Life Sparkles


Yesterday, all my troubles were definitely not far away. We all know things can happen in a breath and when they do you appear to enter some form of altered reality.

Before I start to relay my tale, I’ll let you know up front that things appear, so far, to be ok. I’m writing this blog post for a couple of reasons; one to help me deal with things and two, to give a little insight into life as a carer.

My fairy of a Mom had a sudden collapse yesterday around 1 pm. Dad shouted for me and when I seen her I immediately dialled 999 for paramedics. All colour had drained from her, she couldn’t breathe, she was boiling hot, weak, dizzy, reteching, feeling sick and barely able to talk. Dad was in a state but remaining calm, I was in stress city but for some reason I’m always good in a crisis. I fall apart afterwards. Paramedics arrived within fifteen minutes and all vital signs were fine, which was a relief, but Mom was still very sick. The decision was made she would need to go to hospital. I ran around like a crazy thing grabbing what I thought we’d need. It was afternoon, I knew Dad would be ok for a couple of hours but he was crying as they carried Mom out to the ambulance. I was trying to calm him down, I knew how he felt, but I had to stay strong. 

Mom was very quiet, still very sick and weak. We were booked into A & E and transferred to a bed outside the already occupied bays. I stood by the trolley and cuddled her. She looked so small and frail. The Doctors and nurses were wonderful. We were in a bay fairly quickly, vitals were taken again and were all good. Blood samples were taken as it takes about ninety minutes for the results, so best to not delay. Mom was made a cup of tea, she was more talkative, the colour was returning to her cheeks, she was able to drink her tea and she wasn’t feeling sick. 

We then seen the Senior Doctor and a Junior Doctor; lots of examinations, questions, and assessment. Mom was much improved by this time. The Doctor said he would await the blood tests before making a decision on whether Mom could come home. If we were being kept in, it meant I had to ensure there was a carer at home overnight with Dad. 

We were wheeled out of the bay and Mom was given some tea and toast. Mom was asking lots of questions about what happened and what’s happening next and when could we go home to Dad. I could see myself she was back to normal by now, but it had taken three and a half hours. A senior sister came over to chat to Mom; she needed Mom to get up and walk so they could check her mobility…and that’s when the mood changed. Mom would not get off that bed until she was ready, she was no longer listening to me, she was doing things her way. After a few minutes she got off the bed and started to walk around the area, bearing in mind we were still in the area where the ambulances bring in the patients and it was busy, with all kinds of ailments, medical, mental, alcohol and here was my dot of a Mom strolling around through it all, me trying to hold Mom, bags and jackets and try to get her to sit down. I was scared she would fall and break a hip again. Apart from not wanting that to happen, nor wanting a two week stay in hospital there would be the panic of looking after Dad too!

Picture via Pinterest 

The Doctor arrived to say all bloods were fine, they were satisfied what had happened was a sudden drop in blood pressure. We could go home and I was to keep an eye on things. Hooray I thought, so relieved that all was ok and we could go. Mom however had other ideas. She wouldn’t leave the department, she did not think I was taking her home in a taxi.  Mom wanted Dad. I phoned Dad to talk to her, she wouldn’t speak with him. The taxi arrived, she wouldn’t walk out to it. I had to send the taxi home to get Dad and bring him to the hospital so that he could take her home. In the midst of this our Parish Priest arrived and Mom sat down to chat with him. He then waited for Dad to arrive and walked him in to where we were. So now I had two of them sitting in what was becoming an increasingly busy department as evening rolled in…and no sign of going home. I was stood in the middle of the department, with it all unraveling in front of me in a kind of fog, wondering what the hell I was supposed to do now. It was all down to me to sort this out, do something, but what?!!!

Inspiration arrived. I contacted the lovely male carer who visits each week to see if needed, could he stay overnight with Dad, yes he could. I was thinking I’d have to send Dad home and I’d stay with Mom until she was ready to move. There was still no sign of movement towards home when I returned to them so I called our wonderfully kind neighbour who Mom has girlie evenings with if I’m off to a show; she said she would come down to A & E and hopefully that would entice Mom to come home.

