Thursday 2 January 2020

Bye Bye 2019...Hello 2020

Well it's that time again when it's customary to look back at one year as we start a new one.

And to be honest 2019 has been a bit of a roller coaster of a year with some very low points peppered with a few highs.

The year started off fairly standard returning to work after two weeks off over the festive period only to be struck down by a stomach virus after just 2 days of work. This resulted in 4 of my staff team all being out of action with the same virus which meant I had to close the pre-school I manage for 3 days; a first in my 18 years of pre-school work!

Moving into February and one of my best highlights of the year. I was lucky enough to get VIP tickets to see my most favourite of bands 'White Lies'; this meant not only did I get to see them in concert but also got chance to watch them do their soundcheck, meet them and get my photo taken with them as well as come away with some great merchandise. This was a fantastic night and one that will stay with me for a long say I was a little bit excited would be an understatement!
Enjoying the soundcheck
Meeting the band - eek!

Front row!!!
This was the start to a couple of weeks of fun times; celebrating a friends 50th, attending our regular burlesque evening at La Deda Cabaret, getting my pencils out at a local life drawing class called Dr Sketchy's and even a weekend away during an unseasonably warm weekend at the end of February.

In amongst all of that I had an appointment for a routine mammogram...just one of those regular things that us women of a certain age get asked to attend. Two weeks after the scan I received a letter from the hospital asking me to visit because they just wanted to 'double check' my scan...nothing to worry about...just one of those things! Suffice to say there was something to be worried about and a diagnosis of breast cancer saw the next 4 months being a blur of hospital appointments. Here's a link to a blog post that marked my last day of treatment and goes into more detail about my diagnosis and treatment; Last Day

During these four months life carried on as normal as possible; Ethan was finishing his final year at university and Molly had the last few months of sixth form ending with her A-Level exams, we had more 50th birthday celebrations, I took part in a charity fashion show, there was Avengers End Game to see, Molly turned 18 and another burlesque evening!

Then in May I was able to get a little more ink...and Molly got her first! See my earlier post; And Some More Disney Ink
Molly getting inked by the lovely Saint Heywood at Acadia Tattoo
And the completed ink...just had to be The Lion King
And for me a pink ribbon...
During this time we had also made the decision to book a holiday to Disneyland had been 4 years since our last trip to Paris as a family and 6 years since our last visit to Walt Disney World. We were desperate to get a little Disney into our lives and with all that the year had brought so far we were determined to get out there and live life to the fullest! See the post - 69 Days and Counting

June saw Simon and I celebrate 30 years of marriage....
A 'now & then' photo!
...Molly and Ethan both sat their final exams and finished their respective times in education and my treatment came to an end.

In July we had the chance to support an event called Real Food Rocks held in the Lake District; it was chance for people to discuss and learn more about our approach to food in relation to our health. How if we wish to retain our health or reverse conditions like type 2 diabetes then we need to look at the foods we eat and readjust. Read my post from July all about the event - Real Food Rocks

The end of July saw Ethan achieving a first in his Computer Science degree and we had a great day at his graduation. He then secured himself a programmer job working for a computer games company which is something he has always wanted to do.
August saw Molly receive her A-Level results doing fantastic with an A*, A and B, she is now busy working part-time while establishing her own photography business Shutter Studios

This year was becoming a year of changes; both 'kids' leaving education and moving out into the big wide world, us getting used to the fact that the 'kids' are no longer 'kids' and then my body going through changes as a result of my treatment.

So our trip to Disneyland Paris in August seemed to time itself perfectly. We all had a fantastic time...and I really must find the time to look back at the holiday and get a few posts written and photos shared.

We ended August with a trip to London to see another of my all time favourite bands, She Wants Revenge, who played the O2 academy in Islington. We had seen them only once before, many years ago at a small venue in Sheffield and were thrilled to get the chance to see them again.

As we moved into September I had a hospital check-up which went well and now means I have an annual mammogram for the next 5 years just to make sure!

