Tag Archives: celebration

Let the celebrations begin…

11 Nov

It isn’t my actual birthday until 19th but I’m celebrating my big five oh with a massive party this weekend. I am SO EXCITED.

So excited, that it’s 5am and instead of being in bed deeply zzzzz-ing, I am babbling (again) from  my bathtub . When I said I’d make it a regular feature of it I really didn’t envisage sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to do it, but , hey, here I am with a glass of milk, blogging in the bath.

I love birthdays anyway. Not for the presents (although they are lovely to receive) but for the connection with friends, the cards and, mostly, the excuse for a celebration…drinks, dancing, laughter and lots of hugging and affirmation of being loved and sharing precious moments. I love reflecting on past years and creating new memories to recount throughout the next.

I also love the build up.

This year we, that’s Hubby and I have been party planning. Last year we had an amazing party for his 60th so decided to use the same format this year for my 50th but with him organising everything bar the food. So we set up an event on FB really early to get everyone in the mood and to give enough notice to those travelling from further afield. . Regular weekly updates and prompts. Two months of bulk cooking and freezing. Arranging accommodation,organising musicians , liaising with the venue. Dress shopping… All a bit like wedding planning with less white silk and no fresh flowers!

And today it began. Sisters and friends from afar have begun to arrive and we’ve had what we like to refer to as a pre party party …..

Anyway, I should now be sound asleep, but like a child waiting for Santa I just cannot calm down enough…. Fortunately no-one else is trying to out-stay-awake-me in order to hang a stocking on my bed post…..

Watch this space for a post hangover review of the weekend ….. Happy birthday to me!!!!


What happens to the magic when your kids stop believing?….

10 Dec


When our son was five we got up in the middle of the night (with him in tow obviously ..) and got in a taxi to the airport.  From there we took the Santa special to Lapland, where we drank in an ice hotel, rode on dog sleighs, and ventured into the frozen forest to find Santa in his cosy cabin. It was a magic moment, Santa gave him a gift, which was a different Action Man to the multitude of Action Men he already had in his vast collection.   How did Santa know he loved Action Man and that he’d not got this one? (Even i was impressed my that I have to say!).

After some hot chocolate and food we sped back across the frozen lake on a skidoo back to the plane.  The pilot thought he had seen Santa and the reindeer practicing their take-offs and landings so all the kids were glued to the windows trying to catch a glimpse .

Then we were home again.

On the big night that year as in the previous and the subsequent, we tracked Santa with the help of NASA, noting where he had already been and how many presents they thought he had already delivered. Most importantly , how long before he arrived with us!

We’d put milk and carrots outside the back door for the reindeer.  Quality Street and Ribena for Santa (we didn’t want him to get too tipsy before he’d finished his nights work).  The reindeer always spilt some of the milk.  Santa never managed to eat all the chocolates… but who could blame him, mince pies, biscuits and chocolates in every house… he’d eat one or two and take a sip of his drink.

One year our son was amazed ‘look mummy Santa’s used the same wrapping paper that you had last year!”…close call that one.

That magical trip to Santa’s home cemented his belief in Santa beyond that of his friends with elder siblings and those who had never really met the ‘real’ Santa, (just his helper Santa’s who covered the stores and streets taking messages on the run up to Christmas).

One teary afternoon at school pickup a couple of years later my son had a disagreement with a lad who tried to tell him Santa didn’t exist.  He was so frustrated and angry at that boy.

10842032_10152464256613204_5215362404216429676_oOf course over the next year or two the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny became games we played rather than reality.  A tooth under the pillow meant a shiny coin in the morning.  and to this day we still have an Easter Egg Hunt (he’s 19, but he and his friends insist!).

I fretted and became quite anxious about the day he would ask if Santa was made up.  In my mind I over-analysed the potential damage I had done to him through ‘lying’. I over talked it with my hubby and it became quite a nuisance in my mind.  Then I worried and fretted that he was the only one who still did believe and was arguing vehemently with those who disagreed.  I became concerned he’d be ridiculed or bullied.

