The end of an era…

I remember my first day in the classroom sixteen years ago. I knew I’d found something I loved to do. I could make a difference to little lives, I could help them understand where my own teachers had failed. From day one, I threw myself into the profession and loved it.
As the years went by, I met my husband (also a teacher) and it became a way of life – working 18 or 20 hours a day but having our holidays together. Then I became a mum – with the most traumatic pregnancy I could have ever imagined. I knew life changed then and I wasn’t sure how I’d ever balance the two parts of my life, especially when I became a single mum 15 months later. But for seven years, I’ve continued, failing to find any balance – either home life suffers or the quality of my teaching suffers.
I love teaching and being with the children, BUT my own child needs to see me for more than an hour a day and needs to not get rushed off to bed each night because I ‘have to work’.
My parents, although hugely supportive both practically and emotionally, say their heart sinks when I tell them I can’t do (enter anything that isn’t school work here) because I ‘have to work’.
My health has suffered as a result of pushing myself so hard for so long and I was diagnosed with life changing conditions about 5 years ago. I’ve tried to battle through, but when your life feels like you’re wading through treacle, something has to change.
18 months ago, I found Tropic – a direct sales company selling natural cosmetics and skincare. The aim was that I would earn enough to work part time as a teacher, but what I’ve learnt is that there is a life outside teaching – a life where you are appreciated for just trying your hardest, a life where people value what you’ve achieved and celebrate this with you.
About six weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Finland on an all expenses paid trip with 90 other Ambassadors from the company. I came home a changed person. I finally realised that life outside the classroom and life without the restraints of data, paperwork and unrealistic Government aims would probably be the making of me.
And so, in just two days time, I leave the classroom as a Teacher – the job I’ve loved for almost half of my life and I become a TA. I’ll go from working every hour on the clock, to working just 25 hours a week. I’ll be able to take my daughter to the park, lie with her when she can’t get to sleep and generally be a better mum.  I’ll also have time to spend on my beloved Tropic business – the real life changer in all of this!
I’m going to miss teaching, but I’m really, really looking forward to finding out who I am again, for the first time in a very long time.
Much love,
Clair xxx
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Leaving 2016 behind…

2017-betterJust four days left of this crappy year.  For so many people and for so many reasons, it’s been a tough one.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of positives during this year – finding a school I love and working with some great ladies, my Tropic team growing by the month, Daisy (despite some ups and downs!) growing into a beautiful, funny, spirited little girl…  But still, I’m not 100% happy – and I think by now you all know why that is…  The problem is that I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place – I’m still very much in love with ‘you-know-who’, but I’m 99.9% sure that we will never make it work again, despite wishing otherwise…

I don’t know much, but I know that I never want another year like 2016.

So, I’m determined this coming year to get a grip and take control of many more areas of my life – health, love, diet… You name it!  Add to this the fact that the coming year includes a silly big birthday…  It’s going to be interesting!

Let’s make 2017 ridiculously amazing and successful on so many different levels, shall we?!?!?!

Bring it on!

Much love, Clair xx

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Loneliness…

You know, when I tell people I’m lonely, they tell me that I shouldn’t be. That I’m lucky I have friends and family around me who care. And I am. I know that.

But being a family unit of 2 IS lonely. I’ve done it for a long time now – I should be used to it. And mostly I am. I’m an independent kind of girl – I’ve got a career I love,  a business which has changed my life, a hugely supportive family and of course, the gorgeous Doodles, who fills my heart with joy (and worries like I never knew before!!!! But that’s a different story!).

Until a year ago, I didn’t think I’d ever be lonely by myself. But sometimes you just are. It’s there every single day. It underlies everything I do. And it’s not a yearning for just anyone. I miss him. I miss the one who was the love of my life. I’ve accepted that it’ll never be again, but I’m not sure I’ll ever move on. It’s grief. A different kind of grief to losing someone you loved through death, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

Christmas is a lovely family time. Of course I’ll make the most of it – I’ll make it as magical as I can for Daisy because that’s my job. But deep down, the smile on my face hides how I really feel.

Cherish every moment with the ones you love. Be smug if you’re happy with the one you love. But remember that a smile can hide a thousand tears. Be kind this Christmas time, especially with those around you who have loved and lost – for whatever reason.