When I got back to them this time, Mom’s mood had changed back and she was ready to come home. So, the three of us took a very slow walk, me trying to hold them both steady, over towards the A & E waiting room. Half way there our neighbour approached, Mom was delighted to see her. We sat at a table and bought tea and I called another taxi. Another very slow walk out into the evening and into the car.  The taxi driver was lovely, he treated Mom like she was his own family, put her in the seat next to him and they chatted all the way home. Such kindness was so appreciated.  Tea and toast all round, our neighbour came in to chat to Mom and all was calm. Four hours after we were told we could come home, we were home!

I didn’t care last night that we didn’t get to bed. Mom was ok, safe, warm and asleep in her chair, I was happy to be on the sofa watching over her. I had settled Dad to bed, he was worn out after the day.  

Today has been a slow, tired out, just hitting me kind of day. Mom did amazingly well considering her ordeal and I think it was actually better that she was in her strong, independent mood as she coped with things better than if she felt afraid or vulnerable. She slept a lot today but she must have been shattered.

It was one thing me going to hospital with Mom and being able to leave Dad alone for a few hours but should it be the other way around, I couldn’t leave Mom unattended and I’d have to be very careful who was here. The emergency back up service will supply me with a nurse but it will be someone we have never met and there is no way around that.  This will not be good but I may not have a choice. 

Tonight, we have made it to bed, Dad has had some angina so I’m on wide awake alert. Today I stood in the kitchen thinking “this is to much for me”, “I can’t cope/deal/take on all this responsibility” and all the time the quote about God not giving us more than we can handle kept coming to mind. Self-care has come to mind too; I’m tired, I’ve forced myself to eat because I know I need to have strength for tomorrow, if I keel over, we have real problems here.

I need to build more contingency plans, I’m not sure how or who with but I need to have things in place. I don’t know how quickly the emergency carers can be here. I don’t know if our companion carers can successfully cover emergencies. I don’t know if there is anything else I can put in place to assist us…I need to find out. My chap couldn’t come to help me yesterday as he is currently alone caring for his Mother whilst his sister is on holiday.

Ever thankful to our fantastic NHS, we are so lucky to have the healthcare system that we do in the UK. 

Here’s to a less tired, calmer, less stressful weekend.

Picture via Pinterest 

Life Sparkles

Catching Up.

After the recent run of sleepless nights it has been a while since I have had an opportunity to update my blog.  The sleeping pattern has calmed back down; I’ll never know what unsettled Mom to the point of her not being able to settle into bed and now we go with the flow at bedtime.  If we get to bed and stay there, brilliant.  If we don’t, then that is just how it is and it is more important that Mom is settled, relaxed and happy where she is.

Well the Slimming World is going ok.  I’ve not had huge weight loss but I have had a couple of days each week “off plan” so to speak, I have lost 4 lbs.  The main change I’ve found is that I feel much better within myself, less sluggish, more energy and I have surprised myself by enjoying cooking from scratch.  Himself was over a couple of weekends ago and we made a Slimming World Thai Green Chicken Curry and it was delicious.  Actually I’ve enjoyed the whole cooking thing so much I’ve ordered myself a Vintage Apron.  I really throw myself into things when I get going!!

If you’re going to do something…
…may as well go the whole hog!

I had a lovely lunch with my cousin Clare who I hadn’t seen for well over twenty years; families hey.

A trip to the city to meet my Cousin for lunch.

Mom so enjoys her Coconut Creams with her cuppa tea.  I went a little overboard with the order though, the Elite Chocolate Mallows are totally delicious.

The Irish Goodies package arrived 🙂

There is a great farm shop not too far from me and I’d not managed to visit there until recently; I met two lovely ladies who I used to sing in the choir with for a coffee. I’ll be making a return visit to the café and shop when Slimming World  has ran out of steam with me, there were some delicious looking cakes on sale.

A visit to a local farm shop who serve delicious Cappuccino. The cakes looked amazing but I’m being good.

