Missing a loved-one at Christmas

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There is a sadness that has over time turned from an all-consuming pain to a dull ache throbbing in the background. Yet, as Christmas Day approaches, the volume of this pain is increasing at an alarming rate.

Carols that Children sing

While, with tears, my ears just ring

With the echoes of the past.

The empty seat at the table.

The present I no longer need to buy.

The blank card without your handwriting.

The silence of your voice.

The hollow memory of your hug.

As my fragile memory begins to make you fade away. I look around on Christmas Day.

You loved Christmas more than me.

Your laughter would echo through the halls. Christmas jokes and paper hats.

Lots of hugs and lots of claps.

As the children gasp at the gifts you’d bring. You’d make pleasant conversation and brought warmth and peace to our home. Helping with the dishes when everyone was done.

And snooze on the couch amongst everyone.

It doesn’t feel like Christmas.

Not to me.

I don’t feel like celebrating it.

It just feels wrong.

I miss you more than ever. The pain is sometimes too much to bare. It’s not supposed to be like this. It isn’t fair.

The only way I’ll stop feeling sad,

The only way these pains will end

Is to be with you again, my dad

My first and very best friend.

– Laura Burton

What to do: When you are missing a loved-one at Christmas.

I compiled a list of ideas to cope with Christmas while missing your loved-one. Because no matter how much I want time to turn back to a happier time, no matter how much I want it to stop altogether, life moves forward. And another Christmas is here.

Honour old traditions

The best way to remember your loved-one is by carrying on their traditions. My dad loved to have dates at Christmas. No one in my family eats them, but I will still buy a pack and leave it out just for him. I may even try one.

It might be a type of food your loved-one had, or a favourite game they loved to play at Christmas. Maybe it’s playing their favourite Christmas song. All these little things make you feel like they are still with you and not truly deleted from your life.

Make new traditions

Last year I bought a beautiful golden wreath to leave at the grave. Which I plan to place every year. I’ll take the family and we will say a few words in honour of my father, who is dearly missed.

Perhaps you can do something special for the gravesite, or perhaps play a particular Christmas movie on Christmas Eve. Or maybe your loved-one was involved in a charity, perhaps you could volunteer or do some fund raising. Think of some small things you could do that you can make a tradition to remember your loved-one.

Talk about your loved-one

Share your favourite Christmas memories that you spent with your loved-one. Write them down on paper, in a diary or online. Speak to your friends about them. Maybe they had some memorable sayings or funny quirky mannerisms you can talk about?

Talking about your loved-one keeps them alive in the hearts of those who know them. The more you talk about them, the more other people will know your loved-one. And their love, their personality and influence on you will stretch far and wide and make a difference in the world. What a wonderful thought.

Speak to your loved-one

Whether you believe they exist somewhere or can hear you or not, it doesn’t matter. Speak to your loved-one. In your head, aloud or written down in a letter. You can take this opportunity to reflect and thank them for the memories, perhaps say words you never got to say when they were alive. You may even have unresolved challenges with your loved-one which makes the whole grieving process more complicated.

Talk to them. Tell them what’s going on in your life. Tell them what you would say if they were alive. Don’t worry if it makes you cry, tears are a sign of healing.

Reach out to other people

The world is full of people who will be missing a loved-one at Christmas. Just look around. No one is immune to death, we are all destined for it. So reach out and be a friend to those who are also sad. Be a shoulder to cry on. Share stories. Exchange ideas on how to enjoy the Christmas holiday.

It makes you feel less like you’re the only one in the world hurting. It makes you realise we are all in this together. That there are people who understand. You just need to find them.

Conclusion

  • Honour old traditions
  • Make new traditions
  • Speak about your loved-one
  • Reach out to other people

May you feel the peace and warmth this Christmas and hold tight to the ones who are with you today. Cherish old memories and embrace opportunities to make new ones.

Merry Christmas.

Laura

XxXx

Unspoken Rules Nobody Tells you about shopping in Lidl!

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I have a confession to make.

I hate shopping. In fact, I’ll quite happily scrub four poop-encrusted toilets, scour the burnt egg off the saucepans sitting on my counter top AND scoop out cold baked beans from my sink – with bare hands – rather than go out to do the dreaded food shop.

Why do I hate food shopping so much?

Well, as a home-schooling Mum I rarely get the luxury of going out like a Step-ford Wife, dolled up with my favourite make up, hair professionally blow-dried and wearing my perfectly-ironed 50s vintage dress and stilettos.

Instead, I am lucky to have showered and successfully retrieve my hair brush from under a child’s bed, that has goodness-knows-what buried in the bristles. I will have pulled on my comfy jeans that probably should have gone through the wash the last two times I wore them and stuck on the longest top I own to cover my lumps and bumps.

Shopping is not glamorous. Hollywood lies, I tell you.

