Life Sparkles

Beautiful Life.

I’m up late tonight caring for my Dad whose health has taken a bad turn in the last week. Mom has had three episodes of “Sundowning” in the past week which is unusual. It has meant four nights without sleep…tired doesn’t cover how I’m feeling along with sad, helpless, stressed and yet there is a positive, still, patient glow within and around me. A sparkle which reminds me how precious, wonderful and beautiful life is.

Love always, spread kindness and ignite the sparkle in others so that they too can feel and experience this beautiful life.

Picture via Pinterest.

Sleep well 😴

Life Sparkles

In the quiet…

In the quiet of the early morning, before the day gets started, I find myself reflecting on the day ahead and thinking of the days that are gone.  It is unusual for me to have time for these few minutes of thought. Usually Mom is up very early as the morning’s are so bright, she thinks it is much later in the day and therefore I too must get up. At 4 am it can seem like a very long day ahead, especially when I have to attend to the day job a few hours later and it will possibly be 11 pm or later when I finally get into bed. 

Although it is early July and this morning the sun streams beautifully through the window, there is a feel of Autumn about the day. There isn’t any of the heat of Summer, the morning has a look of late September. I hear Mom walking around her room and I’m wondering if I will soon have to start the day; preparing breakfast, putting on some music, awaiting Dad getting up to join us in the kitchen which will enable me to get a few tasks done.

I’m lucky in that I can go out, see himself when he too is not caring for his Mother, catch up with my friends or perhaps attend a gig or event.  Often I am called home from these small snatches of release as either Dad just can’t cope with the day or with Mom if she has a “Sundowning” moment.  Not having great health himself, I’ve noticed Dad has become more frail and is less able to deal with things, which leaves me to step in to ensure all is covered.

So, in the quiet of the day, when I get a few minutes to myself I wonder. I wonder should I give up the day job? Stay at home more? Throw myself into my dream of singing; playing the guitar and completing my studies?  I wonder about the people like me, some with families of their own, trying to look after their parents or care for other members of the family, friends or neighbours whilst also trying to keep their own life on the go and enjoy some down time. 

I’ve had thoughts recently about setting up a FB page for Carers, to inject some positive sparkle into their day. What do people do to keep their sparkle alive in the toughest of conditions? How do they release the stress? What has happened to their hopes and dreams? 

In the quiet of the day…our minds are perhaps not very quiet at all.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎

Picture via Pinterest

Life Sparkles

Race for Life!

It has been a while since I found some time to update my blog.  Like everyone, life has its busy times; home, work, study, hobbies it has been a very busy period all in all.

Thankfully the studies are over for now.  The exam was pants (don’t ask), three more weeks until the results, I am expecting a re-sit on this one.  I take heart that the majority of people on the course also felt the same over the questions set. Fingers crossed I might just have done enough to get through.

Life continues very much the same on the home front, we have good days and not so good days.  We have great days and some terrible days but such is life and you just have to get on with it.  I can be very tired for days and other days full of energy. On the whole, things have been much easier of late, I’ve put this down to the long Summer days and the lovely bright days, even if we aren’t getting what you would call long, hot, Summer days…I still live in hope for some of those during July and August.

I am pleased to report that I completed the 9 week Couch to 5K podcast and I cannot express how pleased I am with myself that I can run for 30 minutes.  What an achievement when in February I couldn’t run for 30 seconds.  Yesterday I completed the 5K Race for Life for Cancer Research.  I am so proud of my medal.  It was a fabulous experience, 2284 women, all in various states of Pink either walking or running 5K.  A minute of silence was held before the race started and it was very emotional, I could feel tears in my eyes thinking about the reasons we were all there, raising money for such a worthwhile cause. Really, is there any family untouched by Cancer of some sort?

I intend to keep up the running, I do have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is an effort to get ready to go out after a day at work and it is an even bigger effort to start running whilst you are out there.  But you know, once you get going, you feel so good, the music plays from the iPod, the wind blows, the sun may shine, it may even rain on you but that feeling of wellbeing, freedom in the mind, exhaustion and yes a few aches, is unbeatable.  Sometimes you just need that half hour to escape the real world.

Here are a couple of pictures of me from the Race for Life yesterday.


