What is something you’re grateful you learned from your parents?

Where do I start?

I am so lucky that I am really close to my Mum and Dad and we have a really good relationship. We go to each others houses once a week for tea and see each other between this. It’s so nice Aid gets on so well with them as well and often invites my Dad out for a pint with him, with my Dad always taking him up on the offer.

I have learnt so much from them I don’t think I can actually pick one thing so I am just going to go for they have taught me to be a good person.

Yes I have my faults as everyone does but they have taught me how to be kind, how to be strong and brave (which we have all needed to be on more than one occasion). They’ve taught me to be generous and try and put others before yourself, they’ve taught me to work hard and reach for my dreams, the list is endless… I am who I am today because of them. I like to think I am a good person and definitely get all my good attributes from them.

Short and sweet. My parents are great and I would be lost without them.

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What is the best career compliment that you have received?

This is the journal prompt for today, another work based one. Pop over to Gemma’s blog to see her write up about this one. I even get a mention!

This is something my Headteacher said to me, well asked me a couple of years back! “Have you ever considered doing your teacher training?”

This told me that I was doing something right in my job, that she saw potential in me and believed in me. I often doubt my own abilities and wonder if I am making the right decisions. Although my answer to this question was no, it is always something that spurs me on when I’m in the classroom.

The only reason I wouldn’t go and do my teacher training is my health, it is so unpredictable and teaching is so stressful. I know there will be certain people saying ah they have it easy, having all that time off. 9am-3pm 5 days a week. Trust me, they don’t. It’s a vocation. All the extra work at home that is undertaken and all the teachers I work with actually care about the children and helping them achieve their potential. I wouldn’t want all that pressure to jeopardise my kidney and health.

I hate saying that my health has stopped me doing something but it is more important to me than a job. And with less than 40% kidney function at the minute (fingers crossed it goes a bit higher) it is just not worth the risk.

My Headteacher probably doesn’t know how that comment made me feel that day and what affect it had on me in my job.

I am getting a taste of teaching with this HLTA qualification I am going for so it is the best of both worlds, making a difference in the classroom but with not as much stress as a teacher.

What is the best job you ever had?

Well I have reached the ripe old age of 31 nearly 32 (when did that actually happen!) And I have only ever had 3 jobs in my life, all of which I have loved.

When I was 17 and at Sixth Form everyone was getting part time jobs, I wasn’t that keen because believe it or not I’m actually quite shy (or was then) and don’t really like change. I was a bit geeky, very into working hard and achieving the results I wanted, but I thought I would bite the bullet and apply for a job at my local cinema. The interview went well and I started training immediately. I learnt the role of an usher, directing people to the correct screen and seat as well as tidying up all the crap you cinema goers leave behind! I would come home stinking of stale popcorn. I also learnt how to use a till and weighing the pick and mix (it was real life playing shop and I loved it!) And serving up the gorgeous Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream. I met some great people there and there was lots of laughs.

Amongst all the fun times I was getting home from Sixth Form, squeezing in a nap and then getting up to go to work in the evenings. I worked weekends and fitted it round my A level work. I was beginning to sleep a lot, my parent’s thought this was typical lazy teenager behaviour (and so did I) little did we know that I was suffering from kidney failure and had probably been for a long time. I only managed to work their for 5 months and once I was diagnosed I had to hand my notice in.

I took leave off Sixth Form (the Doctors told me to do so indefinitely) but I went back about 6 weeks later once I was settled into dialysis. I dropped a couple of subjects as I was lucky enough to receive an unconditional offer from university to study what I wanted to – Early Childhood. I did an extra year at college and went onto Uni. Everyone still had their part time jobs to fund their uni fun, to be honest dialysis was like my part time job. A job I did not want to be going to but I had to do it (at least 16 hours a week with travelling). I didn’t have time to fit in an actual job and wasn’t well enough anyway.

I worked at a nursery for around 3/4 years and worked my way up to a room supervisor role and part of the nursery’s management team – having to deal with complaints and invoices when necessary. i
also gained my Early Years Professional Status at this job. Again I enjoyed this but it was long hours – 12 hours shifts and for very little pay. Private Day nurseries are expensive but the money certainly doesn’t go to the staff!

