Anxiety, depression, grief, motherhood, Uncategorized

For those who wonder…

Dear everyone who wonders why I haven’t called/visited/answered texts/made plans to meet up,

I have been having a pretty shitty time lately… I say ‘lately’ because for the past 2 years my head has been stuck in a pretty fucked up moment, which seems to never want to leave.

Leaving my life in the countryside with the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect partner, zero money worries, my family and my entire support network to come and live in the city as a single working mum was a breeze compared to how I currently feel.
Despite my parents threatening to disown me for being so “selfish” and leaving such a “perfect” world. I wanted to bring my children up the best way I could. I wanted to take them away from the small town discrimination and prejudice that I experienced growing up, so that they could find their own wings and spread them wide. That part was easy…

I also found attending every parents evening alone easy. And not having a babysitter or anyone to call upon to sit in with the girls while I nipped to the shop for milk. That was easy, as was going to work and having no local friends or social life…

I moved to the City months after losing my Nan. The most significant and loving person I have ever known. I wanted to be in this City because I wanted to be close to my elderly Grandad who had fallen into a great depression after losing his amazing wife, and my disabled aunt who then had to go into care. Watching that was hard. My heart had started to break watching him disappear into a fragment of the man he once was.
That was hard.

What was also hard was seeing my dad in the emergency room after being flown in by helicopter, after a major head injury. Listening to the doctor saying he’d never walk again. Watching him cry as he couldn’t feel his legs. The weeks of visiting him in intensive care, semi-conscious, the things we told each other… the apologies and promises.
That was hard.

The amazement of a miracle when after months and months of fighting he started to walk… He astonished even the doctors. We were delighted. Especially my little cousin who looked upon him like a father. The most amazing little cousin who helped me feel part of the family even though my Mum and Dad split up years ago when I was only a baby. He truly made me feel welcome in the family and we formed a very close bond.

When only months later, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer that miracle was crushed. My cancer scare came only weeks later…

Another devastating event was also happening at this point, which affected my mother’s side of the family, which I struggled to deal with at the time.

The month later, when my grandad died I was pretty screwed up. So a few months after that, when my teenage cousin died only two weeks before my father… That kinda pushed me over the edge.

It’s a wonder how I got through that job interview between the death of my father and his funeral… but that’s how well people can hide their problems. Crazy, huh?

So, on top of working in an extremely stressful job five days a week and being both a mother and a father to my two daughters, who are now hitting puberty –  it’s kinda tough going! Especially when that whirlwind of events that happened a couple of years ago are still so deeply fresh because I haven’t had a second to process what the actual fuck has happened.

I still get the usual routine fuck ups for eg. The car breaking down and costing hundreds to fix, teeth falling out, dying animals, threats of losing my job, moving house, running out of money, school bullying etc. but that’s easy!

I mean, I do get a break… I have to for the hospital visits that I am squeezing in while the girls are at school.

And because I’m completely “selfish”, I like to cook my girls a healthy, homemade meal every night – because that makes me feel like a good mum.
I also like to help them with their homework every evening  – because I feel proud when they stick in at school and do well.
I like to take them for long walks on the weekends, for fresh air and adventures – because I love to see them running free.
I continue to give those girls a full and amazing childhood because that is what I must do -because THEY are my priority.
My every last breath of energy goes into being an amazing mother!

I collapse every evening, usually around 9 pm, after I’ve done a bit of tidying ready for a 6 am start the next day… ready to do it all again.

Oh yeah… and I also have a really shitty case of anxiety and hate to talk about what’s going on in my head, but hey…

THAT is why I haven’t “been myself” lately, and I do apologise if I’ve upset anyone.


Me x

Improv, Uncategorized

un-Musical Activism


555122_10152675403860858_143158316_n I’d always been interested in playing music from a very early age. Primary school clarinet lessons, high school flute lessons then picking up a guitar in my adult years led, unfruitfully into the life of a unmusical musician.

My parents weren’t my greatest audience, and rather than encouraging me to perform – They would encourage me to be quiet, often seeing me grounded when “refusing” to hear them over the squark of my poor embouchure.

By the age of 30, I’d lost all confidence and given up! Even just being near an instrument in the company of a ‘musician’ dried my mouth and scared the hell out of me. I’d tried so hard and failed!

That is until I embarked on  The Charlie Bramley un-Musical Project:

Transcript of Charlie Bramley – Portfolio of Practice-Led Research

un-Musical activism
un-Musical Project
PhD practice-led research. I recruited 4 core participants who identified themselves as ‘non-musicians’. I then worked with them on what their objectives were, and we worked through a series of music-making workshops in which I introduced them to improvised music-making, including recording sessions and live performances. They were then encouraged to begin developing their own long-term engagement as part of the improvised music scene in Newcastle.

Reading the feedback I gave after the project has reminded me of the confidence I gained from interacting with others through sound… and I miss it!

“The first [unmusical] workshop was terrifying! A room full of instruments. Once I learned how to relax [however], and realized there was no wrong way to do this, I began to completely enjoy the experience. Each week we became more relaxed and attuned to the sounds we were making… The music, the music WE were making! Our first performance was immense! We all sat chewing our nails as the night grew closer to our set. As soon as we started playing, all doubt drained from my body… We were doing it… And it sounded amazing!! The applause was unbelievable, we were even applauding ourselves… and rightly so! I had never been so wired in my entire life as I was after that gig…

The unMusical project has been one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. And for me, it’s was a time of healing… I can now play music! ”

Take a listen to some of our sessions on Soundcloud.