Much love,

Clair xx

 

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But you don’t look sick…

I often say I’ve got a list of chronic illnesses… So, what does that mean – and what does it look like?

Well, it really depends where you see these chronic illnesses from. I recently had a conversation with a well respected GP who told me that he didn’t believe these conditions were real, and that many patients use them as an ‘excuse’ to live off the state. Well, you can probably imagine that there followed a full and frank discussion between the two of us..!

For the most part, I’ve given up trying to explain what living a day in my shoes feels like. When I was first diagnosed, I felt that I’d finally got answers and told anyone and everyone that would listen about my diagnoses. However, that backfired on me with people who I thought would behave differently. It stung that whilst I was dealing with these life changing diagnoses, the people I thought cared turned their backs on me. At the time, I thought I’d never get over that. As it turned out, however, those people helped me. They helped me realise how strong I really am. They weren’t the only ones to let me down in my times of need (as you probably already know!), but I learnt so much about how strong I really am.

Then there are the people closest to me, who never let me down, who never fail to believe in me. Who look at my smile – who see beyond the smile to the pain and who just are there for me when I need them the most.

These illnesses have of course had a detrimental effect on my life – I’m often scared about the very real possibility of never getting better. I’m constantly worried about how I get up and go to work every day – of how I provide everything I need (and want) to give Daisy for a childhood she will remember. One of my biggest fears is that this will prove to be genetic and that my hunch with Daisy having either of these two illnesses will be correct.

But let’s not dwell on those – for today, let’s find the positives. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – despite this crappy list of chronic illnesses, I feel so blessed to have people around me that are aware of how my invisible illnesses affect me, and that sometimes go that extra mile to help me, or make me feel better about myself when I really feel rubbish. I have some amazing friends, I have my gorgeous and perfect Daisy-Mae and I have the best parents a girl could ever ask for. I have my teaching job, I have my Tropic business, I have so much to be thankful for.

And to answer the question that I get asked all the time… How do I do it?? Because there is no choice! I can either lie down and take it, becoming a victim along the way. Or not. Guess which I choose?????

Much love,
Clair xx

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What a difference…

Wow, it’s been a while!

It’s such a cliche, but where does time go? I can’t believe we are just over a week away from the end of term and the long summer holidays.

It’s been a pretty successful year overall, considering the disastrous state of my personal life! Daisy settled back into her old school like she had never been away and we were really blessed with her class teacher – the most lovely lady, who totally got Daisy and her insecurities, and who gave her the confidence to ‘have a go’ again. And her end of year report really shows what progress she has made in a relatively short time.

This year will be an especially poignant end of term, because Daisy moves from the Infant School to the Junior School this year. I’m really not ready in any way for this – it seems only yesterday that she was a boddler, then a threenager, growing into this beautiful seven year old, inside and out. She’s looking forward to being in ‘big’ school though and that’s all a Mama can hope for!

My bigger babies are getting ready for their move to pastures new too and I’m really going to miss them – they’ve been a fab class and I feel very lucky to have found this job, just when I most needed it!

And then I look back to how poorly I felt this time last year, working god knows how many hours, and wondering how I was ever going to sustain this lifestyle with my ridiculous health issues, and with more surgery impending…

Then, like a little piece of magic, Tropic appeared in my life (almost a year ago exactly, on the first day of the holidays!), and my, how my life has changed as a direct result of being involved in this business. I’ve met loads of new people, made some friends for life, but more than anything, and quite selfishly, I’ve become a completely different person. I’ve learned so much about myself and about lots of people around me, I’ve got some financial independence, I’ve learned to speak up about what I really believe in, and so, so much more! God bless Susie Ma!

So, I’m really looking forward to a summer of sunshine and fun with my Doodles, and then back to it in September with lots of different challenges – gotta keep pushing forward 🙂

Much love,
Clair xx

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The ups and downs of chronic illnesses…

It’s been a tough week. Not altogether unexpected, when I think about it, but tough nevertheless.

I’ve been pushing myself hard – too hard, I suppose.

I’m in the fortunate position of absolutely loving my job and the simply fabulous adults and not so little people that I get to spend my time with each week. But being a teacher has never been an easy option – especially in Year 6 at this time of the year. I’m determined to do the very best for these amazing kids and prepare them for the onslaught of KS2 SATs in just a couple of weeks.