Then in 2013 I found a job I knew I wanted to do a Teaching Assistant. I knew that I could never go into teaching with my health being unpredictable and the profession being so stressful but at least this way I could have a little taste of it and be in a school environment (with of course the school holidays being a bonus). I was so lucky to get this job and haven’t looked back… The school and it’s staff were so supportive when I had to take time off when my transplanted kidney failed. I work part-time and I’m currently trying to gain HLTA status which again the school have been supportive with.

Again as the previous blog I have cheated and basically just recalled my CV but each job has taught me something different. I am very happy where I am at the minute and as I said above I don’t like change so can’t see me moving on for a long time yet!

What is your happiest childhood memory?

So this was the journal prompt pulled out of the writing deck by Gemma who I mentioned in my previous blogs. You can read more about her here.

I think this blogging style is going to be harder than I thought!

Thanks to kidney failure my memory is shocking (something that us kidney patients like to call brain fog.) But let’s give it a go as I like to think my long term memory isn’t as bad.

I’m actually going to cheat and not pick one specific day in my childhood… My childhood and upbringing was great, my brother and I were (and still are) both very lucky.

My Mum and Dad were both teachers and worked very hard for everything we had, we didn’t want for anything (but weren’t spoilt brats! At least I don’t think we were). They worked Monday to Friday which meant every weekend was spent together, they always took us places (we very rarely spent a weekend indoors).

We would go to all the local towns and cities, Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool and Southport etc. Usually finding some amusements and rinsing Mum and Dad for all their 2ps for the machines.

My Mum was born and brought up in Ireland so we spent many a school holiday visiting my Grandparents at the house my Mum grew up in. We were very lucky we got to see the sites of Ireland too visiting the Mountains of Mourne and the Giants Causeway to name a couple. As well as the town where Mum grew up Armagh.

(This is ‘The Mall’ in Armagh where Mum was brought up)

I still remember shelling peas with my Granny at the kitchen table and I can still recall the smell too. I can remember walking through the green fields visiting the cows and horses on my Grandparents’ land and getting stuck in the mud down at the ‘bog’ at the bottom of the field.

I guess the point of this blog is that I can’t pick the happiest moment of my childhood as I remember it all being very happy! It wasn’t about where we were or what we were doing it was the time spent with loved ones. Which as we all know the memories of these are all too precious once the people are no longer with us.

Aid is yet to visit Ireland, maybe we should look at getting it booked and relive some of these childhood memories!

Why don’t you use this blog to think about your happiest childhood memory, would love to hear some.

2018

The best year of my life. Without a doubt.

The first part of the year was all the build up, the planning and the Hen and Stag do’s. It was a lovely but stressful time.

The morning of the wedding I was remarkably calm, that was until I put my dress on and by the time I got to the top of the aisle my legs and hands were shaking and my top lip had stuck to my teeth (I was a bridezilla at this point and asked for water as I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get my vows out).

It really was the most perfect day (I will post a link to our wedding video and some pictures for you to have a look at). It was everything we dreamed of with the people that mean the most to us.

We had a mini-moon in the Yorkshire dales straight after the wedding and still have our official honeymoon to look forward to in August this year when we will be going to Mexico!

Almost straight after the mini-moon we both went back to work (Aid in his new job as an engineer for a soft drinks company) and me back to my job as a TA but doing slightly more hours (still part time).

In October Mum and I celebrated 2 years post transplant, still as grateful as ever for her amazing gift.

Things aren’t always plain sailing as those of you who have had transplants will know. There was a bit of a worrying time in December when my function dropped by 10% due to recurrent infections. I am still waiting for an appointment at Urology to check all is ok, scans and tests are all ok at the minute so that is good and my function is making its way back up thankfully.

A’s new job means we have weekends together which is perfect, often taking the dog on days out and visiting new places to eat.