Thank you for reading my Blog. I hope to be updating it on a much more regular basis from now on 🙂


Life Sparkles


Looking back on the last week that’s how life has felt, like I’ve been in a tailspin. I’ve felt tired, I’ve experienced feeling envious of other people’s lives, I’ve asked myself “why not me”? I’ve felt anxious to the point of feeling my heart beat pounding in my chest and telling myself to “get a grip”. I got up Wednesday morning unable to put weight on my right knee walking downstairs, today the pain has moved to the right hip!!! What is going on? This is not me? 

A little time of silence and quiet thought made me think back over the past months and how a lot of what was my normal routine has changed completely. I am now responsible for my parents healthcare, wellbeing and that’s scary. I am now in charge of the home, I go to work, I’m trying to keep up with my studies and to follow my passion for singing along with finding time to see my lovely boyfriend and be in contact with my friends. Thank goodness for social media 😎

I’m not alone in this, I understand that people all over the world find themselves in the same situation as I am in. But it has taken my tailspin of last week to appreciate how lucky I am to be given the role of looking after my parents and all the other components of my life. Yes, it isn’t without stress but it is also an education, more life experience and a story of love in many guises.

I’ve realised too that by feeling unwell I need to pull myself together and start eating healthier more often. The breakfast smoothie is a winner but not if I spend the evening picking at chocolate and shortbread biscuits. I need to walk more. I need to lose that stone. I need to have more energy and feel better if I am to carry out my numerous roles properly.

I have three concerts/dances coming up in March and April, my favourite Irish country music stars will be visiting my city. I want to have the energy to sing and dance and immerse myself in the night out.

That’s an awful lot of wants and needs but you know what, it starts now.  I truly believe there is nothing we can’t do if we set our minds to it. Mind over matter. Self belief. Self Confidence. Ignite the sparkle in your heart and soul and go for it ✨

Picture via Pinterest 

I’m about to head off for a walk…thank you for reading my blog 💖

Life Sparkles

New Year – Another Fresh Start

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016!! How fast the years roll by these days. 2015 appears to have gone by in a flash. Did you keep your resolutions? You remember those? The promises we made to ourselves of all the things we were going to do for the new year. Nope? Me neither. I don’t remember any specific resolutions although I’m sure I made them, I always do.

I have heard lots of folk say “you don’t need to wait until New Years Eve to make resolutions, you can start over any day”. I agree with that, we can decide to swap and change our goals at anytime but I think there is something different about making our fresh starts at the beginning of a fresh new year. January 1st holds such promise of the year to come. Our hopes and dreams and also our worries and concerns. We for the most part think positive and decide what it is that we want to do, to change, to improve, to make happen.

Once again I will start a healthy eating plan and I have already shopped, loaded my fridge with fresh fruit and vegetables and ordered a Nutri Ninja which I am now impatiently awaiting delivery of. I know of numerous people with Nutri Bullets and Nutri Ninja’s who all love what they can do and some of these people have kept to their healthy eating plan all year!!! What an achievement 👏👏👏. My difficulty will be suddenly avoiding the chocolates, biscuits, cakes and goodies still in the house from Christmas. No point in easing myself out of them…time to turn cold turkey.

Picture via Pinterest

My next new plan is to set aside some time each week for some self care. I totally understand how and why folk say “you can’t look after another person well if you haven’t taken care of yourself”. I have two people to look after and I hope that my swap to healthier eating will not only benefit me, but them also. I need to feel better, more energy, less pains and aches…Nutri Ninja I’m expecting serious results.

As you know I commenced vocal coaching last June, took a long break from August due to caring responsibilities and then returned to it a few weeks ago. I have no hesitations or issues getting around to my singing homework and I hope that this year, even if it takes until December, that I will get the confidence to sing on stage, maybe even do a whole gig!!!

Picture via Pinterest

Although I enjoy my Open University course, there is so much reading and research now I’m at level three, I’m struggling to find time. Today I am five weeks behind with twenty three days to go before my next assignment is due in. Yes, I need to knuckle down. I only have one more module to study after this one so time must be found to get up to date and stay there. I can always find something more sparkle igniting to do instead of this reading, it is usually singing.

So, there are my resolutions for the year. Have you made any this year? Are they similar to mine? Whether you have or not, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year, may all your dreams come true.