Mom and Dad watch Mass live everyday from Knock Shrine.  We light virtual candles online, buy beautiful Mass cards and Christmas cards.  We watch the Annual Novena every year, the services are very uplifting, the speakers are completely motivating and come from all different walks of life.  Inspiring.

Taken from the TV during the Annual Novena at Knock Shrine.

A recent addition to the area is this lovely Coffee shop.  So calming inside, I’m looking forward to escaping there for an hour now and again with a book and a large cappuccino.

Fabulous little Coffee shop I located a twenty minute walk away from home…did I mention they also sell Prosecco?!!

So, as you can see, although I’ve not been able to blog very much during August, I have managed to get out now and again; walking, coffee and family.  These small breaks have been much needed and much appreciated.  Here’s to a wonderful September and a very happy Autumn for us all.





Life Sparkles

What Day is it?

Seriously, I’m losing track of days, dates and even what month it is?!! Unless I have some kind of appointment on a particular day, I’m lost. I must have checked the date four times yesterday just to make sure I wasn’t tweeting incorrect information. 

Life is busy, busy in a very different way. Going with the flow still ensures a busy day takes place, quite honestly I don’t know how I ever had time for the “day job”. I’ve been meaning to update my blog everyday for a week…here I am after 1 am Sunday morning…I’ve found a slot to start writing!

So, a quick roundup of some “me time” over the past three or so weeks. It was my Birthday in July and I was thrilled with this gift from himself.

I told him how lucky he is; not every man could buy their woman crisps and salt for their birthday and receive such a happy reaction.  I love Ibiza and I love these products.

I also received my degree results on my Birthday; my seven years part time study with the Open University paid off and I am very proud to confirm that I now have a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care, go me!!  In order to celebrate we finally, after three previous bookings and then cancellations as I was unable to leave the parents, made it to a new local restaurant for a very late lunch and two hours together time. Absolute heaven.

I have also now commenced my Guitar lessons…there will be more about this on my “Music Sparkle” page in due course. My Guitar tutor visits the house, a huge bonus.

Regular readers of my blog will know I have spurts of healthy eating and attempting to lose a stone weight. My graduation ceremony is at the end of October so last Monday I joined Slimming World with the aim of losing said stone prior to graduation day. My thinking is that if I have to go to a group session to be weighed I am more likely to stick with the plan. I’ve eaten so much this week I’ll be amazed if I lose any pounds but I’ve stuck to the rules. I have to admit that five days in my body is already feeling less sluggish.

Breakfast was huge, makes a change from a dish of Alpen!

Prior to joining Slimming World I managed a trip to the city to meet my cousin for lunch. Made me realise how much I don’t miss the commute to the office.

I went out for a walk in the rain the other day; just around the block. It felt great, I really must try to do that more often. The fresh air, flowers, trees and yes even the rain makes you feel so alive and for that short time you are out, everything in your head makes sense.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just doing the best I can each day. If things get done, or I make it to the shops or a coffee date then great and if not, then I just try again another time. My parents are my priority and everything revolves around them. I think I’m lucky that I have managed a bit of me time, even if I don’t know what day it is…a lot of full time carers don’t. 

@aurorasparkles ✨

Life Sparkles

Going Retro!

Suddenly I find myself in the fourth week post leaving the day job. Where has the time gone? Time seems to be flying by even quicker than usual. It has been busy at home, getting the walk in bath and shower fitted; which unfortunately hasn’t been without issue. I’ve learnt a lot about thermostatic pumps, gravity fed systems, air locks and central heating pumps too! However, that’s a whole other blog post.

In the midst of my caring role, I appear to have gone a little retro. Feeling free from the pressure and deadlines of the day job has been amazing. Having such lovely Summer weather has reminded me of teenage years, not a care in the world years. A far cry from thinking about stair lifts, prescriptions and Sundown nights. I’m enjoying looking after my parents, I try to make the days as happy as possible and also try to get a little me time, which can be a bit hit and miss.

So, one Sunday I gave my parents peaches and cream for dessert, they loved it! We haven’t had that since I was a child.

