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Happy New Year!

6 Jan

I’ve been extremely quiet on the ol’ blogging front over the last 6 months. This is about to change, I promise.

As I begin to make new plans for 2014, I spent time reflecting on the many many great times, memorable experiences and personal achievements of 2013. And not one to miss a trick (read social media fad), I made a flipagram:

Flipagram: My Year in 2013

In summary, I saw in 2013 in Donegal, visited Berlin, London, Ibiza, Dublin, Orkney, Prague, Exeter. Went to 7 weddings and 3 hen weekends. Celebrated 3 engagements (and asked to be a bridesmaid at 2 of them!), 1 baby, two 18ths, three 30ths and a 60th. Went to a couple of gigs (Glasvegas, Stone Roses, Kings of Leon, Jake Bugg, Disclosure, Ocean Colour Scene, The View to name a few). First bungee jump, first snowboarding lesson, one year all clear, and lost 4 stones…

All in all, it was a very good year! No wonder I didn’t have time to blog!

Surprise Wedding Video!

27 Mar

One of my bestest and life-long friends, Allana (now Mrs Broon) got married at the weekend and I wanted to do something special, memorable and a little bit different for her big day!

Myself and the other three girls in the video, Claire, Louise and Vicky, have all been friends with Allana since we were at Darvel Nursery – almost 25 years! We had to wait on Claire coming back from Oz before we could film it and Vicky has a bun in the oven… but nonetheless we did it.

It was unveiled for the first time during the wedding speeches… and it’s a belter even if I do say so myself!

No More Blood To Give.

17 Jan

I went down to my local town hall last night to give blood and was told that because I’ve had cancer, I’ll never be able to donate blood again. This makes me very sad. So much so that I cried in front of the nurse – what a numpty!

On a serious note though, I really am gutted. The nurse said it’s because they don’t yet know how cancer spreads through the body (which is probably why I can’t have a massage for the next 5 years either), so until further research is done on this I can’t donate any more blood.

I have tried to donate blood regularly since I was eligible to do so when I turned 18, and knowing that it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be able to donate again (or get a free Tuc biscuit) is just shit.

Tuc biscuits were my favourite post blood donation snack

Tuc biscuits were my favourite post blood donation snack

Having got the all clear 4 months ago, I was indescribably relieved and ecstatic. So to find that there are still going to be limitations and implications on what I can do due to the fact that I had cancer in the past is hard to accept but something that I’m going to have to learn to deal with in the coming months and years. Just another wee hurdle to jump over.

I’ll just need to ramp up my 10k runs to marathons (choke) and raise more sponsor money instead of giving blood…

If anyone wants to find out more information on giving blood visit the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service website. The fact that only 5% of the Scottish population give blood, you really are  making a HUGE difference to someone’s life.

Glasgow’s 1st Christmas Parade

24 Nov

A friendly elf

Now I don’t know what I was expecting when I first heard Glasgow was going to have it’s very own Christmas parade this year, with my only prior knowledge of Christmas parades being the iconic Macy’s parade in New York (depicted in movies such as Miracle on 34th Street) I imagined floats, gigantic balloons and marching bands!

Boy was I disappointed.

On Sunday, having persuaded my friend to go and watch it with me, we were patiently waiting among the crowds  for the ‘spectacle’ to start. Waiting in the drizzly rain from 1.30pm, the parade was late in starting. I got bored and left the crowds on Buchanan street and when I returned half an hour later, expecting to see the parade in full swing, it was nowhere to be seen!

Luckily I caught the tail end of it as it headed out from Royal Exchange Square back on to Buchanan Street.

To be fair to Hamley’s (the famous toy store that organised the parade), from the 100 or so participants who took part,  the costumes were brilliant – big, bright and elaborate, they were lively and they interacted with the spectators. But I can’t help thinking that they can do better.

I’m expecting bigger things in 2013!

Christmas tree angels

Larger than life

Hamley’s bear

The Santa Express

Stormtroopers do Christmas

Hamley’s, Glasgow

Happy Halloween!

26 Oct

It’s Friday 26th October 2012, and for the folks of Kilmarnock, and surrounding areas, that means it’s Halloween!

Despite the fact that the rest of Scotland and the world celebrate Halloween on the 31st October, holding Halloween on the last Friday of the month has been a local custom in Kilmarnock for as long as anyone can remember.

Me dressed as Spongebob Square Pants in 2007

As a kid it never occurred to me that this tradition was odd. It wasn’t until I went to University in Dundee, and then started working in Glasgow, that I realised we did things differently in Ayrshire. Every year, it’s always met with the same humour and amazement by my friends and colleagues, as I discuss my plans for Halloween and tell them about this little known tradition.

There’s no real explanation as to why it exists today, but one suggestion is that it dates back to the industrial and mining past of the town when workers were paid on Fridays, and so they had a little bit of spare money to spend on sweets for the kids before it all went on food and bills.

I always laugh at the thought of what new comers to the town  must think of this tradition. I hope locals tell them in advance of Halloween and they aren’t left to wander the empty streets of Kilmarnock on the 31st of October!

Nonetheless, I’m quietly proud of our little peculiar custom and hope that it continues for many years to come!

Happy Halloween folks of Ayrshire!

Me dressed as fried egg in 2006

Flowers, flowers everywhere…

4 Sep

Flowers, my house is full of flowers. It’s nice. It’s a reminder of all the love my family and friends have been showering me with. I had my first surgery nearly two weeks ago at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, since being diagnosed with cancer. It was fertility conserving surgery, a combination of LLETZ and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to remove some lymph nodes in my pelvic area to test for spreading.

I’m now at home recovering and patiently waiting on the results. My surgeon said everything went well, and I was even discharged the day after my operation, but it still hasn’t stopped me thinking the worst. I’ve been more emotional these past few weeks than I have been and I think that’s because the severity of the disease is finally starting to sink in. It’s devastating to think I might need a hysterectomy and therefore unable to have children. However, there’s no point dwelling on the ‘what ifs’. Here’s to getting the all clear!

‘Flowers in a beer mug’ – one of my many bouquets of flowers


							

A big stooshie!

1 Aug

I have been back in Scotland just over a month now and all I seem to be doing is waiting… waiting to see this specialist, waiting for this scan, waiting to see that consultant, which makes me feel like I’m still in limbo. But on a much better note, I’ve had some great news since I came home.

I saw the specialist at Crosshouse Hospital the week after I returned home, and having brought my biopsy samples home with me from Korea for the pathologist to re-test in Scotland (yes I brought my cancer home in my hand luggage) the doctor told me that the cancer is still at a very early stage 1B. He said the tumour was tiny and that it’s completely curable – the only downside is maybe the price I’ll have to pay i.e. my fertility. He also said that it’s unlikely that I’ll need any chemotherapy or radiotherapy. As you can imagine I was delighted to hear this news! In fact delighted doesn’t even begin to cover it, it was the best news I’d had since this whole malarky started!

Having had this news I feel like my life is no longer on hold and I can start to plan things again and look for a job.  Since that appointment I’ve had an MRI scan (the doctor was happy that the cancer hasn’t spread) and I’ve been referred to a specialist at Stobhill hospital in Glasgow. After a consultation with him, I’ll have another cone biopsy, similar to what I had in Korea (to make sure they have removed all the cancer) and I think they also plan to take out a few lymph nodes to test to check that the cancer hasn’t spread to them. And as far as I’m aware that might be all the treatment I’ll need. If that is the case then I feel like I’ve caused a big stooshie over nothing!

Nonetheless, until I’ve had the all-clear the war paint stays firm!

Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart