I think it’s a bit of a common misconception that back when we were kids life was better. I remember being regularly reminded when I was a child that school days were the best days of my life and it being reinforced that I should be making the most of them. I refuse to look back thinking days were better just because they are younger days. My school days were not the best days of my life; they really weren’t.

There is no doubt that life as a child is ‘different’ and when you are a kid the many burdens that come with adulthood aren’t present but there can be, for some children, very real life struggles. I had several struggles. Friendship was one of them. I was not popular and was a geek (arguably this is still true). I found myself jealous of those in close friendship groups but being alone was something I learned to accept.

I seem to have in my life, somehow, innocently stumbled across some who have felt the need to be quite horrid to me. This is true in both my childhood and subsequent adulthood. I look back retrospectively and think that being naïve has been one the main factors that has led to what seems to have been a repetition of finding myself in the company of unkindness. I don’t consider it has changed the level of kindness I offer my true friends. It remains the case that if I can help a friend in need I always will.

I have felt betrayal too many times in my life and despite meeting and marrying my best friend not so long ago, my life until about 2 years ago, remained without many close friends at all. I had retracted from friendships for fear of being hurt again.

I realised this morning whilst out horsing around with one of my lovely friends how blessed I am right now in many true and close friendships that I have now acquired. As I have grown older I have become wiser in ‘allowing’ friendships to grow. I have learnt to trust my instincts and now, when I met people, I seem to know and ‘feel’ whether they are the sort of people who should be in my life. The result is now I actually have some fantastic people in my life with whom I regularly share great ‘friendship’ moments. The happiness that that affords me is difficult to put into words. I feel a bit like a kid (this time a happy one) who on occasion wants to swing from the rafters just because I am happy and want to be a bit silly. I had best resist that urge though; I fear it might not end well! Perhaps the best days of my life are, now, when I have truly found happiness in myself and those that surround me?

All a dream

I am still very much struggling with my grief, although of course life does go on. As time passes I seem to be less of a blubbering mess on a daily basis now but, my God, it’s so hard to try and come to terms with the loss and I still have moments of inconsolable tears.

Small ‘silly’ things set me off. I had a dear friend who I haven’t heard from in a year contact me by email touching base and asking me of my news and how things are with me in life. Replying back to her and just typing those words “Granma died” saw me almost drowning in a ferocious self-induced waterfall of tears. Writing those words down reinforced the awful reality. Perhaps when I don’t say or write it I can pretend in my head that it’s actually not true and pretend it is all a dream? Ridiculous really. Composure is not something I seem to have much of these days when it comes to facing the reality of loss.

I regularly wish it was all a dream and that, in fact, she isn’t lost.

Some of my friends have suffered their own personal loss recently and I so wish I could take away that horrible consuming emotion of grief. I know it too well. It’s gut wrenching and I really wish that it wasn’t something that we have to experience in life but, we all do have to at some point. To me it feels like someone ripping out part of your heart and I don’t think you actually ever truly recover from it. There will always be a hole where that being sat in your life. That’s my reality and my experience anyway.

I do so wish it was all a dream. I miss you everyday Granma and love you so very very much. X

Always look on the bright side of life

There are always challenges, there are always difficulties, there are always troubling experiences in life but I’m actually not one to moan (well not much).

I’m not sure why but I’m an inherently optimistic person and, actually, I think I have always been that way.

Life is about learning and every experience is one of learning; even the unpleasant ones.

Whenever anything challenging or difficult happens I manage to somehow find a silver lining – there actually always is one just sometimes you have to search really hard to find it. There are constant lessons to be learnt from every experience.

What have I learnt this week in my week of “experiences”?

Getting my coat stolen initially made me feel angry but I learnt to let go and thought perhaps that was a sign that after 3 years it was time to save for another less bedraggled coat. The moment I let go of my anger, as if by magic, my coat was delivered back to me by what can only be described as an Angel.

What did I learn when I was involved in what could have been a very serious car accident this week? I learnt that my reflexes are pretty good in an emergency situation – had I not had the foresight to swerve hard the tractor would have hit me head on with God knows what outcome. At the very least I don’t think I would have been walking away physically unscathed like I did.

I also learnt that the emotional side of an RTA is very real and a bit scary and, although the experience will haunt me for a while and continue to make me feel physically sick, I will, in time, recover. I just need to give myself time to get through it.

I also “learnt” that my husband is always there to hold my hand when I need him most. I actually, of course, already knew that but it was a nice reminder. I went into shock immediately after the accident happened and “my knight in shining armour” came to my rescue.

It’s been a trying week but in my future experiences I will try (as I have this week) to continue to “always look on the bright side of life.” Life is too short to be negative and miserable. X

Why have they got to be so mean?

I have been reminded recently how mean people can be and it makes my blood boil. I have been on the receiving end of those type of people in the past and it’s horrid.

