TRYING to put some Bejazzle into January!

IMG_4715 (2) It’s not pretty is it!

This is my 4 am face.  As I dream of being shot in the jaw or something equally brutal! The time I awake in raging jaw pain in the need of more drugs, nip to the loo to lessen my weak bladder (3 kids can do that to you!)  AND all the while tiptoeing as slowly and as carefully as I can, so as not to disturb anyone – although oft times I’m not stealth enough for Archie!)!, Sometimes there’s a nosebleed thrown into the mix (weird but early morning nosebleeds are my new ‘thing!’) and I’m so stressed that it normally takes me so long to try to get back to sleep after taking my tablets, that at this point there really is no point!  Still first week in February and I’m able to start writing my blog …. being an early -rising stress monkey has it’s perks! No, my start to the year really hasn’t been pretty.  The loss of my Mum is still ever evident and I’ve a culmination of things nagging on my mind.  I’m worried about so much right now, which leads to stress and as I’ve recently discovered a whole load of nastiness that I could well do without!.  I’ve had pain in my neck (literally), jaw and back teeth for a few months now and it hasn’t really abated.  I saw my handsome dentist (Anthony at Advance Dental Care) who took X-rays and concluded that my teeth were absolutely fine and definitely no sign of any abscesses or anything sinister.  He wondered if I might be clenching my teeth or grinding during the night when I’m sleeping.  I was relieved that it wasn’t teeth-related and thought that maybe things would settle down in time.  It didn’t!   I wouldn’t recommend it, but I took a whole host of pain relief, (including stiff drinks), just to get me through Christmas and New Year and I did get through it, albeit by the skin of my teeth (no pun intended) and if I’m perfectly honest,  in a bit of a blur!  (Make that a lot). Like I said, I absolutely wouldn’t recommend it.  I went to the doctors in the New Year and she concluded that I might need some more pain relief, but that the cause was probably was just stress and that things would settle. (At this point I’d had pain pretty much constantly for 3 months!).  On a second visit I dug my heels in and the doc agreed to refer me to an ENT specialist as she was concerned that the pain might be connected to my sinuses.  I’ve had tumours and polyps removed from my sinus tract twice in the past, behind my eyes and very close to my brain (fortunately for me, although they were dangerous in themselves; due to the mass and pressure caused, they weren’t cancerous and were born through hormone changes and infection).  So, I managed to get a specialist appointment at The Spire.  Due to private medical insurance (thank The Lord) the appointment came around quite quickly and I saw a really affable consultant, Mr Gerard Kelly, who I can’t recommend highly enough.  He was incredibly friendly and personable, albeit painfully thorough (having a camera shoved up your nose into your sinuses and down your throat is never going to be pleasant), and he assured me that my sinuses are remarkably clear at the moment (phew)… However, he did get ever so slightly giddy (and me far less so) when he discovered what the actual problem is!  I can’t even tell you verbatim, as it’s such a complicated thing that he had to write it down for me.  I have … wait for it … acute Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and Myofascial Syndrome!  Basically (along with many other things)  my jaw joint and muscle structure are buggered!  I’m hoping (and praying) that when I see the next ‘super specialist’ – that Mr Kelly knows personally, and by fantastic reputation – for just this specific jaw complaint, that there will in fact be some less scary news and more homeopathic and less intrusive solutions than a new jaw!!?*  I kid you not.  I’m starting to think an abscess would have been far preferable!?* So, it’s probably of no surprise that I’ve been a bit ‘away with the fairies’ this month to put it mildly…

On one occasion I nipped to the local Tesco Express and when I came out I opened the door of what I thought was my car and pretty much sat on the knee of the unsuspecting male driver of the black car parked ‘next to’ mine!??*  Fortunately he was a nice bloke and laughed both at me and with me and wasn’t in the least bit upset or offended !  If you happen to be reading this(Mr Black Car Driver), or indeed you know the guy in the car, (I’m pretty certain I’ll have been the topic of a few pub conversations), and, if a message might get to the bloke – might I relay my apologies and thanks for understanding! …. Blimey, If this carries on I’ll end up getting locked up!

It’s been a chaotic month in more ways than one (there’s a surprise)! However, I’m pleased to report that there’s been plenty of fun and frolics thrown in with the madness and the mayhem ….