The closest movie I can relate it to is The Grinch when the “Whos” from “Whoville” are enjoying Christmas celebrations and the Grinch – who hates Christmas – declares “Oh the noise! The noise!” With three kids and a shopping cart to contend with, corners that have GLASS BOTTLES on a stand (Stupidly dangerous design if you ask me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use my super-mum reflexes to save a bottle from certain death as a child flings their arm in the direction of the stand) it is absolute chaos. CHAOS I tell you!

That’s not even mentioning the lightning speed at which little hands throw items in the shopping cart, so I’m walking like a haggard octopus, keeping the kids attached to me like some weird creature, moving my arms in hundreds of directions while walking forwards and my mouth barking instructions for the kids to follow ignore.

Then there’s the slope outside the store. The sidewalk that stretches along the car park, that is, and you are expected to somehow push a very full shopping cart in a straight line on a slope. A SLOPE I tell you!!! This pulls all the muscles in my back even more than doing 20 minutes of the rowing machine at the gym.

I could go on forever.

Usually I go to the closest shop to me. This is because 1) I hate driving and 2) I hate new places. However, I had to drive the kids to science club this morning and it’s across town.

My action-plan was to drop the older kids to science club and take Nicholas to the main store by my house before picking them back up again. Sadly, that super plan went out the window when the hall was double booked so Science club was only going to be for an hour and I wouldn’t have enough time to get back across town.

First off, I decided to pull into a new Aldi in Swindon. Turns out, it was so new it hadn’t actually opened yet. I sheepishly smiled at some builders who looked at me bewildered and I creeped (do cars creep?) out of the rocky car park and followed the traffic round the corner.

That is when I saw Lidl. My saving grace! My promised land! Ok, won’t go that far, but that is how I ended up shopping at Lidl.

I suffer with anxiety, my readers know this by now. And here’s the thing, Lidl is new to me. I’ve only been a few times and each time it was for two or three items. I’ve never attempted to do a weekly shop there.

And what I learnt, was there are RULES. Unspoken RULES that leave us Aspergers lot totally baffled because I need to be TOLD these things. And when I don’t understand a social situation or how I’m supposed to act I get….wait for it….super anxious.

Like, in my head I imagine myself throwing everything from my trolley onto the floor and doing the River-dance while screaming at the top of my lungs.

Obviously, I suppress this urge because I know that is not socially acceptable. But then all the stress and confusion builds up to the point I end up in total panic mode.

So, to save you the same fate as me. I’m going to share with you some rules I have learnt while shopping at Lidl. Maybe you suffer with anxiety too? Maybe you’re confused by the social expectations of shopping in this store?

Or maybe you just want to laugh at the fact I actually have to write these “common sense” rules down? Read on…

Let’s get started:

  • You need a pound for the Shopping Cart. When you shop at Waitrose or Asda, you don’t need a pound for a shopping cart. Therefore, I’ve never got a pound on me. Thankfully, my son had his pocket money on him so he offered to use his pound!

  • You need to pay for your bags or bring your own. One day, I’ll post a photo of the cupboard under my sink and show you my mountain of shopping bags. I have a terrible memory when it comes to bringing my own shopping bags, so I always end up buying more. However, something I haven’t worked out yet is this; is it ok to take Asda bags into a Lidl store? Or will security frogmarch me off the premises and ban me for treason? I feel like I need to have the correct store name on my bags. Yes, I know this is a problem. But I can’t be the only weirdo who feels disloyal otherwise!

  • Don’t stop and block the people behind you. Walk slow and keep moving. People really hated it when I stopped to decide between two products. It was like you had to pretend you’re on a electronic belt and had to keep the traffic flowing. Otherwise people try to overtake you and then it’s all awkward because as they try to pass you’re ready to move off and there are people walking towards you too and then blahhhhh panic attack!
  • There are no customer toilets. I get anxious about toilets. The accessibility of toilets, where they are and how long I have to wait before I can go in another one. This obsession started when I developed IBS and would get unwanted “attacks” while out and about. Then It was even worse when I was heavily pregnant with my third son and felt like a watermelon was pressing on my bladder all day long. Now, it’s a full-blown paranoia. So, just a heads up. There are no customer toilets!
  • The random bargain stuff is in the middle of the shop. Much like Aldi, there are two aisles of home-wear, garden stuff and miscellaneous goodies to be found. I once got a steam mop for £30 in this aisle. It’s pretty cool! But people are rather possessive when it comes to their space. There also seems to be a one-way system but I couldn’t quite figure that one out.
  • Til number 2 is opening, please unload your shopping. If you hear something like this, Do NOT make a be-line for the til that’s about to open. Especially if there’s a huge line of people at another til. Oh my word you get glares. And no, I didn’t do this. Someone else did. Us British people really love queues and we are very passionate about who should be next in line. So be courteous and let people go before you.
  • Supermarket Sweep Anyone? Do you remember the old UK TV game show where contestants were given 2 mins to run around a supermarket and grab as many items on a shopping list as possible? Well, unloading and packing your shopping is just like that. The cashier will give you a brief “Hi” before zooming your products through the scanner faster than the yellow angry bird and you end up with a pile of goods spilling everywhere for you to put in the trolley. Don’t try to pack them into bags yet!! Throw them in the trolley (that sits backwards at an angle along the side of the checkout by the way!) pay for your shopping and then go to the long surface by the windows. This is where you sort your shopping and pack your bags, allowing people behind you to pay for their shopping. I learned that there is a time limit here too. Spend too much time and you just have to keep moving towards the exit so the people behind you can use the space to pack their bags.