Of  course none of my fears played out.  The doubts about Santa crept in slowly, we kept playing the game, he kept pretending because he thought if he didn’t he might not get gifts!  And anyway it was FUN.  Eventually the conversation had to happen.

I told him that whilst Santa himself isn’t real the ‘magic’ really is.  The fact that everyone plays along  and joins in the fun makes it pretty amazing.  NASA has Santa tracking software for Christs sake!  The pilot on the aeroplane that time had been in on it.  All the adults, all the older brothers and sisters all played along to make it special.  Never mind the fact that families all got together and had a lovely time together; charities raised extra money; humanity showed itself to be altruistic and generous; empathetic and caring to the wider community.  All of that goodwill and kindness; all of those stories and symbols made for a pretty spectacular kind of human magic.


Christmas in May

OK so these days we don’t put out carrots and milk or chocolates and ribena.  And we don’t have to keep sending him back to bed because its only 5am, 5:30am, 6am… In fact for a few years through his early teens it was hubby and I knocking on his door asking if we could go down for a fry up and to open presents!  These days we have a wonderfully leisurely morning on Christmas Day. Then, whilst dinner is cooking, we take a stroll to our local pub where the community gathers for a pint and to wish each other a merry Christmas.  Sometimes in the village square there are carols on horse back with riders in tinsel handing out song sheets to the families milling around.  Then its home; a couple more pressies; a few drinkies and then a late lunch/early tea. A Christmas festive bonanza. Usually with at least some members of the family are with us; always with a spare place set to remember those who can’t be with us.  Later its board games, laughter, phone calls, drinking, more present opening (we do tend to take our time).

It truly is a magic time.  Sometimes it happens several times in the year.  With family spread far and wide and parents getting older by the year (as they do), we might have several mini Christmases in several locations over the coming weeks.  For some years, for hubby’s parents , we held a special Christmas during their visit to us in May… seeking out a tree and putting up some decorations,  ensuring we had crackers left over so we could pull them with lunch.. and of course Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, presents and board game playing.  Yes, magic indeed.

Just because something isn’t real, doesn’t necessary make it any less valuable or meaningful.  For our family at least, the magic which was passed to us, has been handed down to our son. One day, he will be adding little traditions of his own to create a unique magic for his own family….

In the meantime, don’t worry about your kids as they grow.  I don’t know why I worried about scarring our son when he discovered I’d been “lying”.  I never felt scarred by my parents.  My own magic and enjoyment of Christmas has continued to grow as additional practices get added to our family traditions. so on the run up,  I shall very much look forward to this coming Christmas; to the extra effort we all make to touch base with our friends afar; to the arrival of family members; and the spending of extra time with friends.

Merry Christmas, Happy  Festivities, Goodwill, peace and kindness to you all

See you next year xxxxx





Life is a celebration …..

10 Nov

I think I am almost recovered from the crazy shenanigans of last weekend.  What a blast.  What a testament to friendships and family.  John, my hubby (we’ve been happily not married now for 22 years) had his 60th.

what a cake!

what a cake!


At this point I must remind everyone that I am much MUCH younger than him.  I may have mentioned it once or twice before.

Friends and family began arriving on Friday, the pre-party party wound up at 2am after much merriment and a little practice drinking.

I, and my amazing friend Kate, had been at the party for a week.  She created the most incredible chocolate overload of a cake ever (plus an extra one for our son for his birthday 4 days later).  Between us we prepared enough food for a hot buffet to feed sixty people.  Wonderful friends from Essex , acquired fireworks (well a 5th of November birthday really does need a display), as they really are the experts in that field having hosted annual displays for god knows how long.  Family and friends began to arrive throughout Saturday in camper vans and cars, so we headed to the pub.

Musicians.  Who knew we knew so many who would generously offer their talent for the longest open mic session know to Llanwrtyd 9pm until 3;30am was filled with jamming and talent and more talent and more variety of great music – we had blues and rock n roll, folk and rock.  Guitars, drums, bass, djembe, harmonica, violin, vocals, percussion. Music, dancing, friends and laughter. A wonderful, wonderful night.

