Mother’s Day 2015 – a day of celebration and reflection

It’s Mother’s Day today – I am sure you have noticed! It’s literally everywhere, there’s no missing or escaping it. It’s tough when your Mam isn’t around, dealing with the constant reminders that you have no flowers to buy, no lunch to book, no fuss to make. I actually find it harder than my Mam’s birthday. Perhaps that’s because that’s a more private date, without the fanfare.

So today I have had to give myself a kick up the backside, remind myself how lucky I am, and what a surprisingly lovely day it’s been. Other than about 30 minutes of child-like radginess, Jake has been a dream today. He woke me early, his first words were “Happy Mother’s Day, Mammy”! I didn’t mind being woken up – even at 6-50am on a Sunday!!! The hubby brought brekkie in from his nightshift, I got a little pressie I wasn’t expecting and even some lovely wine and chocs from my stepson.

This morning we headed to my Dad’s – this can be quite a difficult thing for me, but on Mother’s Day I really wasn’t looking forward to it. So we made tentative plans to take Jake to the park but, you know what, it was a lovely morning full of chat and laughter. We didn’t feel the need to head out after all. We even got out my Mam’s jewellery to look at for the first time. (Cue lots of questions from Jake such as “Has Nana not got her wedding ring on in heaven”? Even that didn’t faze me and my Dad. We took it in good humour. Funnily enough the other day he also randomly asked “Does Nana eat all of her favourite food up in heaven?” How his little mind works is beyond me.)

This afternoon I enjoyed a totally lush walk along the beach and a delish coffee and cake with my pal Carol. There’s something exhilarating about the rush of the windy North Sea, the crash of the waves and the sun in the sky.  I love Spring and all it promises. There’s also nothing better than a girlie chat with a good pal. It’s good for the soul it really is.

I came home to do some jobs around the house (yes even on Mother’s Day!) and was rewarded by Jake running me a bath (at 5pm!) which was too sweet. He still makes my heart melt at times with his little acts of kindness.

So I survived Mother’s Day morning in my family home without Linda herself there. Just! I still drive up expecting her to be waving at the window at us. She would be so proud of my little man, growing tall, loving to learn, excelling at his footy, singing out of tune and dancing in the nude! Never mind my niece Lily, who is coming to visit us in a couple of weeks. Jake is SO excited and keeps asking where she will sleep and how many days ’til they get here. And before that we have the small matter of a 6th birthday to sort, enjoy and survive! This time 6 years ago I was overdue and getting very impatient (which I know is SO unlike me!).

So, in celebration of being a Mammy, and remembering my own Mam, I am having a little Kir Royale tonight. If I can capture just an iota of my Mam’s pride, love and never-ending confidence in her children then Jake will be one very lucky little boy.

Happy Mother’s Day all.



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Hurtling towards 2015!

I’ve been putting off writing a blog post – you could call it a case of blogger’s block. I guess I couldn’t think of what to write about (despite life being pretty hectic), was worried that I had nothing of note to say and that it wouldn’t be remotely interesting.

But then I took a step back and remembered the whole point of writing this blog – it’s meant to be my equivalent of my many teenage diaries, albeit with a lot less angst! It will be a memoir for me to look back on one day (when I am too old and crazy to remember independently!) and revisit my memories, my life and my son growing up. So here we are!

The latest with Jake is his first very wobbly tooth which is pretty much the first thing he talks about on a morning and the last thing at night. He is literally obsessed as to when it will drop out and takes great pleasure in getting us all to guess “the day”! However this has now gone on for 2 weeks so the novelty is quickly wearing off this particular competition! My lovely friend Carol at has given us a special bag for the tooth fairy but at the moment it’s just gathering dust and I think it will be for a while yet, much to Jake’s dismay!


Since my last post we enjoyed a really fab family holiday to Rhodes – it was literally red hot every day, the hotel was great, the kids had a brilliant time and we did very little other than potter in and around the pool and indulge in the all inclusive food and drink. Other than a tummy bug on the day home (which involved a timely puke on the transfer bus) it was bliss. Oh and there was “sun-tan-lotion-gate” with my stepson, but I think the penny dropped once his tan rapidly started to peel as soon as he got it! Teenagers! I will definitely return to Greece one day, if only just for the relentless “scorchio” sun. Loved it.



