Chronic illness, setting the pace and saying No!

Since my first diagnosis in Oct  2007, I  maintained a perfect sense of denial to all who knew me. I had worked as a primary teacher since 1995. We were a close knit team – we helped each other, supported each other and drinks out on a Friday night were a ritual. The pace was incredibly fast and we thought nothing of 16-18 hr days. I went for a routine appt only to find out my pelvis was fractured in 2-4 places and I was signed off immediately. The ibuprofen I’d been inhaling since April when Harry was six weeks old was replaced with tramadol and I was sent home from work on sick leave. Nothing could be done. I had an op in 2010 which got me working again in 2011 and I very quickly got into that mode of long days, less sleep, high stress. I thrived on it. The pattern repeated itself until in 2017 I was medically retired. I’d officially used up my nine lives! But I’d always given myself fully to work, always trying to do better – I was never the best teacher or SENCo but I always want…

When life gives you lemons, do you just make another G&T? Or is there another way?

I've been out of action for the last six months. In a very dark place and struggling to know how best to move forward. My family have suffered. My writing has suffered. I wasn't handling myself correctly. I know deep down how to be positive and forge ahead - but I just could not pull myself out of this latest episode.
The previous time I'd been hit like this was when I had to stop working through ill health in October 2016 and the enormous hole left in my life just completely floored me. At that time I made it my mission to feel better. I first tried yoga which i found very relaxing and inclusive until I strained my back doing twists I'd been advised not to do. I went weekly to physiotherapy to help my balance and walking until I felt able to leave the house using two sticks. Prior to that I didn't leave the house. I took up Tai Chi daily for balance and relaxation following a session at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, mindfulness for stress and self calmin…

Mermaids, Moon Magic and Powers for Change

Since my health has thrown me the latest curveball, I'm finding that I'm managing to do lots of research and planning but writing  my actual novel is proving a little trickier. My usual routine has been scuppered by a change in meds, energy levels and function although sheer bloody-mindedness is keeping me going. The summer holidays are also upon us so my boys are here full time - they are loving these lazy days! Luckily this year my boys seem more interested in hanging out with friends so I'm not having to run a summer camp! Back in the day, summer was a mass of painting, baking, gardening, day trips, picnics etc but I'm feeling a little redundant at the moment while they do their own thing. No complaints yet though - I've insisted that I'm dragging them out somewhere every few days so I will hopefully get to see them!
This summer, my biggest challenge is to develop confidence in my powerchair and lessen my complete paranoia about having to use one along with m…

Trains and Tribulations: Travelling Out of Your Comfort Zone

Last weekend, I was invited down to celebrate a significant birthday with one of my dearest friends who lives in London. I have done this journey from South Yorkshire many times but on this occasion, something was different. I was taking myself down there in my new power chair, a recent addition to my tools that keep me moving. I was petrified. As I don't travel alone these days, my children were travelling with me and we started the booking process while every inch of my body quivered..
After booking a ticket using my disabled railcard (a third off your journey!) I was directed to another department to ensure my access arrangements were in place. I was travelling with East Midland Trains. It felt like a military operation but I was kept calm by the incredible woman at the other end of the phone in Assistance and Accessibility who repeatedly put me at my ease every time I told her it might be easier to stay at home.
'When you've done it once, it'll be easy. Put your tr…

Rollercoasters and Rainbows: A Writer in Recovery

It has been twelve months since my last creative writing session. In fact, over the last two years, promotion of my first two novels and development of my third novel have been sadly neglected.
After leaving my much loved teaching profession two years ago and taking early retirement due to my creaky back giving up the ghost, I had found it difficult to write very much at all. My creative muscle had turned off and the mere opening of the latest draft of my new novel would leave me staring at the screen, writing a few sentences before deleting them again over the space of a day. This was interspersed by trips to the kettle and feeding children or cats and lying down on the sofa with a book and invariably falling asleep thanks to a heady cocktail of prescription painkillers. I soon started climbing the walls. There are only so many trips out for soya lattes anyone can manage before going slightly bonkers and after a year I knew I had to do something else. In timely fashion, I did indeed …

Back to Business...

Such a lot has been happening recently, I don't know where to start.

My last post shared the writing of a new novel which has taken me two years to write. I finally got through it two weeks ago and feel it is finally where I need it to be.

In that time I have also managed to claw my way back to teaching full time after recovering from a rather major operation. The last four years in fact have seen me move from walking with sticks and being medicated up to my ears to walking and weening myself off a veritable cocktail of icky medicines. Yay for me.

Anyway, back to business. I now work in a fab school as a SENDCo and Music Co. I get to spend my days with little people creating stories, music, art and building bright little buttons. Each bright in their own uniqueness.  In my spare time, I still write everyday and my second novel is currently being reviewed by a teeny team of smalls who are going to help me polish it before it's sent off for publication.

The Pixie Plot (working t…

NaNoWriMo 2014 begins!

Mood - positive :)
Word Count: 1650

Well, I have signed up to NaNoWriMo once more and as it served me well in 2011 with a first draft of Driftwood & Amethyst, my first children's novel, I have taken the plunge again. I try to write most days to be fair, yet this last two months have been decidedly sketchy in the writing department and I knew something had to give. New work commitments, a school change or two (while on the supply wagon) and the adoption of two rather giddy puppies have done nothing to help my already full and happy existence - no complaints though! I have been slowly developing my second children's novel since 2012 - two years and I'm still only half way through a rather woolly first draft - and need a kick up the proverbial.

I've never involved myself in writing groups but have heard this can be beneficial - not knowing many writers myself, I rely on friends' children to read my material then offer feedback which is always brutally honest (!) b…