Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Goodbye Cooper Trooper

Following my first fight with breast cancer in 2009 where I was brought face to face with my own mortality - we purchased a Mini Cooper. My dream car since losing my first original Mini which I learnt to drive in and had many adventures.

We took delivery of "Cooper Trooper" which is the name I gave him and had a blast.

Now he has gone.

Basically we have outgrown him and our circumstances have changed so he has gone. 

Our replacement is a more practical Nissan X-Trail.

Many adventures with Cooper Trooper though, many great memories too!

We took Coops to Rhuddlan Castle and then again to the historic Rhuddlan Rocks with The Alarm, Mike Peters. There we actually filmed the crowd end scene to his film "Vinyl".

Coops took us to quite a few Gatherings 

He took us to Snowdon Rocks 2012 to raise money for the Love Hope Strength Foundation.

Coops has seen my boys outgrow him - not much room for teenage boys in the back 

Coops inspired my friend to make this for me on yet another of our adventures

Outside my home

Our final adventure in him was last Monday to the Albert Docks in Liverpool

South Wales road trip to see 4th Street Traffik at their Halloween bash

Its been great having Mini Cooper but its time to move on.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pathways and Destiny

I believe in opening your mind and heart. 

When you do that everything seems to slot into place.

I have crossed a bridge in my life.

I feel as though my life has been a puzzle and while I have been trying desperately to put the pieces together, stressing and worrying about them, the minute I sat down and had a break, I could see the picture as a whole and now the pieces are slotting together with ease....

I have discovered meditation and breathing through yoga and pilates exercises. This has led to less tension through my body and an openness to see my actions as positives and negatives.

I have learnt how to challenge negative thoughts and emotions and replace them with good.

I am learning how to become a better person more in tune with nature.

I am learning how to accept life for what it is but still hold onto my dreams.

I am learning reiki and planning other holistic courses and I feel as though I have been led down this pathway for a greater purpose.

I dont know what that purpose is and its not my place to question.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Life is Good

I really feel at peace with life right now.

I am in a good place for once in my life.

The fog is starting to lift from my mind, my thought processes are becoming clearer, I am beginning to get myself back after the last 4 1/2 years of hell.

Things have changed so much during that time, life doesn't stand still just because you are fighting for your life.

Cost of living has gone up (allot) and my husbands wages have gone down (allot), with me not working since 2009 - we are under pressure economically. I never ever thought that we would be in this situation at this stage of our life together but having said that I never ever thought that I would get cancer TWICE.

Over the last week or so we have made some big decisions. We are going to down scale what we have so that we can consolidate our finances whilst supporting our youngest son through a difficult transition to a new school (I will cover that one in a post of its own). With him being on the Autistic spectrum its important to channel my energies into him.

During this time I am going to do more courses and studying so that when the time is right I can launch a brand new business. 

The thoughts are in my head at the moment, still in that brain storming phase before I put pen to paper and a plan of how I am going to achieve these goals.

Big changes in our lives but exciting times really. 

Things to look forward to.

At the end of the day I have a most beautiful soul mate in my pony Cola, I have my dogs, a fabulous husband and two (stressful) but gorgeous sons, an amazing support network of brilliant friends and most of all I have my life and my health. 

Life is good.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


I am filled with dread at the thought of a house with a teen for the next 6 weeks or so. The constant battles and arguments.... he is always right and I am the villain, the one who is wrong.

The only consolation I have is an article in the Telegraph which says that argumentative teens are showing Independence and that its good because they will be strong enough to assert themselves.

Yes this article is encouraging - its great news for me as a parent but how on earth do I survive it?

This always being right, never admitting to wrong. Saying things in such an off hand and offencive manner and then wondering why on earth you are upset and/or shouting.

Am I alone in this teen V mum battle?

Is this a new era type of battle or has it always been like this?

I feel totally overwhelmed by it all. Its different to when they were babies, toddlers, children... all of a sudden they are almost fully grown with their own ideas and understanding of the world. No longer can you soothe them to sleep or distract them with outings in the pram or on the bus.

This change seemed to happen over night and I am struggling to deal with this new twist in our relationship.

I never ever thought I would become the shouting mum, the mum who doesn't understand, the mum who is always wrong. 

Certainly at my time of life and after the ill health experiences I have had battling cancer for my life I didn't think I would have to deal with this sort of conflict.

On the plus side..... at least I am STILL HERE to deal with this conflict!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We are having a little bit of a heatwave here in Wales!!

I hate it!!!!