I’ve started buying Palmolive soap again. I adore the aroma especially in the Summer evenings as it brings back memories of being at my Sister’s house as a child, with my nieces and how my Sister would wash us after a day playing in the sunshine, with Palmolive soap.

As a teenager I drove my parents mad until they bought me a pair of Dr Scholls, they were very popular in the late 70’s early 80’s. Yes, you’ve guessed it…I thought about them recently and guess what, they are back in fashion so I was able to buy myself a pair.

I’m doing my best to keep the garden up to standard, my parents are keen gardeners but have been unable to do anything in the garden for a few years, so now I’m having a go. I’m very happy with my Hydrangea. I have loved these blooms from a very early age, they bring back memories of Mom and Dad’s first house when I was four years old.

I have the radio on during the afternoon when I’m pottering around doing tasks and I listen to BBC Radio 2. Steve Wright in the afternoon. That really does bring back lots of memories especially with the music that is played, it’s no wonder I’ve gone retro!

One thing I have learnt since starting to care full time; things get done as and when. I may have a plan or a “to do” list but often life has other thoughts. There is no point in getting stressed, I’m learning to go with the flow of the day, whatever that may be.

It’s an uneasy transition from daughter to carer, I’m hanging on to the daughter label for as long as I can.  With regards to my retro period, I can only offer these words from Madonna in my defence. From the song “This used to be my playground”.

“Don’t hold on to the past, well that’s too much to ask”.

Life Sparkles


Once again it has been a while. Far too long in fact. It has been so busy but then when isn’t it busy?!! The amount of times I’ve sat down with the intention of updating my blog, of posting the latest thoughts, happenings and general day to day of life and yet for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen.

After my “Leap of Faith” blog post about giving up the day job to care full time for my parents, things took a decidedly, let’s say “unfriendly”, “unsympathetic” turn with my manager at work and I experienced a very stressful, pressured and upsetting three weeks during May. After a fight back from me, things during my notice period have settled back and my final working day is Friday 30th June.

I have mixed feelings about this. After all, it is the end of an era for me, the end of the “day job”, the end, for now, of my career as a “City Chick” in the corporate world. Yet there is something quite liberating about this change. I thought I would feel sadness at training someone to do my role and handover tasks and I haven’t at all, I’ve enjoyed doing it. Time to hand the baton on so to speak. 

I’m enjoying looking after my parents, being “Mom”, although I’d much prefer not to be having to do this, this is where I am, I love them and I’m going to be as positive as I can about my new chapter in life with them and caring for them. Thankfully we are still at a stage where I can have a little me time to spend on my music, more studies, a little voluntary work from home and yes blogging, expect to see lots more blogging!

This particular post was supposed to be me, owning up that I had fallen back into awful unhealthy eating habits as I recovered post op and how with the hot weather this week I had redeemed myself…that one will have to wait for another day, soon…I promise, soon.

So I’ll say bye for now with a photo of my hanging basket which I am so proud of. Not known for my green finger prowess I cannot believe I managed to grow this from scratch. I might make a domestic goddess of myself yet!!

© @aurorasparkles 2017 🌟

Life Sparkles

Leap of faith!

Well it’s been a while since I had a chance to update my blog. I’ve always got lots of ideas of what to write about but recently time to do so has not been on my side. 

However, in the last few weeks I’ve made a decision and it wasn’t an easy one to make. I’ve wrestled with this over and over in my mind for months and really I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get here because the signs and signals of the right thing to do have been almost slapping me in the face. It’s time to take a complete leap of faith and give up the day job.

Picture via Pinterest 

I can’t continue to juggle the day job with caring for my parents as both take up all my time and my parents are more important than spreadsheets! Being off work recovering from my operation I seen that my parents need more care and attention than before. I want to give them that care and attention. My employers have been fantastically supportive of me allowing me to work flexibly. My job is demanding, filled with deadlines and tight turnarounds and I think it’s only fair they have someone doing the job who is there, in the office daily. Although I work from home most of the time these days and I get the job done, I can no longer fight the feeling that it’s time to let go, time to change, time to move on.