Those that undermine other people’s decisions attempt to shatter self-confidence and self-belief by using words like knives. Their intention is to knock the weaker off their feet. There is a name for such people; they are bullies, not friends.

Somebody obviously made those bullies cold and it’s more than likely that they got pushed around in their own lives at some point but, the cycle ends now and I will not tolerate mean people.

Mean people are many things; liars, pathetic, jealous, and, rightly so, alone in life.

Go be mean somewhere else.


My life has been filled with opportunities of friendship but I have learnt to nurture only those who are true and give back on an equal scale.

If people are self centred and selfish then they can carry on in their lives without my presence. If they are the type of people who ask me how I am and honestly want to know the true answer (whatever that may be) and support me through times of trouble then I embrace them and they are the people that I call my friends.

We can be friends if you know the meaning of friendship and see it as a two way thing; put your hand on my shoulder and I will do the same for you. If you just want to lean on me in your times of trouble and use me when you need me with absolutely no regard for what I might be going through in my life then you can just jog on and we can not be friends.

Today I have spent time with two friends that I haven’t spent any quality time with for years and it’s reminded me how wonderful they are and what a positive impact they have on my life.

I do hope that they both know that “we can be friends” in the very true sense of the word.

Do you dream about me?

My life with Craig has been one big adventure since I met him 7 years ago.

He took me from an environment where I was working full time in a room with no windows whilst my 3 year old son was in full time childcare to a fulfilling life of family, animals and, mostly happiness.

I am very content in my life, family and otherwise and our adventures together are almost daily. It feels like a dream.

For example; a morning at the horses surrounded by the kids, our elderly cat Fudge, my horses and also the company of a good friend has been followed by an impromptu invitation from Craig’s family to spend an afternoon with them in St Ives whilst they are holidaying there, which has been utterly lovely.

My adventures with Craig don’t end in the real world though. I often dream of us out adventuring and it’s always fun filled dreams.

How fantastic that my dreams somewhat echo my reality? Surely that’s a sign of contentment in life?

I think it’s utterly amazing that Craig can ask me the question, “Do you dream about me?” And my reply is, honestly, “Yes.”

A little time

The most precious thing you can give anyone is your time because, we never get it back.

We are all busy with life, family, work, living but we do all have at least ‘a little time’ that we chose how to spend. How much time does a telephone call, text, email, cup of coffee or ‘hello’ whilst passing in the street take?

It’s easy to make the excuse “I don’t have time ” but actually it’s a matter of priorities. You make time for the important things in life.

I assign considerable time to friends and family but unfortunately it’s not always reciprocated. That has been, and remains, a disappointment for me to cope with. The reality is that those who can’t afford you ‘a little time’ don’t hold you as much of a priority to them. I have experienced that a lot in my life and I am not ashamed to say it has made me feel sad.

There is a lesson to be learnt though.

Why give ‘a little time’ to those who can’t do the same for you?

I am slowly learning to choose the company of those who hold me in the same esteem.

I feel no regret or guilt regarding the time I spent with my lovely Grandmother but, losing her has reminded me that, one day, our time here does come to an end.

Our time is precious, limited and unfortunately not infinite.

Use it wisely.

So Lonely

As a child I was so lonely. I struggled with friendships and spent lots of time by myself.

That continued for most of my life. I just thought I was destined to be mostly on my own, and, I adjusted and accepted that.

Something quite amazing has happened. At the Grand Old Age of 38 I seem to have acquired a plethora of friends quite by accident, and, without really trying.

These friends are not mere acquaintances either (quite fantastically). They are people I can rely on, trust, and have great friendship experiences with.

I actually find that now most of my time is occupied with good friends and I have little time by myself.

I feel blessed to not feel lonely anymore.

I’ll cry if I want to

I feel the urge to cry daily which, at times, I think is utterly pathetic.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am still trying to deal and cope with the loss of the most important woman in my life. It’s what can only be described as tremendous and, sometimes, inconsolable grief. My lovely husband, Craig, constantly says it’s ok to cry about it but I feel differently.

I try to hold it in, I try my hardest to, but, there are times when it hurts so deeply and, standing up against those floodgates is too hard. I honestly, sometimes, don’t have the strength and the result is what I can only describe as “pouring.” It makes me feel like a failure.

Whether I will ever be able to hold it back on a permanent basis I really don’t know, but, for now, when I feel I have no other choice, I will cry if I want to.

Forgive me. X

If you don’t know me by now

I try my hardest to be a good friend in as much as being loyal, honest and reliable.

I hope my close friends know that.

There is little I won’t do for others but I do have expectations in return; I expect something vaguely similar.

Unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that and when I find people that fall massively short on that expectation they go down in my estimation and priority list.

I am not saying you give to receive I just think some form of acknowledgment and reciprocation is acceptable.