It's been about 30 degrees here today.

Couldn't sleep last night.

Can't function today.

I think its because we are just not used to it here in the UK. We rarely get temperatures this hot for extended periods so we don't get the chance to aclimitise.

I have a beautiful black Fell pony.....

His paddock has no shade at all so I worry all of the time about him over heating.


Most of all during weather like this.....

Remember not to leave your dogs in cars .....

Two dogs died this week as a result of being left in hot cars.......

Friday, 5 July 2013

Healing Hands

Healing Hands Animal Care.........

What do you think of that as a name?

I loved my job as a dog groomer, such a successful little business and I enjoyed the fact that I was helping scared dogs and new pups - very rewarding.

However.... almost 5 years after my first cancer and 2 years of treatment I have come to the conclusion that....

1. Mobile dog grooming is too physically demanding for me to do on a full time basis
2. As a carer to my Autistic son I need to be flexible in my work 

and with those things in mind I have decided to invest money into quite a bit of training so that I can set up an animal care business.

The idea is to be able to cater for all types of animals from fish through to horses. Care on a regular basis or care for holiday cover.

Having done my Reiki level 1 I want to go on to get my masters and also train to use crystals for healing and Shiatsu.

I can then offer holistic treatments for pets and their owners.

I want to include dog walking, vet taxi, dog grooming, behaviour, training and nutrition.

Will there be money in it for me? - doubt it

Will I be happy? - most definately

I was considering a change of career and working with disabled children as a teaching assistant but I think it would eat me up, caring for somebody without curing.

Animals have always been in my life and are such an important part of it.

My animals have got me through both of my breast cancers and my horse has most definately been my life coach and therapist on my journey of recovery.

I would be really interested in any feed back on my ideas........

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Pride in Your Streets - Pride in Your Work

I have always been taught to take pride in my work. I have a strong work ethic and believe that when in employment nothing less than 100% effort is acceptable.

When I was working for a Japanese company, there was a set standard for how your work station should look. Sounds crazy and controlling but they got it right..... a neat desk equals an organised mind. (Pity I have never employed this thought to my own home!!)

I have always taken pride in my work and am always self critical because I strive to do my best for others.

I honestly wished that the refuse collection service of Wrexham Council applied the same ethics.

Considering our council tax has hiked year after year and cuts have been made to our services at the same pace.... I do expect to have a service delivered with pride.

This is not the case.

Although I have seen "Pride in Your Streets" bandied about by the council, it seems a bit of a double standard when their workers don't have pride in our streets and yet we are expected to!!!

What am I talking about??


Each week I take out my refuse and recycling bins and place them neatly outside my house to the side of my driveway and virtually every single week THIS is what I come home to.

We live in a small cul-de-sac with not much parking space or room for manoevre so its frustrating to have to abandon my vehicle blocking 4 other driveways while I remove the said obstacles.

All they need to do is place them back where I put them! Is that too much to ask? That way I can come home from work, park on my drive and then take my bins back in.

Rant over, complaint going in to the council!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Positive Energy

I was going to blog about trees because I have some pretty spectacular ones in my village, all shapes and sizes with a story to tell but instead I am going to talk about something which is close to my heart, inspired by something a friend posted on facebook today........



I live by this code or at least I TRY my best too. When something "bad" happens to me I try not to sit there and cry or wallow in it, I try to see the good in what has happened and grow from the experience.

True.... it's really hard to find the good in some things but trust me, if you look hard enough and if you are patient you will find some!

In this cruel world, things happen which are beyond our control..... You have to ask yourself on a scale from 1 to 10  what is the absolute WORST thing that could happen to you. You then have to "grade" that bad thing with that matter in mind and then you can see that its truly not so bad after all.

I count my blessings.

As I live and breath and experience beautiful things I give thanks.

Sometimes its a Robin come to visit....

Or it could be a baby rabbit hopping across my path......

Or like yesterday, the fact that the farms dog chose to come along and share the ride out with me and my pony.......

Good things in life don't need to be bought with money, they are all around you! Everywhere and free to enjoy.

Wear a smile on your face - it makes you prettier, more handsome and more attractive.

Think happy thoughts.

If you have a bad thought try to challenge it!

The best weapon you can have in life is a postive mental attitude.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Flippin Cancer

I was diagnosed in 2009 with a nasty breast cancer. Having said that, ALL cancers are flippin' nasty aren't they!!

2012 I had a second breast cancer, other side this time!

I don't carry the breast cancer gene, I don't tick any of the boxes for being at risk of the disease, I suppose I was just a bit unlucky.

