Life Sparkles ✨

Carer Life.

It is a beautiful day today, it has been really good weather for the past few days but today is the best so far.  Blue sky, sunshine and it is 20 degrees outside which is a big change from having to drag the Winter coat out just over a week ago.

As a carer you don’t get to go outside much.  Today I was planning to go to the local village; I had some chores to do, a bit of shopping, walk in the sunshine a little and then come home and have a shower.  Very simple everyday things you would think but not to a carer.  The caregiver who was due to be here today to help with Mom’s personal care and sit with Mom so that I could go out is off sick.  In total I have three caregivers who are here over the course of a week on a rota basis.  Today all three are unavailable. Apart from the one who is unwell today, one is on compassionate leave and the other has a day off as she has hospital appointments.  You would never believe that all three would be unavailable on the same day but life happens.  Thankfully a senior lady from the caregiver office came out this morning to assist me and she will come this evening also.

Tomorrow I had planned to pop out for lunch as a long time family friend is due to visit me.  It’s possible I won’t have any caregivers again so no lunch out for me.  It cannot be helped and although I’m disappointed you learn over time to just deal with things as they come along.

People just would not believe that it’s not possible for me to go and have a shower and wash my hair because I cannot leave Mom unattended, I need to have someone to sit with her.  This is something that Dad used to do, sit and chat with Mom.  They would hold hands, sing and laugh together.  It really is the day to day little things that I miss so much.  I keep expecting Dad to walk into the room or to hear him call me.

Last week I was lucky, after three months of planning I did manage to get out for a quick lunch with one of my best friends and I honestly felt like I had been on holiday.  Another of my friends came to visit me and we sat in the garden for an hour, had a glass of wine and put the worlds to right and once again it felt like I had a holiday.

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I’m not Vegan but I do enjoy the all day Vegan Breakfast at Renato Lounge.

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A quick hairdo a couple of weeks ago and my favourite, skinny cappuccino.

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Beautiful sparkling Roses I bought for Mom.

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I still haven’t got used to the fact that I am the only one in the house that will eat these kind of goodies so I must stop random buying when I do get to the shops.  Yes they were delicious and yes I’m trying to be good, again.

In other news, Home Free have announced another World Tour and yes, they are coming to Birmingham and yes I have my tickets.  How I would love to meet these guys, talk singing and have the whole photo taken kind of thing but as a carer the VIP ticket price is well out of my price range.  One day maybe I’ll get to meet them.

With love and sparkles xx

 

 

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

Dear diary…

…as usual it’s been a while since I have managed to update my blog.  So much seems to be happening and for a change, most of it is good, WHOOP!

 

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Thankfully Dad continues to improve.  The Doctor was correct when he said it would be a slow process but I don’t care how slow it is as long as Dad is improving.  We are still battling away with the cardiac water cough, lack of appetite and regaining strength.  Sleep has much improved, Dad has started to eat proper food again and he looks much more like his usual self.  Mom has just been the most amazing little fairy, the love shines through and her nursing returned to her.  I have been so happily surprised at how she has been looking after Dad, it has been beautiful and emotional to watch.

Another plus point…oh I wish I had a fan fare here…we have managed a whole month of going to bed every single night.  We haven’t done that for almost four years…FOUR YEARS!! I still have bags under my eyes but at least they aren’t Black anymore.

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We are experiencing the most fantastic Summer weather we have had in years here in the UK.  I love it.  Apart from ensuring that “The Kids” are kept cool I am loving this sunshine.  I’m not getting out in it much but just the fact is there is just wonderful.  Long may it continue.  This was a sunset from my bedroom window a couple of weeks ago.  Such beautiful colours.

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I’m doing my bit in these lovely long, bright, Summer evenings to try and keep the garden as Mom and Dad used to.  You can see how scorched the earth is through the lack of rain.  I’ve bought myself a watering can.  I’ve done quite well with some small tubs of flowers and it’s actually quite therapeutic a little bit of gardening.

Last Friday one of my forever friends came over to see us and I had booked the carer to cover for me for a couple of hours so that we could escape to a local pub, sit outside and eat a late lunch/early dinner and enjoy a glass or two of Prosecco.  After not being out for such a long time  it felt like a holiday.  It is so true that carer’s need a break!!

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I have news to update you on the music front which I will do as soon as I can.  There’s a lot of work involved now with the setting up, music aggregation, licences etc and finding time is difficult as I’m always on the go.  But find time I will!

A little snapchat filter to close off for today…gosh if only I could get my make up like this!!

