Junior School Challenges

My eldest daughter moved into Junior school last September, and she is finding the work much more challenging than she did for years one and two. Her friends have also told me that they have to work hard, and they found it difficult to adjust to a new routine in the classroom. They all love to learn and grow, but they do find it exhausting, and it seems to manifest in physical ways. Many of them have experienced the regular seasonal sickness bugs that travel round school, and we succumbed to it as well back in October. There are lots of arguments and tantrums, efforts to avoid PE (for both my children), and general lethargy about getting up for school in the morning.

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My daughter, for example, has been suffering with tummy aches for the past few months, on and off. We have visited our GP and were referred to the local hospital for a consultation, where the doctor couldn’t find evidence of any underlying medical condition. They have taken blood and we wait for the results. Personally, I think the tummy aches are related to my daughter’s mental health. We have established that she might have similar personality traits to her dad, namely anxiety, and we need to ensure she is supported so that it doesn’t become a serious problem. All I can do is talk to her about anything she finds difficult or worrying, reassure her that she is doing a good job, and keep in contact with her teachers to ensure we monitor the situation and stop it from progressing. It is all part of the learning curve for me as a parent, and we take each day as it comes.

Mummy Mondays SpookyMrsGreen

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We Need to Care for our Parents

My parents are growing older, and I have friends who are grieving for the loss of their parents. Death is suddenly at the forefront of my mind, but not in a frightening way. It is something I must face up to. We will all die eventually. Perhaps we could focus more on how to live our lives as comfortably as possible, even when living with degenerative illness and complex care needs. Due to a serious cycling accident five years ago, my mother-in-law has retired from work and is now a full-time carer for her husband. He spent three years in hospital and rehabilitation centres following his accident, and when he was able to come home, we weren’t sure if we could accommodate it. He needs care. He cannot be left alone, and he cannot be trusted to perform most of the basic daily activities that we all do in our routines. Finding a suitable care home proved tricky. My mother-in-law searched for local facilities and came away feeling dejected. She wanted him to stay at home with her, and he will do for the foreseeable future, but she is having to make dramatic changes in order to accommodate his needs. He is only sixty-four and should be out there enjoying his retirement with his wife. He is too young to go into a care home, or at least that is what we think as his children and close family. But there are options, including TrustedCare.

Most care homes seem prepped to deal with older people, those that are over the age of eighty or have suffered strokes and similar health conditions that render them immobile and in need of quiet space. My father-in-law has an acquired brain injury. We must keep him as active as possible so that he doesn’t waste away. He used to be such a forceful personality, and it hurts us to see him sitting quietly in front of the TV. He was always the one that took us away for holidays and outings, and he rarely sat still for more than half an hour.  But now he needs carers. He needs people that are equipped to deal with his mood swings, that can physically help him with daily self-care, and that can encourage him to be active but recognise when he needs to rest. My mother-in-law is doing the best she can, but she wants to be active, and she wants him to be active as well. So how do we find a care home that would be suitable when the time comes? I think that will be a conversation to have eventually, because the accident has aged him by approximately ten years. He is now an old man, having fast-forwarded through retirement, and now needs to be cared for and kept comfortable until the inevitable death finally takes him away. That is a sad prospect, but one that we must live with. As do many other families in many other situations. We muddle through, as always.

Free-for-All Friday SpookyMrsGreen

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Missing the Moon

I’m a bad witch! I missed the January Supermoon a few days ago. I vaguely noticed that the moon was growing bigger, and I knew it would be full moon soon, but I hardly found time to appreciate it, and only learned afterwards that it was a supermoon. The energy of these lunar events can be quite powerful, but you must be open to receiving it, and able to take time to fully appreciate the impact. I was too busy being distracted with domestic business, namely my daughter’s 8th birthday celebrations. And I feel bad that I missed the moon. I could have stood outside for a few minutes and soaked in the energy. I could have cleansed my crystals, because I cannot remember the last time I did that. I could have pulled out my Tarot cards and worked with them to understand the big changes that are unfolding in our lives. But I didn’t.

It’s all good. The world didn’t end because I failed to perform a ritual to embrace the natural energies that are always available to us. I can still do something this week if I really want, but it must be genuine. I cannot expect to manifest results if I hurry a spell, or mumble an affirmation, or quickly give thanks to my supporting spirit friends. It takes hard work and dedication to practise witchcraft, just like it does for any other profession or hobby. My priorities are a little jumbled right now, but I will sort it out, and my guides will always be there when I am ready to work with them. We may wander away from the Path, but we always find our way Home. Blessed Be.