We’ve had a couple of promotions in the family too! Recently Jake was asked to change footy training to join the older lads as he really is excelling at it. He was then hand picked to do extra training on a Saturday to gear them up to be picked for the team. The hubby and I are proud as punch! Maybe one day we’ll be super-rich parents of a Premier League footy player! We can dream!

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And on a personal note, I was also promoted at work to the very swanky sounding Head of Media! Check me out! I’m chuffed to bits and the new role is certainly keeping me busy. The days fly over and the change has made me realise how lucky I am to work in an industry I love and one which still keeps me on my toes, even after 16 years. God how old am I!!!???

In other news my lovely niece Lily is coming on a treat! We had another trip to Manchester after our hols for Mark to meet her, but that seems like a long time ago. I love seeing her growing up via the power of Facebook and can’t wait to see her again ASAP! It sounds daft but there’s something different about holding a baby that is actually blood-related to you – you can definitely feel the family ties. I often find myself wandering into the baby section in M&S, drawn to the delightful pink baby gear. Girls’ clothes are so much nicer than boys’! I can see her getting very spoilt at Christmas.

Speaking of which, Jake has discovered his Grandad’s Argos catalogue and, combined with the Smyth’s catalogue, has got a 4 page list for Santa! I think the excitement starts earlier the older they get. I seriously can’t wait for Christmas Day.

In the meantime life is already gaining even more momentum than usual – we have two DJ gigs to go to, a freebie anniversary trip to the Crab and Lobster that I won on Twitter (whoop!), a Hallowe’en party, a girls’ night out, Mark’s birthday and our annual boozy trip with friends to As You Like It’s Santa’s Grotto on Christmas Eve. It will be 2015 before we know it – I actually discussed a January option with a friend today for our next meet up – WTAF!?!?!?!?!?

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New niece, nuptials and nights out!

Well just a quick update on my time of “firsts” since my last post.

I guess the main news is the safe arrival of my amazing niece, Lily. She is a real beaut. And my little sis is a true trooper – just cracking on with the trials and tribulations of early motherhood with a LOT less moaning and worrying than I remember subjecting people to!


Welcome to the world, little lady!

My Dad, Jake and I took a family trip to Manchester to meet the little lady, a trip which involved a Fawlty Towers style hotel which I may look back one day and laugh about! It was a very sentimental weekend and I think we all felt my Mam’s absence acutely. She would have been so proud – not only of her new granddaughter but also the idea of her youngest daughter becoming a mother. My Dad, on the other hand, has shown his pride and utter joy in very different ways. He was genuinely choked when I called to let him know the baby had arrived safely and his first words were to ask if they were both ok. And he’s still yet to hold the baby and probably won’t for a while yet. You forget how little and fragile they are as newborns. Even I was nervous when I had my first cuddle of Lily and seemed to have lost the knack of holding them so gently!

On another note, my first ever trip to Wales was a delight, despite almost missing the plane due to a combination of one iffy phone alarm and a certain little person turning down the alarm on my backup phone! There were certainly very frantic scenes chez Taylor that morning with a smattering of choice profanities!

Thankfully we made the flight and therefore the wedding, which was a lovely, gorgeous and happy day in an idyllic setting just outside of Cardiff. Congrats once again to Mr. and Mrs. Atkins!


We even got the chance to explore Cardiff itself the next day – a sunny, vibrant city that I would love to return to one day.

In other news, we’ve enjoyed a great day at the Mouth of the Tyne festival with friends…


…I caught up with friends from Wales and New Zealand which saw the three of us together for the first time in over 4 years!


And enjoyed a HILARIOUS day out at the Races which I will still be laughing about for many months to come!


Next stop – a well deserved holiday. I think I need it!

A time for “firsts”

Once again a disgraceful amount of time has passed since my last post. Time really is vanishing somewhere this year!

Lots has happened since I last posted back in, erm, March!

In May I went on a hen do to London and had a really lovely time, but came back with an awful calf injury. It didn’t stop me completing a fabulous 80s dance class at Pineapple Dance Studios, nor making it on to a club! I didn’t do much dancing at the latter to be fair!