Picture via Pinterest

Thank you for reading my blog 🙂

Life Sparkles

Christmas Eve Sparkle

I think Christmas Eve is the most magical day of the year.  All the preparations, the baking, the shopping, the giving of gifts and the hustle and bustle of life in the weeks before Christmas are all geared towards the celebration of Christmas Day and rightly so. But, do you ever stop to breathe, take five minutes and soak up the atmosphere, the magic, the sparkle that is Christmas Eve.

Picture via Pinterest.

Christmas Eve to me is the looking forwards. Looking forward to family visits on Christmas Day, phone calls and messages, delighted or perhaps not so delighted looks on faces when opening gifts. The burning of the advent candle down to ’24’. The joy of singing beautiful hymns and carols to celebrate the birth of Jesus, at Midnight Mass. Precious time spent with loved ones sharing memories and maybe tears for Christmasses past. Watching ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Elf’ on tv, both of which make me cry…such a softie!!

I love Christmas Day of course but once it is Christmas Day, that’s it, the looking forwards is over, the celebration is happening and it’s wonderful…yes even the family argument…there’s always one!!! The preparations, the planning, the rushing around, all over for another year. 

So, for me, Christmas Eve is just the most wonderful day of the year and I am already in sparkle overload thinking about singing tonight at Midnight Mass. Songs I’ve sung since childhood about the true meaning of Christmas. Voices joining together to sing in celebration of the birth of Jesus.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a truly sparkling Christmas Eve 🎄✨🌟💫

   Mam and I baked traditional fruit Christmas Cake…hope it tastes good!

  Advent candle from himself.

  Love Christmas Tree Sparkle

  O Holy Night – Merry Christmas 

Life Sparkles

Back to the City…

Last Tuesday afternoon began my slow, phased return to work within the office environment. It had been two months since I was last in the city. Since then “Grand Central Station”, formally New Street Station, has opened. The Frankfurt Christmas Market has also opened and the city centre was bustling, alive with people shopping, lunching, visiting and making their way to the office.

I was in awe of the new station, it looks wonderful, so clean, so bright, so modern. Lots of shops, restaurants and coffee bars for me to check out.

I’m looking forward to sampling the Tapas!

I will definitely be sampling the Fizz!!

Make mine a skinny cappuccino please 😊

Clean, bright and bustling.

I wish I had more time to explore but hopefully once I have returned to the office full time I can organise sometime to mooch to my hearts content.

Birmingham Grand Central I’m very impressed, you’ve done an excellent job, our city sure has some serious sparkle!

Thank you for reading my blog.

Life Sparkles

Self Care – Keep Your Own Sparkle.

Oh how I have advised people in the past about taking care of themselves, not overworking, eating properly, getting more sleep, you know the kind of thing.  As always, we are not so good at taking our own advice.

I’m tired, there, I  admit it, the last two months have more or less worn me out.  I empathise with carers so much more now that I have an understanding of their plight, looking after a loved one.  I at least have the knowledge that Mom is recovering slowly from the broken hip and each day gains a little more power in her leg, gains independence and also confidence in her walking.  I am still working from home but this week sees me begin a slow, phased return to the office, one afternoon only.  But it has been very tiring, caring for my parents, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working the day job from home, catching up with studies and attempting to follow my love of singing.

I’ve not done badly, I have returned to Zumba class on Wednesday evening which I love.  The music is so wonderful you just escape into that Latin Beat, the moves can be difficult but it really doesn’t feel like a work out and although I ache afterwards, it is a good ache.  I’ve escaped for an hour for some me time and yes, that is important.  At first I felt selfish at leaving the house to attend the class but my lovely Mom, bless her, said I needed to do something for myself and get out of the house.

Last week I returned to my vocal coaching and oh how good that felt.  The drive there, the hour going through my breathing exercises, the vocal scales and then singing a couple of the songs I had been working on, it was like a release of the soul.  Thankfully, although I had not been to my vocal coach since mid August, it seems I have not lost my pitch and my breathing hasn’t gone to pot, phew!!  This week I have been learning “You raise me up”, surprisingly not many lyrics to this song but a lot of variation in notes.

These two small steps have helped me to feel like me again.  I can see how easily it can be to get lost within yourself, when you are indoors 24/7 and suddenly plunged into a different life course.  How apt that my current studies are about our perceived life course and our plans and how things we do, or perhaps things that happen to others can alter our lives.

