Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Normally I would start a Monday Magic whilst sitting with a cup of coffee on a Monday morning.  But since I was last here, I have been found lurking in hospital corridors again….when a nurse pal texted me last week saying she hoped the picolax (medicine used for bowel clearance!) wasn’t too awful, my response was it wasn’t awful enough as I had to go back for a repeat run.  So the weekend has seen me on clear fluids and then foul fluids (a different, stronger bowel prep), and another admission this morning.  Several nurses looked at me and said that I looked familiar….well let us just say that i will be even more familiar as we go for the third time lucky.  Aghhh….I keep telling them that my gut is also affected by dodgy connective tissue, making it resemble baggy tights!


Enough of that…..there have been some really lovely, inspirational moments this week too that have not involved hospitals or drugs.  A Performing Arts Evening hosted by my Alumni committee, where some very talented people from across the generations and the disciplines spoke and performed with such passion and dedication.  Actress Molly Hanson left us in no doubt just how hard it is to break into the world of acting, the hard graft required at drama school and then the months spent doing any job to pay the bills.  But the elation of winning an acting nomination recently made it all worthwhile.  Amongst this week’s blogs is one that Molly writes with student Isobel Thom (see previous post about Izzy here).


Beautiful young actresses Molly and Izzy

Young singer/songwriter Josh Selimi is currently studying accounting whilst looking for an agent and promotion, whilst at a very youthful 90, Bob Barter stole the show when he took to the keyboards and entranced us with his jazz.

The following night we were treated to a performance of The Adams Family by our daughter’s and eldest son’s schools.  Staged in a local theatre, these young people sang, danced and acted their hearts out – whilst many are studying for GCSEs and A levels.


The middle child celebrated his first birthday away from home and was in full student mode outside a pub by midday.  He actually hung up on his mother when I phoned him and sang Happy Birthday….so hubby phoned straight back and sang the next line, with the eldest finishing off our little ditty!  Talking of birthdays, yours truly spent the weekend up to elbows in icing and glitter creating a pinata unicorn cake for a special 6 year old.




Without further ado, please spend a little time having a look at these great blog posts – enjoy some tips for coping with “one of those days” and breaking down tasks into bay steps, and learning that laughter really is the best medicine.  Enjoy!—a-review

Please share the posts you enjoy and drop a comment or a like for these bloggers.

Have a great week,

Claire x




Things I’ve learnt since being a mum #MothersDay #SundayBlogShare

How many UK mums woke up this morning to luke warm drinks and cold toast served up on a tray with a side of daffodils?  Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!  No, my lot are beyond that – in fact only one of them is here and she had to be dragged out of her pit.  But we did have our 7 year old nephew staying and he was awake bright and early – Uncle Dunc’s job to play, watch Lego You tube videos and generally entertain.  So I was greeted with an enormous shout of “Happy Mother’s Day, but you’re my auntie” as I entered the kitchen.

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Being a Mum

I haven’t heard from either of the boys in person yet…they may just be emerging from their pits.  The student engineer went out with his boyfriend and his parents last night, and I did try to wangle an invite too but the thought of us turning up sent him a delicate shade of grey, tinged with an air of panic!  But….yesterday morning the doorbell went at some unearthly hour and a delivery arrived for me.  From the politics student…for Mother’s Day.  Wow!!! Very impressed with a lovely box of chocs – but what is with the note?!

Olly gift

All the talk of Mother’s Day on TV & radio this morning has got me thinking about some of the things I’ve learnt since being a mum….

  • Yes the love is unconditional and two way – until you find felt tip all over the walls, or the lovely 12 year old turns into a teen….hormones, smells, trainers, mouldy food, and you are “the worst mum in the world” – maybe a little doubt creeps in
  • There is no right way to do it – but there is your way (and believe me it will be different to everyone else’s!)
  • Parenting is bloody hard and no it doesn’t get easier….it just changes!  Some days you will long for the time that your offspring was portable and could be strapped in to a carrier, rather than this 6 foot something hulk looking down on you determined to do his own thing.
  • An appreciation for your own mum – I’m lucky as she is my biggest supporter, has my back and is my friend.  Hope I can say this about me and my girl too. 