Picture via Pinterest 

This isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. I had a long chat with our Doctor who agreed that perhaps now, in my caring capacity, it was also time to do some things I enjoy and have freedom from the demands of the day job. My close friends have agreed and even himself who up to recently has been very much against this move, said he would support my decision, the time is right to change.

I spoke to my manager last week and gave her my decision and on a personal level she said she fully understood but she is very sorry to lose me. Later she contacted me asking me to consider job shares, logging in for two hours every day or one day a week working as a support to my replacement. I have considered the one day a week and although it sounds like a great idea, the more I think about it the more my gut feeling says no. It would still be a demand that one day a week and I need to be free of time restrictions as I have to go with the flow of demands at home.

I have three months notice to work, with accrued holiday I could be day job free by early July. I feel liberated, free, excited and scared all at once. I have no idea how this is going to pan out, I just know, somehow, that this is right.

Picture via Pinterest 

Life Sparkles


… I’m an unpaid carer. There, I’ve written it down so it must be true.  I’ve been caring for both of my parents one way or another since September 2015. I work part-time, my employers have been incredibly supportive allowing me to work from home and the office. I study, soon to complete (I hope) my BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care. I love to sing and have been going to see my fabulous vocal coach on as regular a basis as I can. I have a fantastic b/f who is also a carer for his Mother and I have wonderful friends who totally accept that I might make a coffee date with them and either have to break it or rush off home as I’ve received a telephone call.

It hasn’t been an easy transition for me. Although I moved home some years ago to “look after” my parents, I had a good life. Worked full time, out every weekend, had short breaks and holidays alongside the limited caring I actually needed to do back then. Now it is very different.  My only night away from home in two years was when I was recently in hospital having an operation and my b/f stopped with my parents to ensure they were safe. (He has cover, I don’t). I see my b/f perhaps once in three weeks due to both our caring responsibilities and these days I feel blessed if we get an hour together in a coffee shop, it really is the little things that matter.

Life has changed, a lot. I have encountered many emotions on this caring journey. Fear, anger, jealousy, impatience and once or twice out of sheer tiredness and frustration I’ve shouted and then cried bitter tears for doing so. I have also experienced such love for my parents it is untrue. I’ve learnt to look after them but let them have the little bit of independence they still have and to do what they want to do…although I am so like a Mom to tell them off! We laugh, we pray, we sing songs together.  I’ve become more relaxed and less tense, more patient, more tolerant and less stressed out. I feel absolutely blessed to be looking after them as difficult as it can be.

So this week I took the plunge and contacted the relevant department to be registered as the carer of my parents. I’ve put this off for so long and I don’t know why? Wishing it wasn’t true won’t change anything. Now that I’m registered it feels almost liberating that I’ve finally come to terms with life as it is right now. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this post operative recovery time has really given me time to think. 

There are a lot of things I’ve had to change in my life due to my caring role and yes I do get the odd pang of envy when someone is booking a holiday or a late night out but honestly, I’m so happy to be the one caring for my Mom and Dad, I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Pictures via Pinterest

Life Sparkles


Sometimes I have everything and nothing to say. My mind can be full of thoughts, ideas for blog posts, ideas for the future, to try this, to re-visit that and sometimes I don’t do any of them. I have lists; lists to remind me to read the electric meter and send the reading in, lists of the shopping to do, lists of upcoming birthdays, medical appointments and repeat prescriptions for my parents, to do lists for work, lyrics and backing track lists and study lists…and sometimes nothing gets done and yet all gets done on time.

It has been a strange month for me. Pre-operation I had visions of me being up, about and active within a couple of days and spending my sick leave time from the day job catching up on loads of things associated with home. Oh how wrong I was!! Post operation was very different from my ‘plan’. Almost four weeks on although much stronger I am far from fully recovered. This process has given me time to think…a lot of time to think.  I have learnt that I have to listen to my body. I have learnt to slow right down and rest. I have learnt to walk slowly, to do things slowly and to be thankful for all the blessings I have in my life. Walking in the garden last week building up my mobility, I took notice of the flowers and trees as they started to bloom, their beauty, renewal and promise of the future. I usually glance at the garden when passing by at speed, passing by without really appreciating the beauty in front of me. 

