Review: Avon Perfume ‘Luck’

Luck for her from Avon is a sweet, youthful scent

Luck for her from Avon is a sweet, youthful scent

Avon ‘Luck’ is a scent that takes me back. It is a nostalgic fragrance that reminds me of being 14 years old and utterly innocent in this big old bad world.

It reminds me of the Dewberry body spray we all bought at the time and of the Boots candyfloss flavoured lip gloss we all used to buy. Smelling sweet was a right of passage amongst my friends and I. I can only imagine though, that en masse, the corridors of my old High School must have been like a tarts handbag!

However, it’s fruity, sweet and girlie notes are not just for the young. I’m a 32 year old married Mum of 4 and frankly – I love it! When I’m worn out through doing all this grown up adult type stuff, it is nice to have something to remind me that not only am I not past it, but can remember fondly being a teenaged girl and feel a bit like one with this scent.

Boys were not remotely on the horizon for me when this fragrance was in vogue. Even when I got my first one when I was 16, I wasn’t looking for, nor remotely desperate for one. I think I just stumbled into meeting a lad and that was that, nature took its course.

LuckThis perfume is from that period before boys, but after you become self-aware and start shaving your legs, plucking your eyebrows and wearing mascara all of a sudden. You know you are on that cusp of womanhood, whatever that meant, so you slowly altered yourself accordingly.

This a lovely, warm scent that almost sums up everything from that period. The day after you put your dolls down and the day before you go on a date.

All this from a perfume? Why yes indeedy.

It retails for less than £20 (I got mine at the offer price of £9) and comes in a square 50ml glass bottle, the design of which I’m not a fan of. It is great value though, as someone who is a fan of Avon in general and as someone who shops on a tight budget. For Christmas, I was bought an extra bottle, the body lotion and body spray to match, so many options here to smell lovely.

There is also a ‘for him’ version too, in case you fancy treating the man in your life. I haven’t experienced this version, so I can’t comment, but it’s out there.

Highly recommended and a fave to sprits on for work or play for me.

Avon is an online or representative to your door with a brochure way of shopping I think we’ve all heard of. I buy my Avon from my mother in law who has been selling it since time began, but you can get yours on the web if you don’t have a rep.

Cat xx

Just Another Day Without You…

Someone recently told me that, when you become recently bereaved, you are reminded of all of the other bereavements you have already had. Those long ago forgotten bits of hell you have (or have not) come to terms with from before, all come flooding back.

There is also this horrible fear that you get. The fear of dealing with the pain of loss, because you know it hurts. This can be a bit dangerous, because you put grieving to one side, only to have it build up pressure inside of you and then one day… kaboom.

I’m more of a bleeding heart griever: I cry, I dwell, I burst into tears in front of people and embarrass the hell out of them, I have my head in my hands at my desk, I don’t sleep… you get the picture.

It is also easy to compare yourself to other people too. You look at friends and family and see how they are ‘getting on with it’ and note how they do things. Some go back to work the next day, some the day after. Others can’t face it for a fortnight, others, months.

I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule. As someone said to me today – there are as many ways to deal with grief as there are people on the planet.

One thing I note though, are the days.

Today is a bright, warm and sunny spring day in April. The 24th of April if you’re interested. Did you know that this is the first 24th of April in 58 years that my mother has not been around to see? Did you know that? Did the world stop spinning for you? Why not?

Every single day is a reminder: She Is Dead.

Every holiday period, like Easter, or Christmas all ring loudly with: She Is Dead.

In my head, I run through, over and over, what I would have said if I had done her eulogy. I’d have told the story of her life like a story. I’d have mentioned the weather report for the month of January in 1957, that summarized that the wettest days were the 4th and 5th. Her birthday.

It’s those details that haunt. My 20 year old grandmother Catherine (known universally as Renee) dashed to a hospital in Croxteth, Liverpool, to give birth to her first ever baby. Can you see how a story develops from there? Catherine was still a newlywed, married for 10 months and now she is about to have a gorgeous baby girl. She must have been excited, terrified and worried. She must have wanted it over with so she could meet her baby and really get on with the business of raising her own little family.