  • Breastfeeding is not the most natural thing in the world for everyone.  Yes I did it people, but…..all 3 babes struggled to latch on (another design fault in my bodywork), I spent weeks walking round with cabbage leaves in my bra and got a fab dose of mastitis each time….twice with the lovely girl, was seen by every feeding counsellor under the sun and had a “let down” reflex that was so strong it even tuned in to passing lorries, leaving me with rivulets flowing down my shirt!!  And….I had enough milk to feed the entire post natal class,  I kid you not, even my midwife asked if I’d considered donating some (this was before the days of internet breast milk sales….can’t get my head round that).  Of course now I take full credit for their combined intelligence as being completely down to my super milk and my bloody mindedness (10 months for the boys, 6 for the girl)
  • Just because your gorgeous toddler eats everything, including his greens, doesn’t mean he will not turn into the fussy eater from hell!  And leaving him with the food in front of him or telling him you are not cooking anything else…well if he is strong willed and bloody minded (wonder where that comes from) he WILL go hungry! Even in his teens and twenties!
  • The playground can be even more competitive as a mum than as a child
  • You really can’t do it for them, no matter how hard you might try – be it walking, writing, revising, taking exams or joining the world of adults.
  • When this human you bore is hurt, physically or emotionally, it really can hurt you more than anything else – strange, but true!
  • They may only  call when they need something (money, a lift somewhere), but it is YOU that they call….
  • Kids are expensive – a whole post in its own right!
  • My reserves run so deep – be it patience, impatience, anger, frustration, love – and I can cope with so much more than I would ever have dreamt possible.  But I still feel like the same person I was at 22….

So I am raising a glass to all the Mums out there past, present and future….and to all of us kids, be we babes or grown ups, for being some Mum’s baby.

Scan 2

How time flies….about 11 years ago!




So Which Ology is it Today? The Chronic Life!


The winter Paralympics starts this weekend and once again my jaw will be undoubtedly hitting the floor as these athletes put themselves through feats that no human body should be exposed to.  Do they not know that this poor old body has not yet recovered from the near misses of the “Big Air”, the flips and trips of the ski slopes and the drama of the UK ladies’ final Curling match at the Olympics?  There is only so much stress one old girl can cope with!!

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Which Ology

This has been another of those medical fortnights, doing the rounds of the hospitals and doctors.  I called on my very own “Dad cab” the other day and as we arrived at the hospital even he said “So which Ology are we seeing today?” to which the receptionist grinned and replied “If you’re seeing an Ology you’ll be OK”……it will only be the Brits amongst you of a certain age who will get this.  So just to make sure no one misses out here is the wonderful Beattie aka Maureen Lipman:


So where were we?  Visiting rheumatology on this occasion and the very nice consultant(wrote about him here!) who is still of the opinion that I’m managing my condition very well, but he will defer comments about care of the ever dislocating shoulder to the orthopaedic consultant – who I visit next week.  But he doesn’t have an Ology, so it might not go well!!

Then there was the visit to Gastroenter”ology” and a young man who introduced himself as Chris and told me his dad trained at the same hospital as me at about the same time. How to make a middle aged bird feel even better about herself – and I haven’t even hit the half century milestone yet!  Well Chris, actually a registrar, explained the results of the last camera which looked down my gut, and would now like to do another one from the opposite direction – oh joy!!  I have to admit to being pretty impressed though when he actually rang me yesterday to confirm that the latest armful of blood I gave shows that my anaemia is worsening….and then I had a call asking me to go in for said delightful procedure on Tuesday.  So yours truly is currently sitting waiting expectantly for a fed ex delivery – no not of flowers and chocs from my children….but for bowel prep from the hospital!!  I know that in the 24 hours before I will only be allowed clear fluids and I have it on good authority that white wine is allowed – when the said authority called his hospital to ask if he could imbibe, he was told it was the first time they had been asked that!

It comes to something when you find yourself discussing which hospital coffee shop serves the best coffee, as Dad and I were on our way home – or when the highlight of the week is a trip out to hospital.  I believe it is called the chronic life!  So now back to the Paralympics to be amazed by superhumans doing extraordinary things and I will continue to daydream of flying through the air on a snow board…..