  • And breathe! There are so many things I’ve most likely missed. But by the time I got back to the car, I was brain-fried and close to tears!

You save a lot on your shopping, my weekly shop was just £56! (It’s usually over £100!) but the stress of the shopping experience made me wish I was rolling in money and went to Waitrose for my free cuppa. (You get a newspaper and hot drink free when you shop at Waitrose!)

Oh well!

So there’s the unspoken rules I learnt today. Have I missed any? Anyone have any tips for me? Pop in the comments below!

Laura

Xoxo

Why people are going crazy about “Love Me, Crazy!”

Review of Love Me, Crazy:

A very exciting adventure!

I don’t like girly books so I was a little worried when I started this, but I needn’t have feared, as it turned out to be a really exciting adventure with lots of mystery! I had no idea what was going to happen as the story unfolded!

There’s a very sweet innocent character and a very dark sinister character. You’ll have to read it to find out which they are though! – Jenny Ayres

There are a handful of bloggers and individuals who have been able to get their hands on “Love Me, Crazy,” early and tear through the story.

So far, all of the feedback has been surprising!

“I’m so invested in this story!”

“By chapter 3 I was hooked!”

“It’s quite scary!”

“I loved the ending!”

Were just some of the comments I received from readers.

So what is it about?

School teacher Audrey … is a young, innocent romantic looking for Mr Right. A chance encounter with the charmingly charismatic Tom AND the handsome and brooding Jack on the same day suddenly leaves her seemingly spoilt for choice.

But then a single kiss turns a pleasing quandary into a troubling dilemma. As her feelings for the two men begin to grow, it becomes clear that one of them is not quite what they appear and love quickly turns to obsession. Can she see the truth before it is too late?

This exciting romantic thriller will take you on a rollercoaster ride full of twists and turns, but will Audrey find the one, or will love be the death of her?

The narration of the story is told by Audrey as a mature woman who is telling her grown-up daughter how she fell in love with her father. What makes the story unique, is that through this narration the reader has the challenge of deciding what parts of the story were conveniently glossed over and which parts were perhaps exaggerated? What really happened? You decide!

The thought process that went through my mind when writing this book was;

“This is a nice story,”

“Wait, what?”

“Oh, didn’t see that coming,”

“Oh my goodness, NO!”

“Huh? He’s crazy!”

“No, no, SHE is crazy!”

“Oh my word, everyone is crazy!”

“WHAT!!!!”

“This can’t be happening,”

“I can’t even. No. Stop it.”

“Ok…”

“I need to lie down and rest now. That was such a rollercoaster.”

😂😂😂 And it appears that I’m not the only one who had those thoughts!!

Have you ordered your copy yet? Pre-order it now to get it downloaded immediately to your kindle device/app as soon as it is available. (Dec 22)

And don’t forget to sign up to this blog with your best email to get updates on upcoming books and FREE short stories!

Laura

Xoxo

Hello old friend. Time for a catch up?

Oh my life. 

How did we end up in December? So, the last time I wrote on this blog it was in the throws of NaNoWriMo. I have a lot of crazy stuff going on, trying to find a quiet place to nestle down and shoot out the words on my laptop before the 30th came around. 

I’m sure the question on your mind is, “Well Laura, DID YOU DO IT?”

YES. I WON. 

I manage write over 50,000 words of my story, “Love Me, Sweetie,” and complete the story. I had planned for it to be a light-hearted, sweet romance. Did Ada let me write it? No. 

No. Ada had other ideas. (Ada is my main character who speaks to me by the way,) She dyed her hair more times than I can remember, something absolutely terrible happened – more than once in the story – and the ending was not quite what I imagined. 

I have since, let the book sit and rest without giving it another thought, while I work on promoting and finishing my newest novella, “Love Me, Crazy,” Here’s the blurb:

School teacher Audrey … is a young, innocent romantic looking for Mr Right. A chance encounter with the charmingly charismatic Tom AND the handsome and brooding Jack on the same day suddenly leaves her seemingly spoilt for choice.

But then a single kiss turns a pleasing quandary into a troubling dilemma. As her feelings for the two men begin to grow, it becomes clear that one of them is not quite what they appear and love quickly turns to obsession. Can she see the truth before it is too late?

This exciting romantic thriller will take you on a rollercoaster ride full of twists and turns, but will Audrey find the one, or will love be the death of her?