IMG_3754 IMG_3758 We had a family trip to London (minus an Archie who was in respite and wouldn’t have managed ‘accessibility-wise’ with the places that we visited. I don’t know why,  but, I always feel the need to explain our respite time as being important and incredibly precious.  As much as we adore Archie, and he’s a key family member and we always include him in every way we can, but, there are, and always will be, exceptions.  Some theatres and restaurants just aren’t accessible … So on occasion, we do things when he’s in respite that we know he wouldn’t manage.  Besides, it’s important for us to nip off with the imps and have some ‘us time’ and a little ‘normality’ where we can rush around taking in the things that we unfortunately can’t do so easily when Archie is with us.  It doesn’t mean we love him any the less and his presence is very much missed, but we do enjoy our respite time too.  It’s good that the imps can have our complete and undivided attention – and boy do they make the most of it!)!

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SO, we headed to London on a very early train (exciting in itself)!  We took in a matinee performance of The Tiger That Came To Tea at The Lyric Theatre (which I’d won tickets for!).  It was a really good performance.  Simply set, with just one scene, but with lots of surprises along the way.  It was cleverly done and endearing, with a minimal cast (just 3 or 4 actors) and we all enjoyed the show…. It was as good, if not better than, the book – and that’s been one of our favourites!

Afterwards we had a late lunch at The Rainforest Cafe, just up the road,  which was absolutely brilliant fun.  The kids had a fantastic time – as did we! I can’t rate it enough.  The food was pretty good but the atmosphere was awesome!  The imps were made up with their MOCKtails and are still using the rather fabulous palm tree drink holders!!

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We really were in the heart of the rainforest, with frogs and elephants and butterflies and birds and a whole host of other plant and animal life that you’d find there.  It was obviously a novelty and I’ve certainly not seen anything like it before … the restaurant was full to bursting attracting locals and visitors alike.  It was all about the gorillas for Scarlett … who not only met one in the Rainforest Cafe … IMG_3866 but she was grabbed by one in Hamley’s toy store too!! IMG_3881

Scarlett had her nails painted with these novelty nail art pens, (she chose strawberry and panda designs) and both her and Jem thoroughly enjoyed watching the various demonstrations of the toys and the making and doing sections that are always in store. IMG_3876 

Jem, as ever, spent a good 10 minutes at the Nerf station competing with a number of other Nerf fanatics/customers … until we dragged him off under protest! 

It’s like a kids paradise in there! The kids just LOVE Hamley’s (I do too) and they managed to spend all of  their Christmas money (an ample amount) ‘we’re talking kids in a sweet shop’ (or in this case a toy shop) and a little more besides … Pete came out with a sore head and a sore wallet!  I think the kids could have happily stayed there forever.

I simply had to scoot into Selfridges (despite having less than an hour left before catching the train)… it wouldn’t be a trip to London otherwise.  The rest of the family tagged along under duress … although the kids enjoyed wowing at the various displays and lounging on the luxury sofas whilst I shopped manically!   I managed to find myself a rather lovely pair of gorgeous summer wedges in the sale at Kurt Geiger! (I just love a designer bargain).  When I was in Selfridges a couple of years ago I bought a fabulous pair of knee high, brown leather boots from Kenneth Cole (Reaction) which cost me an arm and a leg, but they were worth every penny…  They are still my favourite autumnal pair!

Scarlett and I were momentarily stunned when we passed the MAC concession to see a gorgeous model made up as the  fairy heading up their current marketing campaign ..

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I’m a huge ambassador of the MAC make up range, as I was trained by a MAC artist from New York, many moons ago, when I worked at Harvey Nichols in Leeds, and I still swear by their products.

… Speaking of make up and being made up … I’ve actually had not one, but two photo shoots in January … The first was a present from a friend; A Boudoir Shoot at Mark Swinford’s, Horsforth.  My friend had a Boudoir Shoot there last year and was raving about it.  I can remember her coming home looking all dolled up and fabulous and us making all sorts of excuses to her husband (as the prints were a saucy gift for him). Moreover, the shots that she selected are really stunning, not that that will have been difficult to achieve with her as their subject.  For me, at a low ebb, I was just trying to find myself and my confidence again … I’ve been bottom of the pecking order for so long.  I have to be honest, both before and during the shoot, I was terrified and so far outside of my comfort zone it wasn’t even funny …

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I was lucky that the expert Make Up Artist, Emma, and very patient and skilled Photographer, Lucy, both put me at ease and worked their magic (thought they had to dig very deep with the fairy dust) … and I’m awaiting the results with bated breath.  If there’s just one shot where I look and feel fabulous – I’ll be happy!

