WISHING YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THE HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!
It’s hard to believe there are only a handful more days to go before Christmas, and that for many of us, all those weeks of planning are about to come to fruition! We bought our Christmas tree yesterday, but can’t put it up just yet as we are in the final stages of putting in the log burner! It’s going to all look fabulous though, and I’ll make sure I take some photos of Colin’s handiwork for you. Thanks so much for your comments last week, and for keeping me up to speed with all that’s been happening in your world. Unfortunately I missed being with you at the weekend because what had started as a cold earlier in the week, got onto my chest and left me coughing like a drain and wheezing like an old boiler!!
Having spent the last couple of days in bed, dosed up with Lemsip and turmeric (Claire Sutton told me it’s very good for colds) I am definitely on the mend, and keen to set my final competition of the year as promised. I thought I’d make it a Seasonal Sound, and the clue will be somewhere in this blog. The prize is this amazing floral creation from Peony Flowers which Julie Bates and her team designed to grace the tables at my wedding reception earlier in the year. Worth over £100 it is quite unique, and was made to match the real flowers in my bouquet. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this, the details of how to enter will be at the end of the blog!
Having spent so much time asleep this weekend, I woke up early this morning having had a fabulous dream in which I had won Strictly Come Dancing! I don’t recall who my dancing partner was, but for that brief moment when I held the glitter ball aloft, it felt real and absolutely magnificent : ) I make no secret of the fact that to be a contender in this show is right at the top of my bucket list, although it’s about as likely to happen as snow in August, but as a fantasy it’s a corker! Of course in reality this year has seen a great many of my dreams come true, and I thought it might be nice to look back over the last 365 days and to ‘pick out my best bits’, as they say on that wonderful jungle reality TV show!
It’s rare for me to plan anything very far ahead, but 2015 was a year that had some pretty big events already on the calendar. Colin and I had chosen the month of June for our wedding, had booked the church and found the perfect venue for the reception. Of course the other eagerly anticipated event was to be the arrival of our first grandchild. My daughter Lucy had announced her pregnancy towards the end of the previous year, and Honey Beatrice was born on 6th May at 2.41pm weighing 7lbs 5.50zs. I will never forget the moment I walked into the room and saw Honey for the first time… so tiny and perfect that my heart melted.
So many of you had written to me on the blog and said that the instant love you felt for your grandchildren was unlike anything else you had experienced, and you were absolutely right. Holding Honey for the first time was quite overwhelming, and made me feel so emotional and literally speechless – new life is such a miracle. My dad was the same when he came to see me just after Lucy was born. Normally very chatty and jolly, when he held her for the first time he was quiet too… I remember asking him what he thought of her, and he just looked at me and said “She’s perfect”… And bless her she was… Still is in my opinion, and as with everything she’s taken on in her life, she is making a marvellous job of being a mum.
Honey is now over seven months old, and it’s only when I look at these photographs I realise how much she has grown! She has two teeth, can sit up on her own and eats sandwiches!! Colin and I love being grandparents, and Honey is a constant source of joy in our lives – it’s been wonderful to share her with you too.
It was only seven weeks after Honey’s birth that the next big event of our year took place when Colin and I were married at Bray Church on the 26th June. The sun shone, we had as many of our family and friends as we could cram onto Monkey Island with us for the day and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The icing on the cake for me was being asked to design my own wedding jewellery, and I was delighted with the finished result and wore the pendant and earrings on the day.
I know how lucky I am to have found love a third time around, and at 55 years old it’s wonderful to be married again, and to belong to such a large and lovely family. The honeymoon that Colin had planned in secret was an absolute delight and took us from Rome to Venice with all that makes Italy so beautiful in-between. Our final week was in Corfu where he had chartered a yacht for us, and booked us into a fabulous hotel where he’d arranged for all our children and their partners to spend time with us… These photos say it all.
Life is of course a mix of light and shade, and for those of you who read the blog regularly you may remember that the year hadn’t started too well for me. Following major surgery in October, I was back in hospital on 6th January to have my failed breast reconstruction sorted out. After all the surgeon’s hard work, my right side had refused to heal because of damage from the radiotherapy, and so I had that implant removed to allow my body to heal. Some women choose not to have reconstruction, but for me to be completely flat on one side was something I had dreaded, and certainly not what I wanted for my wedding day… But it’s true what they say, time heals, and I have become quite attached to ‘Beryl’ my prosthesis, and quite adept to adapting what I wear to accommodate her.
I felt fabulous on my wedding day in spite of my worries, and do still consider myself very lucky as I know there are many of you who live with secondary cancer, or have lost those you love to this disease. Something I have found very cathartic this year has been to start documenting my experiences since my diagnosis. To date, I have written 21,000 words and my aim is to have a complete book ready to publish prior to Breast Cancer Awareness month next October – watch this space! : )
I am delighted to tell you though that for my mum, it was five years in July since her diagnosis of breast cancer, and she remains in good health. She has loved becoming a great grandmother, this year, not just once to Honey, but twice, with the arrival of my niece Emily’s son James last month. I thought you may like to see my most recent photograph of him taken just the other day – isn’t he a handsome little man?! Emily, like Lucy has taken to motherhood like a duck to water and is loving every moment of it.
And so to my final piece of news… Colin and I are to be grandparents again! : ) Colin’s eldest son Danny and his partner Rae are expecting their first child in July 2016! We are soooo excited, and can’t wait to welcome baby Elsworth into the world. They are also over the moon – well actually in New York at the moment – but we will be celebrating with them and the rest of the clan on Christmas Eve. Again, every reason to feel truly blessed, and I do, but I also realise that not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and that particularly at this time of the year it’s difficult when you don’t have immediate family or close friends around you. I hope very much though that you won’t be alone, and that there will be somebody looking out for you. Don’t forget you can always keep in touch on the blog, and there is a wonderful support network here.
Before I disappear I must let you hear the Seasonal Sound I recorded recently. Remember the clue is somewhere in the blog, and I look forward very much to reading your suggestions as to what the sound might be! I must thank Julie Bates from Peony once again for her kindness and generosity in donating this stunning centrepiece which was created with copies of the same flowers I had in my wedding bouquet. No surprise that these fabulous faux flowers are the only range to be recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society! Check our website for more beautiful collections from Peony.
All you need do to be in with a chance to win is to leave a comment below with your guess (and make sure you include your name and email address).
You will have until midday on 3rd January 2016 to enter, and I will announce the winner in my next blog! Good luck!
Click here for full terms and conditions.
All that remains for me to do is to wish you a very Merry Christmas, spent with those you love, and I hope that the New Year will bring you all that makes you happy. Thank you once again for your phenomenal support and kindness throughout this year, and I look forward to keeping in touch throughout 2016.
With my love,