Anyway.... blah blah blah I had lots of treatment, surgeries, chemo, herceptin, radiotherapy and hormone treatment.

I was on tamoxifen at first but because another hormone sensitive cancer grew in spite of this they changed my hormone treatment to;

* having my ovaries shut down with monthly injections (for 5 years)
* letrozol

Well..... the thought of having abdominal injections every month for years didn't really appeal to me PLUS the fact that the injections put me into a chemically induced menopause so in 5 years would I come off the injections then go through a natural menopause???? The thought of going through all that twice really filled me with dread so I PUSHED (and I had to push hard) to have an elected Oophorectomy - the best thing I ever did!! Keyhole surgery - recovery time was quicker than my breast ops and the discomfort was minimal.

The letrozol made every bone in my body hurt so I was changed to Arimadex. Although that it is better than the letrozol it still makes me tired, my brain fuzzy and my bones hurt.

On Thursday I am waiting to see my GP to go through some statistics so that I can decide whether or not I continue with the drugs.

My gut feeling is that I have had my ovaries removed which produced 80% of my oestrogen and with me losing weight and toning up my body I will naturally produce less.

I have been on cancer treatment for almost 5 years now, I have lost so much during that time and the side effects have been so hard to live with that I honestly can't face further treatment for another 4 years.

I am extremely lucky to live in Wales, UK so I have the NHS and the North Wales Health Trust has provided me with the best care I could ever have wished for. They are thorough beyond belief and leave no stone unturned.

I honestly want to get on with my life.

Back in 2009 I had to shut down my successful Dog Grooming Business "Clippers and Claws". Living with the side effects I have been unable to restart it and now another groomer has opened in our village. I am angry, I feel cheated and frustrated. If it hadn't been for flippin cancer I would have a salon right now and a successful one too.

So I have to put my frustration to one side and stay focused on the fact that;

1. I am alive
2. I can still groom dogs only not as many at the moment
3. I am taking very positive steps to cure my back pain

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Mole

The other day, as part of my sons birthday treat, we took him and his friend to the Crocky Trail. The sun was shining, it really was a beautiful day!

We stopped off at Salisbury's for a few goodies to eat (we had to keep energy levels up)!

It was so nice at the trail, lots of happy faces, smiles and laughter. It was a complete tonic for me to see Harry animated and happy. I haven't seen him play like that for such a long time, it was definitely worth the admission price to witness this transformation.

I am not really into adventure trails at the moment. I am far too stiff and achy with my ailments so for me, it was a treat just to people watch and enjoy the happy atmosphere.

I happened to walk over to a hedgerow for a nosey and as I did so, I noticed a tall nettle moving in a peculiar way! It was definitely not being blown by the wind. Curious.... I decided to stay and watch, to see if I could make any sense of this peculiarity. After a couple of minutes, I realised that it was a mole, busy digging and eating insects. As he busied himself I actually caught a glimpse of him but then off he went tunnelling away under other nettle bushes.

I have never in my life seen anything like that and I must say I did count it as a blessing, one of those once in a life time moments which I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Cola and His Bad Back Update

I am not very good at keeping up with my blog, I seem to publish a post a month! I really must do better than that!

Last month I explained how Cola had seen a chiropractor to sort out his back. As luck would have it, my friend who also has her horse on my yard is training to become a chiropractor for horses and dogs. She is extremely knowledgeable and has taken Cola and I under her wing.

Claire has been regularly working on Colas back and has shown me how to carry out simple stretching exercises and strapping which I do on a daily basis. With her help great progress is being made!

Colas weight is dropping and he is now classed as "fat" but borderline ok for his breed. I weighed him yesterday with a weigh tape and he was 504kg so he needs to drop about 20kg. I am sure that we will get to that point very soon.

He is on limited turn out for grass so no more than 5-6 hours per day. His hay is soaked for 24 hours and he has an unlimited supply, he has two small feeds consisting of happy hoof, dynamic balancer and garlic.

So things really are looking up for us!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cola and his Bad Back

* just to remind readers that if you click on any highlighted text it will link you to a page which will give you more information about that subject.

We had almost a month of no turn out this time which has been really hard work, expensive and for me.... worrying.

I am over budget due to having to buy extra hay and shavings. Also, I am out of pocket because I have had to have the chiropractor out to him a number of times and at £50 a shot its not cheap!

This short you tube video shows you what a chiropractor will do for a horse.

