Tuesday 28 June 2022

There's more to being 50 than just the menopause and grey hair.

Not in denial, not even sure if it's happening or whether it's happened and as the GP pointed out 'it's not helpful' 

In 2015 I had a cancer scare, with a high white blood cell count that was picked up during a migraine through routine blood tests.

Since then I've been under the care of an oncologist, had a bone marrow biopsy, diagnosed as Iron Deficient and received regular iron infusions. no cause known, blood test results still haphazard. I've had a coil fitted to stop my periods to see if it made a difference to my inability to produce ferritin, but it hasn't made a difference at all and I've still needed infusions.

I have few symptoms other than severe fatigue and breathlessness (can't walk upstairs without having to lie down) when my ferritin stores drop. It's the blood tests that keep calling me back into the GP to have further tests or medication adjusted. I've developed two new symptoms of double vision and pins and needles and numbness in my hands that are being investigated.

When I went to see the GP to ask for a new prescription of my migraine preventative medication for which I've been having since I was a small child, she informed me that they'll get better once the menopause is over, she then pushed me to accept I'm menopausal, told me about hot flushes and insomnia that she could prescribe medication for to help me with. I didn't mention hot sweats and Insomnia as I don't get them. Sometimes I don't sleep if I've been travelling, am unwell or my husband is snoring, but otherwise, if left in peace in a darkened room, I can sleep for 10 hours solid. I get at least 8 hours sleep per night.

Then there's the media, TV advertisers and Davina McCall 24/7 telling me I'm menopausal, promoting medications and lifestyle options, telling me how I must be feeling, how I must be thinking. It's not me. It doesn't represent me.

Then the worst is the people who are around my age who say to me when I sneeze 'oh that's a menopausal symptom' and go on to tell me how surprised I'd be to learn that any illness, any symptom, anything and everything is now actually a symptom of the menopause. If I yawn 'that's the trouble at our age' if I make an 'ooh' noise when I stand up, if I pop a tablet for my migraine. It's all menopause, full stop.

I know a lot of people have symptoms that interfere and effect their everyday life. I know for many that finding out it is the menopause, being treated and listened to has been a great help and relief both physically and mentally. But it's not me. There's more to me than the menopause, just because I'm 50.

I had my hair dyed grey in 2016, it's since grown out to be natural grey now. I go to the hairdressers and they cut it every time in a certain style, for women my age. A neat bob with it tucked behind my ears or a pixie cut. The same hair cut given to every woman between the ages of 50 and 70 who has grey hair. The same happens with clothing and shoes. I don't want to dress like I'm 30 so I end up with a choice of shoes and clothing the the over 70's wear asa uniform. So in an attempt to be different I clomp around in DMs and wear jersey dresses, jeans, trainers and hoodies.

I have kids in their 30's, I'm married to a 64 year old, I have grandchildren. I automatically fall into the discussion about perimenopause, about colon cancer screening home tests with the assumption I'm actually older than I am. Mid to late 50's and constantly told I look good for my age. I'm 51 this month.

Apart from my chronic migraines and a 26 year old neck injury from an assault which causes chronic pain flare ups and does interfere with my sleep, as it always has. and my iron deficiency anaemia I'm fit and healthy. I work full time, cycle to work, swim and go on long walks with the dog. The hot weather isn't a problem, but then neither is the cold.

I'm sure there will be quite a few of you reading this who sigh 'of course you're menopausal' I probably am, I'm not in denial. I just don't want to talk about it every day (oh the irony of writing this post) I just don't want people thinking it's ok just to start a conversation with me, assuming my only topic of interest is the menopause. I just don't want the assumptions made I'm menopausal. There's more to me and every other woman than just that.

I know there is nothing to be ashamed about, we should talk more, we should be more open. We shouldn't be embarrassed to discuss this issue in front of both male and female colleagues of all ages, but I just don't want it to be the only topic of conversation. 

