Tag Archives: health

It’s Life Jim, But Not As We Know It

Following on from my previous blog post, A Whole New World, I did indeed make it to my first day in the new job. And in an instant, it was gone. 

I started my new job, met the fab new team and received a warm welcome to the office. It was something of a baptism of fire as clients began reacting to the news that a global pandemic had been announced. The boss gave the small team the option to work from home as it emerged that traveling by public transport and working in close proximity was aiding the virus growth.

We had a team lunch, tried to keep spirits high while all churning over the breaking news. Major shops closing, high profile cases being reported, death tolls in China, Italy, Spain and then at 5pm, instead of rushing home, we waited and watched the first UK government live press conference.

On Monday 16th March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation that COViD-19 had been declared a pandemic and the UK was about to take drastic measures to stop the spread among the elderly and infirm. There were tears, I felt for these girls I’d met just a few hours ago, and my boss. Caring, worried about her staff and clients as well as her own family. We went home with a plan to give clients more support than ever before.

On Tuesday, I brought my children home. My daughters and I have a vascular disease. We’re not at increased risk of contracting COViD-19, but my middle daughter had lung surgery a little while back, and I wasn’t taking any risks. Tuesday 17th March became day one of Social Distancing for us as a family.

On Wednesday 18th March, I was let go from my new job. Contract terminated with immediate effect as I was still in the probation period. I don’t blame my boss at all. It’s a scary time for everyone in business and at this early stage, the support package from the government hadn’t been announced. She assured me that once this was over, there would be a role for me.

On Thursday 26th March, we made a poster, with a rainbow on it and a message of thanks to those on the front line, our incredible NHS workers. At 8pm we stood on our front doorstep and we applauded and cheered as a way to give thanks to those making huge sacrifices for us. It won’t ever be enough.

It’s now Sunday 29th March 2020. We’ve adjusted to life, for now. My mum and step-dad, friends Michelle, Kate and Paul have become our lifeline, delivering shopping, helping with school work for the kids and my brother and sister have kept our spirits up thanks to Whatsapp. The Ble Room podcast, which I’ve contributed to for a year this month, has also kept me sane, utilising Skype to catch up with the lads and chat all things Everton and COViD-19 of course. Houseparty is a great app. Get it.

It’s day 13 and while we’re having a lazy Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll be starting a new routine. 9am PE with Joe, 10:30 – 1:30 school work, no Ipads or tech until 4pm. Everyone is helping to prep lunch and tea. There will be baths and bed and movie night on the projector thanks to Disney+ and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

I don’t know what’s to come. The prospect of it scares and excites me in equal measure. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. I’ve learned some serious lessons these last couple of weeks, and I’ve no doubt there are more to come. For me, going back isn’t an option.

I hope you and yours are safe and well.

To every single key worker and volunteer, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for everything you’re doing, you are incredible. 

 

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Rescue Me

I spent some time in hospital this week but it turns out being in the comfort of my home proved more dangerous. 

I’m typing this with a concussion. Sadly there’s zero chance of a ‘No Win No Fee’ payout because the whole Scooby Doo style escapade was entirely my own fault. It all started back in December.

The lovely people at Whirpool recalled my washing machine due to some faulty whatsit or other and my shiny new, non-french speaking replacement (don’t ask), arrived today. It’s rare I move my washing machine to brush or mop behind it because I’ve convinced myself the dark corner of my kitchen resembles the set for Arachnophobia back there.

With the new arrival imminent I decided an act of heroism was required. Move the machine out, detach the overflow and cold water feed, pull out the plug and mop the empty space. Also, potentially run like hell and set fire to the house, should a spider appear.

Steps 1 – 4 went swimmingly. No spiders either which makes me more suspicious than calm. As I finished my Mary Poppins routine, my phone rang on the other side of the room. I leaped into action, forgetting the floor was awash with Zoflora and proceeded to skid, slide and tumble to the floor, hitting my head, knee and hip off the kitchen cabinets and lastly, off the floor, before welcoming swirly patterns on the inside of my eyelids.

Oh my word, it hurt so badly and as expected with any kind of trauma, my nose exploded and bled all over my top too. My poor mum is heading for a heart attack any day now with the stress I’ve caused her this week alone. Paramedics, appendixes, kidneys oh my! And that was just Sunday! Now concussion. It’s been one hell of a week.

I’m bruised and sore. I’m also in awe of the fact I’ve managed to keep three children alive and well for as long as I have considering my personal safety and spacial awareness skills are f&cked.

Here’s to the NHS, incredible front line staff who work their asses off, still manage a smile and a bit of banter throughout grueling shifts. Here’s to the bed managers at Aintree Hospital – I was parked up next to these women on Sunday night while they tried to get me a bed and I’ve genuinely never seen a work ethic like it.