Love Me, Crazy – Important Info!

December 14 – Competition Deadline. Want a chance to win a FREE copy of Love Me, Crazy? Click here.

December 17 – LIVE Reading on Facebook over on my page, “Laura’s Beautiful World.

December 22 – Book LAUNCH on Kindle and Paperback exclusively at Amazon. Available for pre-order NOW.

It’s a really exciting time you guys and I’m also working on something extra-special for you all. So keep your eyes peeled. It’s all very exciting! 

 

In the meantime, have a lovely time Christmas shopping and scoffing Christmas treats! See you all here very soon! 

Laura

xoxo

The Trauma of Losing a Loved One

Note to the reader – This post is extremely painful to write and even more distressing to read. If you are a family member, or particularly sensitive, please click on HOME and find a happier post to read.

A considerable amount of time has passed.

382 days in fact.

382 new days in this world, without my dad in it.

When his lungs stopped working, and turned to cement, when his heart stopped beating – I thought mine did too.

For weeks, I walked around feeling cold and numb, like all the warmth had been sucked out of me. For I had transformed into someone- or something else.

Then I was angry. Fiery, fierce, fury filled my senses. Angry at the unfairness. Angry at the mess left behind. Angry at the broken promises. Angry at feeling forsaken.

Then there came guilt. Remorse for feeling anger at things I can not, nor should not be able to control. Sorrow for not grieving correctly. For sharing too openly. For being too weak. For succumbing to depression and neglecting my physical needs to remain strong and healthy.

Then I felt lost. What now? Which way do I go? How am I supposed to fill this massive void in my life? What am I supposed to do with my days? Why is it that everything I used to do feels empty and shallow now?

Why is it that things I used to do for fun, now fail to excite me?

I am a new species. Evolved. Different, yet still the same in essence. How do I navigate life in a new way?

Sometimes, I felt manic happiness. On top of the world. Everything is great! Marvellous! Wonderful! Exciting! Hilarious!

I look back on happy memories with fondness and gratitude. Just so grateful to have those memories to hold onto.

So grateful for the love that I had.

And then I experienced all and none of the above at varying degrees and different times.

Grief does not follow a linear pattern of time. There are no steps. Do not underestimate the trauma of losing a loved one.

Heard of the 5 stages of grief? Have you read about all the different stages and wondered where you’re at?

Ever looked at it with confusion because you felt like you were on anger last Monday, but jumped to acceptance by Friday and now you’re back to bargaining? Wondering how that’s possible?

There’s no finish line.

You don’t just reach “Acceptance” and then live the rest of your life.

Grief is like PTSD. It’ll pop up and slam you down as quickly as a Venus fly trap catches its prey.

What comes with time is wisdom.

Wisdom to know what triggers an attack. Wisdom to understand why you’re suffering from panic when a moment ago you were laughing.

Wisdom to identify the steps you need to take to overcome the trauma of the memories when they show up in your minds eye.

Understanding that what you feel now, won’t last forever.

It will pass.

You’ll feel better soon.

Just hold on.

And breathe.

I have learned that one of my triggers is when I am unwell. So I’m in bed with a flu-type virus.

A few days ago, my fever spiked and I was trembling uncontrollably in bed while sweating all over. Flashes of memories crossed my mind of my dad, in hospital.

I sat with him as he shivered in the hospital bed. Clutching his blankets, his brow clammy with sweat. Gasping for air. A tiny nose piece provided him with oxygen.

The nurses opened the windows by his bed. The cold October air rushed into the ward and flooded the room in seconds. My dad shook all over, grimaced against the cold. Insisted he wasn’t hot. Yet his temperature said otherwise.

His chest heaved up and down rapidly.

I closed my eyes with tears and clutched blankets close to me as I prayed to Heavenly Father to wipe the images from my mind. “You’re dying,” a wicked voice said from somewhere in my head.

I gasped for air like a gawping fish out of water. My chest felt like it was being crushed. Such is the trauma of losing a loved one.

Another memory arrived;

This time, my dad is in the ICU, he is whiter that white. His skin so white I can see his veins. His collar bone is bulging out and his eyes were wide with shock. The ICU nurses had just inserted a central line and fitted a bag over my father’s head. It squeezed his neck and forced air into his lungs. Each breath was a battle. He wrote on a notepad to talk to me.

“I have to say to myself, ‘this is my friend, this is my friend’ otherwise I panic and then I will die.” He wrote.

I clutched his clammy, bony hand in mind and gave him a brave smile.

My body is on fire. Rage.

He fought. He battled. He did all the right things.

He never smoked. He didn’t drink. He ate healthily. He was fit.

A searing pain scours through my head as my fever peaks. “You couldn’t save him, you failed.” The wicked voice would say.

I want to scream. And cry. And throw stuff.

Then…slowly. It passes.

The meds kick in and lower the fever. I start to see sense again. I receive a blessing from Ross. A feeling of peace overcomes me.