When Rachel came out to Cola last Tuesday he was grinding his teeth, stamping his feet, flicking his tail and pulling faces at her when she touched him on his back. By the end of the session he was relaxed and pain free. The next day I could practically "see" him smiling with relief.

The reason Cola is getting this back injuries (never repetitive) is due to a combination of things but mainly because of the confinement. Weight gain because he can't be left without hay for the fear of not only boredom but ulcers, muscle wastage and stiffness due to lack of movement. These factors combined with his age have led to these injuries.

At the moment there is turn out because the ground has dried out so Cola is going through rehabilitation.

I am starting off with walking out in hand. I will then introduce the saddle as extra weight with in hand walking out and I will gradually get him used to my weight in the saddle. This is going to take a few weeks and allot of patience and fear of hurting him on my part.

I have ordered him a memory foam saddle pad to help ensure the saddle is comfortable for him and I have been giving him stretching exercises and massage to help keep his muscles flexible. I am hoping for a magnetic back pad which I think will do him the world of good.

The video above shows some of the stretches I do with Cola twice a day.

Seeing Cola in pain breaks my heart. The other day when he saw his bridle he spun around and "hid" in the corner, it made me cry. All I can say is how grateful I am to him for being such a communicative boy, he lets me know when he has a problem not by being nasty or hurting me, he actually takes good care of me, but by showing me with his body language.

I am hoping that now spring is here we will see an end to these lengthy periods of confinement. As the summer comes I am looking forward to riding out on Cola without him sustaining further injuries.

Lets pray that the rain is not heavy and the ground dries out thoroughly.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere.......

... but not a drop to drink!!!

I am fed up with the wet weather now.....

We had a wet summer last year which made it difficult for the farmers to get their crops in and meant that our horses were stuck in their stables and then the winter has been appalling so much so that the horses have been stabled for weeks on end.

Not only is this costly in extra hay and bedding but the horses are suffering physically and mentally.

I started the winter quite happy with my horses weight knowing that after the winter he would be starting spring in the best shape he has been in a long while but this long confinement has made him pile on the blubber!

So now I am having to soak his hay to reduce the sugars in it which is time consuming and hard blinking work physically!!!


to make matters worse, with his age, weight and being kept in he has "done his back in" three times now. Its costing me a fortune in physio/chiro for him plus not being able to ride him during that time!!!

I am waiting for the back lady to visit on Tuesday because he is in pain again. He is such a lovely boy and rarely naggy but yesterday he wouldn't let me touch his back.... once he had been out for his 2 hour quota (better than nothing) he was feeling better....

So now I am walking him out in hand, carrying on with stretching exercises in his stable and loose schooling him at night in the menage - all of this is time consuming, worrying and hard work.

Sorry for the moan but I really had to get this off my chest!

Lets hope the sun stays out and we have less rain!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Letter C

Well, a few years ago I was inspired by the late Barry Fraser to join a blogging group called Friday Shoot Out. Each week there would a theme and you would share photos based on that theme. This really was a fun thing to do and helped when I was recovering from cancer. 

Life has moved on since then and I have long since stopped posting in the group but low and behold, via Twitter I found a person doing the same thing and I thought I would give this a go, a fresh start with some new people.

So the theme for this week is the letter C.

Well, my Mr C plays such a huge part in my life how could I not feature this post on him my Cola.

Monday, 11 March 2013


I am at a point in my life where I am being reminded of my faith in God. I have always kept my dialogue going with Him but from time to time you need to bring yourself into line and remember that if you put yourself into His arms, He will look after you.

All my life He has cared for me.

Whatever I have asked Him for He has given me, maybe not in the conventional way but He has always answered my prayers.

I could fill a book with examples of this but I won't do that, I will just cherry pick a couple of my life experiences.

One of my oldest memories as a 3 year old was praying for a rag doll and one day, out of the blue my Nain visited us bringing with her a rag doll she had won in a raffle. I couldn't believe it! I called her LuLu, she was an ugly thing but I loved that doll not just because it was what I wanted but because of what she represented to me.

Our family dog was a rescue called Patch, she was in our family before I was born! I loved her so much and was in awe of her connection with my mum. I longed for a relationship like that with a dog and I used to sit at the bottom of our garden and pray for a dog, a special dog. She would be small and scruffy and she would follow me and love me........ I waited 20 years for that dog and in a random way she came to me in my wonderful soul mate Bobbi. I always refered to her as my "wish come true" and "my gift from God".