The second shoot was a family one at Venture Photography in Leeds and it was far less daunting (for me personally) and far more relaxed, despite my preference in being behind the camera rather than in front of it!  For me this session was all about relaxing and being human and to be honest it was mainly ALL about the kids – they grow and change so very quickly.

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The kids were sold when they were offered cups of hot chocolate to warm them up on arrival, it was an early start and an icy day, and biscuits too!

 IMG_4438The Photographer, Craig, was really great with the kids, especially Archie, and I’m thinking the results will be great too.

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So two photo shoots in two weeks … who’d have thought it!  Can’t wait to get the shots back.

 Speaking of boots (ok, so I digressed a bit), but I found these beaut’s at the back of my wardrobe the other day and IMG_4500

I’d forgotten how much I loved them – so, I wore them with my pink leather jacket to my friend’s Baby Shower at Just Grand! Vintage tea rooms, Victoria Arcade, Leeds.  I know I should have worn a ‘tea dress’ but I’m afraid days of ‘Legs’ (my old nickname) showing any leg are well and truly over.

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I’m not entirely sure I agree with all these Americanisms that Great Britain are taking on … but it was an excuse to make a fuss of Claire, the gorgeous Mum-to-be, and a lovely afternoon was enjoyed catching up with girlfriends and token male (Tom, my honorary spare husband).  We took afternoon tea (I have to say the Gluten Free selection of sandwiches and cakes was delectable) and a bottle or three of pink fizz!  I might not agree with all these Americanisms – but this one certainly seemed to agree with me … which is more than I can say about running to the station, in the snow, in my bright pink stripy heeled boots!!?*

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Whilst I’m mentioning ‘Boots’ (do you like what I did there – again!?) – I have to give a shout out to Maria, the Chemist at Boots in Baildon. – For doing her job well and for being ever so lovely!  After what has been a challenging few months, trying to set up some support for my Dad, I have to say, that where other organisations have failed to deliver, Boots The Chemist and indeed Maria at the Baildon store, couldn’t have been more helpful.  Despite numerous phone calls, (Dad’s instance on checking and double-checking on his behalf), Maria organised a dosset box for my Dad’s medication which in a few short weeks has already made a massive difference to him and to me.  People seem to be quick to complain, but I like to think I can help redress the balance.  Thank you, Maria, your friendly assistance and efficiency has not gone unnoticed.

WP_20160123_009 When I come to the best things I’ve read this month, this year in fact, it’s not difficult.  I have to admit I have totally and wholeheartedly fallen in love the author JoJo Moyes for the most wonderfully written  literary rollercoaster that she’s taken me on the past couple of weeks.

 JoJo Moyes Me Before You and After You

Her novel Me Before You http://bit.ly/1KxzOlo and it’s sequel After You http://bit.ly/1SqzhZ3 are beyond exceptional.  There were far too many ‘moments’ for me to recollect the best bits, but it was an incredibly emotional and hairy ride.  Even now, a month later, I find myself thinking really deeply, contemplating it. Smiling when I see the cover on the shelf.  Instinctive for a mother with a son in a wheelchair, maybe … even though our situation and the one of the central character are very, very different.  Touched nonetheless.  I don’t want to give too much away, and by all means read my reviews (next to the titles above) … but these are’ those books’ that people will always remember and will always talk about – so I urge you to just read them!  AND I’ve just discovered that they’re currently working on making them into films …. I think I just leaked a little!

Via radio and CD (I’m so old skool) I’ve been listening to Adele’s Hello  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQHsXMglC9A

so much so recently and it’s just so strong and so moving for me – every time I hear it I am reduced to tears as it reminds me of my Mum.  My Mum was a lousy singer (one of the only things she wasn’t any good at!) but blimey she knew how to belt out a lousy tune in the car when something she liked … like Adele, came on the radio!

I’ve decided I need to live a little more upbeat as I stagger into next month and I’m even starting (albeit very slowly and against all odds) to try to love and take care of myself … and with that I’ll admit I’ve finally succumbed and am now a ‘Belieber!’  Jem and I both really like ‘Love Myself’ – how fitting!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyEuk8j8imI

We were belting it out  on the way to his B-Boy session in the car the other day.  I have to say Jem’s vocals aren’t too shabby – but I fear I take after my mother on that one!  Still, it’s all about letting loose and … starting to LOVE MYSELF … What is it they say…….

‘Smile and Swag?’ I’ll take that ………

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…. Oh, and I’m wearing my daughter’s diamante hairband so I can channel my inner ‘princess!’  Clearly I need to get myself a tiara!

Ciao for now … S-Jx

 

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