Here’s to the paramedics lining the corridors with their patients, waiting to be transferred before once again going back to fore for those in need. Including the impromptu case of my 14-year-old who collapsed watching a cannula being inserted into my wrist.

Here’s to mums. Bloody superstars.

 

 

 

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Can You Say That Again…?

My house is all about decibels. Friday night kitchen dance-offs give Alexa a headache from K Pop overload and Lee Butler’s 051 mixtapes…..

My three are early risers and so the racket begins from around 6am with renditions of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ as my alarm wakes the street. Cue jumping on the bed (them not me) and scootering around the kitchen when the washing machine hits full spin and Channel 5’s Milkshake presenters cry ‘Stomp and roar like a dinosaur’ for the 15th time that morning.

After hair dyers, tumble dryers, Radio City and Beats have been turned off and put away, the morning traffic, school kids, mobile phone alerts, blaring horns and schools bells replace the din.

 

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Day-rider toting, bus wanker complete with Kanye morning playlist turned up on Beats.

 

On the way to work the buses are packed with fellow commuters chatting too loudly on phones or to each other about how late/tired/overworked they are. Other people’s headphones vibrate with every genre, prompting me to turn mine up, much to the annoyance of the lady who sits next to me on the 10a from Knotty Ash. She’s not a fan of early morning Kanye.

At work the banter (I love that word, sorry not sorry) ranges from quiet words and carefully orchestrated meetings, taking turns to speak and listen in turn….to mad office sing alongs, multiple takes during filming and raucous laughter on location with clients. The thoughts, conversations and ideas running through my mind to their own beat.

Afternoon school run is again chaotic. Singing, chatting, talking about our day, what’s for dinner, homework and bedtime negotiations ensue. Dinner time at the table always, ALWAYS involves a spilled drink, which is swiftly followed by shouts of blame, rolling eyes and tired smiles.

Bedtime is a softer kind of noise, and man, I make those stories last as long as possible, knowing that when I’ve finished the 4th rendition of Oh No George….it all stops. At 8pm the only sound is the TV, or if I chance throwing the Dyson around.

The silence is deafening and it reeks of loneliness. You’d think that after a busy day with three kids, work and a 5km commute on busy roads, I’d be glad to kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet? Sometimes I do, but it doesn’t last. The bird song and the far away sonic booms make me crave someone to kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet with.

Alexa…….play…..anything

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Spare Parts

This weekend I sat in a caravan in North Wales writing about a Barrow in Furness engineering company. This my friends is the future of journalism.

I’ve officially finished 6 months of NCTJ exams and studies and submitted my e-portfolio for marking. In the same week I’ve weathered the EU referendum storm, submitted 12 months worth of personal documents to HMRC who seem to think there is someone else living in my house who claims tax credits and met with Carole, my business mentor, who is hopefully going to help me set up as a freelance journalist.

It’s safe to say I’ve been under a bit of pressure the last few months which may go some way to explain the weekly bouts of sickness I’ve been experiencing. I’m not pregnant, just thought I’d make that abundantly clear. But low and behold, mid Sunday roast yesterday, the mystery illness made an unwelcome return and I’ve been living in the bathroom ever since.

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Despite the crippling stomach pain and inconvenience of living in the bathroom two days a week, the worst thing to come of this situation is my deteriorating relationship with food. I swing wildly from small amounts of granola and ‘safe’ food, to absolutely nothing, to a boneless box from KFC…..and a tango. I’m getting to the point where I’m too scared to eat. During my last week of exams I ate just over 2000 calories in three days because I couldn’t afford to get sick, no where near enough sustenance for a busy mum of three.

I made the HUGE mistake of googling my symptoms around 2am when I got bored of courting the bathroom tiles. Stomach cancer, ulcerative colitis and acute pancreatitis and a tearful call to NHS direct later………..and it looks like my gallbladder is broken. Which isn’t so bad because it turns out you don’t need one!

Awaiting a scan at the moment to see what my options are.

On the positive side I’ve lost almost a stone and my work productivity rate is through the roof. Silver linings eh?

 

 

 

 

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May I?

I’ve failed my exams this month, spectacularly. I’ve so much respect for print journalists who can knock out 100 words per minute in shorthand, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects, noisy environments and random accents. You people are like, magical or something.

Sadly I’m not sure I’m cut out to join the elite, despite my brilliant shorthand lecturer persevering with me, I have hit the 80 wpm wall and cant seem to block out all the nonsense long enough to hit that coveted centenary mark.

I bowled into college, 12 minutes late last Friday morning, amid a flurry of phone calls that wound me right up, only to realise I had no pen (not even my trusty Army, Be The Best biro) or paper to transcribe on to, urgh.