But within a few days of receiving that good news Simon's mum was diagnosed with heart failure and atrial fibrillation. This then plunged us into 4 months of doctors appointments, phone calls at all times of day, hospital visits (so many that we joked the car could drive itself there), organising home care and panic alarms, calling out paramedics, house sitting waiting for medical equipment to be delivered, liaising with social care, hospital staff, doctors, was a never ending deluge of 'stuff' we had to deal with. Now what I should make clear at this point is that Simon is an only child and therefore the responsibility for his elderly mum all fell at his feet and he accepted that responsibility with good grace, care and diligence despite everything. Simon had also been the sole carer for his parents over the last decade or more, doing all he could for his dad when diagnosed with dementia until he passed away 3 years ago. He supported his mum through his dad's illness and then subsequently with every day life after his dad passed away. But this has never been an easy situation to handle, and one that has lasted for most of Simon's life. It is only through events over the last few years and months that we have begun to realise the emotional abuse that Simon, and as a consequence me, have been subjected to by his mum. This is not the forum to go into details but suffice to say the actions and behaviour of one person have had an unbelievable impact on our lives and well being. Sadly this meant that when she passed away just before Christmas it was met with a great sense of relief rather than sadness and mourning, along with the realisation that we are now free to move forward with our lives.

Oh and while all this was happening I got told that the pre-school I manage was being evicted from its current premises (we had been there for 17 years) and that we had just over 3 months to find somewhere new! This was a complete shock to us all and absolutely heartbreaking. But plans are in place and things are now moving forward; there will be lots of changes ahead but the good news is that we hope to be in our new premises by the end of February.

But despite these past few months we have pulled together, made each other stronger and somehow found the time, energy and strength to carry on and get on with life as best we could. So while we had to sacrifice going to the gym or getting Molly to her karate classes, or had to re-schedule day-to-day stuff we still enjoyed some precious moments.

We had some great nights out with friends and family, we introduced Molly to The Rocky Horror Show in the theatre, we enjoyed a night out to see Tim Minchin live, we had more burlesque nights and more life drawing afternoons!

We also were able to get out with our fellow Star Wars cosplay friends and troop at a number of events. We attended Feel the Force in Peterborough, a special comic-con set up for families with additional needs and for the third year running we attended the Nottingham Hospitals Charity Children's Christmas parties. And with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film we were asked to take part in one of a number of troops held at our local Odeon cinema which saw us raising money for two charities; MIND (mental health) and PASIC (cancer support for children & young people).
Feel the Force - with Joker Squad
Nottingham Hospitals Children's Christmas Party - with East Midlands Garrison

Odeon Cinema, Derby - troop with East Midlands Garrison for the release of The Rise of Skywalker
The last weekend in November saw the house get taken over with Christmas decorations...both inside and out! I just love this time of the year and love the tradition of decorating the whole house!
Part of my back garden - love these blow mould decorations

My main tree...and it's all Disney of course!
Black & Silver tree
And tree number 3 lives in my kitchen!
For my birthday weekend we headed down to London to see White Lies in concert (again) at Brixton Academy. This was a special concert forming part of a small tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album. They played the album in full plus a selection of other songs; it was a fantastic concert, with an amazing atmosphere...we made new friends, had beer thrown over us and Simon got kissed by a random man! Such a great night!

Singing my heart out!!
Made this frame to remember both White Lies concerts 
And just before Christmas we had an evening at the cinema to see the latest Star Wars installment...the evening started at 6pm with a showing of The Force Awakens followed by The Last Jedi followed at one minute past midnight by a showing of the latest movie The Rise of Skywalker. Back home and in bed for about 2.45am to be up at 6.30am for work!!

We have then rounded the year out with a very relaxed Christmas and New Year, we have re-connected with relatives, spent time with friends and family and simply enjoyed the time we have had together as a family.

We are now looking forward to what the year ahead shall bring. We are making plans for that big Disney holiday we have been longing for and making sure that every moment counts.

Wishing you all the very best for 2020 whatever that may bring you. Keep smiling and keep those you love close and cherish every moment you have xx