Witchy Wednesday SpookyMrsGreen

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Birthday Week!

I heard on the radio that today has been named “Blue Monday” because it is a low point of the new year, when people are back in the work routine, skint after Christmas, and have nothing to do with their time until the weather improves. Well, January has always been a good month for me because tomorrow I celebrate my birthday, hooray! And yesterday we celebrated my daughter’s 8th birthday, huge hooray!

birthday week spookymrsgreen

Naturally my daughter’s birthday now overshadows mine, but I already have a collection of gifts from friends and family that I can’t wait to open, and I’m planning a day out with my mum if she feels well enough to leave the house. This weekend was busy with a birthday party and a shopping trip, and we loved spending time with everyone that we saw. No Blue Monday for this lady, just party all the way, and happiness for the life we have.

SMG Happy New Year

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Sustainable Stationery from Paperchase

This is the time of year when we like to make lists and plans for the months ahead. You know the kind of thing: alongside New Year’s resolutions, we plan to be more eco-friendly, spend more time with friends and family, travel somewhere different, experience something new. I think most of us have very similar expectations and plans. Paperchase has just launched a brand-new sustainable stationery range, including notebooks made from coffee cups (how cool!), products made from recycled leather, and lots of reusable containers, bags and stationery items printed with all natural soy or vegetable inks. Go and get your plan, grab your notebook, and get started!

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Meditation to Cope with Stress

I have been practising meditation for over ten years now and have reached a point in my spiritual journey where I feel peaceful almost all the time. Yes, I do feel stress because that is what happens when you live in the modern world. My husband is facing redundancy and job insecurity, and because he is the main income provider in our family, that is cause for concern. My eye condition is ever present, and mostly painful, but I manage it. And then there is the challenge of raising children and keeping our home and garden in some semblance of order and tidiness.

Today I will visit my local reiki group for some healing and support. It is a safe, comfortable space where I can relax and forget about the daily worries, if only for a couple of hours. It restores my mind to calm if I succumb to the anxiety that my husband feels. It helps me to cope with his depression and to remain supportive for our family, to the best of my ability. I still get wound up and shout at the children sometimes, but I am only human. I apologise when I am in the wrong, and they always know that they are loved and safe at home. And always there is my reiki energy healing. I am surrounded by love and light, and I am love and light. And I share this with you today, if you need it. Blessed be.

Witchy Wednesday SpookyMrsGreen

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How I Manage my Rare Genetic Disorder

You might have seen my previous blog posts about the rare genetic eye disorder that I live with. Over the years I have called it an illness, a disease, a pain in the backside, and a few other choice words that I won’t repeat here. I finally settled on referring to it as a rare genetic eye disorder, because that is basically it. My husband simply calls it my “freaky eye thing.” He is very supportive, as you can tell!

Well, on New Year’s Eve I found myself back at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for a check-up at the Dry Eye clinic. I am registered as a patient with two clinics at the same hospital, the other one being Plastic Surgery. Since there is no need for me to have surgery at present, they passed me back over to the Dry Eye clinic to be monitored. That is all they can do now. My eyelashes continue to grow back on the insides of my eyelids, and I pull them out with tweezers when I can. I don’t produce enough natural tears, so I ease the pain with three types of eyedrops, an overnight eye ointment, and an eyewash product that seems to help.

eyehospital5

I did ask the doctor if there was much point in me returning to the hospital in Manchester for a ten-minute consultation where not much changes. I mean, yes, I do need the eye hospital. When my eyes are bad, I can barely move, let alone think straight, but I still have to take myself up to the hospital, which involves driving approximately thirty miles from home. I also asked the doctor whether I am still fit to drive, since I feel that I have struggled a lot more during the past few months than I used to. She assured me that all the tests show no further deterioration, and that I am fine. I don’t always feel fine, but at least the doctors seem to think so, and they know best, don’t they? Anyway, I will now be retained for twelve monthly appointments, just so they can monitor my condition and remove any ingrowing eyelashes that I can’t pull out myself.

