Tag: feathers

Signs from…somewhere?

It’s been a month today since my Dad died. Those words…they hurt. Some days I can say them quite matter of factly. Others, not so much.

On the day he died I couldn’t see as far as the end of the week, let alone further forward. A month seemed a lifetime away. But here we are. We’re surviving. Adapting. Doing him proud.

I wanted to share with you a whole host of things that have happened in the wake of Dad’s passing. Weird things. Stuff that, on it’s own, might seem just a coincidence. But, together, it seems much more. I’m not at all religious, I don’t believe in heaven (it would, after all, be so over populated by now!) and I’ve never truly believed that anything really happens after death, although I do struggle with the idea that someone can live a life full of laughter, memories and experiences and then it just ends and becomes nothing. Maybe that’s because I don’t want my own life’s work just to be snuffed out when the time comes, and I don’t want to think that my Dad’s character and zest for life just completely disappeared as he took his last breath.

I wouldn’t say that the things I’m going to tell you about have changed my views. But they’ve certainly made me think slightly differently.

signs-from-somewhere

As you know if you’ve read this blog for a while, my Dad had cancer, diagnosed in May 2014. It was already inoperable by the time it was detected and we’d been told the end was not far away back in August this year. He was starting to deteriorate quite rapidly and was due to go into a Macmillan hospice on the day he died. Early that morning he had a massive stroke and was rushed to hospital. I received a call telling me I needed to get there urgently.

Dad struggled on during that day, much longer than we all expected, right into the night time, sleeping or dosed up on morphine. All the family were there, in a private room with a big window. During the afternoon we heard a dull thud at the window and saw a tiny pretty bird bounce off the glass and land on the flat roof below. Rather than fly away he just sat there, looking at the window. He was like nothing we’d ever seen, certainly not a common bird, with red and orange markings on his head. He sat there for quite a while, before flying at the window again. The next day my Dad’s sister sent us a message saying she’d identified the bird – it was a zebra finch, known as the bird that sings while it sleeps. Weirdly, my Dad’s wife realised she had them as pets when she was a little girl.

When my Nan received a call to get to the hospital, that same morning, she noticed a white feather on the wedding photo she has of my Dad and his wife. When she got in the car to drive over, there was a white feather on the windscreen of the car. The morning after my Dad died, when someone came to visit, we found a white feather on the floor in the lounge. Most of the family have had feathers just appear to them, including three that fell in the garden and caught Dad’s wife’s eye while she was in the lounge with Dad’s Mom and his sister (one feather each), and one that was perfectly placed in her bed when she pulled back the covers one night. Even my Mom, who divorced my Dad many years ago but spent time with him a few weeks before he died, had a white feather appear on her lounge floor when she got back from holiday.

After Dad died, when we left him at the hospital, we went back to his house in the early hours of the morning. His wife originally said she wasn’t going to let anyone know immediately, then changed her mind and sent some texts to friends. A guy my Dad worked with about 20 years ago, who is now a hospital porter, text back immediately to say that he’d been called to take my Dad from the ward to the mortuary, and that he’d looked after him professionally and personally. Of all the people and wards in the hospital, the chances of that are pretty slim. It was a great comfort to us.

On the day we went to register Dad’s death, the registrar turned out to be a lady that Dad’s wife used to work with, who she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t know her whereabouts. The first thing she said was “I remember you, you married (my Dad). Who’s death are you registering?” Her face fell when we told her.

As Dad got more and more poorly, he asked me if I would like one his watches to keep. I kept putting it off, not wanting to face the inevitable, thinking there was plenty of time to have it. A few days before he died he told me to fetch the watch and insisted I have it there and then, which I did. I wore it on the day he died, and for the next few days after that, before noticing it had stopped, at some point, at 10.55. Dad died at 10.40. Maybe just a coincidence, albeit a close one. Then we realised that on my Dad’s wife’s watch it was 10.55 when he died. She’d noticed earlier in the day that her watch was fast, and not altered it.

(to add more significance to the watch story, my Dad had his own Dad’s watch in a draw for many years after he – my Grandad – died, and decided to wear it on his wedding day. It hadn’t been looked at or touched for years, so he took it out in advance of the wedding in order to replace the battery. The watch had stopped at the time he was due to get married, and on the same day (5th). He took that as a sign and didn’t replace the battery, wearing it as it was).

On the day of the funeral, a multitude of things happened.

I wore the watch my Dad had given me, that had stopped. I hadn’t worn it for over a week, and noticed it had crept forward a few minutes, in spite of me not replacing the battery.

Not long after we left home, I was saying hat I thought there would be a lot of donations from people at the funeral (we requested donations instead of flowers). One of the charities we chose to support is the Retiired Greyhound Trust. My Dad won a lot of money on greyhound racing over the years and owned lots of different racing dogs. As I said it, we saw a man walking a greyhound down the road. The husband had never seen a greyhound being walked as a pet before.

