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A Frame Within a Frame

I took this a few weeks ago, back when the days weren’t so chilly and the rain not imitating sleet.

I’m always amazed at the hardiness and determination of piers.

They stand there, tall and proud, withstanding bomb blasts, fires, thousands of footsteps and the daily, relentless battering from the weather and tides.

Here is a peek at the wear and tear, a hole in one of the support beams, through which Ahren can be seen writing in the sand.



Christmas; The Dream v’s the Reality

When I think of Christmas I have a picture postcard idea of how it should be.

christmas postcards

We’d start by driving to a Christmas tree farm, traipse through the snow until we find the perfect tree, chop it down and then drive back home with it perched upon the car.

aqua car with christmas tree

We’d spend an evening or two dressing the tree, enjoying the crackling warmth of a real fire as we carefully hang those years old family heirloom decorations.

A cold and frosty weekend would be spent baking the perfect Christmas cake, and perhaps even a mug of mulled wine.

Gifts would be bought, but only after careful consideration for each recipient, neither a sock nor Minecraft figure in sight.

Days and evenings would be spent visiting and hosting friends and family; our children would play nicely whilst the adults listened to Christmas songs, ate mince pies and didn’t gain a single pound.

We’d go as a family to Midnight Mass, before snuggling down in bed awaiting for Santa to arrive.

Eventually the big day would arrive and the children, full of excitement, would be gracious and thankful for each gift, dinner would be a roaring success followed by a walk before pudding. The evening would be a delightfully lazy slumbering experience, the tree lights twinkling as the children play happily with a train set.

Oh how I dream of my perfect Christmas…

The reality is somewhat different.

Our tree will be dragged down from the loft and reassembled from over 30 pieces in to one somewhat respectable looking tree.

Boxes of decorations will be unpacked, the shattered ones tossed away, some precious ones put back until I finally trust the children not to break them, and only then comes the tedious task of decorating with the kids “help”. The annual ‘Me v’s Fairy Lights’ battle will commence with much muttering, swearing and the odd electric shock.

Whilst I adore the smells of Christmas baking, I can’t stand Christmas cake, none of us can, so instead I shall sprinkle fragrance oil on pinecones and light up the candles, all whilst crossing my fingers and hoping the children don’t eat the pinecones and the candles don’t set fire to he kitchen.


christmas candle

Gift buying is a panic attack inducing form of torture. Crowds of bargain hunters scrambling for the latest must have gift whilst I ponder on the fluffiness of socks. Mounds of cardboard fill the recycling box and lists of batteries required for everything are added to the weekly shopping list and promptly forgotten about.

Visiting family soon becomes an ardours task as we fight against the tide of obnoxious shoppers and traffic delays. Hosting them isn’t much better as we scramble to find the gifts we just this minute finished wrapping and begrudgingly share the box of chocolates, all whilst muttering something about “why the hell would anyone rock around a Christmas bloody tree?”.

The night before Christmas is spent in a frenzy…where the hell is the tape? How the eff did I forget the batteries when they were on the list! The panic over the stores being shut for a day and whether or not 12 pints of milk and 15 loaves will see us through to Boxing Day. A paddy will be thrown when I run out of my favourite wrapping paper and a tantrum over commercialism when I see the DFS Boxing Day sale advert.

The big day will arrive with blurry eyes and hot coffee as the children rip in to gifts, destroying the wrapping paper without even looking at the awesome and frankly wonderful design.

Tears will be shed as they realise we didn’t buy them a Chinook, a baby sister nor a puppy.

One of us will have to run out in the cold to the workshop to dig around for a poxy screwdriver just to remove a toy from its packaging only to realise it needed batteries, not included.

Hours will be spent cooking a gorgeous dinner, which the kids will turn their noses up at. Tummies full from munching on the obligatory Christmas chocolates, biscuits and peanuts will mean neither of us fully appreciate the meal, but it’s okay because we’ll have bubble & squeak for days!

By the evening; hubs will be napping, the boys will be fighting over the controller for the Wii U and I shall be snuggled up in the armchair, admiring the twinkling lights of the tree whilst thinking “it could have been worse”.

Our Christmases are perfectly imperfect, and that is okay with me.

Why We Need International Men's Day

There’s this assumption that men have it easy. That being born with a penis somehow makes life wonderful, easy and free from any kind of issues.

But it doesn’t; as a daughter, sister, friend, mother and partner I’ve seen first-hand the struggles that men go through all whilst being told to “man up” and keep quiet.

I’ve seen my dad succumb to alcoholism and attempt suicide; left to flounder after the death of his first born child he was adrift in depression, there was nothing and no one to help him. As an ex-squaddie he was expected to “be a man” and just deal with the cards dealt to him, but how on earth does one deal with the death of a child without support?

I’ve seen friends battle homelessness as they were the wrong gender to be accepted into shelters whilst I was offered all sorts of help when I found myself without a place to call home.

Whilst I battled through mental health issues I was offered so much support it became overwhelming, at the same time my partner was at best ignored and at worst told to be quiet and “man up and deal with it”.

Men are abused, victimised and find themselves in situations where they need support to find their feet just like women do, yet unlike women they are expected to “be a man” and just get on with life.

But rape, violence, suicide, bullying, mental health issues, domestic abuse, homelessness and drug abuse are not issues from which one can simply walk away from unscathed without support.

We women know this, which is why we’ve fought so hard to have support systems in place, you’d think, with so many of us knowing first hand how hard life can be when dealing with such issues that we’d extend a helping hand to those who are vulnerable and need support, regardless of their gender.

This gap in support offered to vulnerable men is why we need International Men's Day.


Silent Sunday

What a week, there is no sense to be made of the many senseless acts of violence which have happened around the world this week; Baghdad, Beirut and Paris to name but a few.

I took this photo Friday morning thinking how wonderful all the sunbeams were, it amazes me that a day which started with such promise and beauty can descend in to such ugliness and horror.

sunbeams over the pier


Woodworking Progress

I think we all need a creative outlet; at the moment mine happens to be woodworking.

I first realised that I need something of a creative nature about a year or so after I got my depression and PTSD diagnoses, whilst I wouldn’t have suggested sharp chisels and knives I’m glad that my creative endeavours have led me to woodworking.

I’ve been dabbling in woodworking for just under a year and am so far enjoying the bejinkos out of it. It’s the sort of thing, which if you asked me about a few years ago, I’d have laughed at, but now, I’m pretty sure it’s something I will be dabbling with for years to come.

For someone who is self taught, thank you You Tube, I’m surprised at how my confidence has grown.

These are some of my latest makes, and yes I guess this is totally me showing off. IT may seem self indulgent, but I’ve spent years feeling worthless and less than, so when I find something which makes me feel proud about myself, I shall indeed share it.



6 bowls




Along side woodturning, I’ve started dabbling in wood burning and wood carving, both of which are much harder than I thought but no less interesting.


wood burning

IMG_20151022_152440 (1)

It’s all to easy to fall in to the trap of thinking you’re worthless and not good at anything when depression and anxiety take over, it’s nice to be able to prove myself wrong.


spoon carving


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