Enforced self care

So this week I have survived two days of enforced self care. I am 12 days post laparoscopic surgery and was discharged from hospital two days ago.

So it's a shock being back at home, don't get me wrong it's wonderful and I'm slowly working my way through my emotions of what I have been through and the knock on effect on Mr T and my little T's. I'll come back to that, not quite ready to lift the lid on that on paper as yet.

The day I came out of hospital was fine,  Mr T was here so other than bathe I didn't need to lift a finger. In hospital I spent most of my time sleeping or reading post op and all I had to concern myself with was the hospital daily routine of prodding, poking, ward rounds, being stared at by varying medical experts, food, drink and staggering to the toilet. My usual routine of childcare and what I refer to as 'mum thinking' was stripped of me.

Mr T did an amazing job of being both parents during my absence, this was magnified when child H burst into tears on day one of us flying solo when Mr T returned to work, and demanded we video call daddy as soon as he had a lunch break. I'm so proud of Mr T and his sidekick.

Back to day one at home, a little sore, bowels working a little too effectively to be too far away from my bathroom and a sort of confused feeling of do I feel sick or am I hungry, H and I strung out our day of cartoons, lego construction, snacks and team dozing. H has so much energy, just like any 5 year old and is as bouncy as a puppy if not exercised at least once a day. I still feel a tad fragile to leave the security of chez T so the bottom of the garden is as far as we have ventured.

Roll on the weekend when I have Mr T back. I do feel stronger by the day,  it's all part of the healing process. I don't really do sitting around so this enforced self care feels strange. Slowly slowly I'll return to full strength, I have to I'm a mum on the run.

Have you ever been forced into taking it easy? Did you get cabin fever? How did you cope? Would, as ever, love to hear your experiences.


When storybook characters come alive.

When I was a child I read. I read a lot. In fact I read so much I'd often have two or three novels on the go at one time. Facts and non fiction I was hopeless at retaining, just ask my A level History teacher, but give me a good story and I would be hooked.

In the bath, in the car, instead of homework, on the loo - yes not just men do that and it turns out there's IS an upside to having a slow moving bowel, who knew?

Now I'm all growed up there just isn't the time to read one chapter let alone space in my head to retain the plot lines of three different books. I struggle to remember  what happened on 'Enders last night.

The only things I read currently are 'Peppa bloody Pig goes on holiday' thanks to my five year old or the latest David Walliams aloud to my 9 year old at bedtime. Turns out I do a mean impression of a lady pretending  to be a man pretending to be a lady character, if you know anything about David Walliams you will know what  I'm talking about. If I really am stuck for something to read there are always the six month old stale waiting room magazines in the doctor/hospital/dentist clinics I seem to regularly attend.

As a new early reader I clearly remember bring home my first reading book from reception class. I found my reception classroom to be terrifying.  I hated being left anywhere so my anxiety levels were through the roof when I started school. What didn't help was my teacher the curiously named Mrs Constable-Barrett, try writing that on the front of your worksheets when five or six years of age, had a thing for taxidermy. As far as the eye could see on various shelves, windowsills and desks sat a variety of stuffed woodland creatures. The freaked the bejesus out of me and the only section of the entire double room classroom that wasn't adorned with stuffed owls, pheasants,  kestrels and the like was the book corner which was my save place in a classroom full of dead animals and shouty very confident other children.

Back to my first reading book. It was entitled 'Look'. Five pages of ridiculously happy people wearing fluorescent outfits (it was the 80s) pointing at objects yelling 'LOOK' once per page. No wonder it remains in my head. That and the stuffed animals. I got to take that book home every evening for a whole week, before I moved up a level.

As I learned to read I discovered so many wonderful authors, Enid Blyton for the
boarding school classics and the adventurous Famous Five, Jill Murphy for the Worst Witchford and Roald Dahl for just about everything!