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With love and sparkles until the next update, thank you for checking in with me xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

And the latest from me is…

…We are still in the midst of illness here at home, it’s been a long six weeks.  Mom thankfully appears to be fully recovered from the chest infections.  Dad though, bless him, since he had the chest infections at the same time as Mom, also then had a viral infection. Swiftly followed by Thrush in the throat, more than likely caused by the heavy doses of antibiotics for the chest infections and now we have Strep Throat, so more antibiotics and a very heavy dosage.  Eight, 250 mg tablets a day for ten days to ensure the bacterial infection is cleared up.  This time I am ready with the probiotic yoghurt in the hope that we can prevent another attack of Thrush after this latest dose of antibiotics.  It is so hard to watch Dad suffering with the Strep Throat.  The Doctor showed me his throat when she examined him on Tuesday and all I can say is it looked gross.  No wonder he has so much pain, unable to swallow which of course is affecting food and drink intake.  I have no idea where Dad contracted this particular infection, either someone who has called to visit has been in contact with someone who has it or Dad’s immune system was very low after the continued infections.  I am praying Mom doesn’t catch this particular infection.

https://www.webmd.boots.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/strep-throat-bacterial-tonsillitis

We have experienced some amazing hot Summer like weather in the past week, our Bank Holiday Monday was apparently the hottest on record.  For me it meant washing everything in sight and getting it dried on the line outside in the fresh air.  I love that. Such simple pleasures.  Also, the flowers in the garden have really bloomed.  Mom and Dad loved spending time in the garden and buying new plants, I’m doing my best to keep everything alive!

 

I did manage to get out for a walk on one of the warm days, it felt so good to be out in Summer clothes, feel the sunshine on my legs and arms.  We have had such a long, cold and wet Winter here.

The daisies growing wild in the grass reminded me of school days and running barefoot in the playing fields.  I’m very lucky to live close to the city and yet also within a five minute stroll to the edge of the countryside, it does a soul good to see the fields, the flowers and trees, even on a wet day.  Now the weather is back to where it should be for Mid May – much cooler, quite windy and chilly today.

I know I have been a little quiet on the music side of things, but I have been managing to grab some time here and there and I will blog about where I am with my dreams very soon.

Snapchat has given me giggles when I have had a chance to try out some fun filters and I find a giggle always does me good.  This is one of me looking a little tired out…and Snapchat has given me a Hippie Flower in my hair and freckles…it did make me smile.

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I did get out to a couple of the concerts that I have held tickets for since October last year, again, that’s another blog post to come.

So for now, I’m off to do some more chores, this post has taken me all morning to complete.  Full time caring is demanding, it’s stressful, I live almost totally on the edge of anxiety and worry and you do the best you can even when you feel so helpless. When there really is nothing you can do but just be there.

I’m looking forward over the weekend to perhaps an hour or so to have a cuppa and sit back and read your latest blog posts which I love to escape into.

With love and Sparkles x

Life Sparkles ✨

Back in the day.

Do you ever find that seeing the sunlight, shining through the window, perhaps just onto the wall or the furniture, can suddenly evoke a memory.

I was standing in the bathroom on a sunny, bright yet cold afternoon this week.  I had the window open to let the fresh air in and I could see the blue sky, the trees swaying in the wind and in a split second I was transported back to Summer days in my teenage years.  We were living in a different area of the city then, just two miles from the city centre and yet so quiet with tree lined streets, huge gardens and a view of the city skyline from the very top of the road which was on a hill.  Those were the days that you could lie out in your back garden in the sunshine and have your radio on, without fear of upsetting your neighbours.  In those days, BBC Radio One was at it’s best I think. From breakfast time to tea time the shows were fantastic, or so I remember them that way.

The mid morning show was hosted by Simon Bates and he had a feature called “Our Tune” where listeners would write in their story and a song that meant a lot to their story.  The stories were happy, sad, heartbreaking or incredibly heartwarming and a more than once I found myself in tears.

Lunch time would be Gary Davies and “Gary’s little bit in the middle”, he had great jingles advertising his show and these have remained with me as sounds of Summer.

These days I listen to BBC Radio Two in the afternoon because the DJ who was on Radio One in the afternoon back in the day, Steve Wright, is now on Radio Two in the afternoon and he plays the music of the 80’s which I absolutely love.  I sometimes put the radio on, just to have it playing in the background as I am passing through whilst carrying out the daily tasks and now and again a song will come on that just stops me in my tracks and I stand and listen for a few minutes and again I am transported.

A song I heard recently which took me back to those beautifully happy and carefree Summer days is “The Closest Thing to Heaven” by The Kane Gang.  It’s not a song I hear often on the radio and I have downloaded it to my iPod.  Every time I hear it, it immediately takes me back to what appeared to be the longest, hottest, Summer days ever.

 

I have mixed emotions, like most people I expect, when I go back to those days.  My heart hurts.  My parents were full of health and strength, my beautiful Sister was still here with us, I was happy, carefree and I wonder did I really value those days or take them for granted.  I suspect the latter, I was a teenager after all and all was well in my world then.   Although it brings happiness and sadness to think back to those days when a song plays, or the sun shines through the window in a particular way, or you hear the wind rustle on the trees and the memories flood back, I feel blessed now that I was so lucky to live those days in the way I did.