Then, there’s the other love of my working life – Tropic. It’s there in my head (and my heart) every single second of the day. It keeps the wolf from the door, financially, but more than that, it’s given me a completely different outlook on life. I’ve met some fabulous girls in the process and made some friends that I never expected. It continually takes me out of my comfort zone – doing Pamper experiences, talking to people I’ve never met, making me take my PJs off when I least feel like it! It’s got me through some of the hardest months of my life and given me focus when I needed it most.

And of course, the real love of my life, Daisy-Mae. Since we moved back ‘home’, she’s settled so well. She’s learning to be less anxious, she’s right in the centre of everything that’s going on. She’s joined every club and activity she can think of and she’s really coming out of her shell. Seeing her blossom and grow in confidence every day feels my heart with love and reminds me that she’s one special little lady (I think I may have told you that before, once or twice…).

But, I suppose, when you’ve a list of chronic illnesses, all of the above comes at a price. I don’t do an especially good job of looking after myself. I rarely listen to my body (I often push it harder instead!), I don’t take time to ensure my diet is what it should be, I don’t get enough sleep and I drink far too much wine. So, at some point, I suppose it’s to be expected that the body should just give up.

And that happened on Wednesday! I crashed at tea time and I’ve been in bed ever since. I have a supply of medication, Lucozade and tissues at my bedside. Daisy-Mae has reverted to her carer role (“Mummy, remember to drink lots, take your medicines and get lots of rest” as she went to bed last night), Mum and Dad (and some fab friends) have jumped to my rescue to help with madam, to provide me with aforementioned Lucozade etc and I’m left here feeling cross with myself. Cross (and a little bit resentful) that my body can’t cope with the usual trials and tribulations that life throws at us all, cross that I should know better and cross that I’ve wasted some gorgeous sunshine being stuck in bed…

So, moving forward (because that’s all you can ever do!), I need to eat. I’d say eat better, but just eating would be a good start. As I’ve found out, it’s not possible to live on a chocolate bar each day… I need to drink more (but less wine!). I need to get the occasional bit of downtime.

Apparently, I’m not superwoman. Which is pretty disappointing. So, when you see me doing too much, not eating properly etc, feel free to give me a slap! Only, make it gentle, because right now, I can’t touch my own skin without feeling like it’s on fire!

Much love,
Clair xx

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Love. And true heartbreak.

Apologies for this incredibly self-indulgent post. However, in the spirit of this blogging lark being cathartic, I have to post this…

During my teenage years, I thought I’d been in love a fair few times. There were a couple of very gorgeous, very charming guys who I fell head over heels with… I was young, they were young – the rest is history!

Then whilst on the rebound from a very destructive relationship, I met my husband. He gave me security, he was a friend and he made me feel wanted again. But, on the day I married him, I questioned my decision and my love for him. I’d do it all again to get a Daisy, of course, but real true love? I don’t know…

Everyone says you know when you’ve met ‘the one’. I did. The problem was he was married to someone else. I think that for years we both knew how we felt. But, contrary to what his wife believed, I’m no home wrecker. I never wanted to be the girl that split a family up, that took a dad away from his kids. I never once pursued this relationship, but it became fairly clear that we would end up together. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we fell completely in love. We went through hell to be together but we knew it was worth it. I remember standing in the queue at Starbucks one day and spotting him – I knew there and then what love really was!

We got through the worst of it, and we moved in together. I can honestly say they were the happiest days of my life. He was my best friend, my everything. I felt like I’d looked my whole life for my other half and there he was – not what I expected him to look like or be, but everything I ever wanted. He loved me and wasn’t afraid to show me, and everyone around us, how he felt. I admit that I was even a little smug that I’d finally done it, finally met ‘the one’. I thought we were invincible.

So, when it fell apart right in front of my eyes, I was nothing short of devastated. That was the moment that I really knew I’d loved him like I’d never loved before. All these months on, if I’m honest, I’m still as devastated, still as heartbroken. I wish so much that I could go back and make it all better. But life doesn’t work like that does it?

I know one thing for absolute certainty. Whatever happens in the future, whoever I meet – they will never mean the same to me as he did. When he left, he took a little bit (actually quite a lot) of my heart with him. He also took my ability to trust, my faith in relationships and quite a lot of my self confidence with him.

It’s almost seven months since the day he left, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever forget the day I lost my best friend, my soul mate, my everything.

Much love,
Clair xx

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