I am thankful for the people i can whole heartedly and constantly rely on.

All I can say is, if you don’t know me by now you will never know me.

Little Lies

There seem to be many that tell me lies. I’m not like that and, obviously, that is to my detriment.

But the bottom line is that you can’t actually disguise, no you can’t disguise and whether some of the lies are ‘sweet little lies’ remains questionable.

I take the hand that I’m dealt and I’m not making plans to get rid of any that have been acquired via lies (lies that I might add are not on my part).

I hope those that have told me “sweet little lies” can live with their dishonesty.

I just close my eyes and know that I can find a way but feel massively disappointed that those that I have trusted and, in some cases worn my heart on my sleeve to, have fed me ‘little lies.’

Shame on you. Karma will get you one way or the other and we are actually better off apart.

Don’t let me down

I am incredibly fortunate in that I have a few select friends who don’t let me down.

The flip side of course if that there are many people who do and, in the past, have. I have found myself several times in circumstances where people have let me down; some on what feels like a gigantic scale.

When meeting new people I am therefore, understandably, cautious. There is that little nagging voice pleading in my head for them to not let me down.

I don’t let my friends down; I like to think of myself as loyal and I certainly make it a priority to not let people down. I am grateful to those who reciprocate this.

I have some friends who, despite their own busy lives, are always there when I need them the most and I am, and will be, eternally grateful for them and what they do for me.

You know who you are. Thank you for not letting me down, down, down.


Excuse me for a while, while I am wide eyed and so down caught in the middle.

Having done Animal Communication and healing work for almost two years I have come to a time where I have found myself after personal loss asking ‘why do I do this type of work?’

My work is draining and tiring and lost animal work remains the hardest with clients wanting the answers that sometimes, unfortunately, I just don’t have.

That is the dilemma I am having. I find myself so damn caught in the middle. I want to help and despite being honest and frank with what I see I still find the work really difficult and emotional. Maybe I should stop and concentrate on just me?

But if there are roars, would you not listen?

When they cry, would you not forgive them?

The work keeps pouring in.

Yeah I might seem so strong, I might speak so long, but actually I’ve never felt so wrong.

I’ve never been so lost.

I feel a bit overwhelmed, a bit unsure of where I should be and deep down I am not sure what I should be doing.

Just turn a blind eye with a stare caught right in the middle.

I will work it out, I’m sure.

So please, for now, excuse me for a while, while I am wide eyed and so down caught in the middle.

Say Something

I was worried about being asked to talk publicly about Granma at her funeral. I thought that I would struggle to find something to say but, actually, it’s been quite the opposite.

She gave so much of her life to others and was always holding herself and her needs as the lesser priority. If she could help, she would.

She was the most accommodating, unassuming, kind, generous person I have ever known.

The list of what she has done for others in her lifetime is extensive and infinite but actually she was extremely humble about her contribution.

I remember shortly after she moved into the residential home she said to me that she really wasn’t sure what she had actually done with her life. I took the opportunity to write her a list of all the things that I could think of at that time that she had done which she then kept in her bedside table so that she could remind herself as and when of ‘what she had done with her life.’

Here are just a few from that lengthly list which mean an awful lot to me personally.

You helped me to learn to swim despite not being able to swim yourself.

You made fantastic outfits for my cat Marmalade when I was just a young girl.

You have always been diplomatic and encouraged the family to get on even at difficult times.

You trudged around Thornbury with me delivering my CV to all 7 solicitors offices when I was looking for my first job in law. This one is incredibly close to my heart as it was the stepping stone to what was an extremely successful career in law for me.

You have been accommodating for so many family members. You always fitted in with other people’s plans and spent so many Christmas’ sharing yourself between Nick and Mum.

This one is a bit silly but Granma appreciated it. You kept The Heritage Coffee shop in Thornbury going for years and years with your weird and greedy addiction of Lemon Lush cake.

That is a tiny glimpse of the person that Poppy Barwick was.

My lovely Uncle Nick has chosen the following poem for me to read which I feel perfectly illustrates Granma’s giving nature.

The Life That I Have

by Leo Marks

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Granma I am thanking you for all that you gave to everyone who was fortunate enough to be a part of your wonderful life. What an absolutely incredible lady you were and your presence will be very sadly missed by us all very much.

All by myself

Even though, of course, we have people around us who support us through the dark times of our life, ultimately, what happens is that you have to be able to cope with what life throws at you all by yourself. It’s sink or swim.

I feel all by myself in my grief but really I’m not; it’s a horrid feeling though.

None of us are ever truly alone. Even when we can’t physically see anyone standing beside us, if we open our hearts and minds, we can still “feel” them.

To quote appropriately from my first book FindBella,

“There are lessons in life, and some are truly painful, but during those times the people that stand by you and hold your hand ( when you need it more than ever) I can call my friends. Thank you. “