Does it define you? Is there more to talk about?

Saturday 25 June 2022

Week 25 One Daily Positive and Project 365 - Migraine and double vision

I've been experiencing double vision since February when I have to focus on anything. General glancing around is fine, but I'm struggling with reading. Opticians said there was no cause for the double vision and sent me away with exercises for 4 weeks before they can make a referral. I've been doing the exercises for a couple of months after googling how to help with this issue, but because the optician didn't formally tell me to do them they can't make a referral, so frustrated. 

168 Saturday Dog walked and we collected child 1 and took her out for coffee and cake and to do some shopping. Toilets in the supermarkets were absolutely disgusting and no hand soap available. not acceptable in a first world country for a global company. Visited grandchild, took mum along for a ride and to do her food shop, then home for dinner and to watch the TV for the evening.

169 Sunday Peter off to play golf and I went to the Three Counties Summer Show. I was dropped off at 8am and it didn't start to fill up till 11am. I was able to walk round in peace and everything was open. By midday though I was home after experiencing the weirdest loss of sensation in my hands and a serious migraine kicked in. I caught the shuttle bus to the train station for one stop, then a short walk home and to bed and sleep for the rest of the day.

170 Monday Off to work via the pool and into Worcester in the afternoon for a bit of shopping and dinner. I baked some cakes for a bake sale at work.

171 Tuesday cycled to work and home, did some washing, placed a click and collect food order and had a company round to measure up for an extension, new doors and fascias. We won\'t be getting the work done until the New Year. Cakes were decorated.

I'm loving these car temps, compared to 57c in Dubai in previous years.

172 Wednesday I took the car to work and had my nails done on my way home. I took my glasses back to the opticians as they've not resolved the issue with the double vision, back tomorrow for a referral to the hospital which is what my Dr requested earlier this month. In the evening I did some cleaning and started preparing the house for a party on the weekend. Video call with friend.

Shed base.

173 Thursday Went swimming on my way to work and took my cakes in for a bake sale. Back to opticians on my way home and evening spent cleaning the conservatory. 

9.40pm, just chilling.

174 Friday Up early as Peter was snoring, watched TV whilst I ironed.Cycled back and forth to work, home to tidy the garden up and get it ready for tomorrow, fingers crossed we don't get any rain. Chips and wine with a friend as usual for a Friday night.

On the blog this week:

What I need from a disabled toilet when out with child 1.

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Friday 24 June 2022

Post Comment Love 24th -26th June 2022. My 51st Birthday.

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. A weekly linky we host for any post you've written this week.

Hasn't the weather been lovely this week? Well with us in Middle England it has been glorious. Peter has been working in the garden on the shed base which is almost complete now and we'll have our new summer house delivered and erected some time over the next few weeks.

It's my birthday this weekend. I'll be 51 on Sunday. I've never had a proper birthday bash. My 18th I'd recently left home, my 21st I had a 6 week old baby, my 40th we'd just moved to South Africa so knew no one and my 50th last year was at the time we moved back to the UK and there were still covid restrictions, so I've decided to throw myself a party, an afternoon tea with some family and friends. Fingers crossed the rainy weather holds off.

I'm celebrating the 30th anniversary of my 21st birthday. 

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Wednesday 22 June 2022

What I need from a disabled toilet?

Life is hard enough as it is parenting a disabled child, but to not have access to clean and hygienic toilet facilities when out and about is just not acceptable.

A brief bit of background before I continue.

(Step) Daughter is 34, she is double padded and has no control over her bladder of bowel movements.

She lives in Residential Care.

We take her out twice a month in her local community.

She does not require a changing table as she stands to be changed.

Her only need from a disabled toilet is a space big enough for her to stand in, with a sink or rail to hold onto.

What I or her carer need is the following:

A clean toilet so the lid can be closed meaning there is a place to put the clean nappy/pad and the wipes. A shelf or table top of course would be even better.