“I am well,” I hear him say. “Put those thoughts out of your mind.”

I felt his hands on my head as my husband gave me a blessing.

I felt his hand resting on mine as I fell asleep.

I feel his presence even now, as I write these words and share these painful memories.

“It was just a blip. Just a tiny portion of a magnificent life,” I hear him say to me.

My dad would not want me to obsess over the way things ended. I know he wouldn’t, because he told me.

He wants me to remember the good times. The happy days. The jokes. The laughter. The joy.

So, I grow wiser. I know that next time I get a PTSD attack, I can hold onto my father’s promptings. I can counter-attack by counting my blessings.

I can overcome the trauma, by reliving the joyful moments, rather than dwelling in the hellish nightmares.

So how do you overcome the trauma of losing a loved one? Well, I don’t know. You just try to hold onto the beautiful memories and find ways to survive the bitter moments.

How I Cooled my Son’s Temper in SECONDS

This is my youngest son, Nicholas. He is 6 years old, passionate, introverted – unlike his brothers – and intelligent. He has a remarkable memory and very much knows his own mind.

When he’s happy, he’s quietly happy. But when he’s not happy. Oh boy.

Don’t we all know it.

As of late, his temper has become an increasingly big problem.

Anything from not winning a game, not liking the tv show we are watching or that we are not having eggs for dinner…he will start to “rage.”

It’s like the Incredible Hulk.

“You don’t want to see me when I’m angry.”

In a split second, he can turn from a little sweetheart, to a giant atom bomb.

He will kick toys, clench his fists and give me the biggest frown he can muster.

When this behaviour does not make him get his own way, he will resort to using words.

“I’m never going to be nice again,”

“I won’t be your friend,”

He’s even gone so far as to say…

“I hate you now.”

I have tried to ignore the behaviour, which only makes it escalate as he is infuriated at being ignored.

If I’m firm and tell him off, he simply fights back.

If I ask him gently and sweetly, he just gets worse and more bossy.

I started to feel like I was at my wits end. Especially today, as we are all feeling under the weather. My throat hurts and I feel like I’ve got a virus that is telling my body to sit down and rest.

When Nicholas flipped from playing a nice two-player game on the PS4 with his brother, to raging and kicking things, I inwardly sighed.

I didn’t have the energy to try all the tactics I’ve read online about dealing with temper tantrums.

I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone remain calm and put into practise, different psychological tactics to calm my son down.

Nicholas walked over to me with the biggest frown on his face and shoulders hunched. I looked at him and suddenly a thought came out of nowhere.

“He’s feeling insecure and needs reassurance,”

So I went with my instincts and wrapped my arms around him and held him in a big hug.

Then I said loudly, “Mummy love!” And gave him kisses on his head and his cheeks.

He tried to fight me off for a few moments and I kept him in my arms saying, “Nope, mummy’s got you in a mummy hold. You’re going to feel nothing but love until you feel better and can be free!” I said in a sing song voice.

Nicholas suddenly burst out in laughter and said, “No, no!” With the biggest smile.

Ryan grabbed my phone and took pictures of the moment.

We were all laughing, even Daisy was jumping around us figuring out what was going on!

Nicholas hot temper was immediately cooled and he forgot what he was upset about.

Five minutes later Nicholas started to get moody again and I said “Uh Oh! Looks like Nicholas needs another mummy hug! With lots of love and kisses!” And Nicholas’ angry face broke into a beaming smile.

“Noooooo!” He said running away.

“Not the mummy hug!” I heard him say as he ran out the room.

So there you go. Next time your child is having a temper tantrum, try the “mummy hug!”

It might just be the best thing you ever did.

Laura

XoXO

NaNoWriMo Days 10, 11 and 12 Falling Behind

Following the attack of Writer’s Block on day 9, I had two days where I did absolutely NO writing. This is not good!! Tonight I managed to knock out around 800 words. My brain is like mush and my characters are being shy. It’s awkward to write!

And I’m trying to write while watching the TV which is probably not a wise idea.

Still, tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully I’ll get some more words in.

Laura

XoXo

Word Count: 10,849 / 50,000

House-Detoxing – Laura Cleans the house. (With Pics)

Last night I had a mini-meltdown. I was tired, emotional and looked around the rooms upstairs to find disaster had hit.

Life has thrown us some giant lemons recently. We’ve suffered with four family bereavements, the upheaval of an extension and started home-schooling.

We’ve had some highs and lows, we had a great high on the weekend when I went to the salon to get my hair transformed! Yesterday, we went to church and participated in Remembrance Day to respectfully think of all those who served and gave their lives for our freedom in WWI and WWII.

So maybe it was just the exhaustion of having a busy and emotionally draining weekend that lead me to have a melt-down.

I felt ready for order.

For peace.

For calm!

So today, I put my war paint on and readied myself for a day of cleaning and sorting. I like to call it “House-Detoxing.”