I also dressed like Madonna…thank God there was no mobile phones or social media back then!!

 

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Summer in Dublin.

No, I’m not in Dublin at the moment, not physically anyway.  We watch so much Irish TV here at home and listen to Irish Music so often and also Mass from Knock Shrine via their webcam, I think our home is a tiny province of Ireland here in England.

Nathan Carter sang the brilliant song “Summer in Dublin” at his recent gig at the 3 Arena in Dublin and it is a fabulous version of the song. Well done Nathan Carter!

This brings back so many memories as I do remember a Summer in Dublin when the original recording of this song was out by Bagatelle.  I remember buying the single, on vinyl, in the record shop in Tipperary Town after hearing it on the radio. (I still have the record).  Then we had a few days in Dublin visiting family and I can clearly remember walking by the Halfpenny Bridge on a hot summer afternoon, there was a lot of traffic and the cars had the windows down.  They must have all been tuned into the same radio station, as Bagatelle filled the Summer afternoon with their words…”and the Liffey as it stank like hell, the young people walking on Grafton Street, everyone looking so well…”

Isn’t it strange the things that stick within our memory and how the lyrics and music bring it right back to life for you.  When I first watched the clip of Nathan singing this I was able to sing along to every word even thought I hadn’t heard the song for years.

They were happy, uncomplicated and carefree days and I do remember that Summer in Dublin.

 

@aurorasparkles

 

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

A Little New Music.

As you know I love Country Music and I love Irish Music which means that I also love Irish Country Music.  We regularly watch Keep It Country TV and the pleasure it brings to my parents is fabulous.  As well as the newer songs and artists, which I have to admit, Mom has a great eye and ear for the talent, we have been introduced to American Country Artists and sometimes we hear the old songs, the songs of bygone days in Ireland which my parents remember well.  You Tube is also a regular in our home, we really think there isn’t anything you can’t locate on You Tube.  Any song from the past that my parents think of, we can locate someone singing it on You Tube!

I thought I’d do a little round up of the latest Irish Country releases and share them with you.  You may already be a fan or perhaps I will introduce you to some of the fabulous talent currently taking the country music world by storm.  I hope you enjoy.

First up is Lisa McHugh and “Girl with a Fishing Rod” – very catchy song and I just love this video.

Derek Ryan is the most amazing singer songwriter, we have so many of his albums, all filled with his own compositions and a few covers.  I’ve seen Derek three times, twice at a dance and once in concert – excellent nights out.  This latest song is another huge hit for him and captures the magic of a festival night where he is appearing.

This is my song of the summer – such a happy video, everyone is smiling broadly and the sheer enjoyment of the dancing is plain to see – absolutely love this.  Michael English is another fabulous singer/songwriter.  Michael also has his own show on Keep it Country TV, Monday night at 11pm, repeated on Sunday afternoon at 5pm.

No round up would be complete without the fantastic Nathan Carter, I’ve now lost count of the times I have been to see Nathan perform!  This is a real chill out, summer holiday vibe kind of song and I have found myself “na na, na na na na na” at random times throughout the day.

This is a beautiful song from Johnny Brady, a wonderful sentiment and sang with real meaning.

I hope you have enjoyed my selection of the latest Irish music releases; I think Cliona Hagan and Michael English both have new singles coming out soon so some more new music coming soon.

 

Life Sparkles ✨

In the words of Spandau Ballet…

…”these are my salad days”, (that is what they sing in “Gold” isn’t it or have I been wrong all these years?). Anyway, I digress, as usual!

Last week we had a heatwave in the UK. Apparently five consecutive days where we reach 30 degrees celsius, eighty-six farenheit, is officially a heatwave. I loved it! Blue skies, sunshine, warmth and a rare chance to wear Summer clothes. Let’s face it, we don’t get brilliant Summers so any chance to enjoy the good weather and we’re out there.

This beautiful weather kick started me back to healthy eating. After my gall bladder removal operation I ate very little, eventually progressing to fresh soup, fruit and bran flakes. I lost a stone in weight and felt great, my clothes were not straining to fit anymore. Of course as I healed I fell back to bad habits, biscuits, chocolate and yes even cake. I admit I enjoyed it better when I was eating healthy and not having to worry about what I was eating, because it was all healthy. I just need to keep the momentum up now that the weather is back to rain between the showers and colder than average for the time of year. Here comes Summer 🏖☀️😎

You know it’s Summer when the Strawberries are sweet.

I think I’m addicted to falafel 🥙 

Making good use of my Ninja again!

Yes, falafel again.

I’m also addicted to avocado 🥑 but limit my fix…not the cheapest – wait for the bargains.