It took two weeks for my poor leg to recover, but now I’m on the mend and ready for the wedding itself. The hen do was that of a very dear and old (not literally!) friend, Victoria, whose wedding is now very imminent! I’m even braving an aeroplane for the pleasure. I’m wondering how acceptable it will be to have a drink at the airport at 7am!

The weather forecast looks good for Cardiff so it should be a great trip. I admitted earlier this week that I’ve never been to Wales before so, although it’s a fleeting visit with the hubby, it’ll be nice to tick it off the list, have a mini break and see a good friend get married at the same time.

Speaking of aeroplanes, we’ve booked a holiday in the school hols to Rhodes! Once again, I’ve never been to Rhodes (or in fact Greece!) before, so it’s definitely a year of “firsts”. That flight will be considerably longer than that for the wedding (at least 4 hours), so I’ll be investing in some Kalms or booze (or both – should be interesting!). Eeeek. The diet also starts here and now.

The little man is now 5 years old and still full of chat and mischief. His latest loves are One Direction (worrying), football (now up to two sessions a week, sometimes three – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!), the Xbox and wearing shorts even when it rains. Kids are strange!


Since my last post we’ve had our first trip with J to A&E, an experience which proved less worrying than initially anticipated, but not one I’d like to repeat. This week we received some awful news that a little boy from Jake’s school, who Jake went to nursery class with last year, died after a 4 year brain tumour battle. Jake loved this little boy, despite his limitations with blindness and immobility, and really warmed to him last year. The prospect of breaking news of his death to Jake was not pleasant, especially relatively soon after his Nana dying, but he took it remarkably well.

I, on the other hand, cried all night and into the next day at the thought of such a little, loveable boy suffering so much in his short life. It’s not just tragic, it’s heartbreaking and cruel. There was a palpable sense of grief on the school run the next day, parents and teachers visibly close to tears and the kids quickly taken into their classrooms before the bell to discuss the news and show some respect, I guess. Life is unfair at times and my heart goes out to the family involved. It has affected me massively, and needless to say Jake has enjoyed lots more cuddles and tolerance on my part since it happened. It makes you appreciate such small things; watching him sleep, laughing at his little legs in his long school shorts, his awful Batman hat that he insists on wearing and the bigger things like his health and happiness, which we shouldn’t take for granted. Ever.

In cheerier news I’m soon to be an Aunty! Aunty Joanna! So that’s another “first” for me to look forward to. I’m SO excited I could pop! I don’t think my sister is quite so excited about the impending labour (!) but it’ll be SO worth it. A trip to Manchester will be quickly arranged, depending on when baby decides to arrive. A new life for the Marrs/Timms household. We all can’t wait.


5…and counting!

The little man was 5 on Sunday. Mental! He’s gone from this:


to this:


in the blink of an eye.

His birthday was a whirlwind day with family visits, a chaotic and extremely loud soft play party for 19 kids and then a jaunt to the pub and a huge table of 20 at one point! I think we were all exhausted by the end of it!

It was certainly a more enjoyable time than 5 years ago, with the uncertainty of motherhood, immense responsibility and zero sleep happening almost overnight. I found those first few months pretty weird – even when Jake started sleeping through I fell victim to my first (and thankfully only) major bout of insomnia. If it wasn’t for the kind words of a great health visitor I might not have emerged unscathed from the other side. Your first child brings with it great self doubt and worry. I didn’t bath Jake for the 1st three months of his life, too unsure of myself to do it. It was left to my hubby to show me the ropes. Anyone who knows me well will acknowledge this is not like me at all! Even small things like talking to him while changing his nappy, understanding why he was crying and learning how to soothe him did not come naturally to me at all. I think this is normal for most new parents but it was a steep learning curve to me in life. I almost wished away those early days, hoping for a time when he could tell me what he wanted, what was wrong and how he felt. And here we are!

And with 5 comes another set of challenges (for me more than anyone). We have new opportunities to “play out” with the boys over the road, who are a little bit older and more streetwise. I know I have to let him, but the thought of him crossing roads without his little hand in mine is very stressful! I know – I need to get a grip. But he’s my little boy, and I will always want to protect him whether he’s 5 or 55!