It was on that cold, wet January day, that she was born; that she took her first lungful of air. The first day she cried, received a kiss and a cuddle from her mother and knew what it felt like to be held close and safe.

I would have told it from the beginning. I would have quoted Auden and Thomas and Steiner-Rice. I would have spoken with crystal clarity so all gathered in church that terrible morning would have heard her story and I’d have rung clear with fact and description to make sure they never forgot it.

She wasn’t the tired, weary, broken little doll I saw at the end – she was more than that. She was my Mum, but she was also Catherine’s baby, too. I watched her last few, shaking, worn breaths leave her body, knowing that Catherine, my Grandmother, had seen her very first ones.

People are not the sum-total you see before you. They are made up of lots of different pieces, all knitted and folded together to create the person you see. People are not just images or conversations, they are stories.

My Mum was a beautiful baby and a beautiful lady – and I know I am in danger of popping on my rose-tinted specs due to the fact she died young, but I had to say that.

No, she wasn’t okay in lots of different ways and yes, I wasn’t able to have her in my life because of that.

I just think the fog that shrouded her life became too thick in the end and she couldn’t see clearly anymore. I think she became lost and broken, but not recently, the cracks in her began a long time ago and I don’t think she could be repaired.

But what about before then? When she was someone’s baby? The summer of 1957 was a hot one and her Mum and Dad, proud of their very first addition, took her to the park and took photos of her in her summer outfit and bonnet. I have the photos. The love beaming from the pair of them for that baby of theirs is utterly heart rendering.

I always maintain that if it hurts when you lose someone, you must have loved them or cared about them. If you felt nothing at all, then there is nothing to hurt then, is there? Of course I love her, of course I’m bloody, frigging heart-bloody-broken over her death. Christ, she was 58 years old. That is not okay. That is all kinds of not okay.

I will miss her with every bit of me that belonged to her and in every bit of her that lives on in my children and, if I get them, my grandchildren too.

As I once used to say to myself during times of deepest misery, sorrow and horror… one foot in front of the other.

Cat x

Short Story: The Anglerfish’s Pretty Light

WARNING: This story may not be suitable for younger readers as it contains adult themes and adult language. You have been warned.

The Anglerfish’s Pretty Light ~ A Short Story

“Beech!” he cried, whisking her up off her feet and whirling her round.

She hadn’t expected it at all, but his mood had been rather chipper that day for some reason. So often had she been forced to tread on egg shells around him, that any signs of a good mood were met now with suspicion and surprise.

As he set her down onto her feet once more, she smiled warmly up into his large green eyes. There was a hint of affection this time and she prayed silently that at last, he meant it.

“I love you Mrs Woo Woo”, he purred her pet name as his lips found hers.

Her heart ached. Why couldn’t he be like this all the time? He had been at first, after all.

“I love you too, Wabby Woo” she replied softly, smiling with love and gratitude.

“Listen baby” he began, holding her close. “I’ve been invited out by all my friends to the bar. Can I have some money please?”

Ah.

“Money? I’ve not got much left until the end of the month, I have to pay for our food and-“

He stepped back and his face clouded over with an expression she had become familiar and afraid of.

“Okay” she said, giving in. She was bone tired of this routine now, all waned and wasted.

“Am I coming too?”  she asked, but her words were no longer important to him. She had agreed to the money.

“What? Oh no, you’re not invited. It’s just me and my mates” he muttered, looking towards the building where the friends lived. She followed his gaze and knew full well they had been her friends for two years longer than they’d been his. He’d only latched onto them a month ago.

It viciously ripped at her heart when she recalled why it was he’d ingratiated himself – she wasn’t the complete idiot he took her for. She was up for renewal and he’d already spied her replacement.

“I’m your fiancée. Surely I-“

He shot her another look that told her he didn’t care and that she needed to shut up now.

She reached into her bag instead and busied herself with finding her purse; anything to face away from him so that he did not bare witness once more to the tears that were desperate to flow.