Any book that featured a boarding school I lapped up, I never would have had been sent to boarding school but i always thought it would be such fun, midnight feasts, tuck boxes, fancy uniforms, travelling to each others houses for adventures during the holidays, writing home and getting good a parcel of goodies in return. I would get so lost in these stories.

I Throughout my life many characters I met in these books seemed to turn into real life people. When I was given extra tutoring for my A level History exam the tutor turned out to be a replica of how I had imagined Uncle Quentin the world famous scientist and quick tempered father of George in the Famous Five series. I forget his actual name Dr something or other, he would appear every Thursday for an hour with a pile of musty old history books that I wasn't the slightest bit interested in and I would sit there bored brainless wishing I was stuck into one of my three titles I had on the go. He was the just as i imagined Uncle Quentin to be, forgetful with practicalities, but full of knowledge at the click of a finger at any period of history. Moody and very awkward, never made eye contact and smelled as musty as his books. Probably slept among them I thought.

During one of my hospital stays I met Miss Hardbroom from the Worst Witch series. She was the terrifyingly strict form mistress of the main characters, Maude,  Enid and Ethel. In my head she was stick thin with elbows that could cut glass and fingers long and pointy with nails so sharp they could pick a lock. Groomed slick hair glued back in a Croydon face-lift with dark eyes and lips. Miss Hardbroom appeared in the former of a night nurse charged to look after all the patients on my ward. She appeared as if from nowhere at the side of my bed as if in a silent puff of green smoke with her pointy nose, crooked teeth whispering 'medication time...' if i had been able to I would have dived under the covers and hoped it was all a nightmare but I couldn't as was still in pain from my surgery. In fact despite looking exactly as I had imagined Miss Hardbroom to be, she was nothing like her, turns out she was the  nicest nurse I'd met during my stay and couldn't do enough for me, reminding me never to provide judge a book, or person by their cover. A cliché but true.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com


H is for hospital

So enduring a stay in hospital thanks to my body deciding to glue sections of my intestines together, resulting in me spending a fair few days 'off my nut' on various post operative pain relief I can confirm a few things. Being confined to bed rest gives you a lot of thinking time, a bucket load of weird dreams and the ability to make dry shampoo work wonders on your rapidly grease like follicles. 

Thinking time has its advantages, I've so far made lists of where I'd like to go on holiday next year (Menorca again), top three food stuffs I'd like to inhale on discharge  (strawberry Krispie Kreme - hello KK people, cottage pie and chips) thought about the pros and cons of appearing on a variety of different reality shows, I'm a celebrity* vs Love Island**

*Accepting I'm not a celebrity but would love to explore OZ one day.

** I'm not single but the idea of a Spanish Island for 8 weeks would be by spiritual home.

The disadvantages would be the guilt I feel for being away from home and my family plus the total loss of control I have over my own body. Hats off to the nursing staff, I could not do a fraction of the things they have to do, nor put up with the rudeness of members of the public. People moan about the NHS but thank goodness they are there providing life saving treatment or some of us rearly wouldn't still be here.

I've also come to some decisions regarding my blogging. When I started out over a year ago there seemed to be so much pressure among mummy bloggers/lifestyle bloggers et al to measure success by the number of followers you have plus how many brands want to work with you and send you free stuff. Not knocking those who blog for that reason, each to their own, I was into that at the start but now have decided to focus on my writing. So I'm going back to basics, no fancy stuff here just me and my tablet and some words.

I always enjoy receiving comments on my blog posts, interacting with those who read my writing is fab, plus I know  I'm not talking to myself...

A little disclaimer regarding this post, I was on a lot of pain reducing Meds while writing this so apologies if it's a little odd! Mrs T xx 


Exploring my creative side

This week I was invited to join an introduction to glass art workshop at Fired Works gallery in Chalfont St Peter. I am the least arty person in the world, I spent my art classes at school staring out of the window while the teacher always commented that any 'pieces' I did manage to finish were 'unusual' and usually featured a lot of stick people.