And what a character he’s turning into – a sparky little chap who insists on shouting “morning” at the top of his voice to the lollipop man every day. A keen footy player with a definite aptitude for it (those Little Kicker sessions have certainly paid off!) – he’s off to Cramlington Juniors this weekend to try it out. His confidence is soaring but not to the point of arrogance. I love that he’s a sociable little man, no doubt a result of his Mammy chatting incessantly to him (or around him) since birth!

So I wonder what the next five years will bring. Hopefully there are still many more cuddles and moments to come with my son that just melt away my worries and make them pale into insignificance. And lots of great memories to be made for him, fun to be had and knowledge to be learned! Time will tell.


Officially Old!

Christ I can’t quite believe my last post was in November! I am getting worse at this as I go on. Christmas is but a distant memory and since then I’ve had the BIG 40! Actually it’s still ongoing – I’m about to enjoy my final week (of four!) birthday weekends. If this is what 40 is all about then I’m not complaining!

The big day itself was bloody brill – my hubby deserves a medal for all the effort he put in. Not just with pressies (which were fab) but all the added extras like banners, balloons and badges and a particularly embarrassing cake complete with a picture of me on it. Isn’t it just delightful…


To be fair I embraced the whole thing, even getting up on a chair in front of an entire restaurant on my birthday itself. Hey ho you only live once! Thankfully the hubby managed to chop my head off the video he took on his phone of this momentous occasion – phew!


Looking back I feel quite overwhelmed by the effort and generosity I enjoyed from both family and friends on this big day. From flowers sent from Singapore to a full body massage, beautiful jewellery to spa vouchers, a mini break to Edinburgh, lots of champas and LOADS more , I was truly spoiled.


It’s funny how turning 40 makes you reflect on life and, as you enter what is probably the 2nd half of your life, deliberate over any regrets, outstanding ambitions or highlights of the past. I’d say my biggest regret is only having one child. I know I am more than blessed with one, but it was always in my life plan for two. I guess fate took us on a different journey but it’s up there as my biggest disappointment. As for outstanding ambitions, I have a list as long as my arm of places around the world I still want to visit. Whether I get any further than the likes of Spain for a while yet is debatable (or even further than Centre Parcs for that matter!) but I’d love to tick Sydney, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris off the old bucket list.

Like I said I’m about to enjoy my fourth weekend of birthday fun, and this time it’s a mini University reunion in Leeds itself. I can’t recall the last time that my two friends Nikki and Debra and I got together just the three of us, but I know that despite the distance and time between us, this weekend will be filled with a LOT of laughter and funny memories of our time as Leeds students. I’d like to think that we’ve moved on from “pound a pint” type of nights and have become sophisticated, professional ladies supping our glasses of sauvignon blanc with great decorum! Time will tell!!!

On a final note – I’m very very very excited for another milestone this year – namely becoming an Auntie! Yes, my little sister is having a baby girl in July and I just can’t wait. I think that the M62 will be taking a bashing come the summer, as I for one can’t wait to have a cuddle of Baby Timms! Exciting times indeed. x x x

Festive fun, a time for reflection and impending old age!

Well it’s finally peaceful in the Taylor household so I thought it about time I did another blog before the third series of Borgen starts later (can’t wait!).

I have my Christmas candles on tonight, they smell gorgeous, and it’s safe to say I am DEFO getting in the Christmas mood early this year. Jake’s presents are coming along nicely, even though all he wants is a vile game about Buster’s Bones (don’t ask!) and another one about dog poo! Well he also wants a real doggy too but there’s no chance of that, despite my husband sending me links to puppies most days. YAWN!

We’ve loads of things planned and it’s safe to say Chrimbo will be here in a blink of an eye. We’ve a family jaunt to the panto, a trip to Santa’s grotto on Christmas Eve with friends (with booze for the grown ups – yey!), Christmas Day itself, the Holly Ball on Boxing Day and THEN we’re even sorted for NYE. Very organised indeed… There’s also the small matter of a work Christmas do and several nights out with friends too. PHEW!!! Pass me a new liver!

And before all of that excitement we have our 6th wedding anniversary coming up, a friend’s 40th and Mark’s birthday. Life is well and truly full on.