Bobbi was with me for such a short time but she got me through a very difficult time in my life. Trying for a family. I used to confide in her, cry on her, she was my rock and when my Joe was born..... she had cancer at age 5 and she left me. Her job on this earth was done and I hold her in my heart forever.

I need to find it in myself to put myself into Gods arms again. I have big things in my life right now, things which will affect others and I need His guidance and His care to make sure I follow the right path.

God is good.

Monday, 11 February 2013

I am at a Cross Road in my Life

Cancer has changed me, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well.

In my life I have done many things. I started out as an office junior on a young workers scheme and worked my way up to become a buyer managing a small department. I continued my career instigating and co-ordinating cost reduction projects. It was a rewarding but it meant long hours, travel and stress.

When trying for a family was proving difficult I decided to take a huge gamble and I gave up my job with its nice pay and bonuses and started to work for a company in my village. 50% pay cut BUT it meant I actually got a lunch break and the hours were 9-5!!!!! Less stress and bingo.... Joe came into being.

When Harry was born my pay wouldn't cover child care costs so I gave up my job with saddness because I had changed the role from a secretarial position to an admin post and I really enjoyed it very much.

I am not a stay at home mum so despite the fact that I had huge problems with my boys for my own sanity I started to do Avon.

Avon gave me so much confidence and I realised that I could do anything I set my mind too so when Pickles my miniature schnauzer came into my life I enrolled on a course and became a dog groomer.

My business was beyond successful and was built on reputation and word of mouth so when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 it was a shock to have to give up my business.

Cancer took over my life for the 2 years of treatment. Dealing with the countless hospital visits and the side effects of treatment.

In the 3rd year I suffered from depression because I realised that my life had changed because of cancer. I was unable to physically do the things I used to do.

In the 4th year I had another breast cancer.

So here I am now with my 4 and 1 year clears under my belt and I am starting to get back to work very very slowly because my physical disabilities have curtailed what I am able to do.

Truth is though..... I dont know what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I want to work for myself but I dont know what.

Of course, if I had the money there are loads of things I could do, I would have the money to re train but thats not an option for me.

So I feel as though I have come to a cross roads in my life and I am standing here puzzled and confused as to which road I need to travel down.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Celebrate Life

January is always a tense month for me because its the month when I found my first breast cancer lump, the month the docs found the second and when I get all of my tests done and find out if I am clear or not.


This January 2013

I got my 4 and 1 year clear for my cancers!

It was worrying for an hour or so because they had found differences in the mammogram images so I had to have another mammogram and an ultra sound to check their findings.

A huge, massive, amazing sigh of relief when they were reported as normal and I was still in remission!

Another positive which came out of my check up was the fact that my wonderful and amazing surgeon has requested that I could change my hormonal drugs back to tamoxifen.

OK I still had back pain while on tamoxifen BUT I didn't have the small bone pain which is in my ribs, feet, fingers, hands, wrists........

So.............. fingers crossed......................

They sanction the change and I can get on with my life!!!

On this note I just want to say how thankful I am to be living in Great Britain where we are fortunate enough to have the NHS. This means that I get the treatment I need with no questions asked and no worries about medical bills.

*images courtesy of google*

Friday, 18 January 2013

Breast Cancer

Four years ago I found the lump in my right breast, surgery and two years of treatment. Five years taking tamoxifen which made my bones ache like I never knew possible. This prompted CT and MRI scans which showed up a crack in my sacral bone.

A year ago following a routine check a new breast cancer was found in my other breast. "Luckily" for me it wasn't as aggressive and so it was "just" surgery and radiotherapy. 

A change in hormone tablet to letrozole.

Can you believe it? more pain.......... I aged over night by about about 30 years.

October came and more surgery so at least I wouldn't have to endure those abdominal injections on a monthly basis for 5 years.

A new drug - Arimadex

Still in pain.

Pain in all of my small joints such as fingers and toes, chronic back pain, pain in my right hip, right shoulder and the joint of my right foot big toe.

In addition to this my blood pressure is raised and I now have high cholesterol.

I have a strong family trait of heart disease in both sides of my family but these problems could be the result of the hormone tablets I am taking. 

Devil you do - Devil you don't!

So here I am ..... and there it is.......

Live for the moment I say..... live for today. You can't change the past and the future is not yet but now is when is important.

I could be 100% healthy and die randomly like my big brother. Fit.....healthy......young...... killed in a car accident at 25.

All of these things are reminders that you should enjoy what you have got and not worry about what you haven't got.