Fingers crossed I stay focussed on the task. I left my room to assess the situation. What I saw was not pretty.

What the heck? How did the hallway get like this? – I thought to myself as I just stood with my mouth hanging open looking at the scene of destruction.

It didn’t get any better when I took a look in the bedrooms.

Each room looked like someone picked it up, turned it upside down and gave it a good shake.

I also noticed that spiders had taken camp in the corners of the ceilings and fashioned themselves huge webs.

The first thing I decided to do, was get myself some breakfast. I never eat first thing in the morning, but I saw what I was up against and realised I needed my energy.

The plan was to declutter and organise any unwanted toys, clothes and books with the boys’ help. After seeing how bad the rooms looked, I realised that will have to be done tomorrow. Today, I needed to crack on and get these rooms sanitary. So, I let the boys play in the attic (their play room) and I got myself ready.

First things was first. Stairs.

My little cheat is to use a dustpan and brush to remove those crumbs and balls of dust on the stairs rather than dragging the hoover up and down. You tend to walk crumbs up and down while cleaning so I like to brush the stairs and skirting boards down and hoover at the end.

Check out the difference this little trick made:

I grabbed a white bag for rubbish and a bag for life for toys/books I found lying on the floor. Clothes got thrown into a wash pile.

Then I ventured into my oldest son’s room. I recovered from the mini panic attack I had and got to work. Now that I had categorised everything in my head, it was pretty easy to start clearing the room out. I also used the lid of a Lego Head (Lego storage!) to throw all the bits of Lego without having to run them up to the attic.

As I uncovered the top of the toy box, I was horrified to see how much dust there was!

So I took a wet microfibre cloth and cleaned all the surfaces. For the blinds, I found that instead of trying to dust each individual blind, it was quicker to close them first and do it all in one go.

To make the bed, I tucked the duvet into the bed frame and sat the pillows on top, I feel it makes it look more tidy.

I hoovered the floor and all the little corners and gaps around the bed and after about 20 minutes of huffing and puffing, the room was looking much better!

I had to take breaks while cleaning. My puppy kept trying to lay on my lap and stop me from getting up. So I had to give her lots of cuddles and mummy love.

I feel like if I can just get my mind in the right place, and finish the first bedroom, I can do the rest super fast. The next two rooms didn’t take me long at all.

Feeling hot and flustered; I took a moment to be inspired! Rome wasn’t built in a day! I’m probably not going to get the whole house done in one go. But I’ve made a good start and that’s good right?

I really got into the zone and picked everything up off the floor, divided it all between the rubbish, laundry bin and a toy box and then it was easy to hoover and dust.

I was quite shocked at how much dust there was. I think I underestimated how much it travels when you’re having an extension. No wonder we all sneeze and cough a lot!

The bathroom is squeaky clean once more, and the hallway looks safe to walk through again.

The project isn’t complete. There are still plenty of rooms to get done but that’ll have to wait til tomorrow. Now it’s a case of teaching the kids to maintain the cleanliness!

That seems to be an ongoing process. 🤪

Do you feel the need for a house-detox? Did this inspire you to spring into action? I hope so!

If that is the case…then happy cleaning! 😇

Laura

XoXo

Laura Goes To Safy B’s Salon!

Do you remember when I had a pink life crisis? Well, I wanted to go big and have something more special – and longer lasting.

And after eyeing Safy B’s instagram for months, I decided to call and book an appointment. (Or, erm, send a Facebook message to Saffron, the salon owner as she’s my sister in law!)

I have been so excited about this salon visit, that I’ve actually been messaging Saffron daily with a countdown. Thankfully, she thought it was funny and not super annoying.

Finally the day came and my husband drove me and our family to Aylesbury, to Saffron’s salon. The journey was long and I was beginning to feel panic creep up my arms and a massive weight press on my chest. Good old anxiety came along for the ride, it seemed. Ross noticed I was being quiet and took my hand in his as he drove.

“Are you nervous about how your hair will look?” He asked gently. He’s sweet like that.

“No, I’m freaking out about everything else,” I replied, breathless.

“Like what?” He asked. I took a deep breath.

“Like what if there isn’t anywhere to park? Or I get sick? Or Saffron can’t do my hair? Or what if we have an accident? Or what if it rains…” I trailed off. So many irrational “what ifs” were rolling around in my brain. It’s a wonder how I even leave the house most days!

Ross squeezed my hand to reassure me and smiled knowingly. He is used to my panicky moments and knew that too-often they come and go. While I’m in the moment of panic I can not be reasoned with. He just needs to hold my hand or hug me and tell me I’ll be ok. That always seems to help anyway.

As a major anxiety-sufferer, I have decided to write down every tiny bit of detail that I can, (with pictures) so that you can know exactly what to expect when going to this salon. I would hate anyone passing on this opportunity just because they don’t know what they will be getting them-self into!