A clean sink for her to hold onto so I can reach the items I need.

An accessible, clean, fully working pedal bin for waste.

A working lock for privacy.

A clean floor.

Fully working hot and cold taps.

Hand soap.

It's not much to ask for. We are a 1st World Country. The disabled toilets we visit are in Supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops. Owned by global companies with paid staff on site.

We had a particular nasty experience in a supermarket over the weekend, due mainly to the fact the toilets were filthy, which ended up with me in desperate need of washing my hands as there was no soap in disabled toilets or the ladies. With our daughters mobility I need to hold her hand when she walks plus carry her changing bag, if her dad hadn't been there to pass her to, I would have had big problems with hygiene.

I made a complaint at the customer services desk and emailed a complaint, but I still haven't had a reply from them yet, so I may end up naming and shaming online.

Finding toilets with cubicles big enough is hard in the community, it does limit us on where we can go and places we can visit. Often these toilets are used for additional storage, are dirty and aren't properly equipped for our needs.

Do you need to use disabled toilets? What's your experience of them?

Saturday 18 June 2022

Week 24 One Daily positive and Project365 Heatwave

So, are we loving this heat wave? I can take or leave it, although I do love being able to wear dresses and sandals to work. For years family and friends commented on how they'd love a bit of the sun we had from living in Dubai, but this is nothing like the heat over there. I can at least cycle and walk the dog and enjoy sitting outside and Peter has been working in the garden levelling off the lawn to build a shed base. The humidity in Dubai was horrendous and night time temps in the summer barely dropped below 35c, it was impossible to just sit and relax in, let alone do any work.

161 Saturday Off shopping mid morning then off to the Outlaws for dinner. So lovely spending time with our grandson for cuddles.

162 Sunday A long walk with dog, DIL and Grandson in the morning, then off to the shops for the afternoon, airport, flight, home and bed. Security queues at Belfast City Airport were about 6 minutes to go through. A bumpy flight, taking off sideways. Cabin crew on boarding said 'I'll not lie, it's bumpy up there'

163 Monday Back to work via swimming and a walk, home to wash and iron and do some gardening and remake the bed. BBQ for tea.

164 Tuesday Cycled to work and back then down to the retail park to do some shopping and get photos of the cat and dog printed for our eldest grandchild who is upset we're not bringing them to visit on the weekend. Garden watered, dinner and early bed. Bought myself a bug catcher kit for the little ones to play with when they visit.

165 Wednesday Walked home after work meeting Peter with Bob half way, we treated ourselves to ice creams. Neighbour with her children came round for the afternoon. I did nothing afterwards and was in bed by 9pm

166 Thursday Cycled to work and home and spent an hour on the bed under the fan. Garden watered, ironing done and TV watched. Rest of the evening spent blogging. Another neighbours 3 year old popped round to give Bob a carrot. Her mum ended up having to locate her in the house as she went off exploring.

167 Friday A hot day in work via a swim first thing and did a food shop on the way home. Peter went up the driving range in the evening. Really disappointed with the availability of Gluten Free products, the choices and portion sizes. Picked up the one on the right for me for next weekend and the other one for the kids.

On the blog this week:

Our life with a dog in South Africa, the UAE and the UK. 


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Friday 17 June 2022

Post Comment Love 17th - 19th June 2022 A heat wave and a summer show

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. Thanks for joining in each week, or just popping by, it's always lovely to see you and read your posts. It's also always great to welcome new people along.

It's Thursday night and I'm sitting on the bed with the fan going, just about keeping cool enough to function. I have been at work, cycling and doing some gardening. Peter has been levelling the lawn off ready to build a shed base and has shifted around 5 inches depth of grass and soil.

In Dubai it was impossible to do anything outside in the summer, even sitting was uncomfortable. The night temps in summer didn't;t drop below 35c and the humidity was awful.