Revealing Pattern 

Stripping back the third layer of wallpaper my mind was spinning. The dawn was quickly approaching, my arms tired and my mind hadn’t rested since taking those first steps into the old house, with eerie wonderment from the years of untouched, vintage decor.

My family bought the old house, which was sold due to the death of an old man. He lived there alone, probably since his wife passed away. The decor certainly suggested this was once a family home full of life, and love.

As my daughter helped peel away another layer of someone’s past, I imagined the children playing in the room and growing into teenagers. I look at my beautiful daughter and take in the beauty of her innocence and carefree ways. I wondered if the children who grew up in this house had a happy childhood?
I think about my daughter growing older and the life she is yet to live…

Each room revealed several layers of wallpaper exposing decades of fashion and Pattern. I thought about the person who, after stepping back, admired the newly decorated room with pride. Was this the old man’s wife, or her mother… I thought about how I feel after stepping back in my newly decorated room to admire my masterpiece, and I smiled as I hoped she felt the same… stepping back, in this very same room 20, 30, 60 years ago…

The ground floor of the old house was stripped back weeks ago, three skips of rubble and rotted wood leaving only the bare bricks and mortar, but there on the windowsill still stands a slim red glass vase holding six silk flowers. Soon to be the last little memoir, evident to the life that once lived there. I thought of my own home and wonder if anyone would think of my life while they stripped away the layers of my home, and my past?

I thought about my previous homes, the energy within them and the life that lives there now…

I thought about every layer of my life and how huge the adjustments, they never quite hide certain parts of my past. How no matter how I try to paper over the cracks or resurface my life with a brand new design, the past always shows through… If not now, eventually.  I wondered why I even try to hide from the past, and if it is even possible.

I wondered about the furniture in the rooms; where was the bed? Did they sleep well?

I think about my belongings, a lamp for instance that I’ve had for years. It lit my first ever flat, and seen me through wild parties and meeting the father of my children. It lit our living room for twelve years until it seen us through our breakup, then lit up two more homes since then…. this little lamp. Just a lamp.

I feel sad about stripping away years and years of memories from the old house, but at the same time, it’s just a house… much the same as my lamp is just a lamp. But is it?


Cervix, Female health, Health and Wellbeing, PAP tests, Vagina

Service Your Cervix

I have always worked in the profession where my GP also happens to be a work colleague. You might think this ‘ups’ your chance of keeping yourself in tip-top condition, however, for an anxious betty like myself, the thought of spreading my legs for the person I’ll probably be sharing my coffee break with is one of those reasons the head goes into the sand… deep into the sand!

The word ‘Cancer’ is something I’ve always hated… it really does scare me, and being an idiot, I convince myself it’s because it wants me.

So, luckily after the foof doctor at my practice retired, I felt ready to take the plunge and book in the 5 years overdue PAP test… That happened, then the anxiety kicked in good and proper, that topped up with a house move and… there goes my head! So done in, in fact, I completely forget to change my address with the GP.

A month passed before I receive the voicemail saying I’d missed my coloscopy surgery and it was advised for me to call them back ASAP.
I immediately contacted the hospital, panic-stricken and mentally begging for it to be nothing too serious. I knew how my mind worked and prayed for it to be over thinking this…

The nurse explained my PAP smear had high-grade abnormalities showing CIN3. Another appointment was made there and then for as soon as they could fit me in… the following week. In the meantime, I was advised to seek support from Jo’s Cancer Trust.

As you can imagine my mind was already shitting the bed at this point… and that’s before I Google ‘CIN3’…

Here’s what Google said:

 “CIN III is considered the same as carcinoma in situ (CIS) or Stage 0 cervical cancer. The Cancer has not yet invaded deeper tissues. However, if not surgically removed, there is a high chance it can progress to invasive cancer.”


Within fifteen minutes of getting home from work, I was convinced I was going to die, and I had a week to go before seeing anyone about it.

Living was tough, especially when you feared you were going to die; I couldn’t tell my children why I was a trainwreck, my heart was breaking at the thought of leaving them… I just physically, and mentally couldn’t handle this thing life was throwing at me.

I managed two nights and half a day before work sent me home after having the fourth panic attack… I drove straight to the hospital begging them to help me. How could anyone be expected to… manage life… after being smacked in the face with this??? Luckily, they took me straight in and carried out the treatment there and then.

They performed a LLETZ  procedure, which stands for large loop excision of the transformation zone which is also known as loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a small wire loop with an electrical current running through it to cut away the affected area of tissue and seal the wound at the same time. I didn’t feel much of the procedure and frankly didn’t care what it felt like… I just wanted it OUT!

The hospital staff were so understanding and supportive, making me then worry about being ‘over-the-top’ and ‘a bit pathetic’… but, hey ho.

Luckily, I’ve now had my third clear PAP test and I will NEVER miss another.

I don’t ever want to go through that level of panic again, it was almost too much and I definitely think it’s left a scar on my mental health.

We’re so lucky to have an amazing NHS service here in England, I could not have asked for a more supportive team that day I fell into the Gynaecology department on my knees.

If you are between ages 21 and 29, you should get a Pap test every 3 years. If you are between ages 30 and 64, you should get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test together every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. If you are 65 or older, you can then ask your doctor if you can stop having Pap tests.

It’s so important to keep a regular check of your lady bits, so book your Pap smear now if yours is due.