It’s strange to think that this time last year I was about to embark on one of the most stressful times of my life, namely about to be made redundant for the second time in 10 months and the loss of my Mam in December 2012. As it happens, the redundancy turned out to be one of the best things to happen to me as it saved me from a job I still have nightmares about!!! It also meant I was on gardening leave when my Mam died, which again was a godsend, all things considered. I can feel the anniversary creeping up on me, mostly at the back of my mind, but admittedly memories and emotions are being triggered more frequently than normal. I’m not quite sure what our plan is for December 17th, but I will be spending it with my Dad and sister – time to reflect and support each other. Family time is more important to me than ever, my priorities have changed and I think I have changed too. It could be down to last year’s events, or it could simply be a case of growing up, getting older, being happy with the people around me and less interested in the frivolities of life.

Which brings me to the social event of 2014 – my 40th! I realise time is ticking but I STILL can’t decide what to do. I’ve deliberated over a party and even wrote a list of potential invitees (over 100 people!) but it’s just not for me. Maybe it was for the old me, but I just can’t be chewed with the hassle, stress (and expense!). At the moment I’m considering a mini-break with the hubby, a family meal perhaps on the day itself and maybe a girls’ boozy lunch on a different weekend. I think that will be a nice balance. I need to get my finger out and sort it ASAP (once I’ve decided for definite!). Maybe such indecision is just a further sign of old age…! Christ I can’t believe I’m nearly 40! HELP!

My little man at 4

This post will probably bore many readers but I am using it as more of a diary entry to remind me of my little boy at 4, now he has started school full-time. I just want to be able to look back and remember the little things I’m likely to forget, once he’s a stroppy teenager or (an even more scary thought!) a strapping grown man.

So here you are, Jake, having been in reception for a couple of weeks and already we can see a difference in you. Almost overnight you’ve calmed down and changed in many subtle ways (although the grandparents may disagree on any signs of calm!) After a long summer holiday you were definitely ready for something, and full-time school was the answer.

On day one, we both took you to school, worried about the change to a different teacher, a new classroom, new rules and procedures, school dinners and LONG DAYS! Many other parents were in tears as we chatted in the school yard that morning. But we needn’t have worried. It only took that one morning for us to be there, to show you your way, and since then you’ve embraced it with a new confidence and that cheeky smile.

I want to remember how you love being first in the queue, but are torn between that and running off with Luke and your friends to see who can run the fastest, shout the loudest or run in the wet grass even though it’s not allowed. I like chatting to the school mums while we wait for the bell, new friends in the making for me perhaps. When the bell goes, you give me a kiss and skip off up the ramp to your classroom, carrying your reading bag, walking with a jaunt like a little old man. Sometimes you forget that I am still there, waving and watching, my heart sinking as you go in without a care in the world for me, your Mammy. But then I am just so relieved that you are happy there and that is all that matters to any parent.

Other days you DO remember I’m there and I get a kiss or a high five though the railings or you blow me a kiss through the air. It makes my day! One day I know the kisses and hugs will stop, so I intend to make the most of them now (until it’s just completely uncool on your part!).

We’re already having to drag out of you what you’ve done at school (already teenage-like!) and often you even pre-empt my daily questions about your day with “I don’t know what I’ve done today or had for my lunch, Mammy, so don’t ask!”. That’s me told. You must be doing something right as we’ve had a multitude of merits already – long may it continue.

You even like doing your homework which I know for a fact won’t last! Helping to teach you to read is a privilege and, even though it’s sometimes hard to find the time, we will do. I wish I could bottle your enthusiasm for school, for life, for learning, as it is now. It will wane in the future, as it does for everyone. But I hope we can keep the magic alive for you for as long as possible.


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On my own in my childhood home…

I’m currently sat at my Dad’s house – we’ve popped over to deliver Jake’s cupcakes that we baked yesterday. It was our first baking attempt and I learned a couple of lessons along the way, even with a packet mix!! After a lot of mess and licking of bowls they turned out pretty well I must say. In fact there’s only one left out of six! But this last one was for Jake’s “Grandad Marrs”, so here we are.


We’ve been up since 6-30am this morning, which is always a delight on a weekend. So we were up and ready early, and decided to drop some cakes off at my in-laws before we came here with the remaining one. Then we’ve got a full day ahead, with a gymnastics party at 2 (whatever that means – time will tell!) then a friend popping over later. Just another relaxing weekend for me* (* insert sarcasm!).