I'm loving the fact I can wear a dress and sandals and not have to worry about dressing for 4 seasons in one day. The dog is loving it and it sun bathing from dawn to dusk and enjoying evening walks.

Life for Bob is more fun in the UK than it was in Dubai, although South Africa was good for him.


Al Quadra


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Tuesday 14 June 2022

Experiences with a dog in South Africa, Dubai and the UK.

As dog owners, going out for more than 8-10 hours can be tricky, we do however have very good neighbours, who are more than happy to look after the dog, but we don't want to assume and take advantage of them as they have offered to have the dog for us during the summer holidays while we go to visit our son in Australia. We also have a friend who lives nearby who has helped out with walking the dog. Most of the places we go we can take the dog with us, or we make sure we're back in a reasonable time frame. 

Going on holiday with the dog is tricky as we discovered on relocating the dog and the cat here in January 2020. I initially had pet sitters lined up through a house sitting service to enable me to travel back and forth to Dubai, but with covid, travel was restricted and when I was able to fly, the UK was in lock down and people couldn't stay over. A mutual friend was able to stay for 3 weeks as she was unable to get back to South Africa when her job ended and a couple came to stay for 2 months over the winter as they'd returned from their holiday in Australia early due to covid and as they were renting their house out, they had no where to stay when they cut their travels short. Our son also had to travel over from Northern Ireland to collect the dog in April 2021 to enable me to return to Dubai to finalise the move to the UK. We've since made the journey several times and the dog has travelled well in the kennels, after all he is used to flying and more recently we've taken him on buses and trains.

On the ferry

Travel crates for flying

In South Africa we had a regular house sitter and in Dubai we had the most amazing kennels to use, but in the UK it has been a very different experience. 

In South Africa we also regularly took the dog camping with us, the downside was that we were limited with where we could go for walks and he wasn't allowed in shops, cafes or pubs etc. We did find dog friendly accommodation also.

We had to supervise Bob 24/7 due to Monkey's visiting the garden.

In Dubai walking the dog was a struggle due to the heat. In the winter we visited dog parks and we also weren't able to take him places with us, other than the desert and lakes, which eventually dogs were banned from as the beaches were out of bounds also.

Soft play in Dubai

A day out in the desert

In the UK the dog can spend most of the year in the garden, we can walk almost anywhere and the dog can come with us into pubs and coffee shops while we're out and about, therefore making the UK much more friendly than South Africa or Dubai.

Going on holiday with the dog in the UK has been a great experience, we've found some lovely holiday lets where we've been able to take the dog, I've taken him camping and I also discovered a couple of hotel chains where we've been able to stay. The only downside is we've not been able to leave the dog unattended even in the garden, but with 2 of us, it's not been too much of a problem.

Camping in Oxford

A hotel stay

Is your dog well travelled?
Do you take your dog on holiday with you?

Saturday 11 June 2022

Week 23 One Daily Project and Project365 Northern Ireland

Hopefully I'm in Northern Ireland right now, if not, I'll have changed this intro, so assume I am. Who knows if I'll get back though on Sunday.

The cost of flights compared to pre Brexit and Covid days is astronomical. We've had enough of flying though apart from booking a trip to Australia this summer, we have no intentions of going anywhere else for the foreseeable future.

This time last year we were in hotel quarantine at Birmingham Airport.

154 Saturday Off out by 10.30am to the Forest of Dean for DIL's 30th party, I loaded a balloon arch into the car and unloaded the other end and assembled with only a handful of balloon casualties. Early arriving guests put the bunting up while The outlaws and I prepared the food and Peter helped son with the BBQ. I collected mum for a few hours, MIL, SIL, BIL and great nephew joined us all also. Our grandchild kept untying Peter's shoes to get him on the bouncy castle.

155 Sunday Into Worcester for a bit of shopping and a coffee and bumped into an old friend with her daughter for a lovely catch up. Home to watch the football (Peter) and me to tidy the craft room, alter a dress for my neighbours Mum, hoover the car and get ready for work in the morning. Flights booked. Video call with grandson.

