on to read her blog in turn which is about a girl, very much like myself, who decided to write about her own rollercoaster ride with a hope to help others going through the same thing. Allie’s writing is honest and insightful, with a burning positivity.

imageIn all honesty I am not sure how we became three and my memory will not allow for me to re-tell the finer points.  It is just that we seemed to have formed a bond of familiarity and understanding between us along the way – no group sessions, no awkward questions, just three very normal girls going through illness at the same time, as chance would have it.

And so it came to be shortly after writing my own bucket list and as the New Year arrived, I decided to ask if perhaps we should all meet one day?  I had been thinking about it for a while and I decided to honour my ‘don’t put off til tomorrow, what you can do today’ promise to myself.  The others excitedly agreed and we pencilled a date in the diary despite ongoing appointments, scans and the pending arrival of a very special little grandchild.

The day finally arrived and I found myself driving to meet these two special people.  Doing the very thing that I had been convinced I would never have the strength to do.  I was nervous and the butterflies in my stomach fluttered and lurched around.  What if they don’t like me?  What if we don’t get on? Neither of which were particularly necessary because the friendship was already there, meeting or no meeting.

And yet there is something about illness that wipes your confidence and makes you less sure about yourself.  Somehow the carpet is pulled out from under your feet & when you stand up again you are unsure and unsteady.  You are definitely not the same person who fell down.  Time is a healer it is true, but when you carry battle wounds it is something that can never be taken away.

So I found myself driving, regardless of nerves with a smile on my face.  I knew that I would be meeting friends who understood it all.


It is true that each of us is very different with our own unique story to tell, and yet each the same somehow.  We are part of a kind of club or ‘tribe’ as Rosemary once wrote.  Nobody wants to be a member of it, but as soon as you are you stand tall and lift your head up high as best you can.

Our meeting was very special, sharing good food and wine and most of all laughter.  We met Rosemary’s new grandson too who was the perfect reminder that life goes on and that every moment is one to be cherished.



This post is dedicated to Flynn David Albone – the little ray of light that we all very much needed.

Art credit: Yolande Sanchez


A Ferry Cross the Mersey


We have been meaning to make a little trip to Liverpool for some time now.

We packed up the car on the morning of our trip and as we did so I noticed that we had taken slightly less than we would have normally done.  The children are older now and so the need for emergency items is becoming less and less.  It made my heart grow a little sad to think that all of the ‘necessities’ of travel would one day no longer be needed as they become more and more self sufficient.

There were however, some little special touches that could not be left.  As we all jumped into the car I caught sight of a special teddy bear that my boy has had since he was a baby.  ‘Liverpool bear’ as he is fondly named, has become and old favourite and I explained that he must come along to visit his home city.  Every toy is named very simply in our house.  The large baby doll is called ‘Big baby’, the monkey is called ‘Monkey’ and so on – that is, all apart from one very special elephant named Edmund who rode along side his bear partner on this sunny day.

image Liverpool Bear 2016

The children were excited as we planned a night at Nana and Grandad’s house as our first stop.  Leaving the gloomy weather behind in Yorkshire, it soon became apparent that we were all over dressed as the Southport skies were cloudless and the sun was warm.  We were greeted by a very excited little cousin upon our arrival who could not wait to see his ‘partners in crime’.  We watched him squeal with delight and jump up and down when we gave him his first ever Spiderman toy, his new hero. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the local park, eating ice-creams, sitting out in the garden and even the first barbeque of the year.

The next day the children woke early, excited to be finally visiting Liverpool and their auntie and uncle’s apartment.  We packed up the car again, remembering sun hats and we made our way along the long road to Liverpool.  We were greeted on our arrival with hugs and kisses, and my daughter hid behind my legs as she demonstrated her usual initial shyness. Our plan was to take a trip on the famous Ferry on the Mersey and the children were beyond excited to be allowed to go on the big boat.

Liverpool did not disappoint.  The weather was stunning and the City of Culture of which it was once entitled was well deserved.  As we walked along we pointed out the famous Liverbirds that were perched on the buildings overhead watching over the city.  We wandered down onto the docks and sat on the benches outside the Museum to eat our sandwiches as we waited for the ferry to arrive.  The children were delighted to see the ‘Dazzle’ ferry approaching the docks painted in its bright colours and adorned with flags flapping in the wind.

imageThe ferry across the Mersey – June 2016

It was the ultimate tourist activity, and when I think about it perhaps it has no interest to anybody but to our little family.  Nana and Grandad, little Lucas, uncle Alun and auntie Katy and of course, us four.  And yet it is another memory for my children and I know that they will be glad that I captured that picture on that beautiful day.  The song ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ was blasted out intermittently with the tour guide’s voice as she explained each and every landmark.  The children clung to the sides pointing out everything that they could see and they truly loved every minute of it.  I am not sure that we could have picked a more perfect day to take a boat trip and when we moored we did not want it to come to an end.

Tired and weary in the heat, both children took their turn in throwing wobblers over who would be allowed to hitch a ride on their daddy and uncle’s shoulders.  They invariably got their own way as we were too tired to argue with the unreasonableness.  Not to be defeated though, we decided to take a walk up to the World Museum following a promise of an aquarium, dinosaurs and much more.  Again we were not to be disappointed.  As we entered a giant pterodactyl skeleton suspended overhead made the children gasp in awe.  We took our time peering at the exotic fish in the aquarium, colouring in turtles as an activity and playing in the sensory room where we were greeted by a giant eyeball.  As we were leaving we caught sight of the ‘Bug room’ and we saw giant African ants, locusts and spiders all capturing the children’s interest.

Finally it was time to leave.  Nobody’s legs were now working, and so a quick trip to the museum shop was used as a distraction.  Here we bought drinks and a large display of marbles of every shape and colour caught our attention.  Each child was allowed to pick a marble bag and fill it with the glassy treasures much to their delight. It was the perfect end to a lovely trip.  A small memento of their day, they left clutching their bags and once again riding high on shoulders as we headed home.

Just a day. Probably special to nobody but us, to our little family, and yet one to remember I think.


Noah and Isla, I hope you always remember our trip to that very special city. 

Lots of love always, mummy xxx