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One emotional meltdown and four and a half minutes later I had failed my 100 wpm exam. Undeterred by the fact I was busy trying to concentrate, the drama continued through-out the break and into the 80 wpm re-sit exam an hour later. Plus some kid was sitting in MY seat. Failed again, head was most definitely elsewhere and not in the world of Teeline.

I’ve stressed myself out so much this month that the stomach ulcer I cultivated back in October decided to make an unwelcome return resulting in horrendous sickness for three long weeks. I didn’t even lose any weight, no need.

My daily diet of strawberry laces, Costa and cake wasn’t helping. I routinely resort back to the usual excuse; single mum of three, studying, working to build contacts, reputation and an attractive portfolio, plus running a home…..oh and my cat popped four kittens out on Sunday morning. I’m a bit busy to say the least and I’ve survived for too long on nervous energy and sugar!

So on to the positives! I now eat food, proper grown up food, and the biggest surprise is…..I actually like it! (munching porridge with grated apple and banana in it right now in fact). I feel so much better in just 4/5 days its remarkable. If you see me loitering around KFC, you have permission to kick my ass.

And because I feel better I’ve been able to get involved with some awesome events. I spent four idyllic days in Barcelona and sat in the press box and conference room at the Nou Camp. I’ve solved a murder mystery at the The Empire Theatre with Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap.

I’ve (unsuccessfully) tried to nick a lamb from Farmer Ted’s ( they’re so bloody cute) and held an Amazonian tree frog! I’ve rocked out with a bunch of ten year olds at a disco party and ate my (substantial) body weight in Army field kitchen chicken jalfrezi at the Liverpool Food & Drink Festival, Sefton Park.

I had a bit of a snog with Paddy McGuinness (sorry Woernee) at Madam Tussauds, Blackpool and tickled a stingray at Sea Life Centre. Watching the Kop come alive at Liverpool V Chelsea a couple of weeks ago was phenomenal, I’ve never experienced anything like that atmosphere, and the die hard fans tell me it was rubbish at that game

I had the privilege of cuddling brand new baby Elliot and feeling so much love for my wonderful friend Lisa who brought him into the world in a convenient 20 minutes! The same day I had root canal, two fillings and a cocktail for lunch…..and a 3 hour mid afternoon nap as a result!

My little dudes have had a blast in Blackpool, 518ft up in the air at the top of the Blackpool Tower, gasped at the awesome acrobatics at the circus and built their very own tower replica from Lego. We went back to school and walked the corridors of Broadgreen International school, 17 years after I left, whole separate blog post on this shortly.

I’ve photographed my own fantastic city from the roof of the Hope Street Hotel, had a brew with the new Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Roz Gladden and begun work on my first ever complete fashion collection, ready to show in Autumn 2016.

Ulcer schmulcer. Thank you so very much to the Alice and Greg, Jay Hynd and Amanda Moss for your continued support and thrilling opportunities to write. There are tonnes of new photo’s in the gallery here and check out my most recent work with The Guide Liverpool here.

Bring it on June!

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Friday Night Disco

It’s Friday night, its 9:30pm and I am busting some serious moves…..sat at my desk….listening to Itunes shuffle…..in my running kit….despite only going as far as the wheelie bins in my front garden today.

It’s been an absolutely manic few weeks and I’ve racked up a good few miles just dashing from meetings to interviews to catch up coffees and lessons. I love that step counter app thingy on my iphone, you know the heart icon one that tells me how many bars of Galaxy I can have after my tea….I mean how many steps I’ve done.

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Proof that I got off my ass in 2008.

Despite all the dashing (I sound like a bloody reindeer) I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time sat on my arse consuming sugar-laden Costa coffees which has done my summer body prep no good whatsoever.

It would appear that journalists spend a lot of time sat in meetings, in pubs, coffee shops on trains, buses and cabs. Journalists do not tend to carry out meetings while generally moving, at all.  And the last time I checked, talking (even the sheer amount that I do) does not burn body altering amounts of calories, nor does it tone bingo wings or create Victoria Secret model-esque body types. This is bitterly disappointing news.

It’s now March (silent scream) and I’ve not really made any effort whatsoever towards my dream goal of being a perfect size 10 for Grand National weekend, panic has set in.

So, as per my usual knee-jerk reaction to pretty much everything, I’m lacing my Nikes up first thing tomorrow and heading to the park with my sister to rack up some miles. Also typical me, I have signed up for Hellrunner which is a half marathon distance with obstacles (muddy bog, freezing river, big-ass hills) dotted through Delamere Forest in Cheshire. It’s either train for these type of events or live on dust for the rest of eternity, and my god I love cake, so that’s just not an option.