The Mystery Blogger Award

img_0989I am delighted to have been nominated for this award last month by Kim – I have delayed sharing it to avoid boring you all, having already written about one award in January! It is always an honour to be recognised by a fellow blogger and I am so thankful to Kim at Keep It Mindful blog. I “met” Kim at the end of last year soon after she started blogging about living life as a young mum with 2 children and a chronic illness. Kim has Multiple Sclerosis and writes with frankness and honesty on all manner of things – about her illness flares to potty training! Visit Kim here on Keep It Mindful and find out more.

The Mystery Blogger Award:

“It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
  Created by Okoto Enigma.

The rules are:

Put the award logo/image on your blog.

 • List the rules.

 • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

 • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

 • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

 • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

 • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

 • Share a link to your best post(s).    


Three Things about me:

1.  I am an avid reader, belong to several online book clubs and a local one where we meet monthly in the pub.

2. I started nurse training 30 years ago next month – March ’88 set.  We are having a reunion weekend in May – I haven’t seen some of the others since the early ’90s.

3. I have a fish phobia – live fish or fish with heads & eyes.  Not great when hubby had a huge tropical fish tank when we were first married!!

My Nominees:


My questions for you:

  1. What book has made an impact on you (at any age!)?
  2. Who from history would you like to have a drink  with?
  3. Tea or coffee? Cup or mug?
  4. What has been your greatest achievement?
  5. How would your friends describe you – in 3 words?


My answers to Kim’s questions:
1. What made you start blogging?

I was about to have a trial for a spinal cord stimulator to help control my chronic nerve pain and the blogging idea was to cover two bases: for friends and family to know how I was doing & save hubby on phone calls; I had received so much support from others online and I thought maybe I could give back some support & experience.  I must admit the fact my kids thought no one would want to read anything their mum wrote was a bit of a red rag to a bull!

2. Where would be your dream place in the world to see?


3. What is your ultimate goal in life?

For me this links to number 5 – to live life to the full whilst I can.  We never know what is around the corner.  If my kids are happy, generous and thoughtful adults…and I have been able to support/help others for as long as possible (I know, I know – the nursey, touchy, feely bit!) then my job is done!

4. If you had one super power what would it be?

Recently I have watched the TV spin off from the X Men, The Gifted – the gift of one mutant was the ability to change/take away the feeling of pain.  This would be my super power!!

5. Who or what is your motivation?

One of my closest friends died aged 37 from breast cancer and I have cared for various young patients as a cancer, AIDS & hospice nurse who died.  They are definitely my motivation, particularly now I have chronic illness, to live life to the full.  There are too many to list here but a few names that stay with me are Clare (aged 21 uncontrolled type 1 diabetes), Connie (age 23 cancer), Paul (age 28 AIDS), Sunil (mid 40s Motor Neurone Disease), Samantha (age 27 breast cancer) John (mid 30s Cancer of tonsils).


My 2 favourite posts that I have written are: Today You Beat Me and Be Kind to Each Other

Thank you again, let’s keep the positivity and enjoy your day/night.

Claire x 

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good morning – just about at the time of writing – and welcome to February.  It is a freezing morning here and we have even had a few flakes of snow – yours truly plans to stay indoors for the day.  It must be cold as the lovely girl actually put on a coat when she went out to do her paper round this morning, and believe me this is unheard of!.  Then it took hubby nearly 10 minutes to defrost the car windscreen, which was just as well as the student engineer and his other half wanted a lift to the station, but they were both still in bed 10 minutes before hubby needed to leave to get the girl to school!!  I have never seen two young men get out of the house so fast!!