And what does one buy a man of sixty?  It seems alcohol is they way to go!!! We have enough to open an off-licence…. or see us through to Christmas anyway 😉

So, now I’m recovered (recovering), I want simply to tell you all how blessed I am and how loved he is.  So many people.  So much love and laughter.  So much joy and happiness. So much generosity of time and spirit.  So much wonderful community.  We, because of you all; friends new and old; near are far make our community; our world; our life.

I spent some time trying to finish that sentence with another word.  You make our world “good” “joyous” “safe” “happy” “whole” “fulfilled” …all those things and more….but simply, you really do “make our world”, and we love you all for it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Happy birthday boy!

Happy birthday boy!

How they have grown

14 Sep


Everyone says, as they grow older, things like, “how time flies”, “blink and you’ve missed it”, ” it doesn’t seem 5 minutes since…”

All these old sayings are just, oh so true


All the children I have loved.  All the young teens I have supported, whose company I’ve enjoyed; whose tears and laughter I have shared.  All those youngster, some whose nappies I have changed; whose teenaged excesses I have cleared; whose birthday cakes I have baked.


Those I have had the pleasure of having visit my home; who have had sleep-overs with my own son.


Those kids whose spellings I have canal boat hol 08 067tested; with whom I have revised for their exams; whose results I have celebrate or helped console.

All of those teens, this year , all turn(ed) 18.  They are spreading their wings.  Driving their cars; leaving their family homes; going to university; beginning to earn their own money.

325207_2604478041979_1963759808_oThey are all now young, gorgeous, adults, with their whole exciting new chapters ahead of them.  Armed with their hopes and dreams.  Their energy and passion.


I love them all and am so proud of them.  I hope that , as adults they will remain part of my life; sharing their new stories and allowing me the honour of watching their futures unfold….




Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

20 years – OMG…

22 Oct

20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (13)


Us celebrating 10 years - this man always makes me feel beautiful

Us celebrating 10 years – this man always makes me feel beautiful

what's a party without cake ;-)  Thanks Kate xx

what’s a party without cake 😉 Thanks Kate xx

1422369_10204402590455593_360842402380198906_nTwenty years ago i was a ‘player’ , I’d spent two years backpacking and partying and was back in the UK to earn enough dosh for my next adventure. John was a quiet, gentle man, happily out of any complicated relationship and dealing with his ‘baggage’ as any good ostrich would!!  I was only going to be in the UK for 3 months so I was a safe bet for a fun-filled time before disappearing off into the wilderness.  As i said, that was 20 years ago.  I don’t like to call in ‘entrapment’…..

Ten years ago, having moved from London and banking to Essex and recruitment / software, we took a weekend break in the wonderful wilderness of Mid Wales in a teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy cutesie-whootsie town called Llanwrtyd Wells.  And our lives changed forever.  20 years omg - harvey pix (1)

We celebrated our 10th by having a farewell party; a gathering of friends and family and some live music from our brother-in-law and his rock band Hedgehog.  Jason was seven.

This weekend we celebrated our 20th in our favourite pub in our lovely home town of Llanwrtyd Wells, surrounded by friends and entertained by live music from our son, now almost 17 and some of his, and our, talented friends

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friends wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friend’s wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

A brand new life

A brand new life

I have made 3 great decisions in my life.  The first was not leaving for Africa; the second was having our son and the third was moving to Llanwrtyd

I love my man more each day.  It hasn’t always been easy.  Anyone who knows me will understand why…. for sure I am not the steadiest of personalities to live with.    I have my depressions, my health crisises, my emotional turmoils.  But in John I have my best friend, my soul mate, my counsellor, my anchor, my lover and my life force.  Without him and his patience and understanding we would not have an ‘us’ – he has never given up on me and he sees in me the loveliness and goodness that I sometimes lose sight of.  He never does.

old friends and young ones ;-) Jason, Tyler, Lottie, Mick, Tracy and Ian

old friends and young ones 😉 Jason, Tyler, Lottie, Mick, Tracy and Ian

I believe I said that each and every person there and those who simply couldn’t be there has impacted on, played a part in and added value to our lives and i am proud and honoured to know that we are in their hearts and they are in ours.

This blog may appear slushy and self-indulgent but I think it is a story that anyone can connect their life to … We have friends.  We are so blessed.  This weekend whilst hosting our celebration i discovered how many amazing and wonderful friends we have.  I discovered great friendships blossoming in people I’ve known for 5 minutes and reaffirmed great friendships that have lasted nearly all our lifetime.  I even feel good to have disconnected myself with someone I thought was a friend and have finally accepted, is not.  I feel great.  Energised. Loved. 

Important dates punctuate our lives and it is appropriate to want to share those with the people you love. And the real people you love will want to be with you even if they can’t.  And these punctuation marks in our timelines remind us who our true friends are and how lucky we are to have them

20 years omg - harvey pix (5)

decorations coutesy of Hanna, Jen and Anna-lisa…. superstar artistic direction team

And anyway, with all that aside; what a party!!  A weekend of laughter, and joy, eating and drinking, walking, singing and dancing.  A weekend of music and friendships of reminiscences and forging strong bonds. Saturday evening in the Neuadd Arms Hotel with friends from near and far. The homely welcoming atmosphere it offers; the great beers brewed on site , the delicious  and over generous catering by their chef, Paul.  It was said as a joke, but not only are we blessed with great friend but some of them own a pub and brewery 😉 ….

… and some of them own great musical talent.  We were entertained by mandolins, drums, cajons, congas, guitars and great vocals – organised by our son and performed as an open jam…   I am so proud and happy to know so many great people.  I am so proud and honoured by our ‘extended family’ of Jason’s beautiful and talented friends.  I cannot thank Jason, Georgia, Tyler, Zak and Lottie enough.  Young, talented, thoughtful, and a joy to be with.  I also thank Ian, Eugene and Paul for performing, and am humbled by the distances some people travelled to share our moment.  (And of course i thank Mr Badaxe for his memorable involvement – lol )

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (14) 20 years omg - 17th and 18th october 2014 (9) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

music music sweet sweet music















I am loved and I love back. Generously, unconditionally and wholeheartedly.  My friends, my son, my partner, Our life together…..

this blog is dedicated to all our wonderful and cherished friends

And I Love Her – Vocals – John Crompton, Guitar – Jason Crompton, Production – Mike Smith, Artwork – Ian Harvey

See I've definitely shrunk!!
I am a lucky girl xxxx

..After an emotional rollercoaster of a week…

20 Jul

Call me old-fashioned but you would think that a someone who threatened to ‘come round and punch you in the face’ , would not be surprised to discover they were  not welcome to attend any gatherings of people you considered friends or felt remotely loyal to…  Just saying.  But hey ho.

What an emotional week.  I have gone from elation to frustration; seething anger to overwhelming joy; been engulfed by angst to feeling calm and serene; guilty to blessed. I have arrived at this destination, a point in time of emotional joy and bursting with an overwhelming sense of my own good fortune.

Planning our 20th anniversary  for later this year and realising the depth and breadth of friends & acquaintances we have, has been the major soother and reality checker. Gathering together the important people from each and every chapter, making contact, touching base, and hopefully tempting a few to join us later in the year.
That, coupled with overwhelming pride in my son , his commonsense, maturity and general demeanor.  He has more patience, maturity and rationale than I.
I feel proud to have raised such a considerate, well-balanced and emotionally prepared young man.  Kudos to me 😉

Then there were a couple of timely quotes that came to my attention – that one by “Rotten Cards” at the top of this blog was one.
never push a loyal person And this was the other.

I know and my friends know, I will give of my time, energy, knowledge and the little money I have to support or help anyone, but they only ever screw me over twice.   Yes, sadly, twice.  The first time, I’m prepared to forgive and move on, but the second… more fool me if I do and their loss eh?

Those two little quotes have enabled me to calm down, assess and re-evaluate.  The irony in one instance has made me randomly start giggling to myself.  Don’t take it personally if you were caught with me giggling in your general direction – haha.