Wish me luck!

Edit- forgot to mention that my friends have now renamed me Cake Reilly. Sounds like Kate….its just that Cake is more me….or just is me. Yep. 

 

 

 

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Eat Sleep WAHHHH Repeat

This weekend I suffered the ultimate shame. I had to listen to a stranger apologise for MY behaviour. I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life. This is how it came about.

I started the NCTJ course in early September and since then my feet have barely touched the ground! I’m on the go from 5am until 8pm most days, furiously scribbling shorthand exercises all over the Metro paper en route to college and consuming every possible headline on Twitter. Lessons involve British history, political debate, discussing media law cases and commentating on football matches, plus learning hieroglyphics……no wait sorry…I mean shorthand (which after four weeks I’m finally beginning to get my head around).

It’s hard work and I’m not ashamed to say some days I feel like I’m struggling to keep up. I come tearing out of college after hours of lessons to collect my three kids from nursery and school to go straight home and start dinner, feed them, clear up, tell them to quit bickering and pulling hair, start the bath and bedtime routine, throw the hoover around, while soaking up the tidal wave in the bathroom and wiping sticky finger marks off the TV and then pack bags for the following day and set out clean uniforms. Once they’re all in bed after four requests for a drink, a wee and yet another raucous rendition of Room on The Broom I can finally sit down to look over the days notes and try to retain least a little bit of the information I’ve learned. Sound familiar? It’s all go……well until it all stopped, on Saturday.

I was taken to The Royal Liverpool Hospital by paramedics Eddie and Rich, who after learning that I’m a trainee journalist, went on to tell me just how deeply the NHS cuts were being felt by staff and patients. It’s a sorry tale, and one I intend on writing up in detail in the coming weeks. (See Eddie, told you I’d give you a mention)

The medical staff in A&E worked out I was suffering from some kind of virus and left me with a dainty little cardboard pot in a busy triage while they prepped my paperwork. It was at this exact point that I lost control of my faculties. Feeling a wave of heat rising rapidly from my feet I tried in vain to get my Superdry hoody off over my head……only to faint forwards out of the chair and vomit all over the shoes of two ladies sat to my left. The last thing I remember is a nurse running towards me saying ‘Oh dear, I’m so sorry about that’

I came around a minute of so later laying on a bed feeling utterly horrendous and being glared at by two angry-looking ladies wiping their shoes with paper towels. Not my finest hour. It turns out I have a stomach ulcer and coughing up blood all weekend is a symptom of doing something wrong! I’d run myself into the ground, my diet was pretty disgusting and trying to be the best at everything clearly wasn’t working out.

Armed with a medicine haul Walter White would be proud of, I’m now back at home resting up. I’ve come up with a better strategy to still be awesome at everything but also to take better care of myself too. And the silver lining….easy weight loss!

Thank you so very much to everyone who looked after me. Paramedics Eddie and Rich, A&E staff Laura, Kayleigh and Rob and especially to the lovely catering lady who said she’s save me chicken curry and rice in case I got my appetite back. Legends!

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Liverpool Loves

This morning I met 150 people in less than an hour…..nope not another disastrous attempt at speed dating…but an utterly brilliant business festival at the iconic Cunard building….welcome to three day festival..Liverpool Loves.

As a trainee journalist with a passion for everything marketing, PR and art based in the north west, I thought it would be a good idea to meet as many local companies and training providers as possible to find out first hand, how local businesses and media agencies build working relationships. I’ve been away from the north west for almost 3 years and Liverpool as a city has evolved into something almost unrecognizable. Business is booming, job opportunities for self-starters and apprenticeships are growing and there is a whole host of independent traders popping up, making the city center more diverse than ever before. Liverpool is an exciting place to be.

I couldn’t have picked a better event to begin my learning journey. I chatted easily with many passionate, friendly people and I came away feeling overwhelmed but elated with a tree worth of printed information about tailored support and mentoring. The Women’s Organisation, Launch 22 and Agent Marketing all providing practical solutions, training opportunities and advice that really opened my eyes to how media and business work hand in hand to reach wider yet specific audiences, enabling new start-ups to flourish. I enjoyed today immensely and feel much more confident about approaching the companies I have an interest in. My (humble) advice if you have a business idea, want more information about starting out or just want to feel inspired by people really making a go of it….be confident….get off your bum and go speak to them…..buy them a coffee and have a chat….they’re human too!

As per my tweet earlier today. Hats off to Liverpool Loves organizers Orb Events CIC if the business festival was just the launch event…the next two days of music, food, health and well being are going to be truly spectacular. I’ve added my photos to the Inspiration page, can you spot any famous faces?

For all the listings of whats on at Liverpool Loves please click here. For Business, for families, for everyone!

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