Never a dull moment in our house this week with umpteen trips to see different doctors.  Gastroscopy on Monday – “would you like sedation, Claire?” “err…do I look stupid? Of course I want sedation!!! I’m a nurse and I have seen these….” – orthopaedics on Tuesday,(will write a proper post), GP on Wednesday.  Dad was really disappointed that I couldn’t arrange anything for Thursday and Friday!!  But of course there was the Blue Moon to distract everyone…or not in our case as it was too cloudy to see….and for me it really didn’t matter as fatigue and brain fog as dense as those clouds took over.  Well that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!pexels-photo-271897.jpeg

I wouldn’t want to leave out the middle child – particularly as we did receive contact from our politics student that wasn’t football related.  At 11pm Saturday night the ipad pinged and a message popped onto the screen – words to the effect “I have flu, I’ve thrown up everything I’ve eaten…what do I do?”.  Isn’t it amazing how these young, independent adults suddenly want their mummy & daddy for advice?  I mean what does he really think we are going to do from 300 miles away?  That makes me sound awful, and I’m not, honest – it just amused me. pexels-photo-416520.jpeg“Keep drinking….no, not alcohol, water!  Paracetamol….well ask a friend to go buy you some…..and don’t exceed the 24 hour limit!!”  We did speak to him yesterday and half his halls have flu, but I think he will survive.  I mean, I have had a shoulder hanging out again all weekend – what is he complaining about?? (This is tongue in cheek for those of you now wondering about my sense of humour – believe me, the son in question has the driest, darkest sense of humour around!)


In England the 1st February was #TimetoTalk Day – recognising and talking about mental health and illness.  I hope that opening up about this health issue is not confined to one day only, and I have found some great blog posts that focus on different aspects of mental health.  There is also a cosmetics review, some tips for all us bloggers to help our writing, and tips to juggle a busy life.  Two posts that really jumped out at me this week: one is published on a new blog, Chronic Pain India – please read the story of Namrata, A Hashi Warrior; the second is something close to my heart as an ex NHS nurse – the decision of The Ealing Mummy to leave the NHS.

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Monday Magic 5th Feb


So give yourself that break from whatever you are doing, grab a cuppa, sit down and explore some fantastic blog posts!


Image courtesy of Oriana’s Notes

Please give some feedback and comment, like, share posts!

Have a great week,

Claire x



Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Monday Magic 29 JanGood morning on the last Monday of January!  Our week has passed in a flurry of parents’ evening, book club, Burn’s night celebrations and not forgetting our son’s better half being offered a great new job.  Funnily enough we haven’t had any news on the politics student other than a text about football scores – oh, the life of a first year student!

Parents’ evening was like a speed dating event…five minutes per teacher and when the bell rings get up and run!  Not sure the computer goblin automatically churning out slots on the online booking system had allowed for mass movement between the hall and the library, and he hadn’t allowed for a wheelie like me – although hubby just used the wheelchair to barge through other parents!  For Burn’s night we were greeted by a piper resplendent in kilt , sporan and full regalia.  How is it that one set of bagpipes can sound as loud as the  (what is the collective term for bagpipes – haggis? sporan? noise?) whole Edinburgh Tattoo?  It certainly had the desired effect of moving guests swiftly from the lobby to the dining area, but I think the ladies serving whisky must have been deaf and in need of a few drams by the time the meal was served.  Slightly disappointing this year was the lack of kilts….couldn’t persuade hubby into one!

Our book club read the new Emma Donoghue book The Wonder this month – review to come – and as usual we had lively debate from the actual book, to last month’s book again (The City and The City by China  ……..) which is being made into a TV series starring David Morrisey, to the current BBC TV series McMafia and Hard Sun.  Amongst the blog posts that I have for you this week is an online book club aimed specifically at those who would find it hard to get out of the house to attend one.  This could be spoonie friends, elderly, young/new mums….anyone who enjoys a good book.  Talking of which, I am taking part in a blog tour this week so will just drop a flier in for it – more info later this week.Review Tour

I am sitting here Nil By Mouth and have a hot date with a gastroscope this afternoon, so it does pain me somewhat to invite you to pick up your coffee…..but I will do just that and encourage you to kick off your shoes, sit down and enjoy some great posts from some lovely bloggers.  Maybe I will give the pilates a go whilst you down your caffeine….


courtesy of Surviving Life’s Hurdles blog


Please comment, like, and share the posts you love.

Have a lovely week,

Claire x

Why Me? Well Why Not me? A Trip in the Tardis won’t be Changing my Lot!