Marie who owns the gallery and works with fused glass to create totally unique items such as coasters, clocks, lamps and even adds silver to make some beautiful jewellery asked me to join her workshop I popped in on Tuesday evening with no idea what I was doing!

I should not have worried, Marie explained everything so carefully, the different types of glass and the how the firing schedules create a variety of effects. We had plenty of inspiration from the varied pieces displayed throughout the gallery. Marie keeps her workshops to a maximum of four students so ensure everyone can ask for guidance and learn more about this fascinating art form.

So after a health and safety talk - protective goggles are essential, a piece glass in your eye is not part of the experience, we got to work creating our first piece, a sun catcher. I decided to keep it simple and chose to design a piece based on daisies. My youngest son loves picking daisies when we are at the park and instructing me to make daisy chains so I thought if it worked out it would be a nice piece to display in our playroom at home. I used pre-cut green slivers of glass as stems and blades of grass followed by slightly thicker pre-cut white slivers as the petals. What's great about glass art is that you can lay your design out on the blank canvas and keep on rearranging it until you are happy with your work so nothing is concrete until you apply the glue to keep your design in place.

There are so many different sizes of glass available to use you really can mix and match to create something really special. I found the process quite therapeutic I was able to switch off totally from mum mode and focus on what I was doing. Perfect 'me time' which is so rare in our busy lives.

Next we moved onto a larger blank canvas around 20cmx15cm which again was pre fired giving a smooth surface on which to work with. I have a bit of a thing for blossom and on previous visits to Fired Works I spotted a blossom tree that I totally fell in love with, of course it was made by Marie so looked amazing but when I realised it was possible to recreate a mini version on my canvas I had a go. Marie assured me trees are very straight forward so I went for it. I used a glass paint to trace out the outline of my tree trunk and branches and filled it in with small pieces of crushed glass. I then added the blossom with pink crushed glass and larger gem sized piece of glass. My pieces were then ready for the kiln.

Three days later this is what my finished pieces look like

Marie kindly sent me some images of other pieces created in this and previous workshops, as well as
the adult workshops Marie also runs workshops for children aged eight and over to make sun-catchers.

We were all made to feel very welcome at the workshop and thoroughly enjoyed unleashing our creative sides, Marie was on hand to guide and support all the students in the relaxing environment of her studio and gallery.

For more information on upcoming courses do visit the Fired Works website or Facebook page or call 01753 899 108.

I did not receive any form of payment for this blog post, if you are a local Bucks business and are interested in collaborating then do get in touch with me info@socialdirection.co.uk


So let's talk about mental health

Yes, you heard me, MENTAL health. A subject that is close to my heart, not because I put it there but because I have been taken to very dark places by my mental health through no choice of my own.

What triggered it? Who knows, I've always been an over thinker, a worrier a 'what if' kind of person. So it didn't take much to tip me over the edge into the realms of depression.

Now I'm in my mid 30's I finally know how to take care of my head. It's a shame it has taken this long. As a child you are taught to take care of your physical health, I was always popping antibiotics for reoccurring ear infections but was never told how important it is to take care of your mental health.

A catalogue of events in my life affected the way I used to think, they way I dealt with difficult situations, what I thought people thought about me. Losing my dad as a teen, breaking down of my first marriage I totally lost control of myself.

Becoming a mother helped me find my way to an extent but didn't banish my lack of ability to cope with difficulties.

Over a year ago I finally sought professional help with the right person who helped me to look at how I took care of myself, how I thought about things and how not to worry what others think. Accepting that awful tragedies do happen in life and for the first time since I lost my dad I didn't spend the weeks approaching the anniversary of his death on a downward spiral to the dark place.

I'm not unhappy and I'm not depressed, I just have to work hard to remind myself that I deserve what I have, life is for living and to negotiate bumps in the road with the use of my toolkit of ways of coping. Nobody said life is easy but it's how you deal with the good and the bad is what sees you through.

So be you, put yourself first and please, please don't be concerned with what other people think or do. You have one life and so live if it for yourself.

image from mentalhealth.org.uk