We went to my Mom’s house first, and I told her the strange coincidences that had already happened. I was talking about white feathers and how it seemed I was the only person in the family not to have received one. I realised I’d forgotten to put earrings in, so my Mom suggested I see if my little sister had some. As I opened the jewellery box, there was one odd earring – a dangly white feather. A coincidence, or a sign? Either way, it made me cry!

Finally, as I mentioned, my Dad was very into greyhound racing. A lot of his friends from the track were at the funeral, and at the wake in the pub afterwards. They all sat together and had the local race track streaming on their phones, betting and enjoying themselves as my Dad would have wanted (and as he’d have done if he’d been there!) Late afternoon they called me over and said there was a race coming up where they had a good tip, on a dog called “Bonny Lass”. Quite a few of them were betting it, so a few of my family got involved, as did I, betting £25. The form was that if the dog came out of the trap well, it would win. It didn’t, it came out poorly. A couple of the guys actually said “it’s got no chance”. But that dog came from behind, bearing in mind the race was about 30 seconds long, and it weaved through it’s race companions and it only bloody won! Photo finish, but it won! I won £100, the husband won £100, family members and friends won, it was amazing! Not only that, at the end of the race a beautiful full rainbow appeared over the racetrack, and also outside the pub we were in. It was like my Dad sending us all a win, and a big smile to let us know what he’d done.

Am I bonkers for thinking these things mean anything? Maybe! If they were happening to anyone else, would I think they were significant? Perhaps, perhaps not. And I don’t think any of these things mean my Dad exists in a parallel universe or is in heaven or anything like that. But it’s nice to think that somehow, some way, it’s a continuation of the energy he exuded in life letting us know that he’ll always be with us, even though he can’t be.

I miss him so much.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Jewellery bargains from New Look

I’m a big fan of costume jewellery as a cheap treat and a way to jazz up your look, but I’ve noticed that a lot of High Street stores, even the more affordable ones like New Look, are getting quite expensive lately.

On the plus side, at sale time there are usually some considerable discounts which means bargains galore!

I picked these beauties up in the January sale online – all 3 items for less than a fiver.

Purple stone ring – £1

Layered feather necklace – £2

Multi stud earrings and ear cuff – £1

Have you had any great bargains recently?
Thanks, as always, for reading! x
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Sequins, fringing and chiffon – H&M, you ROCK!

Every so often it feels like the fashion planets align and something amazing happens.

That has happened this week, in not one but two guises!

Whilst I’m trying very rather quite hard to buy less clothes (while simultaneously clearing out planning to clear out a lot of stuff I already own) some things just can’t be ignored.

Like sequin trousers. I mean, just look!

H&M sequinned trousersI have a pair of matt silver sequin trousers that I bought in the sale last year and L.O.V.E. I wore them on New Years Eve with a black high neck top and black pointed stilettos and I felt awesome (this is the best picture I have, and yes that’s a foam light sabre type thing).

Me in silver sequin trousers NYE

So why would I not invest a measly £11 in another colour? These are slightly different style; they have a side zip (the others are pull on) and an ankle zip (what’s not to like). I’m just to have them in my wardrobe.

The second thing is this fringe skirt. This is the closest I’ve gotten to a feather skirt, which I’ve never been able to find (and I don’t imagine would be particularly slimming anyway). The fringes are made from a silken shiny thread and swish pleasingly due to their zig zag arrangement.H&M black fringed skirt

I have nowhere to wear it, and I don’t care! Its just fab. And again a total bargain at just £12.

A couple of extras I added to the order just because they looked cute (always dangerous) and now I can’t decide between them and want to might probably will keep both. At £10 each these double layer chiffon dresses are a great bargain and could be dressed up or down. The kind of thing that’s worth having in your wardrobe for a party but could also be paired with flat sandals in summer (the beaded neck trim isn’t too blingy). And the green is quite different to anything else I have in my wardrobe. But the black is too nice to send back. Dilemma.

But 4 amazing items of loveliness for less than £50? H&M, if I was wearing a hat I would take it off to you!

I have to say that H&M really excel when it comes to sale time. I hate it in store, but online is very good. They’ve also improved their delivery time  which used to be quite lengthy, and the return/refund process seems quicker too.

Have you grabbed any H&M sale bargains?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Summer workwear – a variation on a theme

I’ve been a bit predictable / unimaginative with my work outfits for the last few days. I find dresses so easy to wear in summer – one item to throw on, no colour matching, no waistbands which can be uncomfortable and hot when sitting at a desk all day. All of these dresses are from Matalan, from last year, and all of them are crepe – the easiest fabric in the world to own. Lightweight and crease free, they dry mega quickly and don’t need ironing. I’d have a whole wardrobe full of crepe clothing if I could!