In between this we are both still heavily involved in the charity Harry and Co and are currently helping to organise the annual Angel’s Walk and the 2019 Charity Ball!

I am also completing a new qualification at University (yes, again) through work which will hopefully get me HLTA status. I will be submitting my work this week and then have an assessment day in the middle of March so fingers crossed that all works out.

I will leave you with the video link for the wedding (the song playing over it was our first dance song)And some photos…

The Wedding Video can be seen here.

Some Wedding Photos

Mini-moon photos

My next blog will be using the writing prompt as mentioned in my blog here yesterday.

Hello!

Long time no blog.

Hoping to give blogging a go again. It’s actually thanks to a lady I met at The Transplant Games in Liverpool in 2015, Gemma. She interviewed me a few times in the lead up to and during the games, we became friends over Facebook and more recently she has written a self help book.

Over the past few days she has been posting live videos on her Facebook group here (it’s a closed group but I’m hoping you will be able to see it).

During these videos she picks a card from a writing prompt deck and Bob’s your uncle there is your subject for writing that day. I can’t promise it will be a daily blog but I’m going to try and dip into it when I can.

A few of the topics covered so far have been…

If you could live anywhere where would it be?

When are you happiest in your relationships?

If your life continues with the bad habits you have now, what would happen?

So here you go. I’m back. The next blog will probably be a quick run down and fast forward from December 2017 to now… I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post.

My year in photos!

Lots of amazing memories and photos from a year filled with ups and downs. Thank you to all those who stood by me and helped both Aidan and I in what was again a challenging year. Mum and Dad we would be lost without you. 2017 it has been a blast!

January

Wedding planning commenced and we set a date!

February

We had a little day trip to Llandudno.

March

We raised awareness of Organ Donation on World Kidney Day. This month we were also in Readers Digest and our local paper.

April

April was not the best of months healthwise. I spent 3 weeks in hospital in isolation with CMV. I was seriously poorly, only realising how poorly I was once I was discharged. As you can see Aidan kept me laughing by falling off his chair! Before being admitted we managed to go to a Pom meet in Manchester with Buddy and take part in the Harry and Co annual Angels Walk.

May

I was still getting over the CMV. It took me a long time to recover. I managed to enjoy some 30th birthday celebrations with my nearest and dearest.

June

A trip to Conway. A visit to the farm with Finley and seeing Elton John in concert.

July

Aidan and Isla’s birthday. A trip to Llangollen and a few days spent in London. We also helped to launch Toyland in Warrington with Harry and Co and Abi experienced her first wedding fayre which was at our venue.

August

Aidan organised the first (hopefully of many) Harry and Co car meets. We raised over £1000 in just a couple of hours and more importantly I got to see the lovely Ashton Sims again. We also spent a lovely day at the beach with Isla and went to a Blenheim palace in Oxford for a car meet where I got a selfie with the lovely YouTube star TGE.

September

The month of the Harry and Co Ball. Fun was had and lots of money raised. This was also the month I returned to work part time. We also had our first holiday abroad since my trasplant. We had fun in Crete even if I did end up in hospital over there!

October

On our return from Crete I got diagnosed with severe nephritis in my failed transplanted kidney and had to spend time in hospital. I was devestated this happened so soon after returning to work. However the stay in hospital was made more interesting when Mum and I were asked to meet with Theresa May the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to talk about the proposed opt-out system. It was also our one year transplant anniversary and Buddy enjoyed Halloween!

November

Bonfire night – lots of fun at the firework display and we also helped the Golden Square to switch the Christmas lights on with Harry and Co.

December

A busy but lovely festive season. Harry bear was busy! We had the Harry and Co children’s Christmas party, breakfast with Santa at The Barley Mow, a ride on Santa’s sleigh at the Golden Square and a visit to my school Christmas fayre with my Dad being the big man himself. We also managed a trip to York and a carol concert inbetween. Christmas day was great even if our oven broke half way through cooking dinner!

2018: I cannot wait for tomorrow to arrive so I can say “I get married this year”

Aidan truly is the other half of me and I cannot wait to be his wife and see what married life has in store for us!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!