156 Monday Swimming before work, the day went well although I did find myself trying to dry my hands under the paper towel holder thinking it was the air dryer. Evening spent sorting out my hand luggage for Friday, did some ironing, sorted out post and stamps, blogged and watched the soaps. The hills from upstairs.

157 Tuesday Lift to work as I had to collect my new glasses in the afternoon, we had coffee and Peter had brought the dog when he picked me up so they walked home while I collected my glasses, got my eye brows threaded and took advantage of the kids clothes sale in Morrisons. On the way home from work I broke up a fight with 20+ onlookers and growing, I managed to defused the situation, I felt quite vulnerable. Eventually a colleague came by and stopped to help me. I had the school to inform them of what had gone on and eventually went home. Evening spent watching TV in bed, while Peter watched the footbal.

158 Wednesday A lift to work and I was supposed to walk home but after yesterdays incident, I was angry that not one member of senior staff had bothered all day to ask if I was OK. I spent the evening doing some food shopping and a visit to the laundrette to dry the bedding as it had rained heavily, several times during the day. treated myself to some flowers.

159 Thursday I rode my bike to work for the first time. I walked most of the way home, then took Bob for a walk. Had an early bath and finished packing for tomorrow. Friend came round for chips and wine instead of Friday night as usual.

160 Friday Blood test in the morning and after work Peter drove me straight to Birmingham airport for my 19.55 flight. I got changed in the car.

On the blog this week:
A year on as a non expat

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Friday 10 June 2022

Post Comment Love 10th-12th June 2022 Off to Northern Ireland and the Jubilee

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. A friendly weekly linky where you can join in with any post written in the past week. You post, comment and share and we'll return the favour.

Hopefully I'm on my way to Northern Ireland this evening to visit my grandson, fingers crossed no major delays or cancellations at Birmingham Airport or with Air Lingus.

This time last year we were in hotel quarantine at Birmingham airport for 11 days at the cost of £2400. I'm still cross about that experience as the only time we caught covid and were put at risk was when the government relaxed mask wearing, at the same time I started work in a school.

My laptop screen is failing, please excuse me if I take a while to comment and share, but I always aim to do so before the next weeks post.

Our neighbour took this photo of Peter and I with their daughter at the street party we had for the Jubilee celebrations. Did you celebrate? and if so how?

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Tuesday 7 June 2022

A year of non expat life

Arriving home:

We arrived back in the UK a year ago on last Friday after almost 11 years abroad. Our return home was marred by 10 nights hotel quarantine due to covid and the restrictions that halted our plans to celebrate my 50th, Peter's retirement and our move. We also had huge delays with our container due to the back log and shortage of containers after the Evergreen ran aground, add to that the shortage of lorry drivers due to Brexit, it wasn't the best move we've had, but it was our last.

Here's my Tiktok video during quarantine

Home improvements:

We spent the first few months of our return deciding if we wanted to stay in our family home or move, but the rise in house prices and the costs to move are ridiculous so we've opted to stay put. We've since had a new kitchen, Peter is building a base for a new shed/summer house and if we can find a reliable builder, we'll be getting an extension done. There is also a lot of other home improvement plans in the making. I'll be sorting the garden out properly once the outdoor work is completed. 


I'm now working full time, term time only in a local secondary school. I go in for 8.30am and leave at 3pm and I have all the school holidays off. I'm loving it. I also signed with an agency and worked in a covid vaccination site and I've been offered more work on the European Golf Tour, although I've had to turn a lot down, due to location and working in the school where I can't have annual leave in term time. I'm, loving being back in work, everyone is really nice, but I don't feel I've particularly gelled with anyone, so I just do my job and go home, which is ok with me.


Our family has grown with the introduction of our grandson in November last year, they're a ferry crossing or a flight away. Our eldest grandchild is an hour away so lots of visits there.