Officially I have two diagnoses: Congenital distichiasis, and Bilateral dry eye symptoms. I have not yet met anybody with the same or similar symptoms. Occasionally I find someone who has Dry Eye Syndrome, usually caused by wearing contact lenses, but theirs is mild compared to mine. I have tiny plugs in my tear ducts to try and retain some natural lubrication, I have scars on both eyes from all the surgeries I had as a child, and from the scratching caused by ingrowing eyelashes over the years. I have tiny scars from eyelid rotation surgery that I had approximately ten years ago. And now I carry on as normal. My eyes are always sore. In fact, it is a rare day when they don’t hurt. Life is always a little bit blurry, and lights are just slightly too bright, especially those new LED ones. I have learned to live with it and keep on going. But I would love to speak with somebody that has distichiasis (apart from my brother and dad). Surely I can’t be the only one?

SMG Happy New Year

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Books Won’t Die!

The publishing industry has undergone massive change during the past decade or so. It seems that nowadays almost everybody can self-publish a book, and most people have done (hello!). Ultimately, we still strive for that elusive contract with a big publisher and all the trimmings, even though the reality is often far from the dream. However you publish your books, one thing is certain: books are immortal. Readers will always crave something new and will devour series after series in the quest for adventure and knowledge.

#theredcliffenovels 2018 series

When the Kindle was launched, and a whole range of e-readers appeared on the market, industry experts claimed that the good old paperback was dead. How wrong they were! I heard on the radio earlier this week that independent booksellers reported a boom in book sales during the Christmas 2018 period, a surprise result considering that high street stores are failing to meet targets and are closing at a rapid rate. I wonder if readers still like the feel and smell of a book? I know I do. I mean, yes, I love my Kindle, but truthfully, I read more physical books than eBooks. My Kindle is a useful, portable device that can fit in my handbag, but nothing beats a book. And I still love hardback books. Indeed, I dream of having my own novels published in hardback one day, if only to fulfill a long-held desire.

uf contemporary english gothic novels 2018

Do you still read? What is your preferred medium for a book? I’m still seeking an audience for #TheRedcliffeNovels series, and I am working on my new vampire hunter series of standalone novels. You can find the first two already published: Vampire of Blackpool and Return of the Vampire Hunter. I also write and publish short stories and the occasional poem. But I love books. I always will.

SMG Happy New Year

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It is OK to take a Break

This is the time of year when the world tells us that we must detox our bodies, refresh our minds, and do a million and one activities to care for ourselves. You know what I’m talking about: Dry January (no alcohol consumption for the month), Veganuary (a vegan diet for the month), gym membership, weight loss programmes, yoga, Pilates, jogging, running, walking, the list is endless. By the time you have tried to organise your schedule to do even a couple of these activities, you are exhausted and depressed.

Look at everyone out there doing the fitness regime, landing a cool new job, booking a fancy holiday. Why can’t you do all of that? The truth is that we cannot do everything. We are human beings, and while we are an intelligent species, we often forget the basics. Everyone needs to rest. So many people struggle with sleep deprivation, insomnia, anxiety and OCD, and all they do is try more activity, more exercise, more diets and more of whatever society tells them to do.

Stop. Just stop. Take a deep breath. Roll your shoulders and force them to lower a little. Do you hear those creaks and cracks? That is how tense you are, and you don’t need to be. Put down the devices, switch off the TV, listen to some soothing music if you feel the need. Lie in a darkened room and clear your mind. None of that stuff is important at this exact moment in time. All that matters right now is your personal well-being. If you are tired, rest. If you are hungry, eat. Above all else, listen to your instinct. Your body and your mind know what is best for you. And you can take a break when the world coerces you to hurry. Relax!

SMG Happy New Year

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Back to School

Hello! Are you back to school and work today after a nice Christmas holiday? Perhaps you continued to work all through Christmas, so nothing is different. Perhaps you have an extra day off and don’t return to school until tomorrow. My daughters returned to school late last week, having finished earlier before Christmas. We had a lovely, relaxed break, and now we are ready to get back into routine and see what the new year brings.

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New Year’s Day on Talacre Beach, North Wales

I am incredibly thankful to be returning to school as normal, having enjoyed time as a family. It is almost a year since my elder daughter contracted an ear infection that proved almost deadly, and life could have turned out so differently. Fortunately, we acted fast, we had the right medical teams in the right places at the right time, and she is happy and healthy, apart from a few growing pains. This year I begin without any fixed resolutions. Last year I was obsessed with moving house. In previous years I have focused more on my writing, my blog growth, my career development. Now I don’t feel a desperate urge to make anything happen. It is all progressing as it should, and I will continue to do what I do, and not expect or intend for any miracle solutions. We are happy, healthy, and strong.

SMG Happy New Year

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