Tomorrow afternoon I face the wide world of the city centre when I venture to the office for the first time since mid – September…I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading my blog 🙂

And Breathe...take care of you!
And Breathe…take care of you!
Life Sparkles

The ‘Start Again’ Sparkle.

A week on and I can’t report a truly successful week of healthy eating. I slipped up more than once with a chocolate biscuit or three and all within a day of writing my blog post about getting motivated to eat a healthier diet and move more. The intention was there but I just couldn’t seem to resist the sweet choices, the odd crisp, chips, slice of cake…oh I could go on but I think you’ve got my drift. My best intentions didn’t manifest into reality. Well, that’s just the way it is, I tried but not hard enough, even when that biscuit hit my lips, I can’t say I enjoyed it but I couldn’t stop myself from eating it. I craved the chocolate, the sugar and felt yucky for doing so.

I’m not going to beat myself up for this almighty fail, I’m human, my willpower was non existent and that was that. I’m thinking that now you are expecting me to say I’ve given up. NO!! I have no intention of giving up. If anything my huge non healthy eating week has made me more determined to succeed.

For some reason almost every article I’ve looked at online or in a book or newspaper over the past few days has been about healthy eating and exercise. Someone somewhere wants me to see this!! I woke up Sunday morning inspired. I want to be healthy for a very long time to come. Actually I want to be healthier than I am now. I want to shake off that sluggish feeling for good, I want my body to sparkle with inner health and I want to stop putting too much fats, sugars and let’s face it, chemicals into my system.

Picture via Pinterest.

I need to be healthy to cope with my caring responsibilities, to carry out my day job, to find time to study and to follow my passion, singing.

I’ve been shopping, I’ve loaded my cupboards, fridge and freezer with good healthy food. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any goodies…of course there are but these will be now taken in moderation and not as a staple requirement. I’m not going for immediate, total changeover because I know I won’t stick with that, I’ll get bored. I will however try, one meal at a time. I’ve done that for two days now. I feel good about that. All is not lost and perhaps my biscuit binge of last week was just what I needed to get me going this week.

Picture via Pinterest.

I’m off to a good start this week…let’s see how strength of mind and willpower perform from now on.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎

Life Sparkles

Autumn Walk 🍁🍃🍂

I love walking. Sometimes I love the idea of walking more than actually getting out there and walking. I suppose that is the lazy part of me talking myself out of getting my boots on and heading for the door. I think my longest walk was about 14 miles. I was in agony post walk. I had to lie on the floor to wriggle out of my trousers and even after a long soak in the bath, I hurt. However, it was a good feeling. The walk had taken all day but it also took in some wonderful views of the Staffordshire countryside, part of Cannock Chase with snow still lying on the ground and the unmistakable beauty of the late Winter evening drawing in at 4:30 pm, with a frosty, misty, low sun glare as we walked back to Lichfield. It was just magical.

There is something of an air of freedom when you go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long country walk, sometimes a walk in the city at lunch time can clear your mind and put things in order. Things always seem to look a little better post walk. If I take a walk alone I like to listen to my music. I walk fast or slow depending on what comes on and what piece of music reflects my mood. Some days I don’t even hear the music my mind is so full of other things. Other days it is as if every song that plays is speaking to me personally; talking, advising, offering alternative action or giving me ideas and inspirations.

I took a walk this afternoon. It was a lovely Autumn day. Not sunny but it was dry, a little chilly and a gentle wind blew the leaves around my feet. It wasn’t a long walk, just half an hour.  Autumn is such a beautiful season, watching nature prepare for the cold of Winter ahead and our urban landscapes change in front of our eyes. How many people really notice the beauty of what is taking place? People are busy, stressed out, on the go all the time but perhaps if they took time out for a walk, to view and breathe in the splendour of nature around them, they may feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more at peace.

I took a few photographs with my iPod of the changing trees. I’ve always loved trees I just wish I knew more about them, the names, their fruits, how they grow, where they grow…one of the most beautiful sounds to me is the wind rustling through the trees. Whether it is a huge gust or a timid blow, I think it sounds amazing.

My walk added real sparkle to my day today, it cleared my mind, made sense of my thoughts and made my face tingle in the cold. An all round positive result I think.

Thank you for reading my blog 😊

Picture via Pinterest.