Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It has been a stressful few days in relation to Steve's progress. Kev and I had to take the kids with us on Saturday to see him, thankfully his lovely parents were happy to look after them whilst we went in to see him. We talked to him and told him what was new, and what we had been up to - and mostly that we were missing him madly and couldn't wait to see him. Jay and Jude had also been to see him that day (and had braved Basingstoke Shopping Centre like we did, but that is a whole other post!!) and we all agreed that he was looking slightly better, but it is difficult to to know whether that is just because we are getting used to seeing him covered in tubes and wires, and hooked up to so many machines.

On Monday we learned that he had contracted a nasty chest infection and that as a result the Doctors wanted to keep him as isolated as possible, indicating no visitors. They were also planning to cancel his scheduled surgery (due today, Wednesday) this was obviously very upsetting and a huge set back. Not long after we heard all of this we then found out that they had changed their minds and had decided to move him to Southampton regardless, in the the hope that as soon as he became well enough they could operate immediately. So, Steve is now in Southampton and we still can't visit, however it transpires that he may indeed be well enough to under go surgery today as originally planned, and all I can do is hope and pray that he is well enough and that he has a successful operation today. Hang in there lovely, we will all be there to see you very soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I had a successful charity shop find on Friday - I have been looking for a cloche/ bell jar to use as a display case for ages, but all of the ones I found were just way more than I wanted to spend. So, quite by chance I stumbled across a wooden based, glass lidded cheese board in our local Hospice shop, it had hideous cartoon mice on the wooden board but I knew that I had some blackbaord paint at home and once it was cleaned and then painted it would be just what I was after - and for £3 I couldn't go wrong! So this was it before;

And after, displaying Zach's first shoes, on my sideboard;

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I know I tend to get so insecure - it doesn't matter anymore; look for the girl with the broken smile..ask her if she wants to stay a while... she will be loved..

Friday, November 25, 2011

The doctors have decided to keep Steve in sedation until next Wednesday when he will transfer to Southampton Hospital for further surgery. I know that it is probably the best thing for him but selfishly I just want to see him awake and be able to talk to him. We haven't been able to go to see him this morning due to the fact that his parents are taking his grandma over for the first time and it will be a highly emotive time for them all so we shall go tomorrow and visit him instead. Happily Kev got to see him on Wednesday and take the food parcel to his parents. There was no change but he is responding well to the drugs that seem to be clearing his infection. It feels as though this has been going on forever but it is only a week! I cannot begin to imagine how he will feel when he comes round, the shock of what has happened and the sheer amount of time that he has been asleep will be immensely hard to come to terms with I would imagine. Everyone has been amazing in their support, we have received tonnes of well wishes and cards sent here so that we can take them down to him - it all helps so much.

In other news it is the PVPS Christmas Fayre this evening, not my favourite school event it has to be said! I am not relishing the idea of queuing up for 40 minutes to take over excited children to see Dan (IT teacher!) dressed as Santa and even less am I looking forward to Teya buying all sorts of crap toys! Not a bah humbug honestly - the mulled wine is always good and on the plus side Saf and I are taking the kids for tea at the pub afterwards so will have to leave early to ensure we get a table ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yesterday we heard that the Doctors had lowered Steve's dependency on his ventilator but that on the other hand he had contracted a chest infection. It felt like a blow for our positive spirits as it feels like a step back, but he it has been found early so hopefully it means that it won't be around for long. Kev has set off to to Basingstoke again this morning, there is a chance he might not actually get to see Steve as the Doctors *may* try and slowly bring him round (fingers crossed) but even just being there for him and for his parents really helps.

I have bought him these two little Music Trivia games which should keep him amused when he wakes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kev and I went up to visit Steve at the Hospital again last night and I am very relieved to report that things were a lot more positive. When we got there he had not been long out of surgery and was out of recovery and back in ICU. The surgeons had put a plate in one wrist, pinned the other and re set his broken foot. They hadn't started on his pelvis yet, the ball and socket joint is shattered, but he is in traction and is well and truly trussed up. it was great to hear that the staff are happy with how he is doing, they have also managed to get a feeding tube in him and his blood pressure is better. Also the damage to his face isn't as bad as they had feared, his jaw is broken but his cheekbones aren't nearly as smashed as they had first thought. It was much better to see him looking much 'pinker' IYSWIM - on Saturday he looked like a waxwork, and that was heartbreaking. There is still a long way to go and there has been no change with his lungs/ breathing but fingers crossed that it won't be long now and he can come out of sedation and see all his loved ones.. We crossed visits with Jay, Jude, Soph and Steph and I really hope that Steve can hear us all and know that we are all there willing him on. Kev is going back tomorrow and we are both back on Friday morning. I really hope to be able to report back very soon that he is awake, and cracking inappropriate jokes with his nursing staff!