The Arrival:

The front of the salon (oops forgot to take a picture) Is tucked away near some shops (well done laura, so much detail so far.) When you get to the white double front doors, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve come to the wrong place.

Why?

Because there’s another set of doors to walk through and it is a little tricky to see through the glass with all the light reflecting on it, so that did make me a little nervous .

But then I was greeted with this lovely woman.

Her name is Donna btw. She greeted me with this beautiful, sweet smile and made me feel much more calm! What a great first impression!

Saffron was washing a lady’s hair across the room and shouted over to me to take a seat. There was a black leather couch by the front desk along with a black coat stand. So I took my jacket off and hung it up, then sat down next to a gentleman.

As I waited for Saffron to do my hair, I took the opportunity to take some sneaky photos.

Very fancy!! I love the design of this salon, which was thought up by Saffron and brought to fruition by her husband Andy – who also owns the salon. Check out this display here using pipes!

I love the rustic look with the climbing vines. It kind of reminded me of the original Jumanji movie when the house slowly turned into a jungle. I’m sure that’s the look Saffron was going for, right?

The waiting area is so warm and inviting, with plenty of photo frames to look at with silly photos and funny quotes. It’s the little things like this that really help to make the whole experience feel special, you know?

I bantered back and forth with Donna, who is simply lovely by the way – she had a professional manner but was able to have a laugh and put up with my bazillion questions.

A nice male with bright blue hair timidly asked me to walk over to a salon chair. He put a gown on me and offered me a hot drink. I asked for water instead. He smiled politely and walked off.

Saffron came over and asked, “Are you sure you want this?” She showed me the photo that I had messaged her weeks ago. Then she showed me what colours she would use to recreate the look. I grinned. “Yes, absolutely,” I said. No turning back now right?

I found this picture online when I googled “bold, pink hair styles” and completely fell in love. There was no one on EARTH I trusted more than Saffron to even attempt this look.

Saffron gave me a smile that looked like a mixture between excitement and devilish anticipation. She disappeared behind a door to the “colour room” (I’m going to call it,) and came back with a trolley that looked like this.

At this point, I guess I was a little nervous. Those colours looked very dark! And my nerves only increased when she started to dab on the mixture onto my roots.

Oh boy. That looks dark.

Saffron and I chatted about this, that and the other. You know, typical chit chat you make when having your hair done. There was music playing in the background and every now and then Saffron would shout at “Alexa” whoever that is. 🤔

Saffron started to get into her creative mindset. Her whole demeanour changed, instead of bubbly and laid-back, she was hunched over me and her eyes looked serious. It was like she got herself into some sort of creative cube (oooh where is Philip Scofield to commentate when you need him aye!) She dragged Donna over to hold her photo and take video and pictures of the process and she started to weave colours into each other.

It was starting to get more scary, the more the blonde began to disappear. The colours were so dark! So rich!

The male with blue hair (dang, really should have got his name) put down a cute little tray with a glass of water and a chocolate bar.

How nice is that? Another little touch that just makes your experience more memorable! And hey, feed this girl chocolate and you’ve got a customer for life!

Saffron bleached the bottom half of my hair after I waited 20 or so minutes for the colour to develop. Once the bleach had done its job, Saffron lead me over to the um….chair-and-sink-thingies. (Can you tell I am really not clued up with the hair dresser lingo?)

I sat down and oh my LIFE!!! The leather seat was soft and squidgy and so comfortable! It was like I was being given a hug! And when I sat back and rested my head in the basin, I felt like my neck was being cradled.

As Saffron washed my hair, I was falling asleep. If it wasn’t for the fact she was speaking to me, I probably would have!

After my hair was rinsed, I got back in the chair and Saffron picked up a hairdryer to dry. I grimaced and balled my hands into fists in preparation.

You see, I’ve been seeing the same hair dresser for 4 years. I am VERY loyal. My usual hair dresser has really long, pointy false nails. She would drag her fingers through my hair and it would be absolute AGONY.

So I waited….and waited…and….and??? I opened my eyes and watched with awe, Saffron was gently picking up sections of my hair and rolling a thick brush through it while blow drying it.

NO PAIN.

I looked in the mirror and took in the result. Saffron stared with her head tilted to one side. I stared. I loved the deep colour of the roots and the pink. I loved how white blonde the ends were. I just couldn’t work out how the entire look felt.

You can see it in my face that I am not totally blown away.

Saffron and I decided this look needed more pink. MORE PINK PLEASE!

Oh and more pink did we get!

So, Saffron took out strips of tin foil and like speedy gonzalos, whizzed round adding more and more colour to my hair.

As I waited for my hair to transform, I was unleashed! (Basically by this point I was dying for the bathroom, so Saffron let me go to the toilet and wander round the salon for a nosy. Oh my word, I had a BLAST)

This stain is where Saffron dropped a brush with dye on the floor. Now she has something to remember me by. Whoops.

These look pretty!

Oooh! So many colours!!