My Dad has taken Jake to climb up Penshaw Monument, as Jake acquired some new walking shoes on our hols in the Lakes which are perfect for the job. So I am sat here all on my own, with an hour or two to kill. I could pop and see one of my Sunderland friends, or nip to the supermarket, but to be honest I just can’t be bothered. Instead I’m writing a long overdue blog post and acutely feeling my mam’s absence here in my childhood home.

If she were here no doubt she’d be asking her usual questions about work, my friends’ latest antics and how Mark/Josh were, to which I’d probably be rolling my eyes at being asked the “same old stuff”. How I’d kill to be answering the same inane questions now. I still can’t bring myself to go in her bedroom, where she was found, despite an overhaul on my dad’s part. I think I’d lose the plot and, with a busy day ahead, it’s not going to happen today despite being here on my own. It wouldn’t be good to see the “school mums” this afternoon with a blotchy face.

On a cheerier note, we had a lovely family holiday 2 weeks ago to a gorgeous house in Windermere. We all met up there – us, my dad, my sister and her boyfriend and Dexter the dog. It was a very relaxing time, the weather was good, and there was no pressure to do stuff every minute of the day. Just what the doctor ordered. It also meant that my dad had a full-on week of company – whether that was a positive thing for him is debatable!!!


It made me laugh to think what a “good holiday” now consists of and how different it is from holidays we enjoyed pre-Jake. Like when we woke up after noon in New York after a night out clubbing and we were gutted that’d we’d pretty much wasted a day of sightseeing. And our pre-wedding trip to Malaga which was spent sipping sangria which was hand delivered to the rooftop pool. And even before that, on girls’ holidays away, where cheesy chips were the staple diet (along with florescent dodgy cocktails and shooters – ugh!). How times change (and drinking habits!). Mind you – you still can’t beat cheesy chips after a night out!


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Cocktails, camping, coping

Well a disgraceful 2 months has passed since my last post so I seem to be getting worse not better at this blogging malarkey. Moving swiftly on!

Life is hectic at the moment – work is busy, home is the usual chaos you’d expect with a 4 year old and everything in between is jam packed with play dates, housework, date nights, time with the girls and (now and then) a bit of “me” time.

Since I last wrote, we’ve enjoyed an amazing wedding at Newton Hall which seems like a distant memory now. The company, weather, venue, location and people made for a magical and special day – one of the best weddings I’ve been to in a LONG time! I got a spray tan for the occasion, wore a nice frock and also went blonde too so it’s fair to say I didn’t look much like “me”! 




Since then I’ve decided I quite like being blonde so that’s the current look for the summer (and I’m growing it but we all know how long I usually last with that!). Next time I post I’ll probably be a cropped red head again!!!

I’ve also enjoyed (* note the sarcasm!) a random first time camping experience thanks to Jake’s school – something I would NEVER have even considered before. We beg, stole and borrowed all the requisite equipment as I was pretty secure in the knowledge that it would be my first AND LAST camping trip! And I was right! Don’t get me wrong – the weather was perfect, Jake had a ball with his school pals, we enjoyed a tinny or two in the sun, but then basically got NEE SLEEP!!! It was horrendous! From crying babies, to needing a wee, from those uncomfortable airbeds through to my step son’s incessant snoring – it was HELL! And topped off with a large dose of sunburn too!

I think I’d only ever contemplate it again once the trauma of that night is long forgotten!



The following weekend was much more civilised, namely a weekend jaunt to Edinburgh with the girls which consisted of cocktails, great food, fun company and many many laughs. Just what the doctor ordered!



More recently we had Jake’s graduation from pre-school, a really lovely, emotional morning with so much effort put into it on the teachers’ parts. He sang his little heart out to his songs which he’d rehearsed countless times, and we clapped and clapped when he got his certificate. So proud!

So life continues in the usual manic fashion. I miss my mam and think of her loads, often when I least expect it. It’s lovely that Jake also talks about her SO much, and I know she’d be chuffed that she’s still very much in his thoughts. (So much so that he told the checkout lady in Sainsbury’s that “my Nana used to buy me them (his chocolate Freddos!) but she’s in heaven now”. GULP.) And today he said, whilst at my Dad’s, “Nana’s still not here, what a shame”.

I couldn’t put it better myself. xx

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