Perhaps the most significant was a little throw away challenge in the form of one of the many “nominee challenge” posts any regular Facebook user might come across.

Somebody posted five photos of herself entitled ” Five photos that make me feel beautiful”.  (They also happened to be beautiful photos of her), but the point was images, hence memories, that made her feel special.  I commented , she suggested I do it.

For some reason, it struck an emotional chord.  I enjoyed several days of contemplation, deliberation and looking through old photo albums and picture files.

I came up with these:

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friends wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

Me 5 months pregnant, at a friend’s wedding with my partner (I have never felt as beautiful as when I was expecting our son)

Doing something good for charity and going pink for the first time(- we raised £2200 thank you sponsors )

Doing something good for charity and going pink for the first time(- we raised £2200 thank you sponsors)

Us celebrating 10 years - this man always makes me feel beautiful

Us celebrating 10 years – this man always makes me feel beautiful

Theres nothing more beautiful than being free and sharing time amongst good friends (Midsummer Nights Dream Party - I had been really ill with anxiety and panic attacks - my friends saved me)

Theres nothing more beautiful than being free and sharing time amongst good friends (Midsummer Nights Dream Party – I had been really ill with anxiety and panic attacks – my friends saved me)

my son - see main text for all the reasons he makes me feel great

my son – see main text for all the reasons he makes me feel great

So followers, if you are ever in need of reaffirmation try this challenge.  I nominate YOU.  Find 5 images that make you feel beautiful/blessed.  I promise you, the process will take you on an emotional journey and you will feel more whole as a result…

…and finally…
..on taking the challenge I snuck in a 6th. OK, not strictly in ‘the rules’ but (a). things were getting a bit heavy up there and I felt I needed to lighten the mood and (b). Hell, the ‘rules’ can be whatever we want them to be….
..anyway heres image 6…






ok, so its not me, its Dita Von Tease.. SHE is what I feel like on the inside :-)

ok, so it’s not me, it’s Dita Von Tease.. SHE is what I feel like on the inside 🙂

special occasions…

20 Nov

Yesterday was my birthday.  I love birthdays.   I know some people don’t like them and have an issue with their age.  I don’t care about that – I LOVE birthdays.  Not because of the presents, although they are lovely, but because of the sentiment and the increased communication and the whole joy of celebration.

Before I go on I will just recap about my wonderful birthday celebrations.

For me they always begin with the Llanwrtyd Wells Real Ale Wobble – so good of my home town to put on a beer festival and live entertainment for my birthday!

John’s birthday is on the 5th, mine the 19th November.  In recent years we’ve chosen to give each other the birthday treat of a night or two away.  Or similar.  This year we booked a hotel room in Cardiff and some theatre tickets.  We did it some months ago, affording us time to enjoy contemplating how lovely it would be prior to the experience itself.

So 18th over to the 19th, after all the hard work of a busy B&B weekend, we meandered our way to Cardiff.  We mooched around quirky boutiques, old record shops, vintage stalls and cafes with homemade cakes.  We then lazed in the Novotel, had a lovely meal and walked along the Atlantic Wharf to the Millennium Centre where we belly laughed our way through Paul Merton and chums doing improv.  After which we found a cute little wine bar and perched ourselves on bar stools discussing items on our bucket lists. A taxi back to the hotel ‘cos my feet were killing me.  More wine.  Box of chocolates.  Etc etc.  In the morning a lovely late breakfast a leisurely regrouping of our possessions a repacking of all our new purchases and a sunny drive home over the snow-capped Beacons.

Birthdays,  seem to be occasions where our minds find time to focus upon individual friends and family members.  If only for a minute or two.  This is even more true with the increased access to each other via social media. Just for a moment you remember that person whose birthday reminder has popped up and you have the opportunity to wallow in a happy memory and you spare a moment and type something like ” Happy Birthday x” or “good to know you’re still alive” or” have one on me” or similar.

What it really says is “I may not often (or ever) see you but I remember you fondly and I take comfort in knowing you are out there somewhere”.  What could be more lovely than to be remembered by people of whom you too have fond memories ?