This week Bee and I came up to London for a couple of days for her to have gamma knife treatment. A gamma knife sounds like a pretty scary thing, although weirdly it doesn’t actually involve knives. We decided to say we were going for a relaxing spa break anyway, just to take the edge of.

The gamma (not) knives were to treat Bee’s AVM, which is a tangle of blood vessels in her brain which was discovered accidentally when she had an MRI for something unrelated.

I thought this post was going to be all about how worried I was, and how you never stop being a Mummy even though your child is grown up, and all of that sort of stuff.

And then I realised, sat in the waiting room while Bee had a metal frame screwed into her head, how selfish that sounded.

‘Woe is me, having to sit in this big comfy leather chair while my daughter undergoes complex brain treatment! Poor me having to worry about her!’

The primary emotion to come out of the whole experience was actually pride. As I sat in that comfy chair I could hear Bee having the frame fitted and I could hear her afterwards chatting to the staff. The woman who had gone in before her had come out in the wheelchair, crying and saying she couldn’t walk, so fair to say I was nervous on Bee’s behalf.

Until I heard her little voice from next door.

‘That was fine,’ she said, ‘not as bad as I thought it was going to be.’

‘Really?’ Said the nurse, sounding surprised. ‘That’s good to hear!’

‘Yeah, it feels a bit like when I had my braces fitted.’

I felt a swell of pride and love in my chest and nearly had a little cry. (There WAS a box of tissues in my little wairing room so it would have probably been okay.)

She was just so calm and brave and I was so proud.

Of course being Bee, beneath the calm exterior she was quietly coming to terms with her own death, but you would never have known. Bee has written her own account here, so please do go and read it because it made me cry all over again.

As it turned out I had even more reason to be proud coming up. Bee had come back from having an MRI and an angiogram, ahead of the treatment itself, and we were waiting for them to get the laser all loaded up and aimed.

The doctor came in, along with FOUR other members of staff.

‘We found something a little unusual,’ said the doctor, which I felt was a rather cruel way to begin – it wasn’t exactly the X Factor. I was worried that they’d discovered a pair of old scissors or something in her brain.

‘Since we did the last angiogram it turns out that the AVM had started to heal itself.’

Heal itself?!

‘So we don’t think we need to do the treatment after all.’

Well. I knew Bee was special, but I never imagined she could miraculously cure her own brain.

So there we go. That’s what story of when Bee didn’t need have her brain radiated.

Getting the balance right as a parent can sometimes be really hard.

On the one hand you want to help your children in any way you can, do things for them and make sure they happy and relaxed. On the other hand you want them to learn how to do stuff for themselves, to take the initiative, and to discover that NOT doing stuff has consequences.

For example, Belle starts year 11 tomorrow and roughly three times a day for the last six weeks I’ve reminded her about homework, and to do things like wash her PE kit. I’m not going to do it for her though. There comes a point where they have to appreciate that not washing your PE kit means going to school with a dirty PE kit and that’s that.

The downside of all this ‘teaching’ though is that when you enquire about the whereabouts of their lunchbox on the last day of the summer holidays you get presented with this:

Mouldy sandwich

*throws up a bit in mouth*

This, as far as I know, was once a sandwich. View Post

Post in association with Tesco Bank

money saving hacks

 

A little while ago Tesco Bank asked me to put together some of my best budgeting hacks for their website. I came up with 10 really simple ways to save money – I was quite proud of myself. You can read them here, so please do go and have a look.

In the process of writing that piece though, I realised that I’m a bit of a natural in the old money saving department. Perhaps that first class economics degree really is good for something?? I thought I’d put together a few more ideas for you here.

Have a read and let me know if you have tried any of these and if they’ve made a difference to your household finances. I’d love to hear about any other tips you have too! View Post

What does tea time look like for your family?

This is dinner time in our house:

typical family dinner time

Ha ha! Not really.

Who has family dinner times like that?? Everyone is so attractive! And all those white units and place mats and teeth? What I love most though about this picture is that the caption is ‘family laughing around a good meal in the kitchen.’

I do my own voice over as I look at it:

MUM, laughing: Oh look everyone at how big our bowls of peas and carrots are!

DAD, laughing: Ha ha! That’s so funny! I love vegetables! Isn’t that funny kids?

DAUGHTER, laughing, but also crying a bit: But Daddy I hate peas!

DAD, laughing: Just keep laughing Angelica!

DAUGHTER: But it hurts my cheeks…

MUM: Ha ha ha! What a lovely family dinner we’re all having!

ANYWAY.

Family meal times in our house don’t look like that. In fact, weekdays are pretty quiet. Bee has long since left home, so it’s more often than not just me and Belle.

That’s okay though. That’s the beauty of a modern family – it can be anything you want it to be.

(DUM DUM DUM!!)

According to new research from potato brand McCain, as part of their We Are Family campaign, we often find it hard to identify with the portrayal of family life as shown in the media. 84% of families surveyed claim they haven’t seen anything in popular culture that depicted a family like their own in the last six months and 45% of Brits think more needs to be done to show the reality of everyday family life.

I agree, and to illustrate the point, Belle and I created a mini fly-on-the wall documentary of tea times in our house. (Does this video count as popular culture?? It definitely shows the reality of family life…)

View Post

We have a joke in our family.

Bee: What do you call cheese without a face?

Me: I don’t know, what do you call cheese without a face?

Bee: Normal cheese.

(We’re hilarious.)

My point is though, why WOULD you want ‘normal’ anything if there was an option to have it WITH a face?? You just wouldn’t, which is why I wanted to try out the cordless Henry vacuum cleaner. I’m not especially drawn to housework as a rule, but this vacuum cleaner has a FACE remember. I feel like cleaning the bathroom would be more fun if all the spray bottles had faces. In fact, the more I think about it, the more genius of an idea it is.

Now you may have noticed me casually drop in that this is a cordless Henry, which means he runs on a rechargeable battery pack rather than having a big long cable. There is a look on his face too, like he KNOWS he doesn’t need plugging in and he’s pretty smug about it.

Henry vacuum cleaner review

See what I mean?

‘A PLUG? Don’t be ridiculous darling, that’s so 2016. I’m CORDLESS.’ View Post