Today I finished reading a science fiction book that has got me thinking – not my usual cup of tea but I have been asked to review it, so that will be coming!  Anyway the premise of the story was of life taking different turns and thus different timelines – the what if? or sliding doors scenario.  The main character finds himself with 3 different versions of himself due to time travel – the timelines all run from 1965 to 2016 and the world is a very different place in each one.  Which timeline is the correct one for the world? Is there such a thing as the “correct” one? How can one minute action change the whole future of the world? If we were all given different life timelines would it be possible to always make the right choices?

Life is full of uncertainties and every day is full of actions that will have consequences. How many times have you wondered after an event “what would have happened if I’d gone left rather than right?” It made me think about a recent conversation where a mother was saying that her poor teen child was always the one that things went wrong for, had the worst health problems, and suggested everyone around them should be sympathetic.  She said “When my teen gets upset and asks why does it always happen to me, I agree that it isn’t fair.”

Why Me

But is this the right way to answer?  Is Mum allowing the teen to always put the blame for every situation on to someone else? It may be better to stand up straight, shoulders back and tell the world “well I don’t like what has been handed to me, but I’m going to damned well get on with it”.  Over the years a powerful message that I learnt from so many patients was the “Well why NOT me mentality?”.  As you all know I can apply this to my health – I don’t have a fatal condition (neither does the teen!), but it is tricky to live with and I find it hard to think I may be like this for another 40 years.  I wonder if I hadn’t taken up rowing aged 12, or if I hadn’t become a nurse, or if I hadn’t fallen down the stairs in my second pregnancy and hurt my back again (hmmm….might answer some of the questions about son number 2!!), or hadn’t had a third pregnancy, or had genetic testing, or, or, or…..there could be so many different timelines if only something had been done differently.

But what a waste of energy.  The past can’t be changed and sadly I don’t yet have a time machine…..and even if Dr Who did offer me a spin in the Tardis, how much would it change?  Not my genetic condition…..I could think “Why me?”, but actually the bigger question is “Why not me?”.  When a close friend died aged 37 from breast cancer, I did ask “Why her?”…….but then look out the window and it could be anyone’s mother, father, brother, sister, friend couldn’t it?  If I could change our family timeline I would want to ensure that my kids hadn’t inherited EDS and that nothing bad would ever happen – but I can’t do that, so my job is to ensure that they accept it, live life to the full and for the moment.  If problems arise – the politics student’s migraines, the lovely girl’s dislocations and pain – then we will deal with them…..but by shouting “why me? it’s not fair….” is not going to help.

So, back to my novel – the main character found that every time the scientist invented a new machine, he also invented the “accident” of that machine; every time he was sent back to try to alter the timeline/revert to the original timeline, his actions would have a knock on effect….with unforeseen consequences.  I think I am actually starting to sound like my old physics teacher – for every action there is an equal and opposite action – or something like that!  So I guess for me and the teen, it means we have to get up, not dwell on the bad bits (sometimes easier said than done) and get on with the good bits.  But this is only one old crone’s ramblings!

Although if I’d had that time machine and could have made it so that I could join in at the SHS Burn’s night dancing last night…..equally I think hubby, Duncan, would be turning his back so that he wasn’t swept up to do the Gay Gordons!!


Burns Night Celebration – picture from SHS Association

Have a great weekend!

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Here we are at the start of a new week and time to explore some more blog posts.  This week has passed in a blur of hospital visits – as you know if you’ve read about my rusty old body int the last couple of posts! – and I must admit complete brain fog and cluster headaches.

The brain fog has caused much hilarity at times when my words have come out as something completely different to how they started in my brain.  Officially called expressive dyphasia, and commonly seen with strokes, I don’t think I’ll tell you how it is described in our house….I have experienced it once before when playing football at school aged about 12.  I had a head on collision with a friend, nearly knocked her teeth out, and then proceeded to become very concussed over the next couple of hours.  By the time I reached hospital, I couldn’t walk, speak or see – as the swelling inside my head started to subside, I remember being asked questions, knowing the answer but the words that came out were not connected to my brain!  I am sure that some family members would say that nothing has changed…..

