And so all of a sudden it's half-term with Easter just 4 weeks away. How did that happen? To be honest, autumn and winter passed by me in a blur, punctuated with juggling work, family, big birthdays, Christmas and daily visits to the Cancer Centre in Belfast where sadly my lovely mum lost her brave fight in January, just 4 months after diagnosis. To say that we as a family are devastated is an understatement but what has brought us comfort is the support of good friends and family during the most difficult days. A few years ago I bought mum a Hudl and introduced her to the world of Facebook-often to the annoyance of my sister and myself as she quizzed us on the 'status updates' of everyone but in her last few months Facebook became her lifeline-keeping her in touch with the wider world and receiving comments of encouragement from all her friends. However, since mum's passing, via Facebook, it has been a great source of comfort for us to discover others' opinions which include: "a great neighbour, truly wonderful lady, she always put a smile on my face with her stories, one in a million, so glamorous and full of life, she was so proud of her girls and grandchildren, great memories of a great lady, she was positive and a joy to be around, awesome and always up for a laugh, she always sparkled, so full of life, courageous, loved and adored by all, the lady with a need to buy boots, a pleasure to work with." Nursing staff described her as "a stoical character who was welcoming and never complained even in her last most difficult times". She was positive to the end and it is the memory of this wonderful person that I will hold in my heart and mind for life.
Mothers' Day will be a sad occasion for me this year-coming just before what would have been mum's 70th birthday but a day when we will celebrate what a truly wonderful mum she was.
Something which helped lift my mood recently was the wonderful news that a friend's first baby, Maddie, had made her entrance into the world and with my love of letters, it seemed fitting that my gift would be a large metal 'M' for her bedroom-along with some This Works Baby Sleep Pillow Spray for those nights when little Maddie needs some help in arriving at the Land of Nod.
portable pick-me-up that evens, plumps and brightens which rapidly erases signs of fatigue, boosts hydration, and preps the skin for photo perfect make-up.' Em, not quite sure it's had that dramatic an impact as such but it still feels great on my skin.
Shedding some light...
I feel as though I've been totally lacking in vitamin D of late with very little time spent outdoors. With this in mind, I've been using some of these products lately to give me a bit of a glow as I await the arrival of spring and summer.
We recently had a mini-break to the City Hotel In Derry/Londonderry where a 2 night break for the three of us with breakfast and a 3 course dinner including a bottle of wine as well as a £20 voucher for the Foyleside Shopping Centre was all included in their 'Shopping Break' deal which is still available. It was a great opportunity to relax and unwind-as well as practise those card skills, washed down with a gin and tonic! We love a trip down to the City Hotel as it is so central-we park the car beneath the hotel and don't move it for 3 days as everything is so central-shops, cinema, Millennium Forum, Guild Hall as well as great restaurants such as Danano's Italian.
Hair we go again...
One of my favourite nights in the year is the charity Hair Magic Evening at Bangor Central Nursery where Nicholas Graham and his team give 3 lucky winners a complete hair makeover as well as quick styling updates and tricks for all of the audience. Nic never fails to entertain us ladies with his quirky tales and advice and staff at the nursery school provide a wonderful wine and buffet supper.
Shopping Second Hand
I haven't been doing much shopping lately, instead trying to clear out clothes rather than buy in more. Recently, however, I managed to do both as I packed up a load of my old clothes to be dropped off at a few charity shops-but came home with a few pre-loved bargains.
One thing I did not need was another pair of boots but I'm sure I would be forgiven for buying a pair unworn of Roland Cartier suede boots for £15!
Having done no exercise for almost a year, I took the plunge and ventured back into Aurora recently to participate in the Body Pump class. Instructor Gill was vey kind to me, having not seen me for so long, and I didn't feel too much pain the following day. What I did notice was the bright neon colours which have popped up in the gym so in preparation for my next visit, I've bought a few brighter items from good old TK Maxx. Buying new gym gear has the same effect as actual wearing it and working out, right?
Things I have loved lately...