I started to get excited by the fact I was in a salon and able to go backstage and take a closer look around the place!! Let’s go shall we?

Oooh what is this?

Ooooh ahhhhhh. So this is where she was mixing my colours.

Seeing this reminded me of staring at the period table in chemistry at school.

An entire wall of leaves!! Can you be-leaf it?

This reminded me of the movie “The Runaway Bride” where Julia Roberts’ character designed funky lamps!

HOW COOL IS THIS!!! Charge your phone while you have your hair done!! This place has so many perks!

I’ve always wanted to hold a hair dryer and pose like this in a salon. Another item ticket off the bucket list!

Look how fancy that wash station looks. Those chairs are SO COMFY!

A beautiful product stand all lit up by the front!

I have no idea what this machine is, but it reminded me of an Arnie movie called “Total Recall” this is all an illusion!!!

I’m having a blast right now. Don’t mind me.

It had gone dark now. Saffron washed my hair again, (lucky me! More time in the squishy chair!) and once again, did a blow dry and she was super gentle! NO PULLING, TUGGING or CLAWING !!!! Yay!

Aaaaaaaand we have the final result!!! Are you ready for it??

Well here’s my before:

Blonde bombshell.

Anndddd…..this is after the blow dry:

Saffron curled the hair for me because you all know I’m a sucker for curly, bouncy hair. And this is the final result.

I’m SO in love. What’s more, There was a side room with a studio set up and an amazing ring light!

Time for Laura to play!!!!!

It was AMAZING. What a day!!! What an experience!! I felt pampered like a celebrity! And I felt SO lucky to get to have a cheeky look around the place!

Saffron told me what products to buy to keep my beautiful hair vibrant and healthy and it came in a lovely bag too!

I know I got over-excited but what else can you expect when your hair looks like this!!!

I absolutely love my new look. The quality of the colour and how Saffron has blended it with so many different shades is absolutely mind-blowing.

I’m not just saying this as a family member. I actually feel really lucky to be even remotely, related to the owners of Safy B’s.

Saffron is a national treasure, hidden in this beautiful gem (otherwise known as a Salon) The care and diligence she puts into her work is above and beyond anyone I’ve ever known.

Not only that, but she and Andy have built this stunning Salon that is welcoming, warm, fun and comfortable! With all the little perks to make it more memorable and fun!

Thank you so much Saffron for an incredible day. Yes I did end up having a weep tonight, just so grateful to have been giving a new lease of life.

I feel girly and fun and creative and it is JUST what I’ve needed!!

You can follow Safy B’s on Facebook (Safy B’s Hair Salon)

Or Instagram: @Safyb_salon

If you want to see what gorgeous colour you can achieve and book an appointment at Safy B’s tell her “Laura Burton” referred you and you will get 25% off!

And I promise you, it will be worth every penny.

5 Stars.

How To Look Cute In A Hat (Winter Edition)

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So, I posted a picture on Instagram earlier this week. I recently bought myself a new winter hat and when I plonked it on my head, I expected to look like Elle Woods (Legally Blonde.) Or, a more-recent reference I suppose would be YouTube sensation, Zoella.

This was the post:

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When I looked in the mirror, I gasped to begin with and then burst out laughing. Of course, I then proceeded to take a selfie and show my husband. That’s the kind of person I am you see, some people are so self-conscious that they would tear the hat off their head immediately and burn it. Not me? I am able to laugh at myself, and even let other people laugh at me too.

So, after posting over social media about my hat woes, I had some friends reach out and offer some friendly advice. Then I decided to do some trial and error and find out if it is possible to look cute in a winter hat if you’re just an average person – you know, not a size 0 model with hair extensions and veneers.

Soo…..this is Laura’s guide on: How to look cute in a hat! Enjoy!

How Not To Wear A Hat

Don’t wear it too low.

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It may hide the crows feet on your eyes but it also hides the world from your view, which is a pretty big health and safety risk and it doesn’t exactly look adorable.

Don’t cover your hairline.

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This is the classic garden gnome look.

Don’t cover your eyebrows.

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Why? Because if you turn yourself upside down, you look like an egg in an egg cup. I’m guessing that’s not the look you’re going for.

Don’t show too much hair.

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Unless you want to rock it out to some heavy metal, this look doesn’t really work. Although, to be fair, I thought it looked super fun when I took this picture.

What To Do:

Sit the hat on the back of your head.

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This gives you the warmth you need, without flattening your hair too much and allowing people to see your face. A bold lipstick with a winter hat is a must by the way.

Frame your face with your hair.

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Waves look adorable with a hat. It adds volume to your hair and softens your appearance.

Pose sideways.

Hats look super cute when you take a photo from the side. This trick may be a little difficult if you want to look cute at a party…maybe try and walk sideways the whole time.

Or, you know, just embrace the loopy look and stay warm. That’s most important thing right??

Well, so now you know how to look cute in a hat! 🙂

Laura

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