Monday Magic - with brain fog

I’m just reading a science fiction book and came across this passage “There’s a small subset of people whose cognitive functions get scrambled in outer space.  Something about how the pressure change of the vacuum affects the bonds between molecules in the neurons of their brains.” (All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai) I had a light bulb moment – “YES! This is brain fog – even if it is in space”.

But moving on – checking over my spreadsheet of Monday Magic posts, I am amazed to see that there have been links for an amazing 354 blogs and some of those have featured several times. What a fantastic number of inspiring and motivational bloggers there are out there, and I feel that I find more new blogs every week.  So please take some time, sit down with a cuppa and enjoy some great posts with a bit of a self care theme running through them – all spoonie mums, my mate Jen Hardy would be really grateful if you would answer her survey ahead of a podcast.

Heated Butter Knife

Who wouldn’t want a heated butter knife???  Find this on Sunshine and Spoons list!

Please remember to share some love by commenting, liking and sharing!

Have a great week,

Claire x

Monday Magic – Happy New Year! Inspiring blogs to start 2018

Happy New Year, Pain Pals! Welcome to 2018….

Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season – I appreciate that for many of you this will have been hampered by health problems, for others it may be the first year since a bereavement, or just simply a difficult time – but we have to believe that there is always something positive, even out of negatives (hope my eldest is reading…..we call him Mr Glass half empty!).

I’m not going to do a look back at my year and bore you silly…..this week is probably enough.  Our week hasn’t gone exactly to plan – when does it ever? – with yours truly managing to fall off the sofa (I know, I know!) and putting out my shoulders, neck, ankle and hip in one foul swoop!! Of course this would be the night before we were due to travel to visit the in laws…..add hubby having a horrendous case of man flu (actually he has the most awful chesty cough and was banished to an empty child’s bed last night!) and the trip is off.  if you are reading, Dave and Wendy – I am so sorry! Kids are too as it meant any plans for New Year’s Eve parties in this house were ruined…..the teen girls due to gather decamped to another location and at the time of writing we have had no communications from the lovely girl! Plus one boy still old cold and snoring in bed here, having made it home.

Boxing Day

But two huge positives for me were managing a lovely family meal out on Boxing Day, and hosting the extended family the day after.  My brother’s family, the student engineer’s partner, and of course my lovely parents… the drone that one very silly auntie bought her nephew for Christmas.  Well I didn’t think he would be flying it around my living room!!!


I have put together a huge list of New Year blog posts for you from some of my blogging family…..many from the Big Up Your Blog community, others from Chronic Illness Bloggers.  There are reflections, good wishes, goals & resolutions, poetry and don’t miss Phil’s hilarious Predictions from a legit Psychic!  Plus the first is a great blogging invitation on Smorgasbord.  Sit back with a glass of something good (dry Jan can start tomorrow!) and enjoy.

Please be kind and share some love for these bloggers with likes, shares and comments!

Happy New Year! 

Claire x

Ode to Excess

My lovely friend Cathryn wrote this little ditty that we hope will amuse you all!

Ode to Excess (December 2017):

How many years have we said at this time
We’re not going crazy, just a few gifts are fine.
The kids have so much, they don’t need a thing
We’re lost for inspiration, the money does sting.


Determined to stick to the rules that we’ve set
We proudly congratulate ourselves not to get
Handfulls of gifts from Poundland to fill
Stockings and boxes, a bitter sweet pill.

Yet here we are a week yet to go
We’re edging close and even had snow.
The doubt starts to niggle, we wrestle our minds
“maybe just one more” gift we can find.
One turns to two to three and to four
Then Amazon calling and banging our door.

Panic sets in, have we equalled the spending
Presents still coming, bank balance bending.
Wrapping in secret, while the kids are asleep
Shoving up lofts and cupboards in heaps.
Convincing yourself the spend isn’t too great
Hiding receipts and getting into a state.

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Last minute guilt buys for mum and for dad
They’ve leant you money all year but if you don’t you’ll feel bad.
Passing the shops and buying one more
Rushing back home to find somewhere to store.

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All under the tree and ready to go
Kids are oblivious how little they know.
As you rock in a corner clutching a gin
Maybe next year you’ll be strong, not give in.

by Cathryn Watters

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