In the meantime I am going to cook up a few meals for his parents so that they don't need to think about cooking once they return home in the evening - first one is beef bourguignon (found a good food recipe which looks great) Kev will take it with him tomorrow, but any other ideas for easy to reheat suppers would be greatly appreciated! Email me

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Darling Friend Steve

Friday the 18th November started like most normal Fridays. Kev took the kids to breakfast club, I got up and started the day with some Governor business with Saf, Suzanna and Peter, and then got all dressed up to take my lovely Mummy out for a special birthday lunch. We drove off to Bluebells in Sunningdale and had a fab time, lovely food and wine followed by a potter around the shops. Later that evening Kev went out for a bike ride, I opened some fizz and got the kids ready for bed so that we could settle down in front of the fire to watch Children in Need. At 6.50pm I received a private message via FB, it was Dave Johnson, Steve's younger brother, asking me to call him on his mobile. My blood ran cold. I picked up the phone, dialled and what ensued was an incredibly emotional and devastating conversation. At 6.45 that morning Steve had been travelling to work on his motorbike when he was involved in a head on collision with a lorry. He was in a terribly bad way, he had lost a kidney, his spleen, broken both legs, pelvis, arms, ribs and also his back. Thank god it didn't look as though his head or spinal cord had been damaged but that it was too early to tell exactly what lasting damage there was. He was on a ventilator and heavily sedated in the Basingstoke ITU. Words can't really describe how it felt hearing all of that about our best friend, our lovely friend whom we had only spoken to a couple of days before. I was desperate to get down to the hospital but we were told that it was immediate family only for now. So all we could do was wait. Kev and I cried our eyes out, terrified at what might be to come and what might have been.

Saturday morning after no sleep and feeling like hell we travelled to see him, I was determined that we would no matter what. Happily the staff were wonderful and his parents were already there so we got to go in. The shock of seeing Steve lying there covered in tubes and wires and hooked up to so many machines was incredibly tough, and the fact that we were talking to him but not with him was so very hard, and devastating. We hadn't expected his cheekbones to have been shattered either so that was really awful, the only place I could kiss him without fear of hurting him was on his forehead. It was however a relief to see him, to be able to tell him that we were there, that we love him and that we would do all that we can to be there for him and help with his recovery. The staff were pretty sure that he could hear us, despite the huge amounts of sedative coursing through his poor broken body. He is due for surgery any time now to try and pin some of his bones in to the right place and I pray that all goes well and that he can be brought round soon. We are off back to the hospital tonight to see him and are hoping for some good news then but in the meantime it is a waiting game, a painful and distressing time for everyone who cares for him and something that none of us have any control over. So, for now I am sending up my prayers and just hoping that we will be laughing and joking with our wonderful friend very soon. We love you Steve, stay strong and we will see you soon xxxx

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I have realised that I didn't get around to updating this in regard to our bridesmaids' dresses drama from last Friday.. It all started off well, I collected Teya from school and took the two of us off in to Woking, both very excited to be seeing our dresses for the first time and to be finally trying them on! As soon as I saw mine hanging up I had a sinking feeling.... It didn't look anywhere near long enough, but Teya's looked fine, until I got it on her - the thing was so tight that the poor kid couldn't breathe! My heart stopped. I called the lovely assistant in and she was horrified, we double checked the measurements and the dress had been made (by the designers in the states) to the wrong measurements and was a size too small! So, I got myself in to mine and nearly cried, my floor length gown came to my ankle, and yep, once again they had messed up and made it the wrong length. What a bloody nightmare. So, they are being re made and should be here the week after Christmas. Talk about cutting it fine, that is 10 days before the wedding. They had better be perfect and I am going to have even more sleepless nights until then.

Here is Teya in her too tight but stunning bridesmaid's dress

And this is how my dress will (with luck and a following wind!!!) look (except mine is moss green, same colour as Teya's sash)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not such a good 24 hours here.. Yesterday morning started well, we all went out in to the beautiful day to the Remembrance Service in Brookwood cemetery with our friends, which was lovely - very poignant and Teya and her best bud Rehan laid the wreath. Afterwards we went for some lunch at the pub and had a really great time. I took Zach home around 1pm as I was feeling a little tired, and it just went downhill from there, I got the sweats and started to feel really sick and shaky. By 6pm I was in the bath, throwing up and just about managed to watch Strictly before having to retire. This morning Kev had not long dropped Teya at school when I got the call asking me to come and get her, poor thing was white as a sheet and needed to come home - she was feeling sick too! Argh, poor baby- I have NO idea where these bugs came from but needless to say it is a duvet day here and hopefully she will feel much better soon. Got to hope that Zach doesn't get it now..

Friday, November 11, 2011

We will remember them. Today was a sobering reminder of all our wonderful armed forces who so bravely put themselves on the front line for all of us, and of those who have lost their lives defending king and country. I sat at home and observed my silence alone today but on Sunday I will be going to the cemetery, with my family, to pay respects and lay a wreath with the school before the Remembrance Service.

I can remember being a small child and asking my Dad (Major, Royal Fusilier) why he had chosen to be in the Army.. I knew that, when I was 2, he had seen his friends killed whilst serving on the streets of Northern Ireland, amongst other atrocities, and I just couldn't understand it. He simply answered that it was what he wanted, he wanted to serve his country and do what he could to protect us all, not just his family but friends and strangers too, he was never afraid of conflict. Looking back I imagine he was terrified really, leaving his family and not ever really knowing whether he was coming home to us must have been heartbreaking, but he was always so brave, so accepting and pragmatic. Even now that he is a retired serviceman, he works for the MOD and was instrumental in the construction of the Basra Memorial Wall. He also repatriates our soldiers lost in Afghan, and each time he meets the planes that land at Brize Norton I know he feels the pain in equal measure. I am immensely proud of my Dad, his empathy, loyalty, devotion, his huge heart and great capacity for love and forgiveness, all these things make him incredibly special, to so many people.