Crocodile tears he called them. Fake tears he would say. Manipulative bitch, he’d call her. So she kept them to herself as she knew the truth of them.

They flowed so often now, that she felt her whole being being carved by them; water hacking out a river bed as it moved through the landscape, searching, ever searching, for the sea.

She handed him her blue and green bank card; he knew her PIN number already by heart. She then watched as he wordlessly walked off in the direction of the cash machine.

As the grabbing cold of the February wind made his knee-length leather jacket flap and flail about behind him as he strode off, she finally let those tears fall.

Each one hot on her marble cheek, each one a stab at her breaking heart, each one a wordless plea to the disappearing figure in black: “please, just love me as I do you”.

The Anglerfish

The Anglerfish

My Journey… So Far

0-32...

Zero to Thirty-two          (Click on image for larger version)

As a parent, you watch your child change constantly. You see the world that is them go from prehistoric to medieval to the modern era. They evolve so much, that you can’t quite see it sometimes, not without getting out the photos and looking through them.

Eventually though, you come to the realisation that you too, have changed. You feel the same inside, as in, it’s still you, the same soul, but you’ve physically and emotionally changed in all the long years of your life.

You are damaged or fortified, you are bent but not broken. You are a beautiful mess, teary and smiley and mad and not… But what records show you… you?

In the past 12 months, I have done a lot of soul searching and a lot of looking back and dealing with some traumatic things in my past that have clung onto the ankles of my future, hampering its progress. Throughout my epic, inward metaphysical journey, I have found that stopping the climb up life’s mountain and looking down and back over the miles and miles of valley I’ve traversed to get this far is helpful.

What better way than photographs? Each one represents a year (the first one is ‘0’, we all have to start somewhere) in my life and my journey. Each one represents a chapter or a person I was that is very similar to the one I am now, but not quite the same.

I suppose, with this collection of images, I’m a bit like Doctor Who. You often see images of all the Doctor’s incarnations together, compiled into one image. Well, here is mine.

It took me a very long time to find all the photos and compile them into a complete picture of how I’ve changed from baby-hood into the present. It is almost unsettling, seeing my life rattle by at a rate of knots and reminds me, how quick things really are progressing with my own children.

So, please enjoy the sight of me, all of me, all of the me’s I’ve ever been and the distant half-glimpse of the me’s I have yet to become.

Try and do this yourself – it is a really interesting project to undertake (took me a couple of years! but might be less for you if you have helpful family about who can give you photos and info about them), or do it for a loved one. Very worthwhile and gives a lovely sense of self worth I suppose.

Cat x

Poem: Badge

I wear a badge of pain

A relic of our past

A sign to show I belonged to you

A symbol that will last

I can’t forget you – can’t

Frantic fingers in the cold

You, familiar yet far away

And our secrets cheaply sold

It hurts like the Easter cactus

It blossoms at my time

Your hands butchered all my senses

And each action was a crime

March 2004

Sketch of Daisy Aged 2 yrs & 3/4

I just thought I’d share this picture with you, which I had long forgotten about. I’m not a good artist by any means, but thought it would be nice to share as it’s not offensively awful, at least in my opinion.

I drew this a while back when my Daisy was still long enough for me to draw her. Sleep seems to be the best time to draw children I think. How did all these artists back in the day paint children? Even in several sittings, the kids must have been running off all the time!

The only way I’d share an image of my children publicly is via the medium of my crappy art.

Cat x

My Sleeping Babe

My Sleeping Babe

My Mum Passed Away

Hi

This is the first non-scheduled post I have written in many weeks.

All the posts you have been seeing popping up on my blog, are things that I wrote a while back and then had them on a gradual release (another reason I love WordPress as a blogging platform).

There is a reason for my prolonged absence though, which I’m going to share a bit.

On 5th February 2015, I lost my Mum.

People say that, don’t they, strangers or even people you know and it falls dud and quiet at your feet. It’s not your loss and therefore, not your problem. You don’t know what to say, because you don’t feel anything. I’m not saying you don’t feel empathy or sympathy – but you have no comprehension of the raging, murderous storm screaming on inside the person who quietly whispered: “My Mum’s died”.