Old and new, near and far. Lots of effort made by everyone to maintain these friendships now we're back.


Dog walks, pub visits, cooking, holidays in the UK.

Future plans:

Apart from the building work our plans include Australia this summer, buying a camper van, exploring more of the UK and hopefully a trip to Vegas in October half term for our 20th wedding anniversary. We got engaged out there and haven't been back since October 2010 when we saw Cher at Caesars Palace. We don't have anything planned after that.

Life after expat life ends:

For Peter it's the change from working full time to retiring he's adjusting to. I'm not missing anything. I'm glad we had the experience, it's certainly been a fun packed 11 years in South Africa and Dubai, but I do like being home, in one place, family near(ish) by (apart from son in Australia) I'm back working, reconnected with old friends (missing the friends made abroad) but generally much happier just managing one life in one house, in one country.

Have you had to make any big adjustments to your life for whatever reason?

Sunday 5 June 2022

Week 22 One Daily Positive and Project 365 A week in Yorkshire

We headed off to Yorkshire for a few nights with Bob. Having packed for the weather we'd been having at home, we shivered all week as it was much colder and wetter. We joined in with the Jubilee with a street party with the neighbours. I'm old enough to remember the 1977 Silver Jubilee, here's a bonus photo from way back then in Leicester. 

I'm in the pink top with red hat.

147 Saturday Day spent in the garden and tidying up the house ready for going away. I had to go to the opticians for a PEARS test to try and find the cause of my double vision, have new glasses and no answers.

DIL pointed out that it looked like I was having a plant sale, so I put the new shrubs inside the locked gate.

148 Sunday Set off mid morning for a few nights in Yorkshire, we stopped off in York for a few hours before arriving at our cottage a few miles outside.

My childhood home from 1978-1982. The front and the side are extensions.

149 Monday Off to Pickering for a ride on the steam train to Goathland (home of Heartbeat) we had cake, coffee and sandwiches and stopped at the pub for fish and chips on the way home. Bob's first train journey.

150 Tuesday We visited Castle Howard (home of Brideshead Revisited) for the morning and returned a sculptured piece of stone that allegedly came from there in the late 70's. We went into York in the afternoon using the park and ride. Bob was not a fan of the bus.

151 Wednesday Off to Scarborough for the day, we had ice cream, played on the 2p slots, ate our body weight in fudge. The local pub turned us away for food as they had more than enough orders for the night. WTAF?

152 Thursday Up and out by 9am and drove home via the Cotswolds to meet a friend for a walk and a coffee. Home around 6pm, saw the Red Arrows fly over whilst waiting for a takeaway, unpacked and just chilled out. We'd had another flood while we were away.

153 Friday Decorated the garden for the Jubilee, went out for a coffee and bit of shopping. Peter spent most of the day on and off in the roof space fixing the overflow pipe. We joined our neighbours for a street party, BBQ and few drinks. 2 sets of neighbours were living here before we left the UK, so nice to catch up and meet the new neighbours also.

On the blog this week:

Another Garden Update

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Friday 3 June 2022

Post Comment Love 3rd - 5th June 2022 Jubilee 1977 and 2022

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. A weekly linky where you can join in with any post written this week. You Post, Comment and share the Love with us and we'll do the same.

We've been in Yorkshire this week, I grew up just outside York and we really don't go back as much as we should. We've visited Castle Howard, been into York and had a trip on the steam train. We took the dog with us and the neighbours looked after the cat.

It's the Jubilee weekend. I remember the street party in Leicester in 1977. I have the photos to prove it.

No idea who these people are other than our neighbours.

That's me popping my head above the table.

I'm wearing the red paper hat and pinky coloured top.

With my mum and her mother.

There's a street party this weekend that Peter and I are joining in with and I've made Union Jack bunting to decorate the front of the house and the garden with.

Are you celebrating the Jubilee? If so, how?

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