So to our fallen, our casualties - the grand fathers, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, and all our loved ones - at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am going to have a whinge this morning so apologies in advance.. first the fridge went, twice, then the dishwasher and now the boiler is playing up, all this in the past month, gah. Fridge was happily fixed for free, dishwasher we had to sign up for a year's 'care' and thankfully we took out boiler insurance after ours went out of warranty in January but at £300 I am quite glad to be calling the guy out quite honestly, and he should be bringing me chocolates and flowers for that price! The radiators seem to be OK this morning but something isn't quite right so I am getting it seen to. Let's hope this 3rd thing is the last of my run ins with domestic goods, I am over it.

Secondly I must be the one of a tiny minority who sleeping tablets don't work for. I picked up my prescription on Friday and took my first tablet last night - 1am woke up, 5am woke up.. Granted I fell back to sleep easier afterwards but still it is UNINTERRUPTED sleep I need please and I feel like hell this morning.

On a better note detox day 3 went well (except for the above!) and I had 2 litres of fizzy water, homemade veg soup for lunch and garlic & chilli chicken salad for supper. I must confess I had a dessertspoon full of the kids' lasagne, but after making it it was torture looking at the last bit on the side! I am allowing myself the slip and not getting too worried about it - can't have done that much harm.

Can't say I feel miles better body wise really but mentally I am ready to take on the world. I doubt the scales will show anything much so I am not getting on them till next week, but I am really pleased that I have done it and showed (mostly) great self control - it isn't easy, but it is possible.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Day 2 detox went well too, yay! Had nothing but water until supper when I had grilled chicken salad for supper, feel very virtuous and much better today. Still a long way to go I know but I am glad that my willpower is holding up. Tomorrow night following detox end I shall be making this for supper;

Addictive Sesame Chicken

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 dash sesame oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
fillets, cut into 3cm cubes
1 litre vegetable oil for frying
125ml water
250ml chicken stock
60ml vinegar
4 tablespoons cornflour
200g sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon red chilli paste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Preparation & cook: 20/30 mins

1.Combine the 2 tablespoons soy sauce, dry
sherry, dash of sesame oil, flour, 2 tablespoons cornflour, 2 tablespoons water,
baking powder, bicarb and rapeseed oil in a large bowl. Mix well; stir in the
chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2.Thread chicken on to skewers. Heat grill

3.Combine the 125ml water, chicken stock,
vinegar, 4 tablespoons cornflour, sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
sesame oil, red chilli paste and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil,
stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

4.Grill the chicken skewers until done.

5.Transfer the chicken to a large platter,
top with sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Day 1 of detox plan went well (although I have a headache this morning, must be the lack of caffeine) I had water all morning, homemade broccoli and pea soup for lunch and chilli prawn salad for supper, with lots of weak sugar free squash. Wasn't as tough as I thought it was going to be, but today could be different - I am about to set off for my Clients' offices in Gloucester and it is going to be a long day. Must remember to drink enough water.

Teya and I are seeing our bridesmaids dresses for the first time on Friday and are having our first try on session, I cannot wait! All the wedding plans seem to be coming together amazingly well, Katie has been working so hard on everything, I am sure that it will be just fabulous. I shall post a few more details when I can, but it is going to be amazing, and it is only 10 weeks away!

Monday, November 07, 2011

It is that time again, operation detox! Time to lose a few lbs - happily I don't have too much but still, it has crept up on me again (lazy ass) and my jeans are a tad tighter than I am wholly comfortable with, quite apart from the fact that it is only 8 weeks till I am maid of honour to the gorgeous Katie! So, I am doing a 3/5 days detox this week to kick start my diet and then will be healthy/ small portioning again until January. There are so many things in my wardrobe that will look so much better with just a few lbs off that I have lots of motivation. I am also going to do the sensible thing and up my exercising, just walking the dog/playing with ponies/running once (or less) a week just isn't enough and I need to do more. So, wish me luck!

Friday, November 04, 2011

I don't honestly mind the rain (unless I have just hair my hair done mind you!) it has a number of positives, the ground gets a good soaking, the rivers and streams fill, the kids love putting on wellies and splashing in puddles, it gives you a good excuse to stay in the house all day on a Sunday and, if you are lucky, you get to witness amazing rainbows! Don't get me wrong I hate cold driving rain coupled with wind on a dark January day when you are forced to venture out in it but on days like today, 15 degrees (!) outside and beautiful autumn sunshine to boot - what's not to love? Here are some pics I took yesterday of the stunning rainbows over our school;

Tonight we have Rehan over for a sleepover which Teya is beside herself with excitement about. We have Mr Popper's Penguins to watch and I am hoping that they won't be too late to sleep...