Perhaps you can understand because you have lost a parent – but even if you have been there, your mind has probably placed a large, thick wall between your recollection and the initial feelings you felt when they passed. The incomprehension, stark, bleak horror… your mind would collapse in on itself if you did remember and relive it constantly.

I didn’t get on with my Mum. She was a lost, broken and unhappy soul. She was not living the life she was capable of living or wanted to live.

There are no fluffy, cuddly, sweet and lovey-dovey memories to comfort me – I have many years of anguish and pain to tuck me up in bed each night.

But she was my Mum and I loved her. I was bonded to her in a way I cannot understand, until I look into the eyes of my own precious, beautiful children.

There are bits of her I remember, like shards of glass from a broken mirror. She had very long fingers, artist’s hands she would say.

She was loud and quiet in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places. She was gorgeous and distant, like any star or planet in the heavens.

She was hiding and frightened, yet brave and tenacious.

She was mine.

I missed her more when she was alive, because I never got to include her in my life in the way I desperately wanted to. I wanted her to be the first person I told each time I fell pregnant. I wanted to see her fuss and fawn over me as I stepped into my wedding dress, dabbing at tears of joy, the morning I married. I wanted her holding my hand as I gave birth, telling me that it was all going to be ok.

I wanted her arms round me when my eldest two children passed away.

I wanted to sob in my Mum’s arms as we laid them to rest.

I wanted to have a cup of tea with her and talk about wall paper and the price of biscuits and other mundane things.

I wanted to phone her for advice or gossip, just as an excuse to hear her voice.

I wanted her to tell me that my top was too low, my skirt too short or that my hair was dumb.

I wanted to talk to her about heartache. I wanted to tell her as each year of my life passed, that I understood her more and empathised. I started, bit by bit, to see the world as she did and understand her frustration, exhaustion and downright misery of everyday life. I wanted to share the joys, highs and triumphs. I wanted to show her my world. I wanted to fling open the shuttered windows that looked onto the valley of my life and point out every last bit of it and remark to her about how proud (or not so proud) I was of each little hedge or winding river.

I wanted to use the word ‘Mum’ every day. I wanted to use the word ‘Mum’ in reference to her, instead of her first name.

I wanted her to put her long, cool fingers to my temple if I felt unwell and frown if she thought I was over-doing it a tad.

I wanted to hear the sound of her voice as she fought my corner and defended me, even if she knew I was wrong. I wanted her to be my champion and my protector.

I wanted… so much. Too much.

I just wanted her to be my Mum. How was that too much to ask of her? Was I asking for the moon and stars? Perhaps.

I got what she was capable of giving me, which essentially looks like a rubbish pile – but if you sift through it, you can find beautiful nuggets of treasure.

Those rare, special little things, are what I cleave to me now.

I held her hand as she lay dying at the age of 58 years old. My tears were hot and alive with anger, horror, sorrow and agony. I cried for hours and hours and hours. I’d forgotten I could cry so hard for so long.

She is now with her Mum and Dad and I know that she is happy at last. The wearying world has let go of her now and she is free – she can go where she wants and see what she likes – she is emancipated for all eternity.

She went through cycles – she loved you, then hated you, then loved you again. When she died, she was in the ‘hate everyone’ stage.

Funny though – because at her funeral, pretty much everyone there had had their issues one way or another with my Mum – yet they were all there for her (and many have been before and since)… because they loved her.

As I kept telling her as she lay in that clinical, clean hospital bed in intensive care: You have no idea how loved you are.

How loved by me she was and always will be.

Whatever she was in life, whatever her memory will turn into in death, she was and is loved by me. She will always be mine.

Do not judge her by what she failed to do. She did the best job she was able to do within the pitch darkness and fog of her world.

I love her and although I resonate with ringing pain and anguish, that fact remains.

My greatest grief will always be the knowledge, that she was never able to see any of it.

In loving Memory of Janet Catherine

1957 – 2015 

In the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here.