Pink dress – Matalan
Snakeskin and feather sandals – not sure, maybe ebay? Love these, they have 3 ankle straps covered in purple jewel chips and small feathers, and a tiny wedge heel
Jewellery: Turquoise colour ring – Primark, turquoise colour cuff – gift, silver swirl ring – Camden (present from husband on a day out)
Tortoiseshell sunglasses – Primark
Chunky coin necklace – ebay

20150626_081703

Snakeskin feather sandals

Snakeskin feather sandals

Silver turquoise jewellery

Boho jewellery

Floral dress – Matalan
Red pointy ankle strap flats – Matalan
Multiple rings – H&M, Birmingham rag market, Primark
Round sunglasses – Primark
Freshwater pearls – Mauritius (present from husband when we got married, bought on the beach from a local fisherman)

Summer workwear

Red pointy flats

Summer floral dress

Summer workwear

Freshwater pearls

Blue dress – Matalan
Tan gladiator sandals – independent shoe shop
Brown iridescent glass beads – H&M
Turquoise colour ring – as before (Primark) / amber ring – gift from Mother-in-Law

Blue dress

H&M glass beads

Turquoise and amber jewelery

What’s everyone else wearing for summer?

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Tonsurephobia – fear of haircuts

Not quite the right terminology for my own circumstances. Mine is a fear of hairdressers. Seriously, I would rather go to the dentist and get work done than go to a hairdresser. One of my close friends is a mobile hairdresser and has offered to come to my home, be really patient, do exactly what I say. But no. No way!

The reasoning for this? I’ve had so many disappointments over the years.When I was 11, I had really long thick hair. But I wanted it curly. So I went on and on and on about it until my Mom gave in and I was allowed to get a perm. Because of the thick weightiness of my hair, the perm didn’t take properly so the hairdresser suggested we come back to the salon to have some layers cut in. And that was the start of the problem.

I never truly loved it after that, although I continued to get it permed and layered until I was 16. Then there was the time I got highlights that ended up a horrible yellow colour. And, most recently, when I asked for a sweeping side fringe and came out looking like a librarian. I cried all the way home.

The truth is, no-one knows my hair better than me. I know that cutting it when it’s wet is a mistake because of how it will spring up once dry. I know I have a cow-lick on the right hand side. And so now I cut it myself.

We’re not talking just a trim. Most recently I went from bra strap length to above shoulder in just three haircuts. I have gone from no fringe to full fringe. I have put layers through the length and the front. I’ve coloured it, stripped it and recoloured it. So I’m not afraid of haircuts. I like experimenting with my hair, I like it to look like I have a style. I don’t just leave it to grow and grow. I just take on the role of my own personal hairdresser.

The results? Well no-one has ever laughed at it or told me I should wear a hat. My husband always checks it over when I’m done and expresses incredularity that it’s straight and level. Even my hairdresser friend looked over my most recent short cut and couldn’t see any major flaws.

I started off last October going to just below shoulder length. My inspiration was Claudia Winkelman, but without the fringe.

Claudia

Then I decided I would do a full Claudia, and go for a fringe. Mistake! Every time I cut a fringe I like it for about 3 days, before deciding that it’s too much like hard work (my fringe hair is too springy and wavy to behave how a fringe should). Meanwhile I went slightly shorter in the length.

And my fringe has now grown into face framing layers, and I have gone a bit shorter again in length. And I like it. I really do. BUT, I can’t help wonder whether I should grow it again? Everyone seems to be getting their long hair cut (most recently Mylene Klass and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini) and my husband actually asked me if I was doing it “to be trendy” (what a cheek! Then again he’s very vocal in his love of long hair, I think it’s a man thing). I’m at a cross roads now – it’s getting to the point where I either need to commit to this length and style and trim it again, or bite the bullet and grow it. I’m all set for keeping it short until I look at old pictures of myself with long hair and realise I loved it long (although it was more of a pain in the butt that it is now; made me too hot, took ages to dry). And also I can’t get it quite right. I’m struggling to achieve the wavy look that I really want, in spite of experimenting with tongs, mousse and curling with straighteners.

Here are some of my current hair-spiration pics.- the worry is separating the hair from the face. I’m never going to look like one of the Olsen twins, even if I shaved their hair off and stuck it on my very own head.

Olsen wavy bob

The colour is what makes this – you wouldn’t see that level of definition on my black hair

Wavy bob 5 Wavy bob 2

Slightly longer – again I think the colour is important (maybe I need to change my colour??!!)

Wavy bob Wavy bob 4

This is probably closest to my look

Wavy bob 3

And then I’d love to be able to do this, but plaiting your own hair is difficult.

Plaited bob

But then I miss this, especially now summer is coming. Accessories don’t seem to work as well on shorter hair.

Bandana 2  Feathers

Hairband 2 Hairband Long hair

Bandana

To conclude – there is no conclusion. I’ve actually confused myself even more. Maybe I should stick with the length and experiment with colour. Stripping the black dye and going for a mid brown might be a place to start…

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