September held so much promise… IMG_9697 (2)

At the start of the month I enjoyed some end of summer fun times with my brood before they slowly, but surely, went back to school.  It was then my every intention to spring clean, to get my house and  my slightly frazzled mind back in order and to catch up with all those things that had hung in the balance over the summer months… Hahaha – best laid plans and all that!

So, barely back through the classroom door and Archie finally got his much needed op date for his corrective surgery.  we’d hoped that, worrying as these situations always are, things would be done with relative ease, miracles performed by healing hands and my soldier would be restored to his smiling former glory.  I guess I should have known better.  I’m beginning to realise that nothing is ‘straightforward’ in mine, or in deed the lives of my family.  BUT, if nothing else, September has done a good job of reminding me of those many, many things that I can be grateful for…

The NHS & Leeds General Infirmary

It really has been a very long few weeks and I should know as I’ve been awake for almost all of it!  However much I’ve grumbled and complained, and whinged even more. there is no mistaking, once again, how incredibly lucky we are to have the NHS and all those dedicated nurses, doctors, surgeons and all the hospital staff who have played a part in Archie’s care and recovery.  From the surgeon who painstakingly ensured he came through the long and tricky surgery, despite complications, to the lovely girl who cleaned the ward every day with a smile on her face and took the time for a cheery word with all the poorly children and ‘dog tired’ parents.  I extend a massive THANK YOU to all of you, once again, for ensuring my soldier lives to fight another day. IMG_9842

Into the second week of hospitalisation I wasn’t coping too well.  The fact that  my much coveted lunch (a Boots Meal Deal) mysteriously disappeared from Archie’s bedside whilst he was having a procedure,  Archie’s wheelchair broke and someone let a heavy door go on me, which resulted in the smashing of my favourite sunglasses, pretty much sent me over the edge, as if the stress I was under wasn’t enough.  God bless the expert timing of my friend Jan’s regular visit and the fact that she quite coincidentally brought me a hot meal probably saved me.    All the lovely visitors, cards, texts, Facebook messages and acts of kindness have helped keep us both chipper.  At this point, I’d like to make a public apology to the harassed and sleep-deprived mother that, in one of my weaker moments, I really shouldn’t have joked with.  When we were likening our stay to being ‘incarcerated’ I couldn’t resist pulling your leg, but worryingly you were called away before the laughter ensued and I’d just like to clarify that I never have and never intend to be locked up for armed robbery and sorry,  it was naughty of me to let you think that!  In the very sobering environment of seriously ill children and fraught parents, I couldn’t resist trying to raise a smile, however inappropriate!  


The jokes were a little weak for my flagging humour, but I know just how much Archie and his fellow patients loved being entertained by Magic Tom  I was particularly impressed by his balloon modelling and Archie looked very fetching in his specially constructed balloon hat.  Thank you for visiting the ward and raising smiles under particularly adverse conditions. IMG_9909 (2)



The first few days post op for Archie were difficult.  He was in a great deal of pain and I tried to alleviate it wherever possible.  If I could have gone through it for him, I really would have.  A small but not insignificant problem was that his lips were dry and split and constantly bleeding.  We tried so many things – until a kindly neighbour begifted her Temple Spa ‘All Talk’ and finally Archie’s lips could be salved and softened.  Thanks Jos, this little tube was a massive turning point in his lengthy recovery.


Back at home there’s no doubt that Pete was doing a sterling effort keeping things ticking along and keeping the imps both alive and in check … no doubt sponsored by Nutella! IMG_9688



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I’d like to say I’ve been looking after myself beautifully, getting lots of sleep, taking life in my stride and eating sensibly – but it’d be a downright lie!  However, during my sleepless nights in hospital I’ve read a few brilliant books;

The first was Blood Sisters by Barbara Keating and Stephanie Keating.  A hard hitting, emotional read, with lots of action, cultural references and relationships.  You can read my review here .  I read it in just 2 long evenings and the Ward Sister was intrigued and had asked me about it – so I left it for her to read.

I also read Tight Spiral by Michael J Gill – a completely different book, more lighthearted and frivolous,  but equally readable and great fun

Finally, I read Hotel Alpha by Mark Watson, a brilliantly written unputdownable book that totally got me in the guts. I gifted this brilliant book to the lovely nurse who’d  listened and actioned, and helped me through yet another sleepless and very stressful night!

I couldn’t help but  indulge myself with the odd Tunnock’s wafer, during our hospital stay.  I resisted visiting the vending machines, but it was impossible to follow a healthy regime.  I understand there are some dark chocolate Tunnock’s out there, which I am determined to track down – but in the absence of a large supermarket I had to settle for the tried and tested milk chocolate ones from the Tesco express just outside the hospital grounds). The only one open in the dead of night when I could sneak out whilst my patient was sleeping.  I’m trying a little harder now I’m out … but pah.  The diet can wait.  Right now it’s about comfort food and keeping my strength up, until this ordeal is over!


The 1st October was Black Dog Day.  A new one on me.  It celebrated all those black dogs that apparently are often the last to leave shelters, trusts and private litters.  I find that incredibly hard to believe.  My  ‘black’ dog, my beloved Tetley, was just the best ever and was a massive part of my life for such a long time.  Over the past few weeks I don’t think I’ve ever missed his presence, his wet nose or his velvet ears more.  He always saw me through times of stress and I still miss him, terribly.

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After 3 weeks without make up and little care or attention afforded myself,, I made an effort yesterday evening to take Jem to a high school open evening.  I came back to the start of the televised Pride of Britain Awards and it’s so incredibly humbling.  Inspirational heroes every last one of them, they made me feel very grateful for my lot, however hard that’s been to cope with of late.  I was soon make up-free once again, as it rapidly slid down my face in a river of tears, not to mention a box of tissues lighter!



My darling daughter has decided after years of growing her lovely long locks that she wants to go short.  She asked lots of questions recently, when visiting Archie in hospital, she saw a couple of little girls struggling with hair loss.  She’s decided that she’d like to give her lovely locks to help someone else.  I’m so incredibly proud of her.  I’ve registered with Little Princess Trust online and have been kindly offered the professional hairdressing services of Wendy at Tranquility Spa in Horsforth to ensure the job is done well and my little princess ends up with a lovely new do!  I’m so incredibly proud of her – it’s such a big thing for her to do (she assures me she won’t change her mind) and I’d love for you to lend her your support  every little bit really does help – THANK YOU.

And already we’re moving on ….

Hurrah for October … because I for one am expecting nothing less than FABULOUS!!



  1. SJ you are a mum in a million and the strongest women l know, scarlet is taking after you and is so caring to the needs of others, my hero xxx

  2. Sarah – you are are an absolute hero and such an inspiration – stay strong beautiful lady ~ your work is amazing – my heart goes out to you and your lovely family xxx

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