One item in the garden I have always taken notice of is the Willow Tree, I love it. I love how it dances, sways to the breeze, zumba’s to the gales and tip toes gently to the slightest breath of air. I watch it through all the seasons, bare in the Winter and glinting in the high Summer sunshine. It brings me peace. I captured a Spring breeze blowing the new growth last week, it brings such calmness when I watch it.

The days have gone by quickly even though some days it feels as if I haven’t achieved very much, but I’m healing and perhaps some days that is just enough to be doing. I remember in the weeks before my operation that I was struggling somewhat. Walking through the station after getting off the train and then walking across the city to the office, it felt like such an effort. I was tired. Caring, Sundown nights, working, studying, looking after the home…it was all starting to wear me out.  I believe God sent me something to make me stop. To make me rest, to open my eyes and look around and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere at a hundred miles an hour and just be. 

By slowing me down, God has got me to wake up and smell the Roses and the blossoms of life.

Life Sparkles

Christmas Eve Magic.

Well Christmas Eve didn’t turn out as planned at all. Mom decided to stay in bed, (Sundowning), Dad got an infection in his arm which is extremely swollen and painful. Thank God for our NHS and out of hours Doctors – we are so lucky!

I managed to dash to the cemetery to leave some Christmas flowers for my Sister, call quickly to my niece, where I was due to have dinner, and then home where things were beginning to settle somewhat. Mom and I baked mince pies…which I burnt. I definitely don’t have my Mother’s cooking skills!

Then this evening I became unwell, so no Midnight Mass for me for the first time in years. I was upset but I know my body needs rest, it is under a lot of stress and pressure and it is telling me to slow up. We watched Midnight Mass via the live stream from Knock Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland which was beautiful.

Mom and Dad have often told me about Christmas when they were little and how they received Christmas Stockings. This year I have prepared a stocking each for them, complete with Satsumas! I’ll be playing Santa very soon.

On this holiest and magical of nights, I wish you a wonderfully Happy and Healthy Christmas. I hope it truly #Sparkles 🎄🌟

Life Sparkles

December Already!

December so far appears to have flown by as has 2016. I think this has been my fastest year ever…I must be getting old!!

It has been a busy month. Apart from the usual daily living there has been the preparation for Christmas to attend to. Shopping, gifts, cards, decorations all of which I love but this year I really felt I wouldn’t be ready in time. Mom’s “Sundowning” meant that I had to be very careful what I did and when so as not to upset her. It really threw me when I unpacked the Christmas Tree and Mom’s mood changed from being happy to worrying if someone had paid me to kill her. The tree was left and it took quite some time for me to calm her worries and anxiousness, bless her, it is so difficult to see her like that. Two days later we had Christmas music on and Mom merrily dressed the tree with me. Another lesson in things changing and having to adapt to doing things in different ways.

Today someone bought my Dad’s old car. Dad can no longer drive and hasn’t for two years and I think it was upsetting him to see it outside knowing he couldn’t just pop out and drive it. We held on to it for so long as Mom and Dad have had the car since 1984 and it holds lots of memories of trips, family holidays and the two of them going places together in it. When we discussed some time ago selling the car Mom got very upset as it was part of their story, their history, their life and deep down I think she was hoping that one day Dad would be able to drive again. Yet today, when the man that bought it drove away in it, it was me who felt tearful and sad.  I just hope tomorrow when Mom looks outside and the car is gone that we are not in for an emotional day.

And so it has been a mixed few weeks, an office Christmas meal out, a new little headband made from pure Sheep’s wool – Aran Isles – Ireland, a treat for me. Sundowning back in full force and therefore limited sleep and lots of Country Music. In the words of Jim Reeves “Welcome to my World” I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Mom made a Spiced Ginger cake for himself for Christmas, looks delicious!!

I’ve gone in the Pink/Purple for Christmas 🎄 

My week!

I hope you’ve had a great month so far…Here comes Christmas 🌟